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Using dismounted knights
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Mark Stone
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PostPosted: Tue Jul 11, 2006 6:46 pm    Post subject: Using dismounted knights

The following tactic has been available in our system since at least the midway point of WRG7. The problem is that the rules involved have been so vaguely worded as to make the tactic risky to use in a high stakes tournament where vaguely worded rules might be interpreted in an unexpected manner. Just as an example, there was a point in WRG7 (7.2, maybe?) where the rules described what happened when a mounted staff element joined a mounted body, and a mounted staff element joined a foot body, but nothing that described what happened when a foot staff element joined a foot body. You could make a reasonable extrapolation from the mounted-mounted case of course, but it was just that: an extrapolation. The rules didn't say anything specific, and a literalist might indeed have argued that foot staff elements therefore could not join foot bodies.

Those days, thankfully, are gone, and the veil of Barkeresque fog has been lifted. The new rule book is quite specific on almost all aspects of staff element behavior, and clear on all aspects that pertain to this tactic.

Here's the example: You are playing Medieval French, and playing against some semi-historical opponent who has longer sticks than you do (Swiss, various Germans, Italian Condotta,.. ). An enemy unit of pikemen is bearing down in the open on your 4 stand unit of Brigans, Irr C LMI JLS,Sh in a 1x4 column.

On the bound in question, you must approach first. You approach your LMI to within 80p of his pikes, and happen to have an SHK staff element nearby (within 40p of the rear of your LMI). Seeing that you are not in skirmish, and have now forgone your opportunity to counter or retire, your opponent gleefully presses forward with his pikes now 40p away from your LMI.

In mounted approaches, your general prompts himself to dismount your staff element and move it 40p to join your LMI. You now have a steady body in a 1 x 5 column with a front rank of Irr A SHI 2HCW, and back ranks of Irr C LMI JLS,Sh, ready to charge impetuously and successfully into the pikes.

This works because:
    - Dismounting is one maneuver, leaving irregulars 40p of movement;
    - Joining is not a maneuver, and happens for free;
    - Even though you are disordered for dismounting, upon joining you take on the state of the body joined, which is steady;
    - Being a foot staff element joining foot, you are inserted in the front rank of the joined body;
    - Unlike a detachment joining a parent body, the fact that you have exceeded your tactical move distance in performing this does not make you ineligible to charge.

To an opponent who has never seen this tactic used before, it may seem a bit cheesy. In my opinion, however, this is how things ought to work, how they have been meant to work since the early days of 7th, and squares quite well with the historical record of how a small bodyguard of knights interacted with supporting feudal foot in any number of prominent Medieval battles.

I love Medieval French as an army, just not so much as an army list. It's pretty tenuous even against historical opponents (not that that's unrealistic; historically, the French had a pretty tenuous track record). So it's nice to see clarified any tactical possibilities that can help these heroes to victory.

For the sake of completeness, here's a first round of combat assuming even die rolls in the above example, and assuming the pikes are HI or LHI in the front. Keep in mind, the French have roughly a 40% chance of rolling up, with +1 becoming +3 for the front rank, and only about a 25% chance of rolling down, since the general negates 1 point on a down roll:
French front rank: 2HCW vs. HI = 5 +1 (charging) +1 (impetuous) -2 (facing pike) = 5. 4@5 = 16.
French second rank: Other vs. HI = 2 +1 (JLS) +1 (charging) +2 (impetuous) -2 (facing pike) = 4. 2@4 = 6.
French total: 16 +6 = 22.
Pikes: 8@0=8.
Pikes lose and become disordered, and may rout or be broken through if the French roll up. Note that even pikes eligible to charge in the face of impetuous foot will lose in this situation, being only 12@1 = 18.

Of course this ain't all that easy to set up, and an opponent who sees it coming will take appropriate precautions. It is a nice trick to have in the bag, however, and does make those Brigans somewhat more useful. Playing the French probably feels a bit like the "Greek" feels playing his hoplite armies: yeah, you know the odds are somewhat stacked against you going in, but you're scraping for every advantage you can find, and it's glorious when you can make it all work.


-Mark Stone
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joncleaves
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PostPosted: Tue Jul 11, 2006 7:11 pm    Post subject:

Next week, please everyone buy all your gens as SHK staff elements and keep them within 40p of your LMI!

Just some levity, Mark....lol

I am indeed pleased to have finally sorted it out - and it is cool and I have even done it. But its *does* require both a lot of planning and expense for a small gain and some cooperation from the enemy....

Jon

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Dave Markowitz
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PostPosted: Wed Jul 12, 2006 12:41 am    Post subject: I don't think so!

Mark and John:

Mark's example is not legal under the rules. Specifically, Mark's example calls for the Brigans and the staff element to move during approaches. As Frank reminded me years ago, that is a no no under the rules. Specifically, page 19 of the rulebook says "Joining may be done in any movement phase but one of the two bodies (unit or staff element) must not move during that phase)."

With that one exception, the rest of the example looks Kosher. However, the move requires a lot more cooperation from your enemy when only the Brigans or the staff element can move to join.

Come on boys, shake off that rust -- only a week before Historicon. Razz Razz Dave.

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Dave Markowitz
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PostPosted: Wed Jul 12, 2006 12:42 am    Post subject: I don't think so!

Mark and John:

Mark's example is not legal under the rules. Specifically, Mark's example calls for the Brigans and the staff element to move during approaches. As Frank reminded me years ago, that is a no no under the rules. Specifically, page 19 of the rulebook says "Joining may be done in any movement phase but one of the two bodies (unit or staff element) must not move during that phase)."

With that one exception, the rest of the example looks Kosher. However, the move requires a lot more cooperation from your enemy when only the Brigans or the staff element can move to join.

Come on boys, shake off that rust -- only a week before Historicon. Razz Razz Dave.

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Bill Chriss
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PostPosted: Wed Jul 12, 2006 2:06 am    Post subject:

Mark is quite right about how the Greek feels Smile , but summer in Warrior is like politics in the fall: hope springs eternal! Every summer each of us, I suspect, thinks that maybe this will be the year he consistently rolls up 2, and (in my case) stops making dumb mistakes Laughing

And then guys like Dave come along and remind us why they are the ones who win!! I don't think I'll ever knock off enough rust, Dave Cool . But, after 20 years of plodding, I will finally be able to say that I've been beaten by an even more talented class of opponent, this being my first NICT!

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Dave Markowitz
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PostPosted: Wed Jul 12, 2006 2:37 am    Post subject:

Well, in the interest of full disclsoure. . . Frank "reminded" me of this rule when I was trying to do a move just like Mark's example during the team tourney at Cold Wars. I was trying to have an elephant joint the front of a LC unit, but had both units move. Frank pointed out the relevant language, which made the move illegal. But for that little experience, I'm not so sure this rule would be on the tip of my toungue.

See you next week.

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Mark Stone
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PostPosted: Wed Jul 12, 2006 3:29 am    Post subject:

Dave Markowitz wrote:
Well, in the interest of full disclsoure. . . Frank "reminded" me of this rule when I was trying to do a move just like Mark's example during the team tourney at Cold Wars. I was trying to have an elephant joint the front of a LC unit, but had both units move. Frank pointed out the relevant language, which made the move illegal. But for that little experience, I'm not so sure this rule would be on the tip of my toungue.

See you next week.


Nice catch, Dave. You're absolutely right. Change the example to have the Brigans sit and wait for the pikes to approach them, and everything else works the same, though.

As Jon says, not exactly a tactic to build a battle plan around. But it is a small edge you can get under the right circumstances with a staff element of SHK. That being said, I'd only try it with knight armies that need that extra gimmick, like Medieval French.


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Tim Grimmett
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PostPosted: Wed Jul 12, 2006 4:32 pm    Post subject:

Are the knights still IA? I thought irregulars lost a morale grade for dismounting. Or are knights exempt from that?

Jon--

New idea. Warrior quiz. Someone (speaking authioritatively, so it might have to be you) comes up with situations like the above and post it. We get to dissect (with rules references) our analysis of legality of the move. HS or PHD-level .

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Mark Stone
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PostPosted: Wed Jul 12, 2006 4:54 pm    Post subject:

Tim Grimmett wrote:
Are the knights still IA? I thought irregulars lost a morale grade for dismounting. Or are knights exempt from that?


Knights do not lose a morale grade when dismounting. Neither to chariots, as I recall (not that I've ever seen anyone use dismounted chariots).


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Frank Gilson
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PostPosted: Wed Jul 12, 2006 5:06 pm    Post subject: yup...

That sneaky Markowitz tried to move up an elephant proof LC unit and then join the CinC elephant to it in a forward position, ready to charge! Wink

He clearly didn't intend to break any rule. Rarely used sections of the rules, especially involving things infrequently done, are hard to remember.

Irr knights retain their morale grade when dismounting.

I try to look for knights that are front rank SHK and back rank EHK, so that when dismounted they are SHI 2HCW/EHI JLS, getting a couple of extra fighting figures.

Delivering knights to the right place is hard enough. Dismounting them at the right time is more difficult.
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PostPosted: Wed Jul 12, 2006 6:27 pm    Post subject:

I think Frank or Mark would be better to moderate that, Tim. I could jump in to settle something rules-wise, but I only 100% monitor the rules topic.

Dave, sorry I mislead. I posted twice yesterday and one of them - the one with comments on the move of the Brigans - didn't take. No idea why - its in bit heaven I guess. Its not the first time that happened to me here, so I am trying to find what is wrong.

Jon

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Murray Evans
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PostPosted: Sun Aug 12, 2007 10:41 pm    Post subject: Dismounting knights

It seems you guys in the US use dismounted knights much more than we do over here in Australia, where it almost never occurs.

What are the main times when you would want to do so?

Is it mainly to pin an enemy to allow something else to hit hard and break them, or to approach large bow blocks with less casualties? I would have thought it difficult to do a cpf with such a small unit (although I think you guys also seem to use smaller units than we do here).

Muz
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John Murphy
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PostPosted: Sun Aug 12, 2007 11:00 pm    Post subject:

http://www.fourhorsemenenterprises.com/forum/viewtopic.php?t=12233

The "original" quickie Mark Stone dismounting tactics treatise.
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PostPosted: Wed Aug 15, 2007 5:54 am    Post subject:

Murray - Barry Hayes regularly dismounts his knights in his 100 Years War English Army - specifically he dismounts them and joins their detachment unit of longbowmen so that you have a regular unit with front SHI 2hcw and rear ranks of the LMI LB blokes.

This is very hard for other foot to deal with, and my Nikephorian Kontaratoi just ended up one day in a very long melee while the Nikephorians destroyed the rest of the English army.

I take it it is usually a ploy used against foot rather than mounted!

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PostPosted: Wed Aug 15, 2007 11:44 pm    Post subject: Re: Dismounting knights

Murray Evans wrote:
It seems you guys in the US use dismounted knights much more than we do over here in Australia, where it almost never occurs.

What are the main times when you would want to do so?

Muz


Muz,
Adrian is right. Barry seems to dismount most often. I have seen Tibor dismount Mongol cav once or twice; thanks to their nifty rules.
I have only dismounted knights myself a couple of times and only then to respond to specific unusual tactical situations.
Paul Collins.
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