Saturday, October 16, 2010

DSB Part 4. Saving Karl Grubenhagen

The story so far;

2nd June 1409

Rebellion has gripped the eastern provinces of the Deutsche Ordenstaat, and faithful brother-knight Lothar von Schöenberg has found himself at odds with the leadership of the Teutonic Order. Rushing to the assistance of helpless German farmers against the pitiless Lithuanian uprising, Lothar has found his superiors to be largely indifferent to the suffering of their fellow Germans and far more interested in protecting their own assets and those of their holy order.

Now Lothar, his brother Maximillian and their friend Albrecht Mannsfeld have become aware of a conspiracy of silence amongst senior members of the order concerning a massacre in the village of Pinnow. Only one person can help the three knights discover the truth, but Brother Knight Karl Grubenhagen has been placed under house arrest at an out of the way farm near Rudau.

Together with three other like minded Brother Knights; Lorentz Wolfenbüttel, Heinrich von Lüneberg and Jörgen Billung, Lothar, Maximilian and Albrecht decide to gather together a clandestine raiding party and free Karl Grubenhagen. Each of the knights chooses a few trusted foot soldiers from their personal retinue and dresseed nondescript, they make their way to the farm. Upon their arrival however, they are surprised to learn that the farm is being used as a billet for the retinue of a powerful German knight named Dieter Anschütz-Kaempfe von Beyrich and that of another Knight, Adam August von Eschenmayer.

Lothar hesitates for neither of these two knights are members of the Deustche Orden, but are members of the Court of the German King Ruprecht and their presence implies a great many things. Having previously learned from another Knight of the Royal Court, Ulrich von Kunitz, that King Ruprecht is seriously ill and will probably not be able to assist the Ordenstaat in the face of an inevitable confrontation with the Poles and Lithuanians, Lothar realises that he has probably stumbled across circumstantial evidence of a conspiracy between the leaders of the Ordenstaat and high standing members of the Royal Court of Germany. To what end these men have conspired is not apparent, but what is obvious is that only by freeing Karl Grubenhagen will the truth be revealed.



All terrain is rough unless otherwise marked. Roads are good. Building interiors are filled with gear and furniture, so are difficult.



Player One: Oleg

Lothar von Schöenberg (Ritterbruder)
Maximillian von Schöenberg (Halbbruder)
Albrecht Mannsfeld (Diendebruder)
6 x Archer
6 x Skirmisher
Karl Grubenhagen (unarmed)

Player Two: Goeg

Heinrich von Lüneberg (Ritterbruder)
Lorentz Wolfenbüttel (Halbbruder)
Jörgen Billung (Halbbruder)
6 x Archer
6 x Skirmisher

Player Three: Jan

Dieter Anschütz-Kaempfe von Beyrich (Knight)
4 x Spears/cavalry
4 x Arbalestiers
8 x Skirmishers

Player Four: Palle

Adam August von Eschenmayer (Knight)
8 x Spears/cavalry



Players one and two may decide what time of day they choose to attack, and they may begin in any order, in any round from any edge of the map. Once an element has arrived on the table however, it cannot leave again without being defeated.

Players three and four set up in the farm and may place four sentries each, any where on the table top. All other elements must be inside, or within six inches of a farm building. All elements belonging to players three and four must be on the table top from round one.


Victory conditions

Players 1 & 2 win by finding and freeing Karl Grubenhagen.
Players 3 & 4 win by preventing them.


Special Rules

Karl Grubenhagen must be hidden in a building. He is not tied up as his captors regard him as a gentleman and do not anticipate a rescue attempt. He can be freed simply by removing any guards allowing him to run for it

Players three and four may place four sentries each, any where on the table top. These can be hidden, using the standard stealth rules.

There are six horses tethered in the farm house and eight more around the courtyard. The later can be mounted at the cost of five rounds, from the moment the alarm is given

There are four pigs in the sty they may raise a slight noise if disturbed. Their perception is +1.


Write up

This game was played on thursday 14th Oct. 2010.
Participants were; Oleg, Goeg, Jan & Palle.

The Teuton's decided to approach the farm under the cover of darkness, then attack using the early morning sun as blinding cover against enemy archers. This plan seemed sound, but it had a slight flaw, von Beyrich had placed sentries outside the farm and one of these was in the way of the approaching Teuton archers. The wind was high and cloud cover almost complete, so when two archers approaching from the east stumbled into the sentry at the break in the paddock wall (see second image), neither side had a clear idea what they were facing and when the sentry jumped around the wall, not sure what to expect, he bumped into an archer who took to his heels and fled in panic.

The sentry realised that something was amiss so he ran back to the farm shouting the alarm. The rest of von Schöenberg's archers quickly shot him in the back however so the people at the farm were unsure as to what exactly was going on.

The table top (with Oleg, Palle & Goeg)

First contact

Von Beyrich's (Jan) men realise something is wrong...

...but von Schöenberg's (Oleg) men are too good at hiding in the dark and remain unseen

Meanwhile, von Beyrich's second hidden sentry who was hiding to the north of the farm and watching the road, was noticed by von Lüneberg's skirmishers as they crept closer across the fields. They tried to shoot him, but missed and the sentry, blinded by the darkness and deaf due to the howling wind, didn't even notice he was being shot at. Only when a second, larger group of von Lüneberg's men approached from the north did the second sentry realise he was in danger. He made a dash for the farm... but was also cut down.

By now the men at the farm were aware that something was up and von Eschenmayer wasted no time. He ordered his men to saddle up and ride straight for the enemy. Which they did. Von Eschenmayer and two of his cavalry charged around one end of the farm house and out into the darkness whilst two others tried to go round the other way, jumping the paddock walls as they went and cutting through the trees.

Von Lüneberg (Goeg) launches a diversionary attack from the north

Von Eschenmayer (Palle) sallies forth to do battle with Von Lüneberg's skirmishers

Von Eschenmayer's attack proved to be some what rash however as the paddock walls and von Schöenberg's archers dissolved the second flank whilst von Eschenmayer himself soon got bogged down fighting skirmishers in the dark. Whilst this was happening, von Beyrich was mustering his sleep addled men in the farm courtyard whilst von Eschenmayer's remainig cavalry were still mounting up.

Arrow fire was coming in from multiple directions but von Beyrich and von Eschenmayer's men couldn't see from where. The night was too dark and confusion reigned. Von Beyrich stayed in the courtyard until he had a clear target to attack.

Von Schöenberg then attacked the farm from the south (see image below), approaching in a line with flanking skirmishers and von Eschenmayer's remaining cavalry wheeled to engage them.

Having lured many of the guards away, Lothar von Schöenberg launches his main attack on the farm house

Von Eschenmayer 's rear gaurd turns to engage von Schöenberg

Von Eschenmayer was dragged from his horse by von Lüneberg's skirmishers and foot knights and this left the defenders with something of a problem. Von Beyrich was still holding the courtyard which was being attacked by von Schöenberg, but he was also taking fire from the darkness. He opted to clear out the archers then wheel about and attack von Schöenberg, either in the courtyard or from behind, depending on how well von Eschenmayer's remining cavalry held.

Alas it was not to be. The game ended before von Beyrich could carry out his plan.

Von Eschenmayer had been defeated and neither side had a significant loss of forces but essentially it was a victory for the defenders, as their prisoner remained in the farm house.

Von Eschenmayer's initial attack ends in defeat

Von Beyrich charges into the dark to find and kill the snipers who were pestering him


Oleg said...

I was a bit concerned that the sides were unbalanced (the defenders had the option of horses), but it worked out fairly well.

The attackers failed for 2 reasons:

The scouts and sentries bumping into one another scuttled our strategy, so we had to switch to cunning plan B.

This was for Heinrich von Lüneberg (Goeg) to lure as many horsemen away from the farm buildings as possible, allowing Lothar von Schöenberg (myself) face a smaller force.
Adam August von Eschenmayer (Palle) fell for it, but alas Dieter Anschütz-Kaempfe von Beyrich (Moif) remembered his objective.

The problem, from the attackers' point of view, was that there was no time when von Eschenmayer's troops were far enough away, before von Beyrich's mounted men were... mounted.

This left von Schöenberg facing a few, good quality, mounted troops in the good going between the houses. I don't think that, without a run of good luck, he could have prevailed.
(Granted von Beyrich had to get back from chasing archers, but he would have made it in time.
Von Schöenberg had more archers moving up as well, but I doubt if they could have been fast enough.)

The diversion worked, but not well enough.
The attackers had various archers hidden in bushes, but this was a calculated risk: They were superb for breaking up the defenders who rode out, but not far enough forward to support the main attack.

So, sorry Goeg. Your diversion was excellent, but my attack wasn't decisive enough.
Moif was also a cool and canny foe, who didn't make any mistakes.

moif said...

I'll make another game as a back up and post it on the DSB blog when I get an evening to spare. I've not written a conclusion for this game yet, so the new game intro will probably start with that.

I've bumped up my figure painting schedule as a consequence of this game so I have more options in future games.

Palle "Nybyggeren" said...

Clausewitz prescribes concentration of force when surrounded by superior numbers. The alternative was to be mown down by archers as we usually do. Better concentrate in one swift attack and wipe those archers. Then come back and reinforce or relieve the beleagured guards in the farmhouse. Our opponents were on foot, we were mounted. And I definately felt that Jan played too cautiously by not circling the farm ASAP to catch the footies in a pincer; instead our forces got whittled down. A longer game would, IMO, have seen us defeated by our own cautious play. Attacking is the only effective way of defeating archers; if you stand around, you die. The clock, not our strategy, defeated our opponents.

Palle "Nybyggeren" said...

Though one can also say that my bold play and gambling that I could get cavalry past the archers was too costly. As I see it, archers you run over or you die.

moif said...

Your forgetting the little detail of my movement pips, or lack there of. As long as I was rolling ones, then I wasn't going around the farm house and exposing my officer to arrow fire from the back.

If the game had continued a few more rounds I would have dealt with the archers, concentrated my inf in the courtyard and ridden around the back of the farm house. Oleg would have been envoloped.

With regards to Clausewitz. Fair enough, excpet you didn't actually concentrate your force. You rode off into the dark with your officer at the fore supported by just two cav, leaving the bulk of your forces scattered.

Never mind though, we won and your still leading the 'winners league'.

It looks like we might be playing a few more DSB games in the next few months as since Tracey has dropped out, we don't have a prepared counter campaign to Oleg's Colder War. Thus, the next DBS game should be on the 4th November.