Renaissance at Roll Call 2014
Later Imperial Spanish vs Early TYW Swedish
This was Roll Call 2014 - the event that the BHGS had nominated as "the" Big Boy's Toys event for the year, where 25/28mm competitions would be staged for DBMM, FoGAM and FoGR (after a few unsuccesful years of trying to hold them at all three BHGS events and generally failing). The initiative had been a success, with around a dozen players in each of these periods - and I was one of them, with the mostly-plastic Warlord Games figures making 2 appearances. Two, as I had also provided a second army for club-mate Martin... a challenging process which stretched my substantial but not quite two-whole-good-armies substantial set of figures to the limit. The end result had been a TYW Spanish and a TYW Weimarian list, and Martin had picked the Weimarians.
The lists for the Later Imperial Spanish and Early TYW Swedish from this game, as well as all the other lists from the games at Roll Call can be seen here in the FoGR Wiki.
The Spanish were largely picked on the basis that they could take some Elite, and a lot of Superior infantry - allowing me to make 2 lists without running out of figures. This made them a rather small army, but tough - in theory a good idea in a 25mm competition where the ability to conduct wide sweeping maneuvers would inevitably be limited. The twist in the tail was three units of Cuirassiers - an unusual addition, but one which had served me reasonably well in an earlier 1-day 25mm competition.
The first game was against Don Not quite the Don but a Don nontheless (although in a game against Imperial Spanish perhaps he really should relinquish the Don crown at least for the duration of the game) Avis and a fearsome hard-charging TYW Swedish army with its frightening Salvo foote. There was little terrain of note and so I had a clear plan of waiting for the Swedes to advance on my foote - seeking to erode them a little with cannon fire as they advanced, whilst trying to outflank them with the strong block of Cuirassiers on the right
The wall of Cuirassiers were a steely looking bunch, only slightly compromised by the lack of white blazes on any of their faces that is really only apparent when looking at them in a photo such as this one, and the fact that against properly supported infantry they would be relying entirely on luck to achieve any sort of positive outcome at all. The Warlord figures did look pretty goood though - these are metal riders on plastic horses.
The Swedes had been a bit taken aback by the frankly insanely strong Spanish mounted wing, and whilst their own Horse cowered in shock at the back of the board a textbook screen of dragoons attempted to buy some time - but with so many mounted units facing them, this was already looking difficult. In an attempt to make it even more challenging, the Spanish are now bringing up a unit of carbine-armed horse to add some shooting onto the dragoons too
The dragoons, worrried about the future, consulted a fortune teller who was passing by the battlefield. The old woman cackled bitterly, and told them that she foresaw a series of evades in their near future. The dragoons thanked her kindly for her wise words, then turned away conscious that they had just wasted a couple of schillings to be told the bleedin' obvious.
Shocked by the possibility of an interesting cavalry incident, the Swedish infantry were desparate to regain the spotlinght in the game and shouting many Swedish oaths, demanded the attention of the official war photographer return to their steady advance towards the faintly static Spanish line. As the Spanish guns continued to bark ineffectually the Iberian pike and shotte formations girded themselves for a fight that they really hoped would not happen.
Across the line the Spanish had stepped forwards, deciding that buying time for one another (and their artillery and baggage) after their likely defeats to the hard-charging Swedes was in some way preferable to waiting like cowards and losing the entire army at a stroke. The Swedes were still absorbing cannon balls with a careless insouchiance so well constructed that their allen keys were barely scratched..
Two units of Cuirassiers took on the rather unimpressive enemy flank defence of a unit of Dragoons, and with two units rolling to pursue, one of them managed to catch the evading enemy, ripping a big hole in their, erm, strategy.
With the flank defence crumbling faster than a stale Swedish piece of sliced bread unsoaked with any tint of fish or dill, the Swedish infantry were looking on in horror - a horror improved no end by realising that they had been blocked by a unit of mounted arquebusiers
The massive Spanish flank attack was overrunning the Swedes, and their plan of just advancing and winning in combat was starting to look like it might not survive the reality of a Spanish mounted cuirassier charge rolling them up as they advanced.
The dragoons had been quickly despatched, and now the Spanish were trying to see how many Cuirassiers one could fit into a single enemy unit - this horse brigade was the only thing left on the Swedish flank, as their infantry frantically checked the "threatened flank" rules..
But, as paltry as had been the dragoons resistance, as stout proved the Swedish horse - the Spanish Cuirassiers failed at impact and lost a base and cohesion - suddenly the issue the Spanish were facing was not so much how quickly to roll up the Swedish baggage, it was now about how to make their weight of numbers count
What's Going on Here Then?
The Spanish tactics seem - almost - to be working, as they strong mounted wing has gotten into the much weaker Swedish horse and, assuming they can finish them off, will have an open flank from which to attack the already crumbling Swedish infantry. The Swedes are locked into their game plan of advancing down the middle, and are struggling to deliver that plan properly
The Swedish flank guards had been struggling to work out how to attack the Spanish carabiniers, but now - as high quality Spanish infantry advanced on them and opened up, supported by artillery and the Carbine armed horse, they found themselves losing bases at a rate of knots. Would they be able to charge home…?
An unmitigated disaster had by now befallen the Iberian cuirassiers, and before their colleagues could even move up in support the Swedes had achieved an unlikely rout in short order against one of the toughest mounted units on the park! The Swedes pursued ..potentially into danger !
The Swedish advance into the teeth of the Spanish high-quality infantry was proving a disaster - one unit was close to breaking, one was fragmented. Without a charge the Swedes were just rubbish shooters …. And overpriced at that rate as well.
Rocroi, in TW, in Spanish
The Swedes lost another level of morale, turned tail and fled. The Spanish infantry moved up to pound them from the rear (oops) and there was a big hole in the middle of the Swedish advance!
And then there was no hole, as the Swedish flank was also collapsing - this time an average unit fell with 3 casualties, autobroken. Nothing was left on one side of the board for the Swedes apart from some rather surprised horse who had turned up for the rear support duties alone.
What a beautiful sight if you are a Spaniard ! Hundreds of Swedish infantry are fleeing in terror as the best quality Tercios advance into an open space.
What's Going on Here Then?
The Spanish flank attack is inexplicably bogged down trying to finish off the rest of the Swedish horse, but no matter, as the Swedih foote have been shot to pieces as they advance. The left wing of the Swedish army is however now starting to close on the Spanish line, which has taken many casulaties
The Swedish horse, having destroyed the Spanish Cuirassiers in pursuit, were stopped in their tracks by yet more Cuirassiers - and this time the Spaniards were taking no prisoners and had committed a General to make sure the battle was decisively won.
But not everything was rosy in the Spanish garden - incompetently committed to somewhere even vaguely near the front lines and the inevitable was happening to the Iberian harquebusiers, as they dropped to Fragged and were a base from autobreak - needing more Cuirassiers to absorb the punishment they were taking for a while.
Oops! A second Spanish unit was now down - inevitably the Harquebusiers turned and broke
Finally, some of the Swedes were into combat - but against some of Spain's strongest units - and with one unit of Swedes taking on 2 units of Spaniards, the odds could not really be better for Spain. The Swedes still had their awesome first impact firepower but it was split across many enemy bases. This would be a real inquisition for the Spanish
The Spanish foote had survived the initial attack - but only just
The close hand to hand combat phase carried on - and the Spanish high quality infantry were disproving their name and sliding down the cohesion ladder at a rate of knots.
The right flank was where it was all happening, and one Swedish foote unit was still blocking the whole thing - having despatched the harquebusiers they now faced the rather sterner test of a full-fat Cuirassier charge. Not the easiest of opponents for the Cuirassiers either, but much would depend on who won the first round of combat - the odds were with the Pike and Shotte, but the Cuirassiers quality would even things considerably - and if the Pike and Shotte went DISR the Cuirassiers would finish them in short order…
But because of the weighting to the right flank, the left side of the Spanish army was lightly defended… and it was being attacked by waves of Swedish infantry. The Spanish had little over there to stop the advance and were forced to throw in some charging Horse to try and stem the tide. This was not going well so far…
The Cuirassiers had done the business, DISR'ing the Swedes at impact and then breaking them in melee! This was good news indeed for Spain!
Rather less good however was the immediate demise of pretty much the entire left flank of the Spanish army… the Swedes were in full cry now, hammering towards the Spanish baseline as the two rather small and unit-less armies realised that they were both very close to break point!
What's Going on Here Then?
The Swedish, advancing into an almost uncontested Spanish left flank have made short work of the already bruised Spanish infantry and are now threatening the baggage and artillery park. The Spanish army's lack of unit count is looking set to cost it dear, as the Swedes, with dragoons and commanded shot still uncommitted, are able to absorb the losses marginally better - and they now have momentum
The Spanish were finding life without a left flank rather difficult, and now their lavish and expensive baggage encampment was being threatened by Swedish mounted as well. This would not end well
The elite Spanish infantry were now holding up the whole Spanish line.. and even as Elites their ability to sustain such base losses as they were was running out.
Finally, with the Swedes on their knees as well, the last base died from the Iberian foote and they were off - and with them the whole army! The Result is a 16-9 loss.
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 Later Imperial Spanish Commander
Well, indeed, what a nasty surprise to have just before my siesta - this game appeared to be toatlly wrapped up in, of course, Serrano ham (from Teruel) but somehow the Swedish escaped, like particularly tricky pieces of watermelon, and managed to somehow take my brave hombres down in the process right at the death, or muerte, as we like to say of course
I will have now to retire for a brief nap before picking up my bullfighting sword and Matador Costume for this afternoons performance, in which I am sure the proud martial traditions of Castile, Leon and the other places which may or may not include Aragon, depending on whether you spell it like that hombre in Lord of the Rings or not really.
Here I was so close to an astounding validation of my plan to attack, with surprise, fear and all of the other elements which go to make up an inqisition and to send a cuirassier-shaped poker into the parts of my opponents army where even on the plains of Spain the sun would rarely shine - but, by having the poor sportsmanship to have a bigger army than me I was rudely interrupted from a deserved victory. Shame!
I am sure however, that having come so close this time I can achieve a deserved victory this afternoon
Hannibal's Post Match Analysis
You dolt, you dullard, you ham-addled paltroon - what hope is there for one who brings cavalry to an infantry battle? In 28mm the base sizes make infantry formations 50% wider, so even with a handful fewer points they willl of course fill the table from side to side, so your tiny, unit-count-free army made up almost entirely of horsemen has probably seen it's high point already in charging down one infantry unit left unsupported and alone. Anyone else merely needs to stand in a line and you will be unable tpo defeat them execpt by liberal application of sheer luck, which appears on evidence well collected and carefully transcribed here on this very website to be always in short supply.
As well as your poor army choice, how can you go to your bed at lunchtime and pretend that leaving literally nothing at all on your left flank was ever going to be anything other than a recipe for unmitigated disaster. If your opponent had not been so bedazzled by the phenomenal incongruence of your points-draining Cuirassier wing he could have just walked round on that flank and beaten you in very short order. It was only the alacrity of your own men to get into trouble that meant there was any hope of resolution on your favoured right side of the table before the unopposed Swedish attack rolled you up and ate your baggage to boot!
It is hard to see how a lumpish dizzy-eyed barnacle such as you will be able to pull anything out of this badly constructed army this weekend. Let's see if I am right as we go onto the next game
Click here for the report of the next game in this competition
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