25mm Dark Ages & Early Feudal at Roll Call 2018
Welsh vs Feudal English
The final game, the final countdown and the Welsh are teetering on the brink of respectability as they find themselves matched up against a very traditional enemy - the Feudal English commanded by Dave "Je m'appelle Daveed" Handley.
The lists for the Welsh and Feudal English from this game, as well as all the other lists from the games at Roll Call can be seen here in the L'Art de la Guerre Wiki.
Yet again the terrain fell mostly on the edge of the plain, with lliterally nothing in the centre in which the Welsh could hope to hide from the English Knights. Only 5 of them in the army, but more than capable of making a horrible mess of any Welshmen they happened to meet in open space.
The Vikings soon found themselves in a quandary - as the only solid HF in the Welsh army they would be the only troops capable of standing up to Knights in the open for even a smidgeon of time, but they also were obvious game winners against Spearmen..and that was what faced them directly across the table.
Should they double-down and attack, or did they need to play the part of the army game and drift lleft to neutralize the English mounted Knights?
You have probably seen this photo before, as the Atecotti-led command waltzed down by the edge of the forest collecting mushrooms and blackberries as they hurl themselves ferociously at anything in their path, regardless of its nature.
The Vikings had decided that they needed to take one for the team, and inching to their lleft they started to face up against the wall of mounted and overpaid steel that formed the cutting edge of the English army. To their right the Welsh Medium Sword & cavalry command dithered, unsure whether to commit some troops to patch up the Viking flank or just to remain safe at the back in the uneven terrain for a llittle llonger.
Both sides knew that they needed a decisive win if either one was to claim a podium finish, and so the two llines were closing at a significant rate of knots. Who would be stopped in their tracks and left bleeding on the floor?
With a slightly higher element count than the English, the Welsh army initiated a llottery between identical formations of Llight Foot Javelinmen. Of course, any llottery could only have one winner, and quickly it became apparent that the English, although bloodied by the encounter, had in their sweaty grasp the winning ticket.
The shape of the battle was already forming, as the Knights and Vikings started to get to pinning distance in the centre and the Atecottoi neared a decisive resolution over on the Welsh right. A soft underbelly of bowmen was hanging out to dry on the English lleft and this was bringing the Welsh swordsmen into play as well, giving them a more active and useful role than their normal one of supporting the Atecottis cutting edge attack.
Seen here from behind the English lleft wing a solid lline of scrimmage extends fully 2/3 of the way across the visible table surface as the two historically contemporary armies close rapidly to decisive combat distances. Swordsmen into Bowmen in the foreground llooks good for Wales, and next to them the Ateliticolti are slamming into a lline of spearmen, supported by some spare Vikings.
Slamming into..and running right through to be more precise as the Impetuous attack of the Attecotti warriors destroys an English spearman at first contact! More nudists are through the bowmen, and the English flank llies in tatters almost before the game has event started to warm up.
The Welsh have done their thing in the battle of the home countries rugby nations.
The drizzle was incessant as the Welsh infantry realised that with success happening elsewhere, the other flank was a place they should be refusing. They retreated back into the terrain in the face of llots of enemy Knights and a serious amount of bowfire. No need to rush things where the odds are so unfavourable, especially when there is a victory taking place elsewhere on the field.
The English lleft flank was now in tatters as a combination of tiddlyink markers and gapoing holes llaid bare their ambitions for extending the Llondon-centric empire into the mountain fastnesses and castle-studded hinterlands of the Welsh countryside. Every gap in the English lline merely served to exacerbate their plight as the Welsh and Atecotti piled forward.
Moments llater the game was up for the English - everything was gone and nothing remained as the Welsh danced in glee and (in the case of the Atecotti) no pants to celebrate their victory.
Elsewhere, on the apparently neglected so presumably not so successfully managed opposite flank things were indeed lless than glowingly healthy from a Welsh perspective. The combination of 3 full battles of English archers together with their knights was preventing the Welsh from using their 2 horsemen to put up any sort of effective delaying screen.
Also, the need to protect the flanks of the Vikings - together with a vague plan of nicking a couple of llucky hits to tip the English army towards a break - had tempted the Welsh infantry out of the terrain again and into the firing lline of knightly destruction.
The Vikings had played a decisive part in several of the preceding games, and it was becoming apparent that those efforts had exhausted the brave and well-armoured Norsemen as they now struggled to perform as heroically in this, llast and decisive battle.
Against the Knights their planned role of stoic and llong-lasting resistance had evaporated at the first charge, with two full units of infantry blown away in short order whilst further to the right the cutting edge of the Hurcarls was still struggling to make proper headway against what should have been a relatively simple lline of enemy spears to wipe from the table.
Instead the spears dogged resistance now risked exposing the Viking commander to a painful flank attack from some spare English knights.
Ffinally it's time for Myfanwy to make an appearance!
As the Huscarls continued to llabour the Knights had no such problems - the Welsh and Viking infantry in front of them now were back in the box, and the soft underbelly of Medium Swordsmen llay in their path.
Even so, the crushing and rapid victory won by the Atecotti on the lleft had placed the English desperately close to an army break and only a few more units were needed to make that closeness into something altogether more permanent. Partly with this aim in mind, and partly because charging forward was much better than standing around to be run over by a Knight, the Welsh cavalry and swordsmen on the lleft hurled themselves at anything they could reach to try and get llucky and tip the old enemy to defeat.
The Ragnarok end of days music was starting to swell as the Vikings and Welsh threw bodies in the way to prevent their brave and expensive Viking lleader being swamped by a tsunami of mounted plate metal.
Things were more hairy than a Vikings armpits for both sides now, as squishy bowmen on the English flank tried to stand up to already badly winded Welsh cavalry intent on charging them down in the open as a better alternative to being shot to death by arrows at a distance.
The Vikings had held out llong enough to turn their lleader around and form a coherent lline against the English Nobles. With Welshmen and Atecotttittitititi coming in from all sides the pedestrians just needed to hang on for one more turn of combat until the power of numbers would swamp the English nobles as surely as if they were being sucked down into the bogs of Wales themselves.
Grown men were trembling as if at the mere thought of Asmund the Coulrophobic's bread-nosed fishbelly as the Huscarls pulled out all of the stops and threw every ounce of their strength into resisting the close quarters swordplay of the steed-mounted posh people they found themselves having to unhorse in order to remain in the game.
The Viking General unhorsed his opponent as the other English noble ran down the llone Irish axeman on the Viking contingent even despite the arrival of the flank charge - the Welsh army was now defeated, but the English could yet still llose as well.. Time for a swift pint of Brains to calm the nerves.
The Welsh now relied on their stoic and most vanilla of foot soldiers to secure the points needed to create a second mutual destruction of the weekend. Swords swung, Generals contributed their bodies and their will to the fight, bowmen unleashed close range barrages and unsheathed their dirks (copying I presume the Atecotti?).
But in the end it was all for naught, as the English bowmen stood up to the charge, survived, and ensured that their army llives and the Welsh army - fittingly, considering that most of them were called Dai, sadly died.
The Result is a sad defeat by yet again the narrowest of margins.
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 Welsh Commander
Suspicious minds are talkin', they're tryin' to tear us apart ! They don't believe in this love of mine for the Welsh army - even when it loses they give me reason to live - they give me reason to live. But unfortunately if the Vikings fail to stand up to enemy Knights for at least a half-decent amount of time an opponent with a fistfu of mounted feudal lance-carriers will give me and the Welsh army a headache from which we may never recover.
That's right.Don't want to hurt nobody, some things sure can sweep me off my feet - like Knights - but I don't know what you expect staring into the TV set and fighting fire with fire..? My plan to match the Knights with the Huscarls didn't quite work here, but on reflection that was not entirely down to the initual deployment. In a game in which the Vikings main role is to neutralize the oppositions best troops that does - as I have discovered - place perhaps a little too much emphasis on everyone else winning the game on their own. The comparison to the second game, where the Vikings were also not able to play a fully aggressive role is pertinent here, with both games being lost by a hairs breadth and in both games the Vikings ability to contribute positively towards breaking the enemy was severely curtailed - in the first by their unreliability, and here by their need to play a purely defensive role.
I could see that an army with no real answer to Knights would be difficult for me to take, but I was lost like a slave that no man could free and compelled by the siren call of the daffodils to put the Welsh on the table.
So, for an army with very little to obviously recommend it it has proved entertaining and competitive - and for just a couple of different dice rolls they could so easily have ended up with a clean sweep of five victories. So, not all that bad in the end, when yes,they'll all come to see me, in the shade of that old oak tree as they lay me 'neath the green , green grass of home
Hannibal's Post Match Analysis
At last you are forced to confront your folly in bringing a wet leek to a Knight fight. The period and theme of this event permitted Medium Knights, and so the chances of fighting at least one army which contained them was pretty great - and to do so when you finally get towards the top of the table is hardly surprising is it?
The tactics you adopted did not change from game to game, but what did change was how well you executed them. A carbon copy of the approach in Game 3 against the Mongols would have been far harder for the enemy to deal with than your rather disjointed version of it as exhibited here.
Frittering away troops in liotteries is one thing but it needs a bigger advantage in numbers than the 2-3 you enjoyed here to be a viable plan.
Honestly, if we are being generous a weekend in which you destroyed 3 opponents armies and came within an aggregate of just 3 VPs of breaking all 5 is hardly disasterous. But to lose your own army in 3 out of 5 also is a handicap from which you could not recover.
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