Tuesday, July 16, 2019

Landwasters and Ravenfeeders- a Lion Rampant Mod

We recently did a game based on Lion Rampant. It's a mod titled Landwasters and Ravenfeeders. It's based on articles the author (Dan Mersey) of Lion Rampant did some time ago and available on the INET.

The mod covers the start of the Viking age, 793 to the end around 1100. He provides few lists so one has to use common sense and historical knowledge to produce a reasonable list. 

I changed my original set up of even points for the scenario in an attempt to integrate what I know of the late period (1066) in England. I used the insurrection scenario from One-Hour-Wargames.

I had to adjust slightly, the Landwasters and Ravenfeeders profiles to reflect post 1066. 

After making the adjustments the point spread came to 44 Norman points to 32 Saxon points.

The Normans had mobility and good combined arms factors while the Saxons held the terrain advantage. 

The OBs were as follows.

2 units of knights using the cataphract profile. It’s the only category that uses the wild charge. 
2 units of sergeants (these two units  and the knights were the Norman units and the Norman commander could only lose a percentage of them in order to win)
2 units of “Riders” as Breton horse
2 units of upper class spear (the foot sergeant profile)
1 unit of archers

The Saxon army was all Fyrd, no Huscarls, all died at Hastings I guess
1 unit of Select Fyrd that was Expert
2 units of Select Fyrd
3 units of Great Fyrd with javelins
2 units of skirmishers with the mixed weapon modifier (basically uses the slinger profile)

Mike, the Norman player massed all the mounted units to one flank. He could only cross the river at three points. One point was a bridge and the other two points were fords. The cavalry was to do a sweep using the ford on the Saxon right flank.

The Norman (all mercenaries) infantry screened the other ford and bridge but did cross later in the game.

The Saxons were set up to cover all the crossing points but some were in reserve to have more of a defense in depth. The Norman cavalry could not enter the woods.

Saxon units in the woods\farmstead were only revealed when I desired or if a Norman infantry unit tried to enter. 

In Landwasters and Ravenfeeders you cannot interpenetrate units unless it’s skirmishers. I didn’t realize that until the game started. Mike stacked up all six units of cavalry on the flank to cross at the ford. I managed to get both units of skirmishers to contest the crossing and they inflicted just enough casualties to delay the cavalry. One unit of Bretons was virtually destroyed because they could not retreat. Mike played that incident well despite the fact neither of us knew about the interpretation rule until the game began.

That flank witnessed most of the action. As most of the units did cross (one unit of Norman knights never moved. (They need a 7+) he tried to do an end run. The unit that made it the farthest was the other Breton unit and they faced a Great Fyrd unit on a small hill.

Meanwhile the two units of sergeants crossed. The skirmishers managed to get a couple of them picked off. (Very useful cheap troop type if you can protect them). I had to shift my expert Select Fyrd unit to counter the sergeants. Between the skirmishers and expert Select Fyrd one unit of sergeants would die and the other reduced to two figures if I remember right.

However, it cost the Select Fyrd dearly and by then they had to fight the other Knight unit. It was all they could bear and they routed. (I got away so that’s a win). The knight unit then rode down a skirmisher unit with a vengeance. (Like I said, useful little units but they can’t fight.)

Meanwhile, the Norman archer units was being an annoyance. It shot up my Select Fyrd unit on the other flank by the bridge. One of the Norman spear units did cross the bridge and we fought indecisive melees for a time. It’s fair to say that for most of the game we were both frustrated by failing courage checks to move. If you fail, your turn is over. That changed a little toward the end of the game as I managed to get everyone moving or shooting for a couple of turns. By then it virtually guaranteed a stalemate.

So, the other ford was toward the center of the board. The other unit of Norman spear crossed it supported by the archers. My center was thinned out as I retreated with a unit of Select Fyrd to avoid the annoying archers. Mike tired to flank the skirmishers that were holding him up as well as the Great Fyrd unit in the woods down by the ford where the cavalry was.  Since the expert Select Fyrd unit was still alive at this point and keeping the Norman cavalry busy the Norman spearmen were actually surrounded  while they tried to surround. Interesting!

All of my Great Fyrd had the javelin upgrade and it proved decisive. The Norman spear unit was driven back but not routed by missiles alone. The same thing happened versus the Breton cavalry unit on the hill. Mike won the melees there but the Fyrd managed hits with missiles alone.

The FOW aspects in these games is great. You cannot take anything for granted. If a unit takes a casualty or two it makes it a lot harder to even move so you are constantly trying to move your best courage units first. 

Once the Norman knight unit and the two sergeant units got across the river Mike used them well to attack with one and then the other against the same unit of Select Fyrd. Like in most games ganging up on one unit Is key but in these rules decisive as no unit can endure for long prolonged melees. I will describe some of the action in the pictures below.

A Norman spear unit on their far left flank.

Two Saxon Select Fryd units and a unit of skirmishers set up to context the middle ford.

A Great Fyrd unit set up in depth.

The Norman cavalry all stacked up on their right flank trying to cross the ford.

Saxon skirmishers in the woods.

All three Norman infantry units were deployed on the Saxon left and center to pin the Saxons in place.

They did try to cross but in the end it didn't matter.

The two Saxon skirmish units did a fine job. The terrain helped as did failed tests by the Norman horse.

The Norman commander massed his horse to flank the Saxon position. The Bretons were in the front.

Stand off on the Saxon left.

Strelets Normans used as "Riders" in Landwasters and Ravenfeeders. I really need to replace the spear on the figure on the left with brass. I like Strelets but their weapons are not the best.

Most the Great Fyrd unit on the left are Emhar. The armored Emhar figures make good Select Fyrd or earlier Hearth Guard types.

Emhar Saxons as Select Fyrd (expert) try to bottle up the Norman horse. They did well before being routed with only 5 figures left. The leader of the rebellion who is out front survived to fight another day.

Another Select Fyrd unit faces down the Norman spear unit that has crossed the river.

Too many enemies! The two leading Norman horse units were rated as Sergeants. In Landwasters and Ravenfeeders I call them Mtd. Companions. The terminology is a bit fuzzy especially for the Normans.

The Norman unit on the left would be pushed back all the way to the river because of the missile fire from the skirmishers and Great Fyrd unit in the woods.

The Select Fyrd would destroy the small unit it's fighting and nearly destroy the second before the knight unit in the background would rout them. Can't ask for more than that!

There was no shame in their routing after what they accomplished.

Norman high tide. They destroyed the expert Select Fyrd unit and a unit of skirmishers but could do no more.

This Great Fyrd unit matched this unit of sergeants blow for blow.

William the Bastard is thwarted and the rebellion continues.

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