FoGR Thirty Year's War in Warfare 2013
Swedish vs Early Swedish
Warfare, and a TYW theme. Fresh from making a success of the Pirates, I decided that this was now the perfect opportunity to try and wring a decent army and performance out of the perennially underachieving Swedes, who I had struggled with in previous years
The lists for the Swedish and Early Swedish from this game, as well as all the other lists from the games at Warfare can be seen here in the FoGR Wiki.
My army was designed with the lessons learnt from losing with the Pirates to Alasdair, what I had learnt against Pete in 25mm recently, and also remembering some of the lessons from my inability to force a result on some tables last time I had deployed this army. In essence this meant I didn't muck about with any aggressive horse, maxed out on good quality Swedish Infantry and found a way to squeeze four heavy guns into the army list as well, in full knowledge that Warfare always uses oversized tables.
What's Going on Here Then?
Both armies have deployed to the same side of the central wood, and both are pushing troops into the enclosed field on the left of the board. On the right hand side, my Swedes have deployed perhaps more aggressively with a mixed Horse and commanded shot formation, but the key difference may be in the 4 heavy guns on my side. These will allow my army to sit back and take the tactical defensive posture, and should whittle away the enemy infantry as they advance, meaning the decisive moment of combat will then go my way. That's the theory anyway
The battle started with the enemy commander informing me he was perhaps not the fastest player in the world, which given my advantages in artillery I suspected might well play to my advantage. The Swedish batteries were cunningly positioned at an angle behind some woodlands which dominated the middle of the table, and immediately opened up on the enemy at some considerable distance as the rest of my army uncharacteristically waited for the enemy to move..
On the right, my forces had a significant advantage, and having only managed one practice game, and being seized with something of a desire to try and use the troops in a vaguely historical fashion I endeavoured to keep the commanded shotte and horse together, even though this considerably slowed my progress across the table
FoGR hint - by sticking the commanded shot in between two units of carbine horse, 2 files of the horse get to cancel out any negative POA's against better horse in combat. As they are unarmoured, this makes they a bit cheaper than normal horse, however in this army arguably the ability of the Swedish Commanded Shotte to shoot with 2 dice at long range is even more important - a few well placed shots and the mixed formation may find itself facing DISR or base-losses-reduced enemies anyway
Horse move 5", commanded shotte move 3" anyway, and when they operate together like this they are allowed to move as a division even when touching. But, as they have infantry in the division they can only make 2 moves - if this was just a formation of horse they could move 3 times.
The enemy were inching cautiously across the field, in a carefully planned and executed attack which consisted of them moving all their units straight forward at full speed. In response, my forces had already gotten bored, and I had pushed some of the units forwards on the left flank, aiming to create a cauldron of fire that would extend my line to 4 units against the advancing 3, and also allow me to support my somewhat outgunned Dragoons who had advanced into the field on the left only to find themselves opposed by 2 anachronistically independent and cautiously manoeuvring units of Commanded shotte complete with the little gunnes which make them so potent.
The mixed carbine and foote formation was starting to separate as the eager Swedes homed in on a possible target in the shape of the enemy Swedish Dragoons - looking to push past the wood in force and bottle up the enemy horse a unit of Foote now joined them too
My always surprisingly nice looking Lancashire Games infantry waited patiently for the enemy to come to them in the main strip of open ground, as the artillery continued to fire with inconclusive results
The Swedish Army prepares its lunch
The Yellow Brigade had been carefully selected to comprise only of stereotypically blonde Swedish soldiers (although the chap third from the left was originally ginger, but dyed his hair in order to meet the strict entry criteria for this prestigious unit)
My dragoons had now ensconced themselves tidily in the enclosed field, making full use of the fencing which had recently been enhanced and improved by the addition of some static grass and sticking some of the pieces together to make longer runs of fencing which were less fiddly to use on table.
The enemy were continuing to inch painstakingly forwards, under continuous fire from my gunnes. By now both sides had realised that their flags had been downloaded from the same website, although for some reason the enemy flags were considerably larger than those sported by my own forces. There is probably some sort of joke about having "bigger poles" that could go here, with either a smutty punchline, or a geeky one relating to Polish-Swedish military history, but I am thinking about taking a break to go and grab some breakfast so you will have to make it up yourselves I'm afraid.
On the right my formation had now split into two, with a unit of carabiniers peeling off to chase down the dragoons, and the other two units moving forwards to try and confront the enemy cavalry, who were not especially high quality and so the presence of the commanded shotte and their gunne might well tip the balance in my favour. The infantry brigade had turned 90 degrees, as it had become obvious that a unit of enemy Commanded-out shotte that were advancing through the woodlands would need to be stopped - otherwise they would just march past my men and capture my artillery park. Sending a pike unit into a wood is not ideal, but on a narrow frontage it would be an even fight.
As the enemy commanded shotte advanced in cautious and painstaking increments, each time carefully positioning themselves to split the fire of my Dragoons in such a way as to minimise the shooting they would receive, my own Dragoons were forced back to avoid being battered by 4 shooting dice, 2 of which being gunnes ignored the protective effect of the enclosed field.
What's Going on Here Then?
The enemy Swedes are being forced to move forwards, as they are on the wrong end of 4 heavy artillery. Their commanded out shot are steaming into the woods in the middle, and my army is electing to respond by pushing infantry and horse down the right hand side, hoping to tempt the enemy to come out of the woods to support their potentially outnumbered cavalry reserve. My infantry are hanging back, ready to form a coherent line but maximising the number of turns for their artillery to do the business first
The enemy had by now almost gotten into actual infantry shooting range, and carefully and painstakingly formed a coherent line with which to oppose my more numerous forces.
In the woodlands it was a case of more Swedish men involved in close quarters action in a forest since the great Upssala Horse Drawn Cart Dogging Scandal broke in late 1622.
Swedish Field Kitchen
And, just like the previous incident, half the men involved were buggered as my unit failed to stand up even for a moment and quickly turned and fled.
But the main part of the battle was a lot more encouraging. The effect of artillery had already chipped away at the enemy before they had gotten to close quarters, and my superior forepower continued into the initial exchanges of fire with muskets and battalion gunnes as the enemy took a right pasting, losing bases across the line and also seeing the (average) unit on the far end dropping to Fragged. The painstakingly careful nature of the enemy advance had ended up with them forming a simple line and the thought that had gone into it had delivered naught!
What's Going on Here Then?
The enemy continue their painstaking and cautious advance across the open ground, whilst their reinforced dragoons are driving back my troops on the left - although the main lines will likely clash before anyone can gain an advantage from this skirmish. On the right a unit of my Pike and Shotte has been tempted into the woods to contain the threat of the commanded out shotte, and is coming off worst potentially leaving some of the guns at the mercy of the enemy. The mounted engagement on the right is indecisive as the enemy carefully position their troops to try and avoid taking any fire
Keen to try and keep their Fragged unit safe, the enemy launched a half-hearted charge with the single unit next to them, hoping to block a possible charge on the Fragged formation by engaging 2 of my units. Swede on Swede action was turning into a right mash.
What's Going on Here Then?
The enemy have finally inched their way across the table under heavy artillery fire, and the two lines have finally clashed - although the enemy are considerably weakened at impact, due to shooting losses earlier in the game. On the right the commanded out shot in the woods have swept away and are routing away from the slow moving commanded out shotte.
Unfortunately, attacking superior numbers of enemy piecemeal and committing troops to retrieve a bad situation yet again proved not to be a recipe for success, and the far end of the enemy line started to flee in an uncontrolled rout !
The main battle was looking god, but it was a different picture in the enclosed field where the enemy's time invested in careful and precise manoeuvring was actually paying off, and my dragoons were being forced to fall back after being comprehensively outshot by the cavalry-free commanded shotte of the enemy forces.
Back to the centre and much of the enemy line was now blown away, with only 2 enemy units (erm, half of them) still engaged. Despite coming under heavy pressure they were hanging on grimly..
Having swept away half the enemy forces at initial impact my men wheeled gracefully round, bringing more firepower and combat capability to bear on the remaining enemy infantry. But then time as called.
What's Going on Here Then?
The left side of the main body of the enemy line has utterly caved in, and the right is hanging on by a thread as my troops take full advantage of the opportunity caused by their fearsome shooting and artillery barrage to swiftly break the enemy in combat. On either flank I have lost a unit in broken ground and woodlands, but were the game to continue the meat of the enemy Swedish army would be swiftly destroyed
The Result is a narow victory.
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 Swedish Commander
Well, like TOTALLY that was intense, and I mean TOTALLY INTENSE. The game may have not moved to fast, but hey, I get a lot of time to go and paint my nails, chat with my girls, wander round the shops and like, check out the fashions of some of the guys. I mean, did you see some of those hunks in the pictures? Like, well hot, soo hot it hurts girls, you know what I mean?!
You might say this was just a draw, but, I mean, like, Gag Me With a Spoon and walk away, honestly, it was OBVS a success! The strategy worked, I managed to keen my hands under the table and not move too many of the little toys forwards and those nice artilleryists seemed to be having like a totally radical time, so whats not to like?
The fact that that silly little set of trees in the middly-widdly of the table were trampled by the enemy was well, a bit gnarly, but sometimes you just have to suck it and see - and I mean, how bad could it get -what’s the worst thing you’ve ever put in your mouth anyway?
The important thing was that we did this properly, my lovely boys had nice uniforms and a bit of a plan, and we did try our best to stick to it, rather than going off piste. It's all about doing things right and being noble about it - after all, my family’s got a long history of chivalry… I think you’ve got to keep it alive, otherwise what would the world come to? People dogging in carparks, thats where.
Hannibal's Post Match Analysis
What a maidenly man at arms you have become, accepting a draw here when with a couple of additional turns you could have either won, or lost. And I think I know which one it might have been...after all, there cannot be many generals who can manage to leave both their flanks either undefended or overmatched in such fashion and yet still see the game grind to a time out with no opportunity for the enemy to take advantage of their own good fortune in facing your incompetence
Where will thou find a cavern dark enough to mask thy monstrous visage, my club-footed general of Sweden? If your opponent had cracked on a little you would even now be attempting to barter trinkets and gold for the return of your artillery park as the commanded-out shotte unit made haste through the wood and stole them away. Perhaps next time you should draw up a list with commanded shotte of your own, as at least then you could endeavour to engineer a vaguely equal combat which you could mess up with dice alone rather than be forced to send the pike-holders in amongst the trees.
Thou cans't not be but a fawning ill-nurtured scut to have defeat snatched from your hands by the careful and measured pace of play of your opponent - had he taken more risks and added more pace rather than seeking to engineer so many risk-free scenarios at every turn right now you would have been staring up at the table amongst the stench of the feet that lie at its foot rather than basking in the giddy heights of mid table mediocrity.
Verily, thou art naught but a vain tickle-brained canker-blossom! Lets not imagine that you will be as fortunate again in the next game
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