Sunday, October 30, 2016

1152: Eystein on the Beach*

Once more I find myself snowed under with work, study and life in general, but here I have an hour to pop up the photo's of a Lion Rampant introductory game from a couple of months ago.  Ross freshly beck from the land of Ice and Fire fancied a try of historical gaming, and already knowing Dragon Rampant I figured Lion was an easy lead.

Looking at my available models I figured my Feudal English could be matched in numerical terms by a mishmash of my Saga Vikings and Franks.  Thus a late period Scandinavian army could face the English.

It may sound implausible, but in fact Scandinavian raids on England did not conveniently end with 1066 and all that, Eystein II raided Scotland and England in 1152 whilst the last Norwegian raid into Scotland is recorded as 1263.

Thus historically satisfied we set our forces for a simple battle of attrition.  A small Northumbrian farmstead, with an old stone circle was the scene of a heavy skirmish betwixt the two forces.

I took command of the Norwegians, a handful of whom had acquired local horses to make a small mounted contingent.  Most of my men remained foot troops, a mixture of light and heavy foot, but with some crossbowmen too.

Ross led the English, With a fine array of mounted and foot nobility, Sergeants at arms and a handful of Welsh bowmen.

Battle joined and the Vikings advanced more ably at first, with their missile troops taking to the high ground from which they began to take ranging shots at the English.  Norwegian heavy infantry moved to take the cover of dry stone walling in the centre of the battlefield.  For their part the English began slowly, but progressed aggressively with their knights and heaviest infantry.

The Knights found themselves lured into one of several charges against the Viking infantry.  Less impetuous, the Viking horsemen kept their distance looking for an opportunity.

The Norse were forced to retire, but the knights losses would prove costly.

The English foot looked to outflank the opposite end of the Norwegian line, but they were kept in check by a traditional Viking shield wall and by a steady hail of bolts from the crossbowmen on the hill.

The lightest troops in the Viking force came up in their turn to try and counter the English advance.

The English tried to use the violent force of the Bill to hack through the Viking spearmen.

They were unsuccessful; and soon forced to retire.  At the farmstead, frustration amongst the Norwegian left was vented by setting fire to the farmstead.

A warband of Viking mercenaries and sailors tried to rush the Welsh bowmen, but to no avail.  Meanwhile the English foot knights fared rather better than their mounted brethren.

The battle was becoming patchy by now, and there was no certainty as to who would triumph.  However the Norwegians had managed to hang on to their horse, and now began to move them to outflank the enemy whilst the rest of their troops stalled with an orderly covered withdrawal.  To remain in attacking range the English had to draw closer to the Viking crossbows.

All may have been for nought, had the English Men at Arms been able to keep pace with the Vikings, but terrain and lightness of foot helped keep them at arms length.

By which stage the support of most of the English infantry had evaporated.  The Welsh bows and the Men at Arms were all that was left, and although both sides were bloodied, with Norse riders to their rear, the best the English could hope for now was to melt away without further loss.

Once boasts were calculated, this proved a comfortable win for the Norwegians.  More importantly, Ross enjoyed his game, so much so that we swapped sides,swapped scenarios and went again.

More on that another time perhaps.

*Bonus points for getting the Philip Glass related pun folks

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