In this scenario we wanted to create a cavalry on cavalry encounter in reference to the first part of the battle of Mohi 1241, and other smaller Mongol v Hungarian encounters which took place on the central Hungarian plane. To more accurately represent the open terrain on the Hexon layout, Andre, our primary ‘terrain man’ was under instruction to exclude any forest areas and limit the number of hills and roads - extra easy going! The 6ft by 5ft playing area would allow for plenty of movement options for both sides in this large 6 player game.
The Mongol policy of aiming to destroy the missile troops of the Hungarian army before engaging their large number of heavy cavalry units worked well in the end. However, Dave’s heavy cavalry charge smashed the Mongol heavy cavalry and only the manoeuvrability and persistently good shooting of the Mongol lights delivered the win. Once Tim’s Mongols had out-flanked and encircled the still very numerous Hungarian cavalry their eventual defeat was guaranteed.
The Hungarian army (Steve, Dave and Chris), included 15 units of heavy cavalry, three of which were ‘A’ class Teutonic knights, 6 units of mounted crossbow, 4 units of foot archers and 5 generals. The Mongols (Tim, Tony and I), had 6 units of heavy cavalry, 22 units of light cavalry and 4 generals. This was going to be a game of fast movement and tactical manoeuvre.
The dice rolls for deployment, choice of table edge and first move, gave the Hungarians second deployment and first move, but the Mongols on balance, had chosen the slightly more suitable table edge. The Hungarian first move was full and swift with the mounted crossbows forming a line on their left to engage the Mongol light cavalry. Two solid lines of Hungarian armoured cavalry advanced in the centre targeting the Mongol heavies. The 4 units of foot archers moved in column on the extreme left of the Hungarian line. Tim, in command of the right wing of the Mongol army manoeuvred his Mongol light units ready to attack the only infantry units on the table.
shooting battle soon developed on both wings and as the Hungarians continued to advance the Mongols held back their heavy units in the centre and slowly withdrew on both wings to hopefully pull the Hungarians into the centre.
The Mongol commanders had decided in the pre-match huddle; a plan to and give away as much ground as possible to the Hungarians in order to create as much space as possible behind their advancing lines. We would then sweep around one or both wings with our light cavalry and attack the Hungarian heavy cavalry from the rear. However, this manoeuvre would not be possible until the shooting battle was won, and the Hungarian cavalry lines were thinned and disrupted.
Chris, used his mounted crossbows to good effect and a shooting match caused significant attrition to both armies on the Mongol left. Eventually the shooting dice started to favour the Mongols who exploited this by committing more light cavalry units from the centre. In response Dave sent 3 units of heavy cavalry to support Chris, but the Mongol lights simply evaded out of their charge range.
On the Mongol right wing Tim soon gained the upper-hand against the Hungarian bowmen and started to out-flank his opponents. Despite the support of Hungarian cavalry, Steve was beginning to get encircled by Mongol light units and his bowmen began to hit the casualty tray!
Dave was left with no choice but to launch his heavy cavalry at Tony’s Mongols in the centre. The charge was lead by the 3 units of Teutonic knights which were aimed deliberately at the Mongol heavy cavalry units. At times like this the shooting dice become crucial, and Tony’s bow armed heavy and light units shot very well indeed. A number of Hungarian cavalry units were recoiled and failed to charge home against their opponents. Despite the excellent Mongol shooting the Hungarian heavy cavalry charge did prove devastating. In a single round of hand-to-hand combat 3 units of heavy, 2 units of light cavalry and a Mongol general were lost!
At this point I think its fair to say that we Mongol commanders were a little worried – the pre-game plan that had worked well so far was falling apart as was the Mongol centre. After a little head scratching, we shifted our remaining generals to key units and used the speed of the Mongol lights to re-enforce the centre. The next round of hand-to-hand combat went well for the Mongols with Hungarian heavy cavalry units and generals caught in unresolved combats. This bought valuable time – Tim had defeated the Hungarian bowmen and now moved to attack the Hungarian knights in the rear. There were no Hungarian mounted missile units able to come to support the now encircled centre – the majority were already lost! And their few remaining stands of shooters were beyond any hope of command and control.
With the remaining Hungarian heavy cavalry now surrounded by Mongol light cavalry, which were able to shoot their opponents without any danger of being contacted through their ability to evade their much less nimble enemy, the Hungarians faced defeat and so conceded the game.