Mid and Late Medieval at Roll Call 2019
Lancastrian WOTR vs Jurchen Chin
Roll Call 2019 - a deeply medieval theme for this years outing into 25mm plastic madness. With an elephant-restricted theme and a load of Perry figures which last saw light of day at Devizes 2017 clamouring to be let out of the box yet again the choice of army was leaning inexorably towards a proper medieval force.
With Condotta-type armies a bit overcooked, and in particular a wish to get a half-decent amount of longbowmen onto the tabletop the selection of a Wars of the Roses combo seemed a good idea. Genetically Yorkists should have been my choice, but their extras seemed a little less inspiring and I also wanted to chuck in some artillery as well as avoiding the Mediocre Pike so Lancastrians it was.
The army was built around a not very solid core of Mediocre heavy foot halberdiers and a gunne, a wide but hopefully weak enough to attack command which could see the artillery get a decent go at shooting. The other two Medieval battles comprised a sort of poor mans copy of the Paonians from Bournemouth with a mix of Medium Foot bow, crossbow and javelinemen to lurk in terrain and a bigger proper WOTR Battle of mixed dismounted knights and Longbowmen, some with stakes.
Wot's the scran? Wrell, the first game up saw this motley and untried force setting up opposite a wall of Jurchen Chin shooty chargey cavalry commanded by honorary Frenchman Daveed Hand-ley- a development which necessitated the employment of ambush markers early doors.
The lists for the Lancastrian WOTR and Jurchen Chin 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.
With the Great Gonnes deplyed in the centre, the Jurchen were already in two minds as to how best to respond
The overall field was pretty open, and with a much faster and more mobile enemy the Lancastrians were immediately and unnaturally put onto a defensive mindset, utterly refusing their left flank
This allowed the right hand end of the "box" to creep along and take advantage of the terrain on that flank to join the centre of the army in wheeling outwards to try and force the opposition to commit
Basically I had no idea what to do at all.
Wot you skennin' at? The Jurchen horsemen did not fancy a rather pointless faceoff on a wider frontage than they themselves could muster and so started marching across the table to mass on the Lancastrians left.
They pushed skirmishers forwards against the corner of the Lancastrian box deployment, allowing the Mancunians own skirmishers to trade some rather pointless shots with the enemy. Sorted!
WOTR as GOT
Eee By Gum! The Great Gonne of Stockport barked out repeatedly as the enemy swirled in front of it
Flying through the air with a terrible unearthly whistling sound, each cannon ball that struck home did serious damage against the lightly armed foe, sending them back to whence they had come from at some speed
I have heard it said, unbidden guests
Are often welcomest when they are gone.
(Bedford, Act 2 Scene 2)
Ow do mate! The Lancastrian infantry were nigh on spittin' feathers bi now, and became bemused to see the enemy running away from base peasants such as themselves. Perhaps these exuberantly clad horse warriors were not as brave on the battlefield as their choice in brightly pattered colour co-ordinated clothing might suggest they were in the Shanghai clothing boutique changing rooms from whence they had clearly started their world-conquering journey?
WOTR in 10 minutes
By now the cautious advance of the Lancastrians had shaken out into a pretty coherent line stretching diagonally across the table - rather unique for the usually tiny-armied Medieval theme, and certainly a shock to the Jurchen horsemen who had expected no doubt to find more gaps than this in their enemy.
Al'reet? The Lancastrian theory - of a slightly sub-standard quality army that looked both vulnerable enough to engage but which was complex to work out which bits were actually weak and which were tough - was seemingly working to draw the Jurchen into bow range as they probed the Lancastrian defences.
But no line can stretch forever without some risk, and the Lancastrian king/duke/lord/mayor had found himself adding his considerable horse-mounted potency to complete the width of the overall formation.
This in itself was no issue, but with the Jurchen having brought along a detachment of impressed Chinese crossbow-armed foot suddenly the great nobleman found himself being pincushioned by volleys of crossbow bolts.
Farewell, faint-hearted and degenerate king,
In whose cold blood no spark of honour bides.
(Westmorland, Act 1 Scene 1)
Unable to recover in time, he absorbed three consecutive rounds of hits and was removed from play!
Seeing a weakness where the Lancastrians had advanced their Medium foot out of the safety of the terrain on their right, the Jurchen horsemen suddenly decided to launch a ferocious charge taking in crossbowmen and halberdiers in their path. The question was suddenly would it be owt er nowt for the Lancastrians from here?
The impact was sudden and dramatic - losing crossbowmen was no surprise, but to see the Heavy Foot also swept away by the Jurchen nobility was a shock the men of Bootle had not expected at all.
A massive chasm appeared in the centre of the Lancastrian line, and the pressure was suddenly on the Northern Border horse extending the Lancastrian wing to swing back into the centre and redress the balance at the end of a couched lance. Nice one!
Ey up, cock! The nimble-footed and aggressive Lancastrians swarmed all over the Jurchen like Manchester United fans at a prawn sandwich buffet.
The speed across the ground of the Northerners was a sight to behold as the outnumbered Jurchen realised that their initial breakthrough was seemingly part of the Lancastrian plan, as it had allowed the enemy plenty of flanks and opportunities to exploit them. Sound.
Let me embrace the sour adversaries
For wise men say it is the wisest course.
(King Henry VI, Act 3 Scene 1)
With the heat of battle raising the blood of both sides ever more Jurchen cavalry decided that now was the time to commit to combat - their shooting had softened up the stoic Lancastrian foot a little, but they themselves were starting to suffer from sustained longbow archery. Basically both sides were reet proper jiggered like by now.
Now that the Lancastrian commander on that wing had already fallen the northerners were unlikely to be able to respond fully to the multiple threat vectors
But both sides knew that they could ill afford to wait much longer as the game could easily slip out of both sides' abilities to actively try to manage the outcome anyway as shooting losses mounted up for both armies.
The fox barks not when he would steal the lamb.
(Suffolk, Act 3 Scene 1)
But whilst the Lancastrians were vulnerable to sustained aggression the Jurchen were a tiny force, high in quality but low in numbers.
This inevitably meant the more incoherent the combat line became the more the tide of battle swung towards the house of Lancaster - as every bogged down enemy horsemen became a target for being surrounded and unhorsed by mud-spattered Northern infantry who were well chuffed.
The Jurchen tide had washed away much of the Lancastrians Blackpool Beach of defence, but in the end all tides recede - and the Jurchen were just marginally the first to crumble like a sandcastle on blackpool beach - victory for Lancaster!
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 Lord "Chuck" Norris of Weatherfield, the Lancastrian WOTR Commander
Well, what a bunch of silly old sausages those Jurchen Chin proved to be in the end. Coming down here, all dressed up like they were on their way to Manchester Pride weekend with their prancing horses and their clever-sounding recurved bows, but in the end a dose of proper Northern tea and biscuits did for them, with a side order of flank attacks just for good measure
This did start off like a day in which I drop my spoon into my porridge and then end up locking myself out of the Kabin as my porridge-greased hands fail to keep a keen hold on the Yale as I fumble in my trousers for the way in - but eventually proper Northern heart and soul, and not in a Wigan Pier manner at that, proved to be reet proper and we won anyway
As a first test of this army I am not sure how good this day will have been given that all of the other armies are proper Medieval types, but at least we have gotten that tricky French scallyway Daveed Handlay out of the way early doors.
I bet Rita will be singing in the Rovers this lunchtime, but you won't catch me saying that I think she's the fat lady just yet.
Hannibal's Post Match Analysis
Good God Man, what hapless tomfoolery was this that barely salvedged a victory in a game where your tactics seemed to change more often than the undercrackers of your no doubt terrified men?
Only the basest fool sets out on a mission with no preparation, yet here you were with as usual never having dropped these plastic warriors onto the table at all! No wonder they knew not how to stand next to each other, or how far across the tabletop they would reach.
Against a foe so cunning and fast as the fox like this one, the time was for caution and inchwise advances - not a slow start followed almost immediately by an eager gallop as if a greyhound unleashed from the traps! And quite how you decided that your mounted Lord was best served by attempting to rally instead of just getting out of range or hiding behind one of those peasant halberdier chaps who I believe are brough along specifically to take arrows and bolts for their master is utterly beyond me.
You have lived, somehow, to fight another day - but the auspices are not good that things will get better in the next game
Click here for the report of the next game in this competition