The choice of terrain layout was, by tradition, given to a club member not involved in the game. The resulting layout had a Y shaped road pattern with a scattering of woods and hills in all but the central area of the table. There was also a 4-hex area of broken ground which would play a significant role in the game.
The Yorkist commanders (Chris and I), won the di roll for choice of table edge and deployed first. The Teutonic army (Tony and Dave), deployed second and moved first. The Yorkist army had 10 units of retinue longbow which we advanced in an unbroken line with billmen and mounted men-at-arms following closely behind in support. Both armies had 4 generals, and these were all kept out of range of the closing lines of missile troops. The Teutonic crossbows were equipped with pavisses and formed up in an unbroken line extending along the forward slope of an 8-hex hill, through an area of broken ground and into a wood.
The 4 units of Teutonic mounted crossbows were deployed facing the extreme left of our line. To counter this dangerous threat, in our first tactical movement phase we divided our longbow line and started to shuffle our missile troops across to confront these. This left a hole in our centre which we filled with mounted men-at-arms and one of our precious generals. This proved too much of a temptation to for the Teutonic commanders who advanced their line of crossbows, leaving their pavisses behind in order to shoot away our men-at-arms and disrupt their general. Thankfully their shooting was poor, and they had no effect. Chris and I, in response had to charge our mounted knights into the aforementioned crossbow in our subsequent tactical movement phase. If we hadn’t done so we would have received another cloud of crossbow bolts in the next shooting phase. The crossbows were swept away but Teutonic spear units were waiting behind!
The charge heralded the commencement of hand-to-hand combat at various points along the closing lines. The Yorkist bill and longbow attacked the right of the Teutonic line where the mounted crossbow were unable to manoeuvre in restricted terrain. The billmen pushed these aside only to be stopped in the woods by very stubborn units of Teutonic spears. This was the start of an infantry struggle which was to last an hour!
On the other flank a unit of Teutonic knights threatened to out-flank Chris’s Yorkist infantry. This left 3 units of Teutonic knights facing 6 units of Yorkist men-at-arms in the centre. This lack of balance proved vital as one of our unit of knights was sucked into the area of broken ground and destroyed and another was trapped in the road and lost. All in all, the Yorkists experienced a very bad round of hand-to-hand combat in the centre. The remaining heavy knights of both sides were now thrown against each other. One unit of Teutonic knights destroyed everything in front of it, which unfortunately took it into an area of woodland. Fighting as if disrupted it was eventually surrounded and destroyed by three units of Yorkist billmen.
The Yorkist longbows had proved totally ineffective and the Teutonic spear units dispatched large numbers of them. However, one incredibly stubborn unit of Chris’s longbow did hold its woodland hex for three combat phases against a unit of Teutonic spears. The missile troops of both sides had by this stage given way to the bill and spear units battling hand-to-hand. The tide of battle swung in favour of the Yorkists, then back to the Teutons and back again. Key combats, would despite many reverses, finally go in favour of the Yorkists. Ironically, the Yorkist units and generals fought best when they had major command and control problems and couldn’t move any units! It seemed the combat dice were compensating for failings in our generalship!
The glorious charge of a unit of Yorkist mounted knights and general came to an abrupt end - it was trapped and destroyed by the last undisrupted Teutonic general and 2 units of knights. The roll of 12 on the 2xD6 combat dice was fair justice, because the combat dice had decidedly favoured the Yorkists in the last few rounds of combat. The Teutonic army was down to its last general, the Yorkist billmen and last 2 remaining units of mounted men-at-arms advanced against the remainder of the Teutonic army to claim victory.
This was in every way a battle of equals. Either of these very tough armies could have won from the middle of the game onwards. Poor shooting dice on the Teutonic side provided opportunities which the Yorkists exploited. However, the epic hand-to-hand combats did, on balance, also favour the Yorkist army which seemed to win most of the back against the wall, must win, combats in the latter stages. Round 2 of this game, with exactly the same armies, must be re-fought soon over a different random terrain layout.