The Worlds 2018
Alexander The Great vs Communal Italian
Mid table mediocrity now beckoned as one win and one defeat had pushed my well out of nosebleed territory and into a matchup against another Medieval Italian outfit, the Communal Italians.
The lists for the Alexander The Great and Communal Italian from this game, as well as all the other lists from the games at The Worlds can be seen here in the L'Art de la Guerre Wiki.
Traditionally an army with plenty of charging Medium Knights, the Communals exist just before the swiss-army-knife era of the Condottieri - but they also have plenty of resilient spearmen making my Indian ally a risky choice.
The table layout this time failed to include a waterway, and my deployment failed to include the Indian allied contingent as I instead opted to field two lots of Pikemen and a Death Star command with Thracian Peltasts and javelinmen to contest the area of fields and plantations on my left.
The Communal Italian army was a wall of charging cavalry stretching most of the width of the table - this could be short and interesting!
But in a clever move which I guess I should have anticipated the Italians dismounted their horsemen and swapped them for a bunch of much more elephant-unfriendly Medium Foot Armoured spearmen, some Impetuous and many of them Elite.
This also made contesting the terrain a far more hazardous possibility and prompted the Alexandrians to conduct a rapid redeployment of the two units of Companions in order to put some lancer and "furious charge" ability into the middle of our lines.
This mix of Lancers, Elephants and Pikemen inflicted a degree of caution and indecision onto the Italian opposition not seen since one of them had to choose between a fine Barolo or an exquisite Ruffino with a complex and intense bouquet of cherry, plum and blackberry, with a tremendous weight of fruit flavour on a rich and velvety palate in order to accompany a lamb based bhuna at dinner, and as a result they now refused to advance.
Remembering that the enemy were mostly impetuous, the Alexandrians threw forward a small screen of Light Foot to harass the dismounted cavalry and knights and try and tempt them into a rash and jumbled charge.
L'Art de la Guerre hint - Impetuous troops in ADLG are harder to manoeuvre, but only are at risk of making a spontaneous charge when they are in range of something then can (and want to) charge. For foot, the list of targets which can trigger a charge includes enemy Light Infantry.
Jumping Jalfrezi! Seeing a chance to do some fairly unusual death-buttocking, and emboldened by a roll of far too many pips the Italian ex-horsemen raced forward to trap one of the Greek skirmishers in a trap, eliminating it immediately!
L'Art de la Guerre hint - LF caught by battle troops in the open are simply removed from play. This chap can't evade as he has enemy behind him within 1 MU, so he has gotten too close to the enemy and been caught.
This attack however proved to be far more rash and hasty than the Italians had expected, as the Alexandrians immediately despatch two units of Companions out of the line of battle and into the now-isolated lead unit of angry and soon to be bruised infantry. The Pike also stepped up to add an overlap, and suddenly the lead infantryman found himself as outnumbered and outmatched as a single ice cream cone in a playground of dehydrated Sicilian schoolchildren.
Italian Communal Era Castle
At the end of the line, two Javelinmen from the Alexandrian force were busy in the fields mugging off some unwary enemy bowmen.
Normally known for their skulking reluctance to engage in combat, these unfortunates had now found themselves becalmed and unable to escape as all of their Commander's pips and attention were being devoted to preventing his men rushing off to their possible deaths against the wall of Elephants and pikes facing them to their front. Thus fixed in place, the bowmen had to stand and take their medicine.
This is a book about the rise of the Commune in Medieval Italy ->
Blabbering Baltis! The Pikes and Companions were making short work now of the disjointed and piecemeal enemy infantry in the centre, stepping forward consistently to slam into the shocked and depleted waves of loose formation pedestrians as they advanced up the field of battle.
The fight was now sucking in units from both flanks of the Italian force like a late night pizzeria sucks in drunken revellers on their way home as their commanders sought to stop the rot caused by good enemy base factors and additional overlaps - but nothing seemed to be stopping the advancing Greeks in their mission to inflict counters and hits on the enemy force.
The Communal forces were also by now being compelled to denude their flank commands of men in ordert to try to fight back against the assault on their extremities - but the Greek Javelinmen still managed to take down the enemy bows even as their flanks were smashed in by angry dismounted ex-Knights.
Milan in the era of the Commune
The battle was now getting hotter than a Vindaloo as the full weight of the Communal attack in the centre was now in play as the Italians remaining infantry entered into a slogging match against the solid line of Pikes, Spears, Companions and Elephants facing them.
The slogging however was being done baseball-style by the Alexandrian forces as they knocked the dismounted enemy units out of the park, opening up a massive gateway onto the drive that led straight to the enemy baggage in the far distance.
Drawing so many infantry into the centre had left the ex-Norman-Knights in the plantation on the flank with a nasty prospect - a wall of Thracians ahead of them, 2HCW at the ready to beat any enemy spearmen at first contact.
Astonishingly, as all this carnage had been unfolding in the centre, off to the Alexandrians right stood a line of unmoved and unmoving Italian infantry at the peak of a very gentle indeed gentle hill.
Victims of their own success, they were far too tough to risk taking on frontally by anyone yet also far too exposed to move down to the plain below and offer their flanks to the rampaging hordes of now-unengaged Greeks surrounding them.
The battle in the centre was now all but over as only a sole isolated enemy unit remained alive. The Alexandrian wave had rolled up to and right over the deckchairs of the Italian holidaymakers, leaving them sobbing in their cappuccinos and weeping into their spaghetti.
Evolution of Armour
With their flanks now exposed anyway after the rout of their comrades in the centre, the hilltop fastness no longer held quite such an attraction for the Communal spearmen - they swept down towards the mercenary hoplites of the Alexandrians, spurred on even more by the shooting successes of their accompanying crossbow LF who had pinged a hit or so off of the Greeks already.
Reacting to this unwarranted aggression, the Greek centre unfolded and unwrapped itself into an origami-like multifaceted formation, threatening the flanks of the Italian spearmen even as they sought to put similar pressure on the Alexandrians themselves.
The centre was now entirely Alexandrian, as the last remaining enemy dismountee evaporated in a hail of overlaps and flank attacks.
Alexander, the Mini-cartoon
Everywhere you looked the surplus of Makedonian units was causing huge problems for the remaining Italians, as the breach in the centre of their line was exploited remorselessly to deliver more opportunities to close out the game.
The Italians were now desperate for casualties to mitigate if they could what looked sure to be a crushing defeat. The Normans lurched forward out of the plantation and into the well-constructed line of Thracians and elephants, urged on by their General.
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But with their centre now deleted, the Communal army only had moments to enjoy the forward momentum generated by their swift assault. Alexander's Companions arrived suddenly and violently, fresh and inspired by their successes in the middle of the park and slammed straight into the exposed right flank of the Italian infantry with predictably devastating results.
It was becoming increasingly difficult to find surviving Italian troops to feature in these photographs.
Weight of numbers was now starting to be an equally important feature on the opposite flank as well, with the Communal spearmen overmatched by powerful blocks of Makedonian phalangites and outflanked by the Greek Hoplites in the gaps between.
The few surviving mounted units in the early medieval army were also now finding out what their future might have been like if Hannibals Elephants had stopped off in Switzerland and formed a breeding population which survived into the era of Swiss dominance of the mitteleuropean battlefield in the later era.
The Greeks finished the job, flanking the Italian spears and inflicting the final hits to tip the Communal army to defeat. The game was over, and Alexander's army had returned to winning ways.
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 Aleksander The Great Meerkatr
Much better from me and my men as we succesfully deplyed the second list to devastating effect against the forerunners of the army who so badly duffed us up in the previous game. The hex that the nation of Italy has claimed over me is now well and truly defeated and I can look forward to conquering Rome when I return from my upcoming holiday in Cairo.
This was a lesson in how to deal with the unexpected, which in this case was a wall of Elite Armoured infantry who refused to actually attack me in a solid line - which was my greatest concern. Instead it required the goading by my brave and now sadly long dead Light Infantry skirmishers to tempt the pedestrian Italians into a mad charge forwards, which I was able to mop up as they thwacked piecemeal into the maw of my efficient MF-killing machine.
Patience is not normally one of my leading edge skills, and so this I feel represents a big step forward for me in my maturity to become the greatest Meerkat General of all time.
From now on I can see in my immediatel future a nice curry, some beers and a solid day of victories tomorrow to propel me up the table and into the medal places.
Hannibal's Post Match Analysis
A solid victory is always a good platform, but here you were the beneficiary of your opponents largesse more than any great skill on your part. The trick of dismounting is a well known one which you, as an elephantiste should know well and anticipate but here it could so easily have caught you out and resulted in an embarassing debacle.
A wall of Elite Armoured Spearmen as wide as the table would have outclassed much of your army had they advanced in a solid and aggressive line, with their armour cancelling out the better factors of the handful of Pikemen you deployed and their quality giving them the edge over much of your foot as well. It was only the psychological frightners of the Elephantry which kept them at bay so long, and even your attempts to goad them into an advance only succeeded when they chose to attack and take down some LF rather than as a result of your temptation and any lack of pips on their part.
Despite the comprehensive nature of yoru victory, this game seemed to highlight the toothless nature of your army - too small, too narrow and too easy to avoid in my book making it difficult for you to carry the battle to the enemy.
The points it gives you will propel you up the table, where I am sure you will meet someone even better in the next game
Click here for the report of the next game in this competition