Tuesday, 7 February 2012

WAB Battles - Second outing Anglo-Saxons vs Anglo-Saxons

View from my side of the table. Ross's skirmishers fleeing charge by unit on my left and Cyning leading his huscarles into combat in the centre. Abbod's unit tormented by archers on the right flank
This was only my second ever game of Warhammer Ancient Battles, and after the kicking my Anglo-Saxons took from the Late Romans in my first game (for which mercifully no pictures survive!) I was beginning to wonder if I could expect a 'long apprenticeship' of humiliating defeats before I got the hang of it.

My second outing in our 'Winter King' tournament was against Ross, who also fielded an Anglo-Saxon army. Anglo-Saxon armies with their long thrusting spears and shieldwall tactics are better at defending than attacking, so I chose to put my 'Cyning' (King) and army standard bearer with my huscarles armed with double-handed axes to give me a 'rock hard' unit that could attack. Otherwise I took 4 units of mixed thegns/coerls, two 32 figure units, two 24 fig and some slingers. Ross equipped his Cyning's unit with huscarles, thegns and coerls (not entirely legally but a genuine mistake in reading the army lists), took a unit of pure thegns and two of thegns/coerls, plus slingers and archers. Phil set up terrain, which initially did not seem to favour me, as dense terrain on one flank meant I couldn't exploit having one more unit and took a while to clear a hedge in my front. I lost my skirmishers early on, charged by his slingers. I charged them back with a 24 fig thegn/coerl unit on my left flank, sending them firing and fleeing. In the centre I advanced my Cyning and Huscarles in echelon formation and charged a unit  of thegns/coerls. On the right I advanced my thegn/coerl unit led by my Abbod, but Ross held his unit back and harassed me with archers. The top picture shows the battle at this stage from my side of the table, and the pic below shows the view from Ross's side of the table.
View from Ross's side of the table. Unit on the left are facing down my Abbod. Unit on far right is his thegn unit who were shortly to demolish my 24 fig thegn/coerls when they exposed a flank by charging the slingers again
 Ross's thegn unit is on the right of the shot above, his Cyning's unit is in the centre as yet unengaged.
Close up of same scene. Huscarle's getting stuck in and a bit of a traffic jam on my left with two units 'stacked' one behind the other
 My huscarles started to efficiently demolish the thegn/coerl unit to their front, but at this point I made two 'unforced errors'. The first was to decide to charge the slingers again. The idea was to move my 24 fig thegn/ceorl unit clear of the unit behind to let them advance and engage Ross's thegns, while leaving the first unit positioned to swing around to make a rear attack on his centre. This proved dumb, as a failed charge was inevitable, and I simply left an exposed flank for his thegn unit to charge. The second error was to allow a gap to open in my echeleon formation such that Ross had enough space swing his Cyning unit into the flank of my Huscarles. He risked exposing the flank of his Cyning's unit, but it could be battle winning move.
Close up of my Abbod's unit getting harrassed by skirmishing archers as Ross's formed unit holds back
 On my right flank, the pinpick of archers was getting annoying so I decided to charge in even though this meant in the first round I would fight one rank vs two, albeit if my Abbod gave the unit a re-roll on misses.
Ross's thegn unit on the left having smashed my 24 fig thegn/ceorls, would have made a follow-on charge into the flank of my huscarles (as positioned here) if the huscarles had not won their combat and moved clear in their pursuit. Ross's Cyning's unit on the right which appears in a similar position to the previous shot has, in fact, been very busy, having flank charged my huscarles, taken a flank charge from my unit, and managed to outrun them and rally!
In the event Ross's gamble didn't come off. He rolled absymally with his Cyning unit vs my huscarles, and my other unit was able to flank charge him, a combat he lost but survived the pursuit and rallied. My 24 fig thegn/coerl unit on the left were completely destroyed by a flank charge from Ross's thegn unit, who threatened to run into the flank of my huscarles. Fortunately my huscarles broke the thegn/coerl unit to their front and ran them down in the pursuit. This meant they advanced clear of the thegns path, so they couldn't charge on into their flank (as per photo above), but instead ran on into my 32 fig thegn/ceorl unit behind the 24 fig unit that they had destroyed (as per photo below). The combat on the right continued for several turns (unit near baseline are destroyed 24 fig unit from my left flank and not in the battle).
On the far left, because they would have failed to contact my huscarles in fact Ross's thegn's follow on charge took them into my 32 fig thegn/coerl unit. This proved a great result for me! On the right my Abbod's unit has charged in (unit bottom right has been destroyed and taken out of play)
 I had planned for my huscarles to win this battle for me in the centre, but in the event it was decided on the flanks. Ross's over-run charge by his thegns on my left proved disasterous. He (attacking with just one rank) rolled poorly, while hitting back with the (two) front ranks of thegns I inflicted several hits, broke the unit and ran them down in the pursuit.

On the right my Abbod's unit was also victorious, breaking their opponents. Although they didn't run them down in the pursuit, only Ross's Cyning unit was standing. He'd put four formed units on the table, seen two destroyed, one was running and his Cyning was surrounded on all sides. I'd fielded five formed units, seen one destroyed but had four in fighting conditon. Ross could have broken my centre with his risky flank attack on my huscarles, but the gamble hadn't come off, and I was very pleased to have won my first ever WAB victory!!!

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