FoG:R Renaissance Early TYW at Warfare 2012
Early Danish vs Transylvanian
There is a sort of rhythmn to Warfare. Up a little too early for a weekend, schlep down the M4, wonder if the A329M junction is really quicker than waiting to turn off at the Reading FC junction, park up, pay loads of coins for parking and then wander back to the Gorge Cafe for a fryup. It's a well trodden path that Central Londoners have been following for more than 2 decades, and this year was no different
The army I had chosen was a bit of a first. I had looked at the list of possible options, listened out for chatter on the FoG forum, considered a range of potential choices base don matching up well against the favourite candidates, then spent a week or so tweaking the list, getting feedback from a number of club mates as to which composition would be likely to work. In fact, the army had - you might actually say - been thought through, and actually planned. I even had a vague idea what I wanted to do with it. See, you can teach an old dog new tricks....
And that army was... Early Danish. An army mostly famous for its ridiculous number of Cuirassiers (yes, who ever knew that Denmark was the pre-eminent horse raising region of Western Europe during the Thirty Year's War).
FoG:R hint The Curassier is the "box-to-box holding midfielder" of Renaissance warfare. Tireless, hard to get past, solid unspectacular and lacking in flair and elan, nontheless a unit of Cuirassiers will always put in a shift on behalf of your team, and by blotting out your opponents midfield artists these artisan yet effective mounted tin cans will always end up running onto a short ball passed through the back line by one of their colleagues and scoring the vital goal - usually immediately after narrowly avoiding a 2nd yellow for breaking the opposing winger's right index finger in a nasty off the ball incident that was missed by the TV cameras
The Danes were also a user of some Landsnecht Kiels with shotte wings - a rather bonkers infantry type which had the unusual advantage of being almost ideal opponents for the sort of massed bowfire that the possible Chinese lists in use by other players would rely upon. So, the whole list was actually - and clearly - through through quite carefully. It only was to see if I would fight one of these armies over the weekend.
FoG:R hint - A Kiel is a deep block of pikemen that cannot be charged in the flank. Add in shotte wings and it becomes a wide hoover-like organism that can sweep up lesser units and also take incredible punishment from enemy shooting without taking any cohesion tests due to the incredible number of bases in it's first 3 ranks - as many as 14 bases are possible, meaning 5 hits are needed to cause a test
First up were the Transylvanians - a list I had played against and beat in my previous competition, but this time handled by the Rules Author, Richard Boldley-Scroat. The lists for the Early Danish and Transylvanian from this game, as well as all the other lists from the games at Warfare can be seen here in the FoGR Wiki once I actually find them and upload them. The terrain was mental - lots of clutter on one flank, and a steep hill straight down the middle of the Transylvanian's central sector, almost cutting their army in two. The fall of pieced could hardly have been better for the Danes, as it allowed them to put almost all of the Cuirassiers on the right wing, and fill the rest of the table with a wall of invincible (against the Transylvanians) pike and shotte
Having remembered late on the previous evening that the tables at Reading were extra-deep, the Danes had also brought along a new innovation - limbers for their gunnes. This was the first time they had been used in anger, and the Danes were as smug as a Danish butchers dog trapped overnight in a bacon factory as they deployed them at the back of their army, ready to move up into a devastating position.
FoG:R hint - Gunnes can deploy limbered, in which case they can move. Once unlimbered they are then stuck in place and can only pivot
The battle started with a very simple advance by the Danish right wing - all of the Cuirassiers moving up in a checkerboard formation to gain maximum speed towards the Transylvanian Horse, who were both outclassed and outnumbered by the Danes and their colleagues the Germans
The Danes were no mugs - they had even left gaps in their line to allow the formation to close up into a solid line as they got nearer to the enemy. The only slight downside to this rapid advance was that with only 3 generals selected in the army list it did leave some of the Kiels a little left behind. Not so much a problem normally, as the textbook tactic was to attack quickly and hopefully win quickly with the mounted wing, and swing into the enemy flank as the Kiels engaged them frontally... but in this matchup the Transylvanians foote was a pretty soft target for the Kiels too, so all of this clever rubbish might not really need to be undertaken
Just as promised - and blatantly telegraphed - the Cuirassiers formed up for impact with the Transylvanians - who had one unit of Cuirassiers of their own, and one rather outclassed unit of Gendarmes facing the 12 Dano-German Horse. The interesting bit of the maneuvering which both sides could see coming was whether the Danes could engineer a situation in which they could peel off a spare Cuirassier unit - of which there were theroetically two or three - and clatter into the end of the Transylvanian infantry line...
The big fat Mikes Models Kiel - this one comprised only of Pikemen and Halberdiers - was making a stately bee line for the other end of the Transylvanian line, where some nice juicy Medium Foot Haiduks were waiting with extreme trepidation. No-one had been so worried whilst stood in front of Dr Bodley Scott since Gareth Lloyd and a jam-jar had turned up at the surgery one day to find the good Doctor eating a packet of extra-spicy Chilli Flavour Monster Munch and had also noticed that the box of handy wet-wipes was completely empty
As another Kiel continued it's stately advance across the table off in the distance some Transylvanian cavalry were taking advantage of the fabulous terrain to sneak past the lumbering Landsnechts - who frankly didn't give a toss.
Finally, after about a week, the Gunnes deployed ready for action
FoG:R hint - Gunnes when limbered only move 2" per turn. Which is a lot less than you might guess if you (hypothetically) hadn't read the rules at all before deploying them right at the back of the table. 2" per turn isn't all that fast at all really...
The two armies were geometrically accurately arrayed ready for combat - perhaps a subconscious effort on behalf of Richard to pay tribute to Phil Sabin's Lost Battles: Reconstructing the Great Clashes of the Ancient World gaming system for ancient warfare which used a grid system to manage battlefield maneuver? The obvious plan of the Danes was to initiate the mounted battle as early as possible, so they could presumably beat the outclassed Transylvanian horse and then be free to swing into the flank of the Transylvanian infantry atKiels arrived to engage them frontally. Th ransylvanians had also spotted this, and were holding back their own horse as they sought to both delay combat and tempt the Danes forwards into a position from which they could be outflanked. Geometry meant that something had to give, and sooon the rapid advance of the massive Danish mounted wing had given one of the Cuirassier units the oppportunity to threaten the flank of the Transylvanian foote. The Transylvanians needed to react...
The reaction by the Transylvanians was to step up their mounted force and comit to battle - two lines of horse werenow almost fully engaged in a violent struggle, with the pistol-armed Danish Cuirassiers unleashing volleys of ball shotte into the serried ranks of the heavily armoured Transylvanian lancers at combat distances as the Danish unit threatening the flank of the Transylvanian foote was now itself under threat from two directions.
Pinned from two directions, the Danes wheeled around towards the enemy mounted, bringing them closer to the Transylvanian infantry, but crucially meaning that neither enemy unit was now technically in a position to charge them in the flank. This pushed the onus back on the Transylvanians to react yet again...
The game plan was telescoping quickly into a place in which every unit would be comitted on both sides, as the Kiels steamed relentlessly forward, shrugging off the massed musketry from the highly interesting Transylvanian Heavy Foote musketeers
A second Kiel was zeroing in on the other end of the Transylvanian line, where some Medium Foote Haiduks were a lot less happy about the prospect of taking on the by-now extremely deep pike formation which was approaching Mach 1.0 as it retracted its variable geometry width in an effort to wheel slightly faster towards the East Europeans
Astonishingly, the Kiels proved not to be utterly invulnerable to near-C17 volumes of enemy musketry at close range, and the one tasked with smashing the left hand end of the Transylvanian line to support the Danish Horse suffered a cohesion loss right at the vital point in time when they were getting ready to charge... a situation not helped by the spare Cuirassier unit's similar failure (and base loss, bringing them within 1 base of auto-break) at exactly the same time. Should the Kiel charge in regardless of its reduced fighting capability, should it wait to try and recover cohesion - but risk getting shot again? What might happen if and when the Cuirassier ended up being broken by another volley of enemy shooting? Decision paralysis wracked the Danish commander on the spot...
At least one of the Kiels had a simpler decision. 8 ranks deep, the German mercenaries steamed full speed ahead into the shell-shocked Haidukc....
Inevitably, and probably not for the last time this weekend, the Danish baggage was about to be captured by enemy horsemen. With relatively few units the Danes had no real capacity to defend it, and in many ways having one of the three enemy generals committed to an initiative that would only inflict 2 AP equivalent of army attrition was not an entirely bad tradeoff for the Danes.
The mounted battle on the Danes right wing was going the right way, as the Transylvanians were struggling to inflict many casulaties on the resilient wall of tinned bacon facing them. All three of the Transylvanian units that were engaged had been reduced to 2 bases - all only a base away from autobreak - whilst only one Danish unit had suffered losses. The flank was about to implode for the vampiric forces of medieval Romania
Both Kiels were also now fully committed to combat, and having charged in DISR, the larger of the two had also recovered cohesion during the hand to hand combat - ignoring the expected loss of the spare Cuirassier unit in the process. The writing was on the wall for the resilient but outclassed Transylvanian foote, and the Danes were about to bring home the bacon
Transylvanian resistance suddenly collapsed, as Danish Cuirassiers broke through on the right, pursuing deep into the rear of the by now fully committed Transylvanian army, and on the left the full-fat pike Kiel had swept away the Haiduks and was also in full pursuit of the routing Romanians
Once the gaps appeared the Danes were able to bring advantage in numers to the table to act as an accompaniment to their already decisive advantage in technology and quality, and quickly things turned ugly for the Transylvanians as the rest of the Transylvanian mounted wing was simply blown away
Shellshocked, surrounded, demoralised and scattered, Transylvanian resistance collapsed. Bacon 1, Blood Sausage 0.
The Result is a 22-3 win for The World of Bacon.
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 Danish Commander
Well, I thought that was a truly sizzling display from my boys. We charged forward and really pigged out on beating up the bloodthirsty enemies who were placed before us - what is not to like?
It wasn't subtle, it wasn't pretty, but hey, life is not at all subtle Early Denmark. We really have no time for the sort of soldiers who when eating bacon sandwiches on campaign will say 'Ooh, there's a hair in my food.' I always tell 'em that thy are eating bacon -- there's a pig's ass in their food !
The Transylvanians were theoretically quite good, but only against armies that lacked that combination of better foote than them and also better mounted than them - and as we came up trumps in both categories I guess my plan has worked
Mmmmm - Danish! I think I will go away and order a packet of Uncle Oinker's Savory Bacon Mints to celebrate !
Hannibal's Post Match Analysis
That was somewhat fortunate - coming up against an opponent who obligingly sits there and lets you attack then frontally with better troops is normally the sort of good fortune that only befalls your opponents, but here the lottery numbers all came up in your favour
Admittedly, the extensive research and thinking you did before the tournament probably helped somewhat, as this is actually quite a good army. Although you probably knew that already as you got so roasted by it at Usk earlier this year - and even your short term memory would claw that one up from history
Still, losing your baggage was careless, and deploying your gunnes before even reading the rules about how far they move when limbered are both pretty classic episodes of incompetence, so all is not rosy in the Danish garden this cold November morning.
Perhaps the traditional lunch in the overly busy pub next door will bring you back down to earth
Click here for the report of the next game in this competition
That's the end - so why not go back to the Match Reports Index and read some more reports?
Order on Amazon here
FoG Reports Pageloads to date.