The terrain included scattered areas of woodland hexes and very useful hills which did provide a natural defensive position for the Saxon army to adopt having won the di roll for choice of table edge but deploying first. As a non-playing observer, it became very clear from the start that Steve and Chris (the Saxons), who quickly advanced to occupy a strong defensive line along the broken line of hills and woods, had no intention of surrendering this terrain advantage. It would be up to Tony and Dave to find a way of breaking into this line. More than a third of the Norman army were cavalry which although more expensive per unit in points, did give the Normans a big advantage in manoeuvrability. However, after their third tactical movement, the Saxons didn’t move anymore. They had a achieved their desired position and it was now up to the Normans to ‘bring it on.’ Dave and Tony left the table for a quiet chat and presumably returned with a plan! Steve’s shield wall facing Dave’s Normans had select fyrd in the centre and 2 units of Saxon housecarls in reserve behind – Dave’s Norman infantry advanced to within 3 hexes but no further. Chris in charge of the Saxon left flank held a more open position in which the Norman cavalry under Tony’s command started to push towards the extreme edge of the shield all and its weaker greater fyrd units. Sometimes when you are observing a game, it is far easier to identify strategies and tactics employed by players than when you are a participant. So, it came as no surprise when Tony launched his Norman cavalry into hand-to-hand combat against the extreme left of Chris’s line. Chris had no choice but to shift units from the centre to support his hard-pressed left wing. This in turn opened a gap in the centre between Steve and his Saxons. Other Norman cavalry units charged into the gap followed by infantry. The Saxon army is an all infantry army. Steve, despite starting move his housecarls across in support would not affect events on Chris’s wing because his route was now blocked by the Norman attack in the centre. Dave’s Norman infantry facing Steve’s shield wall had been a deception. He had no intention of doing battle against the Saxon select fyrd. The sheer presence of the Norman infantry line had kept large numbers of Saxon infantry pinned in position without spilling any blood. With a 3 to 2 advantage in numbers and Norman ‘B’ armoured cavalry leading the assault, Chris’s Saxons were soon overwhelmed. Nearly half the Saxon infantry was soon hitting the casualty tray and the Norman victory was sealed.
This Norman victory was down to the speed and manoeuvrability of their cavalry over the Saxons who fought on foot. As soon as Chris and Steve’s forces became separated the Norman commanders were able to concentrate their efforts on defeating one half the Saxon army before taking on the other half.