Monday, August 13, 2012

Voet tegen Paard: 1384

Another game of Hail Caesar, another dip into Mr Grant's scenarios.  This time lifting almost as written the Horse against Foot scenario.  I was in command of a long train of Low Countries troops, whilst Laurie led a mounted army (with just a handful of foot troops in the vanguard) of the Holy Roman Empire.

Battle opened with my Flemish troops strung out along a road, whilst the enemy cavalry rode over a crest perilously close to us:

I had first turn, and quickly used initiative moves to get my lead troops into the farmland to the left of the road.  Keeping my orders to a minimum, I was then able to execute some simple turns of face, wheels and withdrawals to  face the foe.  (We had both used map deployments before the game).

Laurie did not waste time in coming on to the attack, and his front line of Prussian knights and foot charged home.

It was at this stage we both discovered his cavalry could not charge home against the front of ordered pike, and so they pulled up short and his infantry began the attack.  The were slowed and harassed by Flemish handgunners as they closed.

Forcing some back, and others to run.  Meanwhile however a rash charge by one unit of Pike had shown that intimidation was the strength of the Flemish troops, and it resulted in an unseemly rout of my infantry when the superior German horse were allowed to fight defensively.  The knights exploited the gap and threatened our flanks

The Pike retired and formed an angle to limit flank attacks by the Germans.  At the same time our rearguard began to try to turn the Empire's flank  and our plucky handgunners continued to plague the Prussians with shot.

On more than one occasion the Germans charged the Handgunners, but every time the evaded, most often behind the lines of pike.  They would prove to be the star players of the Flemish army.

Recognising the problem, Laurie sent his Saxon cavalry around the right of the road around the small copse my skirmishers were firing from.  I turned to face with some heavty infantry, but Laurie had bigger fish to fry...

Instead he circled around my artillery, which had been laying down a steady fire on his cavalry on the hill.  Shortly beforehand one of his Saxon units charged my token force of foot Men at Arms, putting them under great pressure.

But on the left some unsuccessful charges against the non-pike troops - who always benefited from the close support of their rallying generals - and a reinforced barrage of handgun fire led to the Prussians being in very hot water, and slowly their morale began to crumble.

On the road the troops charging the Men at Arms were beaten back, but then Saxons charged the artillery, and to the Men at Arms rear.  The Artillery stood no chance.

But with timely support from Flemish citizen infantry, more of the Saxon knights were repulsed.

By this stage one of the German commands was irretrievably broken and with casualties mounting, Laurie was forced to quit the field.

This scenario is an excellent one, with the foot army having staying power but lacking attack strength whilst the horse army can hit hard but is smaller, tires easily and cannot sustain combat both armies are evenly if disparately matched.  Deploying from maps certainly added to the uncertainty, and the Hail Caesar rules are perfectly suited to this sort of unequal and flexible battle.

Laurie was unlucky in that several times his troops refused to respond; whilst my shorter lines of communication, in part permitted by his aggressive forward deployment, allowed my main force to operate freely and conservatively in mutual defence of the centre of the field.  Constant work by the Army general and his subordinates saw critical Low Countries troops kept in the fray long past their direst moments.

In conclusion, highly recommended as a challenge for both players, and a good way to spend a few hours on a Sunday afternoon.


  1. Looks and reads like this was an excellent table top experience for both sides.

    -- Jeff

  2. Looks like great fun. I must admit I'm tempted by Hail Caesar. Thanks for sharing!