Tuesday, 24 November 2015

Alfred the Great - The Great Heathen Army 871 AD, February Turn Six

The start of turn six and after the failure to take Lundene, Aethelred has left garrisons at Readingum and Basengas and brought his forces together in the forest west of Basengas under his and Prince Alfred's leadership and marched south west towards Ethandun.

The Vikings have in their turn been busy laying siege to Cippanhamm causing the loss of three Saxon warriors from the ten in the garrison whilst bringing in their reinforcement of a Jarl and four warriors at Lundene.

With the Wessex army still one move away will Cippanhamm hold out to allow Aethelred to break the siege?

Saxon moves turn 5 & 6
The march by the Wessex army south west has had the desired effect of forcing the Viking army to break its siege of Cippanhamm, but the sneaky Vikings with one eye on the resupply chart have moved into as many villages and Saxon sites as they safely can to restrict the additional Saxon units able to be created next turn.

The Re-supply and Turn Record Chart - A key part of the game's engine, that determines
when reinforcements can be organised
In addition their careful placement means they cannot be reached by the Saxon force in one move.

The Vikings break their siege in turn 6
With the arrival of their Great Summer Army only weeks away, the Vikings can afford to bide their time and limit the Wessex army's ability to build up to meet the threat, or better still overwhelm their force before their comrades arrive. Likewise the pressure builds on the Saxons to risk forcing a battle to weaken the Viking main force and hope to re-coup strength later to contest matters with the second Viking army. The game does pose an intriguing situation.

And now a word from the Vikings

Viking Turn Five

I had to wait a turn for the siege to take effect,
First turn, I can now throw 1 dice needing a 1, a 3 or a 5 to do damage. The damage will then be 1, 2 or 3 casualties accordingly.
I throw a 5, result is 3 dead Saxons.
This could take a while and the main Saxon army is closing in. Let’s see where they end up before deciding what next to do.

Viking Turn Six

If I continue the siege then I get to throw the dice twice this turn for casualties, three times next turn etc. He’s still got 7 men left and an Earl with another Saxon supply turn coming up, better have another look at the rules on supply.
“Can be Placed in any Royal Estate not held by the Vikings “That doesn’t sound very good, better look at sieges and see if that stops him reinforcing. Nope nothing there, Hang on what’s this:
Counters cannot be re-supplied into a Fortified Hex that is under siege”
Right so I can stick it out if necessary.
The Saxon army is, let’s see, how far away….
Four hexes from my southern most stack so he can attack and easily break the siege.
Well I have two choices, Mass the army somewhere and offer battle or retreat back and occupy Supply points as he has another resupply phase coming up.
If I do offer battle it will have to be SE of Chippenham, then he will resupply first with another 35 points all no doubt going into Chippenham, marching out and joining up with the main army.
Run Away!
My groups are placed just out of range on as many supply points as I can occupy , I also send some warriors by boat from London up the river to Abbendun to prevent another 2 points of supply.

Meanwhile I run through several alternative strategies on what to do in the next few turns, all are fiendishly cunning. Cyberboard has some visual problems with playing, for example I would like a bigger full screen map for this game instead of half screen (not even that) or minute screen but it does let you freely move all the counters around in-between turns trying out lots of different options and all the counters will go back to their original spaces, as long as you don’t press save of course.


  1. Hi Jonathan sorry to bother you through your blog. I have a buddy who is planning out a peninsular British and allies arm. He's looking for info on 1st KGL. Hills lot. Would you know of any online sources? Peninsular is my Napoleonic weak spot I'm sad to say!

    1. Hi Paul, No problem, I am looking at providing a contact option other than posts for the blog.

      I'm not sure specifically which KGL unit you are referring to. The bulk of the KGL component was its line infantry 1st, 2nd, 5th & 7th, with the 7th leaving for England in 1811, attached fairly permanently to the 1st Division alongside the Guards. Hill's independent command was usually 2nd and 4th divisions plus the Portuguese. His only semi permanent KGL component were the 1st & 2nd KGL Light battalions, that fought under Beresford at Albuera, but they eventually ended up with the new Light Division or 7th Division.

      Either way the on-line references I have used for my research on the KGL as a whole have been:

      For orders of battle the Nafziger orbats and Sir Charles Oman's History of the Peninsular War are your first port of call, both sources freely available on the net.

      In addition I would recommend the two Osprey titles that help clarify the different organisation used by KG L infantry particularly with their use of rifles. A common misunderstanding is that the green clad rifle looking Light Infantry were riflemen. Also the use of rifles among the Line Infantry light companies which partly explains why Wellington did not need to add a 5/60th Rifles company to 1st Division.

      Hope that helps

    2. Brilliant Jonathan, I will pass on your info to my buddy Marco and I have a couple of the books. Many thanks!