Ancient British at the Potsdam New Year tournament

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lawrenceg
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Ancient British at the Potsdam New Year tournament

Post by lawrenceg » Thu Jan 15, 2009 1:43 pm

This tournament was organised by Ferdi Akaltin, who is currently Commanding Officer of a Panzer Battalion. By virtue of his job, he arranged to hold the tournament in the officers mess of a German army barracks, which in Nazi times was the alternative HQ of the Luftwaffe. After that it was an NVA barracks until the BRD army took it over on reunification. Among the advantages of the venue were cheap accommodation in a barrack block and drinks from the bar served by uniformed waiters to your table during the games. There were 10 participants, using 800 AP armies from any published list book on 1.8 x 1.2 m tables.

My army was Ancient British, in order of march:

2 x 4 base Chariots: light chariot, superior, light spear
1 x 4 base Cavalry: LH average unprotected javelin light spear
1 x 10 base Families: Mob poor

1 x 4 base Cavalry: LH average unprotected javelin light spear
1 x 6 base Cavalry: LH average unprotected javelin light spear
1 x 8 base Warriors: MF average protected impact foot sword

3 x 8 base Slingers: LF average unprotected sling

2 x 12 base Warriors: MF average protected impact foot sword
1 x 8 base Warriors: MF average protected impact foot sword

IC + 3 x TC

(all troops are undrilled)

Game 1 versus Thorsten and Thomas with Ptolemaic. Technically this was a singles comp, but Thorsten couldn’t make it for the second day, so he was teaching his (very inexperienced) second day stand-in how to use the army on the first day.

I won initiative and picked Agricultural land. We ended up with open fields on my flanks and on the Ptolemaic base edge, a gentle hill on my base edge, and a plantation in my front right. The light green area in the centre of my side of the table is just to hide a rip in the underlying table surface.

Image

I deployed with a view to skirmishing the front of the enemy while attacking on the flank with all the terrain. My opponents simply lined up to push me off the table, but also sent 1 BG of cavalry on an outflanking march aimed at my camp. This entered the table on turn 3. Meanwhile the Galatian cavalry (superior armoured light spear swordsman) had forged ahead, absorbing everything my LH could throw at them with impunity, and the lancers had swung out to the flank. I had sent one BG of chariots over to the same flank help out. On the other flank, the Ptolemaic MF had come forward towards the plantation, but now decided to turn round and retreat back to the field. They had tempted my warriors out into the open and the elephants began to swing round towards them through an ineffective barrage of sling stones. Some of the pikemen also headed across to protect the flank of the elephants. In the centre my slingers fell back in good order under the IC, inflicting occasional cohesion and base losses on the phalanx.

Image

Events unfolded largely independently in each area.

On my extreme left, the lancers charged my light horse in the open field and were then charged in turn by the chariots, which had a POA at impact for light spear because the lancers were not in the open. In melee, he had a POA for swordsman, but I had 2 dice per base and a commander in the front line. In due course the lancers broke. The pursuing chariots drew off a BG of pikemen that had been left behind to bolster its morale earlier.

The Galatians eventually caught a BG of light horse and routed it off the table. They then turned round to fight the other LH that were now shooting at it from the rear, but lack of time prevented any further resolution of this situation.

One BG of pike caught some evading LF near the table edge. Only one base was in contact and both its ++ impact dice missed, while the LF rolled a 6 on their one dice. The cohesion test saw the pikemen ( already disrupted from shooting) drop to fragmented. In melee I was at a single - but had 4 dice against 2. However, I lost the melee and dropped to fragmented myself. Next turn the slingers fed in more bases so it was still 4 dice versus 2 and the pikemen broke.

The outflanking cavalry reached and looted my camp, but were then routed by the 12 bases of warriors that I had moved across to deal with them.

The fight near the plantation was won by the elephants and pikemen, not surprisingly. My attack on the thorakitai started well when I disrupted them at impact and killed a base. However, I was still a POA down in the melee, and even with 8 dice versus 4 I lost and went fragmented. In the longer term I would probably have lost the game on this flank, but time was called. I had lost 9 AP out of 13 needed and killed 6, also out of 13.

Image

Reflections: I was rather surprised at the ineffectiveness of all my shooting. The skirmishers broke only one BG, and that was in close combat and against the odds. On the other hand, by the end of the game the phalanx had been separated into isolated BGs, but I had nothing in place to exploit this. My lack of caution with the warriors not staying in the terrain where the elephants and pikemen couldn’t get me proved costly. I should have allowed more time for the skirmishers to do damage and reserves to arrive.
Lawrence Greaves

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AAR game 2

Post by lawrenceg » Thu Jan 15, 2009 1:50 pm

Game 2 versus Thomas with Teutonic Knights

Despite winning initiative, I ended up fighting on a largely open plain. The bulk of the forces were deployed towards (my) right, where there were some open fields. I also deployed some forces to attack around the open flank, which was held by one BG of crossbow cavalry.

Image

This first picture shows the situation after the Teutonic light horse charged my skirmishers a couple of moves into the game. The teutonics threw a commander into this combat, who promptly died, but with no adverse effect on the troops. I then charged with my chariots. The BG in front evaded and I overshot the melee, so I brought up the slingers into overlap. Despite the extra dice I inflicted no loss on the enemy LH, while my LH lost a base and went disrupted. Eventually I turned the chariots round and moved into overlap with them while the slingers moved forward to cover the chariots rear. Despite the 2 extra dice I inflicted no loss on the enemy. Then I managed to move some warriors into overlap on the other flank. Despite having now 5 dice at evens and 2 at ++ I still couldn’t beat those blasted enemy LH.

By now I could see that my warriors were not going to make it into the field before the knights arrived, and a concentration of enemy troops was forming against my remaining LH in the centre of the table. My flank attack was going reasonably well, though, with the crossbow cavalry in retreat and the average knights being drawn into the angle between warriors and chariots.

Image

At this point one BG of knights charged my skirmishers in the centre and another charged my warriors. The skirmishers evaded with little problem and the warriors managed to hold cohesion and take a base off the knights. In the melee, the knights dropped to disrupted but in the LH melee my BG lost a base and autobroke, causing their opponents to pursue well behind my front line. However, my opponent had thrown another commander into this combat and he died like the first one.

In my turn I still had an unengaged warrior BG on the right, so I charged the LF in front of them, but was frontally intercepted by knights, who performed as expected this time. Meanwhile, I moved the chariots and LF in the centre away from the other knight BG. My opponent then charged my chariots in the rear with his LH, but, for some reason, not with his knights. The odds sightly favoured me with 4 superior dice at -- versus two at ++. By the end of the melee the LH were down a base and disrupted. The various knight melees saw one knight BG broken and reduced to 2 bases, but the other one was unscathed and had fragmented the opposing warriors, who were hanging on with the aid of the IC’s +2. The slingers had shot the crossbow cavalry down to fragmented at this point too. This was the end of the game, so it was 3 attrition points each.

Image

Reflections: Apart from my over-optimism in thinking there was any chance of my warriors making it to the open field and catching the MF crossbowmen there, I think this game went as well as could be expected.
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AAR game 3

Post by lawrenceg » Thu Jan 15, 2009 1:54 pm

Game 3 versus Gunther with Ottomans

I won the initiative and we ended up with a plantation, gully, two brush, two steep hills and a broken ground. Nearly all of it was on my half of the table, great for defending, but not a lot of good if I wanted to push my shooty cavalry opponent off the table. As it turned out, he had quite a lot of foot, some knights and all his cavalry was superior bow/sword so quite capable of standing and fighting.

Image

I had three ambush markers in play, two of which were dummies, and my opponent had an outflanking march. The Ottomans started by throwing forward a screen of LH and single ranked cavalry against my left, refusing and extending their left and wheeling the HF and knights centre towards my right in anticipation of the warriors’ advance. I made a general advance, more cautiously in the centre, where the knights were.

In the early turns, my slingers outshot his cavalry, breaking one BG, and my LH on the right shot a base off his and then forced it to evade through the Janissary crossbowmen. The flank march did not arrive.

Image

In the next stage of the game there was quite a lot of action. My slingers broke another BG of cavalry, but the first one rallied. The Janissary bowmen advanced to shoot up my chariots, but I screened them with more slingers. I moved the chariots forwards so that if the slingers were charged or broken and evaded or routed behind them, I would be able to charge the archers immediately. The warriors on this flank also advanced towards the bowmen.

The knights and a BG of 2 armoured cavalry charged some warriors, but I was able to hold cohesion with the aid of the IC and rear support, so the enemy broke off.

The next BG of warriors was charged by another 2 armoured and 4 protected cavalry. Again my cohesion held and the enemy broke off, one BG into contact with archers behind, the other up to the edge of some brush. I decided to charge again on the basis that the 2-base could not break off again and the 4-base would break off into the terrain. Unfortunately my step forward could not reach the 4 bases of protected cavalry, but I hit the 2 base BG. I then proceeded to go disrupted in the impact and fragmented in the melee.

On the extreme right, the Ottoman LH and crossbowmen disentangled themselves. The crossbowmen shot one of my LH BGs to disrupted, while the LH charged my other BG, presumably because they could no longer hurt them by shooting.

The flank march did not arrive.

Image

In the final stages, which I forgot to take a photo of, the fragmented BG of warriors broke, and the one fighting the knights, and now armoured heavy weapon foot, also broke after a long fight. The 8 base warrior group that had been giving rear support charged into some HF spearmen and fragmented them and the warriors on the left were able to flank charge the Janissaries with predictable consequences. The second cavalry BG broken by the slingers rallied. At this point time was up. The flank march still had not arrived.

Reflections: I broke 2 BG through shooting, but they both rallied because their routs put them more than 6 MU from my troops. I should have charged with the LH when they were fragmented in order to cut this distance down. I was lucky that the outflanking march didn’t arrive. It contained 2 BGs of lancer cavalry and would have changed things radically on my left flank. And I was not very happy when my 12-base warrior group was knocked out by 2 bases of cavalry.
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AAR Game 4

Post by lawrenceg » Thu Jan 15, 2009 2:01 pm

Game 4 versus Karsten ("Ghaznavid" on this forum) with Kwarizmian

For the first time, I lost initiative and had to fight on Steppe. Karsten picked a huge compulsory open space, another open space, a tiny gully and a tiny gentle hill with an even tinier patch of brush on it. That allowed me to pick a brush and three broken ground, some of which actually ended up on his side of the table, where they might come in useful later on.

Karsten deployed a mass of superior armoured drilled bow sword cavalry in his centre, facing my slingers and chariots and average bow sword LH on his left, with a few LF bowmen, facing my slingers, light horse and 1 BG of warriors. On his right, his camp was guarded by 1 BG each of bow/sword LH and protected bow sword cavalry, against which I had deployed the bulk of the warriors and one BG of LH. My photo of the early situation had the wrong exposure setting, but after a bit of digital processing it is enough to see the general state of affairs.

Image

Action opened on my right, where I charged his slingers with LH. They evaded into the rough ground, but a 6-1 for VMDs meant I still caught them. The LF found their trusty fruit knives no match for even disordered light horse and in due course they were broken and pursued to the edge of the table.

In the centre a shoot out ensued between slingers and horse archers, but with both of us boosted by ICs, no-one lost any cohesion. This deadlock was broken when the horse archers charged and the slingers retired behind the chariots.

Meanwhile the warriors advanced on my left, while the opposition tried to get out of the way. I also wheeled one BG towards the centre as 2 BGs of cavalry were trying to get through a gap there.

Image

It was now time to charge with the chariots. I was hoping that the small warrior group would charge without orders through my slingers, forcing the enemy LH to evade through the cavalry, so I moved the commander away. Unfortunately they still passed their CMT. The only commander I had near the chariot charge was the IC, so she had to go into the front line for the fight against the cavalry. One of the opposing BGs had lost a base to shooting earlier and lost another in impact. However, it had an IC with it (not in the front line) and was able to survive a protracted melee unbroken. As time went on, the hits inflicted by the other cavalry BG were enough to force death rolls on me and eventually I lost 2 bases. By now the warriors on the left had wheeled enough to join in the melee with a flank charge, which routed the 4-base cavalry. That left me with 2 bases of chariots fighting 2 of cavalry.

Meanwhile, the other chariot BG had chased off the opposing light horse and executed a 90 degree turn ready to flank charge the ongoing melee. Slingers screened them from the shooting of the LH, so the LH charged the slingers. They evaded and the LH hit the flank of the chariots. Karsten had expected them to stop 1 MU short, so I asked him if he wanted to cancel his charge and he said no, he was more likely to remember the rule if he suffered the consequences. With hardly any dice versus lots of superior with a general dice, the LH were soon routed, but the chariots pursued too far to have any further influence on the battle.

On my right, I pulled back my slingers to give the warriors a free charge path. One BG of cavalry was working its way round the flank in column, but I managed to disrupt it by shooting with my LH (who were also disrupted). However, things did not go well when the warriors charged, and after a couple of rounds of melee they were fragmented. At this point I had the choice of moving the nearby slingers back beyond 3 MU, or to the side to shoot at the outflanking cavalry. I chose the latter, giving me altogether three shots against a 4-base disrupted BG. Unfortunately this had no effect and the return fire from the cavalry fragmented my light horse.

In the next melee round, the warriors broke. The slingers, seeing this, failed their cohesion and went disrupted. The routing warriors burst through them (by about 2 mm!) fragmenting them and they then had to test as fragmented troops being charged (by the pursuers) and broke as a result. This caused the fragmented LH to test for friends breaking and they broke too. That was the end of that wing.

In the last couple of moves there were some indecisive light horse melees that I got into forgetting that his LH were swordsmen. If the game went on longer I would have lost both of these. The chariot melee finally ended with the cavalry breaking, and on my left, the warriors finally had the opposing cavalry trapped in the broken ground with no escape, but unfortunately time ran out before I could charge.

Image

Reflections: I definitely suffered from being undrilled in this game, as I felt the need to keep 2 commanders with the large warrior groups to ensure they could wheel, and this meant they were not involved in most of the fighting. The steppe terrain didn’t hurt me at all. In fact there was more fighting in terrain in this game than in any of the others. The space I gained by moving first probably compensated for deploying second. If I had deployed second, the drilled cavalry would have out-manoeuvred me anyway.



Overall thoughts:

The Ancient Brits are certainly not an easy army to play. I always seemed to be up against armies with more BGs, all of which outclassed my own in manoeuvrability and combat. In practice, though, it seemed to hold its own most of the time, provided I was able to combine the various types of troops effectively.

As for terrain, even when I won initiative I didn’t feel the terrain helped me a great deal. Conversly I didn’t find steppe terrain any worse than non-steppe. This is possibly because I usually adopted an attacking strategy. Perhaps I need to look at adopting a more defensive posture and making more use of the terrain.

No doubt the shifty-eyed Hannibals of this world will be able to add more pithy comment.
Lawrence Greaves

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Post by rbodleyscott » Thu Jan 15, 2009 2:45 pm

Nice report Lawrence.

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Post by carlos » Thu Jan 15, 2009 3:09 pm

Thanks for the report. I love that wicker man by the way (that's what it looks like at least). Why didn't any of the games finish? Did it have something to do w/ the larger size of the tables?

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Post by Greuthungi » Thu Jan 15, 2009 3:13 pm

Very nice report! Really inspires me to play more with my barbarians. Pity that our armies didn't meet.

For completeness, here are the results of the tournament:
  • 1 Ferdi A., Later Medieval Danish 79,1
  • 2 Eltjo V., Syrian States 61,9
  • 3 Martin W., Swiss 57,6
  • 4 Gunther G., Later Ottoman Turkish 42,8
  • 5 Thomas P., Later Teutonic Knights 42,5
  • 6 Lawrence G., Ancient British 40,1
  • 7 Karsten L., Khwarazmian 39,4
  • 8 Mikko V., Komnenan Byzantine 37,2
  • 9 Thomas K., Later Ptolemaic 32,9
  • 10 Bodo L., Syracusan 11,5

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Post by babyshark » Thu Jan 15, 2009 3:20 pm

I, too, love the wicker man in baggage.

I am also a little surprised that the games were not finishing. Any thought on why that might be the case?

Marc

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Post by rbodleyscott » Thu Jan 15, 2009 3:35 pm

babyshark wrote:I, too, love the wicker man in baggage.
And the Cerne Giant on the hill.

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Post by rbodleyscott » Thu Jan 15, 2009 3:47 pm

The Ancient Brits are certainly not an easy army to play. I always seemed to be up against armies with more BGs, all of which outclassed my own in manoeuvrability and combat.
If I had the figures, I would be tempted to try the Cassivellaunus variant:

e.g.

IC
3 x TC
6 x 4 Chariots
6 x 6 Slingers
1 x 6 Youths with javelins LF
3 x 4 Light Horse

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Post by lawrenceg » Thu Jan 15, 2009 3:49 pm

carlos wrote:Thanks for the report. I love that wicker man by the way (that's what it looks like at least). Why didn't any of the games finish? Did it have something to do w/ the larger size of the tables?
1.8 x 1.2 is the same size as the (UK) standard 6 ft x 4 ft for 800 pts. My games didn't finish because I'm a slow player and I think my opponents were not experienced enough to play fast either. I'm sure some of the other games did finish.

Yes, it is a wicker man.

Image
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Post by lawrenceg » Thu Jan 15, 2009 4:12 pm

rbodleyscott wrote:
The Ancient Brits are certainly not an easy army to play. I always seemed to be up against armies with more BGs, all of which outclassed my own in manoeuvrability and combat.
If I had the figures, I would be tempted to try the Cassivellaunus variant:

e.g.

IC
3 x TC
6 x 4 Chariots
6 x 6 Slingers
1 x 6 Youths with javelins LF
3 x 4 Light Horse
I was sometimes tempted to try it out in DBM, but don't have enough chariots.

I suspect the Cartimandua version with Roman allies might be quite effective in FOG. Over the weekend I often thought that a BG or two of drilled auxiliaries would come in handy.
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Post by daleivan » Thu Jan 15, 2009 5:23 pm

Great set of reports--sounds like a very fun tourney. I'm impressed that your ancient Brits managed to hold their own against Later Teutonic--well done.

Dale

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Post by stenic » Thu Jan 15, 2009 5:59 pm

rbodleyscott wrote:
The Ancient Brits are certainly not an easy army to play. I always seemed to be up against armies with more BGs, all of which outclassed my own in manoeuvrability and combat.
If I had the figures, I would be tempted to try the Cassivellaunus variant:

e.g.

IC
3 x TC
6 x 4 Chariots
6 x 6 Slingers
1 x 6 Youths with javelins LF
3 x 4 Light Horse
Alan Millicheap is taking similar to Plymouth, although constrained by points (25mm 650AP) he's not taking all 6 BGs of chariots and a few other minor changes to, such as a more even spread of LF and a nasty elite surprise - well they were nasty to my suprised elephants in the rough anyway!!

Steve P

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Post by Ghaznavid » Thu Jan 15, 2009 6:29 pm

lawrenceg wrote:
carlos wrote:Thanks for the report. I love that wicker man by the way (that's what it looks like at least). Why didn't any of the games finish? Did it have something to do w/ the larger size of the tables?
1.8 x 1.2 is the same size as the (UK) standard 6 ft x 4 ft for 800 pts. My games didn't finish because I'm a slow player and I think my opponents were not experienced enough to play fast either. I'm sure some of the other games did finish.
A lot of the player did not have that much practice, so that slowed down some of the games. Personally I finished two of my games. In a 3rd (vs. Later Danish) I could only play for time after a disastrous mass charge on the Danish Selected Levy left most of my Cv down 1-2 bases.

The final game with Larence was held up (from my point of view at least) by the extremely protracted melee between two of my Cv BGs vs. his Light Chariots. I know one of the Cv BGs went from steady to disrupted to fragmented up to disrupted then steady and back down again before it finally broke (and they didn't drop at every opportunity). I had expected to go through those chariots quicker, which would have opened up a large gap in his centre for me to pour through.
Karsten


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Post by Redpossum » Thu Jan 15, 2009 6:37 pm

Very nice reports, Lawrence. I know it's a lot of work; thanks for taking the time.
lawrenceq wrote:It was now time to charge with the chariots. I was hoping that the small warrior group would charge without orders through my slingers, forcing the enemy LH to evade through the cavalry, so I moved the commander away. Unfortunately they still passed their CMT. The only commander I had near the chariot charge was the IC, so she had to go into the front line for the fight against the cavalry. One of the opposing BGs had lost a base to shooting earlier and lost another in impact. However, it had an IC with it (not in the front line) and was able to survive a protracted melee unbroken. As time went on, the hits inflicted by the other cavalry BG were enough to force death rolls on me and eventually I lost 2 bases. By now the warriors on the left had wheeled enough to join in the melee with a flank charge, which routed the 4-base cavalry. That left me with 2 bases of chariots fighting 2 of cavalry.
Hot damn! I bet that part had you on the edge of your chair :shock:

I stumbled for a sec when I read she then went, "Oh yeah" (blink) "Ancient British" (blink) "BOW-DIC-CA!
BOW-DIC-CA!"

I found it particularly interesting since it sounds like the opposing IC was on the other side of that fight...

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Post by lawrenceg » Thu Jan 15, 2009 7:24 pm

Ghaznavid wrote: The final game with Larence was held up (from my point of view at least) by the extremely protracted melee between two of my Cv BGs vs. his Light Chariots. I know one of the Cv BGs went from steady to disrupted to fragmented up to disrupted then steady and back down again before it finally broke (and they didn't drop at every opportunity). I had expected to go through those chariots quicker, which would have opened up a large gap in his centre for me to pour through.
I think you might have speeded it up by moving the general from the 2-base to the 4-base BG and putting him in the front rank to give you 4 elite dice and 2 superior all at + versus my 6 (at that stage) elite dice at -. You probably would have lost the small BG earlier though, so it was a hard judgement to make.
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Post by Ghaznavid » Thu Jan 15, 2009 8:08 pm

lawrenceg wrote:
Ghaznavid wrote: I had expected to go through those chariots quicker, which would have opened up a large gap in his centre for me to pour through.
I think you might have speeded it up by moving the general from the 2-base to the 4-base BG and putting him in the front rank to give you 4 elite dice and 2 superior all at + versus my 6 (at that stage) elite dice at -. You probably would have lost the small BG earlier though, so it was a hard judgement to make.
Not to mention I'm a coward when it comes to sticking an inspired general into the front rank... and for good reason (aka painful experiences) too. :cry:
Karsten


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Post by timmy1 » Thu Jan 15, 2009 9:01 pm

Great pictures, great description but most of all what a great place to play toy soldiers!

'Among the advantages of the venue were cheap accommodation in a barrack block and drinks from the bar served by uniformed waiters to your table during the games.'

Saves wasting drinking time by going to the bar. Maybe that had something to do with the games slowing down...

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Post by hammy » Thu Jan 15, 2009 11:16 pm

timmy1 wrote:Great pictures, great description but most of all what a great place to play toy soldiers!

'Among the advantages of the venue were cheap accommodation in a barrack block and drinks from the bar served by uniformed waiters to your table during the games.'

Saves wasting drinking time by going to the bar. Maybe that had something to do with the games slowing down...
I have to admit that this part of the report really made me wish I had made the effort to attend the event.

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