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L’art de la Guerre- Brief Encounters

Now that corderoy trousers and tank tops have peaked, the latest trend in the Berk-ley Vale fens is L’art de la Guerre 120 points. Slimbridge was the venue and a motley crew of veterans had assembled. The rules are a free download from the official forum and the biggest attraction for competitions is the ability to finish a game in an hour and a half ( or sooner😖)


It was another run out for my Patrician Romans. In order to get a victory I went for solid heavy infantry and bow armed heavy horse. To deal with the terrain I planned a second smaller corps of rough terrain troops.

No.87 Patrician Rome

One Brilliant Commander@3 points

Three Heavy cavalry (bow) @33 points

One light cavalry unit with javelins

Four Foederati impetuous heavy swordsmen @32 points

One light infantry bow @4 points
Corps two

Another Brilliant general @3 points

One Isaurian javelin light infantry@ 4 points

One elite Light infantry @5 points

One light cavalry bow @6 points

Three medium infantry impact swordsmen@24 points


The first game was against the Elfin Unwin’s Lydians. Andy poured a whole corps worth of javelin units into the forest whilst his companions swept round on my left. As his spears moved forward in the centre, I attempted to slow him with my light infantry.


But it was all to no avail, my heavy cavalry would not stand and my impetuous Foederati showed a marked lack of enthusiasm. It was draw but hardly an auspicious start!


Next up the boy wonder, Mark Clarke and the new must have troop type, camels! Not just some camels, a huge number of camels! Wall to wall camels were lined up with my heavy foot and they meant business.


This was one of those moments that I wished I was a more “switched on” competitive gamer. We used the wrong stats for my heavies against the camel onslaught and then I forgot my impact auxilia discount Marks javelins. I did have the pleasure of knocking Marks dice over to a one in a simultaneous dice off! Even Constantine couldn’t halt the bad luck. I would come to mourn the loss of many commanders over the next few games. Victory to the Beja Liberation Front!


The dimunative Colin next with his diminutive plastic Greco- Bactrians. I didn’t fancy taking on elephants so I stayed at the top of the central ridge. Colin was content to wait for my command roll to fail and an impetuous charge to be initiated.


The Roman command dice held and our respective cavalry wings made a feeble demonstration against each other. A draw with the Patrician losing fewer than the  Greeks. But then, Fry……….


The evil genius was up to his old tricks. A village full of Viking axemen and two Brest implants on each flank of two handed Islesmen. I wasn’t going into the valley of death but his Vikings weren’t staying in the village. It were orrible……


Mark does have some georgious miniatures in his collection. He quickly overwhelmed my left wing and he was on my baggage. My horse mounted a counter attack and surrounded Macbeth but it was all over. A great game and a most successful format. The Thornbury Show in August will see us all reconvene. Thanks for reading.

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L’art de la Guerre- Canal Rat 2018, Slimbridge 

When West Country Wargames Royalty calls, you can only concede. Nevermind “work” commitments, or your sick granny, Sunday 13th May was Canalrat 2018, hosted by the Trout and Garbage Public House and Caravan Park. Always the boys to spot a trend, the West Country’s new latest thing is L’art de la Guerre played with a measly a hundred and twenty points of miniatures. Is this the slow slide to D.B.A. Short sightedness? Will the figure manufacturers cease trading? We let the camera show what these sensation seekers can achieve with just fifteen units ( inside of them?)


The elegantly poised and manicured Monsieur Fry leads his Northerners across Naples?


Mr Shepperd’s Elephantine Panzer Division attempts to shoe horn Mr Hacker’s Patrician Romans from the vineyards.


Nice to see that Ironman Speed has lost none of his painting skill. Spartacus has never been less revolting!


Mackie’s Warring States Circus Troop about to assail Colin’s  eight pound forty fives worth of plastics! 

The table to watch in Round One- His Donness of Clevedon out camels the smiling assassin Clarkey!

The evil genius himself, Keith shows that Care in the Community can have some unpleasant and quite unexpected results. Indeed MrX in the foreground believed he was in Bristol for the whole of the Slimbridge Competition

It was a superb weekend of play. Great armies and a very good atmosphere. 120 points allowed us to play four games comfortably in a day and as you can hopefully see, glorious 28mm models look great. Please keep your comments clean when reading the results below. The usual full and frank discussion of where my opponents went wrong will hopefully be along tomorrow. And Saturday is Don’s Bristol Bash at Bristol Independent Gaming!

Results for Slimbridge 120 points.
 1.Don McHugh. Nubian 318

 2.Steve Hacker Patrician 296

 3.Ian Speed Spartacus. 294

 4.Mark Clarke Beja 247

 5Mark Fry. Highlands. 241 

 6 Andy Whitby. Warring states. 200

 7 Chris Jackson Viking 179

 8. Mike Shepperd classical Indian 166

 9.Keith McGlynn. Andalusian. 161

 10. Andy Unwin Lydian. 110 

 11. M Baldwin Patrician. 72

 12. Colin Evans. Graecobactrian 75.


“I feel like a winner!”

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Make May 6th National Free Speech Day

As the great and the good march on London today, this classic from Rod Liddle…….

The UN’s sent an envoy to examine Brexit racism. And a warm welcome to herAnother new word, this time from the deranged far-right: incel. This means a chap who is involuntarily celibate because women won’t sleep with him. Instead, these besoms prefer to have sex with attractive men. There are links with the Toronto murderer Alek Minassian, who drove a van into a bunch of pedestrians because he couldn’t get a shag. Incels applauded his actions online, demanding death to the ‘Stacys’ and the ‘Chads’. And also the ‘Beckys’.

Ah, yes, three more new words. Stacys are attractive ‘unattainable’ women. Chads are the good-looking young men who get to shag them. Beckys are ‘average’ women who you wouldn’t want to have sex with because they’re not fit enough — they all have ‘flat tits’, according to an incel commentator. Right. I do not understand why incels want women dead while simultaneously wishing to have sex with them, unless they are of a necrophiliac tendency. It seems to me a counter-productive approach. Buying some flowers, washing, and setting your sights a little lower than Megan Fox would seem to me a more profitable modus operandi. But these are very angry people so I shall not suggest it to them.

Usually when people deliberately drive cars into pedestrians, rank misogyny is only a small part of their political make-up and comes somewhere behind anti-Semitism and a loathing of (nominal) Christians, the West and democracy. But whatever. The more one reads about some of the other people who share our planet, the more amenable Novichok seems as an answer to our problems. We have learned about the incel community via the internet. But the internet did not create it. That adolescent loathing and bitterness has always been there.

Meanwhile, we have an important guest to welcome to our shores. A ‘Special Rapporteur’ from the world’s most stupid, costly and deluded organisation, the United Nations. E. Tendayi Achiume is here to sniff out racism wherever she can find it. ‘My mission across the country, including stops in London and Belfast, will focus on explicit incidents of racism and related intolerance, as well as attention to structural forms of discrimination and exclusion that may have been exacerbated by Brexit,’ this pompous, jumped-up panjandrum announced. ‘Xenophobic discrimination and intolerance aimed at refugees, migrants and even British racial, religious and ethnic minorities will also be an important focus.’

 

Will it, indeed, poppet? It sounds to me awfully like Achiume has made her mind up already. Here’s a bet. Her report, when it is filed to the various other thick-as-mince third-worlders on the make at the UN, will denounce the British people for their colonialist and imperialist past and castigate them still further for being beastly to dark-skinned folk, thinking they have been given carte blanche to do so by the vote to leave that other stupid, costly and deluded supranational organisation, the European Union. And her report will appear on the front page of the Guardian and as third story on the BBC World At One and nobody else will give a monkey’s, believing it to be tendentious drivel.

Achiume lectures in Los Angeles, but she hails from Zambia and has indeed done a lot of work on racism in southern Africa. For example, she has considered the plainly racist expropriation of land from white farmers in Zimbabwe (and indeed their murder) at the hands of Robert Mugabe’s thugs in a lengthy abstract. Achiume came to the predictable conclusion that Big Bob was perfectly within his rights to kick whitey out of Africa and steal all his land and that the Southern African Development Community (SADC), which adjudicated against Mugabe, was mistaken in its analysis and did not take account of the local feeling which was in favour of shooting white people and then stealing from them.

Another academic summed up her views: ‘The SADC Tribunal might have misinterpreted human rights norms — in particular a provision of the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination that allows race-conscious policies to remedy past discrimination, such as the legacy of concentrated white land ownership.’ So, racism and indeed genocide is OK if it’s directed against white people, because white people are unspeakably ghastly and stole the land in the first place (despite the fact that, of course, they didn’t). And so the question which immediately arises is this: why has this halfwit been allowed into the country and why are the usual anti-racist protest kids not more exercised about her arrival?

The answer may be as simple as this. United Nations Special Rapporteurs, whoever they might be, add to the general gaiety of life, enormously so. They are almost always thick academics from the third world far-left. My particular favourite — you may have your own, of course — was the mental Brazilian former Marxist Raquel Rolnik who came here from the filthy and violent favelas of her own benighted country to tick off our government about its proposed bedroom tax. The bedroom tax would exacerbate social division and leave hundreds of thousands of ‘vulnerable’ people much worse off, she concluded, before jetting back to the hell of São Paulo. Even by the standards of our current Labour party leadership, Rolnik was further to the left than a salad fork.

Among other things, she was a practitioner of the somewhat primitive Candomblé religion and once, when she was living in Paris, sacrificed a chicken to her hero, Karl Marx. I do not know the name of the chicken, nor the means by which Rolnik dispatched it. Her sister’s testimony does not stretch that far. All we know is the chicken died, somehow. And that beyond the grave, the most damaging philosopher in the history of the world was grateful for the succour and was rubbing his beard in gratitude.

So we should be grateful that the UN bungs us these third-world commie women every so often, to march around the country, do a bit of shopping and conclude that, by and large, we’re vile.

Extract from the Spectator magazine

 

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L’art de la Guerre- The Republic strikes back!

This week’s epistle was nearly called “friends reunited”. I’d painted Dave’s Punic Wars collection  a good twenty years ago. A massive collection of Essex miniatures, Tin Soldier and Freikorps, all enclosed in a very 1990s red toolbox. The figures were veterans of many games on the Wales and West Country competition circuit before being sent to garrison Dave’s attic. Just how many miniatures are squirrelled away in spare rooms and garages?


Dave had chosen to represent a Carthaginian army from early in the Punic Wars. He had brought a command of heavy spearmen and Numidian horse as a core of his army, with heavy swordsmen from further North, and a whole corps of Spanish medium swordsmen. A very aggressive army for the gentleman accountant but would he be able to deal with all those impetuous troop types. It is possible to hold such troops in LADG but it is command point prohibitive.


Polybian Romans have always been a favourite of mine. It was the late eighties when I first started collecting this as a D.B.M. Army. It was the illustrations of Peter Conolly that gave me the colour scheme but their uniforms just look so good! As one might expect, its strength is in the quality of its heavy infantry. The main drawback is the necessity to replicate the legion structure. My force had two almost identically legions, a solid mix of heavy spear and swordsmen. The third corps contained the elite extraordinari , noble cavalry and two light horse units from Greece.


The plains of the coast gave the location for the epic clash. Dave was intent on getting rough ground onto the table but fate took a hand and only one area would give succour to his medium foot auxillaries. The Punic army stretched from a plantation to the are of brush but it was unlikely that those tribesmen would stay put. I hoped to upset the Carthaginian plan by refusing my elite legion on the right. The newly raised legion would have to demonstrate against the Celts whilst my light troops tried to surprise the Punic spearwall.


It was the manouvre dice that slowed Dave’s Spaniards. By brilliant elites commander did send some velites to annoy the Iberians host but they beat a hasty retreat once Dave pressed the attack….


My attack on the left had gained a local advantage. Although I only had two units of medium cavalry the Numidians evaded and then returned to melee at a disadvantage. But it was after the defeat of the Numidians that the Noble Roman horse really excelled. A rear attack on already engaged enemies is devastating!


The initial charge of the Gallic foot was ferocious but the hard pressed legionaries held and then started to gain the upper hand.


The Spanish attack tore through the Roman camp just as my elite legionaries tore through the slower tribesmen. Dave had committed his general and his loss sealed the army’s fate. Hannibal may have to come back from Italia to reinforce the ASpanish possessions. It had been great to see my old toy soldiers again. Did I wish I had never sold them? You bet! Could I bear to paint two hundred bases of Punic wars figures again? Probably not!

Thanks for reading and stay tuned for the build up to the West Country Summer competition season, Virtus and Godendag preliminaries and a return to SAGA version two!

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L’art de la Guerre – Lord of the Highlands and Islands?

Computer elbow it’s called. Don’t waste time explaining how to do something, why not just elbow them aside and you do it!? It’s 1160 and Lord David ‘ the pastie’ Cameron intends staunching the flow of underfed Lowland Scots that have just paddled down the coast to Berwick. The culprits are of course those Highland ruffians, descendants of Viking raiders, that are busy burning and looting through Caithness.


The expedition across the Scottish border, commanded by my goode self, was drawn from list 176. Feudal English. Like many of the Feudal lists, the army benefits from knights, some good quality spears and a small number of longbowmen. I was attacking so needed an open field and the throw of dice was in my favour…


Almost all the terrain went off to the flanks and my knights were already issuing their challenges to the great unwashed host before us. The island warriors may have their two-handed axes but lances are just so much more modern.

Welsh spearmen held the marsh and their compatriot longbowmen held our left.

The stout yeomen of England may have more to fear from the Islemen axes!


The wily Mark McFry had left his left, unguarded against my nobles! Could the great man have erred? Not a chance! It would be a very unwise general who would move forward with the chance of a flank arch collapsing his flank. I advanced😳

He hadn’t forgot! The wee crofts were full to the Trussocks with Galwegians! Mc Fry had been busy recruiting those georgious Claymore Casting miniatures and getting them painted by Wee Jimmie. Before you could say ‘ Burnes nicht’, the Galwegians were out of the hamlet and careering towards my Welsh.


My longbowmen let loose a few shots and then retreated behind the spearmen in the marsh. They were hastened on their way by a few Highland archers ( a nasty surprise to the unwary)


Hold your Haggises! The Wyyrd Sisters are saying that medium swordsmen get to keep their impact for being impetuous? They will make short work of Sheep herding North Waleans! The Welsh not just held the bog but before long there were ominous gaps in the crofters line….

The keen eyed will note that the defence of the bog had lined Mc Fry’s own flank for a turning! Now a knight charging, that’s proper “impact!”


The Highlanders still came forward in the centre but the English foot were holding! To the North of the knightly host, a Mounted sergeant unit attacked the baggage and the battle was won!


It had been a memorable clash. Armies that are matched historically do tend to give such blood- thirsty encounters! My thanks to Mark for a great game.

“Ugg, We was a robbed! Never truste a Welshie in die Bogge!”

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Clash of Giants- The Battle of Jutland 2018

A clash of Giants indeed!  Our most prolific correspondent Mark Fry reports from the Slimbridge refight……..


1]. The British Admirals – drinking tea- with the Grand Fleet just visible on the horizon in front of them

The 31st of May – 1st June 1916 witnessed, what was probably the largest maritime battle ever, which took place on the North Sea off the Jutland coast of Denmark.

See this great YouTube video for a full historical run through of the battle – thoroughly recommended: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U_UryFjKUsM

And also

Just love those accents!

The Battle of Jutland Wiki is also very informative: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Battle_of_Jutland


2]. The original battle

Germany and the United Kingdom were at war, the First World War as it was to become known as, and whilst the fighting on land was heading towards a stalemate and the horrors of years of trench warfare in the mud and blood of Flanders and Northern France, on the high seas the situation was very different or was it? There might have been no trenches but large areas of the North Sea, especially near the North German coast were heavily mined and the significantly outnumbered German High Seas Fleet was effectively bottled up in port not daring to confront the full might of the Royal Navy. Yes, German U-boats patrolled the shipping lanes trying to even-up the balance by preying on merchant vessels bringing much needed food and materials to England and in the skies overhead Zeppelins patrolled and provided radio reconnaissance, but the Kaiser was not about to risk his precious fleet in a foolhardy mismatched battle.

This was the era of the ‘Dreadnought’ – huge armoured ships with massively powerful guns that dominated maritime warfare. But the idea that these ships were invincible was a complete fallacy – in fact – in reply to an observation that Dreadnought warfare was like two heavily armoured knights hitting away at each other with battle-axes, Winston Churchill, the then First Lord of the Admiralty, was heard to reply, “More akin to two eggs hitting each other with sledge hammers!” But even at this stage in the war, Dreadnoughts had already been superseded by even larger, more heavily armoured and bigger gunned ships called Super Dreadnaughts and these formed the back bone of both fleets.

British maritime doctrine was founded on one significant principle and that was that the Grand Fleet needed to outnumber all its enemies by at least 60%, and at this time if you had combined the whole of the German High Seas Fleet, the USA navy and the Russian navy, the UK would have still outnumbered them all put together, and the British were still building more ships of larger and larger tonnage each year. Britannia did truly rule the waves!

The German High Seas fleet could not possible take on this behemoth of an enemy in straight head-to-head battle, but what it could (& did) try and do, was to lure its enemy piecemeal into a trap and inflict maximum damage on it even if only to achieve a propaganda victory.

So it was that on Saturday 15th April 2018 a band of naval wargames descended on The Tudor Arms at Slimbridge to attempt to re-enact this monster of a battle with fleets of 1:6000th scale ships. However, the game had been played out on map moves for weeks in advance, as the two fleets tried to find each other in the murk of the North Sea fog banks. I was playing the role of Reinhart Scheer – German High Admiral, ably assisted by Dave Nicholas who was my trusted No.2 Vice-Admiral Hipper who commanded a squadron of Battle Cruisers who were tasked with the advance scouting party.

       

3]. The German High Seas Fleet 

 4]. Hipper’s Battle Cruiser Squadron – both with destroyer and Cruiser escorts              

Unlike my name-sake, I made a tactical decision to impose radio silence on my fleet (including Hipper) and also to choose to leave behind the slowest elements of my fleet – a dozen or so very slow, under armoured and under-gunned pre-dreadnought battleships whose contribution in any in combat with the British was at best limited and at worst a liability. These were left back at Horn’s Reef, with a guarding flotilla of destroyers/torpedo boats, near the mouth of the rout through main German minefield to secure the path of retreat to safe harbour. This decision also allowed the remaining High Seas Fleet move significantly faster and to close the gap dramatically between itself and Hipper’s squadron so they could jointly catch the British advance forces unawares.


5]. The head of the German High Seas Fleet proceeds in line-astern at maximum knots

The battle commenced at c. 16.30hrs (game-time) with the advance British squadrons led by Beatty sighting both Hipper’s squadron and the High Seas Fleet pretty much simultaneously and whilst Hipper and Beatty exchanged long-range shots and damage, Beatty chose not to push home his advantage and “engage the enemy closer” as he had done in history. Breaking his fleet into smaller packets he about faced and headed back towards the British Grand Fleet which was still out of sight at this point. However, that about turn was his down fall as his flagship HMS Lion was hit repeatedly by stern shots from both Hipper’s squadron and the advance elements of the High Seas Fleet, and suffered a magazine explosion and blew to bits, taking Beatty and over 1,000 other British seamen to a cold watery grave.


6]. The British Battle Cruisers under Beatty are sighted


7]. Battle commences and a British Battle Cruiser magazine blow up. Gunnery range is all important – especially as the Brits outrange the Germans! (Hipper checks his range finder)


9]. The battle heats up with damage and casualties on both sides


10]. British Battle Cruisers open up on the German line over the top of their Destroyer screen


11]. German Battle Cruiser damage mounts but in the swirling confused Destroyer and Cruiser melee the British are losing ships rapidly

The battle then proceeded to break up into a series of skirmishes between German and British destroyers/torpedo boats each trying to gain an advantage over the other to get in close to the capital ships to unleash their torpedoes. As this was going on the main Battle Ships and Dreadnoughts were throwing shells at each other at long range, dishing out and receiving gruelling punishment. Beatty’s scattered squadrons – especially the newer more heavily gunned Queen Elizabeth class Battleships were concentration fire on damaged segments of the German High Seas fleet, whilst the Germans punished severely British mishandling of their Cruisers and Armoured Cruisers most of which were sunk in the deadly gun battle.

12]. The British Grand Fleet manoeuvres into battle formation – still a long way from the seat of the action

As the British Grand Fleet started to appear on the horizon after 2 hours of intensive fighting the Germans had lost 7 capital ships seriously damaged or destroyed and with the visibility slowly dropping as night started to fall (it was now 18.30 game time) Scheer ordered the withdrawal to safety leaving Admiral Jellicoe commanding the British fleet to curse his luck.

In the actual battle there were a series of confused night combats at which the Germans were much better suited and Scheer went on to inflict more damage on Jellicoe, causing him to pursue more cautiously. In our game we’d run out of time and our umpire ruled that all the Heavily damaged and damaged German ships were considered lost (which was a bit harsh in my opinion) thus giving the British a sizable victory.

So … we had ‘done’ Jutland in a day and successfully fought a major action with a new set of naval rules, ‘Si Vis Pacem’ that worked really well. Great fun was had by all – but mostly by us Germans as we got to do the bulk of the fighting.
Many thanks to all the players and in particular our very patient Umpire (Stuart Machin) who did a grand job in ensuring that a table top battle actually happened, as both fleets manoeuvred blind across the expanse of the North Sea in an on-line pre-game written order session. Also to Dave Manley for writing the rules that worked so very well.
Remember that Mark and the boys will be back very soon with the latest instalment from the Cold WAR GONE HOT CAMPAIGN! Stay tuned for Mark and myself on a battlefield just North of the Border………..
 

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Society of Ancients Batteday 2018: Paraetacene 317B.C.

Our roving reporter, Mark Fry elucidates…….😳


1).The Antigonid line left to right – that is some Phalanx! With Rodger, the games organiser studying his Armati measuring sticks.

 

Saturday 7th April saw the Sycamore Hall in Bletchley crowded with the great and the good of Ancient table-top warfare. In fact, the SoA boasts a membership that has included such notaries as Donald Featherstone, Phil & Sue Barker, Trevor Halsall, Adrian Goldsworthy, Roy Boss, Rick Priestly, Phil Sabin and Duncan Head and many, many more (including myself of course). 

Yes – once again it was the annual SoA Battleday event, and this year it was ‘the’ Hellenistic phalanx pike-fest of all time, as two of Alexanders Successor generals – heavy weights of the ancient world – Antigonus I Monophthalmus (or old ‘One-Eye’ to his chums) and Eumenes of Cardia fought it out head-to-head on a dusty plain near Isfahan in Iran in 317BC. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Battle_of_Paraitakene

For those of you unfamiliar with a SoA Battleday, the idea is simple, every year, 12 months in advance, an ancient or medieval battle is selected by the organiser (Richard Lockwood) and a request is made to the membership to put on demo-participation games to represent this battle. It can be portrayed any scale of figures (in fact even the use of figures is not obligatory – role-play type entries, board and card games, even computer games have all been used in previous years). Your battle can be fought using any set of rules. The wider number of different rules sets used generally the better. The only common factor is that the game must represent the selected battle or part of that battle or the campaign running up to and including the battle.


2) & 3) Society of Ancients Battleday 2018 gets underway

This year there were 15 different games on offer, playing to a number of different rules sets including: To the Strongest, Ancient Battles, Hail Caesar, DBA, DBMM, DBM, Rameses, Armati, FoG, MeG, LaDG (and many others I failed to note down). The scale of figures used ranged from 2mm, 6mm, 10mm, 15mm through to 28mm. Participants at the event (who do not necessarily have to be SoA members) are encouraged to bring along and run a game or to simply turn up and join in a game and take a command. And as with previous years we had contingents from France and Italy putting on games alongside UK regular participants.

This year, as so often previously, I chose to join in the Armati game which was magnificently pulled together by Berkeley Vale’s very own Martin Sorrell (in-joke) Rodger Williams. Terrain was supplied by Mark ‘Capability’ Craddock, who has won Best Terrain prizes in a number of previous Battleday events – although this year’s terrain was not that demanding – being a flat open dusty plain with a set of steep hills along part of one flank. However, we were fighting on an 8’6” by 4’3” foot table so a considerable number of troops were required. Rodger had selected 15mm as our game scale and the troops used came from Rodger’s and Mark Craddock’s barracks, supplement by a massive contingent from the copious armoury of Roy Boss (the SoA Chairman). 
4). A view of the fully deployed Antigonid line from Game:1


5). The full Game 1 deployment – showing the historically accurate overlapping flanks (my command at the bottom of the picture)


6). Push of Pike! Red markers are casualties, yellow are fatigues, white indicates disorder.
Historically the battle is one which was won by push-of-pike and Rodger’s interpretation replicated this well, with an emphasis on the different types of phalangites deployed by each side. Unlike many other sets of rules Armati is well suited to this as it allows many differing fighting values for units based upon their quality. So the Silver Shields (or Guard phalangites) might fight with a fighting vale (FV) of 8, whilst the bulk of the rank and file would use an FV7 but the poorer quality conscript pikemen would fight on an FV5 (so significant differentials in combat). Armati also plays quickly – with long missile and movement ranges and a deadly combat system, where a drawn combat results in a casualty for both participants. As such we managed to complete two games on the day, both to a decisive conclusion, where as many other games didn’t even complete one.

 

In game one I was running Antigonus’ weaker left cavalry flank. This is a challenge as my force was composed predominantly of lots (10 units) of mostly javelin armed Light Cavalry – not exactly game winners in any set of rules unfortunately. However, in Armati in the Hellenistic period they have one distinct advantage, which is that they are counted as ‘expendable’ or non-key troops. So they do not count towards building up the army break point, but equally if lost they do not cause any negative impact either. This represents their use in Hellenistic battles and the fact that they were primarily designated to provide skirmish screens. They are however ‘chocolate fire-guards’ in frontal combat against a wing of top quality Heavy Cavalry – which is exactly what they were facing.

In addition, I only had a few evade moves available to me before I was running off the back edge of the table, so I needed to employ a combination of phased suicide charges, evades and rapid enveloping moves to try and enable flank or rear attacks, where I was on a more even footing in melee. I also needed to pelt my enemy with javelins on every occasion so as to further even up the odds. As it happened fate was on my side and by leading a couple of HC a merry dance down the outside flank of the battlefield, throwing javelins as I went, my remaining LC swarmed around the core of his HC and got around their rear forcing him to about face. Thus, my objective of holding his advance and preventing him falling onto the exposed left flank of the main Phalanx was achieved.


7). My LC command advances rapidly 

8). I pounce upon the outnumbered enemy LC (3:1 is not good odds)

In game two we swopped sides, so I played my opposite number leading the opposing Eumenid right flank heavy cavalry command. It was now my turn to turn the tables and I managed to destroy the majority of the enemy LC in a rapid mass frontal charge and I even took down a couple of conscript pike units, which were swept away by routing friendly LC (in Armati any unit in a 3 inch path directly behind a routing ‘massed’ unit – and all cavalry counts as massed –must make a D:6 roll and on a score of 1 the unit route through routes itself – so I was lucky twice!). However, a single unit of Antigonid HC managed to sneak past my LC screen to fall onto the flank of the Eumenid elite Silvershields, which were already in combat to their front, which in Armati is inevitable instant destruction! Hey ho.

9). My Eumenid HC command advances, supported by skirmish LI and Elephants 

 
10). A view of the Eumenid centre and right flank deployment from the left wing (Game 2)

 

 Historically Eumenes lost the battle to Antigonus and in our refights despite a stoic resistance in both games, it was all decided in the centre where the massive Antigonid phalanx was so very difficult to beat frontally, so our outcomes were historically correct with two Antigonid victories.  


11). A nice 28mm game


12). 6mm can look really impressive – but re-spearing all those cast pikes with wire is a true labour of love!


13). Another 6mm game – you certainly get a lot of troops for your money


14). One of those rule-sets with fancy dice and markers (not sure which) – but it certainly looked impressive in 20mm.

 

Two really great games – hugely enjoyable. Many thanks Rodger for organizing it all – and another great Society of Ancients Battleday.

Next year’s game was also announced and it will be Telamon – so Ancient Celts v Republican Romans in 225BC (get out your Gaesati “oh err missus!”), https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Battle_of_Telamon

Unusually, the following year’s battle theme was also announced – which is to be Bosworth (in 2020). Great news for all of us later medieval fans – maybe a 28mm game is the answer.

If you can make it next year do come along, bring a game, come as a club or just turn up, participate and enjoy this marvellous wargaming spectacle. You can find out more or even join the Society of Ancients by visiting their website at: http://soa.org.uk/joomla/ . The quarterly magazine alone is worth the annual fee.

Mark Fry

13th April 2018

More from Mark this very weekend as he recreates Jutland in Berkeley canal centre on Saturday and fights yours truly on the Sunday, somewhere North of the Wall!
Thanks Mark, superb coverage! (Ed.)