Prince Madog in Vinland

3 October, 2009

The story goes that Prince Madog set out from Gwynedd in 1170 and sailed to America. It now seems likely that he actually sailed through a temporal vortex to an unusual archipelago that was made famous in the account of St. Brendan. Madog planned to reach Vinland, which he’d heard about through family connections with the Dublin Vikings. It was also through these connections that he’d developed his proficiency at seafaring and his knowledge of Norse, both skills that would stand him in good stead on his voyage.

The first island Madog came to was one occupied by some very forlorn Vikings, who confessed, shamefacedly, to being leaderless and lost. Madog, clearly a plausible chap, declared with great confidence that he knew how to get to Vinland. He was so persuasive that he was made leader of this new combined expedition, even though the Vikings were contributing twice as many troops.

They sailed until they came to large and fruitful island, which Madog confidently asserted was Vinland. However, they soon found they were not alone on this island; others had sailed there before them. When Madog’s scouts reported back that the others on the island said they were Picts, Madog was deeply skeptical, “There’s not been Picts for hundreds of years. What are they playing at?”. When he saw the ‘Picts’, his suspicions only increased, “These don’t look like Picts! What’s their game? Those are Scots!”. The ‘Picts’, of course, were none other than Bridei mac Máelchú and his army that had encountered Patricius to their detriment the week before. They were enjoying some R&R after that encounter, and when word of this got back to Bridei, he was deeply offended; after all, Scots were those pesky invaders from Ireland! He refused to extend any hospitality to these visitors and demanded an immediate apology.

No apology was forthcoming; Madog addressed his troops, “There’s something shifty about these so-called ‘Picts’. I say we teach them to go around pretending to be what they’re not”. The Vikings needed little persuading. With that, they rushed out to do battle with Bridei’s men. Speaking of being what they’re not, Madog’s army consisted of 8x4Bd (Vikings), 2x3Cv (Madog and some more horsemen) and 2x2Ps (skirmishing Welsh). A skeptic might suggest that they were trying to replicate a Marian Roman army.

Madog narrowly beat Bridei in his decision to attack (he rolled 6 to Bridei’s 5; both had an aggression of 3). However, he did not get the edge that he wanted, and Bridei, cautious after his last choice of terrain, had gone for two small woods in opposite corners of the board, and a low hill to one side near the middle.

Bridei deployed with his spear in the centre flanked by light horse and skirmishers, while he stayed in reserve. Madog met this deployment by placing his Vikings in the centre, with himself in reserve, and a skirmisher in the woods on the left flank and his other cavalry and a skirmisher on the right flank.

Initial deployments

Initial deployments

Bridei felt no need to alter his deployment and the battle got under way. Both rolled 6 PIPs for their first turn, and Bridei attempted to contest the hill with some of his light troops.

Turn 1: Bridei sends his skirmishers forward on his left.

Turn 1: Bridei sends his skirmishers forward on his left.

Bridei then remembered that those weren’t 2LH, but 3Cv he was up against, and his skirmishers suddenly felt very vulnerable, but he decided to push on with the attack. If he could ZOC the 3Cv, it wouldn’t be able to attack the 2Ps.

Turn 2: Bridei’s left flank are in position to contest the hill.

Turn 2: Bridei’s left flank are in position to contest the hill.

Bridei with only 1 PIP decides to attack the hill to make the most of his slender advantage of an overlap. He does well to force the Welsh cavalry back, almost destroying them (2+6 v. 3+2).

Turn 3: Positions after the hill is assaulted.

Turn 3: Positions after the hill is assaulted.

Meanwhile, Madog, with continued good PIPs has rushed Vikings to support his men on the hill, and Bridei abandons his assault.

Turn 4: Bridei’s left flank retires before the Viking reinforcements.

Turn 4: Bridei’s left flank retires before the Viking reinforcements.

Madog continues to advance, and commits himself to trying to overpower the Picts on his left flank. Bridei responds by ordering his spearmen to fall back.

Turn 5: Bridei retires before the advancing Vikings.

Turn 5: Bridei retires before the advancing Vikings.

Madog with only 2 PIPs moves to the left flank and orders the skirmishers out of the woods to support him. Bridei, by contrast, gets 6 PIPs, and continues the retreat of his spear, while his right flank light horse race between the battle lines directing rude gestures and taunts at the Vikings.

Turn 6: Bridei gambles on overpowering Madog’s left flank with all his cavalry and most of his skirmishers.

Turn 6: Bridei gambles on overpowering Madog’s left flank with all his cavalry and most of his skirmishers.

Madog recovers his composure (5 PIPs), but he’s now out of command range of his right flank. He orders a general advance. Bridei, with another 6 PIPs, organizes his forces on the left flank, and brings his skirmishers in behind the spear on the right flank to support them against Madog and his retinue.

Turn 7: Bridei masses his forces on the left wing.

Turn 7: Bridei masses his forces on the left wing.

Madog continues to plough forward, trusting to speed to overcome the enemy before they can do too much damage on the right flank. Bridei is let down by the PIP dice (1 PIP), but decides to strike at the weakest point in the line, personally riding down the Welsh skirmishers that are the link between the cavalry and the Vikings. He succeeds. First blood to the Picts.

Turn 8: Bridei has broken through on the left flank.

Turn 8: Bridei has broken through on the left flank.

However, the Vikings have finally made contact with the Pictish spear with an overlap on their left flank. They anticipate a rout, but the Pictish spear prove surprisingly doughty. The second element along from the left is held to a stalemate, while the others only manage to push the Picts back, scarcely what they’d hoped for. Madog orders his cavalry on the right to retire to the hill, while he moves across to try to repair the damage.

Meanwhile, Bridei decides that the Viking line looks most inviting. He orders the spear that had fought the Vikings to a standstill to retire to the Pictish line, while he and his light cavalry attacked the left flank of the Viking line. In a savage encounter (both rolled 6), he destroyed the Vikings, giving heart to his spear.

Turn 9: Bridei leads by example, routing an element of Vikings.

Turn 9: Bridei leads by example, routing an element of Vikings.

Madog redoubled the attack on the Pictish spear, while he drew alongside the other cavalry in preparation for driving out Bridei’s cavalry. However the second attack was even less successful. That second element along, although still overlapped, actually pushed back the Vikings this time and at the end of the attack battle honours were shared, with one stalemate and each having two push-backs, a truly dismal outcome for the Vikings.

Bridei attempted to repeat the flank attack of the previous turn, but was this time repulsed with his light horse recoiling towards Madog. Meanwhile, the Vikings continued to underperform, with those in the stalemate conflict now being recoiled.

Turn 10: Madog’s attack is in disarray, but Bridei’s light horse are now vulnerable.

Turn 10: Madog’s attack is in disarray, but Bridei’s light horse are now vulnerable.

Madog continues to issue orders (5 PIPs), attacking the exposed light horse with his cavalry. This succeeded, but the attacks of the Vikings were woeful, two being repulsed and the other a stalemate.

Bridei’s attempted to strengthen his right flank, while launching another flank attack, this time supported by spearmen. However, this attack was a stalemate and two other attacks by spear on Vikings resulted in one being driven back and the other element throwing back its attackers, despite being overlapped on both flanks.

Turn 11: Bridei’s attack on the left flank ends in stalemate.

Turn 11: Bridei’s attack on the left flank ends in stalemate.

Madog now had a chance to defeat Bridei by flanking him against the Vikings. The odds were still in Bridei’s favour, but defeat would destroy him. Bridei triumphed in a cautious encounter (both rolled 1s!) and his spear on the right flank remained composed, despite being flanked, fighting the Vikings to a stalemate.

Turn 12 (Madog): Madog’s desperate roll of the dice fails, and his army is at the point of breaking.

Turn 12 (Madog): Madog’s desperate roll of the dice fails, and his army is at the point of breaking.

Bridei decides to attack the Welsh cavalry while leaving his spear to flank an element of Vikings. His attack is indecisive and he’s forced back. The spear, however, destroy the Vikings that they flank. At this point, despite finally destroying the left flank of the Pictish spear, the Vikings have had enough and break. Bridei’s troops hail their leader’s inspirational victory.

Turn 12 (Bridei): Bridei’s spear destroy another element of Vikings, while on their left flank the Vikings finally, but too late, defeat some of the Pictish spear.

Turn 12 (Bridei): Bridei’s spear destroy another element of Vikings, while on their left flank the Vikings finally, but too late, defeat some of the Pictish spear.

  • Review:

Bridei won the only way he could in a spear vs. blade match-up — on the flank. He made good use of the opportunity Madog provided when he committed himself to his left flank. This gave Bridei his first two victories, against the skirmishers and the Viking’s right flank. By contrast, Madog, perhaps, overestimated how long it would take for his advantage to tell in the close-order infantry contest. Having said that, the Pictish spear proved unexpectedly tough. By being drawn forward by the Picts, he also lost any terrain help he might have got from the hill and the woods. He believed that if they could only close with the spear, the Vikings would soon overpower them.

The terrain placement by Bridei was much better, in that there was no edge that would severely disadvantage him.

Bridei was possibly stung by comments at the end of the last battle that his command element was ineffectual, as he personally put to flight three of the Viking elements. His element was the most effective one the Picts had against blades, and he used it to good effect!

Advertisements

5 Responses to “Prince Madog in Vinland”

  1. TWR Says:

    As always the reports are excellent. The Picts should be well drilled fighting machine by the end of the month.

    • Mark Says:

      Thanks. As far as getting the Picts into shape, at least I should know what I’m doing with them. I think Welsh and Vikings lost because I’m not familiar with how they work. I may have success against some other opponents for the same reason. When I meet someone at Conquest who know how to use their army, it may be a different matter!

  2. Jim Wright Says:

    I like the color and texture of your DBA battlefield and bases. So I have a few(!) questions.

    What kind of material is it?

    Where did you get it?

    Do you know the fabric name or number?

    What flocking materials do you use on your DBA bases?

    Thanks.

    Jim

    Thanks.

    • Mark Says:

      Hi Jim,

      Thanks. I got the flock from a local hobby store, and it was the only one there at the time, from memory. It’s a local product: ‘Gazza’s Scenic Material for Model Railroads’ and the colour is ‘Pine’. The manufacturer’s email address is .

      I put the flock on with Matte Medium from Scenic Express. I sprinkle the flock over the base and then use a dropper to soak it with Matte Medium. I have to uncover the feet with a toothpick before I leave them to dry. I glue onto cardboard bases and the Matte Medium softens the PVA I glue the figures on with, but once it dries, there’s no problem. I use a black marker pen to colour the edge of the bases.

      As for the fabric of the base, I wish I knew. If I get some more (and I might buy a bigger square for the larger size DBA) I’ll let you know. It’s a fortuitous match for the bases!

      The scenery is all felt squares from a local fabric shop in their craft section. The hills are made from some quite thick pieces of felt and have been stacked to create contour lines, which I think is the most effective of the scenery (the rest are still waiting for trees and scrubs to finish them!). One of the advantages of these hills is that figures don’t fall off them. One disadvantages of felt is that it can stick to the bases of the figures and move when you pick them up.

  3. Jim Wright Says:

    Thanks for the info.

    I’ll keep looking for something similar.

    Jim


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: