Compulsary Cataphracts in Pamplona 2019
Koryo Korean vs Patrician Roman
Into the final day, after an unusually sophisticated and civilized meal followed by no additional drinks or tapas at all. Across the table was a Patrician Roman army, featuring a highly eclectic and confusing mix of troop types and figures.
The lists for the Koryo Korean and Patrician Roman from this game, as well as all the other lists from the games at Pamplona can be seen here in the L'Art de la Guerre Wiki.
The table had fallen with a plantation-covered low hill on the right hand side of the Roman deployment area which saw the Romans adopt it as an anchor for their line. This left a block of mostly foot mercenaries and legionaries to stretch across their frontage into a small field on their left.
The Korean standard list had again been wheeled out and in a sort of strange attempt to circumnavigate the plantation-covered hill the Korean mounted wing had in fact found itself out of the game facing thin air.
With a relatively slow advance by the Romans the Koreans had time and pips to bring a big chunk of their mounted contingent behind the rest of their army and across to face off the Roman Auxilia who were already heading (as usual) into the terrain.
The Wagons performed a Red-Arrows-style split in front of the Roman(or whatever they were?) skirmish screen.
This in turn served admirably to open up a gap through which the Korean mounted wing could emerge, surprising the medium foot in the open Auxiliaries as they did so.
The Wagons were now perfectly happy, positioned at odd angles and daring the Roman infantry and cavalry to try and shake themselves out into any sort of formation which could coherently launch an attack on the mobile fortresses as they wandered around the tabletop.
Lurking behind them a strike force of Korean horsemen was now poised and waiting to take advantage of any missteps or exposed flanks.
The Romans pushed forward, whilst the Koreans looked on in amusement and puzzlement as the decidedly Ibero-Greek-looking supposed Patrician Romans struggled to work out exactly what to do against the Wagons.
On the opposite flank things were far more linear. The Viking-Gothic Barbarian Foederati in the centre of the Roman line were inching forward as the Romans own Indian-lookalike archers sought to protect their flanks by lurking on the slopes of the vine-covered hill. Korean halberdiers and crossbowmen kept them honest from a close distance.
Korean Warfare in history
From my Korean War Memorial Museum Page
Suddenly the Spanish Mercenary Scutarii Auxilia punched a big hole in the wagon train formation, removing one of the two obstacles from their advance!
Everyone was stunned at this unexpectedly rapid development, not least the They Might be Romans who found themselves now facing off against a rather dangerous and Impact-stuffed Korean cavalry wing.
The Korean horsemen, with no wagon to provide an obstacle, flooded forward into the flanks and soft squishy underbellies of the Allegedly Roman left wing. Everything with a lance was now intent on using it at the highest possible speed.
In the centre the other lance-armed specialist in the Korean army were now also quickly into action, catching the very end of the line of Gotho-Viking mercenaries in the Roman centre with a slow moving but momentum-filled charge.
The Koreans initial charges on the now-open now full of cavalry wing had an immediate impact, slicing apart the Roman Cataphract force and careening into the second rank of a formation which had not had time to shake out from column to line. This looked messy, as almost everyone was gifting open flanks like Flanky Christmas had come early, but the impetus was still very much with the Hyundai-loving forces of Korea.
Overlaps might be the trick behind the one-trick, 7-strong mounted command but they did little to help the cavalrymen in the middle of the Korean line who found themselves facing better quality foes. A flurry of dice saw the Chinese defy the odds and punch a hole in the middle of the Korean formation, changing the maths on who has the most overlaps at a stroke!
As the Korean lancers continued to pummel the Roman mounted contingent the I Can't Believe They Aren't Carthaginian Auxilia poured forward into the waiting morale-sapping maw which was combat against a second war wagon. The line of scrimmage was now slowly turning through 90 degrees as the battle got more and more confused
Whilst no-one was paying any attention the Korean assault troops had mounted a daring attack up the hill and into the somewhat dispirited and puzzled as to why they were even here Indo-Roman archers.
As seemed to have been the case all weekend, the unit which was most intent on underperforming was the Elite Korean Guard halberdiers, who managed to lose 2 steps of morale and cohesion against badly injured bowmen in the melees in the vineyard
For those of you (like me) who had been wondering where the rest of the Korean mounted force had been all this time, here is your answer - slowly making their way across the table with any spare pips they could scrounge from the rather busy Commander and his 3 lancers who were fighting off all of the Auxilia in Spain right now on the Korean right flank.
The rest of the cavalry arrived like, erm, the cavalry and ploughed hopefully into the Roman centre as the Cataphracts started to turn both the screw and the flanks of the eclectic Norsemen in Roman service.
The Roman middle was fast becoming a gaping maw, as even the rarely-seen Black Marker of Death made its way onto the table to mark the end of the road for the mercenaries who had travelled all the way from Scandinavia via Rome for this battle.
The Korean mounted wing on the far right had by now pretty much finished mopping up every loose Roman-ish force and unit they could find, as well as plenty of others of indeterminate nationality as well. The flank the Koreans had initially looked to refuse had now become their stepping stone to victory!
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 Koryo Korean Commander
These Romans surely are an odd bunch - they come to battle in full disguise, but then seem to lack the subterfuge to work out how best to deal with the puzzle that my Hyundai Station Wagon Train has created for them.
Despite this being me executing essentially the same plan as I have tried for the previous three games however there did seem to be some innovation creeping in here, as I managed to redeploy a slice of my Mounted Command from left flank to right flnak, after the pedestrian Romans had wrong-footed me by not splittin their forces either side of the central hill.
But here the secrets were in the matchups, and by dint of just being really as cool as a K-Pop artist I managed to engineer the right combinations of troops, with the power and shock of the Cataphracts rolling over the foederate viking mercenaries in a tide of Poonsang steel being my personal favourite.
This has been a decent few games, with three wins and only one loss so far - I imagine if the lack of experience of my opponents with War Wagons continues we will be looking forward to more victories after dinner as well
Hannibal's Post Match Analysis
This was the first battle when you have tried to redeploy part of your mounted wing to actually fight an opponent, and my what struggles you had in then trying to run such a miassive command in two locations spread across the board!
Your redeployment was neither fish nor foul, leaving too many troops behind to command, but not taking enough with your general to quickly sweep away the exposed medium foot spanish auxiliaries in your well disguised opponents
That in turn left you undergunned against the frail looking archer command on the hill as well, so this all ended up being much more of a struggle than it really should have been
Yet again the root cause was that your opponent failed to deply as you anticipated, and your refused-flank army itself became wrong-footed by a much more predestrain and conventionally designed enemy. Will you make the same mistake in the last game?
Click here for the report of the next game in this competition