Field of Glory Wargaming at Usk 2010
Having failed to work out a decent army in 3 attempts, a rigorous selection process resulted in us picking the Koryo Korean army, mainly on the basis that all the armies in the book are very similar and so having 16 Superior infantry might prove to be a decisive advantage.
The list is available here
Pictures of Koreans from my Ancients Photo Directory
The first game saw us facing an expertly painted Early Zhou Chinese army who's list is available here. The Chinese started with a moral advantage as their standard of dress considerably outclassed my rag-tag collection of assorted Chinese figures (painted 20 years ago) masquerading as Koreans, although my partner Brian had provided the cavalry, so they were pretty decent - again, if not entirely Korean.
The terrain fell almost entirely in their half of the table, with enclosed fields and some vinyards and plantations cluttering the table and providing few places for a wall of Chariots to drive down.
With skirmish units in paler colours, the deployment was as above (created using the free Battle Chronicler) tool. So, despite moving first the Koreans prepared to repel the Chinese invaders!
With Chariots being outclassed by our lancers, and a fairly limited number of places they could go, we had been able to deploy our Singi Gun and Singi Guard almost exactly in the right place.
Deceive the heavens to cross the ocean
On our right our two lines of skirmishers advanced, allowing time and space for the Korean infantry behind to rush into the area of enclosed fields, making them safe from the risk of an enemy Chariot charge as the Allied Chinese general had retained his own 4 Chariots on this side of the table. Bowmen and Crossbowmen moved up, seeing a tempting target
The lancers were squaring up to the enemy chariots - but with Chinese spearmen also rapidly arriving from the left of shot, the Singi Guard and Gun troops were fearful of exposing their flanks. So....
Besiege Wèi to rescue Zhào.
...having drawn out the enemy chariotry, they executed a maneuver henceforth to be known as the "Wheel of Cheese"
and turned tail, confident in the knowledge that the Chinese moved slower than they did, so they could retire gracefully away in complete safety!
With their best foot still uncommitted in the middle, the Chinese were coming under heavy pressure on our left as massed archers - and some lancers - faced up against what was really little more than one unit of Chariots. The "Wheel of Cheese" had also prevented the Chinese spear auxiliaries from participating in the Chariot/lancer battle, as they were now needed to protect the flank of their own Guard infantry as our average Halberd/spear unit moved to support the Tae Kak Superior Halberdiers.
Nothing had happened, but stuff was definitely about to take place/.
The Korean skirmishers and Guard Crossbows unleashed a deadly barrage onto the Chinese chariots, killing one on our left - this started to make the odds swing into our favour decisively.
The Singi Guard cavalry had now withdrawn even further, casing the Chinese to worry about how to prevent a unit of Korean light horse sneaking round their flank. The Korean halberdiers had also deployed to face the Chinese Guards, crucially forcing the Chinese spearmen to face this new threat, and not to support their chariotry.
Kill with a borrowed knife.
Huge amounts of missiles rained down on the luckless Chinese Chariots as they were now coming under fire from all sides!
With nowhere to go, they decided to charge in - but the sheer size of the Superior To Bang Guard infantry unit meant they were able to withstand the assault - and the Singi Gun Lancers were simply better anyway. The chariots took a pounding in combat too...
It was an utter catastrophe, as the Chinese allied general fell from the cab of his chariot and was despatched by the To Bang Crossbowmen! The 4-strong unit had lost half its men, and also lost its leader !
The Chinese armoured infantry however fancied their chances against the Koreans, and pushed forward - somewhat cautiously it must be said.
Leisurely await for the laboured.
But by now the real action had started - the Zhou Chariot wing crashed into the Singi Guard and Gun cavalry win of the Koreans! Over in the distance the Korean mounted bowmen tip-toed past unnoticed in the tumult.
It was an awesome line of combat - in which the Koreans had the edge in weaponry, but the Zhou had slightly more numbers - and more Generals as well. Would the additional LH be able to do anything to help?
The Zhou Armoured Infantry line also moved forward, teeing itself up for a decisive clash against the 2 Korean foot units.
Having failed to break into the Korean infantry formation, the seriously reduced Zhou chariot force on our left was surprised to find itself being forced to break off - putting it much closer to it's own infantry, which seemed likely to be a huge problem when - inevitably - it finally died!
Things were looking shaky for the Singi Guard, as the Chariots fragmented one unit and disrupted another. But they had also suffered some losses, which they could ill afford. Who would crack first?
It was to be the Zhou - one chariot unit faltered, its general was killed - and it broke in the middle of the line, causing panic in its wake as Singi Gun lancers piled forward into the gap. More importantly, the right hand chariot unit was overstretched, allowing the Korean light horse to get in two lucky shots and an even luckier disruption !
On the left, the Korean general had decided that his left hand Guard unit was as good as broken, and he was best trying to hang onto his remaining steady unit rather than pour good generalship after bad to bolster the Fragmented guards.
With the Chariots on our left a spent force, the Singi Gun cavalry unit was free to turn in and threaten the Chinese Guards, who had still not committed to combat.
The To Bang Crossbows dispatched the Zhou chariots, and moved up to start shelling the quaking Chinese infantry who had just seen their nobility shredded in front of their very eyes.
Despite only losing 2 units, the Chinese were now also down 2 Generals, and their chariot force had been reduced by 50%. On the left, the soft underbelly of their army was now exposed - and there were no commanders there to boost their morale either.
.. and the Singi Guards were hanging on grimly, fighting their way back against the Charioteers - and as the tide started to turn our way, the Koreans dispatched a third general to help their lancers.
The Chinese then conspired to have their THIRD general of the game killed - on a double 6 - leaving their flank command in an almost totally untenable position ..
But this was the ideal time for the two infantry lines to clash - as a second unit of Chariotry broke in the distance, and the long-suffering Singi Gun cavalry unit also fled the battlefield, the two lines of foot troops were hacking at each other with halberds and spears - some more effectively than others!
With things going well in the middle, the remaining Singi Cavalry unit moved in on the quaking Zhou foot, as they cowered under a rein of crossbow bolts and arrows.
The Third chariotry unit was encircled and totally destroyed, freeing the Singi Guard lancers to turn in on the flanks of the already-engaged (and already reeling) Zhou line. 1 general left, and things were now beyond grim for the Zhou forces.
The noose tightens on the CHinese forces inexorably
The Superior Tae Kak Guard Halberdiers were comfortably beating their opponents, however the average halberdiers were not doing so well. However the Zhou forces were also struggling, losing cohesion all along the line, and so with a horde of Singi cavalry poised to roll up the enemy flank, a Korean general took the unusual step of reinforcing failure by stepping into combat with his fragmented average halberdiers.
The move paid off, and the Halberdiers recovered some of their cohesion as the Zhou in turn crumpled under the Singi onslaught !
The Zhou line started to roll up under the onslaught, and a wave of fragmentation swept along the battle line.
There was no way back for the Brave Zhou warriors - the game was over, a decisive 24-1 victory for the Koreans
Victory was ours!!
Post Match Summary
As James Mason, The Emperor of Korea, I am personally delighted to claim such a stunning victory in what promised to be a total lottery of a competition with near identical armies on every table.
What I think won it for me was the fantastic combination of tactics of firstly having better troops than my opponents, and secondly being very lucky in killing 3 of their 4 generals in combat. Of course, my own generals rarely committed to combat and so were pretty safe throughout, but hey, you take it when it's offered, don't you?
To win is good, but to win and lose only one unit of lancers is even better. I;d have been happier if it was a unit of peasants rather than one of my own Household Guard units, but with a bit of promotion and a few rigorous baths I'm sure some of these surviving chaps will get promoted fairly soon anyway to make up the numbers. As we say in Korea, after losing a cow, one repairs the barn.
Hannibal's Post Match Analysis
Well, his is getting quite difficult - after all, that was a comprehensive victory with minimal losses in which your troops seemed to get into the right places to take on enemies they had advantages against. Which is kinda what you are supposed to do really.
In general terms, I think you benefited from the eagerness of the Chinese to commit their Generals to combat - and in the case of the chariotry, in combats where they were at best at evens, and where they were in fact down at Impact - and outnumbered by the additional light horse unit. This was always a risky proposition, and so it proved. If there had been less terrain on table, it would have been a lot harder to predict where the Chariots were going to go, and things could have been very different as they could have skittled out your infantry in short order.
I was pleased with the way the cavalry and crossbows combined on your left - of course, some might say that a strategy that requires allowing your MF with no melee weapons to be hit by chariotry in the open has its inherent flaws, but the combination of the large unit size, Superiority of the crossbowmen and only allowing the chariots to contact them with one base just about swung it by restricting the Chariots to a maximum of 2 hits against you. If they had had more, it would have been a different game altogether.
Lets see how the next game goes then ?
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