Vexillum, 22/23 October 2011
The last round of the 2011 Doubles League had 14 entries, two more than last year, and a good variety of armies. There were some great games – Pete Connew’s Aztecs absorbing opponents through sheer weight of numbers, an Egyptian civil war deciding that Martin Golay was the true Pharaoh and Duncan Thompson a usurper, and Nigel Poole’s Scots collapsing simultaneously with Philip Donald’s Seleucids for an extremely bloody 5-5.
Russ King and I took Parthians, an army we’d never used before (for various reasons we had no practice games). Two large commands with Kn(X) cataphracts, LH(F) horse-archers plus assorted light infantry, a smaller command with just cataphracts and horse-archers, and an Elymean (internal) ally with cataphracts, horse-archers and Bw(I) foot archers.
Our first opponent was Jerry Hendy with Trajan’s Romans, for a nice historical encounter. The Romans had two large commands which set up opposite our left flank, behind a large orchard stuffed with Ax(S), facing towards the centre, plus a substantial Armenian ally in the centre. No fourth command. We raced to envelop the Armenians and did so with some loss, also destroying a force of LH sent by the Romans to help. On the left the Roman cavalry advanced to get at our small allied command and were ambushed by 8 Bw(I) who stepped out of an orchard and shot down four elements. The remaining Roman cavalry hastily withdrew.
The main Roman forces were now in considerable danger and we had several goes at killing a general, which would have broken their army, but without success. The game timed out at 6-4.
Next came King of Kings Philip Donald with a formidable Seleucid army. We placed a road and steep hills which nicely broke up the battlefield, and flank marched with both our small commands. The sub-general arrived at the first attempt – a bit too early, in fact, as the Seleucids were able to react and move their Kn(F) cavalry and LH to oppose him. The flank-marchers mowed down some light horse but then, disastrously, lost their general against another LH. The command held but, with a break point of only 5, was soon outmanoeuvred and defeated.
A large force of horse-archers had gone forward to assist the flank-marchers and these now broke up the enemy pike phalanx with flank attacks. Unfortunately they weren’t bright enough to flee away and insisted on throwing high dice and sticking, to be flanked and destroyed next turn. Only 4 elements lost from a command of 30.5 EE, but the long-term pattern of the battle was clear as Pk(S) and Wb(S) bore down on our sub-general’s cataphracts. Happily our delaying tactics with horse-archers enabled us to hold out until nightfall, for a 4-6 result.
On Sunday morning we defended Parthia against an Egyptian invasion led by Martin Golay as Rameses II. Martin had large numbers of archers who were all Bw(I) – great targets for cataphracts and possibilities for LH(F) of whom we had plenty. We rushed forwards, cataphracts to the fore. One Kn(X) was shot down, so I had to use our C-in-C to fill the gap, but we got a good charge in which destroyed 6 Bw(I) at first contact. Then the luck turned and two Kn(X) died against Bd(O), leaving the C-in-C’s flank exposed and promptly turned by a Bd(O). 3-3 combat with no recoil either way, and effectively the entire game at stake. I threw 4, Martin threw 2 so his Bd(O) died and the command broke. Then we started work on more Bw(I) and got lucky with LH(F) who killed loads more, quickly breaking a second command for a 10-0 win.
At this stage Tony Green’s Lydians led the competition with 25 points, followed by Dave Madigan and Chris Smith’s Seljuqs on 21, then Richard Hardy and Tony Bell’s Medieval Germans, Derek and Stuart Bruce’s Ottomans and our Parthians, all on 20. As Tony had already played Dave and Chris, in the last round he faced the nearest in date of the next tier – us.
Tony’s army had large numbers of Kn(F), some LH, a few Cv(O), a large block of Sp(O), plenty of light infantry and a Greek ally with more Sp(O) and some Cv. He defended and successfully placed a waterway, a village and a large area of rough going which landed in our deployment area and provided a haven for our rather sub-standard light infantry. His deployment was (our right to left): lots of Kn(F) and LH next to the waterway, Lydian Sp(O), the Greek ally behind, and a smallish command of Kn(F), Cv(O) chariots and LH facing our left flank. We’d considered flank-marching and fortunately decided against it, as the enemy mounted command would probably have enveloped our left. As it was, both our small commands were there and looked more than a match for their opponents. The Greek ally was unreliable and would change sides if we broke a Lydian command.
As we rode forward, Tony tried to redeploy his mounted command back to the centre and the shelter of his spear phalanx. However, a sacrificial LH(F) charge stopped this movement and even bagged a Kn(F) – then our superior numbers swamped that command, which broke – but the Greeks had become reliable in the nick of time. On the waterway flank Lydian Kn(F) and assorted LH faced off against our Kn(X) and LH(F) then, seeing that things were not going well on the other flank, charged. Russ rolled hot dice, suffered only moderate losses and killed numerous enemy; the Lydian survivors fell back. As I struggled to redeploy the victorious left wing (Irreg Kn(X) being incredibly clumsy), Russ’s cataphracts charged again and killed two more Kn(F) to break the Lydian army for a 10-0 win. Hard luck for Tony, who threw consistently lousy combat dice in what should have been a roughly even contest.
Our 30 points won the competition by a four-point margin. Many thanks to Pete Connew and Steve Aspinall for organising this excellent competition.
Dave Madigan and Chris Smith went into this competition with a lead of 18 points in the League; when the dust settled their lead had been cut to 6 points but they carried off the trophy – the fourth successive year with new winners. Congratulations to them.
Iceni 24/25 September 2011
The new Iceni competition organised by the Coltishall Cowards went very well. Only four tables, after several entrants dropped out, but a good variety of armies and some excellent games. The venue is a well-appointed community centre in the Norfolk Broads, with a friendly atmosphere and good catering.
Russ and I had to play solo to even up the numbers. I used Early Russians with three large commands: two commands had lots of Cv(O) and LH (mostly F), with the C-in-C adding some Sp(I) and 4 elements of German Reg Kn(O), while the third command had most of the infantry with Sp(O), Auxilia and Psiloi. Not great troop types, but numbers gave the army staying power.
The first game was against Uighurs – very similar to my army with cavalry, light horse and spears, but also with a large block of Bw(I) mounted on camels. These troops proved to be crucial. The terrain consisted of Russian pine forests and marshes, concentrated on the left; my spear command faced a defile there while its auxilia and psiloi infiltrated the forest. In the centre my C-in-C’s command faced off a large force of spearmen with light horse while shifting the knights to the right. On the open right flank I aimed to outflank the enemy with numerous light horse while manoeuvring the cavalry (19 elements) away from the enemy bows to attack their cavalry. It started well when the Uighurs’ small Karakhanid allied command was unreliable, but otherwise the enemy had excellent PIPs and were able to move the bowmen forward while threatening to envelop my right flank. Then my right wing scored 1 PIP in each of the first two bounds, so I couldn’t react.
By the third turn my plan had been scuppered by low PIPs… nothing for it but to charge the enemy bowmen with a phalanx of cavalry, 4 elements deep. The archers shot down most of the front rank and recoiled the rest, but when the cavalry finally charged the Bw(I) disintegrated – soon 11 of the 12 elements had gone, breaking that command. The Karakhanids were now reliable, though, and their Cv(S) and LH(S) were a threat. Meanwhile my Sp(O) were beating up Sp(I), with my light troops sneaking out of the forests to block recoils etc. Unfortunately we ran out of time and the game ended at 6-4.
On Saturday afternoon I faced Hindu Indians – lots of elephants, lots of bowmen, Fast Blades and some Superior Cavalry. Jer was disconcerted to find that there’s no rough ground in Russia, just steppes, marshes and forests. My main cavalry command (31 elements) flank-marched and never arrived… I deployed well back behind a light horse screen, and the Indians eagerly advanced. Too eagerly – an El(O) general was over-bold and was mugged by a couple of LH(F) – one overlap, 5-1 on the dice. The command held but was now strapped for PIPs. My Sp(O) command was attacked by eager Bd(F) and handsomely beat them – I think in every case the +1 for fighting F enemy was decisive. The spearmen also killed a couple of elephants and broke the Indian C-in-C’s command in the centre. On my left, though, my C-in-C was facing what seemed to be a wall of elephants and was spending most PIPs trying to get the German knights out of their way, not entirely successfully. A couple of Kn(O) and some Cv and LH died. Finally, after “last bound” had been called, the Indian archers got a shot at a Cv(O) and killed it – this broke my C-in-C’s command and turned a 7-3 win into a 4-6 defeat. Ah well, them’s the breaks.
Sunday morning saw a Russian invasion of Italy against an Ostrogothic host. Kn(F) and Bw(I) were unappealing opponents for my cavalry, and a Frankish ally with 24 Wb(S) frightened my Spear command, which formed up well back on my right, anchored on some rough ground occupied by my light troops. The main action was on my left, where massed Cv(O) and my few Kn(O) faced large numbers of Kn(F). Quite a few cavalry went down and my knights were ineffective, but my numerous light horse got behind the enemy and helped to kill a general. His command survived but was now out of control, and killing the remaining Kn(F) broke it. The Ostrogoth C-in-C was attacked by LH(F), and though he fought them off he was in danger of being surrounded while his Kn(F) pursued ever deeper into the mass of Russian cavalry.
Meanwhile another bunch of Kn(F) and the Franks were advancing towards my spearmen. The Franks were harassed by LH who killed several elements and broke up their formation, which disintegrated into a disorderly mass racing towards the Russian infantry. A couple of sacrificial LH did the same to the knights. Neither of the enemy forces reached the spear line. LH from my victorious left wing reached the enemy baggage and looted half of it.
It was now time for “last bound” and the Ostrogoths were one element from breaking. A 6-4 finish, I thought. “No”, said the umpire, “we started late so play another pair of bounds.” In the last turn the Russians looted some more baggage and killed the enemy C-in-C for a 10-0 win.
My final opponents were Late Romans – the usual legionaries, auxilia and Fast Artillery, with tough mounted forces including cataphracts, Kn(F) lancers, cavalry and assorted light horse. Most of the Russian forests and marshes were on the right, where my infantry command held the line while the two large cavalry commands concentrated to attack on the left. The game started at dawn in mist, with the Romans’ Arab ally unreliable. Excellent! The Russian attack started well, swapping Cv(O) for Kn(F) and then backing an enemy LH into some bowmen to kill four elements in one combat. Two Roman commands were soon close to defeat. On the right the Russian spearmen pressed a Roman cavalry command back and kept it away from the main fight.
Then the luck changed. The Russians failed to destroy any more Romans, despite lots of favourable combats, and lost a dribble of casualties (some inflicted by Cm(O) from the now-reliable Arab command) which eventually broke my left-flank command. On my last bound I launched numerous attacks and destroyed several more elements – but from the wrong enemy command, so the game ended at 4-6. Three Roman commands were within an element or two of breaking, and if any had gone the army would have been broken too.
24 points got me second place and a nice trophy, behind Jer Morgan and John Calvert with their Hindu Indians. Iceni is likely to become an annual event, and I recommend it.
Attack! 23/24 July 2011
Excellent turn-out for DBM at the Attack! show at Devizes, with 16 teams. There were also 16 teams playing FoG Ancients, and 16 players for Warmaster Ancients – so with nearly 80 players in total it looks as though Ancients gaming is thriving. There were also competitions for Flames of War, FoG Renaissance (these two attracting many ex-DBM players) and Warhammer.
Russ King and I took Timurids – three commands each with some Cv(S), Cv(O) and LH(S), with support troops including small numbers of Bw(O), Bw(I), Ax(O) and Ps(O), plus a couple of Expendables (cattle herds), two Elephants and a vast mass of terrified civilians (Hd(I), of course). Plus a small Persian command of a sub-general and 6 other cavalry elements.
The first game was against Medieval French – old list, so all the knights were Superior. The knights hurtled forward; they were badly disrupted by the expendables (which actually killed one Kn(S) element) and Hd(I), to the extent that none of the seven remaining Kn(S) in one command was in a group! These knights were picked off piecemeal, and before long the command broke. Our cavalry rode down several crossbow elements from a second command, and it looked good for a win.
On the other flank, the French knights had cautiously held back; now they charged and met a line of Cv(S). Three successive ones on my combat dice destroyed three Cv elements and the knights exploited the resultant gap. Although our C-in-C’s light horse and a cavalry element slew many Ax(X) Brigans by charging them in flank and rear, his command broke in short order. By that time the French army was half an element from breaking, but their central command’s knights, despite heavy losses, destroyed some more cavalry and broke another of our commands. 1-9 defeat, right on time.
This matched us with Early Samurai, old list again so lots of Bw(S), Cv(O) who could dismount as Bw(S), a block of Fast Blades and masses of Inferior Auxilia, plus an Emishi ally with 10 Superior Light Horse. Frightened of all the bows, we placed a road and steep hills, deployed two commands well back and sent the other two on flank marches. The Japanese advanced rapidly but were delayed by the Hd(I) and difficult terrain, and had achieved little when our first flank-march was announced. The flank-marchers rushed on, chasing off some Emishi, and the two expendables went for a load of Ax(I) on the enemy baseline. One destroyed an Ax(I) and then went down; the other bore a charmed life and trampled 8 Ax(I) elements (many of them caught two-deep in flank and unable to recoil). With the casualties inflicted by our cavalry and by Bw(I) shooting Cv(O), this broke a Samurai command.
We’d also killed two Emishi elements and had chances for two more which would have broken that command too, and then bagged a Cv(O) general. Three elements down, 3 or less on the next PIP dice would give us a 10-0 win. They got 4, and the command survived. This signalled a reversal of the luck, which swung against us as many of the flank-marching cavalry and light horse were destroyed – we got another Emishi element so they were one off breaking and became cautious. As “last bound” was called, another of our cavalry fell and our flank-marchers broke. 5-5 draw.
On Sunday morning we faced Gauls – almost all Ordinary Warband, with just a few cavalry and a Ligurian ally with 14 Ax(S). The latter had to negotiate a large wood on our left and took a long time in doing so. On our right, we vigorously attacked the enemy C-in-C’s command, our elephants doing great execution and the expendables bagging a couple of warband. Enemy losses mounted, but we also lost some cavalry and an elephant before scoring the eighth kill (16 Wb dead) to break the C-in-C’s command. On our left Timur’s cavalry charged more warband – Cv(S) against Wb(O) should have been in our favour, but again I threw three successive ones and lost three cavalry elements. The survivors broke off and fell back, their flank guarded by a steep hill in the centre manned by Bw(I). The Ligurians emerged from their wood and headed for Timur’s Bw(O); one element was shot dead, two were ridden down and the rest closed with the bowmen with overlaps against them. We had chances to get the two needed to break the Ligurians, but failed, and then four Bw(O) died rapidly to break Timur’s command. All our other commands had been damaged and, again right on time, we lost another cavalry element to break our army. 2-8 defeat.
We were now heading for our worst overall score for about ten years. Our opponents in the last game were Late Imperial Romans: a command mainly of supported Ax(S) plus some light horse facing our left, then supported legionaries, then a large Frankish ally of Wb(S) front rank and Wb(O) rear ranks, then a cavalry wing of Cv(O), Kn(F) and assorted LH. The Franks were unreliable, and our plan was to delay on our right with the Persians and the elephant command, while crushing their Ax and LH command on our left. This was scuppered when our first PIP roll was four ones, while the Romans had excellent PIPs and were able to send a column of LH around our right flank and threaten to crush our cavalry on that wing.
Our archers chased away the enemy light horse on the far left, enabling our cavalry to charge the Auxilia with overlaps. Despite S status and psiloi support, the cavalry blew a couple of holes, but it was slow progress while matters looked desperate on the right. However, the elephants came to the rescue by trampling two Cv(O) elements (“But they’re two deep!” “Doesn’t count against elephants.”), then another two. The Kn(F) hit a line of assorted cavalry, destroyed one Cv(O) but lost one to LH(S) and another to Cv(S). A couple more Kn(F) and the Roman mounted command broke, the Franks changed sides, game over for a 10-0 win.
I enjoyed all the games, even the ones we lost – all sporting opponents (especially poor Duncan in the last game), unpredictable all-action games and a final position of mid-table respectability. Dave Madigan and Chris Smith won the competition, after a tough final draw against Mike Bennett and Colin Sharpe; they could have been overtaken but their closest challengers also drew. Congratulations to Dave and Chris.
Westbury Wars, 21/22 May 2011
The 25mm competition held in my house attracted nine players (two of them playing only two games each); a tenth had to cancel due to illness. The competition went well, as usual, and everyone had a good time.
I fielded a Low Countries army: 45 Pk(O) supported by a few Inferior Knights, some Bw(O) crossbowmen, Ps(O) handgunners, Art(I) organ guns, a couple of Bd(O) halberdiers and one Bw(S) English longbowmen element. Generally the pikemen formed up deep so the army was narrow, relying on terrain to guard a flank while the pikemen did the business frontally.
My first opponent was John Calvert with the Order of St John – a very small army at 40 element equivalents, with Kn(S) as its strike force and assorted mediocre infantry supporting them. The Hospitallers invaded and couldn’t use their mighty fortress walls and ships, much to John’s disappointment. A handy wood held by my psiloi protected a flank. There wasn’t much subtlety about this game as the Hospitaller knights, dismounted as Bd(S), took on the pikes frontally and were defeated in a hard fight. Won 10-0.
Next the Flemings faced Marian Romans commanded by Pete Howland as Julius Caesar, with the elite X Legion, two other legions (24 Blades in all) plus light infantry, cavalry and a couple of bolt-shooters. There was rather more manoeuvre about this game and my knights actually got into action against cavalry, greatly helped by crossbowmen who shot at the Roman cavalry with deadly effect, while the pikemen rushed forward to crash into the legionaries for an epic struggle. The decisive moment came when I needed one more element to break a command and my Kn(I) C-in-C charged a Cv(O) element which had been recoiled by shooting and was partly in a wood. The C-in-C killed his man and pursued into the wood where he was attacked by a demoralised Ax(S) element. Three nerve-wracking combat rounds later, after he’d pursued deeper into the wood, he got lucky and killed the Auxilia. Phew! And the risk was unnecessary as the pikemen had destroyed another legionary element to break the enemy command anyway. Meanwhile the pikemen continued to make inroads, helped by the organ guns which shot a Bd(O) and an Ax(S), and broke a second Roman command for another 10-0 win.
Sunday morning brought Gavin Pearson’s fearsome Burmese army, with nine Superior Elephants. Each army refused its left flank; my left was held by crossbowmen, psiloi and knights while the Burmese left was composed of tempting Bw(I) and Auxilia. All the elephants were in the centre, with some Fast Blade swordsmen, facing 4-deep Pk(O). Gavin had excellent PIPs and was soon attacking my weak left flank; two Bd(F) went for my Bw(O) who fought back heroically, falling back but refusing to die. I had a chance here with psiloi against the overlapped Burmese C-in-C on his elephant, but failed. The crossbowmen eventually destroyed one Bd(F) element in close combat (with two overlaps, at 3-3), then shot the other dead. My knights failed dismally, one being destroyed by Ax(O), but the loss of the Blades stalled the Burmese attack on this flank. On the other flank my organ guns, halberdiers and crossbowmen eagerly advanced and eventually shot up some Bw(I).
The epic battle in the centre between elephants plus supporting Blades and pikemen went my way. Generally the Blades died or recoiled, giving chances against overlapped elephants, and two elephants went down leaving big holes which could only be plugged by Auxilia. The Burmese left-flank command broke. As time ran out I had chances to break a second command for an outright win, but failed and had to settle for 6-4.
Finally I faced Nigel Poole commanding my own Suevi army – 60 or so warband with a Superior front rank, plus some cavalry and plenty of psiloi. Last time the Suevi faced pikes they were massacred, so I was hopeful. Nigel invaded and put down a wide river (which turned out to be “tricky”) – excellent! With the river protecting one flank and the organ guns and crossbowmen guarding the other, I deployed the pikes six deep and advanced to do battle with the onrushing warband. The combat lasted three bounds. In every warband v pike combat, Nigel won the dierolls by at least 2… I lost 8 pike elements in the first clash, 2 more in my following bound and another 6 in his next bound, breaking two commands and my army. Nigel’s only loss was a Ps(O), shot dead by the English longbowmen while trying to ford the river. A crushing 0-10 defeat, and just one of those games.
Gavin’s Burmese won the competition, with Nigel’s Suevi second and my Low Countries third. A fine weekend’s gaming.
Venta Silurum, 30 April/1 May 2011
I had to play solo at Paul Apreda’s doubles competition at Corntown (near Bridgend), as Russ was occupied on family business. I took Early Swiss – three commands each with a large block of Bd(X) halberdiers plus varying numbers of psiloi, with the two LH(I) mounted crossbowmen in the C-in-C’s command. I hadn’t used or even seen the army in use before, but thought the new army lists and the DBM 3.2 points reductions for Regular Blades might make it viable. Normally the halberdiers formed up at least three ranks deep, with the flanks either anchored on psiloi-infested terrain or hanging in the air relying on a frontal breakthrough before the enemy could effectively envelop them.
My first opponent, Duncan Robinson’s Feudal English army, was just the sort the Swiss were designed to fight. With some typical Swiss mountains nicely breaking up the terrain, the halberdiers rushed forward and beat up some knights and Sp(I) levies. The English had lots of archers, but they were all cowering in rough going near their baseline. On my weaker left flank a second bunch of knights scored local breakthroughs and came close to breaking one Swiss command, but on the right and centre the halberdiers hacked down enough spearmen to break the English army. 10-0 win.
Next I played Dave Madigan and Chris Smith, with Later Muslim Indians – lots of cavalry, mostly Superior, some Fast Blades, four Superior Elephants, masses of cheap archers who sat well out of reach. Knowing that I’d be ridden down in the open, I corner-sat on and behind a couple of steep hills with some manned TF (only five) guarding the flank, and flank-marched with my largest command (21 Blades and 7 Psiloi). The flank march took about 15 turns to arrive, and then only because Chris got the 6 with his smaller flank-march – 7 Rathor Kn(F). In the meantime Dave had tried to break into my position with elephants and Blades, falling back after minor losses on both sides. The flank arrivals signalled a ding-dong fight, with the Rathor in danger of breaking and my lads losing several elements. The game timed out at 5-5 after a good 20 bounds. I lost about 7 Bd(X), the Indians lost 1 Kn(F), 2 Bd(F) and (I think) 3 Cv. Despite the stalemate along most of the front, it was a fast-playing and exciting game with a fair result.
Sunday morning’s game was against Philistines commanded by Mike Bennett and Colin Sharpe – lots of Fast Blades and chariots (Cv(O) and Cv(S)), supported by plenty of rough going troops. This was always going to be tough as the enemy’s fighting troops were as good as mine and far more numerous, and the terrain wasn’t good – I invaded, and could place only a couple of orchards which landed nowhere useful, while the Philistines got a large area of rough going right in the centre. I refused my left flank and attacked vigorously on the right, where the main action was a long fight between my halberdiers and Philistine Bd(F) and chariots. Although my chaps should have had a slight advantage against the Philistine foot – who being Irregular often pursued into overlaps – and a slight disadvantage against the chariots, they were crushingly defeated. Assisted by a breakthrough on the far right which allowed chariots to get behind my line, the Philistines broke my largest command and losses from the other commands made half my army gone. Lost 0-10.
Finally I faced John Vaughan and Kevin Everett with Cyrus’s Persians – old list, so the Immortals were Bw(S). Cyrus’s largest command by some distance was a Mede ally – lots of Sp(I) and Cv(O) plus a couple of Bw(O). The Medes were forward in the centre, with a small cavalry command to their right and two large blocks of Bw(X) sparabara infantry to their left, with a force of cavalry and light horse on the Persian far left aiming to envelop my right flank. The Swiss charged forward, delayed by some skirmishing cavalry, and soon got into the Medes. The Median archers died immediately and were followed by numerous spearmen and some cavalry; after a few bounds of combat the Medes broke. On my right, though, the flanking cavalry caught and killed my two LH(I) and threatened some of my C-in-C’s halberdiers, while Bw(X) shot a couple of halberdier elements. My lads relieved the pressure by sandwiching some light horse and driving back some auxilia who descended from a steep hill, then numerous halberdiers charged into the sparabara foot. After a couple of disappointing combat rounds the archers started to die, holes appeared and then a Persian command broke. I could still lose my C-in-C’s command in the same combat round if two more Bd(X) died and the Persians had several opportunities – but they got only one element so the game ended 10-0. An excellent, very sporting game.
Thanks to Paul for running the event and providing excellent refreshments. We hope for a bigger turnout next year.
Godendag, 22/23 January
Once again there were 14 teams playing DBM at Richard Bodley Scott’s annual Godendag competition at Usk, which also featured the new Field of Glory Renaissance rules. The place was packed with around 60 teams in total.
Russ King and I used Milanese Condotta, dated 1496, from the new (DBMM) army lists – the main changes from the old lists are that the knights can now dismount as Superior Blades instead of Superior Spears, and the artillery can be Art(O) field guns instead of clumsy bombards and useless organ guns. We had three commands, two with substantial numbers of knights (the C-in-C leading the Kn(S) famiglia ducale) plus supports, and a third with pikes and bows. We had a large force of psiloi, mainly Ps(S) handgunners, and 10 light horse including two elements of the modern stradiots (LH(O)). A principal motive for using the army was my ownership of splendid Milanese banners (you know, with the snake swallowing a man), beautifully painted by John Calvert.
Our first game was against Nigel Poole’s masses of Scots pikemen – four pike blocks with minimal supports. We placed steep hills, manned by psiloi and the Bd(F) swordsmen, which neatly broke up the Scots’ advance. All the knights were dismounted in the defiles while the crossbows and artillery inflicted a steady drain of losses on the advancing yeomen.
The hapless pikemen died in huge numbers, many with their flanks turned by handgunners while dismounted knights hacked them down. In desperation Nigel attempted to storm a lightly-manned steep hill, but the sword-and-buckler men outfought them. The largest Scots command broke and all the others had suffered serious losses, but time ran out before we could finish them off. 6-4 to the Milanese.
Then we faced Jeremy Morgan’s Mongol Conquest army. The terrain was mostly on our side of the table so we deployed defensively, with an impregnable centre, a fairly mobile left wing with mounted knights supported by bows and artillery, and a weaker right wing with most of the infantry. Jeremy concentrated against our right, while skirmishing effectively elsewhere, and skilfully picked it apart – some Mongol cavalry dismounted to shoot and the four Mongol artillery pieces shot with great effect. Our pikemen and crossbowmen collapsed amid a flurry of 1s and 2s – but the process had taken a long time and we hung on for a 4-6 defeat. We’d lost only one element from our other two commands, but had killed only one Mongol element apart from Inferior Hordes.
On Sunday morning our opponents were John Nicolson and Graham Bull, two of the large SELWG contingent, with Palmyrans – minimal actual Palmyrans, a large Roman contingent and Armenian and Arab allies.
The terrain favoured us, with steep hills where we wanted them allowing us to cover the width of the table. The Armenians were unreliable for a few turns, but the Palmyrans attacked with the Arab camels supported by Palmyran Bw(O) advancing against a line of Kn(O) on our left. Our light horse challenged the Arab light horse on this flank and (assisted by psiloi turning the Arabs’ flank) beat them, while several knight elements dismounted to fight the camels. Artillery and crossbowmen then shot a camel element (at the fifth attempt) to break the Arab command. Our dismounted knights then attacked the Palmyran archers and eventually destroyed them, breaking another command for a 10-0 win with the loss of only two elements.
Finally we defended against Dave Madigan and Chris Smith with Patrician Romans (DBMM list) – lots of Ax(S), Regular Kn(F) and a shed-load of light horse. Each side refused its left flank, but the Romans were much better able to force their attack than we were because of their light horse superiority. Our overmatched command fought well and inflicted heavy losses on the Romans but then broke – at that stage we’d lost 6.5 element equivalents and inflicted 9 losses, but ours were all on one command. This collapse exposed our baggage, which was attacked by light horse and several elements were destroyed before a couple of knights came to the rescue. Meanwhile our attack was bogged down with legionaries and camels (Arab allies) repulsing our knights. When time ran out we were three elements from complete defeat, but we hung on for a 4-6 defeat.
24 points got us fourth place, four points behind the winners Paul Apreda and Nick Coles whose Villanovan Italians, almost all Wb(O), proved hard to beat. Congratulations to Paul and Nick – despite RBS’s incredulity when announcing the result, it’s their second doubles win.