Saturday, November 2, 2013

Impetus Campaign - Cazalet Finale

Second and final part of the skirmish at Cazalet
Turn 6
Friendly - Longbows rally, shoot with 3 dice at the heavy infantry and miss. The mercenary crossbows rally, fire 4 dice at short range, score 2 damage resulting in 3 losses and rout/destroy the enemy crossbows on the hill. The remainder of William's forces work on forming some sort of battleline with the heavy cavalry and the heavy infantry billmen ending disordered. William and his knights edge forward.
Enemy - The heavy infantry fails to rally, and the two levy infantry units inch forward to stay hidden behind the hill.
End of turn 6

Turn 7
Enemy - Heavy infantry rallies. The enemy hold their ground.
Friendly - A battle line is formed, more or less, but the heavy cavalry, billmen, longbows and mercenary crossbows all end in disorder primarily because of the necessary obliqueing and sidestepping.
(I forgot to take a picture).

Turn 8
Enemy - One of the levy units charges into the billmen, who are advancing up the gentle slope to their front. The enemy wants to deny the hilltop to the billmen, and also take the opportunity to get an impetus bonus on their charge. The levies roll 4 dice (VBU 3 plus 1 impetus), score 3 damage, and inflict 2 losses. The billmen roll 4 dice also (VBU 5 minus 1 disorder), score 1 damage, but also inflict 2 losses. As this is a tie, both units remain locked in melee. The levies become disordered (the billmen already are, and since they took losses I didn't give them another for disorder on top of already disordered - I think I did this correctly...). 
Friendly - Mercenary crossbows fail to rally, move once forward and declare a point blank shot at the levy unit in front of them. Since this shot is likely to be very effective, the levy chooses to reaction charge the crossbows (they can do this as the crossbows have entered their 5 inch forward zone of influence and are shooting at them). My interpretation was that this charge happens in lieu of the shooting as the opportunity/reaction takes precedent over the triggering event (the declared shot), and this is point blank range where the missile unit is not a class A longbow. I believe a class A longbow would have been able to shoot as the levy charged in. The crossbows rolled well, causing 1 damage resulting in 2 losses for the levies, who failed to hit in return. The levies retreat 2 inches and end disordered.
The billmen activate next and fight their continuing melee against the other levies. No result is achieved and they remain locked in melee. As both units have 2 losses and are disordered, they roll very few dice and therefore it is hard to hit the opponent (billmen have current VBU 3 minus disorder for 2 dice, and the levies have current VBU 1 minus disorder for zero dice, and roll the minimum 1 die). The way I am reading the rules, there does not seem to be a minimum effect of a round of combat, so nothing happens.
The longbows shoot and disorder the heavy infantry behind the hedge. The mounted troops wait patiently.

End of turn 8

Turn 9
Friendly - The mercenary crossbows fail to rally, but still shoot 7 dice at the damaged levies in front of them (VBU 4 plus 4 bonus point blank vs infantry for class A crossbows minus 1 disorder). Only 1 damage is caused but the cohesion test for the levies goes poorly and they lose their last loss and rout. The billmen fight another inconclusive round of their melee with the other levies. The longbows shoot at the heavy infantry again, cause 1 damage, which due to more poor French cohesion die rolling turns into 2 losses. The light infantry move forward, the heavy cavalry remains disordered and William bides his time...
The Men at Arms clash in turn 9
Enemy - The constable sees the situation slipping away from him, and pride dictates (randomly) that he take matters into his own hands. He grabs his banner and spurs his men at arms forward down the road, aiming directly for William's banner. William, being charged in the front but not being on opportunity must pass a discipline check to countercharge, which he passes. He spurs his knights forward and they crash into the constable's oncoming men. Each side rolls 11 dice (VBU 7 plus fresh first round impetus bonus of 4). Both sides roll poorly, inflicting only a damage or two, and no losses to either side result. Both units become disordered and locked in melee. Neither attached leader is required to check for casualties as neither cohesion test rolled a "6".
End of turn 9
At the end of turn 9 we have two ongoing melees. The situation for the French blocking force is dire; the heavy infantry are being shot up with no real option but to stand and take it, and the brave levies are having a tough time with the better quality (and more numerous) opposition.

Turn 10
Friendly - The mercenary crossbowmen rally, move, wheel, and end in disorder. Still, they are able to shoot with 1 die across the field into the flank of the heavy infantry sheltering behind the hedge, but do no damage. The billmen fight another round of their ongoing melee and take a loss (their third out of 5) and retreat 2 inches back down the slope from the valiant levies. The longbows then target the heavy infantry, causing 2 damage and 2 losses, which sends them routing from the field.
The swirling clash of mounted men at arms continues. Each unit rolls 6 dice this time instead of 11 (VBU 7 and disordered). The constable's men take a loss and retreat 3 inches. William's knight roll for pursuit and catch the retreating French, precipitating another immediate round of combat. In this round, William's men take one loss and retreat from the fight. I am not sure according to the rules whether these retreat/pursuit cycles continue indefinitely or not, but I chose to not allow a second pursuit beyond the one already conducted in this phase. Lastly, the skirmishers fire into the flank of the French knights and surprisingly cause a loss.
During turn 10

Enemy - The constable urges his men forward one more time and crashes into William's knights. The French cause 4 damage but miraculously no losses. William's troops cause 2 damage which ends in 3 losses (poor cohesion check), along with a casualty check for the constable (cohesion die roll was a "6"). The constable escapes unscathed but retreats. William's knights pursue, catch the French, and fight another round of melee. William suffers 1 loss, but another cohesion roll of "6" for the French sees a total of 5 additional losses and the death of the constable.
End of turn 10 - Battle over

With the two best units on the French side lost in this turn, and the constable dead on the field of battle, the last vestiges of resistance crumble. William gathers his troops and continues his march to Cazalet and the rendezvous with Raymond.

Recap and Campaign Notes - This scenario did what I wanted it to do; it gave me an introduction to the rules. I can now reread certain sections of the rules and try to answer some of the questions I scribbled down as I played. Despite what ended up being, as expected, an easy win for William, there were some moments of potential future impact that could have turned on a die roll. Given that I am using this as part of a series of linked battles in a campaign, a bad cohesion die roll on any of a few different occasions could have gotten one of William's units beaten up pretty badly, and as we saw with the constable, it only takes one bad cohesion die roll to end a leader's career in an instant. As for the forces involved, there were no serious casualties, so there should be minimal impact to this contingent going forward.

I will post my thoughts on the Impetus rules themselves in a separate post.

Grace, who helped me push some figures around and was my designated dice roller for a few turns this morning, is already asking me when we will play the next scenario. I told her "soon Dear, soon"...

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