Showing posts with label medieval. Show all posts
Showing posts with label medieval. Show all posts

Saturday, 10 March 2018

Ceidonia In The Cantons

It's a little known fact that the red and yellow liveried Dukedom of Ceidonia, famed of many HOTT games, was, in fact, a neighbour of Switzerland during the late medieval period, and fought many battles against the Cantons.

Yes, today I finally got my HOTT Ceidonians on the table with the extra elements they needed to become List IV13b - Medieval German. This required extra spears and knights, plus some hordes and psiloi. Here they are, attacking in their first game of the afternoon. In the foreground you can see the feudal retainers (hordes).

Despite the Swiss defending, the battlefield was very open. The Swiss chose three difficult hills and a hamlet. The first difficult hill placed is particularly large, and all three of the other terrain pieces were rolled to appear in the same sector, meaning that they had to be discarded. The Swiss ended up defending on an open plain, whilst the Ceidonians just had to work their army past the hill.

The Ceidonians occupied the hill with their archers and crossbowmen, and the Swiss moved up their crossbows and some of their halberdiers to drive them off. There was some shoving back and forth, and then it died down as neither army had their commander close enough to expend PIPs there to make enough of a difference.

The Ceidonians advanced in the centre.

The Swiss swung one of the blocks of halberdiers off the hill and attacked the knights in the flank. This was a poorly judged attack from a HOTT player. In HOTT this would be deadly - the blades get a -2, yes, but so do the knights for fighting an enemy in bad going. In DBA the mounted are not penalised so long as they are entirely in good going, and these knights were. The blades were down in terms of factors, although it was true that they couldn't be quick-killed by the knights. But it wasn't as good an attack as it looked. The Swiss were pushed back.

They went in again, this time with flank support, but the knights rolled well, and destroyed the Swiss infantry, putting them two elements down.

The Ceidonians charged.

There were mixed results; the mighty knight-wedge was driven back, and another element of knights destroyed, but the Duke of Ceidonia led his men-at-arms straight through the Swiss centre, sweeping all before him.

However this left him rather exposed, and he was quickly surrounded.

Undeterred he fought his way out, destroying another Swiss element to give the Ceidonians a 4-1 victory.

The Swiss defended in the second game as well, and picked the same terrain. This time the rolls went in their favour and they pretty much got to choose where to place everything, leaving the Ceidonians fighting in a very enclosed battlefield. The Swiss set up in a pass between two hills.

The Ceidonians were forced into an unwieldy column by a hamlet and a smaller hill. They opted to mass their foot on their right, hoping to push it forward and win the battle on the hill on Swiss left.

The Ceidonian infantry advanced, crossbowmen and swordsmen, with their flank covered by archers.

The Swiss got an excellent PIP roll, however, which enabled them to charge off the hill catching the Ceidonians in the open. Their light horse swung round from behind the hill to hit the Ceidonian light infantry in the flank.

It was a bloodbath. The Ceidonians lost three elements, virtually destroying their right flank.

With the Swiss very much in charge, the Ceidonians only had one option; an attack in the centre. Their wedge charged, and destroyed a Swiss element. The pursuit put the wedge in contact with the Swiss general.

It was now the Swiss bound. If they lost the fight against the knight, and failed to destroy any more Ceidonian elements, then the battle would be lost. This wasn't a time to get 1 PIP. They got 1 PIP.

They brought up a reserve element to overlap the knight-wedge, and that was enough. The Swiss general's bodyguard fought like demons, rolled brilliantly and destroyed the Ceidonian knights, giving the Swiss a 5-2 win.

The end of a short, bloody battle.

I love the look of the DBA Ceidonians, and at some stage will do the few additional elements I need to do to be able to run them as an Italian Condotta army instead. Of course all of the additions will work for HOTT as well.

Friday, 2 March 2018

Seriously? More Swiss?

Sadly, yes. We played DBA again on Thursday and once again I used my Swiss. I'm getting good mileage out of them really, and will get even more once I have my pseudo Medieval German army finished to oppose them in the comfort of my own home.

Anyway, Caesar got to play against them first, using ... Medieval German. He went for the incarnation with hordes, but, like everyone else, couldn't resist the double-depth knight element.

The battlefield ended up as a billiard table; Caesar wanted room for his knights to run me down, so simply picked ploughed fields, a road and a small wood, the latter of which which managed to not get placed.

What were the Swiss to do in conditions like that? I opted for a full frontal charge. Again.

Actually it was slightly more considered than you'd think; I charged with my right flank against the infantry on his left, as that's where my advantage lay. Caesar obligingly spent his PIPs rearranging his line rather than charging the knights on his right into my vulnerable left flank.

Sadly his infantry were feeling motivated, and held the Swiss attack. The German general joined the fray, and rode down a couple of their columns, and that was pretty much it. The Germans didn't lose a thing.

Stars of the show were the German crossbowmen who kept winning close combats against the odds, and the bloody hordes which simply refused to die. Readers of this blog will know that I like DBA hordes. I like them even more now; I assumed the powerful Swiss double-depth blades would slice through them. I was wrong.

Other games - Dave and Ian played a Spartan vs Persian fight, which I think saw the Persians steamrollered.

Gary and Peter mirrored our game, with Gary using a Late Swiss army against Medieval Germans. His Swiss went for the 4Bd option, though - slower, safer but, seriously, not half as much fun.

We then moved on to a double-sized battle. Peter and Caesar combined their German armies, whilst Gary and I formed an Intermediate Swiss army (half Early and half Late).

Gary plodded forward. I simply charged. Peter had a vulnerable infantry column in his line (a product of restricted deployment zones and the terrain), and I hoped to exploit that for a pile of early, easy kills. I got one, but the psiloi I supported the attack with were destroyed by their German counterparts, leaving the Swiss army well down on points with half of the army unengaged.

Caesar's knights attacked in the centre, but were driven back. Gary's Swiss halberdiers polished off some German knights and some of their psiloi as well.

I just kept the Early Swiss wing doing what the Early Swiss do best - attack, attack, attack. casualties mounted. Both armies were looking wobbly.

Gary began to flank the knights in the German centre.

But it was the Early Swiss who managed to flank and destroy the remains of the German infantry column to pick up the two kills needed for a narrow win.

I love this Early Swiss army!

Monday, 26 February 2018

The Ceidonian Recruitment Drive

With one thing and another I didn't get in any gaming over the weekend, despite some plans to do so. I did manage a little bit of painting, though. With my DBA Swiss looking for an opponent, I realised that I could tweak my generic medieval Ceidonian army for HOTT into a couple of generic medieval DBA armies. All I needed to do was add a few elements from the figures I'd picked up the other week and, where relevant, repaint them to match the Ceidonian's yellow and red livery.

My first target was to build it up to allow me as many of the DBA Medieval German b-list options as I could manage. This is most of them, but I still have the bases to do.

Five lots of 3Kn, one of 6Kn, one LH, two Ps, two Sp, two 4Bd, two 4Pk and one 4Cb. None of it is historically accurate, I reckon, but I'm not too worried, and the elements will do nicely for both HOTT and DBA.

I don't have the 3Cv the list allows, unfortunately, but that's optional. I still have two elements of horsed to sort out, and I have some figures do do a HOTT hero element as well.

After this lot is done I will be adding a few more elements which will allow me to run the army as Italian Condotta as well, again with a few options. It will pretty much give me 48AP for HOTT as well, so it will be a win on two fronts. I just need to knuckle down to the painting.

Friday, 23 February 2018

Swiss Roll

An opportunity arose last night to give my DBA Early Swiss an outing against some historical foes, so I went for it. At last, a chance to find out if the army is a dog, or not.

In the first game they defended against a Medieval German army under Peter. My reckoning is that the biggest danger for the Swiss are enemy knights, since they have a decent chance of riding down the blades in the open. I tried to close down the battlefield with plenty of difficult hills, but two of the three ended up being discarded. The one that wasn't was large enough to hamper the German deployment, though. In addition I opted for a hamlet; this doesn't slow movement, or seriously hinder combat, but does prevent the Swiss infantry from being ridden down.

The hill had left the Germans somewhat caught out in terms of deployment, so I went for what seemed to be the obvious Swiss tactic - a full charge. This was mostly aimed at the enemy units deployed on the hill, where no-one would be at any particular advantage.

This started well, destroying a couple of German elements, but the Swiss crossbows on the flank were lost to their enemy counterparts, leaving the army in a precarious position. The blades in a Swiss army are double-depth, which means that the first one lost counts as two elements. With two elements lost already, the first casualty would see a Swiss defeat. and the battle was bogging down, with the German knights ready to counterattack.

They did, and the Swiss held them, even killing one. They kept fighting and picked up the fourth kill to secure a win.

We played a second game with the same armies. This time the battlefield was split by a river. Again I hurled the Swiss forward into a wild charge, against the opposing infantry at least. The troops facing the German knights held back. I ended up with a few command issues, since a lot of my stuff was on the wrong side of the hill from my general. But they moved forward as best they could.

Again the battle was centered around the hamlet. I think rough going is a big asset to this particular Swiss army, but a hamlet is the only terrain of that type they have on offer when they defend. Expect to see a lot of games featuring hamlets when the Swiss fight.

The Swiss quickly got the upper hand in the hamlet ...

... but the German knights charged the other half of the army, which rapidly collapsed, giving the Germans a narrow win.

For the third game Dave took over the Swiss, and switched to the first Late Swiss list, which swaps some of the blades for pikes. Peter switched to a not quite historical foe - the Free Company, and opted for lots of foot.

I reckon lots of foot isn't the way to fight the Swiss, who are optimised against infantry. This seemed to be the case in the game. The Swiss defended again, and pretty much steamrollered the Free Company.  Their archers suffered particularly badly, as the Swiss move fast enough to avoid a sustained volley of arrows, and can easily slaughter the bows once they get into close combat.

A counter-attack by the knights ended up with them skewered on pikes. Another Swiss win.

For the final game Dave took the Free Company, opting to put more of them on horses. I took the Swiss. For the first time the Swiss were fighting on enemy territory, and Dave sensibly made it as open as possible.

I went for the same tactics as before - attack. And, despite the Swiss losing a couple of their elements and putting them one kill from defeat, they prevailed, sweeping away their Free Company foes in a pretty much straight head-to-head fight.

I was surprised at how effective the Swiss were, so long as they could attack quickly and get to set the order of combats. A lot of their troops pursue after combat, which quickly led to broken lines, but their blades are fairly tough so this isn't too much of an issue. On their own territory they did pretty well, especially if they could force the enemy into cramped deployments. Ad they seemed to be able to hold the knights better than I thought they would just looking at the factors. Obviously having the choice of combats, and aiming to get overlaps, helped there.

So, the Swiss - they seem to be all about attack.

Monday, 12 February 2018


At the end of my previous post I said I'd acquired a pile of painted 15mm medieval figures that I was planning on assembling into a couple of DBA armies. Well, I spent this weekend working on one of the armies. Mostly this involved stripping figures from their current bases, a few minor changes to the paint-jobs on some of them, a lot of repairing and replacing of weapons, the addition of flags and, finally, a complete rebasing.

The end result? An Early Swiss DBA army.

Actually it's more than that; a quick check of the DBA lists showed that the first Late Swiss sub-list is very similar and I had the figures to cover the differences. So I did those as well, extending my army's date range by a massive 25 years.

The Early Swiss army offers the chance to have an force made up almost entirely of double-based troops. I found this quite attractive, despite the fact that it's something of a liability not entirely offset by the advantage it offers. So there's nine elements of 6Bd. Including the general. The rest of the army consist of a couple of psiloi with crossbows, and an element of light horse, also with crossbows. That's it. Very one-dimensional.

The Late Swiss list covers the stage when they switched to pikes, but the first sub-list is still basically the 6Bd, with a small core of pike elements. Four to be precise. The army loses the light horse and only fields six of the blade elements.

I did some reading around and the first 'proper' Confederacy consisted of eight cantons. So I gave each of eight elements one of the cantonal flags. The one element without a flag is the committee that commands the army. The flags really set the army off nicely.

I have no illusions about how effective this army is. The other figures I've got should, if I work them right, give me an appropriate Medieval German list to oppose them, but all of their historical opponents are strong on knights; a troop type the Swiss blades are vulnerable to. I suspect that Swiss victories rely on them being the defender and being very cunning in their use of terrain; pretty much how they performed historically, as far as I can tell. Still despite their weakness the army looks great, and I'm thrilled to have finally acquired it at such little effort, and no cost.
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