Classical & Roman in Bournemouth 2019
Galatians vs German
Third game of five across the weekend, and this time the hairy breechless Galatians found themselves facing off against an equally hirsute and unreformed mob of maniacs - the Germans.
The lists for the Galatians and German from this game, as well as all the other lists from the games at Bournemouth can be seen here in the L'Art de la Guerre Wiki.
This was an army very similar in structure to the Galatians, relying on Impetuous Elite Heavy Swordsmen, but also capable of adding in a few extra toys in the shape of a variety of German tribal allies and even a Late Roman deserter command. But the clever money is on going big with what you are good at, meaning the army was very similar indeed to mine.
With neither side keen on terrain to mess up their close formation foot and cavalry the board was relatively clear with only a couple of fields scattered around to occlude the otherwise-bald playing surface. On such a table the Galatians had a quandary - no secure flank meant the Paonians were exiles to the far left and the Galatian horsemen command was floating on the right of the central block of Heavy Foot.
The Germans doing well
Unreliability struck! The Galatian horse and chariotry didn't fancy this one and elected to sit out the game until the enemy came close enough to attack them. This was going to cause me somewhat of a problem if I wished to attack (which, unsurprisingly.....)
L'Art de la Guerre hint - As well as Allied Generals, you can cheapen your normal generals too by making them Unreliable to save a few points. This does mean that if they roll a 1 for their first pip dice they can't move until they become reliable again, but hey, that's only one game in 6, right?
Anyways, why give up on a successful plan even if something significant has happened to change the circumstances and make it dangerous and potentially unviable? With now nothing in play to protect their right the main line of Galatian infantry still surged forward using the Paonians as blockers and skirmishers to extend their line.
With a fairly simple plan in the middle the Galatian CinC had pips to burn and had allocated two of them to the Unreliable commander in an attempt to persuade him to join in the fun. And, astonishingly it worked ! The cavalry came stutteringly back online.
L'Art de la Guerre hint - if the CinC allocated 2 pips out of his allowance to an unreliable subsidiary or allied commander that gives them an effective +1 on their next command role, meaning they come back online with a 5 or a 6, not just a 6. Once reliable they then have to re-roll their "actual" pips for that turn.
The newly re-emboldened cavalry and chariots rumbled forward at a rate of knots towards the seemingly undefended flank of the rapidly advancing German infantry. This may persuade the Germans to commit their reserve to protect this flank, removing them as a threat capable of moving into the centre and exploiting flanks and overlaps in what looked set to be a stodgy and prolonged infantry battle.
That dammed field was certainly causing problems for everyone as the two lines of close formation foot considered what to do. With their mounted wing now back in play there was some logic in the Galatians not exactly rushing forwards with their foot in the middle as holding back would now give some time for their horsemen and chariots to advance and distract the Germans on their left flank.
The Galatian army stretched out much further across the tabletop than the more well engineered and deeply deployed Germans
Nowhere was this more obvious than on the Galatian left where the teutonically inspired enemy simply petered out as the Galatians just kept extending.
Despite not being entirely enamoured of enemy cavalry even the Paonian javelnmen were fairly confident that width and numbers would see them right in the current matchup.
The Germans were all newly painted Forged in Battle troops, and very nice they were too.
With a rumble of wheels and a clatter of hooves the reanimated Galatian mounted wing was swiftly in position to harass the flanks of the well-painted Germans.
They in turn had frantically reassembled an ad-hoc Kampfgruppe made up of their own Medium cavalry from two separate commands to try and shore up their exposed flank.
Width was proving to have a quality all of its own as usual, as the two lines of historically separated barbarian swordsmen closed rapidly at the right hand end of the German line. With the Germans and Galatians being pretty much equally matched, yet again it was falling to the Paonians to provide the tricky extra problem for the already essentially transfixed enemy to deal with.
The rest of the two armies infantry were much less keen to get to grips with each other, with both formations seemingly waiting to see the outcome of the cavalry battle on the far flank before committing to any further aggressive advances
More Germans doing well
Horseflesh battle was rapidly joined as the two lines of identically-qualified and rated troops slammed into one another at great pace, with swords and javelins at the ready. Would wicker and wheels triumph over additional facial hair and caffeine-based shampoo'ed hairstyles?
The answer to that question arrived with the speed and decisiveness of a German high speed railway train travelling at full speed down a non-speed-limited autobahn constructed on a 45 degree slope on an especially icy day
It was a fast and, for the Galatians, a hard and painful lesson was doled out as the Germans decisively won all of the ostensibly equal-odds combats in double quick time
The overall outcome of this round of combat was little more than to leave the Black Sea barbarians carrying a bucketful of markers with them into the next round of melee!
Heck yeah, we have no relevance to this report in any meaningful way but we can still stand here and point at your inadequacy as a commander. Pah!
The Galatian cavalry commander had been hoping to lead his men to victory from a position of complete safety lurking at the back of the line of men and machines, but now he was suddenly dragged into a damage limitation exercise. Sneaking forward he attempted to help at least one of his team to survive for another bound or two by adding in an overlap to try to offset the negative effects of the hit they had taken in the earlier rounds of melee.
With their cavalry struggling to keep a foothold in the game the Galatian infantry realised not only that they might need to win the battle unaided, but also that with the Germans having sent cavalry from two commands over to counter the threat of the Galatia's own mounted wing that their enemy may well be struggling to devote enough command and control capability to reorganise their infantry for the coming battle.
The Galatians surged forward as the Germans tried desperately to shake themselves out of march column.
The Germans doing well
With bright sunlight streaming down on the battlefield from the overhead lights the two armies were now locked in serious but well lit hand to hand combat. On the Galatian left the extra width afforded by the Paonian pirates was being put to excellent use as the allied command swung in to launch a potentially devastating flank assault on an enemy struggling to do much more than match the Galatians man for man all along the line.
What's Going on Here Then?
This Paonian command is very cheap at just 28 points for 6 units, making it barely more expensive in points terms than just 2 of the German's Heavy Foot warriors. The extra width, and extra flexibility and speed on the flanks this affords the Galatian army is pretty cool.
As with the opposite flank the almost perfect symmetry between the two forces troop types means the combats which are taking place are pretty much all identical, and so are largely down to the luck of the dice. Unlike the mounted battle however this time the Galatians are coming off consistently better all along the line much to the shock and horror of the moustachioed men from Munchen.
The Germans have pressed their initial advantage in the mounted battle remorselessly and now are sweeping away the battered and tattered dregs of the once-optimistic Galatian mounted wing.
Instead, the Galatian general is starting to rethink his plan to try and help, and instead is contemplating fleeing in fear and shame away from the unfolding disaster.
With the mounted wing swinging towards Germany the main lines of infantry also clash in the centre of the park. Yet again these two mirror image armies manage to match up identical troops all along the battle line with only the occasionally engineered overlap to render it anything other than a luck-fest from this point onwards.
The German cavalry riding their Audi-inspired horses had pretty much finished off the shellshocked Galatians by now, and were callously using their newfound weight of numbers to show off their far better and more time consuming basing style in a bid to embarrass the remaining enemy.
This seemed to be the German's moment as the first wave of close quarters charging in the centre of both lines turned out to favour the sausage-eaters over the sausage-wavers despite the evenness of both in pure capability terms.
It was only the left flank where things seemed to be ebbing in the way of the Galatian foot - their heroism seemed to be inspired by the need to show off their prowess to their allied contingent of Paonians - although to be fair having overlaps and flank attacks certainly helped as well. The German cavalry had been unable to survive even the initial envelopment and now the flank of the main infantry line looked seriously at risk too.
The Germans right flank was disappearing faster than an unmodified emissions test on a VW Passat as the Galatians gained the upper hand. Seeing a chance to do some pirate looting the Paonian commander dragged his fellow horseman behind him and set sail for the German encampment in a rapid and direct pork knuckle hunting expedition
Cavalry battles can be decisive quickly, especially without armour on either side and this had already proved the case on the opposite wing. Using the cowardly and ignominious Break Off move the Galatian commander extracted himself and his closest cadre of friends from the welcoming clutches of some Germanic pedestrians and backpedalled furiously away from the line of failure.
The Germans loved order, and quickly fell into a neat tidy line as the Galatian general was forced to evade away from their rapid blitzkrieg-like advance.
The cavalry commander was leading the German horse a merry dance as he fled, hopelessly outnumbered and yet still acutely conscious of the importance of his role as a blocker (of sorts) to keep the rapacious Germans from autobahning it all the way to the Galatian camp.
L'Art de la Guerre hint - If there are no enemy forces within 4 MU a mounted unit has the possibility to move 3 times in one turn. Were the Galatian General and his retinue to be lost the Germans would be advancing a massive 48cms each turn towards the camp.
The opposite flank was turning out the opposite results while the mounted debacle was unfolding. Lead by their great King the Galatians and Paonians had made short work of the supposedly resilient German foot and had left them shattered and shredded, with only 2 of the Germans units still fully intact.
With two commands worth of leadership in play the mopping up of the German right wing continued apace as Paonian pirates flooded round the static enemy formation to assail them from all sides. Off in the distance the Paonian commander can be seen looting the exceptionally expensive German field kitchens with their soft close drawers and expensive Corian worktops.
As the Paonian commander returned with his newly looted collection of sausage cooking implements the number and variety of assaults on the embattled Germans continued to ruse exponentially. The Galatians now had the luxury of moving troops and expending time to tee up ever more devastating attacks in the near future.
Time and troops were fast running out for the Teutons. This flank had inflicted a heavy toll on their army, with 2 Cavalry, the baggage train and 2 infantry already gone for a whopping 12 break point body count. The final two warband units surely wouldn't be too far behind.
With the flank seemingly wrapped up the Galatian CinC felt confident enough to start driving his unengaged forces back towards the muddled middle of the table to pile more pressure on the melees taking place there. His infantry in the centre had been coming off somewhat the worse in what was a long and drawn out hand to hand slog between the two sets of fierce yet stodgy and resilient barbarian footmen but in notching up a good number of hits in the process the Galatian centre was more than contributing to the possible downfall of the German army
Arriving at pace into the right flank of the German centre the Galatians hit hard and fast. The German skirmishers who had been denied pips and were just lurking about after the main battle of the proper infantry had gotten started suddenly also found themselves coming under a hail of javelins from the Paonian pirates and Galatia's own skirmishing javelineers, further tipping the Germans towards defeat.
A loincloth-wearing adolescent German was the final straw as the Galatianic-Paonian alliance forces hurled sticks to notch up the final hit to take them to another glorious victory!
The Result is a victory for the Galatians yet again!
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 Galatian Commander
Aaaah, another game, another victory for a clean sweep of success on the first day - a series of results which no doubt justifies me spending the evening undertaking a clean sweep myself to ensure there are no fartleberries sullying the old chocolate starfish when I rejoin the battle tomorrow.
Despite the setback of the cavalry debacle the rest of the battle went according to plan - I managed to get identical matchups all across the table with an army which was pretty much a mirror image of mine, and then won through sheer luck on the dice in most places to record a famouos victory!
This I feel was a result both of the inspiring speeches and exhortations I delivered to my men whilst staring down their massed ranks of overt giggling pins, which inspired them to fight better than their more well clad Germanic cousins
And of course the flouncing pirates of Paonia also chipped in with a bit of succesful baggage handling and flank nibbling to finally tip the opposition over the edge and into the bin of defeat.
Hannibal's Post Match Analysis
See what happens when you are forced into a position when marching straight forwards in a long line is not a viable option? Your madness of a command structure and idiocy of an army choice nearly came totally unhinged by the presence of a few simple bits of terrain and a non-obliging enemy who had the temerity to devise a plan of their own rather than being part of your own strategy for success.
In truth here you were moments from defeat and it was probably only the tri-fold command structure of the opposition which gave you a chance to hang on for victory. Imagine if the cavalry force which so quickly destroyed you had been made up of 4 horsemen from one enemy command rather than two pairs of two? That would have allowed it to speed down the flank and catch your fleeing general and then sweep onto your baggage in short order - when instead it was spending pips from two different commanders, both of whom were also busy with actually fighting your enemy.
The Paonians yet again proved the decisive element, gifting you the theft of the enemy baggage for a 4-point swing in your favour and also yet again rolling up the flanks to multiply the effectiveness of your supposedly battle-winning infantry
This is the first game in which you have had to think a little - it was an unedifying sight, and I hope to see you struggle even more in your next game
Click here for the report of the next game in this competition