Renewal of an Old Grudge
Balthinal of House Tifwing surveyed the open ground in front of him with a worried brow. Ahead in the distance he could he see the massed ranks of Dwarven infantry, their battle standards raised, ready and waiting for him. Around him his regiments of Spears stood stoically, quiet and unmoving awaiting his command. The Dwarf force looked too small to his mind, too small by far given the reports of the carnage it can be causing along his Lords lands these past weeks.
It was Balthinal's Lord, Gloringwe of House Tholos, that worried him the most. Untried in battle his deployment of their meager forces seemed misplaced to Balthinal. The positioning of himself with the Dragon Princes of Caledor out on the left flank seemed wise but sending the White Lions out far to the right was a calculated gamble. Balthinal could only hope it would pay off.
Shadow Warrior scouts had already reported the woods to their right clear of any Dwarven Rangers but the large woods to the Elven armies front left were an unknown factor. Balthanial worried about the flank of his lieges unit and his own if the Dragon Princes were exposed to missle fire from woods they could not enter.
Behind him the silence was broken by the scrap of steel on steel as a member of one of two units of Swordmasters of Hoeth sharpened his blade, the other unit was positioned behind the Dragon Princes and his Lord. Unable to see them beyond the crest of the small hill to his left Balthinal could only hope they and his Lord were equally ready to move. Sitting high in his saddle he looked left and right and called the order for the advance - two regiments of Spears another small regiment of Swordmasters moved forward at his command. While behind him on either flank Bolt-Thrower crews loaded their weapons.
Looking forward he saw the Dwarven battle line react to his order with a slight readjustment of but nothing else... strange he had expected more... it was only when a large bolt skewered a Spear to his right and the sound of gunfire accompanied yet more Spearmen falling to the ground that he realised what the Dwarfs had been waiting for.
Thunderers and Dwarven artillery on their right flank exposed in the open a perfect target for the White Lions and Shadow Warriors deployed there. Perhaps his Lord had gotten things right after all....
Deploying first the Dwarven general placed his two units of Warriors/Longbeards in the center of the field directly opposite Balthaniels Spears. Slayers moved to the Dwarven Thanes right while hidden in the forest, were as Balthaniel suspected, a unit of Crossbow equipped Rangers. Off to the left (the Elven right flank) another small unit of Warriors watched over the Thunderers and 2 Bolt-Throwers that constituted the Dwarven armies main missile component. Yet it was not only the Rangers the forest hid from the Elves. Behind it, its rotors turning slowly in the morning air, a Gyrocopter sat ready to reap airborne havoc on the Elven infantry.
Turns 1 - 2
The Elven battle line moved first marching forward to meet the Dwarven infantry. Balthaniel was relived to see his liege Lord move out into the open on his left, Dragon Princes deployed in line abreast either side of him. Their positioning meant they were in the perfect position to charge across the front of his Spear regiments. That is of course if Dwarven missile fire didn't continue to decimate his Spears first. Yet more bullets and bolts tore into the ranks of the 1st Spears next to him, but as he moved the rate of fire dropped as to Balthaniels right Shadow Warriors began shooting Dwarven Thunderers down. Above his head a strange whirring noise was now heard and a Dwarven Gyrocopter suddenly flew into sight . Moving between him and his Lords Dragon Prince unit it opened fire on the Elven Bolt-Thrower behind him. Failing to do any damage it appeared ready to turn back for more when the Dragon Princes led by Lord Gloringwe charged it. Startled by this turn of events the Gyrocopter pilot attempted to flee but lost control when he flew straight into Balthaniels Spear Regiment crashing and exploding in a ball of flame.
Turns 3 - 4
A mighty cheer went up from the Elves to either side of Balthaniel as the Gyrocopter burned. It was followed by an even mightier roar as Gloringwe's accompanying musician sounded the charge and the entire Elven battle line rushed headlong at the Dwarven infantry to their front. Spears meet Dwarven Axes & Shields, Lances & Horses meet naked Slayers and blood was spilled as both sides fought tooth and claw for the opening advantage. But disaster struck as the Dwarven infantry proved too strong for the Spear Elves under Balthaniels command. Despite multiple attacks from the massed ranks of Elven infantry more dead Elves littered the battlefield than Dwarfs. Dwarven Thanes began to cut a swath through the Spear regiment and when the 1st Spears Champion fell they fled and were butchered as they ran by the victorious Dwarves. Only the Dwarfs impact into the flank of the Swordmasters behind Balthaniel stopped them advancing further to his rear.
Bathaniels own regiment was equally hard pressed but remained resolute under his leadership. His liege Lord had butchered the Dwarven Slayers but was now assailed by Dwarven Rangers who had charged his flank from the woods on their left. Outnumbered his regiment continued to fight. Then shock took over as to his left his liege Lord Gloringwe joined in one-on-one combat with the Dwarven General an act he had not thought in his Lords nature. Yet it was an act that was to prove the undoing of the Elven battle line. All around him Elves watched in dismay as their Generals weapons bounced off the Dwarven Thane, and finally they too broke and ran.
Only on the Elven right was success achieved as the White Lions chased a unit of Dwarven warriors from the field and then charged into what was left of the Thunderers. Shadow Warriors continued to shower the Dwarven artillery with arrows and mercifully the retreating Elven infantry, and Dragon Princes were unmolested by Dwarven missile fire.
Turns 5 - 6
With the Dwarven infantry unable to maintain their pursuit Balthaniel and Gloringwe together rallied their troops and turned ready to face the oncoming Dwarfs. But Balthaniel rallied only to look in horror as the Dwarven Warriors who had destroyed the 1st Spears charged his flank. With Elves dying all around him Bathaniel fought a futile duel with the Dwarven Thane leading the charge before he too was cut down. Seeing his vassal cut down Gloringwe screamed in anguish and launched another charge. With his infantry dead all around him only he, his Dragon Princes and a single unit of Swordmasters stood firm on this part of the battlefield. Waving his sword high he led both units straight at the Dwarven Generals unit to their front. This time Elven steel proved too strong for the Dwarfs. Where Spears had failed to score wounds the Great Blades of the Elves of Hoeth, and the Lances of those from Caledor tore through Dwarven armour like tissue. Gloringwe smiled in grim satisfaction as it became the turn of the Dwarven general to look on in fright, his warriors dying in droves around him Gloringwe expected him to turn and run (as himself had done). But it was not to be, insanely, despite grievous losses the Dwarven ranks held and the battle continued....
With that final charge by the Swordmasters and the Dragon Princes the battle had swung slightly in favour of the Elven army. The White Lions had destroyed the Dwarven Bolt-Throwers and their accompanying Warriors and Thunderers but two full regiments of Elven Spears had been lost. As night fell on the battlefield both armies withdraw and tallied their dead. A bloody draw was all either side could take from the battle, and with the death of Balthaniel the Elves had cause for yet another grudge against their bearded foe. This would not be the last time Gloringwe would see his Dwarven counterpart on this field.
Well for our first games in a long time, for Adam since September last year, and me probably October/November at Skitterleap this was an interesting game. After a full year of tournament play last year we knew the rules etc inside out, but after such a long break found ourselves forgetting so much it became rather comical to see us trawling through the rulebook looking for answers.
Elven Spears proved surprisingly resolute but ultimately too weak to defend themselves against the stronger tougher Dwarfs.
The Swordmasters worked well and were deployed as usual directly behind my main units in single ranks of 8. Usually I leave them there to take the overrun of any enemy unit or to advance around the flanks if my guys hold. They also tend to scare people away from my other units flanks. But this time poor movement prevented me from doing this, and only one of two units got into battle and then only in Turn 5 were it killed a lot of Dwarfs.
Dragon Princes were good as always, but again I charged them into battle too soon. Units of 7 are nice, but somewhat unwieldy, 5 is better for positioning purposes.
The White Lions were great they just chopped through everything, would have been fun to have had them in the middle of my battle line between the Spears. But I wanted them to take out the Bolt-Throwers etc.
Shadow Warriors are great - love these guys.
Final result was about 1000pts each - Adam got my BSB and the 2 Spear Regiment standards, I balanced that out with 2 table quarters and finished I think 95 pts up. Not a bad result for our first game in such a long time. There will definitely be a rematch.