Sunday, March 5, 2017

AAR: Attack on the House of Thott - a 15th century skirmish

A battle report using the Lion Rampant ruleset depicting a 15th century raid on a Lord's house


Introduction

We finally found the time for another AAR. This time its from our late medieval Swedish civil war campaign. 

The scene is late 15th century Sweden that suffered from civil war
as different families and factions struggled for power. Later historians could describe it as the beginning of the end of a rather long, although not peaceful, Nordic union (”Kalmarunionen”, 1397-1523) - with Sweden in the end breaking away from Danish influence.

In our story the Rebels have gained the upper hand. Rebel spies revealed that some factions of the Thott family - until then supporters of the Rebel cause - negotiated with the Unionists. Through a betrayal and a surprise attack the Rebel forces managed to take a Thott castle by storm (see how that happened in the AAR HERE). Not all Unionists were caught or killed however. A sly Unionist leader, the hated local Sheriff, slipped away into the swamp surrounding the castle and were nowhere to be found. 

With so many of the Thott castle retinue killed the Rebels now had to act swiftly before news of the attack on the Thott castle spread far and wide. Other members of the Thott family would no doubt turn against the Rebels hearing the news. The Rebels therefor planned a preemptive strike and force marched to another stronghold of the Thott family, arriving before the latter could gather all its forces.

The game was played using Dan Mersey's Lion Rampant (published by Osprey) with 28mm miniatures from Perry Miniatures on a 6x4' table. We played the Bloodbath scenario. We used a modification (also found in Pikeman's Lament) with +1 on activation rolls if within 12" of the commander.
 
The opposing forces

The Unionist Retinue (Thott family)

Unionist Unit 1
1 Lord Thott
5 Foot Men at Arms 

Unionist Unit 2
12 Thott Soldiers (i e Foot Yeomen - with Mixed Weapons)

Unionist Unit 3
12 Thott Soldiers (i e Foot Yeomen - with Mixed Weapons)

Unionist Unit 4
12 Peasant Allmoge Warriors (i e Foot Yeomen)

Unionist Unit 5
6 Peasant Allmoge Skirmishers (i e Bidowers)

The Unionist defenders - the Thott family retinue
The Rebel Retinue

Rebel Unit 1 
1 Lord Natt och Dag
5 Foot Men at Arms

Rebel Unit 2
6 Mounted Men at Arms 

Rebel Unit 3
12 Peasant Allmoge Soldiers (i e Foot Yeomen)

Rebel Unit 4
12 Lübeck Mercenary Pikemen (i e Foot Serjeants)

Rebel Unit 5
6 Peasant Allmoge Skirmishers (i e Bidowers)

The Rebel attackers.
The Table

A 6x4' table.
The Game

The rebels arrived at the Thott family estate.

Having received word of the advancing rebels from a loyal peasant boy the Lord Thott hastily gathered his men to defend his homestead. The Rebels advanced across the fields and their cavalry followed the road towards the Thott estate.

The Rebel infantry advance under the Sture family banner...
...with heavy cavalry of the Sture family leading the way, next to the Rebel Lord's foot
men-at-arms carrying the Natt och Dag banner and some mercenary Lübeck pikemen.
The Unionist Lord gather his men, in red and yellow livery,
as the Rebels approaches on the far side of the hill.
A small group of Unionist crossbow skirmishers took a stand on the road opposite the advancing enemy. At the same time a larger group of missile armed Thott soldiers took position behind a fence while even more of the Unionist men moved up amongst the buildings.

A group of Unionist crossbowmen move up the road and fire on the approaching Rebels.
The impatient men-at-arm Rebel cavalry rode at full speed towards the Unionist. They smashed through the Unionst skirmishers on the road but another Unionist group of soldiers also fired their missile weapons against the Rebels as they thundered past. Two riders fell off their mounts dead.

The Rebel cavalry is hit by bolts and bullets from
the flank as they charge down the road...
...leaving their infantry support far behind.
"... into the valley of death rode the six ...
... 'cannon' to the left of them ..."
The Rebel cavalry's attempt to attack before the Unionists could form their lines properly was in vain. The Lord Thott formed his peasant allmoge soldiers in a close formation while he personally anchored the line with his foot men-at-arms.

Beset on all sides and faced with a target rich environment the Rebel men-at-arm cavalry could only follow their attack through. Seeing the Unionist Lord, Lord Thott, in his red and yellow quartered livery with his personal retinue straight ahead they made their choice and smashed into the foot men-at-arms and their lord. A fierce fight erupted with heavily armed men on both sides. The Thott Lord, fighting for his home, fought bravely and the Rebel cavalry were driven back up the road with further casualties.

The Rebel cavalry's aggressive push forward is met by a well organized defence.
The Rebel infantry continue their advance and can only look on...
...as their aggressive cavalry already get stuck in!
With men lost and with their high spirits broken the Rebel cavalry retreats.
At the other side of the main building the Rebel infantry advanced across the fields. The Rebel skirmishers were driven back, however, as they came under fire from a group of Unionist soldiers. More Rebels advanced on their position and as the latter attacked intense hand to hand combat took place in the passage between the main stone building and fenced plowed field. Men fell on both sides but eventually the Unionist had to retreat.

The Rebel skirmishers are driven back...
...by the Unionists by the plowed field. But more Rebels close in...

...and attack...
...making the Unionists retreat.
By the road the Rebel infantry, the second wave of the attack, made contact. The Rebel Lord and his foot men-at-arms attacked the Peasant Allmoge closed line. The non professional Allmoge Peasants could not hold against the Lord and his heavily armed retinue and many peasants fell and the rest broke. At the same time the Lübeck mercenary pikemen also advanced and attacked a group of Unionist soldiers behind a fence by the road. The pikemen were not as successful as their lord and could not shift the Unionist soldiers from behind the fence and the pikemen had to regroup in the road, leaving their casualties behind.

Having broken the Peasant Allmoge line the Rebel Lord found himself not far from a very angry Thott Lord and his retinue. The Thott Lord led his men into a counter attack up the road. The two heavily armed retinues clashed with the Thott retinue gaining the upper hand and pushing the surviving Rebels back.

The Rebel Lord's retinue attack the peasant allmoge line...

...breaking them, as the Lübeck pikemen follow...
...and attack the Unionist soldiers at the fence.
The heavyweight championship. The Thott Lord attack and take
on his Rebel counterpart, together with their retinues.

On the other side of the stone house the formerly broken Unionist soldiers rallied and went on the offense again. Attacking with vigour the Unionist this time broke the Rebels, driving them from the field of battle. However, during the close combat the Rebel skirmishers in the plowed field closed the distance. As their Rebel friends were driven off the skirmishers fired into the victorious Unionists at close range. The flanking fire took the Unionist by surprise and they broke and run in disorder, leaving the Rebel skirmishers alone by the main building.

The Rebels - with the lily pad Sture family banner -
turn and flee as the Unionist attack again.
The Unionist victory is short lived as they break under
fire from the Rebel skirmishers in the plowed field.
Back by the road the Thott Lord and his retinue continued their furious fighting, taking on yet another adversary. Although heavily outnumbered they attacked the Lübeck mercenary pikemen. But the Thott Lord's momentum finally was lost. His now depleted and bloodied retinue had beaten back the initial Rebel heavy cavalry charge. Then he had led his men against the Rebel Lord's retinue and won, driving them back. Now again faced with stiff opposition in the shape of the professional pikemen of Lübeck it was one fight too many. The last of his men fell dead to the ground and at he risk of being completely surrounded he had to fall back towards his home, the stone house. Fate would have it that as he was only a few steps away from the door and some safety a group or Rebel skirmishers appeared at the far corner. The Thott Lord died on the steps of his home, pierced by both bullets and crossbow bolts that found ways though his plate armour. With the Thott Lord dead and his men all but broken the battle was over.

The Rebels had won.

As the Rebel Lord looks on the Thott Lord attack the Lübeck pikemen...
...but his outnumbered retinue is killed.
As the Unionist Thott Lord retreats he runs into
the bullets and crossbow bolts of Rebel skirmishers.
The Thott Lord lies dead only a few steps from his home.
Conclusion

It was a very intense game that swung back and forth. As the initial Rebel attack was uncoordinated and their heavy cavalry attack failed it seemed as if the Unionists would win the day. They had a good defensive position in the yard and with the flanking group of soldiers behind the fence. But as fate would have it the Unionist Lord, Lord Thott, finally took on one enemy too many as his retinue was worn down. Also, with his men retreating on the other side of the main building the Rebel skirmishers could sneak up around the corner to finish the job.

The Rebels have been successful in our last few games and the Thott family has taken a real beating. We will see what lies ahead and if the Unionists can find the momentum and a way to strike back.

7 comments:

  1. Exellent looking game mateys. Thanks for a Greate AAR !!!

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  2. This village is awesome, I understand these fights to capture it! A wonderful report with spectacular pictures...

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  3. What a brilliant post!
    Mike B
    Despertaferres!

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  4. A treat for us all! Great report and pics.

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  5. You gave us a great example of how small battles between enemies families are handled well by LR (and with great fun!) Something I also discuss here http://arsenaledelnano.blogspot.it/2017/03/about-lion-rampant-army-size.html?m=1 Really like the buildings!

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  6. Nice AAR. Your church and the other stone building are excellent models!

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  7. Great terrain, great photos and exciting flow of the game.

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