Saxons Vs. Normans, 1067

Played in January 2008, this battle pitted a Norman force under Lars the Semi-Duke against an ambush by the crafty Saxon rebel Lelandstan. On this day, the Normans fielded:

Lying in wait, Lelandstan had:

Most units contained a 3-stripe heavily armored leader type.

The idea behind the scenario revolved around an overconfident, careless Norman column hastening northward to react to some unspecified threat. As they pass through an apparently abandoned village in a wooded, hilly area, Lelanstan sprang his carefully laid out ambush.......

- On the figureless table, the Saxons were allowed to designate where the lead Norman unit would be when the ambush sprang (this is the amber bead on the bridge)
- The Normans then set up all their units in column along the road
- The Saxons then set up all their units as if they were springing from cover, no closer than 5" to either side of the road

- Cards were then turned to see who moved/reacted first

- The rest is history


The scene of the battle, with the south-west corner of the battlefield at the bottom of the picture. The scenario demanded that the Normans traverse the road, from south to north, getting as many troops off as possible.
The overconfident Normans advance - Crossbowmen leading, Spearmen following. The mounted knights came up next with the sword-and-axemen drawing up the rear. The archers were sprinkled along the rear half of the line.
Another view of the Norman column, taken from behind the last unit.
When the Normans reached the small bridge, the Saxons sprang their ambush, boiling out of the woods, hamlets and caves.
To the right of the head of the Norman column, the Saxon Huscarles form a shield wall and prepare to advance. The Normans are forming their own shield wall at this point. At the head of the column, the Spearman turn back-to-back, 1/3 facing the lightly armed Saxons to the west, intending to hold them in place, while a double row faces the Huscarles to the east. The crossbowmen are pelting both Saxon formations. Just visible at the bottom are the remainder of the Saxons boiling out of the cave to the east of the road. The slingers from this group begin pelting the Norman rear.
Looking west from behind the Saxon Huscarles. The Normans are in the distance.
The Norman shieldwall.
The Saxon left charges the Normans, concentrating on the exposed crossbowen, who perish quickly to the deft Saxon spearmen. Meanwhile, the remainder of the Norman spear close with the Huscarle shieldwall. A terrific pushing, shoving, jabbing and insult match ensues which lasts for several turns.
Meanwhile, to the rear, the Norsemen stay in cover in the hamlet and are content to rain arrows and insults down on the Norman horsemen. Two chagrined knights die this way before the Norman archers form a screen, covering the horsemen who then advance toward the second bridge. A lucky Norman bowshot picks off the Norsemen's standard, which will hamper them the rest of the game. Off in the other direction, the sword-and-axemen advance up the hill and drive the Saxon light infantry out of the caves and woods. These latter troops rally and reform behind the hill later.
The critical moment of the battle. The Norman spear are making short work of the Saxon Fyrd to the west of the road, eventually outflanking them. As the Normans are holding their own against the Huscarles, Some of the spearmen shift from the battle with the Huscarles back across the road to engage the Fyrd, which breaks. The few survivors flee across the bridge. Shortly after that the Huscarles decide to pull back and regroup. To the rear, the Norman cavalry is crossing the second bridge while the spear-and-axemen slog through rough terrain as they advance northward. A swordsman points the way.
As the cavalry continues to thread across the second bridge, and as the Norman spearmen reform a shieldwall to either side of the bridge, the sword-and-axemen angle back to the road in order to come up behind the archers, who are now facing the Norsemen essentially unsupported.
The sword-and-axemen move up the road toward the bridge, which is being held by the spearmen. On the other side of the bridge, the few remaining Saxon Fyrd are contesting with a few spearmen who have been sent to clear them.
The sword-and-axemen make contact with the spearmen holding the bridge
Meanwhile, the Norsemen have noticed the vulnerable archers, charging in an attempt to take as many down as possible. However, just because they are unarmored does not make them bad swordsmen, and the archers actually repell the first Norseman charge, with casualties on both sides. However, the Norsemen gather themselves up and re-enter the frey before the archers can move off. This picture shows the Norseman after regrouping and re-attacking. Nine of the ten archers are hewn down. Unfortunately, the Norsemen continue onward (they are Norsemen after all) and cut down two of the trailing Norman sword-and-axemen. This parcipitates a charge from the remaining Normans who cut the extended Norsemen to pieces.
The last moments of the battle. The Norse flee back into the hamlet, while the Saxon Huscarles and light troops regroup. The Norman spearmen hold the bridge waiting for the remainder of the sword-and-axemen. The sole Norman archer crosses the 2nd bridge, while the mounted knights sweep around and dispatch the last of the Saxon Fyrd contesting the bridge.
The Norsemen retire back into the hamlet. A Norman thanks them for their participation with one final maternally related allegory.
The death of the Saxon Fyrd leader at the hands of the Norman Cavalry. At this, the Saxons faded back into the woods, and Lars the Semiduke continued his northward advance.

At the end of the day, the Normans succeeded in driving off the Saxons, but not without casualties. Fourteen of their fifteen missile troops perished, while the foot knight units lost another 8-10 men between them. Two horsemen were killed as well.

The Saxons suffered somewhat more seriously. The Greater Fyrd was totally destroyed and the Norsemen suffered very heavily. Further, three unit leaders perished, which contributed greatly to the Saxon retirement.

A good time was had by all, and thanks to my game bud for his hospitality!