sunnuntai 11. kesäkuuta 2017

Conquering England - Battle of Hastings 1066

Nopat & Taktiikka Club's Traditional Summer Cabin Trip

It was once again time to enjoy the Finnish summer by heading to the country side with good friends, dozens of beer cans and hundreds of toy soldiers... and to stay crammed in a small cabin for hours and hours drinking the beer and rolling the dice. The companions were:

King Harold (Sebastian) and his brothers (in arms) Juha and Antti 
-proudly displaying the new Club T-shirt (and Karhu-beer, in English bear-beer)
...and commanding the defending the Anglo-Saxon fyrds

And the somewhat more crazy AND arrogant Norman lords:
Duke William (aka Kalle) and his vassals my self and Aleksis

What madness would follow from this you wonder... read on to find out! (Sorry about the unsharpness of some of the pictures - lightning conditions were very challenging.

History




The exact numbers present at the battle are unknown; modern estimates are around 10,000 for William and about 7,000 for Harold. The composition of the forces is clearer; the English army was composed almost entirely of infantry and had few archers, whereas only about half of the invading force was infantry, the rest split equally between cavalry and archers. Harold appears to have tried to surprise William, but scouts found his army and reported its arrival to William, who marched from Hastings to the battlefield to confront Harold. The battle lasted from about 9 am to dusk. Early efforts of the invaders to break the English battle lines had little effect; therefore, the Normans adopted the tactic of pretending to flee in panic and then turning on their pursuers. Harold's death, probably near the end of the battle, led to the retreat and defeat of most of his army. - Source: Wikipedia


Scenario / objectives

Rules: Hail Caesar with some house / scenario rules

Anglo-Saxons

  • Break the enemy army 8 p.
  • Kill Wilhelm The Conqueror 7p.
  • Hold the ridge until end of the game (X rounds) 5p.

Normans


  • Break the enemy army 8 p.
  • Kill King Harold 7 p.
  • Hold  the ridge in the end of the game (X rounds) 5p.

Special Rules

  • Impetous Anglo-Saxons: should the AS’s beat their Norman opponents in any melee, they are eager to chase them. Should AS-units not want follow up enemy units giving ground or making a sweeping advance, when the enemy retreats they must pass a command test (counting distance modifiers).
  • Mighty heroes: both commanders are mighty heroes and have ld 9. In addition they can make one friendly unit within command range reroll a failed break test. They have  up to three attacks in melee.
  • Killing commanders: commanders can die “normally” if they participate in melees. Also if the commander’s division is broken, the commander is considered slain / captured and hence yielding the victory points
  • Charging uphill: attackers lose charge bonuses
  • Uphill: movement uphill is halved and defender has +1 to hit in melee (not units in support)
  • Anglo-Saxon shieldwall: shooting to the front is -1 to hit. Should a unit move more than a 1 move or be disordered, it will lose the shieldwall -status. Reforming a shieldwall needs a successful command and the unit may not move during the same round. All AS melee infantry units may start the game in the Shieldwall
  • Holding the ridge: evaluated on “how it looks” -basis. If unclear, count the number of units. Shaken and units from broken divisions do not count.


Armies

As in history, for example: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Battle_of_Hastings

My division contained:


  • 3 units of French cavalry
  • 2 units of missile light infantry (crossbows / bows)
  • 5 units of medium / heavy infantry

Deployment



Deployment ongoing

Mighty Norman army ready to conquer England!

Saxon fyrd holding the ridge - King Harold on the hilltop with his bodyguard

Round 1. Normans go first

As attackers our Norman forces got the initiative to go first. With the lead of Duke William (aka Kalle) we had drafted a simple battle plan: as the key prize was King Harold on the central hill, each division of William's vassals would first hammer the enemy center, while part of their divisions would hold the enemy flanks from supporting the center. Once the center would be softened, Duke's division would provide the coup de grace. We'd also try to lure the Anglo-Saxon units out of the battle line to be able to utilize our cavalry - just like in history.

My division was the only Norman division to respond properly to commands and moved two moves forward. My French cavalry took positions in the extreme right of the battlefield and missile weapon fielding light infantry screened my infantry.

During their turn Anglo-Saxons threw their skirmishers forward to harass our forces with stones and arrows.


Turn 2.

As planned, my division turned towards the enemy center and my missile troops started peppering the enemy formations. Anglo-Saxon skirmishers showed their courage (or foolishness)  by standing in front of our forces (unfortunately my charge commands didn't quite reach them!).

Finally the rest of the Norman forces got their arses moving as well...

King Harold (aka Sebastian) observing the situation... already worried?

Close up


Round 3.

As my division had reached initiative range, it was now easy to follow the orders of my Liege! My cavalry crashed at the enemy skirmishers, whom foolishly chose to stand and shoot - soon they were no more. My melee infantry clashed with the enemy center and my missile troops moved to close range to annoy the enemy infantry - hoping to draw them to charge out of the battle line.


As a result of the first melees my forces had destroyed an Anglo Saxon unit and (over) confidently sweeped into the huscarl elite (Harold's bodyguard), from whom they were repulsed away from. a unit on the left was clearly disordered...

As planned, the Anglo-Saxons got too enthusiastic and eagerly followed up on our units (after failed command tests).


During Anglo-Saxon turn more enemy units charged forward, but our light infantry (that means me) had the sense to evade and as the charges were made on initiative, they didn't hit home. Unfortunately to me, the A-S now remembered, that they had brought javelins with them and now peppered my units with them.

In the center the A-S Huscarl elite seemed unstoppable and eagerly pushed ever deeper to our lines, isolating themselves from their comrades and the battle line.

View on the entire BF

Round 4. or so

As our line seemed to buckle, more A-S units charged  forward in the center. My division was taking heavy hits, but I guess it was all for the greater good.


My right flank was still keeping the A-S forces in bay, even if facing greatly outnumbering enemy.


Mid-battle overview

My cavalry made a tactical retreat to get away from those annoying javelins...

Against all odds, the A-S Huscarls had smashed all opponents so far - mighty deed indeed! At least they were finally shaken themselves as well.


Norman Lords not so certain about victory anymore...

Finally Bishop Odo's (aka Aleksis) division made contact with the enemy as well in the Norman left flank

While in the center my division was already close to being spent...

And after the few more melees the division broke and it's remains fell back!

So it would be the job for my Norman comrades to save the day...


My division breaking immediately meant that our right flank 
was now dangerously open!

My commander had also fallen and the only comfort 
was provided by our divisional priest!

That didn't really help much as the now battle lust driven Anglo-Saxon warriors stormed what ever remnants of my forces, that still stood...

Dramatic turn around

Victory was there for the A-S army to grab, but suddenly some of their units remembered, that they really needed to head home now, as the harvest was yet to be collected (dramatic blunder roll!).


This gave us the much needed opportunity to turn against the flanks of the A-S units that pushed far away from the ridge...

In our left flank Bishop Odo threw his heavy cavalry into action - All in!
(here actually several rule errors were made as cavalry units were charged through friendly units with initiative moves, which of course is not allowed).

Overview of the Norman left flank towards the end of the game

More Norman units now turned from the center to roll up the A-S left flank division

And quite rapidly the A-S units were mopped up and slaughtered!

Battlefield view - so few units left now!

A-S battleline has collapsed in their left and center, then again not so much is left from our forces facing them!

Norman left flank taking a breather and considering their options...

Last remnants of the A-S left flank ran down by Norman knights! We could still win this!

Duel for the throne!

Day light was quickly fading both in the game time as in real life. Our warlords had visited the sauna and the lake during a recess in the game, but now it was time to fight to the bitter end - the throne of England was at stake!
Our forces once again pushed towards the A-S center!

Blows were exchanged and blood wetted the green field

It was time for Duke William and King Harold to fight it out!


This epic moment even woke me from the slumber (as 
I had not had much to do recently)


So the lords and their most elite warriors dished it out!

Overview

Norman left flank, still very much undecided


Some of our left flank knights rushing for the objective in the center

After several hours of hard fighting, both armies broke (2 divisions of 3 broken) and as the night had fallen, we called it a day.

Calculation of victory points clearly stated, that it was a very hard fought and bloody DRAW!

Conclusions

So the history didn't repeat itself. England was saved from Normans for now, as the steam of their invasion was now gone...

Until later this year, when we plan to fight the battle again - WITH EVEN MORE MINIATURES!

1 kommentti:

  1. The best way to enjoy summer - inside playing games! (at least this summer... where's the warmth?)

    VastaaPoista