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"Agincourt 1415 Part II - The battle (AAR)" Topic


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Our man in Jerusalem reports on the sights of Crusader-era Jerusalem.


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Dean AKI05 Apr 2015 2:55 a.m. PST

Hello folks, so Easter Sunday not St. Crispin's Day, but here is the full report of the battle:

link

It was a much closer run affair than the historical precedent, and in part I think this is down to the organisation of the French. I have included my thoughts on how I would make the battle more reflective of the day for any redo at the end of the report.

picture

Enjoy!

normsmith05 Apr 2015 3:15 a.m. PST

I really enjoyed that – I looked at the opening picture and thought – 'that looks scary for the English player'. lovely narrative. It seems your rules for troops breaking seem to have the right effect and the effect of crossbow seems nicely tempered. Thank you.

davbenbak05 Apr 2015 5:54 a.m. PST

Great AAR! Always a tough battle to balance, but I like your narrowing of the battle field effect.

cavcrazy05 Apr 2015 6:19 a.m. PST

Beautiful figures and great report, but wasn't the battlefield at Agincourt muddy, and isn't that what was so hard on the French mounted knights?
I think your game may have gone differently had you considered the condition of the fields.

Dean AKI05 Apr 2015 8:28 a.m. PST

If you read the plans post cav you'll see I had that covered. All the terrain between the woods was counted as difficult terrain, limiting the armies to one move. Otherwise in Hail Caesar you may move up to three time in a turn….

Great War Ace05 Apr 2015 1:32 p.m. PST

That sounds about right, one-third speed. In our game heavy infantry run 7" per turn, and "plate" infantry run 6" per turn. But a walk move is 4". And I have limited a muddy field to half-walk speed. (cavalry are limited to a "trot" of 8" per turn because of the mud as well) So we're on the same page with that feature.

HOWEVER. Just about everything else in your setup makes me want to say, "wait a sec…"

I admit up front that playing this well-documented battle is subjective. So one person's "historical setup" is another person's guesswork.

My opinion is that there is no evidence to support English troops lining the woods. There are no "billmen" per se. I am sure that bill, or rather, guisarmed troops, existed, just not in discrete units of such. There may have been 1,500 or even more of such men, unmentioned, simply because so many sick archers were unwell enough that they could not pull their bows. Anne Curry has a high estimate of archers, similar to your "7,000". But earlier estimates are no more than c. 5,000. An English army of something under 10,000 men is the upper end, less than 6,000 is the lower end.

If/when I refight Agincourt this year (it's going to get a lot of attention, being the one thousand year anniversary), I plan to limit the French army to 12,000 men and the English army to 1,500 total MAA and "billmen", and 5,000 archers. Two-to-one against the English seems heavy enough.

I will play it out "historically", probably solo, and I will institute the following parameters:

The frontage at the English end of the "funnel" will be the minimum of 700 yards, or 70 inches.

There will be three English "battles" of MAAs/billmen, each of c. 500 men, each flanked by one third of the archers, separated into two "wings", slightly thrown forward. The three "battles" will be in line, with the right flank slightly forward, the left flank slightly refused.

The French cavalry charges will go in first, to whatever conclusion results (I've done this several times before, and they simply get shafted to destruction).

The French first "battle" of MAA will be all "plate" infantry, the cream of the French nobility, and will number c. half of the total French army.

The second French "battle" will number another 4,000 MAA, mostly "heavy" infantry, i.e. less cap-a-pie full plate armor and more mail without significant plate reinforcement.

The third French "battle" will be the residue of the army, some 2,000 mounted troops, mostly grooms and squires on the horses of their masters and the extra mounts held alongside. If brought to battle (highly unlikely) they would count as poor morale "medium" cavalry.

In the event that there is any French force remaining after the main melee concludes, I will throw in 1d6 x 100 MAA plus 500 MAA, or a range of 600 to 1,100, late arrivals, all mounted. If these don't rout off, seeing the discomfiture of the bulk of the French army thus far, they can go "in" and try to finish the job. (Historically, this almost happened, and the English were standing, exhausted yet defiant, in an advanced line upon the ground where the second "battle" had stood, or even slightly more forward, awaiting the French attack from the third "battle", plus reinforcements, which never came; the French instead dispersing into the deepening evening. This occurred most likely because Henry sent heralds to them, threatening to execute his numerous prisoners if they did not quit the field forthwith.)

After the result of the first engagement with the vanguard "battle" of the French, I will have the local French under the lord of Agincourt attack the English baggage line (ranged some 100 to 200 yards behind the single English battle line). There is a baggage guard of some 500 grooms, squires and suchlike, all counted as "light" to "medium" infantry. The French rear attack is not formidable, being local peasants led by MAA, for a total force of 500 "unarmored" infantry and c. 100 cavalry, or dismounted MAA. (Historically, it was driven off, or left after partially plundering king Henry's baggage.)

There will be French prisoners grouped behind the English line, who will need to be left under guard. If they start to fight back, they will count as "unarmored" infantry. This will require a morale check at "D" class, only twice: first, when the French attack comes upon the English baggage train; and second, after the arrival of the French reinforcements to the third "battle". If the English threaten to kill their prisoners (again), the third French "battle" will make a morale check at class "D" to keep the field, failure means they will quit the field (historically).

That's pretty much it for special rules to reflect Agincourt as I interpret it. Feel free to try out any of this! :)

As for relative morale classes, I like this mix: English are all desperate "A" class MAA, "B" billmen, "B" archers, with "C: baggage guard. French morale: "B" class cavalry on the wings, "B" class first "battle" or vanguard; "C" class second "battle"; and "D" class third "battle" and reinforcements, as also the lord of Agincourt's force….

Great War Ace05 Apr 2015 2:35 p.m. PST

"One thousand year anniversary"… Hah! Caught on the fly, by Hastings, my favorite battle. SIX hundred years it has been….

Great War Ace06 Apr 2015 8:07 a.m. PST

I noticed this morning, that I did not assign a strength to the two mounted units of MAA on the French side. There will be less than 500 each, with, iirc, the right wing being a couple hundred stronger than the left, so, c. 400 cavalry on the French right, and c. 200 cavalry on the French left. The projected numbers assigned by the commanders demanded over a thousand on each wing, but apparently on the morning of the battle, insubordination saw most of these worthies on foot with the first "battle", rather than mounted as the OB expected of them. One reason why the mounted French attacks failed, therefore, is because there were not enough of them. Had they gone forward over a thousand strong each, either the death rate would have been multiplied, or, they would have reached the stakes in sufficient numbers to press into them: to what end result, no one can say.

But one replay of this battle I did allowed the full strength of c. a thousand cavalry each. And both wings were annihilated regardless. Most were eliminated during the charge by longbow shot, while the residue managed to reach the stakes, some were impaled, others shot down at pointblank range as they pressed through them, and the final denouement came at the hands of yeomen in a swift, decisive melee….

Great War Ace06 Apr 2015 8:28 a.m. PST

I've read your final write-up. Fun stuff.

I agree with your decision in future games to mass the French into huge "units". The historical "battles" ought to be adhered to, imho.

I'm not a fan of "commander ratings", or other modifiers affecting the combat value so much. A straight up comparison of relative armor values, and tactical considerations due to ground/terrain, and an "exhaustion" special "Agincourt rule", ought to turn the trick.

In our game, the English MAA/bills are in "thin line", i.e. only four ranks deep, while the archers are in a minimum of eight ranks, and even twice that depth. This is historical: the Gesta writer (an eyewitness) clearly states that the English MAA were only four ranks deep. It would spell the destruction of the English line under normal circumstances, as each MAA/bill figure would be taking on two, full-depth French figures. But, with the "exhaustion rule", the English figures fight at double combat value, or, conversely, the French fight at half combat value, once they finally arrive for melee. This makes the combat even in the first round, and for as long as the English retain their line without casualties. But each casualty in the English "battles" is a double hit, because it is like losing two figures, with nothing to replace them with, i.e. big holes appearing in their battle line. If the archers do not get "stuck in" with melee weapons immediately as the French arrive, the English will definitely lose this battle. That, too, is historical, according to the original sources, especially the Gesta….

Dalauppror07 Apr 2015 5:44 a.m. PST

Greate looking game !

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