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.


  1. Lovely AAR and as always, very nicely painted figures on show.

    1. Thanks,
      It was a very enjoyable night of gaming, with some very nice toys.