Saturday 23 March 2024

Not great, not terrible: League of Ancients Glory is Fleeting March 2024 tournament results

 I could only play 2 games for the first day (children birthday parties take precedence these days) and I got two draws, with both a loss on points. I did not get an actual LOSS, which when playing against other players who have much more experience than I do, I can take as a small positive.

At the end of the first day I was placed 7th, or 4th last.

The first battle I forgot the classic Napoleonic strategy: use combined arms. Something that is...hard with a British army that insists on not having mixed divisions. I placed my elite British division to outflank the enemy army, while moving the Portuguese and Cavalry divisions to fix his line in place. The Spanish sat back and defended the LOC.

And this plan lasted right up to the point of enemy contact

...And then he put his cavalry divisions (two of them!) to face my British Division. I had forced marched after arriving turn 2 (should have done it turn 1). My elite troops passed on all their force march rolls...and then got stuck facing 3 cavalry brigades.

Napoleonic infantry cannot advance against enemy cavalry.

I was able to use the attached artillery batteries to batter his cavalry down, but I couldn't move forward very fast. I ended up CHARGING his cavalry with my infantry, which didn't work. Without an attached cavalry brigade to exploit it, or a cavalry division right next to it, I couldn't push to his LOC before he reached my front line Portuguese, who were then outnumbered. 

I also made the same mistake the British commander did at Battle of Albuera where I left a infantry brigade out of square right next to a enemy cavalry unit on my flank. A stupid mistake that wiped out 2 of the 3 Portuguese brigades.

I was able to us my cavalry to slow HIS other flank down, but not enough to prevent it getting to my defence line, but I still don't understand how to do it, even while his cavalry did it to me at the same time. :(

Having an elite corps commander wasn't worth the points in either game-  if I had a 2nd small cavalry division with the British troops (if I can afford it), it might have gone better.

Edit- it DID allow me to go on the attack each time, and BLOCK the enemy flank attack. Which is dumb that I had a large Portuguese infantry unit designed for defence! If I have an elite corps commander, I am likely to be on the attack AND able to choose the battleground terrain,  Something a Skilled Corps commander may not get. I am certain both times the enemy general wanted to do a flank attack, but was foiled by my elite corps commander. Therefore, I need to assume when using a skilled or competent corps commander, I will be attacked in the flank.

The 2nd game was closer...this time I paired the British Calvary on the flank of the British Infantry, with the Portuguese holding the centre and the Spanish the far flank, covered by Terrain. So I could use the Cavalry to directly support the Infantry this time.

I made a somewhat risky charge with my cavalry and broke two of his units...but a large unit passed it's morale tests and just stood in square on top of his LOC and blocked me from going anywhere near it. My infantry with attached artillery got 1 turn to shoot it before having to about face and engage the arriving enemy reinforcements. 

I then got 1 turn of winning the skirmish battle...but it was 1 turn left to go and I had to attack before the skirmishers impacted the enemy infantry and artillery units. I had 5 skirmish markers across his entire line including his two heavy artillery units.  I attacked with my large Portuguese into enemy heavy artillery and it ended in a slaughter. I don't have the time to win the skirmish fight. Which is supposed to be one of the great strengths of the British army in the Peninsula! 

I also didn't place both small infantry units with the attached artillery TOGETHER, so they couldn't shoot the same target, meaning they didn't do much of anything shooting at 2 different large targets. 

Light infantry now move through rough terrain without a problem. Would have been useful in the 2nd game where my large elite British unit got stuck. If I need to block enemy movement, use difficult terrain instead.

Post battle thoughts:

Defense units like the Spanish need LARGE units. So many times in the 2nd game I did nothing when attacking defending large enemy units, and they need to be large to fight off large enemy cavalry units. The small units can hold off enemy cavalry but not defeat them. A unit of fresh Spanish Lancers would be helpful to take advantage of it too, but is expensive. 

British trained Liner (skirmish) troops attack too slowly. You double move to close to the enemy...and STOP at 6.00001 inches. Out of bombardment AND skirmish range. Then you spend the next turn advancing....4 inches closer to 2.00001. Meaning you are now in bombardment range and skirmish range...but out of charge or volley range still. Then on the 3rd can advance into volley range or charge. Which isn't much use if you haven't had the luck to get one turn to degrade the enemy first! And you won't have enough attached artillery batteries to do much AND you can't afford the elite light troops to win the skirmish battle either! 

Conclusion: British trained skirmish liner troops are much better on the defence.They move too slowly to the attack - the enemy will either be able to attack you first, or simply move 3 inches BACK out of charge range again! AND you must have more artillery (ha!) or more skirmishers (which is only going to be equal vs reformed troops!).

I don't think having a large British unit helped or was needed, and just cluttered up my attack. Superior Veteran troops are enough.

Superior Veteran troops are perfectly capable of force marching and can be used on a flank march turn 1.

I need a small cavalry division to either guard one flank OR support the main attack. 

Enemy cavalry divisions seem to have settled on only having 2 units, so one large unit and one rear support unit should be enough.

Having 4 British units in one division got in the way, one unit always didn't do much. A cheaper Portuguese unit for support would do, perhaps a small veteran one. 

Having a charismatic corps commander didn't help much in either game, but might have been useful still. Both battles, the elite corps commander allowed me to attack on my own plan...which then didn't work very well. 

When using terrain to anchor your line, it needs to be difficult, not rough. Rough won't slow down light infantry at ALL, and cavalry can move through it easily enough.

A Revised army list

See after the cutoff


So now I have two attacking infantry divisions. 1st Division is the main attack, the 2nd supports it. The 1st Cavalry Division directly support the 1st Infantry Division on it's flank and exploits the main attack. 

Both British Infantry divisions keep one brigade in reserve/support - to either act as a flank support or rear support for chargers. 

The 2nd Cavalry Division holds the other flank and can be used to delay an enemy infantry advance. 

Both cavalry divisions have another cavalry unit in rear support of the main unit and large primary unit able to withstand enemy bombardment better.

The Spanish conscripts can now hold for more than a turn (being large units) with a unit in rear support and can hold one end of the line if they have the 2nd Cavalry Division to support them. 

Having five Divisions in total means I can have two divisions for a flank attack with infantry, artillery and cavalry, and I can rally more troops.  

If defending against a flank attack, I need to secure one flank with impassible or very difficult terrain or a cavalry unit. The most likely attacked flank needs a British Division on it, and all the hills I can hide behind!

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