Sunday, March 29, 2020

The Ammo Raid of Crowley a Pikemans Lament AAR

the Ferndalian raiding party invades Boozonia

         Sergeant Sean O"Loughlin looked in dismay at the troops surrounding him; mostly old men, boys and idiots........not one in twenty had ever used a weapon in anger. The militia of Crowley were a sorry sight indeed. "Once more Lads!" he bellowed at his pikemen in training. The gaggle of men shuffled into a sort of a formation, their pikes wavering from side to side and the men bumping into one another as they tried to steady the cumbersome weapons. Once they were roughly in line O'Loughlin stepped out of the front rank and turned around to face his charges, "Hoist yer pikes". The men raised the pikes to rest on their right shoulders, another round of wavering and staggering passed through the group. "Present yer pikes!" O'Loughlin ordered. The militiamen lowered the pikes trying to keep them level with the ground at shoulder height, several men dropped their weapons and had to retrieve them from the grass. "Advance  on my order........Addd---Vance!" the sergeant called out, the formation promptly took several steps forward, losing all resemblance to a phalanx in the process. "HALT! For God's sake Halt! Before you fools hurt each other". Furious at the collective incompetence O'Loughlin threw his halberd on the ground and walked away from the men to calm his nerves with a draught of whiskey.
       Seeing his drillmaster at wits end Sire Kincannon rode toward him to reassure him. "Having a time of it, old friend?" he inquired.
        O'Loughlin shook his head slowly, "They are more of  a hazard to each other than they ever will be to some Ferndalian rider", he replied with dismay. "I fear that the only thing they will manage to do is get themselves killed".
       Kincannon smiled at his friend, "Calm yourself Sean. The enemy cannot see the fear in their hearts or their lack of skill with a pike. They can only see the glittering points, drill them to receive cavalry with the butt on the ground and in a dense mass and they will be little troubled with the Ferndalian Horse. If you would seek a real nightmare we can swap jobs and you can try to make warriors out of these old gentlemen and their errant houseboys, all of whom consider themselves to be cavalry by way of knowing which end of a horse is the front"
         "Thank you Sire, but no, I've never been comfortable on such a beast and wouldn't presume to try. I would give my right eye for another cannon though".
          Kincannon looked up onto the hill where the artillerists were busily digging in and weaving gabions to fill with earth. "And I would as well to make that total three. Guard yourself well, and no heroics! I shall see you on the morrow"
         "You as well Sire, fare thee well"

        The game was played using Pikemans Lament rules from Osprey, I commanded the Crowley Militia while Joe took control of the Ferndalian raiding party.

The Ferndalian Raiding Party

                                      2 x Dragoons
                                      3 x Shot
                                      8 x Aggressive Gallopers

north is to the top in this view

The Crowley Militia  
               A clear example of fighting with the army you have, instead of the army you wish for.

                         1 x Commanded Shot
                         2 x Raw Commanded Shot
                         1 x Raw Pike
                         1 x Veteran Regimental Gun
                         3 x Raw Trotters
                         3 x Raw Gallopers
                         1 x Clubmen

north is to the top in this view
I placed the Commanded Shot in the cottage in the middle of the table
 hoping to use them to support my cavalry against the coming storm

the gunners got a hilltop post with a good field of view while the Raw Commanded Shot 
and equally Raw Pike blocked the pass with the Clubmen covering their right flank
my hope was to use the cottage as a rock and fight the Ferndalians in the choke points to
 either side, hoping to counter their numerical advantage

the Ferndalian flood, with the Dragoons skirmishing to the fore and the foot 
taking up road space at the back (Joe is a bit of a cavalry chauvinist)

the Dragoons pressed forward, scouting the intersection

they were surprised to find the cottage chock full of my Commanded Shot, these lads welcomed them to Boozonian territory in the traditional way; by blasting them with musket fire!

the Dragoons shook off the single casualty that the fire inflicted 

to the west and north of the cottage my rapid strike fizzled out in a series of horrid Command rolls

now aware of the troops hiding in the cottage the Dragoons
 replied in kind and claimed one of my Commanded Shot

another round of bungled Command rolls put play back into Joe's hands and he promptly moved the Dragoons into the field in front of the cottage and shot down another of my men

to the north the second unit of Dragoons opened fire 
on my advanced unit of Gallopers killing one and Wavering the rest

this is how things stood at the end of the second turn, my Boozonian forces rooted
 to the ground like a grove of trees and the Ferndalians advancing rapidly to the attack

to the south only one of my cavalry found it possible to move,
a lone unit of Trotters advanced timidly toward the intersection

to the north my cavalry finally advanced filling the gap between the cottage and the hedges 
while the Commanded Shot continued its unequal exchange with the Dragoons

in Joe's turn his Aggressive Gallopers charged my standing Trotters,
my dice were apparently stored at zero degrees Kelvin before being used, 
twelve dice and only two hits, not enough to drop even one enemy figure! 
notice the five ones!

Joe's dice had no such problems, 
his initial contact and pursuit slaughtered the entire unit of Trotters

my southern cavalry, mortified at the scene in front of them,
 promptly failed their Morale tests for seeing a friendly unit destroyed and both Wavered

to the north of the cottage I charged with my Gallopers, Joe made his countercharge test and we met in heroic conflict on the road, perhaps not too heroic, notice that I once again rolled five ones!
once again my unit was shattered and routed

further north Joe began his turn by firing ineffectively at my Gallopers

and then firing at my Commanded Shot.....

....with rather better success

the Ferndalian cavalry continued to press forward through the intersection

realizing that my cavalry were in desperate need of support
 the Commanded Shot fired at the passing Ferndalian cavalry, emptying one saddle

while north of the cottage my Gallopers screwed up their courage
 and charged their opposite numbers

with my best results for the night!
a stand-off tie

once more with the five ones!
can you say statistical anomaly?

attempting to use historical tactics I opened fire with my Trotters
and scored exactly one hit against the enemy; they laughed at my men 
(note; four ones and four twos!)

south of the cottage things were going just fine, the great big yellow killing machine
 (a.k.a. the Lif Garden til Hest) lined up to attack their next victim

I managed to pass my test to countercharge!

which allowed me to chump my melee roll and kill exactly one of the the enemy!
the Lif Gard were not as kind in reply

back to the north of the cottage yet another fresh Ferndalian Galloper unit
slipped through the gap and assailed my trotters

my dice had finally thawed enough that I didn't roll five ones,
 but still way below average and only killing one enemy horseman

Joe's worst roll of the night only killed one of my  troopers
 and he recoiled away from the tie
(see below)

having fought the  Ferndalians to a standstill 
my Gallopers were feeling rather good about themselves.....

that is until the Dragoons opened fire on them,
killing one and causing the other to Waver away

back at the cottage the Ferndalian Shot had finally caught up enough
 to open fire on my Commanded Shot, they claimed one

and the Dragoons finished off the last of my heroes

an overview of the situation, I have two Wavering cavalry units of one figure each, 
my advance guard have been exterminated and my Raw foot are looking nervous!

getting a little ahead of himself
 Joe advanced his cavalry against my Veteran gunners, they paid the price

a nervous Commanded Shot unit fired at some approaching cavalry and, 
to everyone's surprise (especially mine!), they dropped one

Joe tried to offer terms at this point but found that the Crowley militia were dissolving so quickly that there was no officer to make the offer to; the Lieutenant in charge of the guns accepted defeat and stood by as the Ferndalians blew up the ammo wagons and then watched them ride off into the east

the situation at the end of play

       O'Loughlin had seen Sire Kincannon run through from two different directions early in the fight and now he stood watching the Ferndalians reorganizing just of range. He looked about trying to think of words of encouragement for his men only to see them drifting back up the road.
       A subaltern rode forward from the ranks of the Ferndalian cavalry bearing a white flag. "I bear an offer of parley, where is your officer in charge".
      O'Loughlin drew himself upright , stepped forward from the ranks and addressed the young man, "You bastards killed him half an hour ago" he replied. He heard murmurs and the shuffling of feet coming from the men behind him.
       "Then there is no one that I can treat with? So be it", the smartly dressed officer turned his steed and began to trot back to his position in the enemy's line.
       O'Loughlin heard a terrified voice behind him cry out, "They mean to kill us all!" Suddenly there was a great trampling of feet and the clatter of dropped weapons. The sergeant turned to see the militia fleeing in a cloud of dust, their path marked by a trail of scattered pikes and muskets. "Well, Damn!" he cursed, "I'll not fancy being a prisoner, but I will burn in Hell before I run away in the face of the enemy". He thrust his halberd point-first into the grass and placed his helmet on top of the shaft,  then sat down next to it awaiting his capture. He watched as a half-dozen troopers broke free from the ranks of the cavalry with lit match-cords in their hands. They rode past him to the wagons and returned shortly.
          As they passed back one rode by close enough to shout, "If I were you good man I would run like the Devil himself were chasing me, those wagons will explode any time now!"
         It took but a moment for O'Loughlin to understand what the cavalryman had meant before he threw himself into the ditch and covered his ears.

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