Thursday, 29 September 2022

An AWI interlude, the Battle of Ucles 1108 and yet another Roman Fort

I am currently failing to keep pace on the blog with hobby and other stuff going on so a bumper post to catch up. First up, a small AWI scenario to introduce George to the delights of Rebels and Patriots, a mid week game as we are now both retired ! He has shared his thoughts on the rules on his ‘Musings’ blog so I will just share the photos of the battle I took. After a preliminary skirmish to introduce the mechanics the two main forces arrived in a head on clash. I got to play the Americans which was nice ๐Ÿ‘
The patriots push forward across the small wheatfield
Facing them the evil imperial British redcoats (boo hish)
I didn’t really have a plan, but initially the Patriots did pretty well pushing the over eager British back, the British grenadiers behaved the same as when I command them which was reassuring and they were reluctant to enter the fray
Having no plan of course only works to an extent as I mistakenly put my ‘green’ militia on the far right flank and predictably they struggled, some of the American skirmishers can be seen fleeing from the British artillery which was particularly effective. 
The American light artillery after a slow start also started to have an impact and the focus of the battle between the two fields intensified
The militia did attempt to get stuck in
A hard pounding for both sides and gradually the effectiveness of the British artillery made a difference
As usual we rolled several double 1 and 6 activations. The only one I captured on film saw the militia clearly confused by the smoke and noise of battle put a volley into their erstwhile colleagues !
By now although the Patriots continued a plucky fight the writing was on the wall as individual regiments eventually broke under the pressure.
Eventually the American Colonel had had enough as well, strategically withdrawing from the battle (fleeing) a good intro for George and a fun battle. This remind me that I need to re jig my Bolt Action rules for AWI

Next up a virtual game with Jon, again he has covered the general details of the battle already, so just some alternative photos.
The battle of Ucles 1108 the Christians under Alvar Fenez are outnumbered but believe they have God on their side. There aren’t that many details of the battle available but enough to create a reasonable scenario. The Christians have a significant number of Heavy Knights, in some sources about one quarter of all the knights available in Leon. They are supported by some lower level infantry from the local town (unfortunately I didn’t have the relevant stats for these so the infantry on both sides were a little too good !) the Almoravid commander Tamin ibn Yusuf leads an army of predominantly infantry and archers from Cordoba, Granada, Valencia and Murcia split into four blocks. The battle appears to have taken place outside the city of Ucles on fairly open ground. This would make a great ‘big’ battle sometime as the Christians had no less than 7or 8 distinct Lords fighting on their side most of whom were killed during the battle. Obviously for a hex game I cut this down to 2 supporting Fenez would be the Kings son Sancho who also died at or just after the battle.
The Christian knights in all their glory
Tamin ibn Yusuf with his black guard 
The Christians have little choice but the charge in which they did with gusto initially pushing the front line apart as they did historically
But with the Almoravids for once winning the important initiative roll in this early stage, the leading unit was isolated and wiped out, Alvar is pulled from his horse and beheaded ! Oh dear we diverge from history as he actually survived the battle.
The Muslims advance on both flanks (which in hindsight was a mistake)
As this gave too much room for the heavy knights to crash through the centre which they did on mass, at this point the game appeared to be almost over with the Christians well ahead and closing in on victory. But then a final twist…
The Muslim light cavalry on the right flank who had been ineffective for much of the battle broke through, knocking out two already wounded Christian cavalry units, they made a break for the Christian baggage 
The Christian’s left flank has been decimated
And suddenly the battle has come down to the wire the Christian cavalry has been stranded in the Muslim camp for a while 
But then manages to regroup to claim the final victory point needed. A splendid battle and game, the hex system while obviously very simplified gives a good game especially when playing remotely. If I wasn’t so busy I would like to try it using some other periods especially SYW ? Another day perhaps.

Finally my seemingly weekly visit to a Roman Fort, this time another trip for me and my daughter to Epiacum. The fort lies NE of Penrith amongst the Pennine hills around Alston. And although it has obviously been known about for a long time has only really been investigated and made more accessible in the last few years.
A blustery by dry day in the Pennines
I do love these signs although the Rome pointing is slightly misleading as it points into the valley where the Roman road would have been not towards Rome
The fort itself has some really characteristic ditches and earthworks surrounding it.
From a slightly distance it would have made a very impressive location, the Roman road I believe runs in the valley just beyond running south
A reconstruction from the same direction.

So our investigation of Roman history continues.

Thanks as always for popping by Matt๐Ÿ‘ More gaming this weekend and hopefully a trip to Partizan show next weekend if I can sort myself out

20 comments:

  1. Another round of terrific photos, Matt; both on and off the gaming table. At least R&P is closer to a Wargame than LP for George. I think the use of the hex mat and easily understood gaming mechanisms is elegant and enjoyable whether playing in-person or remotely. I thought the Reconquista game was great fun and encouraged both strategy development and tactical ingenuity. Thank you for the game!

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    1. Thanks Jon the hex system has a certain elegance ๐Ÿ™‚

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  2. Splendid photos and narrative, your table and toys are as ever a joy to behold. A big thank you for the history lesson, I was not aware these locations existed.

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    1. Thanks Phil as I have a little more time I do seem to be able t9 search out places we haven’t been before, most entertaining ๐Ÿ‘

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  3. Two excellent games there Matt and I'm hoping to get some form of R&P action onto the table soon. Those Roman ditches look imprssive, even some 1500 + years on and I imagine they would have been hard to cross for infantry and obviously impassable for chariots or cavalry

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    1. Thanks Steve it is hard to understand if they were all built at the same time or successive phases of development. Obvious they would have been more prominent when originally built.

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  4. Another fantastic looking battle sir!

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  5. Retirement and a mid-week game. Sounds great to me. Another lovely board Matt, and I enjoyed reading your roundup of Ucles after having read Jonathan's.

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    1. Thanks Lawerence …..history written by the victors๐Ÿ™‚

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  6. great battles but loving the Roman fort tours

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  7. The AWI game looked great Matt and although I probably prefer free table to hexes, they do have a lot of advantages, many of which would be amplified if playing remotely and having to understand unit locations, distances etc via a camera link. Your daughter looks suitably impressed by the Roman history and being forced to do a selfie with dad for his blog!

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    1. Keith I agree on the free table front but Jon is converting me to the advantages of hexes. I’m lucky as my daughter really just enjoys being out and about and a picnic at the end helps, although we ate in the van this time ๐Ÿ‘

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  8. A fine AWI table and AAR. Not keen on hexes etc, so straight on to the Woemans. Nice to see what they've done for us!

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  9. A very enjoyable game Matt and a win for a newbie.

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  10. Love seeing the AWI stuff on the table. I’m surprised that with all the Roman fort seeing it hasn’t spurred a Roman miniature project. ๐Ÿ˜€

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    1. Thanks Stew there are a few late Romans hanging about but not enough for an army at the moment ?

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