Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Part Five. Ambush

3rd June. 1409.

Lothar von Schöenberg and his men rest up in the early dawn light. Their attack on the farm house at Pinnow was thwarted and whilst their remaing men squat in the early morning light catching their breath Otto Bierhoff approaches the knights with a grave face.
"We lost seven men, three of them are dead"
"Verdamt!" Lothar slams a gauntlet against his armoured thigh. "We must rescue Grubenhagen, he's the only one who can tell us whats going on!"
Heinrich von Lüneberg places his hand on Lothar's shoulder. He is the next ranking Brother Knight in the group but in age and bearing he is second to none.
"Oh Brother of mine. We shall rescue Karl or die in the attempt. He is one of our Order, betrayed, and we must not suffer our fears or fatigue to allow such a thing. I know of many local men who can aid us. Let me gather some allies and then we will return and triumph if God wills it, or find von Beyrich on the road if he tries to flee..."

Lothar looks about his men and finds each and every face firm and resolute.
"It shall be as you suggest Brother Heinrich, but it pains me to wage war upon my fellow Germans whilst all across the Ordenstaat, rebellion simmers. I must assume these gentlemen of the Royal Court are engaged in foul deeds that they hold captive a true and loyal brother of the German Order".
Heinrich von Lüneberg nods solemnly. "It is a foul day indeed, but we must d what must be done!"
The men murmur their agreement and Lothar orders several to accompany von Lüneberg.
"We meet tonight at the crossroads by the broken tree!"


The screams of the man on the ground suddenly cease as the arrow is finally pulled from his ankle and he faints. Sitting on his horse, von Beyrich watches with a glum countenance.
"Roland!" he calls to his trusted sergeant-at-arms.
"My Lord?" the sturdy soldier replies, marching across the farm yard.
"Roland, we need to move away from this place as soon as possible. We shall travel to Memel at once."
"Yes My Lord!"
"Round up some willing locals and some means to transport the prisoner."
Roland looks down at the moaning man on the ground. Another soldier is tending to the dreadful wound in the man's ankle.
"What about the wounded My Lord?"
"We shall leave them here with von Eschenmayer for now. We can send carts and a doctor to fetch them later on, but for now our priority is to prevent our attackers from taking the prisoner... I wish I knew who they were working for. This attack was a most unpleasant surprise."
"Indeed My Lord."
Adam August von Eschenmayer staggers from the farm house, a crossbow in one hand and a quiver full of bolts in the other. "I am going with you" he states.
"How so?" von Beyrich replies.
"Roland. Send a man to the schloss Ortenstein and request the ue of their carriage. The Baron is an old friend of mine and it will not take more than a few hours."
Roland looks to his lord and master, but von Beyrich merely shrugs.
"As you wish Lord Eschenmayer" Roland hurries away to make the arrangements.
"Why are you doing this?" von Beyrich asks. "You should stay here and recover yourself. Go and visit the schloss Ortenstein perhaps"
"No." Von Eschenmayer replies. "If they come again, I want my revenge! I shall guard Grubenhagen and ensure he does not escape."


Later that same day Heinrich von Lüneberg rendezvous's with Lothar and his compatriots at the cross roads. The sun has passed from the sky and as its last rays fade, the shadows are long.
"What news Lothar?"
Von Schöenberg emerges from the undergrowth and removes his helmet. On the road behind von Lüneberg he sees a grup of local men bearing weapons.
"There is no news as yet. Either thay have taken a different road or they are still at the farm house. We have set up an ambush though and I anticipate an engagement some time soon."
"I suggest we send some runners to gather more information" von Lüneberg says. Lothar nods, tiredness evident in his every movement. After he has dispatched four of his local skirmishers, von Lüneberg looks to his friend.
"You are tired. How far is it to the ambush?"
"Only a short distance"
"Take me there, and then you must rest"
The two knights make their way through the gathering darkness, followed by the locals who mutter amongst themselves and passing a wine sack.



All terrain is rough except the road which is good, the stream which is difficult, or unless otherwise marked.



Player One: Palle

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)
3 x Archer
8 x Skirmisher (locals)

Player Three: Oleg

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

Player Four: Jan

Roland (Sergeant-at-arms)
2 x Spears/cavalry
2 x Skirmisher/light horse
8 x Skirmisher (locals)



Lothar and his men have rested during the night, as have von Beyrich's. Both sides are up early and ready for any eventuality.

Players one and two begin by positioning their troops on the table.
Players three and four arrive in column on road, at the western edge of the table


Victory conditions

Players one and two win by rescuing Karl Grubenhagen (note player one controls Grubenhagen) or by defeating two thirds of their opponents force.

Baron Ortenstein and his men have become aware of the conflict and are roaming the countryside nearby. If the game is undecided at its close, it iassumed that Lothar and his men have been forced to withdraw by the imminent approach of the local Baron. In this situation players three and four win by default.


Special rules

Players one and two may place a fallen tree across the road if they wish, or they may arrange for a tree to fall once a signal is given. Furthermore, they may also place 2+ 1d6 booby traps on the map.


Write up

Palle and Goeg set up traps and positioned their forces for a surprise attack, and then the game began with two of von Beyrich's riders moving along the road ahead of the column and scouting the terrain. In doing so, they managed to discover the ambush before it could begin, and before the caravan had properly arrived on the table. The ambush essentially lost its surprise advantage and went off 'half cocked'.

The carriage and the wagon behind it moved off the road to create a barrier to protect von Beyrich's men (see image above), but as the fight had essentially begun, most of the defenders were scattered around outside the protection of the make shift 'lager'. Of the two cavalry riders who had discovered the ambush, one was quickly brought down by arrows and the other sped away as fast as possible up the road. This looked like he was fleeing but he was simply doing what light horse always do; hit n' run. Over the course of the game, whilst the battle raged at one end of the table, this lone rider ducked and dodged at the other end and took out three of Heinrich von Lüneberg's men. He subsequently became the games highest scoring element.

Arrows were speeding left and right as the ambush erupted and the attackers adapted to the situation. Their initial plan was disrupted, but they still had the advantage of longer range weapons and more missile troops. Von Beyrich's arbelstiers attempted to return fire and were moderately succesful, but sitting in the carriage with von Eschenmayer, who was taking pot shots out the carriage windows with his crossbow, Karl Grubenhagen was simply biding his time. When the attackers shot up the carriage, killing both horses and its driver, Grubenhagen took his chance and jumped out.

Suddenly, the defenders realised their prisoner was fleeing and several of the foot soldiers defied enemy arrow fire and attempted to grab the feeling men. Holding the road, von Beyrich became aware of the situation and urged his horse up the slope, but too no avail. Grubenhagen ran like a hare and his rescuers covered him (Grubenhagen can be seen in the upper left of the above image, in a red cloak, running off behind Lothar's skirmish line). The game ended with a victory for Lothar von Schöenberg and his bretheren as they all slipped away into the undergrowth leaving Dieter Anschütz-Kaempfe von Beyrich and his men in total disarray and still wondering who their attackers actually were...


It was a good game, but brief, and some what predictable. Nonetheless I had fun, and I promise that next time, I will have a thespian intro!


For the aftermath of this game, read the Testimony of Karl Grubenhagen

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