A 400 point game using my Medieval Polish against Mick’s Mongol army.
The Mongol army, as expected is very effective in this game with every single unit carrying a bow and the army basically a mix of light cavalry and medium cavalry.
My poles have been updated a bit using the new Polish/Lithuanian army list published in Extra Impetus. Unlike the Beta list, this does allow you to field a cavalry only army and also introduces some more cavalry options with the inclusion of Tartars and of Lithuanian Nobles which can be fielded as Medium or Light Cavalry and are equipped with Javelins to give them a ranged attack as well as melee.
I would have liked to have a Cavalry only army but unfortunately my force was built up using the old Beta list and I simply did not have enough of the right figures to do this. As such I still had to have a significant number of infantry (Town Militia armed with Crossbow and Pavisse). This was going to cause me a major handicap.
To begin with we used Bob’s new pre-battle phase which he has been working on. The two armies engage in three pre-battle phases which can effect the army and bring to each game a more individual scenario. The phases are Pre-Battle Manouvering, Pre-Battle Foraging and Speed of Approach. Dice are allocated depending on the number of commands and command structure of the army and a winner and loser of each phase established. Depending on results you can end up with not all units on the table at the start of the game, tired units (losing a point of impetus on their statistics), being able to deploy anywhere outside the enemy’s deployment zone or occupying a terrain feature before the game begins. These supplementary rules will be put on the clubs website shortly.
The idea is good and seemed to work well though needs a bit of tweaking. As I write I think version 1.2 has just landed in my in-box.
I managed to steal a march on Mick and though one two of my units were straggling behind I was able to deploy one command anywhere outside of Micks deployment zone. I opted to push main command as far forward as possible. When ever I play the Polish I find that the heavy cavalry hardly ever manage to contact an opponent as they are in fact quite slow (movement of 8cm compared to the 12 of light cavalry). I threw a screen of light cavalry in to try and soften up the enemy medium cavalry and disperse the enemy light cavalry.
My other command was a mix of light cavalry and my infantry. I accepted that the infantry were effectively useless, they were too slow to be able to engage the enemy so they simply had to be an anchor to try and keep that command from routing if/when the light cavalry started taking casualties. The plan was to pin Micks right wing with this command while trying to wipe out his left with the death ride of the Polish Knights.
Of course I knew I was in trouble before we even started. This Polish army is very difficult to play. The knights are really powerful while fresh but they take so long to get in to combat that they invariable have taken casualties before they contact which considerably weakens them. Unfortunately I have found it difficult to find the right balance to the army which has enough supporting light cavalry to provide an effective screen.
To date I have only won a single game with the Polish Army and I had yet to cause a single casualty with My Polish Knights, supposedly the strongest part of the army.
My objectives were limited therefore to just trying to kill a single unit of Mick’s with my 4 units of Heavy Cavalry. I was to be disappointed.
Mick is learning to handle this Mongol army effectively and as I rumbled forward with the heavy cavalry, the manoeuvrable Mongols slipped to the side and in manner which; must have been so familiar to their contemporary western enemies; poured arrows in to the flanks of the cumbersome heavy cavalry. Mick rotated his light horse units up both flanks, my miniscule light horse screen was torn off and the knights were exposed to volley after volley of missile fire. Before long all 4 units were disordered and taking casualties.
On the left things were no better. I did not have the numbers of horse to take on the Mongols and my infantry were; as expected trudging forward at a painfully slow rate. They would have held long enough if the knights would have been able to do their job but after a short while the knights were surrounded and lashing out impotently at an enemy that they simply could not come to grips with.
The result was a one sided thrashing similar to the majority historical encounters. I lost a total of 5 units and those that were still on the field had all sustained significant casualties (except the infantry that were still sauntering towards the action). I had failed to destroy a single unit of Mongols…….again.
The new Polish/Lithuanian army list will give me much more flexibility than the old list but it will require me purchasing some more figures (not that I am complaining). I would like to try it out with an all mounted army with the focus on more of the lighter cavalry than the heavy knights which so far have failed to stand up to any opponent. The alternative is to go heavier with the infantry and War Wagons and simply sit in one place and force the opponent to attack which may be effective but is a bit dull!
So it’s more scratching of the head with my Poles. I am sure there is a historic win for them somewhere but it is a matter of coaxing one out of them!