Wednesday, 23 October 2013

Autumn 994 - The Battle of Gnita Heath

It was a fine Autumn day when the armies met on the heath at Gnita. The Tereken army consisted of just 500 hardened warriors, a small mercenary band of Eskelin knights and a handful of youths armed with rocks and slings. The Capalan army numbered the finest spearmen they could field and two lances of the best armoured knights in Talomir.
Naturally, the Tereken army was confident. They would fight and die, and their names would be sung in the songs of the scops forever afterwards.
 As the Capalan general ordered the advance, the Tereken knights swiftly rode to meet the enemy knights. The young men accompanied them, ready to rain rocks on the Capalan knights. Wulf the Mystic and Geir the Unseelie began to chant and the bodies of the dead from previous battles arose beside their position. Gnita Heath was the most common route of advance into Capalan territory and many warriors had fertilised its soil with their bones. Lord Uhtred was determined to take any advantage he could get against the Capalan soldiers. They owed him for the ache in his bones when the winters were cold, which they always were; the wound they had given him before had never quite healed right.
Uhtred cheered as a contingent of Capalan knights were driven back by the Eskelin knights, and swiftly cursed as the Eskelin knights were driven from the field by the Capalan general, who pursued them hotly. His young skirmishers had all been ridden down in the process. No doubt they were already feasting in Valhalla. Meanwhile the Capalan wizards were ineffectually trying to make an incantation work. A cloud of purple smoke over their position suggested that all was not well. Seeing his chance, Uhtred ordered his huscarles to turn about face and charge the enemy knights. With a loud cry of "They don't like it up 'em!" the huscarles lifted their spears and shields and planted them firmly in the bottoms of the Capalan cavalry, who immediately fled, taking their general with them. Suddenly the Capalan army disintegrated. Only the spearmen remained, huddling together for comfort. The captain of the spearmen, seeing that he outnumbered the enemy 3:1 ordered the charge at the rear of the Tereken warband.
The spearmen made contact but the enemy stood firm and fought back even harder. Very soon the huscarles had disposed of the spearmen facing them, while the revenant heroes were being cut apart, but did not seem bothered. Uhtred ordered the about face once more and charged the spearmen. This final charge was too much and the remains of the Capalan army fled. The field belonged to Tereken and Capalan was no more.

Notes
I really expected the Capalan army to carry the day, so I planned to target the enemy general and try to remove him from the field. If I could kill him, then I thought that Tereken might lose the battle but that Capalan would be more likely to capitulate when I rolled national morale. As it happened, Steve chose to charge with the general, which played right into my hands. When Capalan made the Leader Lost test, only the spearmen stood. The average Rep of 3 in the Capalan army is truly appalling and really requires all the troops to stay together in contact with as many of their own as possible. This makes the army unwieldy, but is necessary to prevent the kind of disintegration that happened.

This battle was also notable for the sudden success of my Magic Users. I am not a great fan of Magic Users in RrtK because I think that you need too many of them working together for them to be cost effective, but the stand of undead that I raised was well worthwhile, and a single successful blast spell against the Capalan knights made the difference between rout and victory.

2 comments:

  1. A glorious victory for Tereken. Uhtred must be the Snake Plisken of Talomir because "I thought he was dead". I'm glad I didn't looktoo carefully at the army lists before the battle or I would have been very worried.

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    Replies
    1. Ah, I understand your confusion. I am, of course, referring to Uhtred son of Uhtred and not to Uhtred. :)

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