Monday, July 04, 2016

ECW Montgomery REDUX using Pike & Shotte

my own Parliamentary command stand
Once again at Jeff's table we were off to Wales and the Battle of Montgomery.

This time using Pike & Shotte rules, which Rob was the adjudicator for.

A couple of errors in rule interpretations were picked up by the end of the action, though we kept with the 'same' ruling all thorough the game once the errors were spotted.

The big difference this time from the last game was the arrival location of the flank force of cavalry.

East rather than West and this makes for a totally different encounter.

It might be interesting to play this out without ANYONE KNOWING where, when or even IF the Parliamentary Horse will be returning ...

The layout of troops was very much the same as before, now though my eldest son was taking command of Parliament Horse, facing off Jeff as the Royalist Horse.

view from north-west corner of field, Parliament has the long blue line on the left; Royalists have the ridge on the right

Rob's Royalist Pike

Jeff's Royalist horse

2 of the 3 Parliamentary Commanders

Parliament line, looking from the east edge

Parliament line looking from the west edge

Parliament center

Royalist foot
The difference this time round also was that the Royalists had the task to "Take the Bridge" that was behind the Parliament right flank.

into action fast on the 'horse flank'

this time the Royalist foot felt confident enough to advance

the Dragoons got to burst out into the open in a dash to the swampy ground near the bridge ...

the book was consulted many times over the course of the night ... this time about the "Magical Dragoon powers of fire and evade"
The Dragoons in this set of rules are given some amazing AD&D monk-like powers.  They were caught in the open by a mass of charging horse, while the dragoons were scattered in 'open order' having failed to get the 2x move they needed to get into the cover of the swampy ground.  The horse that charged them got a 3x move order and covered over the open ground between them and had enough movement to completely over-run the entire formation (even in the distributed open order).

The rules allow for the Dragoons only to fire and evade, on a die roll.  The attacking force gets no influence in this, if the dragoons are in open order or close ranks it makes no difference.

All I can say is that this must be some assumption on the part of the writers that the Dragoon horse holders are always near at hand and that they can dash off as they please, AND while doing this running away somehow ALSO inflict enough damage on a charging HORSE opponent to stop them in their charge AND disorder and injure them.

I am pointing all this out as I do not recall ANY accounts of Dragoons caught IN THE OPEN ever managing such a feat; which by the way this unit of Dragoons got to do twice.  If there are Pike & Shotte fans that can explain this mystical Dragoon ability as anything other than the writers fancy - I implore them to explain why this has such a massive power to stop a charge that ought to run them down like grass.

battle continued, no Parliament Horse reinforcement yet

the super Dragoons had fallen back and now were shooting up my horse

view across the lines

Royalist shotte started the duel

Jeff can be seen behind the Royalist lines in his neck brace

while #1 son was goofing off trying to hide from the camera ... only to get his face in the shot

Parliament moved second each turn so we started out with 'counter-fire' that was more effective due to failed saving throws
start of turn 4, the Royalists are holding ground

the Horse tangle-brawl continues

All of the Royalist Foote in one image

the 'chicken-dancer' (on the left of the unit) denotes 'disorder' in the ranks

1/4 of the Royalist foote was still on the hilltop

Horse units were now all disrupted and shaken

on both sides

The Royalists kept a horse reserve ... watching for the flank arrival
by turn 7 the Dragoons had now cartwheeled away from the horse and were safely ensconced behind a hedgerow ... and the Parliament Horse reinforcement had not yet arrived

while Royalist foote was busy shooting into the flank and rear of a horse unit, gaining no apparent advantage?

Horse could just slip away sideways within these rules ... odd movement ability for such troops that did not do such parade ground drills, ever

now the Royalists had stuck out one foote formation to 'protect' the horse ... this made it a great target for shooting though

other shots along the Royalists lines were busy

including the super-Dragoons that now were shooting with impunity at the horse; thankfully they appeared to be very poor shots

Rob's foot units looking regal

at LONG last, the Parliament horse foraging parties arrived

though the Royalist horse were ready for them
The next odd thing that came up was a series of shots from Royalists into the flank and rear of a horse unit.  No apparent difference where you were shooting at a unit in this game.

now the horse battle turned out against the Parliament and there was a Royalist foote battalia that fled the field due to fire

both sides in the Horse engagement were tired, it was the Royalist horse that came out ascendant

though Fairfax was able to escape the carnage, his horse troops were scatterd

indeed a counter-charge was what sent off the arriving troops ... too little too late to make any difference in the outcome on the field

an overview of the horse flank

the entire Parliament line was now firing at the same target
a HUGE hole had developed in the Royalist center
Then the final oddity for Pike & Shotte showed up.

Apparently flanks do not matter.

any unit attacked in the flank may simply 'turn to face the flank'; unless they are blocked (though how this blocking happens is not clear), then again there is no apparent advantage to attacking in hand-to-hand into the flank or rear of any unit (unless there are 2 or more units doing that attack at the same time).

for two moves the Royalist horse tried to go into 'flank refused' on an end unit to stop the painful flank attack; twice they failed to make the order.

then came the Parliament attack and a full speed charge came in, buuuuut since any unit can always turn to face the flank, it pretty much means nothing.  Thus was a Parliament horse unit lost in what ought to have been a SWEEP of the Royalist horse in the flank of three consecutive units.

could be we are missing something in the rules, as the gravest error any commander made was to loose his flank and be overrun because of it; while the rules appear to allow 360 degree defensive perfection ...

Parliament foote move into the gap in the center of the Royalist lines

more withering fire exchanged

holding on just barely were the Parliament right flank horse

while the whole line of Parliament troops blasted away at the Royalist positions

by mid turn, another charge moment had come ... this time with the foote

Royalist commander Lawley was rallying the line when they were overrun by the Parliament foote

Brereton's regiment delivered the final blow by totally disrupting the Royalist foote in a hand-to-hand battle

while the remaining foote shot away at the other Royalists on the hilltop, after the fire they could not rally and broke away from the battlefield.
By the end of turn 10 there were five Royalist units left from a starting number of 12, so more than 50% casualties.

While the Parliament lost 6 horse units in total.

I'm curious about the logic of the Dragoons and the free 'turn to face' rules in Pike & Shotte, though given this showing so far I'm not inclined to seek out my own copy.