Field of Glory Wargaming at Roll Call 2009
Having been successful twice with the Dominate Romans, Roll Call was a chance to select an army which would be designed to use some of my newest troops rather than designed to do especially well. To help the organisers by "floating" across periods if needed, I submitted lists for every period, and managed a game with each before the comp.
The outcome was that the Medieval pool was the one that had odd numbers, and so the Free Company ended up being the army of choice, featuring some rather nice new mounted and dismounted Donnington men-at-arms, as well as some Rank & File (from Old Glory) Longbowmen and a few more bits and pieces slightly different and the list is available here
Pictures of Men at Arms from my Ancients Photo Directory
The first game saw me facing a 100YW English army who's list is available here The table had almost enough rough terrain for them to hide in, but not quite - there were some inviting gaps. I, not really knowing what to do or expect, deployed my whole army in a long line to cover the table, and then proceeded to dismount my 2 units of knights to give me even more M-a-A (these are the chaps who look suspiciously like Swiss halberdiers in the following photos. Well, there is a limit to how many MaA anyone can own isn't there?)
Blofeld:"John Hawkwood. Allow me to introduce myself. I am Ernst Stavro
Blofeld. They told me you were assassinated in Padova."
The game started as the Men at Arms ambled forward slowly,
... as the English just waited...
In the middle the Men at Arms started to lose contact with each other for no apparent reason as they crept inexorably forwards
"Who'd want to put out a contract on me?"
A lone wood served as a refuge for a tiny unit of skirmishers, who were soon surrounded by roving bands of cavalry and infantry coming rashly forwards from the English lines. Free Company Cross Bowmen moved up to give moral support
As did the comedy element of the Free Company army - 4 Average Protected Drilled Cavalry Lancers - useless in almost all situations, except maybe threatening 4 LH javelinmen !
Intimidated by this awesome show of force, the English sought to slip away, but by turning into column their skirmishers exposed themselves to a rain of javelins from the woods, and their cohesion faltered as a result.
The general plan in the middle was now emerging. Form up and charge forward hoping to weather the storm of arrows by dint of being heavily armoured. The English had elected to defend some open ground, which magnetically appealed to the advancing lobstermen
[after impaling Vargas with his lance]
John Hawkwood: "I think he got the point"
As the Rubbish Lancers moved forward the English had little choice to fall back on the flank - with no spare generals it was a risky place for them to be.
Meanwhile in the center the gap between the two lines was narrowing - and so far the MAA were weathering the storm quite well.
Despite a few disruptions, the Free Company were pretty much intact by the time they got to close range of the longbow line.
With an almighty clash the two sets of medieval infantry fixed bayonets and joined in combat. The longbowmen had the advantage of rear support and weight of numbers, but the men at arms were basically better all round.
John Hawkwood: "You live well, Scaramanga."
The initial clashes were brutal, with the large longbow units unable to wheel round and threaten the flank of the Men at Arms line, the protective longbowmen decided they had to leave before they were shot down .
Soon at the other end of the line, the Free Company archers and crossbowmen were advancing across the field too, and the English line was starting to look outmatched. Even more men at arms moved into the frame to add more pressure on the English.
Elsewhere, thinned out to absorb more shooting, the dismounted knights (looking rather like swiss - after all, there's a limit to how many MAA any one gamer can collect !) were finding it tough going against the weaker but more numerous longbowmen.
As the hacking in the middle continued relentlessly, Generals from both sides were being sucked into combat like it was a big black hole. Each side was desperately shoring up their lines - but the English line was the first to break, even as a few units of men at arms dropped to fragmented as well.. !
The Men at Arms pursued recklessly after the routing bowmen, only to come across the reserve lines of English MAA who had been waiting for them for some time.
As the end of the English line finally swung round to a place where it could make a difference, the retreating Free Company mercenary longbowmen were forced to make a stand
The same could not be said of the English in the middle, as the longbowmen evaporated finally under the hammer blows of the Superior MaA.
The battlefield was a confused mess of units all fighting and pursuing in different directions as the English Men at Arms mounted a valiant counter offensive. With the Free Company having taken heavy casualties, things looked suddenly dicey
Finally, with Average break points counting badly against them, some of 4-strong English MAA units started to evaporate much to the surprise of their colleagues!
The focus of the battle moved elsewhere and it all seemed down to one valiant unit of longbowmen at the other end of the line to hold the fort (well, it was a dice shaker, but it could be a Martello type tower I guess?). With no general, and vastly outnumbered, things looked grim for the plucky Brits
As this unfurled, almost forgotten on the extreme left, the English skirmishers had finally run out of table. Again bereft of the help of a general, the plucky chaps were forced into attempting a last stand against the still coherent Free Company unit, with the Rubbish Cavalry close at hand as well.
Soon things went from bad to worse for the English, as their last bastion started to implode under pressure from all sides.
The final coup de grace came as the English skirmishers completed their long march across (and back) the table with an ignominious rout at the hands of just 4 exuberant skirmishers
With his men now having turned 180 degrees to try and catch the pursuing Free Company, the English General was forced to admit defeat. The Free Company had won!
Post Match Summary
As Medieval Genius, Man of Letters and raconteur Sir John Hawkswood I was dashed delighted with the opportunity to trundle over to Jolly Old Blighty and bash the dundering Billy Bunter Brits about the bonce ! Shows them really, should've called for me first up and that silly old 100 years war malarkey would have been over in a couple of weeks with a bit of the old "Hawkswood Magic" sprinkled all over it (now that reminds me, where did I leave that buxom young serving wench last night - Oh, there she is... no, just be quiet dearest, ...).
To be honest, as soon as the terrain didn't cover the entire bally table I felt I was onto a winner here, and even though we made somewhat heavy going of it, it's good to get an impressive result under your belt early on (not dearest, not yet, I wasn't talking to you...).
Despite the fact that the main chopping was done by the men at arms, I must say that the Bidets did extremely well - but as soon as those Johnny Englishers sent a couple of units out to play without any sort of General to tell them what to actually do, they were in all sorts of trouble, as as soon as my mercenary frenchie crossbow contraption chappies got in a couple of shots and the Bidets chucked their sticks it started to jangle the nerves of the skirmishing Brits, who promptly lost their pluck (no dearest, not yet...just hold onto that whilst you are waiting....) and with no general to give it them back they were 2 lost units towards the total I needed.
Anyways, I won and I've got better things to do than sit here and talk to you lot of oiks. Hoorah!
Hannibal's Post Match Analysis
For starters, lets get one thing clear - I really don't like this medieval rubbish. Men in tin cans - looks stupid if you ask me, and I know having tried it that its damned uncomfortable. I mean, you'd never march over the Alps in a tin can, would you?
However, my genius is such that I can seamlessly move from criticizing Ancient Era generals to criticizing medieval Era generalship in a single bound. And here you made a number of serious mistakes.
Firstly, why on earth did you dismount the knights? Against longbows in the (reasonably) open they actually have a pretty good chance anyway, and by dismounting you swapped 16 combat dice for 8 - you half wit!
You also were rather fortunate that your enemies got drawn in by the glacial pace of your advance, and shuffled forwards out of the Rough Going - when really they should have anchored themselves there and simply waited.
Your army choice also exposed some weaknesses - the limited number of small units, and the over-reliance on expensive full tin can armour was rather foolish - a few 6-strong armoured units would have done you far better, as would some more LF to bulk out the army again. You teetered on the brink of the abyss here my friend, for sure.
The good news is that you won. But there were enough cracks in the armour to give you cause for thought here. I bet however you don't learn from them !
Lets see how the next game goes then ?
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