Saturday, April 29, 2023

Battle of Montgomery, 1644

On Wednesday, three players volunteered to take command in a remote game seeing my 30mm ECW collection out for battle.  The Battle of Montgomery in 1644 was on the docket.

Royalists, under Byron, are besieging Montgomery.  Meldrum has crossed the River Camlads in order to lift the siege and resupply the town and garrison.  Meldrum sends out a foraging party of cavalry to bring in supplies for both his troops and the besieged troops within Montgomery.  Seeing that his command outnumbers Meldrum after Meldrum sent off about 30% of his cavalry, Byron orders an attack to drive the Roundheads into the river.  Camlads is only crossable at Salt Bridge.  Meldrum is outnumbered but expecting his foraging party to be recalled and return at some point in the battle.  Byron is overconfident and does not offer much in personal command for the battle. Lothian's Chelshire foote have sworn to stand and will fight to the death.
Initial deployments
Royalists win if the Parliamentarian Army can be broken before it falls back across the River Camlads to safety.  Parliamentarians win if the Royalists can be broken and the siege lifted.  Parliamentarians gain a minor victory if they can cross back over the River Camlads to safety before their army is broken (but what fun would this victory condition hold if Meldrum runs away at the first sound of battle?).

Armies drawn up for battle.
View looking down the Battle Lines. 

Historically, Meldrum won the battle even though outnumbered.  Several deployment variations are hypothesized.  I choose the deployment will the cavalry massed upon the Royalist left.

Royalists automatically have initiative on the first turn.  Mark and Chris command Byron's Royalists.  Steve takes the helm of the Parliamentarian Army under Meldrum.

Meldrum readies his army for battle.
Byron holds the high ground.
On to battle!

The two armies watch on expectantly, waiting for the first advances of battle.   The wait is not long.

Byron orders Tyldesley's cavalry forward negotiating the hedge to its front.  Almost immediately, one of Fairfax's regiments is upon them.  In a quick, sharp clash, the Roundhead cavalry is driven off.  Casualties are heavy to both.

The cavalry face off on Meldrum's right.
Fairfax strikes!
As both commanders move up their foote, Fairfax keeps the pressure on the Royalist cavalry by charging back into the enemy before they can regroup.  At the hedge, the Royalists are trapped and are cut down before they can escape.  Along the lane, Fairfax charges in, scatters the enemy cavalry to his front, and then launches into pursuit.  Pursuit is stopped cold by a second body of Royalist horse. Fairfax retreats.

Out on the Royalist right, the dragoons come off the hill to take up a position in the rough ground.  Immediately, these dragoons come under pressure from enemy foote.

Foote advance.
Fairfax attacks!
Two Royalist cavalry are destroyed.
With a swirling cavalry battle on the Royalist left seeing the Royalists coming up short, Byron turns his attention to the infantry.  With his dragoons engaged on his far right, Broughton's foote are ordered down from the heights.

Seeing the dragoons overrun and the Royalist right threatened, one regiment swings around to counter enemy advances.  Catching the Roundhead infantry unprepared for an attack from that quarter, the Roundhead infantry is dispatched.

In the center, having let loose a volley into the Parliamentarian infantry to its front moments before, Broughton pitches into the enemy.  Disordered by the volley, the enemy cannot withstand the Royalist attack. It breaks for the rear.  The Parliamentarian left is no more.

Having suffered in the unequal exchanges in the cavalry battle on the Royalist left, success against enemy foot elsewhere looks to be tipping the battle's outcome back toward the Royalists.

Royalists descend the hill
and prepare to attack.
Two of Meldrum's foote are scattered.
Those thoughts are short-lived. Fairfax keeps pressure upon the Royalist cavalry wing routing a third horse regiment.  Only one cavalry regiment remains on the Royalist left.
Destruction of another Royalist horse!
As the Royalists' cavalry wing is destroyed,
Royalist generals look on in horror and dismay.
Having seen off the Roundhead left, Royalist foote turn to face the threat of Myddleton’s late arriving enemy cavalry returning from their foraging exercises.   Byron needs to stabilize his left in case his final horse regiment is seen off.
With their right secure, 
Royalist foote march into the plain.
Byron need not wait long.

Fairfax presses on and over the hedge to engage the sole remaining Royalist horse. Outnumbered, the action is over quickly.  The Royalist cavalry wing is gone.
The last Royalist horse regiment is destroyed.
Fairfax's hard-charging horse!
Royalist foote turn to face a new threat.
Situation when the two armies disengage.
At this point in battle, the Royalists had seen all of their cavalry scattered and the Parliamentarians had lost all of their infantry.  Both armies were hovering close to their Army Breakpoints.  The ultimate outcome could have easily gone either way.

With the Parliamentarian Army outnumbered, Meldrum could gain a minor victory by escaping back over the River Camlads before his army was broken or trapped against the river.  True that the Royalists prevented the siege of Montgomery from being lifted but Meldrum kept a viable army in the field to, perhaps, make another attempt at relieving the siege.  Given those conditions, each army could logically argue that they won a minor victory.  Meldrum could claim victory by not being destroyed.  Byron could declare victory by keeping the siege intact.

I called the battle a draw.

Thanks again to the players for providing a very entertaining game.  Montgomery may return to the field next week in an encore presentation.

Monday, April 24, 2023

Glory Days

David from Not by Appointment and I had a recent email exchange on game room aspirations.  In one of the emails, David sent a copy of this whisky advertisement from the '70s embodying his vision of the essence of a proper game room (well, without the whisky and horse).  So much to work with in this ad that I could not resist the temptation of making my own adaptation or meme.

While you may be able to take a White Horse anywhere, I wondered what the horse was thinking as it surveyed the battlefield below.  I am sure the man and woman are having an interesting conversation or a few repressed thoughts but I focused on the horse, itself.

My meme attempts to conjure up memories of the Glory Days from battles passed.

This ad offers a target-rich environment for captioning.

Your turn...

Edit 25APR2023:

David from Not by Appointment sent me this one:

Friday, April 21, 2023

Return to Huesca, 1105

The Battle of Huesca, first fought solely against Mark (see: Battle of Huesca 1105) saw an encore engagement fought remotely pitting Mark against Steve.  Coming off from a convincing victory as Ali, Mark wanted to switch roles and take command of the Spanish under Alfonso.

Without further ado, let us see how the battle panned out.

With both armies drawn up for battle, Alfonso makes only slight adjustments to his army's deployment as the Moors begin their advance. Watching the Moors advance toward the Spanish army as Ali throws out his light cavalry to harass the enemy, the Spanish remain calm.  Calm but nervous underneath, perhaps.  The only movement in the Spanish line is pushing skirmishers and archers hesitantly up toward Huesca to counter Ali's light cavalry.  Alfonso is definitely allowing the Moors to come to him.
Armies arrayed for battle.
Alfonso steadies his line.
The Moors advance while the Spanish wait.
The Moors begin harassing the enemy line.
Ali's wall advances as a singular force. 
Tired of the annoying javelin fire from the enemy light cavalry, the Spanish right advances to Huesca to drive off the enemy skirmishers.  Alfonso's knights in the center of his line continue allowing the enemy to come to him.  Is he awaiting the right moment to strike?
The Spanish right

Alfonso sends three of his knights crashing into the enemy's battle line.  The heavy cavalry blows land upon the enemy right.  

The first blow falls against the Muslim camelry.  In a fierce clash, the Spanish knights are driven away in full retreat. The second blow sees a second body of knights overrun the skirmishing bowmen between the lines before crashing into an enemy block of heavy spearmen.  As these knights close, they are met by a hail of arrows from the spearmen's support archers.  Weakened, the knights carry on but are repulsed as the enemy stands firm.

Finally, Alfonso, himself leading the away, follows up against the wavering camelry.  In a swift clash, the enemy camelry is sent packing.  In the pursuit, Alfonso smacks into a light cavalry unit and scatters these light horsemen to the four winds.  This pursuit carries Alfonso deep behind the enemy's battle line.
Alfonso attacks!
Wave after wave of Spanish knights charge in!
Ali's camelry is sent packing.
Alfonso in headlong pursuit
but Ali's infantry battle line remains firm.
Seeing the hole widening on his right, Ali attacks against the enemy right in an effort to rebalance the battle.

Against the walls of Huesca, Ali's heavy infantry advance.  Their first opposition encountered is a unit of massed archers.  Despite suffering mightily at the arrows of the enemy, the archers are dispatched in heavy fighting.  In pursuit, the Moors swing behind the enemy's line to strike Spanish knights surprised to see the enemy upon it.  Initially caught unaware, the knights regroup and battle back.  The Moorish spearmen, already weakened from their earlier fight, break.  The knights follow-up although heavily battered in these exchanges.  Ali sends his Black Guard forward into the thin Spanish line of spearmen.
Ali 's heavy infantry attacks!
Having scattered the archers,
 spearmen careen into Spanish knights.
Spanish knights counterattack.
The Moors are scattered.
The Black Guard smashes into the enemy spearmen after first sending a volley of arrows into the footmen.  The Spanish infantry do not last long.  Quickly cutting the enemy down, the Black Guard swings into the next Spanish spearmen in line.  

These Spanish, hit from the flank, fail to hold the line.  They are overwhelmed as were their brothers in arms.  Back they go!  The black-clad warriors do not ease up.  Coming up on the already wavering knights, the appearance of enemy on its rear scatters the knights. 

The Black Guard are not finished quite yet.  Still they come on, overrunning fleeing Spanish infantry.  The Spanish left has been ripped apart!
Black Guard attacks!
Victim #2 in sight!
Victim #3 in the crosshairs.
Spanish knights destroyed!
Victim #4 dispatched!
With the Spanish right destroyed and the line ripe for turning, Alfonso, although far removed from battle, concedes that the day is lost. The seige of Huesca has been lifted and Ali is victorious.
Alfonso loses an army
While Alfonso pursues to nowhere, his Spanish Army is destroyed.
Victory to Steve and his Muslim Army!  Congratulations!
as Ali holds the field.
Watching this battle unfold was really quite exciting, dynamic, and with plenty of action.  

First, watching the Spanish patiently waiting for the right moment to strike and then striking out against the enemy.  Tensions rose as the Moors advanced.  Some of these attacks worked.  Others did not.

Second, Ali's attack against the Spanish right was breathtaking.  I have never witnessed such complete damage wrought against an enemy.  Given only half a chance to pursue, the Black Guard succeeded until there were no enemy within reach.  Casualties were high.  Remarkably high.

In the end, Steve played a great game in destroying Mark's Spaniards.  Still, Mark was laughing in the end and took the defeat in good humor.  While the result was decisive, the outcome could have been much different.

Great battle!  Thank you both!

Tuesday, April 18, 2023

A Little Diversion

Given the rapid-fire pace of games followed closely by the chronicling of the action, not much work has been accomplished at the painting desk.  What painting has been accomplished concentrated mainly on WAS/SYW figures.  This pattern remained in place though much of the New Year.  Perhaps I could re-energize work at the paint table by switching up periods?  Recently, I have been considering a return to refighting an ACW battle or two.  These thoughts prompted a dig through The Lead Pile in search of 10mm infantry.  Adding to the ACW collection could provide a little diversion at the painting desk.
Looking back at the Painting Log, no 10mm ACW units have mustered out from the painting table since December 2021.  That is a long time.  With a glimmer of motivation and figures still left in The Lead Pile, 150 Confederate infantry (five regiments of 30 figures each) were pushed into the production line hopping over a number of units already waiting in the painting queue.  Figures are Old Glory 10mm.
Having pushed this chunk of lead through the queue, painting priorities return to WAS/SYW tasks.  Seeing Reconquista figures out on the table for a couple of games, I expect to see a Christian unit or two sneaking into the painting queue.  Rummaging through The Lead Pile, I was surprised to see more heavy cavalry in waiting than I may know what to do with.  Given the results of the Reconquista games, the Spanish could use a few choice reinforcements.
I hosted Mark and Steve for a second Battle of Huesca on Monday.  Mark reversed his role in Game #1 as Ali to tackle the battle from the Spanish side of the table.  The battle was full of drama featuring an unexpected run to end the battle.  Details, I save for another time.

While rumblings of bringing the 10mm ACW armies to the table grow, the next table action may see a return to the ECW in a requested encore of the Battle of Montgomery.  

Stay tuned...

Friday, April 14, 2023

Battle of Huesca, 1105

After the parade-goers had cleared away, the battle could begin in earnest.

With feelings of guilt still lingering from his stomping of my Sumerians in an earlier outing (see Going Down for the Last Time), Marked opted to take command of what appeared to be the weaker of the two armies.

He chose the Muslim army of Ali.  The two armies were arrayed as shown in the photos below:

While Alfonso's Spanish army looked larger in numbers, initial impressions can be deceiving.  All of Ali's heavy infantry are supported by a unit of archers.  In Basic Impetvs terms, these formations qualify as Large Units.  Again we play on a grid.

Did Mark choose wisely?  Let's see how the battle panned out for Ali and his Moors.  As the battle begins, Mark looks quite relaxed.  Seeing the wrap on his hand, he may have taken a tumble from his trusty steed.  Bad omen?
Mark (Ali) looks on, satisfied with his deployment. 
Ali takes the initiative as the two armies close.  The Moorish light cavalry swing wide right in an attempt to outflank the enemy.  Tossing javelins as they speed by disrupts the leftmost Spanish heavy cavalry.  Ali's heavier cavalry in the center (one heavy mercenary cavalry and two camel cavalry) veer off to the right.  Sensing an opportunity, Alfonso strikes!  The Spanish hit the enemy horse and send them reeling back.  The retreating cavalry take Ali with them.  This may, indeed, be fate showing her hand early!   
Initial cavalry charges send Ali packing!
While Alfonso fails to spur his cavalry into pursuit, the Spanish cavalry on his left drive on.  The pursuing Spanish knight's path is blocked by more Arab camelry.  The already disordered and weakened Spanish are repulsed.  The Infidels turn-about and head for the rear.     
The pursuers are driven off but the Moors do not pursue.
With the Christian cavalry in the center occupied, Ali presses his light cavalry forward on the wings.  A unit of Spanish skirmishers is overrun, and the light cavalry penetrates deep into the Spanish rear.  Turn 3 and the Spanish left already looks compromised!  Having seen his left crumble, Alfonso wonders if he is a bit exposed in the middle of the battlefield with enemy in the rear.
Moorish light cavalry swing around the Spanish left.
Alfonso feeling a bit exposed.
Alfonso need not wait long for an answer.

The Muslim heavy infantry with archers in support marches forward.  Alfonso and his knights, despite some hacking and slashing, are met by a hail of arrows and the threat of facing a wall of long spears.  He falls back.  To cover Alfonso's withdrawal, the adjacent knights attack.  Unfortunately, the block of long spears cannot be penetrated and the knights pull away to join Alfonso. 
Alfonso under threat!
Spanish cavalry are repulsed and
sent on their way to the rear.
To cover the hole left by Alfonso and his retreating cavalry, Spanish heavy spearmen guide right to fill this void.  Both battle lines march forward to close.
Plugging holes and filling gaps.
With Alfonso's knights out of the way, Ali's infantry strike!  All across the battle line, the dense Moorish infantry formations close with the enemy.  In an attempt to reach Alfonso's retiring knights, the Berber spearmen lunge into the Spanish heavy infantry blocking their way forward.  Surprisingly, these Spaniards, having only just slipped into position, repulse their attackers with heavy casualties.  Unfortunately, the victors cannot muster the enthusiasm to pursue.    
The Muslims attack!
Fateful decision on their part.  While they hesitate, more Moors come on!  Already wavering from their earlier exertions, the Spaniards break and flee.  Their rout carries them into Alfonso and his knights.  Alfonso's knights are pushed even further into disarray before scattering.  Alfonso turns about and heads off to rejoin the battle line. 

On the Spanish right, Muslim heavy infantry drive into the enemy spearmen.  Almost everywhere, the Spanish find themselves falling back under heavy pressure. 
Destruction of the Spanish center.
While the Spanish fall back on the right,
the Spanish center is ripped apart. 
One bright spot for Alfonso and his Spanish army is that, having joined one of the remaining body of knights in the main battle line, Alfonso drives off the enemy's Black Guard.  Casualties are heavy. Very heavy.  With the remnants of the Black Guard ripe for slaughter, Alfonso fails to pursue.  On the Spanish right, the enemy is driving into the battle line and splintering the defense.
The Black Guard attacks
and is driven off!
Spanish center is no more.
With the Spanish line crumbling all around, a few Christians stand in silence ready to repulse their attackers.  As the enemy closes in on their position, they see the Spanish right gives way and breaks.  Isolated, the survivors have no choice but to withdraw. 
A desperate defense.
The battle is over.

Seeing destruction all across the battlefield, Alfonso has little choice but to retire.  His army is destroyed.

Mark (again) played a great game by keeping pressure on the Spanish seemingly everywhere.  First, the Spanish left was compromised then the Spanish center was ripped to shreds.  Finally, the Spanish right bent and then broke.  No doubt that this battle was over.  Convincing victory by Mark.  Well-played and well-earned.  

What can I say?  How about, "can I have a rematch?"

As always, great fun in a very entertaining game.

Thank you, Mark!