This Warhammer blog is completely unofficial and in no way endorsed by Games Workshop Limited.
eBay auctions ending soonest great eBay sales WFB (US) WFB (UK) WFB (Aus) WFB (Can) eBay storesregister on eBay is an approved affiliate of eBay, all auctions are current and hosted securely by eBay

Wednesday, 29 April 2009

3000 pts Dogs of War vs 2000 pts Empire battle report

warhammer fantasy battle scenario narrative :-

"Out on the far left of Edric’s massed Foot, the Handgunners were busy – they had already poured several volleys into the advancing Pikemen, and their success was beginning to tell. For a moment the Black Company’s professional Pikemen faltered, as if they might turn tail and flee, but the Captain leading them refused either to flinch or falter, and they took encouragement from him to continue their bloody advance."

(another superb master class of a battle report from padre. His reports have so much character you could probably sit them down in a bar and chat all night !)

source : battlereporter.freeforums.orgcredit : BatPadre29-Apr-2009

Against the Odds for Mortensholm
2000 pts Empire vs. 3000 pts Dogs of War

They were close now. The sound of the Black Companies’ artillery pounding at the castle walls had been their marching beat for nigh upon two hours, and now they could even smell the sulphurous smoke emitted by those same hellish machines. There was no man amongst them who was not filled with rage at the thought of what was being done to their home, a feeling so strong it was hardly tempered by the fact that they knew the Black Company could muster a force much, much larger than anything Graf Edric could put upon the field.

The Graf knew the full truth of it. His scouts had returned with their assessment of the enemy’s strength, and it was easily twice his own. Even if the Don left several regiments behind to watch the castle and thus guard against any sallies, his men would still significantly outnumber the Graf’s forces. Edric cursed the fact that his army was without artillery, but it had, after all, been intended for a winter campaign clearing the Yetzin valley of greenskins, and not for a pitched battle with the army of a powerful Border Prince (one who had begun to call himself King).

Thus Graf Edric’s mind was cluttered with concerns as he watched his army deploy for the final advance. Of course, he knew what the field of battle would be like, for it was his very own garden – the land outside his town of Mortensholm. The scouts had told him how it had changed since he was last there: how there was now an all but abandoned circumvallation of bastions and siege-works extending around to the south and east, from the river to the cliff; how the town itself lay in ruins, battered and burned by murdering engines, with the Graf’s army settled like carrion amongst the rubble; and how the very mortars responsible for the destruction now sat quiet and abandoned, their awful work done.

The Graf would approach from the east, the only real option, and had ordered his army in such a way as to give the enemy as little time as possible to react. He could not hope for complete surprise, for the town commanded a view down the valley, but he might squeeze some tiny advantage from a rapid advance, forcing the enemy to deploy hurriedly and perhaps thus haphazardly.

His own Horse were all deployed upon the right flank, with the Light Horse and Pistoliers furthest out, then Captain Vincent and himself each leading one of the two companies of Knights. The Free Company followed the Knights, with instructions to march up to fill the gap when the noblemen advanced.

The centre of the line had the massed Foot soldiers – two regiments (one of Swordsmen, one of Halberdiers) with their detachments of Handgunners and Swordsmen. Amongst them lurked the two wizards. Upon the far left moved the Skirmishing Archers, the best that Edric had available to manoeuvre upon that flank, considering he had massed all his Horse upon the right.

In Mortensholm horns were blaring and drums beating, sounding the ‘Alarum’. Soldiers scrabbled through the streets to muster upon the field outside. Pikes were dragged along cobbles as their bearers stumbled and pushed, hooves threw up sparks as horsemen forced their way through the mass of Foot. Several light cannon were already moving into place, having previously been left upon the town’s siege-works as too small to take up room on the new line facing the castle, where the larger pieces were emplaced.

Somehow, from what at first sight appeared to be chaos and confusion, the line was ordered. It was all Don Matthias could do to match the enemy’s deployment – anything fancier would have led to muddlement. It was a neat and simple order, easily delivered, and easily understood. And his men, nearly all professionals of years’ experience, carried it out with efficiency.

His own skirmishers, Estalian Duellists, came up on the far right, thus facing Edric’s Archers. The Don’s only wizard on the field, the Marienbuger Jan Van Junge, was amongst them, having just returned from a pleasant walk to the south of the town, where there was no smoke of brimstone nor squabbling dogs (both the human and the animal kind.)

The core of the Black Company’s Foot, two regiments of Pike and the Tilean Paymaster Carlo Atobello and his Bodyguard took the centre-right, angling to face the enemy Foot. Three artillery pieces were emplaced centre and left, with the Horse also facing their equivalents on the opposing side.

The two companies of Heavy Lancers were led by Don Matthias (Game note: as ‘Borgio the Besieger’) and his Mercenary Captain Rudolph Litzen (Game note: as Mercenary General ). The Light Horse arrayed themselves on the Don’s right flank, while the Norsemen marched behind being the last to reach the field. Two regiments of Crossbow did the best they could to order themselves on the left flank, both hoping that when the Horse advanced they might find a target or two for their quarrels.

Hoping to keep what little initiative he had obtained, Graf Edric began issuing commands. Perhaps if he could bring his Horse to bear effectively, then the enemy’s cannons would lose the chance to rain destruction upon his army? All the Horse upon the right moved up cautiously, positioning themselves in the hope that they would be the ones delivering charges upon the foe, and not receiving them. The Pistoliers sought temporary shelter behind a pair of ruins, and prepared to make their dash through the gap ahead of them. The Light Cavalry, mercenaries, matched the Pistoliers’ caution and also moved tentatively forwards. Both knew there was a sizeable body of Crossbowmen upon the other side, as well as some Heavy Lancers.

Upon the far left flank the skirmishers also jogged forwards. They had a mind to shoot into the flank of the enemy pikemen, if they could position themselves satisfactorily. The massed Foot, however, merely edged forwards, with the Free Company joining their line. They intended that the Handgunners would have as much chance as possible to play bullets against the enemy.

Now began the Black Company’s advance. The Graf’s cautious mood, it seemed, was infectious, for the Don’s own Foot regiments also moved somewhat cautiously, for as they advanced they did not cover the full distance they might.

Pike tips glinted and the huge banners of the young Kingdom of Caroly fluttered in the breeze as ‘Instancibile’ and ‘Resplendente’ moved up to keep the line with the Carlo Atobello and his Bodyguard on their left.

Upon the left of the Don’s line, he and his own Bodyguard nudged their mounts forwards, while Rudolph and the other Heavy Lancers wheeled so that they might better face the centre of the field, and so the Crossbow behind them had a view of the two ruins where the enemy’s Light Horse were hiding.

The Norsemen moved up to the side of the central brace of cannons while the Duellists and Jan Van Junge the Wizard moved to conceal themselves in the trees. Suddenly all three cannons let loose, each felling a knight so that poor Edric was left with only two companions. Captain Vincent winced at the sight of what had been done to his Lord’s guard, but tried to conceal hit concern from his own knights.

“Steady, gentlemen,” was all he managed to say, but his own men barely heard them, for all were thinking that the enemy certainly knew how to work their artillery. Would these men be similarly blown to pieces in the next few minutes?

Crossbow bolts lifted two pistoliers out of the saddles and threw their lifeless bodies to the ground. Their champion decided that he could hesitate not a moment longer, and began to issue the order to advance. At the same moment Edric knew he could not linger, and led a desperate charge at the Rudolph leading the ‘Caricare’ Lancers. Two Knights quickly fell in the ensuing melee, one from each side, leaving Edric and his Standard Bearer barely holding their own and facing a flank charge from the Don himself.

The two wizards managed to cast a little magic, steadying the hands of the handgunners with the Portent of Far, but young Therese then miscast for the second time and burned herself in the process. Nevertheless the successful spell proved its worth as two of Don Matthias’ own Lancer Bodyguard fell to the bullets. Two pikemen also died from bullets and arrows, while the Pistoliers moved right up to the Crossbowmen and fired a fusillade of shots at them, slaying four. But the Don’s men proved willing, and refused to be panicked by the loss. Laboriously they reloaded their crossbows and made ready to give as they had received.

Don Matthias, barely noticing that two of his men had fallen so close to him, spurred his Lancers on and into the side of the Graf. Because Edric was caught up in a personal fight with Rudolph, however, all that The Don could do was cut down the last of Edric’s own Bodyguard.

The Light Horse slammed into the Handgunners with Therese, knowing that they could surely drive the petty unit off. This they did, and although they failed to reach the fleeing foe to finish them off, they made sure that Therese fell to their spear tips before she could turn tail.

Once more the massed Foot moved on, and again they were careful to maintain their line, and thus sacrificed some movement to do so. The central Crossbow regiment, who had yet to contribute to the fight, reformed into two ranks – they knew that soon they would have targets and wanted to be ready. Their fellows to the left were fully occupied, however, and now brought down four of the Pistoliers. Somehow the surviving pair, perhaps too dazed to react, stood their ground!

The three cannons were not so effective with their second shot. Perhaps one had been allowed to rust a little lying in the siege-works, for it now blew itself to pieces and tore its crew apart. The next overshot the enemy, but the last ripped through a knight and three Free Company.

Graf Edric was suddenly gripped with fear (little did he know its supernatural origins – the magical artefacts carried by Don Matthias) and unthinkingly he fled from his foes. Both the Black Company’s Lancers and their leaders, however, restrained themselves from pursuing. They were wise enough to see that to do so would put themselves right in front of the enemy and risk flank charges.

“No,” thought Don Matthias, “let him run.”

He would win this battle, and he would do so with tactical cunning and precision. His men laughed and jeered at the fleeing enemy Lord, but none broke ranks and followed him.

Perhaps more out of desperation than bravery, the surviving Pistoliers charged the large crossbow unit facing them. Meanwhile, Captain Vincent, horrified to see his noble Lord and master forced to flee from the foe, led his own Knights in a charge against Don Matthias and his Bodyguard. The Light Horse bravely attempted to support Vincent’s efforts by charging the other Black Company Lancers commanded by Rudolph Litzen.

Less dramatically, but no less dangerously for the men doing it, the Archers on the far left flank threw themselves at the Estalian Duellists in the trees, hoping at the least to slay the enemy wizard Van Junge.

Graf Edric, ashamed to be seen fleeing by his massed ranks of Foot, no matter that the cause had been overwhelming, halted his horse and turned to see what he could possibly do to regain his honour and assist his brave men. His two wizards had managed magically to imbue the Graf’s army with some little fortune as they both brought the second Sign of Amul to bear. Maybe a little good luck could turn the battle?

It seemed possible, for the Archers somehow broke the Duellists, who should have been very much their betters in combat. The Estalians, perhaps as they now knew the little copse of trees so well (having crept around for long enough within it), made their way more rapidly through it and thus outran the Mortensholm men. The wizard Van Junge ran with them, beginning to wonder whether he really ought to have sought out safety with a larger regiment rather than this band of desperadoes.

The Light Horse, though receiving some casualties, held their own against the Lancers, but Captain Vincent found that even the magical fortune summoned by the allied wizards could not help him. He and his own unit were broken and cut down by the Don and his Bodyguard, who crashed into the flank of the now (surely?) doomed Light Horse. The Pistoliers also failed to inflict a forceful blow, and were sent running off by the Crossbow.

As the Duellists failed to rally themselves and stumbled onwards in confused flight, and the Black Company’s Light Horse charge a second time at the surviving Handgunners they had failed to wipe out in the first charge (and then yet again failed to finish them off), the massed Foot marched slowly forwards. Their movement was made more cautious by the unsettling proximity of enemy archers to their rear.

The Norsemen, wondering whether they would strike a blow at the enemy in this battle, now began a much more rapid march forwards. Graf Edric spotted them close by, and started to wonder whether the best he could now do was to support his Foot soldiers.

When the two remaining artillery pieces fired yet again, they only managed to bring down four enemy halberdiers. The Crossbowmen on the right killed the two panicked Pistoliers galloping away from them, while the other Crossbowmen unchivalrously wounded Graf Edric, though he was so caught up in a world of concerns that he barely noticed the wound. Unsurprisingly, the Don, Rudolph and the Lancers easily dispatched every Light Horseman before them, and hurriedly set about re-ordering themselves for their next attack.

The Free Company of Mortensholm, happy that the Handgunners had held the enemy’s Light Horse long enough, now charged into the rear of those same Horse. Sheer weight of numbers prevailed, and after dragging a handful of riders from their mounts, they chased the rest of them off the field with a cheer. Their Lord, Graf Edric, moved to stand close by his Foot soldiers, and was trying to decide whether he ought to attempt to get them safely away, so that they might fight against better odds another day.

Out on the far left of Edric’s massed Foot, the Handgunners were busy – they had already poured several volleys into the advancing Pikemen, and their success was beginning to tell. For a moment the Black Company’s professional Pikemen faltered, as if they might turn tail and flee, but the Captain leading them refused either to flinch or falter, and they took encouragement from him to continue their bloody advance. As they did so, it was the turn of the regiment next to them to lose some men as the Archers in the rear sent a bout of arrows into their midst.

Now it seemed the real fight would soon begin. Both Don Matthias and his second in command urged their Lancers on, and the Norse picked up their pace. Even the Duellists chose to run no further, but instead turned to face the enemy Archers with murderous (if somewhat tardy) intent. And most ominously of all, the Black Company’s foot regiments now approached very close to the foe. If the rightmost Pike regiment could withstand one more volley, then all three regiments looked set to be in combat in mere moments.

The cannons sent another two blue and white garbed halberdiers to the afterlife, and as their torn bodies spun bloodily to the ground, spattering crimson blood in a wide arc, the Graf ordered the survivors to charge into the exactly similarly armed Paymaster’s Bodyguard before them. The Mortensholm Swordsmen, however, stood and watched as the deadly, multiple lines of pike-tips advanced towards them. They knew that to charge such a foe would gain them no advantage, and their sergeant thought that he might buy the Graf a little time by holding them back.

Edric beckoned the detachment of Swordsmen to move up beside him, in the hope that they might prove even a temporary match for the large body of Norsemen approaching fast.

The Handgunners and Archers once more shot at the dwindling Pike regiment on the far flank, but once more the Captain somehow encouraged them to keep their order. It occurred to him that soon their would be too little men left in his regiment to make any sort of difference to the fight, although perhaps their awful contribution had been to receive shot after shot that might otherwise have hurt the rest of the army.

In the huge melee the Paymaster and his bodyguard proved the better skilled at arms, yet the Graf’s men, desperate in their desire to drive off these invaders, climbed over their fallen comrades and fought on. Their bravery would prove of little use, however, as the Norse were now close enough to deliver their blow. So Graf Edric could only look on helplessly as the frenzied northmen smashed into the flank of his halberdiers, his most veteran garrison soldiers. He knew that only the gods could help them now. A mere moment later, he turned to see that the Black Company’s Pikemen finally came to blows with his swordsmen.

The horrible press had begun, the screams and cries building in an awful crescendo. Sword, pike, halberd and dagger slashed, swiped, cut and thrust. Mortensholm’s fate hung in bloody balance.

Surprisingly the Swordsmen found it much easier than they had feared to fend off the pikes with their swords and shields, and thus held their ground. Not so the Halberdiers, however, who now broke and fled and were butchered by the frenzied Norsemen. The men of the Sword detachment were dismayed to witness the routing and massacre of their parent regiment, and thus they too turned tail and ran.

All this meant that the Norsemen’s pursuit took them right into Graf Edric – nigh upon twenty crazed warriors facing but one nobleman upon his barded steed.

The last few of the Black Companies’ rightmost pike regiment charged at the Handgunners that had dealt such destruction upon them. The Handgunners chose to flee from this threat, but had waited a moment too long, and the Pikemen ran them down to scatter them completely. Their part in this battle was done.

The Free Company, seeing their Lord so hard pressed, but unable to get to him themselves, chose instead to reform and face the advancing enemy Lancers. They hoped that they might at the least keep these enemy knights away from their Lord, perhaps long enough for him to extricate himself from the Norsemen’s clutches.

A little magic and an arrow or two felled another handful of Pikemen, but still the Black Company veterans would not give in. Graf Edric slew the Champion leading the Norsemen, but could not hold his own against the mass of pushing men with their round shields, no matter what prayers he uttered. Once again, and this time for the last time in this battle, he turned from them and galloped away. Riding right past the badly mauled Pikemen, he headed off into the hills.

He could do no more, not this day. The battle was lost, his home conquered, his heart broken. He would ride for an hour, until finally he halted and fell from his horse in exhaustion.

When exhaustion turned inevitably into a troubled slumber, he dreamed of vengeance.

Unknown to him, however, the fight had actually gone on a little longer. The Duellists charged the Archers who had previously shamed them, and discovered that the Mortensholm men were indeed made of strong stuff. They could not break them, and were forced to begin a long and bloody melee.

In the centre of the field, Don Matthias and his Lancers thought nothing of the enemy before them (the Free Company), and charged them with no concept that they might prove troublesome.

This was a mistake.

The Don hacked down two of the Mortensholm irregulars, and although the Foot soldiers could do no harm back, once again their numbers proved crucial. With a cry of ‘Mortensholm’ they surged forwards and startled the Lancer’s mounts, and before the Don could regain mastery of the situation, he and his men were fleeing away from the Free Company!

Of course the Lancers behind stood ready to counter-charge the Free Company, and with such surprise and force as they could deliver, they knew that the Free Company could not withstand them.

Don Matthias might be ashamed of his panic and flight, but the battle was won nevertheless. He would remain master of the newly conquered Mortensholm, and without doubt the castle would soon fall to him.

But for how long?

Result: Victory to the Black Company. [Dogs of War win]

Game note: This was the end of turn 6. The Swordsmen and Archers and Free Company were all still upon the field and fighting, which surprised me considering the 3:2 point advantage to the DoW. Maybe DoW are considerably underpowered compared to Empire? The only game event ‘fudged’ in the above account was Don Matthias’ flight. The Free Company actually outran him and thus killed him and his Lancers in the pursuit. Because, however, in the campaign world this game was set in the Don is (later) known to be alive and kicking, I was forced to do the story fudge and take the one ‘fake’ photo of the entire battle – the very last one of the FC chasing after the Don. We shall have to assume that although his Lancers were caught and mauled, the ‘brave’ Don galloped that little bit faster and thus saved his neck.

Please don't think I fudge such events in other accounts, but here I was fordced to for the sake of the campaign. I should learn not to attempt to do 'historical' battles.

PS: Thank you J and T for playing the ‘bad guys’ and giving me the chance to write this report.

No comments:

Warhammer armies for sale - click "view all items" to hunt for a bargain is an approved eBay affiliate, auctions are current and are hosted securely by eBay