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La Morte de Devizes

Some wargamers’ preferred armies leave me perplexed. Apart from the chance to field King ( or Dux) Arthur and his round table, why do gamers choose it? The Romano-British list in L’art de la guerre is solid but a little underwhelming. I took two large commands of heavy spearmen. John G had his Moslem fanatics, elite and supported, but I had more…..


Arthur would lead my right wing, comprising just four measly heavy cavalry impact elite. Attack 2017 in Devizes is 500ad to 1040ad so no medium Knights. Would the riders of the round table be enough to carve through the ranks of heretics?


I won the initiative and the table sprouted forests. Charles Martel had obviously not stopped the Moslem tide in Francia. At this point a 40k gamer enquirer what we were playing. I explained that this was all very “historical” but I don’t think he was convinced. Having started down the road of 40k with my sons, it does give pause for thought that there is actually more “background” to the chubby space knight warriors….


The central forests gave John the chance to mass his heavy foot between the trees and the board edge but I was hoping to use my Irish mercenary medium swordsmen. 


The omens were good as Arthur sped off to demonstrate against John’s mounted wing. My spearwall would outnumber the Arabs and flank them through the forest and the scrub.


We had the numbers and obligingly John brought his infantry forward, leaving his flank in the air. I wouldn’t need to send skirmishers into the bushes.


But, one has to admit, old John “fireball” Gallacher is learning. He had elite Afghans to match my Irish and a tough fight ensued in the centre. Iranian mercenary heavy cavalry emptied a few seats at Arthur’s table. Only my scouts on ponies were able to return some shooting.


Keen eyed readers may see ballista but they are proxy units. I wasn’t even tempted to hoodwink the old Caliph!😝

God was obviously on the side of England’s favourite son. Six after six was rolled and in L’art de la guerre that means losses, lots of them.


But Arthur was not having it all his own way. The losses to archery made the mounted combat much more even than I had expected. Thankfully the ubiquitous Irish were able to tear the Arabs from their horses on the flank whilst scouts attacked from the other side.

The Moslem infantry were all but destroyed by now and a slightly embarassed and humbled Arthur claimed to have stopped the evil invader.

What did I learn? Don’t treat heavy cavalry as Knights! Like tanks they need to be supported. I don’t rate the Romano-British out of period though. Even Steve Hacker has been known to deploy fortifications in front of it. We shall have to see if the Early Byzantines fair much better.


Devizes is but four nights away! Only real men paint on the night before a competition!

Thanks for reading- I have at least undercoated my Armenians and Slavs!

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Filed under: Wargaming

About the Author

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The wild ramblings of an infamous wit and wargames guru. One of nature's true gentlemen who devotes his time to the care of his two sons, i.e. watching episodes of Peppa Pig together, and recreating great moments of military history using toy soldiers. Currently a leading light in The Collectivo Despertaferres wargames and duelling association who meet regularly at Firestorm Games ( formerly Ali Baba's Carpet Warehouse). Find me also on Facebook "Despertaferres"!

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