After two weeks of trying out Rick’s feudal Japanese figures and playing around with a rules set with no historical battle Rick prepared a historical battle for the club to try. Using Kantana II rules now as we started with the first edition of the rules set now a few charts and rules were different. The rules being written for 15mm figures and the club is using 25mm figures has forced a slight modification on distances for movement and fire.
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Del and I made up the black force which had the goal of protecting the cross roads leading to Nagashino Castle. Brian and Rick were attacking with the advance guard of the red force. Each side had a mix of infantry of different qualities and cavalry. The defending force had light cover behind a fence line. The Red force attaching had defensive mantlets they could move and fire through.
The beginning of the game just saw the long-range missile fire from both sides and Brian and Rick moved their forces slowly up towards the objective of the crossroads. Missile fire being composed of archers and matchlock muskets. In the center of the battlefield it was very hard to score much damage on the missile troops of Brian and Rick’s as they were protected by the mantlets. I will say that is what they were for and they were doing the job. If the rolls had been better for the Red side I think the black forces would have been forced to make more morale rolls but luckily that was not the case.
On the defenders left flank I used several move cards to reposition the cavalry and support them with an infantry unit of samurai. This put the mounted samurai in range of some of Brian’s bowmen and I took several casualties. Deciding to try to do something about this force of bowmen that I saw as threat my cavalry commander issued a challenge on the next cavalry card to the leader of the archers.
I had no idea of the rating for the leader but knew my leader was a +1 so felt the odds were at least even for me. Brian’s leader turned out to be rated as 0 so I was left with a slight advantage in rating and that my leader was mounted and Brian’s was not. Mounted leaders can take 6 wounds and non-mounted 5 wounds. Decided to try my luck with the dice as I held a slight edge I felt because of the number of wounds I could take.
First round of single combat resulted in two wounds on Brian’s leader and none on mine. Next round I inflicted 2 more wounds rolling a 9 again but Brian rolled a Retreat so my leader was forced to retreat and go down a level from +1 to 0. Meanwhile Brian’s leader went up a level from 0 to +1. I had hoped to force the archers to move back either because of loss of leader or the leader breaking off and a failure of morale. Even though I got within one of killing him my leader lacked the resolve to see it through or the dice were with Brian. It was a chance and I took it as I did not want to face all that long distance fire.
Del moved up his foot archers in the center and horse archers on the opposite flank from me to try to inflict more damage as the enemy closed with us. The missile fire from matchlocks and archers definitely was starting to hurt some of my units as I had several 1 casualty from taking morale rolls. Del was able to shoot over the mantlets with his foot archers so that was better for the defenders. As I just waited for the enemy on the defender left flank waiting for the enemy cavalry which now had halted after advancing for several cards.
Del meanwhile fired his mounted archers at a unit of foot that had advanced towards the flank out of long-range. Scoring several hits one was rolled for and killed the commander forcing a morale roll by Rick. Rick made the morale roll very convincingly with a 12. More casualties followed with the first morale roll also a 12 but the second time a morale roll was forced the penalty of not having a leader and over 20% loss took its toll. The unit was forced to retreat one full move.
At that point we stopped for the night. I am not sure it is historically accurate for the defending force to just wait for the opposition behind a light fence and shoot away but it seems as though making the attackers come to you would be better than running out and attacking a superior force. We both have been taking the casualties from various types of missile fire with the attackers mantlets really help protect the matchlock troops in the center. Perhaps I will need to get more aggressive to save myself from being slowly shot away from distance. As a defender it seems counter intuitive and I feel like I am being drawn out but I must remember this is a different period not ACW or Napoleonic. Next week we will continue the battle and I will need evaluate what I can do in the meantime.
Rick again deserves credit for the nicely painted figures and setting up the battle. It was an enjoyable evening and perhaps I can get the handle of what my forces are really capable of soon.