English Civil War in Oxford 2015
Parliamentarian vs Parliamentarian
It had been almost 6 months since I had last played FoGR, at Warfare 2015 so with no practice and my head spinning with dark tales of evil magic do'ers and cowboys I decided to take a simple Parliamentarian army, and a simple plan - flank march every game!
The lists for the Parliamentarian and Parliamentarian from this game, as well as all the other lists from the games at Oxford can be seen here in the FoG:R Wiki.
With pre-set terrain my wonderful strategy of going for a flank march was already in tatters, as the organiser had managed to deploy an English Civil War Waterway (yeah right) on one flank of the table I was on.
That meant my only option was to stuff the rest of my mounted troops down a gap on the left hand side of the table. The Parliamentarian Grand Battery was nicely located in the middle, and with three units of Horse off table I was a little light on the right hand side. My opponent, a newly baptized refugee from the world of Flames of War had a very similar army to mine... but with - unsurprisingly - more troops on table.
But numbers only mattered where the men were fighting, and right in the middle my 4-pack of Dragoons, supported by a couple of the artillery managed to secure a telling blow on Will's 3-pack almost immediately. Even hiding behind a hedge was no help to the outnumbered, and now neutered enemy unit.
The battlefield looked just like it should... the enemy had pushed Horse down the side of the waterway, and this had caused my Foote regiments to fan out and try and prevent the loss of the baggage to Horse slipping round the the back of my army. On the far side however, the enemy's other mounted wing had gotten itself jammed up in the gap between the table edge and the village, ideal to recieve a flank march on their right flank! My Dragoons were pushing down towards the enemy artillery park in what was suddenly a large gap in the middle of the enemy line, but the enemy Foote were sniping at them and they were starting to lose cohesion.
What's going on here then?
The two armies are cautiously advancing on each other, with my artillery giving my dragoons what appears to be a significant advantage in the centre. The advancing Dragoons may well drag battle units from Wills army into the middle to block their davance, as otherwise almost nothing lies between them and the enemy cannon. THis might then denude the two strong infantry wings of the enemy army of vital units?
The door was well and truly bolted shut down by the waterside, much to the relief of the Parliamentary baggage guards who might now not be called into action
The middle of the table was redefining the word fragile, as both sides now had units which were just one round of shooting away from turning and fleeing. My Dragoons had not fared well in the face of fairly paltry enemy fire, but the full force of the artillery park had opened up on the advancing event regiments and so if the 4-pack of Dragoons could but hold on (or even rally, God forbid) the enemy train would surely be mine in very short order...?
The best laid plans of Mice and Men are often to come unstucke in the face of concerted action from the opposing army. The Dragoons not only broke, they lost a base as well and were now in rout as the laughing non-Cavalier enemy recovered their own morale and pushed onwards. Now the tables were turning....
The enemy horse were now committed in much the same way a pig could be regarded as committed to contributing to an English breakfast. With the flank march still nowhere to be seen, the Superior Determined Horsemen became almost Royalist in their cavalier approach and charged home, swords waving to the robust but not entirely that clever Average Horse with Commanded Shotte formation of my troopers, who know all they had to do was hold out until the flank march arrived. Would they be able to do so..?
What's going on here then?
The enemy Horse on this wing are better quality - but should the flank march arrive soon they will be in big trouble. The rest of the table is much of a muchness, although the enemy are suffering more from artillery and shooting than my forces, and in a battle where both sides have average 6-packs as ther mainstay even a small advantage in attrition can soon become significant
Across the park, near-identical units squared off against each other in a game of dice to decide who would take down the King...
In that way which wargamers do, both sides had chosen a red-coated unit to be one of their handful of Superior foote regiments. Both sides had Generals as well, but witha bit of judicious stepping forwards in an intercept charge, my chaps also had an extra Average unit to help split the casulaties and roll more dice
The enemy Horse were in! The pathetic shooting from the Commanded shot had achieved nothing, and the enemy had hit full-bore!
Things were going well for the better quality more numerous dice-rolling led-by-a-General enemy Horse... that flank march had better turn up pretty soon!
As the enemy troopers hacked at our brave men with their, erm,, melee pistols, the Average Horse slipped further down the cohesion ladder. My General did not know where best to be - shore up the good bits and hang on for the flank march, or try and save the lost cause? The enemy had by now heard hooves a-rumblin' and were trying to get some of their other forces out of the way...
Finally, it appeared! 2 units of Superior Determined Horse Ironsides and one of Average Horse. The enemy were staggered that so many troops could have been risked off table...
But the unit most spooked by the arrival of the flank march turned out to be my own - possibly a case of mistaken identity the type of which was so common during a war in which both sides wore the same uniforms, or maybe actually a simple case of Average troops against Superior ones led by a General - who knows? But, whatever the cause the outcome was the same - the endmost unit of Horse broke and fled, and the panic rippled down the line like wildfire as more of my units shrugged off cohesion and picked up markers at great speed
What's going on here then?
My left flank has not survived, and a rapid crumbling from this point onwards seems possible. Three units committed against one - and the one is winning. Not good for the attritional war.
Over on the right flank of my army, my very clever tactic of taking on one of the enemy units with two of mine had rather come unstuck, as Will's Superior unit was chopping great lumps out of my Average unit, which was down to 4 bases and was DISR, despite only fighting against 2 bases of enemy Superior foote throughout the game. Demoralised by shooting in an equal matchup, the other Average unit on my flank had already dropped to FRAGGED, and was now being charged as well …
Even with a really big general around, the outcome was inevitable - the FRAGGED unit turned and ran, and the other unit dropped Cohesion in response. This flank was now basically my Superior unit and a lot of open space.
Talking of open space, the arrival of the flank march had created plenty - but the ticking clock that was my last unit engaging with the enemy Determined Horse's cohesion gradually slipping away was threatening to allow Will's Determined Horse to break my men and then pursue out of range of the flank marchers !
It was all pretty dicey as the little Mikes Models guys hid under their big hats and tried to carve their way through my lines before getting a rude surprise up the rear from another Horse unit that had already conspired to lose a base to just one element of Will's commanded shotte sniping out of the village. By now the Commanded Shotte supporting my Horse had departed, and so they hung on by a thread...
On the right, the second average unit broke and fled…
What's going on here then?
I have now lost 2 units on each flank, and the Dragoons in the middle - however the enemy have also suffered attrition, especially amongst their infantry units who have been trying to advance on the gunnes in the centre, and are in fact closer to demoralisation than my forces.
But, whilst this drama had been unfolding on the flanks, the dragoon-rich fields of the centre of the battlefield were seeing some decisive action of their own. In another typically even matchup, this time my forces had prevailed, and achieving that first vital cohesion loss on the enemy had taken the fight to them and were even now smashing their way through a deeply stacked succession of enemy units who's morale seemed intrinsically linked, and inherently suspect.
Boom! The flank march did its first bit of business ! Dropping the cohesion of the enemy Determined Horse, and catching the enemy Commanded Shotte with their front feet just outside of the protection of the village… the clever unsubtle tactic was starting to work!
The enemy middle - little of it that there was - suddenly collapsed as the smattering of unsupported units suffered a traumatic chain of cohesion failures in the face of a determined assault by just one of my brave regiments (who were themselves just a base from breaking!).
With that, and with the rest of the flank march successfully instigating a devastating front and flank charge onto the enemy infantry on that flank, the opposing Parliamentarians crumbled to a defeat! The Result is a 18-7 Victory!
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 Parliamentarian Commander
Well, this was a jolly little jaunt, wasn't it? I'm sure that parliamentary democracy was well served by a game in which the forces of democracy were inevitably due to emerge victorious and both sides represented the same ideology
The flank march was wonderful, really super, and I am happy to see that it allowed my men to do the final casulaties that were needed to tip the enemy to defeat. Admittedly losing quite so many units was a bit painful but that's all forgotten now, hoorah!
The rest of my lovely boys also did pretty spiffingly, and winning some of those even combats in the centre was an added bonus.
I'm sure my own genius will see me through to victory - it's in the stars I tell you...
Hannibal's Post Match Analysis
It is high time for me to put an end to your dice rolling in this place, which you have dishonored by your contempt of all competence, and defiled by your practice of every military vice.
Your men are a factious crew and enemies to all good government; ye are a pack of mercenary wretches and this foolish plan of flank marching has left you at the whim of the dice, especially on a table such as this where their opportunity to inflict damage on the enemy was poor due to terrain. .
I believe Sire that you would like Esau sell your country for a mess of pottage, and like Judas betray your God for a few pieces of money - but here your poorly constructed army with too few infantry and taking all of the best Horse off table left you almost too little good stuff on table to achieve anything save losing before your best men got here
Is there a single virtue now remaining amongst you? Is there one vice you do not possess? Ye have no more religion than my horse; gold is your God; which of you have not barter'd your conscience for bribes? Is there a man amongst you that has the least care for the good of the Commonwealth? I will wait with baited breath on thenext game
Click here for the report of the next game in this competition