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Field(s) of Honour

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Field(s) of Honour

Post by AncientWarrior on Sat Jan 09, 2016 2:06 am

Taking a brief break from Roman Civil War concerns, I put together a 500 points per side 100 Years War scenario using IMPETVS.

The opposing armies were drafted from page 49 of the spiral-bound rule book (2008) and were fabricated using the recommended base sizes for 15mm figures.

The French army was organized into a single command (the paragraph under section 2.1 Army Building on page 9, permits this), had a Poor Command Structure (worth 0 points) and contained the following formations:
01 Fair General (attached to a unit of Nobles) valued at 20 points
04 units of Nobles (impetuous heavy cavalry) valued at 160 points
02 units of Men at Arms (impetuous heavy cavalry) valued at 058 points
04 units of Dismounted Men at Arms valued at 080 points
04 units of Infantry (heavy foot) valued at 72 points
02 units of Genoese Crossbowmen (upgraded to VBU 4) valued at 52 points
05 units of French Crossbowmen (skirmishers) valued at 60 points

The total value of this fictional force was 502 points, so it was actually 2 points over the stated limit. I debated building 3 units of Peasants or attaching a piece of heavy artillery  to the army, but decided to go over the cut-off point value by just a little, instead. With a Total Demoralization Value of 45 points, this army would be broken when units worth 23 points had been destroyed and or routed.

The English army was also organized into a single command but was blessed with an Average Command Structure. This cost 12 points. The English army contained the following formations:
01 Expert General
(attached to the King and Household unit of heavy cavalry) valued at 030 points
01 unit of heavy cavalry (King and Household) valued at 036 points
02 units of heavy cavalry (Men at Arms) valued at 056 points
01 unit of medium cavalry (Hobilars) valued at 018 points
03 units of Dismounted Men at Arms valued at 075 points
04 units of heavy infantry valued at 072 points
07 units of archers (longbowmen with stakes) valued at 182 points
01 unit of heavy artillery valued at 020 points

The total value of this fictional force was 501 points, so it was over the stated limit as well but just by a single point. The Total Demoralization Value of this force was 43 points, so it would be defeated when 22 points worth of units had been destroyed on or routed from the tabletop.

As might be expected, the English were labeled as the defenders. Instead of a simple die roll, I permitted their king to choose 6 terrain pieces/features. His majesty selected a gently sloping hill, an abbey (difficult ground), a patch of woods (difficult ground), a road, and two cultivated fields (broken ground). The French royal personage could move or remove up to 2 of these pieces, so after a moment of thought, he took away the wooded area and the gently sloping hill.

Deployments
The English army deployed on the near long edge of the table, parallel to the road running across the front of their selected position. The grounds of the abbey were to their far left. Two cultivated but open fields were about half a bow shot further to their front. The main defensive line consisted of all 7 units of longbow archers reinforced by a few heavy pieces of artillery. The archers were not in a uniform line; their were small gaps between each formation, and each unit of archers had toiled to place a warren of sharp stakes before their position. The camp was behind the artillery “battery.” Two units of heavy infantry were posted to the right of the baggage. The king, his retinue, and two units of Men at Arms took up station on the left side of the encampment. The right flank of the entire line was held by 2 more units of heavy foot. These well armed and armored men were stationed about 50 paces back from the line held by the archers. The opposite flank was guarded by 3 units of dismounted Men at Arms. They were joined by a single unit of Hobilars. This formation of medium cavalry was partially obscured from view by the abbey and its grounds.

Having reconnoitered the English defenses, the French king arranged his army in the following manner. Four units of Nobles arranged themselves on the far left of the line. Three separated units were in the first line. The king rode with the fourth unit, held in reserve behind the middle formation of first rank. A screen of skirmishing crossbowmen protected the long line of 8 units of heavy infantry and dismounted Men at Arms that formed the center of the French host. The Genoese were stationed in a group on the right flank. Further to the right but behind the crossbow units was a 2-unit formation of mounted Men at Arms. The plan of attack was simple. The skirmishers would harass the English archers and keep their attention fixed to the front. The Genoese would advance and shoot to pieces any enemy in their path, while the Men at Arms would walk their mounts forward until they prepare for a charge against the exposed left of the English position. A similar attack would take place over on the left against the English right. The Nobles would advance at a trot, however, and by their elan and experience, wreck havoc on the English line. Once behind the hated longbow archers, the French heavy cavalry would have a choice of raiding the enemy camp, slaughtering the exposed archers, or both.  

How it Played
The first four turns played rather rapidly as the main concern - at least by the French - was movement. Their infantry plodded forward at a slow pace, screened by the crossbow-armed skirmishers. The cavalry on the flanks walked forward as well, just a few paces faster than the foot contingent. Sensing that his right flank was in danger (or perhaps seeing it - it’s hard to tell what he could actually see - but as the player-general, I could plainly see what was developing) the English king ordered his household and other cavalry formations to start moving over to the threatened sector. These orders and subsequent movement produced a Python-like comedy of errors as the three units of cavalry tried to figure out how to wheel and get going without bumping into each other or into the line of archers to their front. Eventually and fortunately, however, this  unintended traffic jam of Men at Arms sorted itself out and slow progress started to be made. In the fifth turn, the French skirmishers crossed the long range line of the English archers. Some good (lucky) volleys scored a point of damage on one unit, disordering it, and disordered two other groups of crossbowmen. The following turn witnessed the elimination of one unit of skirmishers as the lucky volleys continued. The French got revenge, however. On their right, some Genoese crossbowmen fired bolts at a unit of  Hobilars that wandered within range. Most of the English medium cavalry were pinned to their mounts in Turn 6; the rest were knocked off their horses in the next turn. The Genoese crossbowmen could not repeat their performance when they switched their attention to the waiting line of enemy dismounted Men at Arms. Seeing that his effort was more than hopeless, the commander of the French skirmishers decided to pull them back. The surviving companies were withdrawn behind the solid line of heavy infantry and dismounted Men at Arms. These well armed and armored foot soldiers stayed just outside of the long range band of the English archers. The “battery” of heavy pieces fired and succeeded in disordering its targeted unit, but did nothing else for the rest of the engagement. Even though there weren’t any arrows flying from the English line, there were plenty of shouted insults and less-than-polite gestures with arms, hands, and fingers.

After making glacially slow progress, the French Nobles charged the enemy heavy infantry on the English right flank. The results of these two close in proximity melees were mixed. In one, the French Nobles trampled the English; in the other, the English heavy infantry stood their ground and forced the French Nobles to retreat, licking their  wounds. On the opposite flank, a similar situation developed.

The Genoese crossbow units had apparently forgotten their training as they could not  hit anything - even with 4 discharges of bolts. The French Men at Arms trotted through these formations and transitioned into a slow gallop against the English dismounted  Men at Arms. Just as on the French left, the resulting melees were even with regard to results. In the one on the far flank of the English line, the French were rather  successful; in the second action, the French were foiled and forced to withdraw.

Back over on the English far right, the formation containing the English king was engaged by a unit of French Nobles. This contest would develop into an extended draw as each side inflicted a single point of loss on the other. In other contests on this flank, the French Nobles proved more successful or perhaps just lucky. A unit of English cavalry was caught in the flank and routed. A reinforcing unit was also engaged - this time by the French Nobles riding with their king, and the French beat them back, pursued, inflicted more damage, forced a retreat, pursued again, and finally rode down the remaining survivors. At one point during this confused contest on the English right, a unit of archers was able to loose a volley into a nearby  enemy unit. Six dice were rolled and all six missed!

Driven to distraction by the French foot not advancing to within range of their longbows, the English archers moved out of their  protected positions and fired a volley at the afraid-to-advance French. Not a single arrow struck home. As this gamble was not paying off, another round of melee was fought between the English king, his household troop, and the stubborn unit of French Nobles. At last, the tie was broken. The English unit was destroyed and the king was captured. (An initial roll indicated the death of the king and the rout of his command, but expert leaders are permitted a re-roll on the leader casualty table, and the second roll produced a captured king with no other impact on his  army - whew.)

In the middle of Game Turn 14, I took stock of the two-dimensional battlefield. The English archers were in front of their stakes and their flanks were not at all secure. Indeed, French cavalry - albeit wounded and disordered - controlled the right and left of the English line. The English camp was in danger of being overrun. An accounting of the   morale points lost revealed a huge advantage for the French. The English had lost 18 points out of a possible 22, while the French had suffered just 1 point (a unit of skirmishers) out of a possible 23. Though the English had not reached their official break point, it seemed a forgone conclusion; it seemed rather pointless to continue the game.  

Evaluation
Due to a lack of familiarity with the rules (the result of not having played a sufficient number of games to become well versed in their mechanics and procedures - what is that magic number anyway: 100? 200? - and how can this many games be played before a 2nd Edition is produced?), there were mistakes made. I incorrectly deferred to the French side when I  won the initiative as the English king. Evidently, only Genius leaders are able to do this. Experts are not permitted to hand over activation to the other side. In working out the modifiers when firing the Genoese crossbows against the English heavy foot, the targeted infantry wound up with a testing number of 7. It would appear then, that the worst result would be a disorder, but I think a roll of 6 also results in a VBU loss. With these same Genoese missile men, I was not sure if they would fire  first or if the impetuous Men at Arms behind them would take the first move and push their mounts through the formation in order to come to grips with the English. I decided to let the crossbow bolts fly before the cavalry made their advance. In the confused melees on the English right, I was surprised to find that the unit of cavalry that was flanked by the French Nobles was able to roll their full VBU value - at least as it stood with a disorder marker and one damage point. It struck me as odd that they would get all those dice when attacked from the flank. Per the rules, a unit attacked in the flank is immediately marked as disordered. Seeing as this unit was already disordered (it had  been marked as such when a unit of friendly infantry routed into it), the additional disorder was interpreted as an automatic loss of another VBU point. This damage, in conjunction with the loss in the subsequent melee, was deemed enough to produce a loss in the contest which resulted in the rout of the charged unit. LIke I said, there were mistakes made. However, despite these admitted rough spots, I don’t think enough errors or errors of a significant nature were made to affect the outcome. This IMPETVS interlude proved an enjoyable intermission from refighting a large Roman Civil War battle.

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Re: Field(s) of Honour

Post by Jim Webster on Sun Jan 10, 2016 4:30 pm

Just saying hi and waving Wink
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Re: Field(s) of Honour

Post by AncientWarrior on Sun Jan 10, 2016 10:38 pm

Salve Magister! - and waving back Wink

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Re: Field(s) of Honour

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