Monday, 16 October 2017

The Pikeman's Lament

Having enjoyed both Lion Rampant and The Men Who Would Be Kings I decided to get The Pikeman's Lament.  I hope to do English Civil War skirmishes using it, but for now I can't justify buying the figures until I complete my various other projects.  So I decided to rebase my earlier renaissance forces, which gives me a nice mix of units which I can use for either side in the fights I use them for.

These are all from the old Mikes Models range, now sold by Essex Miniatures.  I have enough unpainted figures left to add a few more Commanded Shot units and another unit of Reiters when I get round to it.

Commanded Shot.  These seem more in keeping with this period than the larger and more resilient Shot units from the rules

Regimental Gun.  

Aggressive Forlorn Hope.  I really like these figures and hope they don't disappoint in battle.


The rules say to class irregular light cavalry who prefer to skirmish as Dragoons.  I'll cut the missile range of these guys to 6, the Dragoon range of 12 seems far too generous for a javelin.

Oh, and these were from when I was in my 'paint checkered patterns on shields' phase.  They look a lot better than I remembered. :)

My Reiters are classed as Trotters, using Caracole tactics.

And finally some Gendarmes, classed as Elite Gallopers.  

I guess the next thing to do will be to play a game with them. 😀

Thursday, 5 October 2017

Blocked Passage

A retinue under the command of Sir Henry of Havering is attempting to pass through Sir William of Oxton's territory.  Sir William tries to block their passage.

Sir Henry with two units of mounted Men at Arms, two units of mounted Serjeants and two units of Bidowers (Skirmish bows).

Sir William with two units of mounted Men at Arms and two of expert Archers.

Initial positions, Sir Henry in the top left corner has to exit at least half his force off the bottom right corner.

Sir Henry's force heads for the exit as the enemy moves to close the gap.

Bidowers claim first blood...

As the rest of Sir Henry's retinue ignores the approaching knights on their flank.

The Bidowers are cut down.

Sir William advances far enough to provoke a wild charge from Sir Henry and counter charges, losing two men to Sir Henry's one.

A wild charge from Sir Henry's other unit of mounted Men at Arms, counter charged also, and the results two losses to one in the opposite direction.

Sir William charges in again, to crushing effect.

As does his other unit.

Causing disruption to the foe.

The mounted Serjeants and the Bidowers head off to clear the Archers from blocking the route rather than go to Sir Henry's aid.

Another charge sees Sir Henry slain.

Only the mounted unit on the hill failed the morale check for his demise.

The Bidowers skirmished forwards and slew an Archer.

The mounted Serjeants moved into position as the Archers failed their activation roll to fire.

Another failed morale sees the mounted Men at Arms fall back with one of them fleeing.

The Bidowers take advantage of the Archers inactivity to kill three more of them.

The mounted Serjeants charge in on the weakened Archers and three Archers fall for the cost of two Serjeants.

And then both units fail their morale and decide to quit the battle!  

The field suddenly looks rather empty.  

Another compulsory charge, another knight falls.

And the Archers finally get to loose some arrows.

Another knight falls.

And Sir William falls back disordered.

The Serjeants charge uphill into the Archers and both sides take two casualties.

The Serjeants fall back, but it's the Archers who are disordered.

The Bidowers head over to assist the two surviving knights.

The archers fail their morale and fall back a little, one of them making a run for it.

The last of Sir Henry's knights on the hill goes down fighting.

And the men who killed him decide to go chasing fugitives rather than continue in the fight.

The last knight falls to Sir Williams mace, and the fight is over, the survivors retiring to lick their wounds.

Sir William won a victory, but it was a pyrrhic one.  Poor activation rolls for the Archers and the fact he was too far away to use his special ability to give them a reroll were his main problems.

Sir Henry's men tried to concentrate on the objective of the scenario, exiting the table, when they would have been better concentrating on their mounted opponents first.  This, combined with wild charges (made worse by Sir Henry being rash) led to his downfall instead of what could have been an easy victory for him.

Wednesday, 4 October 2017

A Small Punitive Expedition

Well, the Colonel calls the Captain
Then the Captain calls the men
He says "Listen lads, I've got a task for you
John Zulu's been a naughty boy
There's a lesson to be taught
And that is what you men are going to do".

This was Scenario B from The Men Who Would Be Kings, a mission to destroy a native village.

The British have two units of elite regulars, both with leadership of 5+.  Company A is commanded by Captain Thompson, a gentleman with a bottle.  Company B is under the leadership of Captain Crosby, mother nature was not kind to him in the looks department.

A unit of Natal Native Contingent (7+) goes with the column, commanded by Lieutenant Fraser, who is destined for greatness.

Finally there is a unit of irregular mounted infantry sharpshooters (7+) lead by Captain Van Beek.  He has an aversion to assegais and as such is viewed as a bit of a yellow belly by the British officers.

The Zulus have six fierce units, all 7+ and with no leader characteristics, per the optional rules.

So out we goes in column
And a  right mixed bag we was
All sure we had enough to beat the foe
Us reg'lars and some native lads
Some mounted boys as well
We'd give Johnny Zulu what for, don't you know.

From bottom to top the British have Mounted Infantry, Company A, Company B and the NNC.  Three Zulu units are in the village and three more will enter from the right.

(The huts are completely wrong for Zulus, but they are the most suitable I have.)

Both sides advance, the Zulus have decided the best way to protect the village is to wipe the British out.  

Both companies of regulars failed to form close order as the Zulus came nearer and nearer

As we came up on the village
A swarm comes flowing out
Like an ants nest being stirred up by a kid
Too slow to form in ranks we was
So the Captain yells out "Fire!"
And by 'eck, aim and fire is what we did

Four shot down by B Company.

And they fail their pin test.

Company A joins in, killing two more.

And another pin on the unit.

The Mounted Infantry open fire on the Zulus in the village, getting eight hits.  At long range this is halved, for four kills.

And they become pinned too.

Then, in a daring move, Lieutenant Fraser advances on the Zulus to his front and has his men throw spears and fire the few muskets they have.  Only two Zulus fall...

But the sheer audacity of this move causes the Zulu unit to be stunned into inaction.

Only the Zulus in the village fail to rally but the other two are unable to act this turn while they recover.

The Zulu reinforcements move ever closer.

The NNC again throw spears and fire the few muskets they could reload, getting three more kills.

And again pinning the unit.

Company B gets another five kills.

And a pin.

A Company's fire leaves a single survivor.

Who now has a double pin all to himself.

The Mounted Infantry fail to move, so it's on to rallying.  Only the lone Zulu in front of Company B fails, and he backs away from them shouting insults and drumming on his shield with his assegai. 

The reinforcements are getting dangerously close.

A little bit of overkill from Company B puts the lone Zulu out of his misery.

And this disheartens the unit facing the NNC.

Who bravely charge in, killing three for the loss of two of their own.

And causing a second pin on the unit.

The Zulus in the village lose another man.

And seek cover from the highly accurate long range fire.

The pinned units both fail to rally.

But the reinforcements have finally reached them.

Gawd bless Martini Henry
And the rifles what they make
Gawd bless the lads who make the bullets too
Fire and load and fire again
We drove old Johnny off
And we dared to hope our troubles now were through

There was a pause in the action as the regulars formed up in close order and the flanking forces fell back.  The Zulus in the village rallied and a threatening line of Zulus was formed for another attack.

Fall in, at the double
Close up in two ranks
And so we does, all falling into line
Rows of bayonets gleaming
As we wait for their advance
And the Captain's smiling, saying we'll be fine

The NNC fall back further and the regulars wheel to refuse their left flank.  Superb long range fire from the Mounted Infantry sees to three Zulus advancing past the village.

Successfully pinning the unit.

But they rally, as does the unit on the other flank.

Not quite your classic Zulu attack, they have two horns but nothing in the centre.

The Mounted Infantry pour devastating fire on the nearest Zulu unit, more in hope of a pin, but seven kills will do nicely, thank you very much.

And with -7 for kills even a double six sees them get the pin they needed.

B Company gets one kill against the tip of the right horn.

But no pin this time.

And the left tip of the horn rallies.

The crisis point of the battle approaches.

Johnny Zulu charges forwards
And we fire and fire again
And wonder why he doesn't run away
And how much ammo have we got
And will it be enough
And will we meet our maker this fine day

Volley fire mows down the unit coming over the hill.

And once again even doubly sixes isn't enough to stop them being pinned.

More long range fire from B company causes a kill and forces a pin check.

Which they fail.

The NNC risk their move and fire trick again, to good effect.

And it's a double pin.

The Mounted Infantry use a skirmish action to fire and fall back.

Inflicting yet another pin.

The three pinned units try rallying but only the one on the left succeeds.

Zulu units on the left and right try to charge at the double, the one on the right passes it's activation but rolls too low to reach the NNC, the left flank fails to move.

B Company fires a volley into the Zulus crossing their front.

Pinning them in place.

Once again the Mounted Infantry show their skill at long range fire, I think they deserve an upgrade to modern rifles.

The inevitable pin follows.

And the NNC round off the turn by throwing a few spears to finish off a unit.

Rally attempts again, with only the unit on the extreme right passing, and the only Zulu unit that was eligible to attack again failed it's activation roll.

But we hold them till they waver
Then they start to walk away
They walked away, they didn't turn and flee
And I'm thinking as I watch them go
With their dead strewn all around
John Zulu you're a better man than me

Company B keeps the pressure on the right horn.

Pinning it yet again.

And then Lieutenant Fraser leads the NNC in against them.

The surviving Zulus back off wondering how the NNC got their reputation for being a bit rubbish.

But they don't get to wonder for long as the NNC shoots them down.

A Company breaks into skirmish order as it comes over the hill shooting.

The lone survivor stands defiant.

Then sees the left flank crumble too.

The Zulus give into the inevitable and walk away.

They swear revenge as they watch the village burn.

So we burned down their old village 
And then we marched back home
Exhausted, we was dead upon our feet
But John Zulu won't forget this
He'll be thirsty for revenge
So here's to you John, till the next time we both meet.

Far easier for the British than I expected, but the Zulus had a pretty bad leadership rating and I played them terribly (not deliberately, it was my natural incompetence 😄 ).

The NNC did amazingly well, but having a 'destined for greatness' leader allowing them two actions a turn was the cause of that.

These units and leaders will carry on into future games, along with new units as I get them painted up.  The regulars may be used as different companies too, for a bit of variety.

Sorry for the standard of verse, I'm no Kipling (I can't even make exceedingly good cakes), but it was something I wanted to try doing.