FoGR Age of the Sun King in Godendag 2013
Later Louis XIV French vs Later Swedish
Having somewhat surreally commuted to South Wales overnight, the next day dawned incredibly early...
Game 3, and a good solid position tucked in just behind the leaders placed the French army in a mindset to push on up the table on Day 2. The first opponents up on the block were the rather Surprising Later Swedish, who had somehow managed to out-impact the French with their use of slightly retro but still very dangerous looking Salvo armed Old-style 4+2 Pike and Shotte formations, and a small number of potentially decent horse as well. This combination - everything the French Army did, but better - left the French scratching their heads as to why they hadn't chosen the same army.. .
The Later Swedish Army Reviewed
The terrain was supposed to be fairly open to give room for on-table French Horse and to allow the French to gang up on individual units of Swedish Foote, but the Swedes threw loads of bogs, marshes and uneven ground onto the table and closed down the width considerably - prompting yet another Flank March from the French! Oddly, the Swedes elected to deploy a significant chunk of their forces on the right hand corner of the board, which meant it would have to wade through rough terrain to join the battle on the main piece of clear open ground - which was where the French had deployed basically everything.
And, true to the rather random form of such things, the French flank march arrived in the very first turn, much to the surprise of the Swedish reserve horse who had to turn and face the imminent threat. The Swedish infantry on the Swedish right also were faced with a dilemma, and opted to hang back to support their Horse if needed, putting an immediate dent in the Swedes clean line of advance
The French right was anchored on a village and a lot of rough terrain, and the 6-strong Franco-German musketeer unit tasked with defending this mess of terrain was immediately disconcerted by the arrival of an incredible number of Swedish dragoons, who moved up and started sniping at them from the cover of the rough patches of ground.
The French dragoons were joining in with their infantry and artillery on the far side of the board as the Swedish flank, stripped of the protection of the Horse who had been detailed to deal with the flank march, became exposed as the Swedes raced into the teeth of the French gunnes. The Franco-German infantry would perhaps have welcomed support from the French dragoons, but in any case stepped up manfully to engage the Swedish dragoons at close range with superior firepower
Whats actually happening now?
The Swedes have split their army on either side of the swathe of terrain bisecting the table, allowing the French to significantly outnumber them by deploying all of their troops on the left and almost totally refusing the right. The Swedes have still elected to advance, but even this has been unhinged by the sudden arrival of the French flank march, which has caused the Swedes to strip off several units to respond.
The result is a very lightweight Swedish attack into the maw of the French army. Even the Swedish gunnes cannot contribute, as they have unwisely moved into terrain.
The flank march consisted of one Superior and one Elite unit of French horse, and they crashed into the Swedish Armoured Average horse at the first possible opportunity. A swift victory here and the rear of the Swedish army was at their mercyÖ the Swedes, realising the gravity of the situation, committed a General to the fray..
Battle Action in The Great Northern War (bit late, but hey..)
And the Swedish gamble paid off in spades, as the Elite French unit managed somehow to lose a base in combat and was instantly broken by the loss of one base - whilst even worse, the French general was unhorsed by his Scandinavian opponents and removed from the game. The imposing French flank march had now lost half its bases and all of its command and control, and what looked like a positive opportunity for a game winning stroke of genius was now only a combat which the French needed to last as long as possible so as to occupy the Swedish reserves..
At least the Swedes had taken some losses as well, and soon after the initial clash one of the Swedish Horse units evaporates with two bases down. Now the battle is a little more even - but with a General in the fray the odds are still with the forces of blue and yellow rather than blue, white and red..
In the centre the Swedish Foote are making stately progress towards the French line - the main effect of the flank march has been to delay one of the two Superior Swedish infantry blocks on the far side, so at least the French are only facing one Superior and two Average Salvo units. Perhaps it is about time for the French gunners to find their range ?
The French infantry step forwards as one - a solid line of blue, red and grey (erm?) opens up on the advancing Swedes and knocks down a substantial proportion of the front line - most importantly the Superior unit at the far end of the line has now lost half its bases. Perhaps the French Impact can balance out the Swedish Salvo?
Italian C17 re-enactors
The Swedes struggle to stand up to the massed close range French firepower, and dropping to DISR they then launch a rather speculative attack on the French line - given the alternative is stand, be shot and break from base losses caused by shooting this is perhaps not an entirely terrible idea.
The whole Swedish infantry attack is faltering, with every surviving unit carrying at least a DISR marker and some casualties. The French are rapidly growing in confidence that they have enough wherewithal to resist the Swedish Salvo charge, and once these three units are swept from the field the heart of the Swedish army will be ripped out, leaving the French infantry masters of the center of the battlefield (a situation which does not actually win them any points, but would be satisfying nonetheless).
Whats actually happening now?
The Swedish frontal attack has now almost entirely crumbled - but the piecemeal deployment of the Swedish army and the failure of the French flank march means the French may well crush the Swedish advance but still be some way off recording enough casulaties to win the game outright. The rest of the Swedish army is slowly advancing through the terrain to rejoin the battle.
Far less satisfying, and in fact now leaving a nasty taste in the mouth, the impressive and charismatic flank march turns tail and routs away from the rather smug Swedish Horse and their even smugger "I'm still alive and you aren't" General.
The Swedish foote have done their best, but it is far from good enough, as the rapidly thinning attack falter and grinds to a halt - or, in the case of the Average unit nearest the camera, goes into full speed reverse.
The French Swiss Guards rush forward in pursuit into the space recently vacated by the Swedish infantry line - the Swedes reserves are soon to be part of the front rank of Swedens armed forces in this particular engagement
Only one Swedish unit is still intact, and that is down to it's last base, and is DISR. Not a good position from which to plot a fightback.
And these are not the dice you wish to see your opponents roll when plotting that particular fightback either.
The Swedes lose their final base and turn and rout - pursued by the French. They rout back dangerously towards their own supporting Horse, threatening to burst through the mounted troopers and leave them in a DISR state just as the French move up into close range. Nasty
With the centre of the table now swept thoroughly clean of Swedish infantry, the focus turns to the left where the loss of the Franco-Dutch shotte-only unit is being keenly felt, especially by the unit of French Horse who are being forced to ride across the uneven terrain in an effort to sweep away the tide of Swedish dragoons who are muttering foul Swedish oaths under their breath as they lurk dangerously and look to fire off a few pot-shots at the flank of the advancing French foote. The French have also ganged up on the now-pinned Swedish Horse who find themselves in a world of pain on the front line.
With no other option, the Swedish Horse make a brave and noble charge against the French Average infantry. Grabbing their horned Viking helmets and their rolled herring sandwiches firmly between their blonde pigtails, the Swedish Horse lurch forwards, seeking to go out in a blaze of Swedish glory rather than a fizzle of French shooting
The brave Swedish Horse are, unsurprisingly, eliminated in short order by the French pedestrian formation.
Whats actually happening now?
The French have swept forward in the middle and crushed some of the Swedish reserves, but the rest of the Swedish army is starting to arrive after marching through the wilderness from it's initial deployment on the Swedish left. The French are struggling to balance the opportunity of pursuing forwards with the need to redeploy already battle-worn units to shore up their flank against the significant Swedish forces now arriving on their right
On the other flank, the reserve Swedish foote unit has found itself toe to toe with a unit of French Guards, and both sides are exchanging volleys of fire at close range - the French having the added assistance of their own dragoons to bring to the party
Animated Swedish Infantry in funny hats shooting
Oh.. and the Swiss Guards as well, with a flank charge. Sort of like three dragoons shooting to the flank, but rather more effective.
Meanwhile, the French Horse tasked with sweeping away the Swedish Dragoons were running into a few local difficulties, especially with all of the French generals committed elsewhere on the table (or, rather more seriously in some cases, dead) and they had suffered some mild shooting and responded by dropping to FRAGGED
Around about this time, the second tranche of Swedish foote was just arriving in the main arena of the battle, having marched like a cloud of Scandinavian hobbits through some of the most heavy-foote-unfriendly terrain known to man (and 15mm high lead soldier) to finally get into a position where they could actually see the French army, never mind engage it in combat. But, arrive they duly did, and soon their shooting was causing further problems for the badly formed up Frenchmen.
The French Average unit quickly deployed out into line, taking less umbrage at the shooting in theory but in practice still suffering cohesion drops at every possible opportunity and ending up FRAGGED. The French general wondered why he had even bothered to join this obviously rather unenthusiastic bunch of no-hopers if they were unable to stand up to the mild smattering of long range Salvo foote firing the Swedes were handing out.
Whats actually happening now?
The French have effectively given up on defeating the substantial Swedish forces who are arriving from the wilderness, and are instead concentrating on taking the Swedish gunnes with a straight race forwards. The Swedes are feeding more units into the fray from the French left, but are starting to run out of opponents
The French guards however had a far simpler plan to win the battle - capture the Swedish gunnes and the game was over! As they advanced as fast as they could to the emasculated gunnes (who had clearly not read the match report from Game 3 at Warfare 2012 and had manoeuvred themselves into rough terrain, thus losing half their dice at all times.
But as the Guardes homed in on the Swedish artillery park, the umpire called TIME on the whole round, and the game was abandoned as a near-total-victory for France
The Result is a 14-6 win to the French
Click here for the report of the next game in this competition, or read on for the post match summaries from the Generals involved, as well as another episode of legendary expert analysis from Hannibal
Post Match Summary from the Later Louis XIV French Commander
Wonderful, Wonderful! So close to an absolute victory that I think I will write it up as such in my soon to be published memoirs. It was surely only fate itself that ripped a triumph from the hands of my eager flank marching Horse, and she is such a cruel mistress that I can only think of the other mistresses I may alledgedly have had throughout my long and bountiful reign and admit that perhaps one amongst them may not have thought well of me either.
To thin out the powerful Swedish attack so masterfully, was indeed masterful - it is the only word which can reasonably be used to describe the display. In fact, I think that if the hapless Swedes had actually deployed their army in a more coherent location my brave footsoldiery would have wrapped up the extra APs in short order and we would have been 5 points nearer the top even as we speak.
However it was not to be and the Scandinanvians obtuse desire to split their forces instead of concentrate them, and to rely on width rather than depth did actually save them from total ignominy if only because my soldiers were simply not able to get at the herring-eating hordes who started the game the other side of a vast Lord of The Rings style tract of unmarked marsh and bog and spent the whole game marching with damp feet and damp powder to try and get into a position in which my men could smite them down.
It is rare that poor tactics prevents defeat, but here I still think it is the Swedes who need to order a copy of Pike and Shot Tactics 1590-1660 (Elite) from Amazon to learn how best to become utterly defeated by the Glory of France
Hannibal's Post Match Analysis
Experience, manhood, honour, ne'er before did violate itself so, save in the manner in which you failed to grasp the crown of ultimate victory when it lay so pleasingly in your palm in this match just played out. How close can you get without finishing the job? I fear I must ask not only your generals, but also your mistress in this respect
Much may well be attributed to the failure of your flank march, but for such a key part of your game plan why did you not send all three units of Horse on their way instead of just two? With the terrain as it had already fallen, there was no place for your Horse on the table, and as it transpired the unit left behind did almost less than nothing during the battle - would it not have been better to ensure success in the flan attack by committing more units there instead?
Furthermore the enemy deployment was hardly a secret - the unit count of those in your grasp was obvious to all from the very beginning so you can hardly protest for not finishing them off at the end?
You may count this as a win, but I count it as 5 or more points lost due to poor planning and half hearted execution. You do need more rigor - but this is not a new occurrence, as is also the manner of your failure.
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