To mark the 950th anniversary of the Battle Of Hastings Ian put on a game at his house last night.
I was to take the Norman army whilst Mark and Phil played the Saxons.
Initial deployment - historical......
My plan was slightly different which is one of the fun things about wargaming, you can do things differently!
I took the French Flemish contingency from the right flank and dumped it over on the left. I wanted to try and punch through the Saxon right flank.
The battle started off and I got things moving quickly. I had managed to send up my knights who took a few kicks in the process but with the pursuit rules eventually drew the Saxons off the hill and there was a break in the line. It took me a while to move my other forces forward as I kept failing orders with William and Otto.
I made good use of my Norman archers who managed to keep on pouring fire and disruption down on the Saxon centre where Harold was positioned. It was a frantic battle of shooting and rallying to try and keep the Saxon line fresh.
The fighting ebbed and flowed for several game time hours and eventually I was able to break the Saxon right flank completely. This forced Phil to order a good chunk of Saxon reserves from the other flank across the back of the battle line to plug the open hole over on the right.
At this time I managed to get organised and send orders which group moved my main line forward up the hill. I saw an opportunity which if I could of exploited could of smashed through in the centre as there were a lot of Saxon stands carrying disorder with Phil's reserve behind.
It's all kicked off on the hill....
It was at this point things suddenly turned in favour of Harold. Phil was quick to launch a well calculated counter attack on my right flank and so charged down the hill against my troops which had been disordered by the Saxon spears. I got thumped good style and lost 6 stands in one combat round.
My right flank had just collapsed and it was not looking so good now.
I had to try and think fast and come up with some rescue plan. I decided to retire all my knights down off the hill to see if I could rally them. This would involve moving Otto over but he really did not want to play and I failed a few orders in the process.
Up on the flank side I had punched through Phil sent in his reserve and managed to hold the line. There was a lot of scrapping going on and in the centre Harold was being shot turn on turn and could not keep up with the rallying of his own stand and others in the line.
Time was now pushing on in the day as the combats were using up a hour at a time and had to get the job done by 6.30pm
We were at 2.30 now so I had to press on.
I tried once again to attack the Saxons with my archers to try and weaken them but the dice gods had given up on me by now and my arrows did little damage. Meanwhile I was getting javelinned to death and the battle was fast reaching a critical point.
I managed to rally some of my Knights but Phil was stomping down the hill mopping up on the other side of the table.
At this stage he had to leave but was convinced that the Saxons had this one in the bag so left with a cheery smile on his face, leaving Mark to finish the job.
It turned out that as soon as Phil had left the room the battle swung - Bi polar style in favour of the Normans.
I don't know how I managed it but I rolled a shed load of orders which allowed my to rally my knights and front line plus I was able to attack the straddling forces that Phil was using with my cavalry and re enforce the attack in the centre.
Harold and his merry bunch had been arrowed to death again and I fell back with the archers allowing my front line of infantry to smack into the Saxon centre.
The combats where bloody and well contested but it was looking increasingly likely that Harold was doomed and the very next turn he was killed by the Norman onslaught.
We had reached 6.00pm at this point and somehow I had managed to snatch what appeared to be a straight forward Saxon victory 4 hours earlier into a glorious Norman recovery.
Ian called it and it was clear that without Harold on the field the Saxons had been beaten.
An excellent game and one I will remember for a good while. I am still unsure as to how I turned this one around!
My knights sweep up against Phil's mob on the right.....
Saxon Casualties at the end of the day
Final snaps of the battle
Thanks to Ian for putting the game on and well played to Mark & Phil.
I managed to get back to Birkenhead before 12.30am but had already turned into a pumpkin by then..