The terrain had a scattering of small hills and woods across the table which gave no significant advantage to either side. However, Tony and Dave won the di roll for first move and they used this to good effect as Dave’s infantry quickly advanced to occupy the central patches of woodland. Tony massed his cavalry facing our infantry on our left wing and the stage was set for a ‘merry dance!’ For the best part of 40 minutes both sides manoeuvred back and forth to try and find a tactical advantage.
After much head scratching, Chris and I decided to attack with our infantry which was concentrated on the left wing facing Tony’s cavalry. And, if and when Tony either removed or counter-attacked, battle would, at last, be joined. Tony chose to withdraw his cavalry behind the central wooded area which enabled us to swing our infantry attack towards the flank of Dave’s infantry defending the central woodland.
With identical armies, this was always going to be a game of tiny margins. Tony and Dave combined their infantry and cavalry in and between the central woods ready to attack Chris’s cavalry on our right wing. This would take time, and my infantry assault on the flank would have to proceed quickly to gain any advantage and in doing so disrupt their preparations. However, Dave’s longbow found their targets – 8 x 7+ out of 8x D12 shooting dice; that’s great shooting! As a result of very stubborn resistance from Dave’s infantry defending the woods, my progress was too slow, and Tony’s cavalry charged home against Chris’s cavalry waiting on and around a 4 hex hill.
In contrast to the first 40 minutes, in the next 40 minutes all hell broke loose! The losses for both sides soon surpassed the 50% mark as combat outcomes, recoils and flee moves wrecked any plans for co-ordinated attacks! A unit of our heavy cavalry, plus a general, defeated and pursued one of their heavy cavalry with a general to the table edge. And after successive rounds of carnage, this left only one general commanding the remnants of each side!
Chris and I through luck rather than good management had gained a 2:1 advantage in remaining units. At this point my brain went to sleep - I left our general rather exposed at the end of the line of infantry rather than pulling him back to safety. Unfortunately for us Tony’s brain was very much awake! He attacked and eliminated our general with a unit of heavy cavalry and bill-men. Chris was indignant, and he had every right to be! I had given the game to Tony and Dave in one careless moment. Our last general was raising back from the far table edge but would arrive too late to save our infantry.
This was a game which, after a very slow cautious start, accelerated rapidly into mayhem as these two identical armies eventually tore each other to pieces. The pendulum swung in both directions throughout until we finally gained the advantage, only for me to give the game back to Tony and Dave with a final silly mistake!