FoGR IN 1695 in Oxford IN 2013
Buccaneer vs Tatars
The BHGS Doubles - a 900AP competition, with a rather unsubtle theme, any army valid in 1695. This is right at the end of the period covered by the FoGR rules, and skirts into the beginning of the War of Spanish Succession. When previous events have included this date, there has tended to be a glut of League of Augsberg Anglo Dutch armies, which are stacked up with lots of good quality foot, and lots of shooting.
Faced by the choice of what to take, and assuming the LoA would be a textbook opponent we dithered for a while, and then, plucking up courage, decided to try and wheel out the Pirates again
The logic behind the choice was as follows:
Having thought all of this through, the ideal initial opponent turned up - Mongol Tatars, on something of a billiard table. No boat - Ahoy!
The lists for the Buccaneer and Tatars from this game, as well as all the other lists from the games at Oxford can be seen here in the FoGR Wiki.
See my Pirate army being painted here!
Arrr! With no terrain to protect the flanks the Pirate army decided to deploy on one side, and use the one piece of terrain as something of an anchor (see what I did there?) to turn a 90 degree angle to fend them off. The Tatars had put down a gulley on the far left and from their deployment there were something like three units missing - almost certainly all cavalry in the gulley.
As me band o'Pirates ere messing around, some of them spied the clouds of horsemen sweeping round the vast open spaces of the undefended flank
Where do pirates keep their bathrooms?
On the poop deck!
Across on t'other side a band o'hearties was a racin' forward, hoping to catch the Mongols cavalry in some of the uneven terrain - unlikely, but at least the Tatars were slightly slowed..
What's a splicin' the mainbrace here then?
It appears that the Mongol army has split itself in two, going either side of the central terrain feature. The Pirates are very overweight on the left, and even though they are in the open the Tatars have no impact capability, so the plan of using the Great Commander and rear support to survive Impact, and then slugging it out in melee looks like it has a possibility of working today
Ahoy, me Hearties! The Tatars had also succumbed to temptation to not only take some of the non-core troops, but also to shove them into danger - their two units of dragoons had charged forward to try and contest the terrain piece, and had now realised that their 6 bases were about to come under pressure from thousands of screaming Pirates! The initial volleys had already DISR's the Dragoons, who were by now cursing their generals propensity for inserting them into danger
The Tatars had created something of a traffic jam on the left, with three waves of troops advancing hesitantly towards a lot of Pirates and some terrain. On the Pirate right the Tatars were taking a very wide route, taking many of them out of shot. This encouraged the Pirates and they pushed forward - as much in the theory that if they were wiped out by the enemy cavalry, it was better to be wiped out a long way from the rest of your army rather than close up against them - Yo ho, yo ho!
The Tatars had practically flank marched onto the adjacent table, their sweeping move was that wide… All hands hoay!
What are all pirates a part of ?
Shiver me timbers! Enraged by Pirate shooting - and also trapped by the following waves of their own troops - the first Tatar unit had lost a base and thrown itself into a desperate charge against the lead unit of Pirate Warriors. As expected the Pirates had lost, but with rear support and the Great Commander they comfortably passed the first and vital cohesion test with some aplomb
Thar she blows! The Tatars seemed to be rather lacking in coherence all across the field of play - a rather obviously telegraphed ambush of three units of Cavalry lurched out of a gulley on the flank sector. The Pirate Dragoons, who had been waiting for this for the previous two turns, shrugged their shoulders and said a droll C17th equivalent of "Meh" - in any case the two Pirate guns were still causing problems for the Tatars, so having more targets would be a bonus.
Blow me down! By now the Pirate army had pretty much sorted itself out into a very tidy and seemingly well thought out L-shape. Suddenly the centre of the Tatar army was starting to look unexpectedly thin, and the Pirates were concentrating force on the left against the Tatar ambush, which was reconsidering the wisdom of advancing further in the face of massed musketry and artillery fire
What's a-rattlin' me cutlasses here then?
The Tatars have split their forces into three chunks, and have not pressed the attack as yet with any of them. The Pirates have sorted out their formation, and in particular the right flank is in good shape - not that many units committed to the defence, but they are in a good tidy line and even if they do get overwhelmed the rest of the army will be out of the way and squeezing the other parts of the Tatar army into the terrain on the left.
Son of a biscuit eater! The Pirates inched forwards on the right - the Superior unit was at the front, but they were also now closing in on the Tatar dragoons, who were hanging on in the scrubland
Heave Ho! On the left, the Pirates had rebuffed the initial Tatar charge, and were in the process of blasting the remnants of the initial charging unit out of the way - when a few choice bowshots landed, and were followed by a spectacularly bad cohesion test, allowing them to pick up a new cohesion marker…
Splice the mainbrace! On the left, the Mongols had finally managed to start to bring their cavalry wing to bear. First up to tray and stand against them were the Old Superior Pirates…
Weigh anchor and hoist the mizzen! On the left the Pirates had started to take the initiative - they were rather vulnerable in the open, but they had the advantage of numbers and there seemed a chance that they could trap the Tatars in the rough terrain with a speedy attack. The Artillery were also proving decisive, as Tatar units were getting DISR units with an alarming (or encouraging) degree of regularity
In the middle one unit of Tatar dragoons had already been driven off - and right under the noses of some Tatar cavalry, the second unit suddenly found themselves at cutlass point in a battle in the brush
On the other flank the Pirates were continuing the simple tactics of advance, shoot, advance, shoot. The Tatar horsemen were struggling to cope with a wall of advancing musketeers, and each round the huge volume of shooting was knocking off a base of inflicting a DISR result somewhere. Thar she blows!
In the scrubland the Tatars had now joined in to help out their Dragoons, and faced with greater numbers and being attacked by cavalry in the open the Pirates were losing bases and cohesion quickly. However, they were close to breaking the Tatar Dragoons, and on balance, trading a unit for a unit at this stage in the game, and this far from the rest of their army would be no bad thing.
FoGR hint - Most foote move 3", but Warriors move 4". It's easy for your opponent to sometimes forget this...
The Tatars had tried to sneak away on the left, but with the Warrior-based Pirate infantry charging 4" instead of the usual 3", they were able to catch the already battered unit in the flank - this would be a massive blow to the middle of the Tatar army.
What's a raisin' my Jolly Roger here then?
The Tatars have frittered away a few APs by committing their Dragoons to an unequal battle for some terrain that they really didn't need to hold anyway, and having lost most of them in the resulting firefight are now starting to slowly stack up casulaties whilst they have not really caused any lasting damage to the wall of Pirates inching toward them across the park. An injudicious movement has also let the Pirates knock something of a hole in their centre
Inevitably, the Tatars broke, and as they fled across the table they were pursued by the ecstatic Pirate Warriors - with the enemy now committed to press on both flanks, there was now nothing in between them and the Tatar baggage - or "booty" as the Pirates were inclined to refer to it
The hole in the middle of the Tatar army was vast - there was really very little left to occupy the Pirate infantry, who now all turned back towards the previously ambushing cavalry units on the left flank. The Pirate cannon had been busy, with bases missing and cohesion markers now sprouting across the whole Tatar wing
What's a weighin' me anchor here then?
The Tatars have suddenly discovered a huge hole in the middle of their army, and Pirates are streaming through it towards their baggage. The Tatars on the Pirate right have been cut off and is being overwhelmed by shooting and artillery fire, whilst the massed cavalry on the Pirate left have yet to make any headway, partly as they are too numerous to explot the relatively densely packed Pirate units piecemeal. It's now looking good for the Pirates.
Weigh anchor ! On the left the Pirate line was thinning out rather quickly - but the game was by now well developed, and there was a second line of Pirates waiting to pick up the pieces in what was still very much a delaying action
I care not for a slimy deckhand. Just be givin' me th' flintlock! Having been engaged for ages, the first Pirate unit broke and fled - the Tatars pursued, and that included the 2 remaining Tatar dragoons… who ended up charging into a second line of Pirates..! The Pirate Veteran unit was now embattled and being assailed from both sides - they needed to rally their cohesion before they were hit in the flank!
Which they did… just, losing it again as they were then clattered by Tatar horse. Led by a General they stood firm. Skuttle me Skippers !
Bilge rats! Why be we yo-ho-hoin' so cockeredly? Their stand was proving not just resolute, but in fact inspired - the second wave of pirates smashed the Dragoons and pursued forwards, catching the Tatars themselves in the flank. Suddenly this was a very different matchup!
The Superior pirates recovered and then lost cohesion again as they suffered another flank charge. But there looked likely to be an exchange of units rather than a Pirate collapse… ideal !
Land Ahoy ! Tatar Dragoons had skirted the edge of the whirling maelstron of battle on the right flank and despite taking attrition from shooting on the way, were now closing in on Pirate baggage, ready to send it ta Davy Jones Locker!
On the left the Tatars had totally given up. Psychologically beaten up by the relentless artillery and musketry, they had turned tail and started to pull back, hoping to take themselves out of danger.. The Pirates streamed forwards..
What's a floatin' me rowboat here then?
The game is almost up. Both sides have almost captured each other's baggage, but heavy losses especially on the Tatars right flank have mounted up and they are at the brink of defeat as the Pirates continue to push forward harassing them across the line. On the right the Tatars still have yet to gain a decisive breakthrough in the face of stoic Pirate resistance
But on the other flank the Pirates were slowly gaing the upper hand - the first unit of Tatars into contact had by now been sent to walk the plank after being hit in turn in the flank itself, and the Pirates were hanging on despite being fragmented ..
The most expensive baggage unit in FoGR history fell to enemy action..
The Superior Pirates were showing astonishing stoicism and passing tests for fun - one more crack like that an' they'll maybe end up as fish bait matey
But, in one final pirate-y flourish, the first Pirate unit to be engaged had completed its epic treck across the Mongolian steppe, and had managed to get itself into the unique position of capturing the Tatar baggage. The Pirates set off to bury this unexpected treasure, as the Tatar army broke and fled!
The Result is a huge win for the Pirates, (who also score some additional pirate-only bonus points for winning the game by capturing the enemy's booty!)
Click here for the report of the next game in this competition, or read on for the post match summaries from the Generals involved, as well as another episode of legendary expert analysis from Hannibal
Post Match Summary from the Buccaneer Commander
Well, jumping jellyfish, it's yet another unexpected victory for Pirate-ey goodness, and jolly well deserved to I think, even if I say so myself. It was almost as if we had a plan, and had actually fielded the army before in a number of games which allowed me and my happy bunch of ragamuffin scoundrels that pass themselves off as an army to give every impression that we knew what we were doing here...
I think that clarity of thought and execution was in stark contrast to that of the horseflesh riders (and indeed, how this goes to prove my long held pirate theory that horseflesh is best eaten with a shot o'rum rather than kept alive, pooping all over the poop deck and then still being no use whatsoever in a ship to ship boarding action) who were new to each other as a team, and also new to the list as well.
Given this I expect to see some more aggressive cutlass-point advancing over the next few days as the well prepared and not at all frivolous and just brough along to use the boat Pirate army proves a few more people wrong with it's surprising resilience in the face of actual real proper grown up armies
Anyway, off we jolly old go, and I'll just call across one of my crew to help me scoot off back to my cabin for a quick spot of, well, erm, never mind...... Roger!
Black Jack McHannibal's Post Match Analysis
By the foul bowels of Davy Jones, ye reef monkey! Did ye shank me sea monkey in trying to seek credit for yersen' in this victory? Ye was fortunate in a way that no-one has been fortunate since Lucky Jim tripped over a gold bar in the street ooutside the Jamaica Inn and fell nose first down a manhole cover into the middle of "All you can tup for Free (Ladies and Cabin Boy's included) Wednesday" at Wild Mary's Underground Brothel!
Yer enemy was spendin' most of this game wrestlin' with how to use their own army, so the mere presence of your one-dimensional excuse for a balanced force on the same table was always going to be enough to upset them to the point of despair - you take no honour or credit fer this me eartie, none at all..
In truth you dithered somewhat on the left, and undercooked your force allocation somewhat dangerously on the right - and ye failed to have any troops to reinforce the opportunities ye did create in the rough going, where e'en a single second row of supportin' foote would have given you the chance to roll up at least one wing and have yer'sen away and down the local hostelry far, far sooner than ye did - and for that crime alone whe Whence I be done keelhaulin' yer men, I'm going t' plank yer myself wi'a monkey's paw.
After this I spied upon yer opponents, and one o'them a be shoutin' at 'tother one like a putrid Jack Tar. Let's hope no-one gets over confident after this oneafter this one....
Click here for the report of the next game in this competition
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Rules Reports Pageloads to date.