Saturday, February 20, 2016

Double Trouble in Poland

Earlier this week we got together at the club for another game of Pikeman's Lament, set in 1620s Poland.
I commanded the Swedes while Jeppan ran the Flemish mercenaries.
As a result of the Polish success in the last scenario, it turned out that van Kökkenpanne had changed sides yet again and was now working for the Poles. So much for honour and loyalty, not to mention staying bought......
We actually had time for two consecutive full-size games in a single evening. Each only took about an hour with one player per side. I think that's a very good thing about these rules, by the way.
The OoB was the same in both games.

Swedish OoB - Lieutenant Henrik af Hunneberg, 'Henrik the Hammer'
1 x Elite Gallopers
2 x Forlorn Hope
1 x Pike
1 x Commanded Shot

Flemish OoB - van Kökkenpanne
1 x Elite Trotters
1 x Forlorn Hope
1 x Pike
2 x Shot

For some background on our Polish Campaign and also some very cool photos of the game, go to Dalauppror's blog: Polish War 1625-1629 - AAR #4 and #5

Game 1: River Crossing

The first mission we chose was River Crossing, where victory is to the side which manages to cross a mid-table river first with all units remaining.
There was a bridge over the river in the table centre. The river was fordable anywhere but counted as rough going.
The Swedish force advances. The Pike unit is flanked by Forlorn Hope units supported by skirmishing Commanded Shot in the background. Henrik the Hammer provides a mobile reserve behind the infantry.
Both also decided that an attempt to ford the river would mean the crossing units would be very vulnerable, so set off for the bridge as fast as possible.

The turncoat van Kökkenpanne and his mercenaries advance to meet the Swedish forces of our Hero Henrik the Hammer

The Flemish formation was similar to the Swedish, with Pike flanked by Shot units and advanced stright for the bridge. Their Forlorn Hope swung around to the Swedish left where a small Woods offered some protection by the river bank. van Kökkenpanne's Trotters unit was in reserve behind the Pike.

Flemish Pike and Shot approach the bridge. van Kökkenpanne is confident at this point.
Both sides had enjoyed good command die rolls so far and both managed to bring up their forces to the bridge in coherent formation.

Flemish Shot advance to provide covering fire to the Pike, while the Forlorn Hope head into the Woods.

Both sides had their Pike units go into combat formation. This makes them much tougher in combat, but also less maneuverable. On both flanks a fierce fire fight started.
Here the Swedes enjoyed almost immediate success as one of the Flemish Shot units was quickly routed by concentrated fire from Swedish Forlorn Hope and Commanded Shot.

The Västgöta pikemen assume combat formation and advance closely supported by Forlorn Hope and Commanded Shot

The Flemish boldly decided to advance onto the bridge rather than endure further fire from the Swedish musketeers who were having a very good day.
However, just as the Flemish advanced, a Swedish Forlorn Hope unit managed to destroy the second Flemish Shot unit. And the Flemish Forlorn Hope was forced to fall back out of the Woods at the same time.
And that meant that the Flemisg Pike advanced unsupported against a Swedish force that was essentially intact and with every unit in position to shoot or charge them.

The Flemish Pike advance alone onto the bridge as their Swedish counterparts prepare to receive them.
The Flemish Pike charge was doomed. As they advanced over the bridge, a tornado of Swedish musket fire hit them from both flanks and quickly routed them.
The end. Västgöta Regiment pikemen advance across the bridge as van Kökkenpannes' few remaining men fall back
With the Flemish Pikemen shot to pieces the Flemish force decided to fall back, as their remaining units were far too weak to oppose the Västgöta regiment crossing the river.
So our hero Henrik acquired some more Honour Points and could report a glorious victory to his Majesty.

However, it turned out that van Kökkenpanne had managed to gather his men for another stand a couple days later...

Game 2: Gå På!

For the second game we picked the mission Gå På! This is a Swedish term of the period that can be translated as Move On or Keep Going. But in a military context it means to be aggressive, seize the initiative and keep the attack going. 
In game terms this mission is a basic meeting engagement between 2 equal forces with the objecyive simply to defeat the enemy with no terrainobjectives at all.

So we simply deployed our forces on opposite sides of the table and advanced on the enemy

The Swedish force deploys for combat.

Both sides advanced their infantry towards the centre table where there was a hill and a Woods that were obviously important.
Swedes and Flemish race for the hill
Both sides had decent command rolls and a fight developed for domination of the forest beside the hill. This was to continue for some time with the Swedish Commanded Shot and one of the Forlorn Hope units slugging it out with the Flemish Forlorn Hope and one of their Shot units.
Both sides kept their cavalry in reserve to begin with.
Fight for the forest as the pike blocks line up on oppsoite sides of the hill
As the fight for the forest swung back and forth with roughly equal losses, but without decisive breakthroughs for anyone, the Flemish advanced up onto the hill with the Pike and one of their Shot units
The firepower of the Västgöta infantry regiment was effective in this game too, and the Flemish Shot unit was quickly shot to pieces by the Västgöta Forlorn Hope.
At this point, the Flemish committed their cavalry to retrieve the situation on the hill.

The Västgöta infantry has eliminated the opposing Shot on the hill, but are now facing the elite Flemish Trotters
Then things took a turn for the worse for the Swedes. At roughly the same time, the prolonged firefight in the Woods was finally won by the Flemish mercenaries while the Swedish Forlorn Hope finally Went down to several pistol volleys from the Flemish cavalry. Ouch.

Swedish Pike fall back from the hill.
The Swedes were now struggling, having lost one of the Forlorn Hope units and the Commanded Shot, with the remaining Forlorn Hope unit badly depleted.
The Flemish had lost a Shot unit, and all other units had taken casualties, but were still holding on.
The Swedish Pike fell back and then launched a heroic counterattack on the Flemish cavalry which inflicted some casualties, but did not break them, while costing the Pike several casualties of their own.
Next turn the Flemish finally managed to shoot enough pikemen to rout the Pike unit.
The remaining Swedish units, the Galloper cavalry and the depleted Forlorn Hope decided to withdraw.
Henrik the Hammer will seek vengeance another day.

After the game it turned out that the turncoat mercenary van Kökkenpanne also managed to get promoted to Lieutenant.

Sunday, February 14, 2016

Building a 12th century Scandinavian Wooden Church

Time to build some war gaming terrain....

I was recruited into a project by my friend Micke(Dalauppror). The project is refered to as "Project F". It is supposed to be secret project. I will not reveal any important details regarding this matter. However Micke gave me an assignment linked to this project. I was supposed to build an early 12th century Scandinavian wooden church.  Finally this assignment has been completed. It took roughly 3 days to build this terrain piece from scratch

The church is supposed to be used together with 28mm miniatures.  The architecture is very much Viking in style.  The Viking era came to close in the mid 11th century, but the transit to mainstream European medieval culture was gradual. The first Christian churches looked more like Viking Halls rather than the Romanesque Churches seen on the continent. The style remained in Norway, but in Denmark and Sweden these wooden churches were replaced by stone churches by the end of the 12th century. 

The base structure was built using foam core. The the foam core was covered by wooden spatulas. I used a scissor to cut them into the right size and shape.

The roof was built using strips of thin card board.

The dragon heads were cut out of balsa wood.

The whole model is painted with a black base coat, followed by moss green. The moss green is applied with a dry brush.

The next layers are different shaped of grey paint.

The final decorations are added....

Thursday, February 4, 2016

Pikeman's Lament Goes East

Earlier this week, some members of the club got together to continue playtest of the upcoming ruleset Pikeman's Lament. There were five players, each commanding a Company.
As usual I ran my Swedish Company from Västgöta Ryttare and Västgöta Regemente commanded by the heroic Henrik af Hunneberg, aka 'Henry the Hammer'.

We played a mission called King's Treasure Chest. This involves a convoy of wagons transporting something valuable. The defender's mission is to guard the convoy and bring it to safety, while the attackers win by stealing it.

The setting is Poland in 1625. A small Scottish mercenary company in service to the King of Sweden is escorting the convoy and is taking a break by a nearby river, leaving the wagons on the road. As they are getting ready to depart, a combined force of Poles and Cossacks suddenly appears heading straight for the convoy.
Cossacks and Poles heading for the convoy.....

Scottish Company (16 army points)
1 Unit of Trotters
1 Unit of Pike
2 Units of Shot

Polish Company (24 army points)
4 Units of Veteran Dragoons

Cossack Company (24 army points)
1 Unit of Elite Gallopers (winged Hussars)
1 Unit of Trotters
1 Unit of Aggressive Forlorn Hope
2 Units of Shot

The Poles advance on the convoy as the Scots mercenaries struggle to react

Another Swedish force is marching along the road at the same time and arrives on the scene just as the Poles advance on the convoy.
Most of the Poles and all the Cossacks were mounted and made good time advancing towards the convoy on turn 1. But disaster struck as the Scots seemed paralysed (too much Haggis perhaps?) and utterly failed their command die rolls. They didn't manage to move a single unit to block the enemy advance. Ouch!

To the rescue! Swedes and Flemish enter the battlefield. Will they be in time?
Swedish Company (16 army points)
1 Unit of Elite Gallopers (Västgöta Ryttare, commanded by Henrik af Hunneberg)
1 Unit of Forlorn Hope
2 Units of Commanded Shot

Flemish Company (16 army points)
1 Unit of Elite Trotters (curassiers under the mercenary commander von Kökkenpanne)
1 Unit of Pike
1 Unit of Veteran Shot

Polish Winged Hussars (Gallopers) and Cossacks (Dragoons) in reserve to counter the Swedes and Flemish as the Polish infantry head for the third wagon

Polish Trotters take Control of the first two wagons as the Scot start to react to the sudden threat

The Polish Trotters managed to take control of 2 out of the 3 waggons in the convoy while the Cossack swept forward to provide support and hold off the Scots. The infantry of the Polish force went for the third waggon, but did not get very far.

The Swedes and Flemish moved forward. Unfortunately, command rolls were mediocre and the advance was not terribly swift. Come on, guys!

The Polish Trotters start moving the 2 waggons they've stolen towards home as the Cossacks try to hold off the Scots. But at this point the previously paralysed Scots suddenly wake up and unleash devastating salvoes on the Cossacks while the Scots Pike form into combat formation and advance, pushing back the Cossacks and inflicting significant losses. The Scots Trotters also advance and trade fire with the Cossacks.
The Polish infantry continue advancing on the last waggon while the Winged Hussars wait in reserve.

The Cossack general's unit is hit by a storm of Scottish fire and routs, while the other Cossacks also suffer badly but remain in the fight. At the same time, the dastardly Polish Trotters continue leading the captured wagons to their home base.

Cossack General flees as the Polish Trotters sneak off with the stolen wagons
The Swedes and Flemish advance towards the last wagon to prevent the Poles capturing it. Combined Flemish and Swedish fire quickly routs one of the Polish Shot units, but the remaining Polish infantry doggedly continue their advance.
The Polish Winged Hussars charge the Scots Pike. Not a good idea....
The Polish commander then commits the Winged Hussars to charge the weakened Scottish Trotters and quickly routs them with minor loss to themselves. However, the Polish nobles are an impetuous lot and continue charging into the Scots Pikes but are repulsed with heavy losses.
The dastardly Poles sneak off the table with the stolen wagons covered by the few remaining Cossacks and depleted Hussars
The Cossack and Polish Companies are taking a very heavy beating, but at the same time the sneaky Polish Trotters manage to exit with the two captured waggons, fulfilling their victory conditions.
At the same time the combined firepower of the Flemish and Swedes routs the second unit of Polish shot and decimates the Polish Forlorn Hope.
Swedish cavalry, led by our hero Henrik 'the Hammer', ride down the Polish Forlorn Hope.
Finally, the Swedish cavalry charges the weakened Polish Forlorn Hope and destroys it.
They then continue charging into one of the Cossack Dragoon units, inflicting heavy casualties and forcing it to flee.
Cossacks flee from pursuing Swedish cavalry, but this victory comes too late...
So at the end of the game, the Poles and Cossacks have suffered very serious casualties, but have managed to steal most of the convoy for a limited victory.
However, Henrik is consoled by the fact that he has now acquired enough Honour to be promoted to Lieutenant!