Tuesday, 30 January 2018

The Battle of the Xanthos Valley : Blood in the Sand

Also known locally as the battle of ‘five elephants’. Having marched north up the valley Khergia of Xanthos has deployed his forces at the eastern end of the pass through the mountains. The fertile valley here is cut by small streams, farms and undulating hills covered by olive trees. The clamour and dust of the ‘Roman’ army give away their advance, what Khergia doesn’t know is the Roman general has used local scouts to deploy a flanking force which will arrive at some time later. (I would like to apologise for the photos I seem to have a problem with google photos which I am struggling to fix, the originals photos are much clearer but the colour contrast in GP keeps being auto-changed 😱)

Anyway on with the battle we played Kings of war again.

The initial set up, the flanking force of mainly Numidians will arrive randomly after 2 or 3 turns 
Khergia oversees the core of his Lycian army spearmen and elite Sparabara 
The Lycians also have The Royal elephants, a strong contingent of cavalry and a single bolt thrower, Khergia is particularly keen on the newly developed ‘artillery’ and puts great faith in their ability to cause terror in the enemy πŸ€”
The Lycian left flank consists of light mountain troops
And the right wing is formed of mercenary heavy spearmen Khergia has placed these across the stream the less that remain at the end of the battle the less he will have to pay !
The ‘Romans’ arrive of the field, disciplined and hardened warriors armed with pilum
their right wing immediately advances to take Olive Hill on the flank of the battlefield
The Lycian trumpets sound a general advance
The Royal elephants out in front are not slowed by the small stream, all three are armed with bowmen
But the Romans have taken the high ground and defensive positions in the fields in the valley
Khergia spots an opportunity as the Romans advance a gap opens in their centre he orders the bulk of his cavalry to charge directly at the gap (a technique taken up many years later by future Macedonian general!)
A period shot of the Lycian advance
On Olive tree hill Lycian light troops are being pushed back by well armoured and disciplined infantry
Median cavalry has now charged across the stream to try and capitalise on the forming gap
Whilst on the right flank the mercenary spearmen are already under pressure
Tusk on tusk combat as the two behemoths attempt to gouge each other, unluckily for the Romans the infantry unit whilst trying to avoid the fighting elephants hadn’t noticed the advance of a second and are devastatingly caught in the flank, they flee
Suddenly in the distance another trumpet sounds, led by local tribesmen whose pockets are now full of gold the Roman flanking force arrives on the field  a host of fast moving Numidian warriors and cavalry !😬
A sense of the titanic struggle across the battlefield
The second Roman elephant has charged through onto the lightly armed archers they are unlikely to last long
The imperial Lycian infantry gradually march forward the battle may be over before they arrive !
The first wave of cavalry have been forced back but Khergia is urging the second wave forward
The elephant dual continues......
Whilst another is turned back to attack the Roman left flank
Things are looking increasingly ominous on Olive tree hill with the Roman heavy infantry in full command
An eagle eye view of the whole battlefield at this point, the Romans have forced the first cavalry charge back, their flank reserves have come on with plenty of time to make a difference, the Lycian right flank is all but broken.......
One might even sense a confident sneer on the Consuls’ face !...and then
One of the Roman elephants wavers and panics, charging headlong into the rear of the second animal ! Being charged by an elephant is never good being charged from behind is really, really bad......
The panicked animal triples its attacks with the rear charge (we had to take a shot of this ridiculous 54 attack dice) needless to say the second animal is killed outright
Back to the centre the Lycian heavy cavalry have charged in as well
Supported by the other two elephants
The panicked elephant still can’t be controlled and charges through the wipe out the remaining archers
The other mountain troops are now also charged behind their wall
At the other side of the field the mercenaries are close to breaking but the heavy cavalry has forced its way across the stream
The other Lycian cavalry has regrouped and is desperately thrown forward to hold back the Numidian who are in danger of completely over running the Lycian line from the left
Still the royal guard march slowly forward
The heavy Romans find themselves surrounded and pelted by javelins and spears, they won’t break but they can’t quite get to grips with the enemy
The remaining Roman elephant is brought under control 
Only to be pelted with sling shot and sent back into a panic it now runs for the trees
Finally the rest of the Lycian spearmen get into the battle, supported by the Immortals
Unbelievable the elephant is again brought under control...but not for long as it is hit in the rear by more javelins ouch !
The Roman infantry whilst disciplined and under good order have now become isolated and can’t co-ordinate their advance
The final Lycian Infantry is pushed into the valley to hold the enemy back
Although almost exhausted the elephant supports this last advance
Where did all our mates go an isolated roman unit wavering before committing to the charge
Finally it is too much for the Numidian mercenaries, having seen the bulk of the Roman infantry ground down they are chased off by the Lycian ‘heavies’ they have no stomach for the fight knowing they are unlikely to be paid.
The victory is ours ! Khergia of Xanthos supervises the construction of a trophy on the field of battle, Lycia is once more safe, and the bolt thrower never got to fire ! The Roman army in full retreat will make its way back to the coast. Consul Martinus having escaped with his life is dreading the prospect of returning  home without his army and with nothing to show for it. 

Well another good day gaming in the dungeon, this was the first large L shaped Battle we have had in the dungeon and it worked well, giving plenty of space but reasonable access. Who knows what is next for my Blood in the Sand campaign but I am sure we will be back soon. πŸ˜€

Saturday, 27 January 2018

Khergia of Xanthos the ruler of Western Lycia

Well I needed a new general for our battle this weekend so I painted up another of the Foundry persian Officers which I picked up a while ago. As befits his status he brings his own banner carrier.
Now I just need to sort out his army !

Tuesday, 23 January 2018

Battle for the Royal Military Canal : Operation Sealion

With the Germans having taken Dymchurch they are now determined to capture a suitable bridge across the Royal Military Canal. Pre invasion intelligence has indicated that not all bridges will be strong enough to carry the Panzers. Some the Somerset Light Infantry has fallen back across the canal but the bulk of the defence is now in the hands of the 1st Battalion of the Home Guard, reinforcements are being brought to the area via the Romney Hythe and Dymchurch railway. (We played the Hedgehog scenario from the Sealion supplement)
The only British gun in the area has been brought up to protect the bridge, two platoons of the Home guard have dug in but nobody is sure what to expect, the noise from the beach is terrible 
Some german infantry have already made it across the canal by footbridges and are ready to attack the main bridge from the rear
Jack boots can be heard running down the road from Dymchurch
Infantry are supported by Gebirgsjager to help assault the bridge
The infantry over the canal are given the signal to advance !
Reinforcements start to arrive down the railway infantry and some improvised artillery
An overview of the canal.....
A random event causes one of the Home Guard platoons to flee .........an ominous sign at this early stage for the British the defenders also come under sniper fire
A unit of Kent’s finest boys in blue are despatched to flush out the sniper team 
The Germans use this moment to press their advantage and charge down the road towards the bridge the defenders are heavily outnumbered...
...and then the first German armour is brought up from the town
They have also managed to pull up a PAK 36 to deal with any British armour
British infantry arriving down the railway start to fire at the advancing Germans to slow them down
But what is this the first unit of German infantry have chosen to run (blunder !)
The commanding german Officer crosses his arms in disgust, but the Gebirgsjager are still charging down the road covered by the 222
Finally some hope for the British with the arrival of a Vickers Tank and more Home Guard Infantry who have been ordered to hold the bridge at all costs
The PAK 36 starts to fire at the bridge defenders whilst a single Kradschutzen pins down the remaining police constables
From bad to worse the Vickers takes a direct hit and explodes and the bus takes a stray bullet and also explodes killing one of the Home guard
The infantry are continuing to advance although they are coming under flanking fire from the railway
The Panzer 1 finally pushes through to the canal to support the attack
With limited targets the 36 now targets the bridge defenders
Things are looking bad for the British now Germans are closing on the bridge, one of the remaining infantry units attempts to cut them off
The final order is given to the Gebirgsjager to capture the bridge..........the Home guard prepare to flee
The Pz1 tests the strength of the small footbridge 
....and the Kradschutzen now charges over the bridge, the Home guard have just enough left in them to knock it out 
.......But then the unthinkable elite Gebirgsjager having been ordered to charge the bridge blunder
and flee .........πŸ˜€πŸ˜€πŸ˜€
But it may be too late for the Home guard at the bridge 
Two units of Germans have now chosen to run
But at the bridge the Germans have finished off the Home guard and the remaining Somerset’s choose to pull back
The Germans have now cut the road behind the canal and the unfortunate British lieutenant is forced to surrender, for him the war is over ......

Another close battle, technically it was a draw but the Germans had the advantage at the end and having cut the road we gave them the win.