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Lessons from the tabletop #eat defeat

The flanking attack is a staple of Wargames victory. An enemy may be strong frontally but few armies can withstand a concerted attack from their unguarded flank. The is true of the L’art de la Guerre system when the defender’s factors are reduced to zero and the attacker receives a bonus. Even more so when you play Hail Ceasar or Kings of War when the bonuses are still greater. Here’s the first of two attempts at winning via a flank attack. Please pity me……

Game one- Aglabids on Sicily defending their island against Norman interlopers.

The problem when playing L’art de la Guerre armies, affecting this manouvre, is that you generally have just three commands or corps. If you divide your troops into the conventional infantry centre and two wings of horse, then you generally don’t have enough flanking troops to gain local superiority.

Dave had left his strong infantry corps open to just a flank attack but he had a similar idea to me. Rising from behind a low ridge, a corps of swordsmen advanced to flank my own spear line.

“By Jupiter! You were advised to put two commands of mounted on the flank! Your infantry need something to anchor their own flank, or their own horse in support!”

It’s working- six elite Sicilian Normans sweep all aside and make for the camp! Italian mercenaries, who are not impetuous, make short work of the Aghlabids spears.

“For Mars sake, have you not heard of economy of effort? Six elite knights are nearly a third of your army points! The unit heading for the enemy camp is not even a knight, but Sicilian cavalry! A much cheaper and manouvre able option would have been more cavalry who aren’t impetuous!”

Surely a wadi filled with light infantry can gain me enough time? My Norman spear can hold. In the first round they are winning the combats!

“Dear God man, your choice of elite Knights has denuded your infantry. Mediocre means exactly that! Dave has medium foot to clear the wadi and a superiority of numbers to crush your line!”

Oh dear, just before the Arab camp is taken and victory assured, the alarmingly in character Emir Lowrie clears the Christians from the table!

“By Tutatis! Why do you always commit your generals? Yes, they can tip the balance but a dead general is too costly to risk! Next time you will face the Germans in the first game of the campaign. The lessons are clear; you need something to secure your own flank and the two attacking commands need to be controllable! ”

Stay tuned for next tutorial when Hermann the German challenges the Ailing Empire!


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