300 Royal Bodyguard (Excellent armoured "mounted infantry" - despite Halsall's loathing of the term he uses it in the scenario, presumably it was in the WRG rules of the time)
2000 Warriors (Veteran leather armoured spearmen)
400 Peasants (unarmoured)
80 Heavy Cavalry
500 Light Cavalry
2800 Infantry (unarmoured spearmen)
I was using DBA. Consulting the relevant army lists, I created a DBA order of battle as follows:
Middle Anglo-Saxons (III/24):
1 x General (4Wb)
5 x Select Fyrd (Sp)
1 x Great Hyrd (7Hd)
1 x Archers (Ps)
1 x Javelinmen (Ps)
1 x General (Cv)
2 x Light Horse (LH)
8 x Spearmen (3Pk)
3 x Archers (Ps)
1 x Javelinmen (Ps)
The Anglo-Saxons would thus collapse after losing 3 elements, the Picts after losing 5. I used two special rules. The Anglo-Saxons had to advance straight ahead in their first turn. The Pictish cavalry was -1, despite having the general, to reflect its weakness in numbers and equipment.
|The Anglo-Saxons are advancing from the bottom-right, pursuing some Picts who are feigning flight. Two large groups of Picts await in ambush!|
|The view from behind the main force of Pictish spearmen|
|View of the advancing Anglo-Saxons from behind Dun Nechtain|
|And a view from behind the main body of Anglo-Saxon warriors, looking through their king and his bodyguard towards the lake.|
|The Anglo-Saxons push forward into the jaws of the attack|
|Same position, slightly different view|
|The Anglo-Saxons have managed to form two battle lines: can they carry out a withdrawal and escape from the trap relatively intact?|
|The Anglo-Saxons on the far side start to push the Picts back!|
|Some Pictish troops didn't actually make it into the battle|
|That Anglo-Saxon corridor has thoroughly collapsed and very few of their warriors would escape: only the warriors on the hill who never made it into the battle would be able to escape easily.|
A short but enjoyable game using the DBA v3.0 rules . As ever, the DBA PIP system does throw up some interesting situations. Because the Picts initially threw so low on their PIP scores, the ambush went off a bit half-cocked. For a moment, just after the Anglo-Saxons had polished off a unit of warriors and formed two shieldwalls, I thought that the Anglo-Saxons might well escape, or even win. But when the Pictish spearmen got fully into action, the Anglo-Saxons collapsed quickly.
As ever, DBA throws up some interesting points. DBA, by making Pictish spearmen "Fast Pikemen", makes them the most effective troops on the battlefield. In basic frontal combat, they would start at a base '6', whilst a supported Spearmen unit would be '5'. Given average luck and a decent number of combats, then the Pictish infantry will come out on top. Add the advantages of the tactical situation and the numerical superiority, it is going to take good play for the Anglo-Saxon player to get out of this one. I think if I do this scenario again, I may make the Pictish foot-soldiers Spearmen.
The rules do give a good, interesting game and are normally easy to follow. I think it took about 45 minutes. I used my Baccus 6mm Ancient British army for the Picts and the Baccus 6mm Anglo-Saxons for the English army. I think the buildings are from Timecast.
And thanks to Guy Halsall for writing such an interesting scenario. He has quite an interesting history blog too.
A couple of questions:
I did wonder about flank support by light troops. As far as I understand, light infantry (which is "fast") cannot give flank support, but light horse can? Is that correct? And the other thing I wondered about is if flank supporting troops should advance if the troops they are supporting advance after the target recoils?