Field of Glory Wargaming at Usk, Godendag 2009
Saturday night in Usk saw us watch Fulham vs Kettering "live" on Setanta only a mere 4 hours after the game took place, and then we gratefully scoffed a curry at the local "Bodley-Scott Tandoori", pouring yet more coppers into the eager pockets of the meglomaniac Doctor and his legions of local henchmen.
Sunday morning dawned cold and clear, and after another fryup we trooped down to the venue to find ourselves facing a one-man doubles team and a one-plan doubles army - Lombards.
Pictures of Lombard-type Troops from my Ancients Photo Directory
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Neither side fancied any terrain yet again, and what little there was fell harmlessly - hopefully the Lombards would do the same!
The hairy Europeans deployed in a rather imbalanced way, heaving all their charging cavalry onto one flank and avoiding the rest of the table and clearly planning to screen it off with spearmen and skirmishers.
The barbarians advanced like greased lightning (as seen in Grease, currently showing at Bodley-Scotts Genuine American Drive-In Movie Parlour and Sheep Wrangling Arena just outside Usk southbound on the A491). Our rather less lopsided army dithered about what to do - ride forward and outflank the brittle Lombard left, or just throw everything in the way of the Lombard shwerpunkt.
But time was running out for us to make any sort of decision as the Lombard steamroller threatened to run down our light horse before they could be withdrawn to safety.
Deciding than the main strike force was too serious to ignore, our right wing swung inwards, drawing off a couple of Lombard units of Irreg B HC, L, Sh and engaging them with greater numbers of poorer quality cavalry in return. The main Lombard line had been weakened, but was still a thing of fear and awe.
The Lombard line started to make things rather tricky for our light horse, as in a rare moment of unusual activity the team incompetence stick was being firmly grasped by Adam rather than me.
As our flank attack started to stall, and with only moments gone in the game, two huge lines of lancers smashed into each other !
The combat ebbed and flowed as only a combat can in a rule set where there are no push-backs or movement of any sort once units are engaged in combat. But in one sweep of decisive decisiveness, our pivotal cavalry unit had broken the Lombard unit at the end of their line - they rushed onwards into the flank of yet more Lombards, hoping to roll up the entire line before their greater armour and morale could grind our Arab lads into the desert sands...!
Unable to deal with the unexpected arrival of 5 high speed Arab cavalry in their flank, the Lombard line started to crumble at some speed - but our line had also had some huge holes punched right through it - and the combat devolved into a swirling mess of units fighting each other on their flanks.
Meanwhile, in the middle and on our right a stalemate was the only outcome, as the other part of our outflanking maneuver ground itself into the ground against some much more resilient Lombard lancers.
Finally, resorting to the tried and tested tactic of repeated light infantry shooting, the Arabs found a weak link and broke a unit of Bulgar cavalry who were lending their support to the Lombard king in a rather ineffective and half-hearted manner that day.
Back on the left it was still all hands to the pump, and everything was in the balance as the cavalry melee swirled around again - and this time our proto-Dailami were unable to repeat their heroics and evaporated at impact against Lombard lancers.
With an "everyone is dead" stalemate threatening on left, attention swung back round to the right where 6 Arab lancers had been fighting all game against 4 Lombards - despite killing 2 of them, and calling in support from Ghazi bowmen the Lombards stubbornly refused to die.
But death was proving much more easy to come across on the other flank, where weight of numbers was beginning to tell against the beleaguered Lombards.
Unfortunately there were plenty more where those came from....
The massive melee continued unabated, with both sides hoping to record quick victories before an inevitable enemy flank charge upset the odds yet again.
With only one more unit needed for total victory, the obvious target of the heavily outnumbered Lombard cavalry in the center hove into view. Ghazi light horse charge din yet again, knowing that they were no match for the Lombards even when hitting them in the flank, but hoping the distraction (and -1 POA for fighting in 2 directions) would allow their comrades to the front to get the final casualty needed to evaporate the already 50% reduced Lombard unit and its General.
But, as is always the case, victory came elsewhere with the Lombard spearmen and light foot deciding that a hail of bowfire was enough to shatter their morale, tipping the battered army over the edge and into total defeat. A large and decisive victory to the Arabs !
Post Match Summary
By the skin of our teeth the plan to outnumber better quality enemy cavalry had pulled off an exciting and famous victory for the Arabs - but it was very close to a disaster.
The Lombards had again outfoxed our plan to envelop them by deploying all their forces on one wing, and we had neither the time nor the opportunity to react before they hit home. Of the two units that did get drawn out of line it was only the loss of one of them early on that tipped the scales in our favour - the other fought incredibly until the end of the game elsewhere.
We also failed to take advantage of a supposedly weaker and refused flank, although here 2 units did eventually fall to Arab harassment, and the baggage was looking in range as well. However a line of poor spearmen and light bowmen proved a resilient obstacle that took a long time to out-fox.
But there was undoubtedly excitement and some edge-of-the seat moments as the two huge cavalry lines fought out an intense battle, where each victory represented a potential advantage to those fighting next to it -much like a Kn(F) vs Kn (F) battle in DBM but on a bigger scale.
Hannibal's Post Match Analysis
I'm starting to get the hang of thic camera angle stuff here.
All the shots are taken from the right hand side of the table. Which is presumably where you were sitting.
All the action took place on the left - where you weren't in command. And that's where the real victory was won. Again, without yor involvement at all.
Over on your watch, there was some ineffectual messing around, you managed to shoot two units down over the course of the entire game, but failed to kill one single unit of armoured lancers, despite being in combat with at least a 3:2 advantage, and eventually a 7:2 advantage in numbers - throughout the entire game.
Well, I suppose you didn't actually lose anything.
Which is some sort of improvement I suppose.
The stage was set for the next round
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