Thursday, October 09, 2008

Cross unt Geld - 924ad

A kid called Ralph wanted to give Warhammer Ancients a go at the club, and who was I to refuse! Given that the game would be on a Sunday, a time when a big game could be finished easily I scraped together every last figure I could for a 2,500 point game.

The armies were my usual Vikings (AKA: The winners) against the generally luckless Franks and their cowardly cavalry.

The Vikings above comprised three blocks of 24 Hird, including the General, Godi, Army Standard and a couple of Besirkir; 36 Bondi foot warriors; 18 Jomsviking adventurers; 12 Ulfnedhar and 18 Bondi bowmen.

The East-Carolingian Franks comprised two units of heavy Milites including their King; one unit of lighter Swabian Milites; 32 Swabian Milites on foot with the army standard; 32 Liberi with a Bishop and two units of a dozen bowmen each.

At the end of that I had one cavalry figure spare in his box, I almost felt sorry for him!

We opted for randomised terrain set up (where it is laid out alternately and then each piece 'scatters' at random), which resulted in an interesting layout of interspersed woods and fields. After that we went with map deployment so we couldn't respond to the other persons plan as it happened. Ralph set up as a result with a dense centre formed of his Hird, the tougher small units in the field to his left and the weaker, but numerous Bondi on his right:

In reply, I'd placed my infantry in the centre, intending to occupy the field with the weakest, but stubborn troops of the Liberi, and with all my heavy cavalry on the relatively open ground to my right. The lighter troops were to my left:

The battle swung back and forth throughout the game, though a couple of key moments sealed eventual victory for the Vikings. Early on Ralph's Ulfnedhar got stuck into the Kings cavalry, and although eventually destroyed, three rounds (!) of drawn combat meant that by the time the vikings were destroyed only two knights (one being the King) were left.

I still had a cavalry reserve on that Flank, but Ralph was able to get the charge in first; I elected to Flee to expose the troops to my own foot Milites; thinking that for once surely my Milites must rally on the next turn. Of course they didn't and off the table they went. When will I ever learn!

At least on my left the light cavalry charged down and wiped out the Bondi spears without loss, they too turned round towards Ralphs reforming centre.

At the same stage, two of his units of Hird attacked my men in and around the field. The defence of the field was aided by it's stout wall which saw me defeat one unit

But after a long fight I lost the other. Still panic swept through Ralphs forces when the Godi was killed, leading to the unit he led being destroyed, the retreats of his Lord giving me a window of opportunity. My Milites were routing but so were their previous foe, If I could just rally them, my Bishop and the light cavalry might be able to hold out to final victory...

Alas, my foot troops would not be swayed, and fled the field. It was all over really, there were simply too many enemies for the bishop and 20 or so Liberi to beat, even with some cavalry support. Hands were shook and battle concluded.

So, another confirmation of the brittle nature of Frankish cavalry, or perhaps my tactics. Whenever the enemy gets the charge in they are stuffed; if on the other hand they make contact first, even a large enemy unit is hard pressed to meet them head on. On the other hand, you can't go far wrong with the Vikings, could they be the winningest army I own?


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