Biblical & Early Classical in Warfare 2016
Spring & Autumn Chinese vs Early Aechemenid Persian
Warfare - having squeezed onto the roster of events for the first time this year, L'Art de la Guerre had very quickly filled up its initially allocated 12 places, and then, with just a couple of weeks to go, had expanded even more to end up at a very jolly 18, many of whom squeezed themselves into the increasingly narrow seats of the Gorge cafe for breakfast on the first morning of the event
The theme was "BD - before Darius", with any army from before the start of the LAP list in 420BC. This made Warfare the first "biblical" era ADLG event in the UK, and the first opportunity for some of my countless numbers of Chinese chariotry to come out to play in many years.
The chariots formed part of a Spring & Autumn Chinese army - picked because I am relatively lacking in the 'generic Assyrians' department, and had used my other Biblical choice in Samur earlier this year. The lists for the Spring & Autumn Chinese and Early Aechemenid Persian from this game, as well as all the other lists from the games at Warfare can be seen here in the L'Art de la Guerre Wiki. .
My breakfast can be seen here as well, deployed covering almost the full width of the tabletop, with a good mix of food groups and also plenty of reserves.
Early Chinese armies are dominated by the Chariotry - usually Heavy, and usually Impetuous making a high command value general something of a necessity in order to stop them running amok. I had taken 7 in this list, including 3 upgraded to Elite, and split them into a 5 (in a chariot-only command) and a 2 in with some other infantry. This made the list my first proper attempt at the 'Kampfgruppe' approach to list building that seems to be favoured by the more experienced continental players rather than the more mono-themed commands that I have generally been playing.
The first matchup paired the Chinese against an Early Aechemenid Persian army - on a table that was fairly cluttered with chariot-unfriendly terrain and which therefore had one obvious place for the Chariot charge to go. The wildcard in my army composition was a command mostly of impetuous warband foot, which went on the left where it could expect a run across uneven ground. This would not be subtle
The Persians had almost too much cavalry for the terrain as well, and as the Chinese infantry advanced on the left up to the edge of the ploughed (or maybe paddy?) field the Persians waited for them to emerge.
L'Art de la Guerre hint - All of the Chinese foot in this era are classed as Medium, giving cavalry an additional +1 factor at first contact to simulate the relative inability of the loose formation foot to stand up to a mounted charge
The Chinese Southern barbarian foot were rushing to charge down a mixed Sparabara and Immortal command which was sitting in a field on top of a hill - one of those terrain pieces with contours marked on it - but which I had unfortunately forgotten about just as soon as it was described to me.
Spring & Autumn Period Music
The Persians had however remembered that it was a hill - they had positioned it after all - and smartly stepped up to the top to pour potentially effective bowfire down on the by now clearly poorly designed and skirmish-screen free command of impetuous swordsmen.
He will win who, prepared himself, waits to take the enemy unprepared.
And the bowfire was particularly effective - markers sprouted on pretty much every base of the warband, making their task even harder than it would have been normally.
L'Art de la Guerre hint - Impetuous Swordsmen get a +1 for "Impact" in the first round of melee against enemy infantry, apart from when they contact the front edge of Non-Impetuous Swordsmen - which the Immortals and Sparabara unfortunately are. The warband also have "Furious Charge", so if they win they inflict an additional attrition hit in the first round.
After a short period of rallying, the Chinese foot, realising they were committed to this difficult task, just charged home and let the dice take control of the outcome... which they did efficiently, with the Sparabara standing firm and the Chinese warriors losing one unit entirely in the first round.
The supreme art of war is to subdue the enemy without fighting.
With the potential for "furious charge" additional hits now gone as the melee turned protracted, things started to go badly wrong very quickly for the embattled barbarians. The Immortals were clearly in no risk of disproving their name this morning, and stepped smartly forward to position themselves for some quick and brutal flanking attacks to polish off the now-battered Chinese command
Pictures of Chinese Troops from my Ancients Photo Directory
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(Click any image to see details of the manufacturer, and a larger version of the photo)
Meanwhile, the rest of the battle was developing at a much more normal pace - the unstoppable Chinese chariots had pressed on down the centre of the table, sidestepping a line of Greek mercenary hoplites and forcing the Persian cavalry to evade in fear back towards their baggage. As the Persian line broke up, the huge force of Chinese regular infantry - a mix of spearmen, halberdiers and bowmen - stepped out of the terrain, now trusting to bowfire and overlaps to make up for their relative vulnerability in the open.
The Immortals and Sparabara had fully mopped up the right flank of the Chinese army - the only saving grace was that by now the Chariotry had driven so far forward that the Immortals were a fair distance from being able to influence anything else..
Spring & Autumn RTW Mod
The advancing chariots had reached a point on the table at which the Persians were now forced to stand and fight - and the wheeled battle wagons smashed into everything they could reach, including the Greek spears. The wider Persian formation gave their horsemen some overlaps, but the Impetuous chariotry had better factors and Impact capability, putting them substantially ahead at first contact in the mounted matchups. Against the spears things were more tricky
L'Art de la Guerre hint - infantry with Spears will cancel any mounted "Impact" capability when they are hit at the halt. But Impetuous mounted still get extra hits through "Furious Charge" if they win...
As the Persians scrambled to move all of their scattered horsemen to the right place, the far less complicated big green slab of Chinese infantry simply swing round to pour archery and threaten envelopment against them
The Chariots were clearly fully intent on compensating for the incompetence of the Southern Tribesmen, and their hammer-blow charges caused a snowfall of markers to carpet the ground behind pretty much everything they hit!
The Chinese baggage was at risk, but the Persian commander of the Immortals was torn between pushing the LF onwards and trying to marshal his men towards a part of the table where they could have yet more influence on the ongoing combats - which were now going against the Persian forces all along the line.
If you know the enemy and know yourself you need not fear the results of a hundred battles.
The big green machine started to fractalize (sorry - just been reading the latest Neil Asher book War Factory - very good!) and envelop the Persian horsemen who were unlucky enough to be in its path, whilst the other cavalry tried frantically to take down the chariots (those with flags are Elite, and the Essex ones with umbrellas are non-unit Generals).
But the Chariotry were having none of it - they shrugged off every attack and even had the impudence to rally off hits as well as the Persians reeled under the sustained assault of the box-mounted halberdiers hooking them from their saddles.
Learn how to say Spring & Autumn in Mandarin
The battle was coming to a brutal conclusion, as the Greek mercenaries fought back bravely even as the Chariots ran them down. Both sides had suffered appalling losses, and in the final reckoning, both had been broken - a mutual destruction!
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 Spring & Autumn Chinese Commander
Our Communist Party and the Chariot Command and New Big Green Machine led by our Party are battalions of the L'Art de la Guerre revolution. These battalions of ours are wholly dedicated to the liberation of the wargamer from the tyranny of declining rulesets and work entirely in the people's interests. Our victory here today was down to these battalions, although our defeat was also arguably down to these battalions as well, so a bit of a mixed bag to be fair.
All double-based DBx ADLG units must die, but each death can vary in its significance. The ancient warriors of Persia, standing up the top of a flat hill knew well what the almost-Chinese writer Alfred Korzybski said, "The Map is Not The Terrain" but unfortunately my Southern Warriors temporarily forgot this in their efforts, but they did know that the weight of pain of dying for the exploiters and capitalist oppressors is lighter than a feather. The Warband died for the benefit of the other two commands, but this death was also a place where the game could have been won and so indeed was weightier than Mount Tai.
After this failure, the rest of the army fought back from the hole in which they found themselves with bravery and fortitude, with the sweeping flanking move of the Big Green Machine being well timed in their emergence from the paddy field to swing into the flank of the by-then scattered units of Persian Horse. The frontal power of the Chariotry was a Wonder of Heaven to behold, and so even though this force had not been placed on table before this game, I feel that enough has now been learnt to take the popular revolution forward with success into the rest of the weekend.
If this army has shortcomings, I am not afraid to have them pointed out and criticized, because this serve the interests of the whole army. Anyone, no matter who, even if they are Hannibal, may point out our shortcomings. If he is right, we will correct them in the next game.
Hannibal's Post Match Analysis
Your incompetent divot-brained apology for a general. If I had a spring roll, and left it on a shelf in a warm room for a week it would surely have developed enough intelligence to remember that a hill is, erm, a hill, rather than forgetting it as soon as you were told it
This basic mistake was not even one of generalship, it was of basic cognitive functioning - and so without the ability to remember anything it is rather unsurprising that your abilities do not improve from game to game and match to match.
Somehow you managed to dig yourself out of the hole you had dug for yourself though, and for that I now fear that all of your luck has been used up for the weekend - either that or you have accidentally chosen a pretty good army which is capable of overcoming your idiocy and mindless blathering by its' own efforts
Let's face it, dealing with the breakfast was an achievement for one as doltish as you, so we cannot really expect better in the next game
Click here for the report of the next game in this competition