Field of Glory Renaissance Take-Away inthe Southern League in Clevedon 2013
Maratha vs Later Jin Chinese
Another game, another billiard table - the only difference being that this opponent would be rich in cavalry and shooting ability - the Jin Chinese.
The lists for the Maratha and Later Jin Chinese from this game, as well as all the other lists from the games atthe Southern League in Clevedon can be seen here in the Field of Glory Renaissance Wiki.
The table was not at all dominated by two patches of scrub which were so small, thin and unimpressive that they would have struggled to do credit to a pre-pubescent albino's armpits and which were situated almost on the centreline of the table, in the sort of use of the work "centreline" which means "a lot closer to your opponents side but not that close that you can't imagine maybe having a punt at getting there first and contesting them" sort of way.
With the whole table to fill, and lots of enemy mounted around the Maratha had interspersed shot and spearman and were hoping to race as far forward as possible to engage the enemy and limit their time to redeploy. The lancers were once again deployed on the flanks in a plan which either demonstrated that the success of the previous game was not a fluke and that these Maratha knew what they were doing, or showed a lack of imagination do deep that you could fill it with salt water, drop it in the ocean and call it the Unimaginationarius Trench.
The two armies raced towards each other, with the Indians checkerboard formation being more a symptom of the need to leave the warrior foote behind while they moved up the HF spearmen than any attempt to ape the European formations of equivalent years. Although with the musketeers being warriors and so unable to move as part of a division anyway, perhaps it also owed something to the suspicion that their opponent wasn't a complete and utter numpty and would probably have noticed such blatant cheating with relative ease.
With the linear deployment leaving little room for subtlety, and the Chinese ability to redeploy at will through their extensive use of the horse as both a means of efficacious on-battlefield tactical transport as well as a form of culinary ingredient were all conspiring to mean that the Indians had already spotted that they may only get a few good opportunities to engineer an advantage - and when one came along on the edge of the table the battle was joined. Invoking the spirit of Rajasthan, the two sides got to grips with an Indian lancer charge at some bow armed Chinese cavalry - who obliged by going DISR at impact. The Maratha had more units to move up in overlap too, so this was a very nice start to proceedings indeed…
The Chinese were generally holding back their handful of infantry, and with most of the horse on the near side of the table were looking for openings against the advancing wall of Indian pedestrians.
Getting in amongst the Maratha
The two lines closed surprisingly quickly, forcing the Indian skirmishers to fall back through their own men and allow the real shooters to open up… gunfire crackled across the battlefield in a terrible foretaste of the machinegun chatter of the poppy filled fields of Flanders in World War One...but this time admittedly with such limited effect that the Jin would have been probably more at risk had they been attempting to walk across a field of poppy seeds this placing themselves at risk of slipping on the mass of pods underfoot than they were from the inaccurate musketry of the Maratha troopers.
The Maratha forces had assembled a solid line against the Chinese, and with more lancers moving up to support the unit already engaged the Indians had high hopes of forcing the issue on the left flank against an enemy who would do little other than shoot and skirmish in front of them. It had occurred to few if any of the Maratha troops however that "shoot and skirmish against them" was a tactic which the Jin were likley to favour and to have had no little degree of practice at, and in fact was one that they and indeed their forefathers the Mongol Hordes of Chingiz Khan may well have employed all the fricking time whilst building an empire the like of which the world had never seen before or since. So it might actually be quite good.
Whats actually happening now?
The Chinese already dominate the two pieces of terrain and will be difficult to shift. The Indians have been forced to try and cover the whole table - which even they struggle to do. The pattern of the game is already starting to develop as the Maratha forces attempt to inch forwards maintaining a solid line while the Chinese use their Superior horse archers to probe for weaknesses and concentrate shooting on the wall of Indians adancing towards them
The Indians, trying to force the pace have taken a risk in engaging the Q'ing cavalry on the left, but with plenty of support in the area, they feel it is worth doing even at this early stage
But the advantage of numbers and cohesion enjoyed by the Indian lancers was quickly overturned by the better armoured and general advantaged of being general-led enjoyed by the Chinese - the Chinese recovered cohesion and the Indians lost it, and soon the Indians were Fragged and down a base - added to the POA they were down due to the wicked lack of foresight inherent in the lack of selection of "armoured" in their morning visit to the, erm, armoury and basicallly things did not look good at all…
Inevitably, the Fragged marker was soon followed by a rout, and Chinese cavalry had punched a hole through the Indian lines…Chinese were going to be roaming free in the Indian rear areas, not a pretty sight at all
On the opposite flank Chinese shooting was having an unexpectedly effective effect against the massive units of Maratha spearmen, with units of dead-eye bow armed 4 horsemen killing bases and inflicting crippling cohesion test failures on 8-strong supported and General-led Indian infantry who were proving that being "unarmoured" meant that they not only lacked armour, but that they were all carring surgically inserted electromagnets of sufficient power that the tips of the Jin arrows actually accellerated towards them in flight, never to miss and always to strike home with great penetration. The Indians plan of pushing the Chinese back with spearmen and allowing their own shooters to chip in with some well-aimed shots was being undone moment by painful dice-laden moment.
In the middle the Chinese shooting was also proving equally deadly to the rather stunned Indian pedestrians who had been led to believe that all they needed to do was march up to the loose formation Orientals, poke them with a few sticks and victory would be theirs. Admittedly here the firepower was being provided by significantly larger numbers of shooters as the huge Chinese infantry units opened up at close range. However the Maratha foot were dropping like flies whilst the Indian musketry was having almost no effect whatsoever - this wasn't in the Maratha Bollywood script at all..
Chinese warfare almost in this era ... sort of
The Maratha right was by now in serious trouble - another "lets hope we get lucky at impact because we will be down in melee by a POA" lancer attack had been needed to stave off a charge on the Fragmented infantry, but this was only putting sticking plaster on an open wound, and as the lancers carefully avoided a stunning victory and impact and instead slumped to a demoralising defeat things went from bad to worse…
On the left the Indians were somehow at least maintaining a fairly solid line in the face of the repeated harrying attacks from the Jin horse archers, but wherever the Indians showed up in strength the Chinese were able to simply up sticks and walk away from the battle, and the need to deal with the threat to their front meant that the Maratha forces had little choice but to leave the backfield to the unit which had gotten down the flank and which was even now returing to the fray and was threatening the Indian lancers..
Like a huge pile of several months worth of Indian restaurant fliers which have been stuffed through your letterbox and which you have piled up on a horizontal kitchen surface waiting for a "Recycling Wednesday" that you constantly forget, and which are one day then brushed by the tail of your cat the Indian foote collapsed and spread themselves across the battlefield floor, breaking from base losses in the middle in the face of a sky black with arrows and crossbow bolts… an 8-strong unit broken by shooting alone !
The Maratha right flank was also collapsing rather more conventionally, this time like a deck of cards, and the evaporation of the serious troops was beginning to tell as the disintegration of combat capable units started exposing the supporting bowmen to the weight of a Chinese cavalry charge. Not something they were particularly happy about, or indeed expected to be capable of repulsing in any meaningful way either
Steppe Type Horsemen..
The entire field was being cleared of Indians with ruthless efficiency by the dead-eye shooting of the Chinese horse and foote. None of the Indian units seemed to be able to find their range, but they themselves were dropping like flies in the Rajisthani heat.
The in theory second line Maratha bowmen were unfortunately a bright spot in the swelling gloom, with the relatively unimpressive achievement that they at least did marginally better than the spears, standing for a turn before being swept away..
Another moment of futile and extremely temporary and unexpected resistance, as a Fragged infantry unit stands its ground momentarily as the red tide engulfs them
Whats actually happening now?
The Maratha army is crumbling away almost across the entire front, as continuous Chinese bowfire, often from Superior units, is causing a steady drip-drip of base losses and cohesion test failures which the Indian generals are unable to do anything to correct.
The Indians have moved their musketeer units in the middle into a place from which they can start to threaten the Chinese infantry and contest the terrain, but these efforts are being undermined by the dissolution of the supposed anchors of the Maratha line - the large spear blocks. There are no sweeping grand tactical developments, just erosion by massed bowfire, being countered by ineffectual musketry on a wide frontage
The Maratha army stares defeat in the face, and that face is a Chinese looking face sat on top of a horse and squinting down the shaft of an arrow notched in a recurved bow, and the Maratha face looking back has long since waved victory a fond if somewhat folorn farewell in this game as everywhere Indian troops are fleeing in abject terror pursued by the clinical, ruthless and efficient Chinese mounted formations
The left flank is the only good point for the Indians, and that is only because the Maratha are holding their own and not collapsing in an ignominous display of martial incompetence rather than actually achieving anything of note. The Chinese probably aren't trying that hard over there though, so its sort of cheating to claim the Indians are doing well.
The last vestiges of resistance in the middle crumble, and the Maratha army is basically two hollowed-out wings, one of which is a bit rubbish, to the degree that if they were a soarding Indian Eagle they would fail to get off the ground and instead would be limping around the floor of the aviary in a sad pathetic circle mewling like a baby kitten..…
The right wing is firmly on the verge of collapse - infantry try to stand firm against the final charge of the Chinese horse, now distaining their bows and closing in for the kill… but it is not enough. The umpire calls Time, and the game ends, with the Maratha only a couple of units from utter defeat having done no damage whatsoever to the Quing army save a few irrelevant base losses…
The Result is a thumping loss but not quite a total wipeout..
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 Hannibalipuripathi
Post Match Summary from the Maratha Commander
Well, I have enjoyed easier days at the office, but I suppose salvaging a draw, or at least not a defeat is a start on which I can look to build even more success in future games - of which of course there only is one left.
The terrain did me no favours here, and against such a foe as this it was always going to be tough and I was always going to need the rub of the green - but luck deserted me in her capricious way and even though I started well with a slight advantage which I bravely seized and attempted to throttle in the shape of the lancers against the Jin horsemen, they rallied and slipped out of my grasp in the end, and it was a series of such close matchups descending into lopsided combats as the game progressed all across the board that undid me in the end
I think with marginally better dice this could have been a much better result and indeed a win perhaps. But the size and number of my army is still worth much in it;s own right, and it is good to be able to prove that size does still enjoy a quality all of it's own.
One more win or draw and I will also go through the weekend undefeated and with my baggage fully intact at all times. Everything to play for then...
Hannibalipuripathi's Post Match Analysis
Tor mai ke chodho and tere gaand mein keede paday after such a display of ineptitude and cowardice !
Any more displays like that and I will personally come over from India and teri mi di kussi mey tera sarra khandan ko ggussa ker rakhdoungi. Surely you could see that there was no real strategy in attempting to send unarmoured lancers in against armoured cavalry? And how did you think your men would ever get to the terrain before an enemy who started closer to it than you? Even a rundi ke tatti pe biathne wala makhi could see that if these were your best strategies, your strategy was at best, another man's worst.
The stench of chipkali ke gaand ke pasine would need to be strong and under my very nose to keep me awake through any explanation of what you thought you were doing in this shambolic attempt to gain even half a point by positive action. The only saving grace was that your army was just too big to be beaten in the time allowed, and that is hardly a ringing endorsement of your martial prowess, as I doubt very much the Rajput Princes you wish to claim bloodline from would see not losing through attrition as being worthy of their nobility in the slightest you simpering backarchodu
You are not dining tonight on the fruits of victory, but on a full plate of steaming jhaat ka bhaaji - and that is all that you deserve, if not more than enough after this farce
Click here for the report of the next game in this competition
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