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Mongols v Feudal English!

Posted: Fri Jan 06, 2017 12:50 pm
by Paul K
The English army had three recent club games against a Scottish army in which the Scots won two out of three, each game being a pretty close affair. Dave suggested a Mongol H&H game for the following week which seemed like a good idea, but Mongols against which opponents. The Mongols are very tricky customers and have achieved convincing victories over Ottoman Turks, Teutonic Order, and Hungarian armies over recent months, and so the choice of possible opponents, or rather potential victims was an interesting one. Anyway, as I removed the army trays from my gaming box I looked down upon the recently defeated Feudal English army and thought maybe this little lot with its plentiful supply of bowmen deserves a chance to redeem itself against the Mongols – a challenge, certainly, but if the terrain is favourable it might do OK. And so last Tuesday night saw an entertaining Mongol v Feudal English bash - I was a spectator, so it was up to Mick and Jack to re-establish recently dented English pride against the Mongols of Dave and Tony. The opposing armies are listed below:

Feudal English
2 x Mounted Knights @ 13 points 26
4x Mounted Sergeants @ 10 points 40
4 x Spearmen @ 8 points 32
11 x Archers @ 8 points 88
4 x Gernerals @ 10 points 40
Total Army Points: 226

3 x Heavy Cavalry @ 16 points 48
11 x Light Cavalry @ 13 points 143
1 x Hero General @ 19 points 19
1 x General @ 14 points 14
Total Army Points: 224
Initial deployment and Mongol first moves.

Mongol Light Cavalry move forward
The terrain was then laid out without any of the players knowing which armies they had to play with – this has become somewhat of a weekly tradition that brings a little more spice to each club game. The Mongols were favoured with quite an open battlefield, but there were small areas of forest to left and right and a few small hills in the centre.
The English army deployed in a deep formation covering only halve the width of the table, but within easy reach of forest hexes and astride a road which could aid speed of movement a characteristic which the Mongol army already possessed in abundance.
The Mongols deployed their light cavalry to the front with the three heavy units positioned behind the centre ready to strike when needed. Because the army only had 2 generals (Mongol generals are very expensive because they have a command move and range of 5 hexes), they were purposely kept back.
First moves saw the Mongol lights advance to form a wide sweeping crescent echoing the shape of the slowly advancing English foot. The English archers were to the fore and formed a virtually unbroken line of missile troops with the mounted troops behind ready to receive any Mongol attack which could strike anywhere because of their sheer speed and command and control range.
When the first Mongol attack did move into shooting range the English archers proved a fair match for there more mobile opponents recoiling them backwards, but the B class Mongols were not easy to disrupt and therefore bring to hand-to-hand combat. The English mounted sergeants advanced to try and make contact only to see their adversaries, evade, form a crescent around them, and then shoot them away. However, in the next move when the Mongol lights did push home their attack into contact they received a bloody nose – the English could more than hold their own in hand-to-hand contact! At this stage of the battle both armies had lost a couple of units each, an equal loss ratio that the Mongols could not sustain. As an ‘independent observer’ I could see Dave and Tony’s Mongols suddenly change tactics.
The wooded area on the English left, occupied by Jack’s archers had provide a firm anchor at the end of the English line and the Mongol lights disengaged from this wing. The Mongols started to generally pull back in an attempt to draw the English army towards the more open centre of the table and at the same time strike and destroy any exposed enemy units with their shooting. It became obvious that their primary target was the English archers and within a few game turns five out of the 11 units had been ‘picked off’ and the advancing line was getting thinner and decidedly more exposed.
I could sense Mick and Jack’s growing frustration and they eventually launched their mounted knights and sergeants toward the Mongol heavy cavalry in the centre. This was a gamble which might have worked, but the bow fire from the heavies before contact caused enough disruption to brake-up the attack. The three Mongol heavies pushed aside their opponents and advanced into the heart of the remainder of the English army. As a result English losses mounted and very soon more than half the army and 2 of their 4 generals were lost.
These armies are to meet again next week; the commanders will swap sides and the terrain will be laid out by an independent third party from one of the other tables at the club. I’ll post a report on ‘round two!’

Re: Mongols v Feudal English!

Posted: Fri Jan 06, 2017 6:05 pm
by Norm
It looks like the Mongels played to their strengths .... and the English let them!

The next game will be interesting. The combination of Mongol mobility and bow power makes them a tough opponent. The English must surely need to stay on the defensive, with terrain to help them.

Re: Mongols v Feudal English!

Posted: Fri Jan 06, 2017 7:09 pm
by Paul K
Totally agree, Norm, the terrain was the deciding factor in that the English were forced to fight the battle in open, Mongol friendly terrain and even with a tight formation the mostly 'C' class English troops could not win the shooting battle against their opponents. However, with a more forested landscape with hills and escarpments I believe the Mongols could be defeated by the same English army. The English archers in the forest hexes which receive A2 armour protection in a forest hex, easily defeated the initial Mongol attack. Also, forest and to a lesser extent hills, do hinder the ability of light horse to move quickly and shoot, which is their key strength. So lets see what happens next Tuesday, my thoughts are with the unsuspecting sole who will be asked to choose and position the terrain features - the fate of the Feudal English will be in his hands!

Re: Mongols v Feudal English!

Posted: Tue Jan 17, 2017 11:00 am
by Ratty
Great report. Many thanks for posting. I've found light cavalry extremely effective troops, and very hard to defend against from a staic infantry position. The speed of movement and ability to flee or evade make them very hard to pin down. Let me know if you find any ways to counteract them so I can try it in my games,
Best wishes

Re: Mongols v Feudal English!

Posted: Wed Jan 18, 2017 9:11 am
by Paul K
The terrain is a key a ingredient in defeating horse archers - woodland, built-up areas, broken ground, streams etc. all impede their mobility and shooting. In open areas I have found that it is possible to out shoot them if you can maintain a straight line of shooters, advancing slowly with support units behind, ready for hand-to-hand fighting, to guard against a Mongols charging into contact. Because Mongols armies are expensive in points, their oponents usually have a significant advantage in numbers which means that 'cheaper' oposition units, such as peasants or various horde,s can be sacrificed to pin Mongol lights and force them into hand-to-hand contact using their zone of control. Mongols, and all light horse certainly are slippery customers, but the challenge of catching and defeating them can make a very entertaining game.

Re: Mongols v Feudal English!

Posted: Fri Jan 20, 2017 6:47 am
by Norm
Nice to see that the rules work to bring out those characteristics.