Dark Ages & Early Feudal at Lisbon 2023
Anglo-Irish vs Tuareg
That night saw us engage in a deeply civilized evening in which we returned yet again to the same craft beer pub, and then took on board more of the menu in the same nearby restaurant including even making it to desert, where the unique appeals of an almond flavoured nunnery-based options were hard to resist
We of course then headed for the darker and more tawny parts of seaside Lisbon's Old Town ... and as if only moments later the next morning dawned yet again bright and shiny
With some following wind our team had crept dangerously high in the rankings, putting us if not on the top table, at least on a table that was quite near the front indeed, which pitched the Anglo-Irish into a battle against the Barons Tuareg army of camel-mounted desert raiders
I'm pretty sure I've covered Tuaregs before, as obviously it's all impetuous Elite Camels and equally Impetuous swordsmen foot. The Achilles heel of the Tuaregs is that this insanity comes with nowhere near enough command and control to keep it all together and under control - especially once the game starts to break down into sustained melee.
The lists for the Anglo-Irish and Tuareg from this game, as well as all the other lists from the games at Lisbon can be seen here in the L'Art de la Guerre Wiki.
The Tuaregs managed to secure an Anglo-Irish invasion of the Great Desert of the Sahara, dropping dunes all over the table which didn't really fall into useful areas.
An oasis cluttered the Tuareg deployment area, and a brush-covered hill dominated the middle of the board, with both armies eyeing up the possibility of racing forward to claim it
The cheap and uncheerful design of the Anglo-Irish army included a potentially unreliable commander in addition to the Irish ally, and in this game he decided to exercise his prerogative and refused to play, rolling a 1 to start the battle
This left rather a large slice of the Anglo-Irish army out of the game, but also gave the Tuaregs a sandy great conundrum of a challenge - if they assaulted the hill as vigorously as they probably wanted to, there was every chance their over-eager troops would trigger the unreliable command back into life
L'Art de la Guerre hint - An unreliable General who rolls a 1 with his first pip dice renders his entire command "Unreliable" - they cannot move or shoot until either he rolls a 6 for his pips in a subsequent turn, or if any enemy troops approach within 4MU of any unit in his command
With the Tuaregs having elected to defend, the Anglo Irish did however have the dubious advantage of moving first in this battle.
Leaving the unreliable command (on the right) behind the rest of the army moved up, with the Irish allied contingent quickly claiming the advantage of the central hill and the rest of the army, under the watchful eye of the CinC, echeloning up cautiously to the left of the Irish
Ginjinha Glee! In a development that shocked almost no-one at all, it then transpired that the Tuaregs had a couple of camel warriors hidden in ambush on the edge of the table.
The English Colonist spearmen, still smarting from having been soundly outflanked and spanked in the previous game by the Byzantines, sighed wearily as they started to realise that yesterdays punishing experience may well be repeated but this time with a little more camel spittle and desert sweat
The camels however were quite happy about the position they now found themselves in - although enemy Heavy Spearmen were just about their worst opponent and by splitting their formation into even more fragments their hapless command and control challenges were multiplying by the moment
The battle was shaping up as pretty much every battle involving Tuaregs against almost anyone - the Camel Corps were lined up for an assault on the flat with a horde of screaming barbarian infantry teed up opposite the rough terrain, which in this game happened to be on top of a hill
Facing them was a line of Anglo-Irish resilience which, in the absence of one of their commands (still unreliable) was pretty decent, but perhaps a little too thin in the centre where Longbowmen were hoping (and frankly needing) to achieve a few hits on the onrushing camelry in order to be able to withstand their assault
This was a no-messing-about game of the highest order.
The Tuaregs took full advantage of the reception committee set up by the Anglo-Irish (or quite possibly had both no real choice in the matter due to their lowball C3 rating and no real choice also due to charging everyone frontally being their modus operandi) and launched a furious camel-mounted assault on the line of English knights, Colonist spearmen and Longbows
L'Art de la Guerre hint - Camels give enemy horsemen they are in combat with a -1 negative modifier in combat.
This is pretty significant against cavalry, who start on the same basic factor as Camels.
However if Camels find themselves fighting against Knights it's not quite so important - Knights start 2:1 up against Camels, so the "Camel Panic" beloved of Ancients rules writers since time immemorial, simply cancels the Knights advantage.
Once that effect is taken into account however, Knights still enjoy the defensive advantage of "Better Armour" - so the Camels have to beat the Knights by 2 on the dice to record a victory, whereas the Knights only need a simple win. Bottom line is Camels are a bit better than Cavalry, but not quite up to scratch when they come up against Knights
Bolinho Bonfire! The Impetuous nature of the Tuareg army had however meant that their sneaky on-table ambush simply didn't have time to work it's way around the end of the static Colonist spearmen on the Anglo-Irish flank before the main body of their Camel Corps got dangerously close to impaling themselves on the Colonist spearmen
The Colonists however had seen the ambushing Camels and their heinous intentions coming a mile off, and so with the main body of Camelry in a bit of a fixture pileup, amazed everyone by simply stepping forward to pile in frontally to the Camel Corps, with the advantage of 2 overlaps to give themselves a 3:1 combat in their favour!
No taking the assault at the halt with spear-buts hammered into the ground to absorb the initial shock for these chaps eh?
The Tuareg, fighting the French!
Over on the opposite wing, the crazy cameleers had careened forward at a rate of knots past the hill infested with Irish infantry - and in the process found themselves far too close to the main body of Anglo Irish infantry and knights on that flank.
Their commander decided that being overrun by fanatic camels was not the sort of thing he wanted to do without at least pretending to fight back, and stumbled into action (finally...)
Suddenly a screeching halt, as we both realised that the Camels had ignored the sole Irish light Javelineer on the brush-covered hill who had in fact been pinning some of the camels before their wild charge forwards.
A quick rejigging of combats immediately took place, which basically involved the Tuareg camels charging a slightly different "everything in sight" to the "charge everything in sight" approach they had initially hoped to adopt in the previous picture. Whether this would pan out as a good or a bad thing for the Anglo-Irish would as usual all come down to the dice
L'Art de la Guerre hint - Proper combat troops can usually pretty much ignore light infantry in most circumstances, as the presence of a light infantry unit does not "pin" enemy battle troops in their Zone of Control (ZoC).
Once the LI get into terrain however they do exert a ZoC on all enemy units.
Camels treat Brushy terrain (like what was on this hill) as "Open Ground", so they effectively ignore it - but its the LI being in terrain which gives them a ZoC, so the fact Camels ignore such terrain doesn't exempt them from having to comply with a LI ZoC when in Brush or Dunes.
On the left of the line, camels were flowing like, erm, sand around the end of the line of Colonist spearmen with uncountable hordes of 4-legged, irascible spitting beasts of the deep desert simply overwhelming the not particularly stoic infantry by sheer weight or numbers.
But while the Colonist yeomen didn't have skill, armour or training going for them, they did at least have numbers, and so while the Cameleers battered away at them from all sides their stock of hit points meant they were being eroded slightly less quickly than the English Knights fighting next to them were in turn eroding the rest of the camel horde
"Who would punch through first?" was the question vexing both commanders as they sought to read the tea leaves and divine the future of this part of the battlefield
The Camel assault on the Anglo-Irish right flank had, after it's impromptu reset, somewhat faltered as the initial impetus of the Tuareg warriors fanatical charge had come up a little short when faced with the solidity of the Norsemen and the equal ferocity of the English Knights.
Percebes Parade! Once the combats moved into the grinding slog of prolonged combat the weight of numbers and grim determination of the non-desert-dwellers was now starting to tell. With things starting to go wrong, the Tuaregs would surely have to take their rather gritty cojones in their sweaty hands and initiate a charge uphill into the waiting Irish from the Tuareg infantry?
The Anglo-Norman conquest of Ireland
The Anglo-Norman invasion of Ireland really started in earnest in 1169-71 when the Anglo-Norman forces, led by Richard de Clare (known as Strongbow) and other knights, quickly expanded their control, capturing key cities such as Waterford and Dublin.
They formed tactical alliances with local Irish kings who were rivals of the High King Ruaidrí Ua Conchobair, thus capitalizing on existing divisions among the Irish to take large swathes of territory.
King Henry II of England, concerned about the growing power of his nobles in Ireland, then intervened personally. He landed in Ireland with a large army, asserting his authority and consolidated Norman control over the lands captured earlier.
And, indeed that was what they did - the wild infantry warriors stormed the high ground held by the Irish with ferocious intent and no small degree of success, breaking through the line of defence at the first assault
But in the valley below the Anglicised knights had gained a decisive upper hand against the spent Tuareg camelry, sweeping the humped riders from the field at a stroke even as the ongoing resistance of the Colonist spearmen protecting their flank started to reach "above and beyond the call of duty" levels, especially for serfs protecting their almost certainly ungrateful masters
The fierce Ostmen and even more fierce knights on the Anglo-Irish right were now really making up for all of that lost time when they had been unreliable at the start of the game.
The wild out of control camel charge had washed out, leaving the field free for the now-enthused commander to drive his men forward and around the flank of the somewhat disorganised body of Tuareg infantry who had given something of a spanking to the Irish allied contingent, but ended up in pieces and almost impossible to control.
The English knights licked their ail-clad lips in anticipation at some spectacular flank charge opportunities in the near future
Chouriço Cheer! The Tuareg army was now scattered to the 4 quarters of the Great Sandy Desert, with every unit left intact almost entirely out of control
This made them easy pickings for the well-coordinated English, who swept forward with their knights to the fore to wreak yet more destruction on the cameleers wherever hey coudl find them
The Anglo-Irish line had - just about - held, and the furious attacks of the Tuareg had come up short.
The Result is a victory for the resilient Anglo-Irish !
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 Anglo-Irish Commander
FECK! ARSE! CAMELS! GIRLS!
Hoorah! Let us raise our glasses – be they filled with champagne or, for the teetotalers among us, a sparkling elderflower cordial – to this momentous occasion. To victory, to England, and to the unyielding spirit that courses through our veins!
FECKIN SAND UP ME ARSE! GIRLS! DRINK!
Here's to the brave soldiers, who, like a good man-servant, remained resolute in the face of adversity, and to the cunning strategists, who navigated the treacherous waters of this campaign with a sophistication befitting a carefully tied cravat. Together, we have achieved a triumph that, in its own way, rivals the successful retrieval of an unwanted engagement ring from the pocket of an alarmed policeman.
THAT WOULD BE AN ECUMENICAL MATTER! FECK !
Hannibal's Post Match Analysis
Ah, Father Jack, thou hast managed to secure a victory in this inhospitable desert against the Tuareg, a commendable feat, I suppose. Although, I must admit, the conditions must have been rather taxing for one of your... inebriated disposition.
One can only imagine the hardships thou didst face in this arid wasteland, Father. I daresay, were I in command, I would have navigated these dunes with far greater finesse, securing victory more decisively
"Indeed, my dear Father,my 'strategy' and 'tactics,' honed in my past life, would have made light work of these Tuareg marauders. The desert, treacherous though it may be, would have yielded to my brilliance.
So, Father Jack, I, who once traversed the Alps with elephants and bested Rome, do offer my grudging congratulations for this most curious desert escapade. Mayhaps one day, you shall realize the extent of my superiority on the battlefield in the next game?
Click here for the report of the next game in this competition