Battle of Lutter am Barenberg 1626

Here is a brief description of a battle we played between Christmas and New Year, the Battle of Lutter am Barenberg – the epic encounter of the Danish Phase of the Thirty Years War. On one side the Imperial/Catholic League forces of Count von Tilly and the Danish army of King Christian IV of Denmark. Tilly had managed to amass his forces for a lethal strike against the Danish king who unfortunately was pre-occupied with evacuating his baggage train from the area – a needless distraction at the start of the battle.

We used the Father Tilly rules which I have been updating over for the last few years – these rules are specifically designed for the Thirty Years War. The game started at about 11:00 and came to a sudden and dramatic end at about 15:30 with the total collapse of one armies morale.

The picture above is a view down the field at the start of the battle with the river crossing at Rohde in the forground and Tilly’s right flank on the left of the picture and Christian’s left flank to the right of the picture. The Danish army is deployed in three lines with the King still absent at the rear dealing with the baggage. The Catholic forces are deployed in one line with cavalry on both wings and a strong central force of infantry in powerful Tercio formations.

A close up of the Catholic infantry deployed in deep and powerful formations, usually unstoppable but very much prone to disorder when crossing difficult terrain such as rivers and streams.

Danish cavalry skirmishing with Imperial Tercios trying to prevent them from crossing the river. A brave but costly effort that only delayed rather than prevent the Catholic advance.

Over on the Danish right wing a detachment of Imperial cavalry outflank the Danish horse that had previously successfully driven back the main assault by the Catholic cavalry. The Imperial cavalry are led by a wave of Croat skirmishers with heavy support provided by several Cuirassier regiments to the rear. So despite the valiant defence of the Danish cavalry this outflanking manoeuvre spelt disaster for the Danes.

The battle ended with utter defeat for the Danes, they where outnumbered and faced Tilly’s  far more experienced army. The Danes put up a strong defence in the front line and did manage to throw back some of the early Catholic cavalry attacks. The Imperial army were faced with the problem of attacking across a stream and the high risk of attacking units becoming disordered. What didn’t help the Danes was the absence of the King for half the battle and the inactivity of his command for most of the game. The Danes were also hindered by the awkward command structure that Christian had lumbered his army with, each general commanded the entire of one line with no wing commanders, this led Fuchs, the Danish front echelon commander, basically having to pick a section of the front to concentrate on – to the detriment of the rest of the command. The Imperial army were quick to exploit this fact by applying constant pressure simultaneously across the front – the overworked Fuchs simply could not be in all places at the same time – and despite an heroic fight eventually his battered command collapsed. With front line units beginning to stream to the rear, the morale of second and third rank Danish units began to give way without a shot being fired. At this point the battle was lost for the Danes and Tilly claimed his greatest victory.

Hostage Situation – Pirates to the Rescue?!

We tried out the Pirate rules again just before Christmas and tested out one of the scenarios that will be included in the rules. After much back-stabbing and double dealing the hostage was taken and spirited away before the rescuers could intervene – although it was a very close run thing.

The rules seem to be working well and what I really like is the shifting alliances, suspicion and dastardly play that it seems to encourage. Just what we want!

Nice looking crew courtesy of Long John Andy – did well in their first outing.

Battle of Oldendorf 1633

A few pics of our Thirty Year War battle which we played on Saturday. The Battle of Oldendorf played in glorious 15mm. The Catholic forces are deployed on the right hand side, the Protestants on the left. The brown lines represent the two hills that both armies deployed on, the section in between is the valley that separated both forces at the start – and which made the commanders reluctant to leave their well defended positions to attack their opponents.

The Catholic left wing under Geleen launched an attack across the valley floor with infantry, cuirassier and dragoons. Their target was the Protestant centre thinly defended by Swedish infantry of the Yellow Brigade.

Imperial cuirassier launch an aggressive attack against the Swedish foot. The Yellow Brigade bends but does not break. Veteran Swedish horse regiments under Stalhansk are quickly moved from the flank to support the infantry.

Over on the Catholic right flank the Protestant force launch an attack against the static Catholic wing. Finnish horse lead the Protestant assault – a quick and bloody outcome seems the most likely result.

After about 5 hours play the Protestant army, despite the initial onslaught, were pushing back the Catholics on all fronts. It’s not what you would call a ‘balanced’ game, this historical scenario pitched the veteran Swedish forces against the demoralised Catholic army with its high proportion of garrison troops. The Catholics put up a very good fight considering but succumbed to the inevitable in the end. We used the Father Tilly rules which is designed specifically for the Thirty Years War.

Pirates Ahoy 2!

More play-testing of pirate rules last night. Two crews on each side lined up against each other. Under a blazing sun both sides struggled through the heat in search of plunder and prizes. It might have been a nice day for sitting by the pool – but not for battling enemy crews.

Angry bow armed dudes make an unexpected and most unwelcome appearance. Pirates had to scuttle away from a deadly shower of arrows.

Nothing worth digging up here, just some old bones.

Well done to Justin, top player – most loot and most enemy sent to Davy Jones Locker. More testing out next week – we will be trying out a few new scenarios.

Pirates Ahoy!

We had a couple of games last night testing out the up and coming Pirate rules. The first game was me versus Pirate Joe, our objectives were simply to gather as much loot and supplies and then get off the table. Some of Joe’s crew spent quite a lot of time digging for buried treasure – which didn’t prove to be too successful. The rest of his crew got scared when they stumbled across a gallows with the rotting remains of a few of their pals – that did put Joe’s crew on a bit of a downer after that. Then a gale blew up and then it started to rain heavily by which time both sides decided that they had had enough – our powder got soaked and it was too windy to aim anyway. My crew of Privateers did come away with pockets full of cash after a couple of luck finds so the day went to the Privateers. But as neither side had taken any serious damage – both were ready for a rematch.

In the second game both Joe and I were joined by one ally each so now it was going to be two players a side. Rumours of large quantities of treasure had drawn both sides to a small abandoned village. And the rumours were true! My crew of Privateers discovered one treasure trove early on and next turn my opponent Joe discovered one two. Andy my trusty ally provided invaluable support fending off attacks from sneaky pirate Dave while my crew withdrew the treasure to a safe distance – well done Andy! (I think he was hoping for a share of the treasure?!). Meanwhile on the opposing side, Pirate Joe was also trying to make off with his treasure until his supposed ally, dodgy pirate Dave, attempted to steal the treasure from him. As pistols were fired and cutlasses were drawn in an unseemly brawl between the pirates – myself and Andy’s privateer crews withdrew with our riches and left out opponents to fight it out amongst themselves. Now all I need to do is calculate Andy’s share of the loot…

Ok so this is a very one sided account of the battle but I did win the first game and Andy and I did win the second game too. The second game was close in points, dangerous Dave got most of his attacking Joe, but we did just edge it. I’m just saying this because this is likely to be the only time I will ever win at this game – I usually lose when I play my own rules! And Dave, good luck finding an ally next week!

The Lank Pastrian main battle has been stung into action after persistent casualties from artillery and bow fire. If King Edturd’s battle can hold the line – the Yorcist have a chance of a major victory.