Saturday, March 19, 2016

The 'Hammer' Strikes Again

Earlier this week we played another thoroughly enjoyable game of Pikeman's Lament, part of our ongoing campaign setting of the Swedish Polish War of 1625-1629.
This time we played a mission called 'Beef on the Hoof' in which one side is escorting a convoy of wagons and livestock across the table. The opponent's task is to chase off the escort and take control of the convoy with all the goodies.
This is certainly historical as all armies suffered from chronic supply difficulties and the supply convoys were absolutely essential.
An overview of the battle, background and some very nice photos can be found on Dalauppror's blog
The Swedish and Scots advance guard await the arrival of the Poles and Flemish. Will they be able to hold off the enemy long enough?
In the centre of the table a small Swedish/Scottish force was awaiting the eastern horde (1 Swedish Forlorn Hope and 1 Swedish Commanded Shot, 1 Scottish Commanded Shot).
All other Swedish and Scottish forces had to enter from off table. starting on turn 2.

The glorious Swedish and Scottish forces had 2 companies of 18 army points each.
Västgöta Ryttare and Västgöta Regiment, led by Captain Henrik 'the Hammer' af Hunneberg
1 unit Ryttare (Elite Gallopers)
1 unit German Reiters (Trotters)
1 unit Livkompani infantry (Forlorn Hope) -  on table at start
1 unit skrimishing musketeers (Commanded Shot) - on table at start

Mackays Regiment, led by Lieutenant Darrcounter
1 unit pikemen (Pike)
1 unit musketeers (Shot)
1 unit skirmishing musketeers (Commanded Shot) - on table at start
1 unit cavalry (Aggressive Gallopers)
1 unit carabineers (Trotters)

The Polish horde of Cossacks and Flemish on the march.
The dastardly Poles were escorting the precious convoy. The Poles also consisted of 2 companies of 18 army points each. The first company was led by the Cossack Hetman  with 3 units of veteran Cossack light cavalry (Dragoons in game terms).
The second company was the notorious turncoat van Kökkenpanne and his mercenaries. This consisted of 1 unit of curassiers (Elite Trotters) led by van Kökkenpanne himself, 1 unit of pikemen (Pike) and 2 units of musketeers (Shot). One of the musketeer units was handling the wagons.

The Cossacks ride off to guard the flank of the convoy. In the background, van Kökkenpanne's Flemish can be seen  bringing up the convoy.
The first turn saw the Poles and Flemish advance down the road with the Flemish keeping pace with the convoy while the Cossacks raced ahead to engage the small Swedish/Scottish force already present and to secure the flanks.
The main force of Flemish mercenaries advance with the supply convoy.
The small initial Swedish/Scottish force reacted to this by sending the commanded shot units into cover and withdrawing the Forlorn Hope slightly. The intention was to use the commanded shot units to snipe at the advancing enemy from cover and generally delay things while the main force moved up to engage.

Polish Cossacks guard the flank, but suffer casualties from powerful volleys from the Swedish musketeers and cavalry
On the second turn of the game, the Swedish/Scottish main force entered the table. The Scots entered from the opposite short table edge from the Poles and advanced straight down the table using some very nice command dice.
'The Hammer' arrives! The Swedish Västgöta cavalry confront the Cossack flank guard.
The Swedish forces of the Västergötland region entered from one of the long table edges with the intention of harassing and delaying the Poles and Flemish until the Scots main force could join the fray. For once, this plan actually worked ;-)
The Scots advance with banners unfurled and bag pipes playing.
In the centre of the table a firefight broke out between the advancing Flemish Shot and one of the Cossack cavalry units on the one hand and the Swedish and Scots Forlorn Hope and Commanded Shot on the other. At the same time, the Cossack commander (played by Michael's charming young son) detached two Cossack cavalry units to counter the Swedish cavalry theatening the flank of the convoy.
The Cossack Hetman and van Kökkenpanne lead their troops forward. Will they manage to punch through the small Swedish and Scottish advance guard quickly enough?
The initial force of Swedish and Scots Forlorn Hope and Commanded Shot were gradually ground down by the concentrated fire of Flemish Shot and Cossack cavalry. The Flemish and Cossacks did suffer some casualties in this fight but finally managed to rout their opponents. By this time it was too late, however. The Scots main force had managed to advance and completely block the route ahead with fresh forces, while the Swedish cavalry were getting the better of the Cossacks guarding the Polish/Flemish flank.
Charge! Henrik 'the Hammer' and his men ride down the depleted Cossacks.
Eventually, both the Cossack commander's unit was chased away by the Scots carabineers and cavalry while the two Cossack units guarding the flank were routed by the Västgöta cavalry.
This meant that the Flemish were having to fight alone against numerically superior enemies attacking both frontally and from one flank.
At this point a very lucky command die roll by our hero Henrik the Hammer resulted in reinforcements arriving to bolster the Västgöta Company. A veteran Commanded Shot unit joined the fray and quickly rushed into cover in some woods to fire on the embattled Flemish, who were now taking some very heavy casualties.
The Västgöta cavalry led by Henrik 'the Hammer' menace the flank of the Flemish. van Kökkenpanne is vainly trying to counter the threat by leading his personal guard of curassiers to face the Swedes.
The Curassier guard of the notorious van Kökkenpanne rushed to cover the flank threatened by by the Swedish cavalry and musketeers skirmishers, but was met by a number of devastating volleys and charges which rapidly forced even this elite unit to retreat in disarray with very few surviviors. At the same time, a combination of fire and impetuous cavalry charges by the Scots routed the Flemish musketeers bringing up the convoy while the Flemish pikemen were also forced back.
The end. Västgöta cavalry and musketeers assault the flank as the Scots drive home the final frontal assault, forcing the Flemish to flee.

At this point the few remaining Flemish decided to retreat and the game was over.
So, in the end it was a glorious win for the Swedes and Scots with some more Honour points gained by the victors, bringing both commanders nearer to another promotion.
And, of course, the contents (beef and beer!) of the convoy will be enjoyed in the Swedish and Scottish camps.
The Cossacks and Flemish will be plotting vengeance, of course.....