Early Renaissance at Usk 2014
Italian Wars French vs Ottoman Turks
The only thing that matters was that we had avoided Alasdair and his wall of cavalry. So, in a tidy 3rd place we prepared for the final game of the weekend...
The lists for the Italian Wars French and Ottoman Turks from this game, as well as all the other lists from the games at Usk can be seen here in the FoGR Wiki.
No-one puts The Don in a corner. Apart from a French army with more woodlands than you might see in a Planet-of-the-Apes sequel movie set in an arboretum in a forest. And in this case, it's quite some corner for a mostly mounted Ottoman army to contend with.
Who's in the corner?
The Ottomans could definitely see the woods, and the trees. And quite a few saplings, a couple of dozen large bushes and a forest or two as well. Faced with no field of fire the Ottoman gunners saddled up their heavy artillery pieces and prepared to limber-dance themselves across the table.
The Ottomans were a converted FoGAM army list rather cleverly giving them the near-compulsory Serbian Ally - who promptly marched his knights down the side of the table at great speed behind a screen of Ottoman LH. The Serbs gave a cutting edge to the Ottoman archery and trickery, but that edge would possibly be dulled by cutting it;s way through many, many trees before the day was done
Somewhat caught out by this move, the French had deployed facing a variety of gaps in the forest, and were now rapidly trying to plug as many of them as they could with a combination of Swiss and Gendarmes. The Landsnchects found themselves surplus to requirements and did a smartish about face, and commenced a rather long and unlikely march back along their own baseline to try and meet the threat of the Ottoman guns who were making haste towards the French baseline. This shot is also notable for a rare initial shot of the French camp, which clearly hasn't been captured for quite some timeÖ
The crŤme of the Ottoman army was now sweeping round the back of the French lines like a series of jam doughnuts riding horses, and, aghast at this unlikely development only a mere handful of surprised (and now presumably feeling underpaid) French LF crossbowmen were waiting there to meet themÖ
All the gaps were now well and truly plugged in the forest wall, and the French found themselves in that difficult position where they had too many units for what they were trying to achieve but felt obliged to try and use them all, resulting in an embarrassing traffic jam forming in the open area in the middle of the table
Epitomising this incompetence borne of a surfeit of riches, Reiters move forwards towards the front line as Superior Full Fat Gendarmes fall back and dither aimlessly
The Ottomans have by now assembled a sizeable force down by the French baseline, but even there they are faced with the challenge of forcing their rather large object-shaped army all of the way through a significantly smaller-shaped gap in the ridiculously clutterd terrain, and to add insult to forestry-based injury the French have redeployed a formidable force to wait for them as well.
The Swiss are in their element - invulnerable to most of the enemy troops, marching through the woods - all they need is a few small boys balancing apples on their heads an a couple of crossbows and the paperwork required to form a clockmakers guild and their happiness will be complete.
A fearsome vice-like grip closes round the gullet of the Ottoman Sipahis, as the heavily armoured pistol-armed Reiters amaze themselves by discovering yet another opponent that they are potentially pretty damn good at fighting Öand the Swiss steam on, not even pausing to make the odd small range of praline-filled chocolates or have a national vote on which type of cow the country plans to standardise on in the next decade. They just want combat, and as soon as possible..
The Landsnechets have "shut the door" on the Ottoman flank advance, trapping several of it's fingers rather painfully in the process and breaking the noses of a handful of incautiously far advanced Sipahi. Many of the Turks begin to question what they are actually doing so far from home Ö.
French crossbowmen open up at long range, sniping continually at the Ottoman LH and - inevitably - causing the occasional cohesion failure in the course of their harassing fire. The Ottomans now feel the pain caused by having too many troops in a small area, and nothing to actually do with them
The Ottoman Sipahis fall back in front of the French and Swiss attack, as both sides now have troops on each others baseline, and the Swiss spy yet another opportunity to be attacked from two directionsÖ although whether MF Janissary bowmen will really want to take on Armoured Swiss Pikemen in the open is perhaps a question that the Turks hope will never actually need to be asked
And, as the camera pans out both an additional unit of Gendarmes, and the French arquebusiers come into view, both eager to be in this rather unique arboreally-dominated Renaissance selfie, and yet also equally ready to threaten the Janissaries in the woods, which in turn will then allow the already extremely focused Swiss to keep focused on their main task - fighting whoever dares stand to their front, as soon as they can!
And they're in! Piling into the Turks like a pike-weilding elephant on a well greased skateboard going down a San Francisco hillside, and totally ignoring the loss of a POA for Pike charging mounted, the Swiss take on a unit of Sipahi at such a pace that the windows of every house in the town behind them (erm, actually of the only house) rattle with the terrific impact of thousands of little chubby Mikes Models pikemen slamming home..
The Ottomans down by the French baseline are in all sorts of pickle, most of them super spicy, rather too hot to handle and definately not as sweet as mango chutney as they crowd together so closely that even a crossbow bolt fired from a one-eyed one-armed one-legged man on a roundabout could miss its target. Cohesion failures add to the confusion, as the gunnes find themselves screened by their own troops, which is not entirely what they expected after man-handling the weighty pieces half way across the battlefield to find this new positionÖ
With the camp and the rest of their artillery park now coming under threat of being Reitered-down, the Sipahis pick their spot to make a stand. But as they have evaded from the oncoming Reiters several times by now, a series of volleys of quite utterly devastating close range pistoling has already sent some of them down to DISRÖ never mind the unit routing in column already shooting past them, having itself already come off much the worse in its tangle with the Swiss !
The by-now overconfident Reiters charge home - yet again their no-impact-POAs skills are of no encumbrance to these rather barely adequate and often unloved warriors, as the Ottomans are similarly ill equipped for charging home and can only match the Reiters toe to toe.
FoGR Hint : -Yes, the Ottomans do have lances, but FoG is one of those rulesets that doesn't use a literal description of troops equipment to determine relative combat effectives. The list writers believe that Ottoman cavalry were much more inclined to shoot and evade rather than charge home at lance-point, so they do not count lance factors for impact at all.
This is about to get really, really messy for the Ottomans who are already in more of a mess than a gang of drunken soldiers engaged in a mudfight in an army canteen, as one of their routing units has been outdistanced by the pursuing French and so has to turn and flee towards it's own base edge... a maneuver which will take it bursting through all of the units alongside it, dropping their cohesion in the process...
In the corner the French are pushing inexorably forwards, leading the way with troops against whom the Ottomans have no answer. The French crossbowmen continue to cause havoc and mayhem, shooting in front of the advancing and protective Landsnecht Kiel at the retreating Turkic horsemen, who are sinking into evver-deeper levels of dissarray as they fall back, exhausted and demoralised by their fruitless attempt to outflank the French army.
As the Sipahis scatter, the Ottoman heavy gunnes realise their incredible journey has not ended yet - they are not part of a Disney film in which small animals travel long distances across America to be reunited with their owners, but instead they are hopelessly marooned in entirely the wrong place on the table, and bereft of protecting infantry they willl soon be captured and paraded through the streets of Paris as trophies of war!
The Sipahis continue to fall back from the tide of Reiters and Swiss washing up along the Ottoman base edge. The rare sight of an enemy camp being captured is about to be seen on these pages...
Messing around in the woods, two units of usually useless MF come to close quarters blows where the French enjoy weight of numbers (8 vs 6) but otherwise these two lots of missile armed infantry have little to trouble the official Franco-Turkish institute for Recording Close Combat POA's in Melee or Impact Phases. Behind them the Janissaries wait nervously, not entirely worried by the slow-moving (especially in a wood) Gendarmes to their front, but worried enough not to risk turning away from them quite yet..
The Swiss and the Reiters charge home, smashing the last line of Ottoman resistance and squeezing the Turks like toothpaste from a tube from the table of contention onto the bathroom floor of despair and defeat!
Everywhere you look, Ottomans have nowhere to go - the proud steppe horsemen are dragged down to scuttling around in the backwoods as crushing forces of Western European Late Flowering Chivalry press the breath from their bodies against the hardwall of the table edge
Pinned in a corner, the Ottomans give up the ghost and fall to a total and comprehensive defeat
As the fat lady sings, the sole French casualty returns triumphantly to the field...
The Result is a 25-0 victory.
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 Italian Wars French Commander
Incroyable! We have swept the Turk from the field, or more accurately the forest dotted with occasional small clearings, in very short order, and now all that is left for us to to hang around aimlessly waiting for the other games to finish and see if the Swiss can nick some points off of the horsemen of Khan Alastair and allow us to snatch an unfeasible 1st place, or rest at easy in a satisfying 2nd. Oh, and drik much overpriced and lukewarm coffee whilst munching on pepermint Aero too. Nice.
This battle was largely won at the deployment of terrain, with the Ottomans hamstrung in the woodlands as we sealed all exits and sent in the dogs of war into the passageways between the tree trunks to root out all resistance. After that, we still had time to redeploy infantry across the table, and again the Average Reiters did sterling service in shredding the poor Ottoman Sipahi - it is easy now in hindsight to see how the horse and bow combination was replaced by the pistol and cuirass in the apex of military excellence.
The scale of victory was so complete that it is hard to reverse-engineer my thoughts to see if there was more that the Turk could have done, although they did make efforts to move around, I still believe that psychologically the victory was completed before the first dice of combat were rolled, and only a hugely optimistic ommittment of troops to unlikley combats by the Grand Vizier could ever have hoped to change that - but they were not to follow this path.
2nd place in such an event represents a good return on our investment in hired help, whichever the cause, and so I think I can go back to my subjecs and report that their financial sacrifices in terms of food, clothing and shelter were good investments for the greater Glory of France. Allonz-ee!!!
Hannibal's Post Match Analysis
You rather fortunate beast - your commanders many be as thick as two short planks, but here it was actual trees that won the game for you, saving your own men the trouble of trying to actually think
The scale of the victory is significant, but even more significant is to note how you managed to waste a number of your most potent units, unable to deploy them in the narrow gaps and channels down which they poured themselves onto the Ottomans, who did nothing much but line up to be beaten one by one.
Many of your men were only mere observers in this battle - they did not so much need to contribute to the plan, but were able to carry out each and every one of their duties to their entire satisfaction. Perhaps this is where your stength lies - only really moving 2 or 3 units is perhaps within your intellectual capacity, and they are therefore able to work well when under constant supervision and are closing in on an enemy cornered like a rat in a trap.
I am sure that the stories of this victory will be told to uninterested recipients for many years to come - and when you enter a wargamers bar if you see two people talking, and one looks bored, you can bet that the victor in this game will be the other one. I for one will seek to walk away...
That's the end - so why not go back to the Match Reports Index and read some more reports?
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