Andre was commissioned with the task of choosing the terrain pieces and positioning them, before joining James in another club game of ‘Battlecry.’ Tony and Dave had the Mongols and Steve and I the Hungarians. The Mongols won the di roll for choice of table edge and choice of first or second deployment. These however, gave little or no advantage to the Mongols because Andre’s terrain was actually quite friendly to the Hungarian army. It had a very useful road network which would help the slow-moving Hungarian infantry and a fair number of areas of joined woodland, often straddling the roads. Plus, on the Hungarian side a useful 8 hex hill which, along with the woods, would give a good measure of protection to the ‘C’ class infantry and militia.
Our, or to be more accurate and fair to Steve, my Hungarian plan was to position our missile troops towards the flanks to as an insurance policy against any quick Mongol attacks and to push our infantry into the woodland areas using the road network following-up with our Hungarian knights. Hopefully, we could control the centre of the table and force the Mongols to fight in what was for them unsuitable terrain. The Mongols won the di roll for first move and used the light cavalry with their 5 hex movement to quickly advance on both wings.
In the belief that the Mongols would slow their advance and re-organise their formations during their next tactical movement phase, I ‘tinkered about’ shuffling the slow-moving Hungarian infantry to implement our/my aforementioned battle plan. Dave, however, hadn’t read the script! He continued the Mongol advance against my right wing and caught my mounted crossbows and militia units before I got them into position. The Mongol bow fire disrupted and recoiled units and trapped a general in a disrupted unit. On the left-wing Steve had already deployed and as a result Tony’s Mongols were content with forming a shooting line, their ambitions blunted by three units of Hungarian knights waiting in a line and ready to advance.
In our next tactical movement phase I tried to re-organise the units of my right wing into a more workable battle formation but so many militia units had been disrupted by shooting from Dave’s light Mongol units that I couldn’t change position or interchange front and rear units. My hope was that Dave would use his next movement phase to consolidate his position rather than continue his attack into would be unfavourable woodland terrain for the Mongols. Unfortunately, Dave again hadn’t read the script and he pushed his Mongol lights into hand-to-hand combat and launched 2 of the 5 Mongol heavy units into the attack.
What followed was 2 or 3 rounds of close quarter fighting in which my Hungarian right wing lost at least seven units of mostly militia but, mounted crossbow and archers as well. The decision to engage in hand-to-hand fighting resulted in the loss of 3 Mongol units, but this was a good strategic sacrifice as it pushed the Hungarians into a salient. The Hungarian knights couldn’t find a way through the mass of disrupted Hungarian infantry to attack the Mongol heavy cavalry and the Hungarian generals were trapped in combats.
As the Hungarian losses mounted and the situation was going from bad to worse, I asked Steve to send the 3 units of Hungarian knights and a general from his wing across to help. Steve was indignant, and he had every right to be so – having messed-up my side of the Hungarian army, I now wanted to squander his troops, leaving him without the precious units needed to hold off Tony’s Mongols on the left wing.
Tony simply followed the Hungarian knights with his Mongol light cavalry – shooting them from behind! The Mongols had by now turned both flanks and threatened to encircle what remained of the Hungarian army. The heavy cavalry now got to grips with each other – there were far less Hungarian infantry left to get in their way! The Mongols lost 2 units of heavy cavalry and Hungarians 4 plus 2 generals. The Hungarian infantry occupying the woods in the centre of the table were out of command and control and it was impossible for a general to get close enough to issue any orders. Without the help of these infantry the situation had become hopeless.
In a last futile gesture, we charged 2 units of Hungarian knights into the Mongol heavy cavalry. The dice gods weren’t with us, the Mongols held! Most of the remaining Hungarian units were now surrounded or had no general to command them. It was game over. We had been well and truly 'Mongolled'!
This game could be regarded as a perfect example of Mongol tactics – use the light horse on both flanks to draw the draw enemy into the heavy ‘jaguns’ in the centre. This manoeuvre is known as the ‘tulughma.’ What was most impressive was that Tony and Dave achieved this victory over what could be regarded as challenging terrain for Mongols who always preferred a more open battlefield.