Saturday 25 June 2022

Off the Bahamas, June 4th 1742 - Scenario for Kiss Me Hardy & To Covet Glory

William Laird Clowes in his History of the Royal Navy has the following account of an interesting little action between the British 6th Rate, HMS Rose and four Spanish ships in company off the Bahamas in 1742 during the War of Jenkins' Ear.

‘On June 4th, 1742, among the Bahamas, Captain Thomas Frankland, of the Rose, fell in with, and chased, four ships, which showed British colours. He chased under the same, and, overhauling them, fired a gun. The chase then hoisted the Spanish flag, and fought him furiously, using all sorts of missiles, from broadsides of shot to poisoned arrows. Frankland, however, held his fire for the fourth ship, a snow, which seemed the strongest, giving the others only a few guns as they chanced to bear. The first three sheered off badly hulled.

"I then endeavoured," says Frankland, "to lay the snow aboard, which she shunned with the utmost caution, maintaining a warm fire till I had torn her almost to rags, the commander having determined rather to sink than strike, for reasons you'll hereafter lie sensible of: but in about four hours the people, in opposition to the captain, hauled down the colours."

The prize mounted ten carriage' guns, as many swivels, and had a crew of over eighty men.

“The captain is Juan de Leon Fandino. . . . He is the man that commanded the guard of coast out of the Havana that took Jenkins when his ears were cut oft'. . . . Not but such a desperado with his crew of Indians, Mulattoes and Negroes could have acted as he did, for we were at least two hours within pistol shot of him keeping a constant fire.” . . . '

HMS Shoreham, a 350 ton 5th rate built in 1693, would be a typical example of the look of the ships operated by the Royal Navy in the War of Jenkins' Ear.

Chris Stoesen is a name that should be familiar to enthusiasts for Too Fat Lardy rule sets and Kiss Me Hardy (KMH) in particular having written scenarios for rules such as Sharp Practice, Chain of Command and KMH with his rule additions for ships under the rate entitled To Covet Glory (TCG), for which I have featured posts here on JJ's where we have played several games using TCG alongside KMH for which they work seamlessly.

British operations in the Caribbean during the War of Jenkins' Ear

Thus it was very interesting to be invited by Chris to playtest some scenarios for his latest piece of work, namely a scenario and campaign book for both KMH/TCG and Sharp Practice covering the actions and forces involved in the Anglo-Spanish War of Jenkin's Ear, 1739 -1748, that would merge into the wider conflict of the War of Austrian Succession that broke out in 1742, with much of the former action taking place in the Caribbean and off the southern coast of North America.

Of course those familiar with my own collection of models will know I have focussed on a much later period, namely the French Revolutionary and Napoleonic War of 1793 -1815 but with a simple adapting of the scenario outline to the later war together with the use of the original set ups and ship statistics, the transition from 1742 to 1796 was relatively painless, envisaging as it does a Franco-Spanish collection of vessels as opposed to the original solely Spanish flotilla, as outlined above by Clowes in his history.

So with a scenario briefing from Chris, I invited fellow DWG friends and 'all things KMH' enthusiasts, David and Bob to join me to playtest 'Off the Bahamas' with me setting up the table in readiness for our game as seen below.

My original table plan, with the Franco-Spanish flotilla in line ahead and HMS Rose's final position to be determined for the start of our game. As it turned out, she would indeed arrive in a similar position, starting in area D6 on the map below.

As part of the scenario brief I had also to design a table plan that would allow for any hidden shoals and sandbars encountered in the waters off the Bahamas in the area this little action takes place in. 

This layout involves rolling for the depth and size of any likely underwater obstacle that could potentially damage any unwary vessel, particularly one barrelling along under full sail and not taking the precaution to slow down and sound out the prevailing depth.

One additional complication of sailing amid shoals is the restriction I placed on opening fire with the great guns, with the reports likely to drown out the cries from the leadsman calling out the marks, so no firing while sounding  - oh dear, how sad, never mind!

This table plan like the shifting sands will vary from game to game depending on the die rolls outlined by Chris in the scenario notes, and below is what I came up with, and all adds to the replay value of this little action.

My table plan for our game - The set up instructions in Chris' notes will see a different table each time this scenario is played, and I came up with a simple 2d6 test for encountering shoals by any vessel in a given area, with moderations to the die roll if sounding, and with Chris providing a table of potential outcomes should a vessel have an encounter of the 'close kind'. The die rolls produced open water in two thirds of our table, but any worthy umpire should keep that information from the players just informing them that an area of the table is suspicious or that the leadsman can't find the bottom and letting them decide if they continue sounding or not.

Once David and Bob had arrived I was able then to brief them on the set up and we rolled for commands with David opting to take the role of the infamous Captain or should that be Commodore Juan de Leon Fandino aboard his flagship, the 10-gun Snow, Saint Jean Baptiste, here represented by one of my French brigs.

The dastardly Commodore Juan de Leon Fandino,
played by David

The Franco-Spanish flotilla was complete with the addition of one 14-gun Spanish Schooner (San Vicente), one 8-gun French Schooner (Nouveau Vin) and the little Spanish 8-gun Sloop or Cutter (Dolor de Estomago).

The Franco-Spanish flotilla with, from left to right, San Vicente 14-guns, Saint Jean Baptiste 10-guns, Dolor de Estamago 8-guns, and the French 8-gun Schooner, Nouveau Vin. Originally David had his ships organised into tidy parallel two ship columns, and then we rolled for being 'off station' and this is what he ended up with! The ships are set up in square B2 an area containing mid size reefs, so he would opt to sound in the initial stages of our game.

Thus Bob took command of His Majesty's frigate Rose of 24-guns, patrolling the waters off the Bahamas, looking for prizes and free from his commodore's eye, just as the lookout yelled,

"Sail Ho!"

HMS Rose is classed as a 6th rate of 24-guns with 160 crew, mounting a powerful armament for her size of twenty 6-pdr long guns, four 4-pdrs and twelve swivels, commanded by Captain Thomas Frankland.

Fandino's nemesis, Captain Thomas Frankland RN
played by Bob.

Both sides were uncertain of the identity of the other when first spotted, and indeed in the historical encounter, Fandino, ran up British colours as an attempted ruse, hoping to avoid any confrontation as he slipped through British waters carrying important supplies and dispatches, prior to a planned invasion of British possessions in the area by the forces of Spain.

HMS Rose turns on to an intercepting heading as her lookouts strain their eyes to determine the identities and types of strangers.

To simulate the uncertainty of the strange ships, both sides used the 'False Colours' rules in TCG that allows both sides to test to identify each time their move chit is drawn from the bag, but it was not until turn 5 that the first spotting test produced a success with the Spanish sloop Dolor de Estamago, successfully identifying Rose as a British frigate and passing the message on to her comrades as 'Enemy in Sight' fluttered up in a series of coloured bunting as observed from Rose, and then seemingly acknowledged by similar but different bunting raised by the other three vessels, now identified as a snow and two schooners.

As the range closed between the two groups, both sides attempted to spot the other's true identity with the small Spanish sloop gaining the first clue as to the identity of the stranger on the western horizon.

At long range the spotting checks required a 12 on 2d6 to successfully spot and it was not until turn 8 that Rose managed to roll a score of 10 when the range had dropped considerably to allow the British commander to confirm his suspicion that the four vessels were indeed enemy and order the main 6 pounders run out in response.

It's turn eight  and the Rose confirms the identity of the strange ships ahead. Enemy in sight, run out the guns!

Rose was seemingly in a good position to intercept but the easterly wind was causing a slight problem, allowing the Franco-Spanish to take advantage of a consistent aft wind, right under their coat-tails but somewhat struggling to close up their formation in readiness for any likely attack; whilst the British ship was contending with a bow wind that threatened to interfere with Captain Frankland's interception course as the reduction by the result of one die roll to the basic speed of 7cms suffered from two rolls of 6's on successive die rolls and saw the frigate creep forward at just 1cm per turn instead.

It's turn 8 and Saint Jean Baptiste and the schooner Nouveau Vin open fire on the fast approaching Rose which has just turned her bow to starboard to quarter the wind.

Frankland gave the order to bring the ship to starboard, immediately seeing the main course fill with a quartering wind and significantly close the range to the two leading enemy ships, Saint Jean Baptiste and the schooner following in her wake, the Nouveau Vin.

Now at extreme range the two French ships ran out their guns and opened fire at the oncoming enemy's rigging, taking advantage of their first broadsides and propensity to find their mark among the opposition's sticks.

The French fire at the British rigging was particularly accurate and effective, reducing the British ship from a basic speed of 7cm to 5cm in a few moves of extreme and long range shooting.

With the British frigate closing fast, Fandino, signalled San Vincente and Dolor de Estomago to act independently and make their escape as he kept the Nouveau Vin in close company ready to resist the attack of the British ship. (Note order markers now placed next to the respective models, which will now activate on their respective chits when drawn)

The change of heading and rapid approach of the Rose meant the range has closed quite quickly, reducing the effects of French fire blazing away at her rigging, already badly shot up, whilst threatening to proverbially, and in reality, place the cat among the pigeons, should the more powerful British ship get in among the enemy flotilla.

Fandino acted fast by keeping the Nouveau Vin in close company with the Saint Jean Baptiste to attempt to resist the British attack and thus allow two, and possibly three, of his brood to escape whilst he kept the enemy fully occupied.

The Dolor de Estomago eight 4pdr guns and twelve swivels acting independently with an orders chit placed. There are four options of orders in KMH/TCG, straight ahead, turn starboard or larboard and tack. Once declared the vessel is committed to follow them in spite of what the enemy may or may not have ordered themselves, thus adding a simple but highly effective way of avoiding order writing.

Thus the San Vincente and Dolor de Estomago were signalled to act independently and set their course to escape as their protection group braced themselves for impact.

The cat well and truly among the pigeons, as Rose turns in among the enemy, having been forced to cross the bows and tack further downwind to make sure a bow wind would not impede closing, before delivering broadsides from both batteries. 

The change of course had another effect in that it took Rose rapidly further ahead of the enemy forcing a tack back to close in on the enemy's larboard side before issuing close range broadsides that pummelled the Saint Jean and Dolor de Estomago, before Rose looked to cross the stern of the Nouveau Vin.

The Franco-Spanish return the salute as battle is well and truly joined

The firing became up close and personal as the Nouveau Vin managed to manoeuvre her stern away from a short range rake, only for the Rose to come down the starboard side of her and the Saint Jean to bring the enemy flagship close with a grapple as the Nouveau threw the helm over to pass to larboard of the two locked ships as boarding parties clashed on the bulwarks.

The resulting boarding was over almost as soon as it began with the damage and losses caused by the British storming on to the Frenchman's deck, added to that already suffered, resulting in a subsequent failed strike test.

Thus with her wheel shot away, but with a prize crew aboard, the Saint Jean was left to defend herself if necessary, whilst Rose cut her lines and turned to deal with the battered Nouveau Vin.

It's turn 21 and the blue and white range stick to left indicates the escape line for the allies, but the Saint Jean Baptiste, nearest to it has struck and is under a British prize crew, whilst the Rose has now delivered a short range stern rake on the schooner Nouveau Vin and she has a 'Strike Test' marker near her bow and will strike later. Meanwhile the two Spanish ships are desperately trying to slip past and make their escape.

The Nouveau Vin was only centimetres away from crossing the escape line as the Rose drew across her stern and opened fire with a devastating stern rake causing the second French ship to immediately haul down her colours as the Spanish allies attempted to slip past while the Rose was otherwise engaged.

Rose grapples the Dolor de Estomago and despite a doughty resistance, with swivel gun fire at point-blank range from the Spanish sloop, the fight is over in just one round, as British marines occupy the deck, to find a wreck barely afloat after the earlier punishment dished out. Tethered and struck markers record the table-top action.

However Frankland's blood was well and truly up and he was having none of it as the Rose bore down on the little sloop Dolor de Estomago, still defiantly flying her colours despite the damage that had reduced her starboard battery to just half of the eight 4-pdr guns she had started with, seeing the Spaniard open up with his remaining twelve swivel guns as the British sixth rate closed in remorselessly and the grappling hooks took hold.

Again the boarding action that followed was brutally swift as the little Spanish sloop struck immediately following the loss of her bulwarks to the British boarding party, leaving the little ship just one hull box away from slipping beneath the waves.

With struck enemy ships around her, the Rose takes possession of her third prize, whilst the Spanish Schooner, San Vicente, makes good her escape to deliver the news of the fate of her consorts.

Captain Frankland had outdone his historical predecessor, capturing the flagship and two other enemy ships, all be it with one, the tiny Spanish sloop, barely afloat and unlikely to survive the day.

HMS Rose shows her battle scars with thirty-eight hits of damage to her hull, seven minor speed boxes lost indicating the damage to her rigging reducing her to a basic speed of 5cm, and with both broadsides having fired and with the larboard battery down to just over half of her original 6-pdr guns

The scenario lasted twenty-one turns of play and at one stage, with the Franco-Spanish so close to escaping off the table, looked like they might well get away with a victory, until the dramatic change of heading by the Rose, brought the action to its last ditch finale with Bob snatching victory from the jaws of defeat right at the death.

Fandino's flagship Saint Jean Baptiste, shows the fight she put up defending her consorts, with thirty-two hits taken on her fifty point hull, her wheel shot away and with just under half her broadside and all her swivels demolished on the starboard side prior to her striking her colours.

The fight was as feisty as that described by Frankland in his encounter back in 1742 and the damage dished out to all the ships involved bears this out with only the Spanish schooner San Vicente escaping with relatively light damage.

We all agreed that with so many random set up variations this scenario has a lot of replay value, with one game likely very different to another depending on how many shoals and reefs may be encountered, slowing progress for one or both forces, together with where the respective forces set up at the start.

David commanding the Franco-Spanish always felt he had an opportunity to win it and Bob commented that any additional loss in speed getting across to intercept could well have cost him the game.

Thank you to both Bob and David for producing a highly entertaining day's play and to Chris for coming up with a very interesting and fun scenario.

Next up: As well as a few other small ship actions I am planning to play and report about here on JJ's, I will also be showcasing the work going on in JJ's shipyard as another British squadron rolls down the slips for a foreign navy, this time for Jack which will include Nelson's famous flagship festooned in 'England Expects' bunting - more anon. JJ

Monday 13 June 2022

The First Battle of Tannenberg or Battle of Grunwald 1410 - Swordpoint

About this time of year, certainly for the last few years, only recently interrupted with the pandemic, I and friends have made a regular date to gather at Chez Chas to refight another glorious page in military history, which has seen us range from the Battle of Hattin, prompting the Third Crusade, The Battle of Balaclava during the Crimean War, The Imjin River and the stand of the Glorious Gloucesters in the Korean War, to The Battle of the River Nyezane in the Zulu War, to pick just a few, and all reported here on JJ's.

This year's game had been postponed because of the pandemic, but like much of the social calendar, has been resumed in the wake of normality, and so a few of us took time out from our normal diary which would have seen us at out monthly meeting of the DWG to head up to North Devon to refight the mighty clash of the Teutonic Order and the massed armies of Poles, Russian and Lithuanians as we transported ourselves back to 1410 outside the little hamlet of Tannenberg that lent its name to this famous battle and not for the last time in history.

The enforced break saw more time for the figure collections to be added to to enable us to fill out the two orders of battle, with my own very small contribution being to paint up a unit of turcopoles for Vince, which were featured here back in May 2020, when preparation for our game had started, and I had the pleasure of commanding these chaps during the game.

JJ's Wargames - Hobilars

In addition to new figures, we also had a new set of rules to get our collective heads around, namely Swordpoint, now in its revised second edition from Gripping Beast which were chosen to run affairs on the table.

Warm up games were run at the Devon Wargames Group, one of which I played in, to allow a level of proficiency to be gained as well as to allow, principally Chas and Vince to work out what would work and what needed modifying to run a game of this size with this many units, figures and players.

You can read some of our AAR's of those games run at club in the link below, with the last run out back in March this year with a refight of the Battle of Plowce 1331.

Devon Wargames Group - Swordpoint AAR's

In due course, in the lead up to this game, the first Orders of Battle were sent out and I have attached copies for those interested with the caveat that these were slightly tweaked to up the points values on the Teutons, but they should be a good guide to how we eventually set things up.

As well as tweaks to the order of battle we also needed a tweak to the player/commanders roster as we ended up a man down when John M, set to travel down from John o' Groats in Scotland, was forced to abandon plans after testing positive for Covid, literally hours before setting out, and so then their were six!

Setting up on Saturday morning, following teas and coffees, swiftly followed by a late morning beer to set the day off to a good start, the table ended up looking like below with the Teutonic line anchored on thick woods on the right flank, and with the Knights of the order, hand-gunners and single cannon arrayed on a hill on their extreme right facing the Polish and Lithuania troops opposite and on the other side of a narrow stream indicated by the several pond like features dotted along the table centre line.
Our table for the day with the Teutonic lines to the left and the Polish-Lithuanians to the right. My own position is bottom left of picture with my crossbows lining the forward edge of the wood supported by horse archers. Five units of barded knights, two turcopoles and some rabble archers supporting the infantry line in the centre complete my division.

One of the fun aspects of having the pleasure of taking part in these games is that I very often get to play periods in history that are not exactly in my 'ball-park', so to speak, and would be a very unlikely subject for me to play in the normal run of things.

I enjoy medieval themes and have plans to complete a collection for the Wars of the Roses, but Teutonic knights and their campaigns in Eastern Europe is a war I'm aware of and because of the run up to this particular game, more so than when I started, but you were very unlikely to find me reporting on a game for it until recent months.

That said, when you have two large, principally mounted, medieval armies, ready to set-to in plate armour with lance, sword, spear, crossbow and hand-guns, clad in just about every livery you could imagine, what's not to like?

With all the units set up we just took time to admire the spectacle of massed ranks of heavily armoured mounted knights before preparing for the first turn of play

Finally before getting under way we all gathered for the obligatory team photo to record the runners and riders for 2022.

Everything set up and ready for a full days play, Tannenberg 1410, our game for 2022.
Left to Right, JJ, Steve M, Clive, Chas, Andy and Vince

Let Battle Commence
As usual with a large game, or indeed a large battle, it becomes very difficult to know what is and was happening at any given time other that what was going on in your particular sector of the table.

Prior to the first moves being made, both sides had a quick meeting to discuss a general battle plan, and for the Teutons, we decided to hold the right flank, pin the centre and go all assault on the left with the Teutonic order, hoping to crush that flank quickly and force the initiative that would dictate what the opposition would have to do in response to a worsening situation on their right flank, right centre.

Thus with my command of two turcopole cavalry, one of horse archers, five units of barded allied knights, a unit of rabble foot bowmen and one of skirmish crossbows with pavise, out on the extreme Teutonic right flank, acting as the proverbial speedbump come cork-in-the-bottle, my job was simply to find the best place to make a stand and plug any holes that might appear as Andy to my left and Vince further up the table set about demolishing the opposition to their front.

My crossbows pepper an enemy unit of mounted archers trying to cross the stream effectively destroying it and another similar unit in the first four turns as the enemy (Clive) attempted to push in from the Polish left flank in support of their centre

With a large wood on my extreme right, and the narrow stream between me and the enemy, the decision was relatively straight forward to put the crossbows on the edge of the wood supported by my horse archers, to shoot up any enemy horse attempting to cross the stream and get past the wood, to hit my troops making best use of its cover.

They in turn were supported by my rabble archers and turcopoles as I kept my barded knights back, so as to avoid them getting too close to any enemy in contact with my forward line and becoming impetuous, thus charging in before I was good and ready.

As things 'hotted up' in front of my own troops I could see both lines edge forward towards the centre line of the table as both sides attempted to arrive in a battle line of supporting formations, a set up that Swordpoint rewards by allowing hits in hand to hand to be spread across a line of supporting units rather than with one or two taking the whole lot on them selves.

Of course in this early stage of battle, both sides were trying to disrupt this forward movement with their missile fire, that would lose its pre-eminence as both sides closed into melee and charge range and the missile troops gave way to their heavier colleagues in plate armour.

An additional aspect of playing Swordpoint is the playing of impetus chits to add to the chances of gaining initiative, thus charging first, or to influence combat rolls in ones favour, with chits gained for charging rather than just counter-charging, winning melees, and driving units back.

At the start we were all pretty flush with chits and thus most challenges were simply a die roll off, but as the game progressed and one side gained the upper hand as enemy units dissolved in combat or were pushed back in gruelling hand to hand slogging matches the use of these chits in the 'spoofing' round that preceded each decision point became more interesting as their rarity forced choices as to which decisions had priority.

The opposing line are starting to close, with Clive trying to find a way forward on the Polish left as my crossbowmen and turcopoles contest his advance, the horse archers, flank on to my crossbows, will evaporate in the next turn under a hail of well directed bolts, in turn, my own horse archers to their left will suffer a similar fate to arrow fire. The centre shows two lines of supporting units approaching each other as both exchange missile fire and in the distance at the other end of the table, the Teutonic order are in among the enemy horse as both sides prepare to charge to contact.

Out on the Teutons left flank and the white clad 'brotherhood' have advanced under a hail of horse archery, into charge range - let the dance begin! Note the Hoffmeister in close attendance with an unbelievably large flag, that I understand needed three men to help get it aloft in a strong breeze! 

As the first charges were made and we prepared to get stuck into melee combats, we took a break for tea and coffee and I took time to admire some of the handy-work to get our armies completed over the previous two years which included Vince resorting to actual material to bard the horses of some of his units of knights, as seen in the two pictures below.

Barded knights with real cloth horse furnishings, firmed up with a bit of watered down PVA and suitably painted, seen here and with the Brotherhood unit below.

Oh and feast your eyes on the hand gunners occupying their circled waggons on the hill behind the Teutonic left flank, with a mixture of lovely Perry sculpts from their plastics mercenary box for the Wars of the Roses range.

'Unleash the Dogs of War!'

With refreshments taken it was back to it, now with lines arranged, in went the charges to decide who would take this battle by the scruff of the neck.

On my own flank, my crossbowmen were braced to receive a charge from enemy turcopoles as they bounded across the stream and crashed into my line. 

The spoofing round duly took place with both Clive and myself throwing in the three impetus chits to support the upcoming melee resolution which resulted in an inconclusive, 'battle-continues' result and with no advantage gained to either side.

In fact this little struggle would go on for most of the day with both sides unable to commit resources to it as the battle drew demands elsewhere.
My crossbowmen in a bitter hand to hand struggle on the edge of the wood that would see them push the horsemen back right at the close of our game.

Coloured arrows indicating chargers and with impetus chits (coloured stones) placed ready for combat resolution

All along the line, little coloured arrows were being laid against units successfully winning the initiative and charging in so we could remember who to award impulse chits to and then the melee resolutions would begin; which in the main saw lines move back, for the losers the obligatory four inches, cause disorder and leave things set up for the next turn.

Occasionally however the odd unit would lose a combat by four or more points seeing an obligatory break test resolved, and the odd unit here and there broken and in full retreat to the back table edge.

This caused the inevitable knock on effect of broken lines, that left units still in contact with the enemy unsupported, and left to bear the brunt of attacks by multiple enemies now able to concentrate their attacks in one direction.

Not only that but the sight of a broken friend in full retreat to the rear forced follow up units to test their reaction to seeing them go that led to the occasional break by rearward units in response.

Battle is well and truly joined, seen from the Teutonic right flank

My knights and turcopoles charge in against the Polish infantry line, as Andy presses hard in the centre (right of picture)

The Brotherhood and allied knights keep pressing on the Teutonic left as Vince and Steve battle away 

Two thirds into our game and the Polish-Lithuanian line (left of picture) is being remorselessly pushed back with the centre starting to look precariously thin as the Teutons prepare for one final push.

Decision Point!

The turning point has arrived as the Polish left flank cavalry turns about to head for the hard pressed centre to try in vain to shore things up.

The battle had reached its tipping point, where the battering being dished out by both sides was starting to tell.

Both flanks were deep into melee with the Poles holding but in the main being driven back remorselessly, leaving them losing impulse chits melee after melee, and with little hope of being able to stop the backwards movement of their line, but seemingly a while away yet from seeing any dramatic break through.

The Poles desperately fight to hold the line on their left as knights to their rear ride off to reinforce a collapsing centre

The Teutonic allies build a reserve line ready to exploit their success in the centre

However in the centre the Poles were having a much harder time, that started in the shooting phase of the opening stage of the battle when a unit of spearmen broke under a hail of archery and crossbow bolts, that resulted in other units falling back after reacting to the rout.

The follow up attacks added to the fall back and inevitably other units broke in response leaving a thin screen of battered Polish and Lithuanian spearmen supported by a single unit of knights that broke in their rear at the sight of the spearmen that caused the whole fall back in the first place, finally leaving the table having failed to rally for about the fourth time of asking.

The site of those knights leaving was the signal that the battle was done, certainly in the centre of the Polish line, with little hope for the left flank to come to its aid, but perhaps leaving enough mounted units to deter any aggressive pursuit.

The flanks are locked in melee, with even my crossbowmen leaving the tree line as they push the turcopoles to their front back from the woods bottom right. However the polish centre is collapsing and the Teutons have a second line of infantry units moving up to support the allied knights forcing the line. The Polish left flank knights are wheeling away to ride off in support of the centre, but it's too late.

Steve did a magnificent job holding off Vince with the Brotherhood, always being relentlessly pushed back but not breaking.

The breakthrough point as the Polish centre (nearest to camera) is left bereft of troops to stop the Teutonic advance

The Polish left recoils from yet another punishing round of melee leaving the Teutonic allies ready to push forward as we call our game.

Battle's End

With dinner beckoning our game reached a natural conclusion, and having played through from about 11.00 am to just after 18.30 in the evening, we all felt pleasantly exhausted in that nice satisfying way after a good game with lots of drama and cameo moments in one that offered a spectacle imitating its historic predecessor.

At the close the dead and those about to die littered the ground either side of the stream that ran the centre of our table, but as always in our games there are no winners or losers and we all came away from the table having thoroughly enjoyed a good day rolling bones, swapping banter, having put another great game in the memory locker.

Thankyou particularly to Chas, Vince and Andy for providing the lions share of our on table forces and for pulling this game together which in the end took a little longer than normal, but also thanks to them and to Clive and Steve M for providing all the fun, whilst not forgetting John, who, given better circumstances, would definitely have enjoyed the day.

Here's looking forward to 2023 when the smell of napalm will fill the air as we join the 7th Cavalry in la Drang Valley, Vietnam 1965, for our next exploration of history.