Field of Glory Wargaming at The International Wargame Federation Euro Championshships - Rome 2009
With my last European foray being lost in the mists of time (well, Ireland in November 2007, so more accurately lost in a haze of Guinness and clogged arteries) a rash decision was made to take a punt on a trip to Rome for the outdoor-in-a-castle Euro Championship
With no great originality I decided to pick a Roman army, Dominate Romans to be precise. The logic behind the choice was:
- I had just finished painting a new army up
- The competition was in Rome
- Apparently it was quite good - in the hands of better players than me
- I could make 800 AP with an IC fill the table almost, with near-bullet-proof troops. So hopefully I would have an answer to those pesky LH armies that had previously plagued me this time around.
The trip started as they all should, in the BA lounge drinking free beer.
After a rather short flight we ended up in an ice cream Parlour in a warm Rome. Oh - it served beer as well. which is what we had :-)
The next day I pitched up and found myself - in a typically Italian-cliche'd fashion - drawn against a club-mate who lived in London. OK, admittedly he had only moved to London 2 days before, and had never even heard of our club, but he was living 5 stops from it on the tube so I recruited him pronto. Simon the Aussie was using Ordonnance French who's list is available here
Pictures of French Knightly Troops from my Ancients Photo Directory
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The competition was in the not entirely insalubrious area of Hadrians tomb... and held outdoors!
The game looked to be interesting from the off - the French had fortifications, artillery, lots of knights and lots of Swiss !
The dastardly Frenchies set up with a strong center, and an outflanking force of knights and lancer cavalry who hoped to sneak round the steep hills to my left and harass my rear. I had filled a legionary-sized gap with all 5 of my legionary units, and shoved nearly all of my auxilia onto my right, hoping to sweep through the woods protecting the French left.
In the middle the legions advanced steadfastly, but soon realised they were arguably too few to take down the many good quality French units heading their way, so a holding role was called for. Also the flanking force made rapid progress, and so 2 legions were detached from the line to try and keep the flankers in check. At least the auxilia on my right were advancing unimpeded.
12 legions and 6 supporting archers braced themselves for the initial French rush.
The French had by now realised they had committed too much to the flank attack, and too little to the center - so redeployed a unit of drilled knights at high speed to join in. My legions who had been sent to the flank looked unlikely to respond as quickly!
The Swiss, seeing their knights almost ready to charge in, uncharacteristically decided to move up to support them, leaving the anxious bowmen to watch as the wave of auxilia swept towards them. Or maybe they fancied a bit of Auxilia Flank Attack action ???
After some initial dithering about, the battle lines were now being firmly drawn in the sand. It looked to be all about a French knightly charge against the 3 units of legionaries, and a lancer cavalry charge against the lone legion detached to stop the outflanking move.
The outflankers seemed to have gotten the thin end of the deal however, with Romans flooding towards them from all angles - whereas the knights got the support of the Swiss and yet more knights!
Then again, whilst talking about Thin ends of deals, the French crossbowmen (never the most popular troops in an army with their foul smelling wedges of local cheese, and their newfangled contraptions) were trying gamely to hold off a mass of archers and auxilia.
As the French Knights teed themselves up for the attack, the Roman auxilia units lurking in the mountains teed themselves up for a flank charge, drawing out the mercenary English Longbowmen to threaten them in turn. By now, one of the Legions detached to prevent the outflanking maneuver had rejoined the fray and was inserting itself nicely into the main battle line again.
The knights had managed to become a coherent line a little faster than the Romans and crashed into the formed legionaries.
And as this was happening, the outflanking force was riding its luck more aggressively than it had ridden its horses to get to the back of the table. Despite being shot at by superior LH bowmen, and facing superior impact foot led by a general they quickly - in 2 rounds of combat - fragmented the legion!
Luckily, the 3rd Roman unit detached to deal with them - this time some auxilia who had been hiding in the mountains waiting for a nice easy flank to charge - managed to do what their better paid and led colleagues couldn't manage - and break the French lancers with a devastating flank charge. The legion just about held on, and finally the baggage would be safe after all!
So far so bad - but elsewhere things were looking up. With the French committing generals to their mounted elements, the Romans on my right were free to harass the crossbowmen to the brink of destruction, and even felt they had the luxury of enough time to sweep through the woods and attacking the French archers from the flank instead of toughing it out over the fortifications.
The Swiss were also starting to learn the basic rules of maths, as the two units of pikemen attempted to come to grips with 4 Roman units simultaneously - all of which could move faster than they could! How many flanks does a Swiss Pike Block have again....?
Soon the outnumbered Swiss were fighting for their lives as Roman auxilia crashed into them from all sides. Even the Longbowmen were unable to help out, as they had their own battles to fight against yet more Auxilia.
Elsewhere, the other Swiss block had fought a desperate battle against some Impact Foot legionaries, but the arrival of the Roman Equites had started to tip the balance by giving the Swiss a -1 POA for fighting in 2 directions.
With the knights being gradually shredded with repeated charges at the steadfast Roman Legionary line, and the flanks of the French defensive position being rolled up by a tidal wave of Auxilia, the French finally capitulated and slid to defeat. A resounding victory for the Romans, 25-0 !
The Romans won!
Post Match Summary
As Caesar, I am pleased to announce a comprehensive victory for my loyal legions. Although admittedly the six units of Auxilia did help quite a lot.
This was a triumph of numbers over quality, as the Frenchies simply got outnumbered and overwhelmed by more fighting troops.
Counting Auxilia and Legions, I fielded 11 fighting units to their 6 plus 2 bowmen.
This meant time after time we were able to attack them in the flank, and with their frontal attacks by knights coming up short against the Superior Legions, the opportunity to have a ++/-- combat on a handful of occasions proved decisive.
All in all though, if I can achieve a 25-0 against the later Frenchies, I can't quite see how my commanders in the Limes of Gaul are getting such a drubbing off of the hairy uncouth lot they are fighting there. Maybe I'll have to do a spot of decimation in the ranks to keep up morale next time I'm out there on a wine tasting trip eh?
We won. Hoorah!
Hannibal's Post Match Analysis
So, you copied someone else's army list and ideas, and then managd to play a bloke with only one set of figures and 24 hours of jet lag? Doesn't that make you the Big "I am" eh???
Personally I think it was a shameful display in which your troops needed a 2:1 advantage in combat units to dig themselves out of the many holes they nearly fell into.
You nearly lost your superior archers to half a dozen skirmishing crossbowmen (but hey, who needs them anyway? I never found a use for them). You also came within a bad dice roll or two of losing you baggage as that unit of 6 lancers nearly ripped apart your unit of 4 legionaries. I know you had rear support from the archers, but its rubbish isn't it - it wont make up for a 2:1 disadvantage in numbers and minuses for being near the edge of the board AND losing to lancers!
My view is that if the knights had been a bit more lucky your army could have been rolled up like an old Persian carpet. And the terrain was good for you too. Your luck will run out - mark my words.
Lets see how the next game goes then ?