Field of Glory Renaissance in Oxford Doubles 2011
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The BHGS Doubles had had a hard couple of years. The only discernible effect of the global economic meltdown had been to reduce this onece extensive and world-spanning (well, Preston to Reigate) wargaming world series down to a few blokes in a deserted schoolroom in suburban Oxford. Perhaps someone may one day invest in the TV rights and prize money, and then force all the participating gamers to wear spandex suits and adopt comedy names - but that's an image none of us want to see...
The lists from this and all the other games at the Oxford Doubles can be seen here.
The succesful doubles team from Devizes Doubles was reunited to see if we could improve on our shockingly near-competent 3rd place, but in a deliberate effort to hamstring ourselves and avoid having to take home any cheap silverwear we had chosen a deliberately underpowered army - Austrian Imperial Siege of Vienna, with Polich allies internal to the list. This also allowed us to use the French Louis XIV figures again, but also add in some Polish Winged Hussars. Huzzar!
The first game we found an Anglo-Dutch army deployed across the table from us. Aaah - the sneaky "lets have lots of superior shot-only units and win by having a near WSS-era army" tactic! Luckily they had not anticipated coming across anyone daft enough to bring Poles!
The first action of note was for our Light Horsemen to take a ball between the eyes from the enemy cannons - morale wobbled...
The Polish element of the army had a big block of shot and heavy weapon type blokes, who advanced into the territory usually reserved for Dragoons - an enclosed field - accompanies by our own Dragoons. The theory was that this powerful shooting and close combat combo would sweep away the enemy Dragoons and turn the Dutch flank...
The input of my doubles partner, and the intellectual rigor that the doubles game placed on planning was shining through, as the Polish Hussars and Pancerni redeployed away from enemy Pike and Shotte units and back towards some shot-only enemy forces.
A radical idea - guns in a unit of 3 - opened up on the enemy.
The combined Austrian/Polish army was moving around like the opening of the mouth of an Alien, with the infantry moving apart to create a space for the Hussars to pile through..
It was a long thin Dutch line...
The Polish flank attack looked petty damn good, as they advanced in step with the Austrian Dragoons. Bad news if you were an Anglo- Dutch Dragoon!
The potent strike force of the Polish army emerged into the light between wings of infantry - much to the chagrin of the Anglos or the Dutchmen (I forget) who were opposite them but without pikemen
OK, 60 points worth of guns were now entirely wasted as the Hussars blocked their line of fire completely, but who cares - the Poles were on the march!
The Dutch had cheated by moving up their own infantry to pour fire into the Austrian Dragoons. This firefight was a little more even - but still in our favour
As the Austrians moved up under their French flags, the Aglicans or Dutchmen poured fire into them, knocking their morale and causing base losses. Yet again these infantry units might struggle to get into combat..
But hey, who gives a toss - The Hussars are going in, and everything else pales into insignificance !!
Elsewhere, on the right, two lines of infantry were closing on each other but with almost nothing happening so far other than the Austrians claiming amorwal victory for having cooler circular-based regimental guns than the crewless wonders of the Anglo-Dutch
The Polish infantry were shooting - but as the Anglo dragoons dodged behind fences and hedges to good effect they were so far avoiding being too badly impacted by the heavier Polish/Austrian firepower
In fact, first blood went to the damed Dutch as the Poleslose a base!
And blood was on the carpet back on the left, with the Austrian foote having very much the worse of the initial exchanges of fire.
The emboldened Polish infantry move up...
Battle as Barker intended as both armies line up against each other across the width of the table. The Hussars and Pancerni in the middle are ganging up on a lone foote unit,expecting a spectacular breakthrough when their pedestrian opponents surely crumble..
At last, the Dutch Dragoons accepted some incoming fire and picked up a carefully hidden green DISR marker
But maybe the Poles and their sweep through the fields would not be needed? The Dutch and/or English infantry were taking one helluva pounding from the advancing Austrians - bases were flying off and DISR markers were sprouting like mushrooms on a Russian autumnal night!
The Hussars and Pancerni were by now busily wrecking everything in their path - exactly what the doctor orderded !
Back near the contested cornfield, the ebb and flow of battle was ebbing against the Austrians and encouraging the English
Things were getting very messy, as in an equal exchange of shooting the Austrian Dragoons had suffered the worst of it by far and had broken and fled like a pack of heedless joltheads and unmannered slaves. But the Dutch were also now Fragmented - if the Polish foot could pluck up the gumption to charge them it would be a dramatic sweep to victory ! But,they failed the test to charge whilst DISR and stood there shooting ineffectually
The World Dice Manufacturers Guild rejoiced as both sides poured huge amounts of lead at each other from close range. It was still very hard to see which way this battle would go
Elswehere, the swings and arrows (and musket balls, and dice) of outrageous fortune had swung back toward the Austrians, and some of the enemy had tuend tail and fled - leaving a Tercio looking nervously - at a rather bedraggled and near to autobreaking Austrian infantry line too
After a bit of huffing and puffing, the Polish horsemen obliterated the pernicious and indubitate beggars who were their current opponents and prepared to carry on charging !
Next up was an already fragile Pike and Shotte unit - which soon felt the force of 8 bases of Polish nobility
The Anglo-Dutch line was rapidly crumbling, as the effects of accurate musketfire and the sweeping wave of demoralization caused by the impressive Polish charge ran up and down their formation
Near the Cornfield, the Austrians ttruggled manfully to beat back a shot-only Dutch (or English - honestly, someone could have tried harder with the flags here...) unit before their flank was stoven in ...
The Hussars were in full cry now - another hapless unit was in their sights and being ridden down mercilessly.
Something dramatic happened involving rolling 3 sixes - the details of which I have forgotten.... Maybe the Austrian infantry lost the combat, but survived the resuilting waver test but then were soon to be charged in the flank anyway?
Like that.... Oh, the irony!
Somehow the massive superiority the Poles and Austrians enjoyed in the field had come to naught, and now the Polish regiments tsttered remnants were hoping to do little more than hang on without autobreaking against the unharmed and irritatingly cocky Dutch Dragoons
How about this for desparation - on the part of both sides, as a FRAGGed infantry unit faces off against a DISR one, all with dangerous amounts of base losses already chalked up
As the Pancerni struggle to get the better of a Pike and Shotte unit, the greedy Hussars go off after the English gunnes
Oh No! Incompetence personified with yet another square formation appearing. You'd have though the soldiers involved would simply surrender by now each time their commanding officer orders them into Square!
The Pancerni regiment flees the field in as much dissarray as a one-base remnant can muster
The usual end for a Square approaches, as only the Superiority of the Austrians keeps them on the field of play
The Polish foote try one last advance...
But that's the end of the Square....
The game is over
The Result is a 17-8 defeat, almost as close as it can get when losing your whole army !
Post Match Summary
Arschgeige! Ich bin General Stransky of the Austrian Army, und ich bin very cross indeed to see how close our efficient and well trained military machine came to establishing a classic and well executed victory, yet to see it turn into a defeat is something we will have to correct. Or there will be consequences
Ze original Tabletopbattleplandocumentschenario was no doubt nearly perfect, but if was the pesky enemy actions which threw it into dissarray.
Und I am most dissapointed by the failure of our Polish Allies to succesfully win the game on their own without our involvement in any meaningful way.
Vorsprung Durch eine Polnische Kavalleristen Bemühungen, I think not!
Hannibal's Post Match Analysis
Aaaah - so close you are to a victory, yet Defeat grasps you to it's bosom with grim inevitability - truly you are the must chaff, and you are smelt above the moon
Lets try and analyse things here then. You have some game-winning cavalry, and some Foote who are not as good as your opponents Foote. So why didst thou attack with everything everywhere at the same time?
Surely even a botcher's cushion could have seen that holding back with the Foote whilst making ample space for the Horse of Polonia to do their worst would be the plan?
Truly, you tread upon my patience impudent paltroons - and this e'en with another set of brains to help you as well. Two Generals,but naught by e'en half a mind between ye I swear....
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