Crusades

14/12/2017

Hi folks.

We had a game arranged for tonight: Rommel, a game Sandy keeps advocating, but we’ve yet to get round to actually playing. And still haven’t. Sandy cancelled this afternoon, he had work commitments. Neil suggested we have another try at Soldiers of God, but this time I take a 300 point army. So, we were off to the Holy Land again.

So, with a full strength force and a few changes to the composition, I was ready to go. Neil also tinkered with his army a little, mainly to get some freshly painted units onto the table and see how they performed. The terrain was chosen, as per the rules, the battle plans decided and the Saracens deployed first. They put their cavalry on both flanks; which was mostly horse archers and mounted javelinmen, and their centre was mostly infantry. The Crusaders had a similar deployment, with both flanks having 1 unit each of Knights, Military Order Knights (Teutonics) and foot men at arms, while in the centre was all the archers ans a final unit of men at arms.

The Crusader line after turn 1….20171214_193211

…and the Saracens…20171214_193251

The battle plan I had chosen meant I had “charge” orders on both flanks and “march” in the middle. This meant I could advance steadily across the field, but the archers could only fire if I managed to get a “loose” card. The Saracens had their usual “advance, loose, retire” orders on each flank, so they could keep a harassing fire on my heavy cavalry, but stayed out of charge range; for the first few turns anyway. I used most of my “loose” cards to remove disorder caused by the horse archers, so my foot archers were pretty ineffective. I was, however, pushing the Saracens steadily back on both flanks. Neil used the “flank ride” card to place a unit of horse archers behind my line, near my baggage train. The chosen unit needs to pass a ‘resolve test’ to do this, or is lost, but it gets 3 attempts to pass.

The armies close on the Crusader left…20171214_195119

…and the right…20171214_195133

Things continued in a similar vein for a couple of turns until the Crusader cavalry on the left saw an opportunity and charged. Both charges made contact with the skirmish units in front of them. The Teutonics made short work of the horse archers, but the Knights struggled to see off the mounted javelinmen they contacted. The archers moved forward in the centre and the right flank kept up their steady progress.

The Crusaders charge…20171214_200255

…and the Teutonics see off the horse archers…20171214_201127

Over on the right flank, the Teutonics, perhaps inspired by their brothers on the left, charged the horse archers to their front, but didn’t quite make it. The men at arms on that flank also took too much disorder to burn off and were routed. This enabled the horse archers to wheel round to shoot at the Teutonics as well. The archers in the centre finally managed to get a shot off and did a few hits, but nothing to trouble the Saracens and the knights on the left routed their opponents, while the Teutonics gained the top of the hill, putting them in a “superior position” for the next melee.

The Teutonics fail to contact the Saracens….20171214_201911

…the men at arms are routed…20171214_203335

Things were about to become very complicated for the Crusaders: the horse archers sent on a flank ride (remember them?) had failed their first two resolve tests, and I was hoping they would disappear into the desert, But, no, they passed at their final attempt and were placed well within bow shot of my baggage park. The inevitable happened, and my baggage was gone, causing a severe loss of morale. The horse archers took 3 hits from the archers in the centre and took no further part in the battle as they moved out of range and stayed there. On the left, the Knights and Teutonics were charged by Ghulams, with the ‘divisional commander’ joining the melee against the Knights. This proved to be too much for the , already disordered, Knights, and they routed!

Flank riding horse archers attack the Crusader’s baggage….20171214_205614

…the Knights on the left rout…20171214_204720

With the battle in the balance, the next couple of turns would be crucial. On the left, the officer joined the melee against the Teutonics, counting as a flank attack, but the second unit of Ghulams couldn’t move into contact. On the right, the Teutonics finally made contact with the enemy, as did the Knights, both routing the foot archers they charged. Next turn, the melee continued on the left, while the cavalry on the right charged units of mounted javelinmen. The Teutonics routed their opponents and began to wheel for a charge against a unit of Ghulams. The Knights, however struggled to cope.

With morale falling on both sides, the Teutonics on the left routed the Ghulams they were fighting, while on the right, the Knights ‘massacred’ the Saracens they were in melee with, but were also ‘massacred’ themselves. To ‘massacre’ a unit means the army loses extra morale. The extra morale caused by the ‘massacre’ of the Saracen unit was enough to reduce the Saracen morale to below zero, giving victory to the Crusaders.

The Teutonics rout the Ghulams….20171214_211556

…and both units on the right are massacred…20171214_211607

So, a victory for the Crusaders. It’s amazing what you can do with a full strength army! Another enjoyable game, I really enjoy these rules, they’re fast and easy to learn and play.

No plans were made for next week, but there is a Saturday game arranged in Stirling.

Stay tuned….

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