A completed tournament report from its very beginning by Herbert Wong
Game 3 vs Later Swiss “ Secure your flank!”
After I came back from Milan in 2012, I had tested with the Later Swiss and it was one of the finalist candidates for my 2013 ITC army. I prefer to choose the “King Tiger” (i.e. The Knight General double-based in wedges with rear element) when using this army. The King Tiger (i.e. General) would be deployed next to the Pike block whereas the Pike would be attacking first at +6/7 combat factor. Their superior qualities enable them to win a combat result. There is a good chance that they will push back or destroy their opponent and thereby overlap the enemy who is fighting against the King Tiger. I have destroyed a lot of enemies who dare to stand against them. But the Swiss army in this game was using different doctrine.
I was the defender. Please refer to the following photo for terrain and set up. Kindly note that the tower was placed in the Swiss deployment area, I hoped to reduce the Swiss deployment area and make them to deploy in front of my army so that I would fight the battle as per my pre-battle plan. For this battle, the Orchard placed by the Swiss was the strategic key ground both sides striving to control. With hindsight, the Swiss Plan was to make good use of terrains that could help them to turn the battle into a short table fight (i.e. both army facing the short table edge instead of the long table edge). The Swiss army consisted of 2 identical commands. Each of them had 24 RPkS included the General, some RBdX and RPsS/O, 32ME each. Their third Command consisted of RBdX and RPsS/O which was good for fighting in DG. It had 10ME. There was no baggage train, an indication that this army expected to fight using mobile warfare doctrine.
The Swiss set up in my opposite corner, using their superior pike regular maneuverability to came from my right, then turn 90 degree and they were ready to fight WotR from the short table edge. The Swiss initial move was brilliant and forced me to change my original battle plan. I needed to turn my battle line by 90 degree to form a hastily defense line in the middle of battle field.
Both sides moved cautiously. We faced each other across the short table edge with the Orchard divided the battlefield into 2 sections. WotR had set up a defense line slightly behind the Orchard to anchor their flank to the orchard. The Swiss setup their Pike blocks in 6 ranks deep, which could absorb 3 ranks losses before they would lost their attack momentums. This was a very clever tactics against the WotR BdS+BwS combo. For WotR, Bw in rear rank can support Bd and fight at +5, but Pike fight at +7. Assuming the Pk win the combat in its bound, as both these Bd and Pk were superior grade, the combat factor after grade adjustment would be 9 (for Pike) vs 6 (for Bd). The Pk would destroy the BdS with the probability of 1/18. Don’t forget Pk could easily push back the Bd and thereby support the next attack by overlap. And increase the chance of direct destroyed to 1/9. You might argued that BdS had a good chance to quick kill the PkS in own bound. As the Pike block was 6 ranks deep, losing one or two ranks would not change their combat factor. The BdS+BwS combo could not afford any casualties as once the first rank Blade was gone, the second rank Bow would be easily destroyed by Pk. I would rather not to take this risk. So I retired slightly back. If I could control the Orchard, I could threaten the Swiss’s flank from there if their Pike block advanced against my defense line. Certainly, the Swiss commander was also aware of the importance of the Orchard as he postponed his attack until his smallest command could bring up their Psiloi to clear the Orchard first.
In reaction, I had 2 plans. If my command C was kicked out of the Orchard, I would retired my 2 bigger commands back to the RH on my left hand wing to set up a defense line with my foots and avoid battle where possible. I thought the Swiss would not attack my new defense line as his combat factor became 6 in RH and mine would also be 6 if I was uphill in his bound. But my BdS+BwS combo could quick kill his Pike in my bound. This plan I would lose my smallest command, plus the Baggage command, but my army would still be intact.
If I won the fight for the Orchard, then I would attack as I could threaten the Swiss flank from the Orchard. I have set up my defense line by deploying my Bowmen inside the Orchard and it’s now up to the God.
The WotR Bowmen inside the Orchard had repulsed several attacks of the Swiss handgunner (RPsS). Despite Bowmen were not for DG fighting, their combat factor would be the same as that of Psiloi there. They were superior quality troops and their shooting ability enable them to fight as well as RPsS in DG. Moreover, the Swiss had only committed their smallest ME command. It is just 10ME. It ended up that this Swiss Command was broken and WotR had occupied the Orchard firmly. Now it was the time for the WotR to counter-attack.
The Swiss Pike block with the lowest PIPs retreated from the WotR command A and the WotR immediately charged them in marching, and slaughtered their first rank (the Swiss first rank turned back to fight WotR Blade but without any rear rank support together with the penalty for unable to recoil). The Swiss Pike Block turned 180 degree and counter attacked fiercely My WotR CinC chest was penetrated by the pierce of a long pike. Once again, the Swiss Pikemen had proved that they deserved to be classified as soldier of the highest grade.
Now both of the two remaining Swiss commands suffered 4.5 ME and 6 ME losses respectively, but they are still far from broken. My WotR Command A has lost its General, plus some ILHO spent, but all my Commands were in good condition. When I was pondering on whether or not to commit Command B against another Swiss Pike block in its front, time was called.
The game summary
It was a battle of brains with both commanders calculated carefully and cautious. During the first two hours, we march and counter-march until both sides found the importance of the Orchard, The Swiss committed his Light troop in attacking. The WotR Bowmen stood their ground bravely and they repulsed and defeated their assaults. Then WotR counterattacked but there was not enough time left to conclude with decisive result. The WotR seems to be on the upper hand before the game was ended though it had lost its CinC. But the Pike block still could turn the table. I enjoyed this game not just because I was playing with a respectable DBMM general but it was playing like a chess game.
Game 4 vs Italian Condotta with Swiss ally “Bowmen lead the way!”
The last round of the tournament finally. I had accumulated 50 points for my previous 3 rounds. I need a “BIG” win this round to have a decent chance to claim any trophy. Regardless of whosoever my opponent was and whatsoever his army was, I would play aggressively to attack.
I have a bad start for this game. I became the invader and therefore could not use my tower. Further, the Condotta commander had successful separated the battlefield into 2 sectors by placing a 2FE DH and 1FE Marsh in the center. Even worse, I had to deploy first! So no doubt we had set up in the opposite corners, I need to move out of the DGo first and reform them before I could properly set up my battle line and attack. It was a challenge. My plan was to move the infantry of my command A into the 1FE Marsh, cleared and secured it and then rolled up the enemy’s line from there. My last battle against Swiss had proven that my Bowmen were as good as PsS in close combat even when fighting in difficult terrains. Moreover, I could destroy the PsS just by shooting at them. My bowmen should be capable of executing my plan successfully. The photos below show the initial deployment and the movements in the early stage of the battle.
The Condotta commander was surprised by my initial moves, he thought his RPsS (all his Ps were S) would not lost the fight in the DG, and therefore he need not send his BdS to reinforce that sector yet. Though he might regret his decision later.
The Condotta RPsS had been destroyed or bounce off the Marsh after they were shot for several bounds. Right now the Condotta sent his BdS into the Marsh to try to plug the gap but it was too late. The WotR BwS started to massacre the Horde group outside by shooting at them. Thanks to the superior quality and good dice rolls, the WotR Bowmen inside the Marsh had repulsed the attacks of the Condotta BdS and PsS. Eventually, the English quantitative superiority had won the fight for the Marsh for them.
As the Condotta’s left wing command was close to broken, Condotta advanced the Swiss Pike block to attack the English in order to save the day. Their attack was doomed as they were attacking from a narrow front with insecure flank.
WotR encircled the Swiss Pike block from their insecure flanks and slaughtered them. The Condotta army was broken and the game ended in WotR's victory.
The game summary
The big surprise in this battle was the battle-worthiness of the WotR bowmen who led the way into the marsh. They had won their fight against the Condotta PsS despite there were no rear rank support for them in distance shooting or close combat. Thereafter, it was just a matter of time for the English to roll the Condotta battle line. If the Condotta had sent their BdS into the marsh early in the game to react the WotR’s initial movement, the outcome of the battle might be different.
Surprisingly, our team managed to win the 2nd runner up this year. It was encouraging for us and we are very happy to have the achievement. I felt relaxed and relieved not simply because of the end of the 2 days hard fighting. I was glad that my preparation for the tournament that lasted for the whole year did work. Many thanks to Lorenzo and his team for the huge efforts they spent in arranging and organizing this fantastic tournament. The event made it possible for 20 teams with 80 players gathering together, playing games and exchanging their views and sharing information about our favorite hobby. It was really a wonderful moment. I also wanted to take advantage of this opportunity to thank Lawrence Ho of our player group in Hong Kong who had spent a lot of time with me in our Sunday early morning training games thorough the year, enlightening me with many new ideas on the army list and game play. Finally ITC has already become part of my life and I hope I can come back to Milan to join this spectacular event every year. Last word: “No surrender in DBMM game”
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