FoGR at The Worlds in Koblenz 2014
Early Swedish vs Hungarian Transylvanians
The epic trip to Germany having been successfully undertaken, after getting caught in traffic round Brussels and negotiating some rather tricky roadworks near Cologne that did not appear to be on the car's sat nav database the morning of Friday dawned, well, a little cloudy, fairly mild but with an incipient hint of showers. Almost perfect for sitting in a room playing soldiers and drinking fine German beer really.
The choice of army was simple - the last half-decent result (aside from the themed Dutch at Campaign) I had had was at Warfare last year with the often fancied but rarely successful Swedes and their significant artillery park, and so the boys in Yellow were wheeled out again to see if they could inflict the devastation and Scandinavian military supremacy of the TYW on Northern Germany yet again.
The lists for the Early Swedish and TYW Germans from this game, as well as all the other lists from the games at The Worlds in Koblenz can be seen here in the Renaissance Wiki.
First up at a very civilized 1pm start time was a local German-owned and operated army in the form of a Hungarian Transylvanian list led by an on-table general figure that appeared as a Polish general in the Clash of Empires army list book (following it so far?).
The enemy leadership were well painted in the extreme, but how would they fare on the day…?
Learn to Speak German
"The nagging feeling that your opponets soldiers are better painted than yours"
The terrain was a mix of nicely prepared enemy circles and my own much less impressive small woodland and inappropriately placed hill. The gap between the steep hill and woodland on the left allowed the Swedes to effectively deploy in a 3-foot gap with two secure flanks, securing the left with an infantry unit and using the right as a space in which to manoeuvre the mixed Commanded Shot and Harquebusier formation which looked impressive but was still unsure of its role in life… The Hungarians had deployed most of their stuff on the Swedes left, making an interesting initial game of manoeuvre a real possibility. /p>
Immediately it became clear that the Hungarians plan was to push through the wooded areas with their MF shot and sword units, and force the left flank of the Swedes with a lot of mounted. The Swedish guns were a little out of the main game, which was a shame, but with dragoons pushing forwards to delay the enemy advance there seemed to be an opportunity for the Swedes to push their infantry forwards and try and catch the enemy foot as they sought to jump between the two areas of woodland through which they were now advancing. Speed would be of the essence
In the lightly held Hungarian centre the Swedish artillery were now finding that the limited Hungarian skirmish screen represented an attractive and valid set of targets and were opening up on the isolated LH units as the rest of the Swedish infantry advanced in a thin line, unpacking their reindeer sandwiches and grabbing a bite to eat as they moved forwards.
Swedish Drum Corps
The Swedes were pushing forwards into the lightly held centre of the table, and the unwieldy Harquebusier and Commanded Shotte formation was able to swing in towards the main area of the table and join the infantry in putting pressure on the Hungarians, making their delaying tactics rather risky as the sheer weight and variety of Swedish firepower was brought to bear.
The Hungarians' carabiniers soon found themselves the target of a lot of unwanted attention from a significant part of the Swedish army.
Learn to Speak German
"When you realise that trees are not providing as much cover as expected"
The Blue Brigade (Superior) had advanced rapidly and were now in a position to interdict the gap between the two woods, leaving the MF Hungarian infantry in somewhat of a quandary as they dare not advance out into the open against the powerful Swedish unit. But, even skulking in the woods they were not safe as Swedish musketry and gunners ranged in on them, knocking off a couple of bases to the surprise of all concerned, especially the Hungarians who had relied on the cover the woodland provided to keep them safe
Troops in cover are only hit on 5's by shooting, not 4's as they are in the open
On the far left the number of Hungarian units was overwhelming, and the Swedes had already decided that this was perhaps a part of the game that they could afford to lose - the Swedish infantry (brown uniforms, Average) were told to push forwards, in the theory that the further away they were from the rest of the Swedish army when they were attacked, the less damage their rout would end up causing…
The Hungarians had clearly been watching Gladiator, and with no-one else around to clear the Swedish foote out of the woods some LH charged in there after them, much to the surprise of the Swedes (who hadn't seen Gladiator on account of not having sufficient broadband capacity to stream movies in their specific part of 17th Century Sweden).
But then, a breakthrough! Three lucky shots - or, more accurately, three unlucky death rolls and the Hungarians were down a unit at a pivotal part of the battle line! Quite how the Swedish infantry might manage to capitalize on this fortune was still unclear as they would struggle to operate in the woodlands as effectively as the remaining Hungarians, but a hole is a hole however you look at it …
Swedish firepower was proving destructive across the width of the table, as now the Yellow Brigade (Superior) had also - in conjunction with some of their artillery - blown away a Hungarian carbine unit in the centre, who had incautiously got a little too close to the advancing tide of Abba fanaticism heading their way. The Hungarian theory of refusing the centre was now looking like a tactic of conceding the centre …
The helicopter view clearly shows that the Hungarians, apart from a couple of units of LH, are now almost totally absent from the central segment of the table, and the battle is swiftly turning 90 degrees across an axis built along the line of woodlands on the left. The sole unit of Swedish foote on the left side of the forest is in a highly exposed position as Hungarian knights and cavalry sweep around it, and their loss will also leave the Swedish artillery train in a highly exposed position. Forces are also pouring from both sides into the gap between the two woodlands.
The Hungarian dragoons, previously unnoticed, had been trying to sneak out of the woods on the extreme right of the table and get round the Swedes from that flank as well - but harquebusiers and commanded shotte have combined to give them a bloody nose, with one unit now in retreat and the other coming under an intense examination with shooting aimed at it from all directions (well, two).
The last refuse of the incompetent makes a very early appearance on the left, as somewhat inevitably the (Average) Brown Brigade Swedish infantry unit gets out its hexagonal spanners, reads the instruction manual very carefully and assembles itself into a Square as they faced off a large horde of somewhat puzzled Hungarian cavalry. Even more unusually, the Hungarians have decided to try and force the issue in the woodlands in a totally Gladiator style, and led by a general their LH have marched deep into the forests and are now taking on a rather shocked and surprised unit of Swedish dragoons.
The odds in this combat are rather unusual - LH vs Dragoons get one dice per 2 bases, but in woods this is halved to one for the entire unit. The dragoons are also disordered, so lose a dice and go down to two. The Hungarians have swords, giving them a POA and are also led by a General, making them effectively superior and allowing them to recover cohesion if they lose. So, 1 Superior dice needing 4's vs 2 Average needing 5's. Unusual indeed…
The battle rages ineffectually as both sides try to trade blows in the woods - the well painted Hungarians against the far less impressive "bought 2nd hand when Roll Call was still in Dunstable" Swedish dragoons, who are still struggling with the concept of a wood that has not yet been cut down and turned into a set of shelves…
Having despatched the first Hungarian unit the Blue Brigade push on into the woods, opening up space behind them for the Green (Average) Brigade to line up on the next enemy unit - a rather tougher HF unit with Muskets and Axes.
The incautious Hungarian dragoons are now in retreat, and with no general to bolster their dropped cohesion can only run back to the relative safety of the woods, pursued by the by-now ineffective harquebusiers and Commanded Shotte
Learn to Speak German
"The mixed emotions of doing something inappropriate which is not technically cheating"
Back in the middle where the real action is taking place, the beautifully painted HF Hungarians expand out into a solid shooting line and face off against the (Average) Green Brigade - the Hungarians are the last remaining forces defending their flank and baggage..
Meanwhile, in a forest far, far away, a seemingly endless and pointless battle continues to drag o almost as long as the process of assembling all of the screws, bolts and other unnamed pieces of joinery required to put together a full Ikea kitchen…
The retreating dragoons do just that, and are taken away back to the storage box…
With the square still intact, the Hungarians close in on the Swedish gunnes…
All along the newly-reformed line in the middle of the table the Swedish infantry charge in - none of these combats are idea given the terrain, but with Hungarian cavalry now streaming round the Swedes left flank and towards their baggage and artillery park there is a renewed urgency about the Swedish attack. They need to get this over with and quickly…
The impact is immediate and decisive - both Hungarian unit drop cohesion in the face of the Swedish charge… and, almost unnoticed, the Swedish dragoon vs Hungarian LH battle in the woods is also turning the way of Sweden, as markers sprout and are screwed into the table with a hexagonal spanner there too.
More Swedish dragoons arrive, and the Hungarian LH are crushed in the jaws of a rather half-hearted vice. With this the game is over with a crushing 25-0 victory for Sweden as the Hungarians fall inches short of capturing the Swedish artillery park and baggage…
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 Early Swedish Commander
Well, like, yeah - I'm back Boys! And this continental grand tour has gotten off to a flying start and I'll be winding down the window of my Saab-built Bentley in order to wave graciously at my brave troopers any moment now. The battle was tough, with enemy men and also a lot of foliage to contend with, but we seem to have managed to keep it all together and push a number of LH off the table, and shoot up many more with the clever little guns that we've invented to accompany all of our infantry units (apart from the nasty brown one).
Hungary is a lovely country, and having defeated their army in battle I am sure they will welcome me with open arms into their bosom as their new leader. The end result will be lots of lovely cakes for everyone involved, and none of that horrible goulash rubbish anymore, which in any case is almost impossible to conceive of here in the heart of Germany on account of it not involving a pork-based component in any way.
The first set of charges for the Swedish Brigades seem to have all ended well, so we are in practice for the rest of the weekend here, and I am no wildly optimistic that this 100% record can be maintained throughout the entire weekend as my brilliant choice of army, brilliant deployment and fantastic leadership will all conspire to bring the prize home to Sweden at the end of the weekend.
Hannibal's Post Match Analysis
Forsooth, what a fortunate outcome for such a shambolic engagement - you were fortunate with the dice, and fortunate with the caution of your opponent but in all truth this should have been a far closer run affair than it ended up being. The misplaced confidence that this will no doubt engender in your feeble-minded military brain is something which surely will return to haunt you with much interest in future battles over the weekend. However, even I must admit that the onsite beer is rather lovely at this venue.
First and foremost, where in this report is the story of the employment of your 90 points of artillery? They appear sporadically, but that is not really good enough and so to fail to use them effectively when they represent more than 10% of your forces is shameful, and against an enemy replete with horse as well. I fear that this lack of competence in deployment and employment of what should be one of your chief arms of combat will be a taste of doom in subsequent matchups if repeated - which it surely will be…
And, if I remember well the outcome of the previous matches in which the Swedes were employed the tactic that worked best for you was sitting back and waiting, and perhaps allying this with a cautious advance. This theory seems to have been well and truly defenestrated by you precipitous advance in a fashion obviously reminiscent of the incidents which precipitated Europe into years of bloody turmoil, and we all know how that ended up, don't we…
I think here you have been fortunate, and that given the balance of probability the fortune you enjoyed here this afternoon will bounce back ten-fold in the rest of the weekend. I look forward to seeing many defeats in the next games
Click here for the report of the next game in this competition
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