Mid and Late Medieval at Roll Call 2019
Lancastrian WOTR vs Italian Condotta
The world spun overnight, and daylight dawned in what suddenly seemed to be springtime in the suburbs of Milton Keynes. It was a day that had left the Lancastrians well positioned at the upper reaches of the table, and inevitably this did mean a top table clash against a Condottieri army.
The lists for the Lancastrian WOTR and Italian Condotta 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 both armies locked into a European agrarian mindset the terrain ended up being more agricultural than a tractor-full of scarecrows going off piste on a carrot plantation.
Hills with forests dotted a plain speckled with fields and plantations over which the English and Italian armies would fight in a precursor of a theoretical alterative Champions League semi Final in which Juve had not been knocked out by Ajax and City had not been knocked out by Spurs.
Even so, the world in which the Italians found themselves was one which an agoraphobic would be deeply troubled - they had nothing on which to anchor their left flank and a somewhat floaty hill on the opposite flank with something of a gap between it and the rear edge.
The Lancastrians were wide - and cheap - and stretched much further across an equally open space.
Straight away this looked like an envelopment.
Here I prophesy: this brawl today,
Grown to this faction in the Temple garden,
Shall send, between the red rose and the white,
A thousand souls to death and deadly night.
(Warwick, Act 2 Scene 4)
As the summer set in and the weather outside started cracking flags the starting whistle blew on day 2 with the Lancastrians immediately off and running towards the outside edge of the pasta-tastic Condottieri.
A decent initial roll saw the Northern Border Horse assume the position they had hoped to assume ever since the list had been submitted some weeks before - ready to lurch towards the flank of the opposition.
Battle of Bosworth
The flank looked like an open goal for Lancaster - right up until the cunning Italians sprung an actual honest to goodness ambush, featuring real troops!
Yes - hard as it was to believe the Italian Wise-Guys had secreted a couple of Perry plastic longbow units on top of the plantation-covered hill, making the plans of the Lancastrian light foot who had hoped to sneak into the woods and hide somewhat moot.
Things suddenly escalated dramatically with the presence of the ambush being revealed
Both sides now had stacks of troops ready to go toe to toe and eager to prove themselves, however with the Lancastrian Border Horse now poised on their flank the Italians were deeply confused.
The Italian combination of spaghetti and meatballs had here been replaced by the equally spicy halberdiers and longbowmen, who were keen to march out of ambush and attack the Lancastrian infantry in front of them .. ut someone else needed to manage the threat of the Border horse first.
We told you it would be a real ambush!
The other flank was a very different proposition for the Italians, as they sliced garlic carefully in preparation.
Here the Lancastrians were far wider than the Italian foes they faced, and with that advantage their strategy was obvious - advance past the flank.
OK, doing so with dismounted knights was perhaps not the speediest way to create an overlap but with only one mounted unit, a General, and in fact a General who had been shot dead in an earlier game, this outflank was always going to be one for the infantry.
The Border Horse had been harping on all weekend back in the camp about their looting prowess and were now keen to get to the enemy baggage for the second game in a row - combat magically happened as light horse took each other on.
Hey, Wise Guys! The Italians were in trouble in this matchup, but presumably better to lose a LH now and delay the Lancastrians for a while whilst their infantry stepped up to defend the baggage train.
Venetian Medieval History
The Lancastrian army had inched both right and left, leaving a large gap in their centre as they sought to outflank the tightly packed Condottieri.
Having learnt against the Swiss how not to stand up to pikemen in the open, the Mancunian infantry had kindly asked their mercenary crossbowmen to hold the field against the Italian pike.
With nothing in front of them in the open the Condottieri spearmen dropped into a deep morass of confusion - almost as if they were young Italian men in their 20's having left home for the first time and discovering that washing doesn't just happen by magic
Ba-da-Boom, Ba-da-Bing! The Italian light horse had dramatically outperformed their supposed status, and were resolutely holding up the Border Horse as more and more Italian reserves started to appear, shutting the door on any thought of a quick and easy baggage run.
This threatened to free up an entire hill-full of Italian infantry to sweep forwards, but the Lancastrians aggressive moves with their spear-armed javelinmen were drawing more and more Italians out to this edge of the board and away from the serious heavyweight action on the other flank.
The Italians were far more potent than the men from Fylde - as they lurched down from the hilltop the Englishmen turned and retreated.
Al'reet? The other flank was much more simple from a Lancastrian perspective - a potent mix of dismounted knights and interleaved longbowmen were fast closing in on the end of the Italian line, where mixed spear/pavisers and a smattering of Knights represented a poor set of opposition for a 2HCW/Stakes/Longbow combination.
As one flank stormed towards the enemy, one flank fell back. Italian knights, who were probably needed on the opposite flank had now appeared in numbers against the Border horse. The Lancastrian riders, outgunned, turned tail and retreated out of shot.
Eee By Gum! The skirmish-ey command and the Border Horse reassembled, daring the veal-eating and stylish Italians to come and take them on in the open and in so doing open up a huge gap to their rear.
That gap represented both risk and more importantly time to the Italians, and time was what they were starting to run out of on the opposite flank quite quickly. After all, their mancunian opponents would always have the advantage of Fergie Time on their side if they needed it
Ow do mate! After much shuffling and bluffing the two lines of heavyweights slammed into one another - this was where the battle would be decided for sure.
Penny packets of Italian knights, sprinked with parmesan slammed into a solid line of dismounted Lancastrian knights. All the time the Lord of Lancaster was the extra man, and his time was absolutely coming right here right now.
Defer no time, delays have dangerous ends.
(Reignier, Act 3 Scene 2)
Slamming into the end of the Condotta line the mounted General hammered the flank of the Italian knights, making a decisive contribution at first contact. Nice one!
The intervention of the Lancastrian Lord was explosive.
Wherever you looked Condottieri mounted were being vaporised, and into the sudden space this created the Evertonian dismounted knights steamed forward.
(Warwick, Act 1 Scene 1)
Suddenly the game had turned and now the English army seemed to have numbers and opportunities to spare as the Italians fractured into shards of shocked and battered manpower like crostini falling from a high table onto a tiled floor. This was now all proper Sorted man!
With things going well on the opposite flank there was no real reason to push in the centre or left.
Lancastrian infantry sat back, and even the lone skirmisher detachment had no requirement to stay put.
The Italian infantry were furious, realising that they were now effectively marooned as their hill had become less of a jumping off point and more of a prison as the enemy swirled before them. Sound.
That's not to say that flank had no opportunity to contribute - long range longbow fire nipped at the heels of the Italians, seeking to add a few more points of damage to an army which was shedding units like autumn leaves on the other side of the table.
Lancaster's Lord was slamming through the flanks of what seemed like large parts of the enemy force, bumping over unit after unit as the rest of his command fought bravely onwards.
Future designers of Pac Man looked on and took notes as the Italians were skittled down.
Wot you skennin' at? The hand to hand combat was brutal as the Lancastrians chopped forwards - but their fast-moving longbowmen had formed another overlap to match the actions of their Lord and master, and had started helping their foot Knights too.
The Lancastrian foot Knights had all taken hits, but in the nick of time the Condotta's lack of ability to protect their flanks had finally told.
Pac Man had nothing on the Lord of Lancaster - each turn he trampled underfoot another Led Zeppelin-loving Condottieri unit, eventually reaching the pike blocks just as they started to get the upper hand against the Scouse Foot Knights.
He was fast becoming reet proper jiggered like, but with such good hunting he carried on regardless.
Nothing was stopping the snow-plough like rampage of Lancaster's Lord through the entire Italian army.
After losing his own life in an earlier game, this battle represented a peculiar brand of redemption which only mid-level characters on Coronation Street had formerly been able to achieve.
Astonishingly, fittingly, and almost inevitably the last few hit points were claimed in spectacular fashion by the army-beating Nobleman.
Ey up, cock! Slamming into the flank of at pike unit which had cunningly managed to turn to conform in its own turn, the Mancunian Master pulled out a massive SIX to batter the shocked pikemen into despair and tip the whole army of Italy's mercenaries into total defeat.
Wot's the scran? 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
To be honest I've never been a big fan of Italian food - all that red sauce plays havoc with my angina and don't even get me started on what happens if I dare to try an Arrabiata. Seriously, Emily had to get a brand new scrubbing brush out and was on her hands and knees for days!
Luckily this lot seemed to be paralysed with fear, or more accurately had fallen in some sort of romantic love with the hills and trees they had created for their own game of hide and seek - a plan which stopped them boarding the city tram towards my array of men and camp followers with any degree of assertiveness.
Allowing a horseman as potent as the Commander of this army an unrestricted run at your side doors is always going to be a risky proposition, and so it proved here as well.
Honestly, now the army is starting to come together better than one of Bettys hot pots on a cold evening I am actually looking forward to their final outing later today
Hannibal's Post Match Analysis
This was a game of two halves, and one of those halves was rather bloodless and a smidge dull for the spectator but ultimately this whole idea of not actually fighting except where you had an advantage in men and position seems to have worked quite well. It is just a shame it apppears to have taken you and your many doltish predecessors more than 2 decades to have worked it out..
Condottieri are not exactly known for their willingness to shed the claret, especially when it is their own and I suspect the fencing to little effect on your left was a symptom of that - as well as perhaps a reluctance to step outside such an expensive looking hill into the open to be confonted by your base and uncouth rabble.
The Lord of Lancaster certainly rode his luck as hard as he rode his steed as well here, as an unlucky comobat loss by the dismountd knights protecting him could easily have exposed his flank to enemy attack and seen him unhorsed for the second time this weekend
But, a win is a win I guess, and it does sadly set you and this rag-tag army up quite well for the final and next game
Click here for the report of the next game in this competition