Wednesday, 8 February 2012

WAB Battle - Anglo-Saxons vs Vikings

Overview of the battlefield showing my forces advancing on the left
I have to confess that within my group within our club's annual 'Winter King' Tournament, that the one army I was rather fearful of meeting in combat was the Vikings. The previous year I'd seen Phil's Anglo-Saxon army make a very successful outflanking maneuver against a Viking army, only for one of its units on the other flank to fail its 'Fear of the Vikings' test, at which point two other units including the Cyning's (King's) bodyguard also failed their panic tests and legged it! Only one of my units (the huscarles) had a high enough 'core' morale to be immune to this test, the rest were all susceptible to running like rabbits at the sight of charging elite Viking troops.

My battle plan was to set most of my army in an echelon formation with a refused right flank, and my huscarles leading the assault on the left, supported by a small 24 figure unit of thegns/coerls in march formation ready to make a rapid march up the left flank and outflank the Vikings on that side. On my right centre I also had a hill, and my plan was to leave one of my units there which they could defend in shieldwall, defence being a forte of the Anglo-Saxon army. Across the table, my opponent Ginge fielded an army borrowed and designed by Reece, our reigning club champion, infamous for his devilish mastery of the subtleties of the WAB army lists. There were several units I didn't recognise, including a small little unit which turned out to be Jomsvikings facing my left flank and a unit which I thought were skirmishers on my right flank, which turned out to be super-hard Gestir warriors in light infantry formation.

Ginge advanced most of his line against me, except for the Jomsvikings on my far left, which he held back not wanted to get caught by my outflanking manuever, screened by archers. I advanced only on my left. On my right flank the Gestir light infantry swept through some woods and straight at my refused Abbod's unit on my far left, my slingers taking out a couple of figures as they came on. Otherwise (as usual it would seem) I lost the tussle between skirmishers, with my screening force of slingers being send packing by his archers. It was fairly clear that I couldn't get past these archers on my left unless I charged them, which I used the flanking unit to turn and do. This scattered them, but I had to 'back up' this unit because it was in the way of my huscarles getting to grips with his Jomsvikings.

Meanwhile on my right, the Gestir were in range of my refused Abbod's unit and charged. As it happened, however, the Gestir were strung out and only half the unit were close enough to make contact. This proved highly advantageous, as I was defending with two ranks. Ginge fortunately rolled poorly, too, which was lucky as his Gestir could have been lethal. Instead I slaughtered most of those making contact, sent them running and ran them down!

A Bondi unit was following on aiming straight at my Abbod's unit so I threw caution to the wind and advanced to provoke a charge too . Here's a shot of them making contact:
Flushed with success against the Gestir, my Abbod's unit takes on the Bondi
 On my left my huscarles were still some way from the Jomsvikings, but a unit of hirdmen charged into a unit of thegns and coerls to the right of my Cyning's huscarles. Fortunately they survived both the 'Fear of the Vikings' test and the first round of combat.All three pictures on this page were taken at this stage of the battle.
My thegn and coerl unit on the right of my Cyning's Huscarles stands firm n the face of charging Viking Hirdmen
The next round, Ginge threw his Jomsvikings into the fray against my huscarles. His Jarl (king) and hirdmen were still steadily advancing towards my unit who refused to move from their hill.

The long and the short of it is that all three of the key combats went my way, with the thegn/coerl units being able to fight in two ranks in the second round of combat (when the Vikings with throwing weapons were down to one) proving key. The Abbod's unit broke the Bondi, I think in the first round of combat, while the small unit of Jomsvikings was virtually slaughtered by my double-handed axe wielding huscarles, Cyning and army standard after a couple of rounds of combat. My solid 32 fig unit of thegns and coerls on the right of the Cyning proved their worth in second and third rounds of combat against the hirdsmen, not able to stand taking two hits for every one they struck, and broke too.

Only the Jarl's hirdsmen were left standing. Even my slingers rallied and his skirmishers kept running, so having taken out five Viking units, without losing a single one of mine, there was no question of the result!

Reece turned up at the end to berate Ginge on some of his tactical errors with 'his' army, especially the over-hasty attack with his Gestir. As Tony, the only player in my group who had beaten me, lost two of his other battles, this left me top of my tournament group and clear to the next round. Unfortunately ructions at the club meant us wargamers decamping to a new venue and the tournament was cancelled. Eager as I was for more 'blood' I could at least count my first WAB tournament a success, and hope to repeat the performance next time, for which I'll probably have to master the 'War and Conquest' rules which are fast over-taking WAB in popularity at the club for popularity.

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