Thursday, 28 July 2016

Calway's return...a Tersey campaign game

... another battle in the fictional Tersey Campaign set during the English Civil War c. 1642

Lord Brooke had taken the news of the defeat and certainly the demise of his regiment poorly.  A   rich and influential man, one of some education of the martial ways (at least by book) he would redeem this slight and, perhaps, gain political advancement at the same time. It was thus that he took the partial trained town militia of Somerborough, provided them with his unique purple tunics, give them instruction himself (by reading an instruction manual) and formed them, and Ballard’s regiment together with Wingate’s Horse and a ‘forlorn hope’ (lead by a dynamic young officer as it turns out) and marched toward his glory.

Utterly defeating Calway’s army and indeed capturing the Lord, and now having entered into rather prolonged negotiations for his release/ransom, Rockforth was surprised by this force marching toward him….

Rockforth had kept the unfortunate Calway in Cross Manor where he was gathering his army for the renewed fight.  This included a large gun, Urry’s Horse, Hastings Cuirassiers and some dragoons.

A lone and quite comely milk maiden leading her cow, attracted Rockforth’s attention. She had recently passed by the advancing enemy army and while fending off Rockforth’s unwanted advances, gave him warning.  A popular ballad of the era had the line:

And the Earl begat the maiden whom told him thus ~ I whilst not get the hard thrust …butst thou.

Lord Brooke's army: Wingate's horse (top), Ballard's shot and pike (left) and
Brooke's Own on the hill (right).
The Earl, dumfounded by this statement and the attack [[obviously as he missed his first four initiative rolls !! ]  finally had the gunners ready to fire doing some damage to Brooke’s shotte unit. But the leading ‘Forlorn Hope’ skirmishers had managed to make the stone enclosure of the Manor and give excellent fire and virtually eliminating the artillery crew.The remainder failed their courage.
The Forlorn Hope behind the stone wall about to put fire upon the artillery crew. Note Calway's coach still parked in front of the manor.  The milk maid still in conversation with the befuddled Rockforth; while Hastings cuirassiers do nothing due to failed initiative rolls.

 At this point, the white handkerchief and screams of Calway were noticed and the unit rescued Calway.  (bonus effort as having rolled a initiative of 12!)

Rockforth had now had his prisoner being carted away on one hand and a wall of pike approaching him with shot in support on the other.  His other flank held by the dragoons had now collapsed as the shot from Ballard’s unit had done great harm despite them protected by a stone wall (the dragoons’s armor rating goes up by one ) Yet he hesitates [ My initiative rolls for the Rockforth side were really poor this game —- it was not their day ]

Finally both Urry’s cavalry and Hasting’s armored troopers moved to action.  Hastings had moved to threaten Brooke’s shotte who, wisely moved out of the way to allow Wingate’s charge. Hastings, using the doctrine of the continental horse, choose to stand and fire his pistols at the on coming cavalry.  While it created a empty saddle and gave them the victory, both sides became battered.
Wingate's and Hasting's horsemen clash while Brooke's shotte purdently get out of the way.

It is at this point of the battle that Brooke made a poor decision to advance his pike block.  However by doing so, the poorly trained pikemen could not form a “pike-hedge” ( LR = schiltron )
an abandoned carbine marks the unit as 'battered'
Now active Urry’s horse charged into Ballard’s grey clad pikemen with purpose ( and good dice! ) leaving many grey clad laying in the field.  However this was to really no purpose as the rest of their army was gone and the numerous shotte of the enemy would eventually blast them away.

Saturday, 16 July 2016

Crecy ...LR style

The following blog post contains images of unpainted miniatures on the tabletop which sensitive wargamers may find offensive.  Viewer discretion is advised.

The historic Battle of Crecy with Lion Rampant

My current medieval collection is based on the English of the mid-14th Century.  Thusly I am thinking that I should do the French to oppose my rather large contingent of mostly longbow and to do so with a group of early version of GW “Bretonnian” mounted knights that I have at the ready.  But how would games play with only these MAA types - not withstanding the rule that only half your contingent can be of one troop type?   As one of the famous battles of the era , The Battle of Crecy in northern France comes to mind, as it is well documented as any of the period and is noted for its wild charges by masses of mounted knights.

I set up this battle for Lion Rampant, my current rules-de-jour.   I was going to bore myself with a turn by turn account to document the affair the effect of the rules to the historical account.  However in the herky-jerky motion that is Lion Rampant’s initiative play and my failure to make most of those due to my poor die rolling I decided just to give an overall of account. [ed note: I had 3 turns of both sides missing their initiative rolls which, in LR, means nothing happens. Lots of my 1s rolled. Yes, three turns of the boys just staring at each other... On the other hand the turns are quick to do -grin- ]

So if the short version is wanted:
The French mounted knights finally charged but were repelled and were slaughtered by the bowman. The famous Genoese crossbowmen gave poor account of themselves per history.  The new weapon of the cannon (apparently making its debut on the battlefield at this time)  fired twice (!) and the pits (anti-horse defence) was rather effective and the men-at-arms did their job. And yes, the arrow-storms were lethal.
In general the game account went quite well according to historical play with the French beaten off with over 3x the casualties sustained by the English.

While I still do not understand the strict gap requirement (and it certainly does not make for good photographic shots)  but in keeping with the rules the deployments for the English units were a minimum of 3 inches away from each other. The French will have two moves to meet the English line ( 20 inches ) and with the width equal to that of the English line could also have three units of mounted knight across and a reserve unit having the king one move to the rear.  This is unlike the actual battle which had three successive lines of knights however with the initiative rolls as they are in LR, this would allow at least some degree of charging and perhaps not allow the concentration of bow fire upon only one unit at a time.
The English 'line' of 2 archer units with the dismounted MAA in the centre.  Cannon holding right flank along the River Maye.  A mere 3 inches looks much larger when viewing a photo does it not? 

Oh, yeah, the Genoese crossbow were allocated a position in the front, per history, but I modified their stats to reflect their actions during that day in 1346:

Attack : ---      Attack Value : ---
Move : 6+ Defence Value: 5+
Shoot : 7+ Shoot Value/ Range : 4+ / 12”
Courage 6 Max move: 6”
Armour: 2 Special: no attacks allowed

The crossbowmen were without their shielding pavises (in the luggage) and already aware of the effect of the longbow from previous engagements during the campaign and with their
weapons affected by the rainstorms, they were reluctant to force the issue.  Thus the low courage, armour and shoot effects with no attacks allowed.
In keeping with the original rules and its mandates, I gave each side only 24 points (rather a small version of the battle!) but did allow the addition of two units of the crossbow and as they are certainly downgraded…and historically run over!….they were at 3 points apiece providing the historically more numerical French an additional 6 points.

Keeping with the historical affair, I had the English with two weird types of ‘units’.  The cannon which might have been first used in a major battle at Crecy; and the use of pits dug by the archers in front of their positions.  For rules the pits had an attack value of 6 (12 dice) with the hits added to any which the archers could add in combat.  This reflects the disruptive factor they effect.  One might just make it 6 dice for hits.  This minimizes the effect a bit more but continue to add any hits thus made onto the total from the archers in combat.
French knights fall prey to the pits in front of the archers and the arrows. In the background, the two remaining knights of the right group try to gain the courage for another charge at the English MAA. They will, unfortunately be shot down by arrows fired by the archers to their right. The banner bearer to indicate the unit is made of 'expert' archers to represent the skilled longbowmen.

The other interesting weapon was the cannon.  I copied other wargamer’s thoughts on the matter allowing an automatic fire of the cannon but requiring a 10+ to have loaded (and thus fire again).  Attack value is 6 and the range is limitless.  The special rule is “Boom” which has the target unit test for courage regardless of hits.
The effect of the cannon during the game was to take out one knight but it's unit passed the courage.  After all the English units had passed initiative during a turn later in the game, I could again roll for loading initiative ( no turn to ‘lose’ at it were) and indeed rolled a 10.  So it could fire again. (no effect this time)  However this rule does a wonderful job at simulating in fun way, the slow firing and perhaps little effect of this weapon.
The six figure crew of the cannon. The stand of spears I made so that it may be assumed by any opponent that they do have arms and may indeed for for the gun if charged! (I hope....)

Now, do I use these unhistorical Bretonnian leviathans?  Big horses, big men, big silly helmet crests.  And with the want to only have mounted knights in my retinue and now the knowledge that in a set piece battle they well might lose each time, do I paint them?  Hmm.

Nevertheless the Battle of Crecy was a successful try and went quick. Very much a ‘bathtubbing’ affair.
Dice to match my livery colours! Together with 'battered' markers

Monday, 11 July 2016

Teutonic Knights in the snow

ColinU. of the club has created a new project of the Baltic Crusades fought during the winter so white sheet, bare trees covered in white and plaster covered buildings.  Using the rules "Lion Rampant" and the nicely animated Fireforge plastics.  Great stuff.
And a project which I so very recently coveted.  Do I still do my own thing, or simply play in his games.  What are the 'ethics' of big desire to do it yourself?

ColinU's 'Grand Master' unit of knights
Anyway, I jumped at the opportunity to play so to get a better idea of the rules.  Simple and 'fun'.  Depending upon your definition of course.  I had the enemy in my sights with my mounted knights posed to descend upon the hapless pagans horde only to fail my initiative for three turns in a row! I justified this by they having blown horses from the previous combat, but, come on....3 turns straight?!
What is it with my dice rolling??   Not as bad as PeterM's playing as my Crusading partner and his German retinue but pretty bad nonetheless.
The village garrisoned by some pagan dudes.
We, the good and peaceful religious types, were tasked to murder any of the pagan types and burn their village...for the love of Christ you understand.   Perhaps this would be easy but my opponent, CraigM. was a very lucky sod.  At 5+ and rolling 8-10 hits of 12 is lucky, once.  Twice is unbelievable.  But multiple times throughout the game is really just....annoying!

Oh and don't have fleet-footed foot enter woods nearby so your stupid mounted knights need to wild charge them at foolish odds...just saying....

But to his credit his tactics were good.  Sit out in the open, tempt the knights to move toward them, then jump back into the woods so the knights are forced to wild charge into the woods which decreases the knight's armour making them very vulnerable indeed.  This tactic indeed worked well until the last turn of the game, until I was forced to move to his side of the table, throw the curse of God upon his dice.  Miracle!  For the first time in the game (I kid you not) he did not get a kill on my Teutonic knights.  Didn't even get a hit!  The power of prayer apparently.  That or the odds finally evened out.  The result:  my boys in white sheets finally eliminated the pagans last hope at victory.

With Colin, the GM,  ignoring the retinue courage to keep the game going, both sides were down to only a couple of units left. It was conceited that we could burn the village. But only just.  Glory in the name of God and smite the heathens.  ( I do a bit a silly role-playing with the funner games!)

Sunday, 3 July 2016

The Tersey Campaign

“Woo”-ful Conduct - the opening battle of the River Tersey Campaign

The year is 1642.  England is under civil war.  While the great armies of the King and Parliament battle for supremacy, in the corners of the country, the lesser lords on the borders of the contested shires conduct raids and skirmishes not for any political basis, but for regional deputes and personal grudges.  In this it matters little who is for the King or not.
The River Tersey Campaign is a fictional account using the Pike and Shot version of the popular rules “Lion Rampant”

Lord Calway had gathered his small force of cuirassiers, with Lord Brooke’s purple clad units of Shot and Pike, and Longe’s musketeers.  After a day of leisurely march, these were spread along the road north.  Calway himself, had foolishly galloped ahead to the Manor at the bridge over a tribuary of the Tersey to woo the Manor’s daughter, a most comely girl, escorted only by his horsemen.
The wooing

Brooke's Shot and Pike units
Earl of Rockforth, hearing from his informants of Calway’s plans, had gathered a mounted force of his heavies, Urry’s harquebusiers and a unit of dragoons.  His plan was to drive his heavies at the cuirassiers supported by the dragoons while Urry takes the ford to the east and circles around to entrap Calway’s forces having crossed the stream.
Earl of Rockforth's advance

His lightening assault caught Calway and his forces totally unawares. Scared witless, reports differ whether it was Calway or the girl, they were, nevertheless,  long in getting to his sedan chair and to safety - very poor activation dice!
Lord Calway's activation roll to safety...... 

 Meanwhile, his cuirassiers did their best to form up while the cuirassiers bore down upon them.  They let off a volley of pistol fire which did little to halt the charge and Rockforth’s horse did great execution and they lost nearly half their contingent in the sword play. They held only briefly as the very bold swordmen  (rolling two 6’s for activation!) continued to chase them and their Lord’s slow moving sedan chair which they overtook and thus the shaken couple taken captive personally by Rockforth.
....meanwhile Rockforth's heavies are gleeful with swords ready for the attack

...and with 4+ do great execution 

The dragoons dismounted on the hillock overlooking the bridge and exchanged shots with Longe’s musketeers.  Soon, Brooke’s Shot also positioned themselves and the dragoons now outnumbered, were shot up and out of the fight.
no shooting for these boys this turn!

While all this was occurring, Urry’s gallop to the ford continued well until he reached the ford.  His progress was halted for many minutes. (two successive failed activation rolls! -  the water must have been deeper than anticipated?)

His attack’s surprise was alerted by the stampede of cows in his path  {ed note: I had that morning based up some cow models and placed them on the table as “eye candy”  Little that I knew they would serve within the game itself.} {further ed note: I have even seen activation and movement rules for sheep! Apparently they can be used to distract those units with 'Wild Charge' characteristics LOL.  I used a roll of 5+ for these cows to activate a stampede and thus a warning.  They did.
the bovines of note

Despite the warning by the bovines , the surprise was still evident by the immediate lack of activation by the Brooke’s Pike who failed to move to prevent the horsemen’s attack.  Of course, this failure also meant the musketeers could not lessen the impact and great slaughter ensued aided by remarkable dice rolling by my part.  Longe’s musketeers were to half strength and failed to rally. Brooke’s Shot, having not the sense to run (having passed (!) their courage test despite the armies’ losses) so Urry’s boys had a good day chopping up musketeers. (see photo below with the spectacular dice throw).  Now only the Pike were left to run away. 
the roll of Urry's horse vs the musketeers.  All but the one counts as a hit! 5 thus killed in one round of combat. 
The view of the battlefield

So ended the first battle of the Tersey Campaign using my very old collection of Foundry ECW/TYW - a mixed breed this range! - painted c.1988-1990.  It had languished in boxes for many years with a half hearted rebasing each time I thought to find a ruleset I liked.  Either they wanted more figures than I had or in a different organization. As the collection is some 26 years old and with old varnish and a very different painting style, I cannot now make changes - my OCD is very “same-ness” orientated!  With ‘Lion Rampant’ and the pike and shot versions, I could arrange the units to make a very nice ‘retinues’.  This was the first go at the rules and I enjoyed the results.  The campaign will continue sporadically in the near future.
no animals were harmed in the making of this game.....(home-made sty)

War of 1812 unit - the British 13th Foot

The 13th Foot along with the 64th Foot were transferred from Bermuda to Canada in 1813 to help in the war effort against the Americans during the War of 1812.  They arrived still wearing their tropical white shakos.  While the 64th were to garrison Halifax and continue to wear the white headgear, the 13th which were to see some action, and thus my interest in the unit, were shortly to replace them with the standard black issue.  See this link for an article on the subject (link)

However history aside, a British unit in the war with a most different headdress is far too cool to pass up and so I have gone about creating a small unit of the 13th Foot from my rather large stock pile of Old Glory British line figures.  These were painted some -long- time ago....