Thursday 27 September 2012

Teutons vs Lithuanians

I have managed to get a few games of DBMM2 in down at the club in the last couple of weeks. This time it was against Tim. As usual we tried to get a reasonably historical match-up (look away now purists!) As it was, when I reviewed the figure availability, my Teutons were dated mid 1200s, whereas Tim's Lithuanians - led by Svitringalia, were 200 years later. As usual a fun game was had.

One of the nice quirks of the DBMM system is that it takes into account the weather and season, as well as the Aggression of their historical prototypes. The Teutons, or more accurately, their 'Livonian Swordbrother' forebears, together with their Holsteiner allies, (known, somewhat unkindly as the 'Pigheaded Holsteiners'), invaded Lithuania in early springtime, hoping that the cold weather would adversely affect their opponent's Light Horsemen *.

The scrappy terrain played virtually no part in the battle, with a river with dangerous ice floes down one flank, but a very useful dirt road transversely across the Teutons deployment area. (Apologies for the felt terrain... I have a very nice paved road and a very nice desert cloth, but we ended up using some club terrain.)

On deployment, the Right wing of the Teutons, composed of a few Bruder Knights supported by Order Crossbowmen, and with some Turcopoles as a flank guard find themselves facing a mass of elite Light Horsemen (Lithuanian allies - the Crim Tartars). Slightly to the left, the Hussite Allies of the Lithuanians roll their War Wagons forward...    (these were to puzzle me, as I basically had nothing to stop them. Knights merely bounce off, and trying to get armoured nobles to dismount is very difficult. **)

The other flank looked more promising, masses of Lithuanian Light Horsemen, with only a couple of wagons in support.

The Teutonic centre. Baggage is well to the rear, the Master just in front of the camp, with his vassal Knights, some Lithuanian peasants, a few Order Spear and a mobile reserve of the sergeants and lesser mounted, (known as Knechte). In front, the Holsteiners are to the left of the line, to the right, the other wing of Bruder Knights supported by more Order Crossbowmen and Turcopoles.

With a risk of their horses being affected by hunger (it's cold you know, and the springtime grass makes their mounts weak.. * ) the Tartars waste no time and crash into the Teutonic Right wing...

On the Teutons right, the massed chivalry plod forward, masked by crossbowmen to drive off or kill the skirmishing horse in front.

As the Teutons realised their centre was exposed, the Master used the high speed possible along a road to quickly shift his Knights and Knechte to the right, where that flank was in trouble versus the Tartars. 

The first impact of the Tartars had seen these horsemen quickly decimate half the Bruder Knights, and sweep away enough of the Turcopoles plus Crossbowmen to break the Teutonic Right.*** The Order General managed to keep his troops in position while the Knechte and Turcopoles of the Master came up to support, but now they were fighting at reduced effect. The Livonians of the Lithuanian centre came up to support the Tartars but now the Teutons had recovered enough to in turn, break their Tartar opponents. Now both commands were grimly holding on waiting for support.

The situation was getting very confused, and in the open centre the Hussite allies were plodding forward, with support from more Lithuanian horsemen.

At this stage things were starting to swing the Teutons way. In the foreground the Teuton right and the Tartars had both broken****, but enough of the Masters Knechte and Bruder had stabilised the situation. The Hussites were becoming isolated and the massed Livonian Knights in a great wedge had become isolated and virtually surrounded.

On the left, the Teutons had taken no casualties, and were whittling away at their opponents. The wall of knightly steel was more than a match for their lighter opponents, and morale in the Lithuanian ranks was tottering.

The next impact was enough to shatter the morale of the Lithuanians and coupled with their other losses was enough to see the army break and run.

All in all a great game. Yet again, very tense, with the Tartars scaring the living daylights out of me.

* In DBMM this is known as the 'Hungry Horsies' rule. Irregular Light Horse are disadvantaged in combat after their side's 8th turn as their mounts are considered to be weakened by lack of forage. In this case, it didn't affect anything as the game was over by the 8th Turn.

** issuing orders is controlled through PIPS with PIPS on a dice required to move single bases, or groups of bases, in some cases, doing complicated things requires more than 1 PIP. Getting the arrogant nobility off their horses requires 2 PIPS per element, and I never had enough to counter a very mobile opponent, never mind persuade the tin-cans to get off their horses and fight like the peasants.

*** The Tartars are graded as 'Superior' Light Horse, if they win a combat in their bound, (representing a 'charge') they get a bonus to their score, making them much more likely to destroy their opponents. While my Bruder Knights were also graded as Superior, the faster move of the Light Horse meant they were able to get the first charge in and do serious damage.. 

**** When a third of a command (measured in 'Morale Elements' which makes a Kn count as 4 times as much as a bunch of peasant slingers) is destroyed, it becomes 'Broken' and is virtually useless except as a roadblock. Except for the general, it wont move and all that can be done is to try and hold the remains there. My 'Broken' crossbowmen did however manage to shoot down some Tartars, and this was critical to holding things together on this flank.

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