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Thread: (SSHIP-Pisa) Dreadbolt: Forward, Advance, X-7

  1. #221
    Alwyn's Avatar Frothy Goodness
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    Default Re: (SSHIP-Pisa) Dreadbolt: Forward, Advance, X-4

    Ah, just when it seemed that Pisa's advancing armies could not be stopped, a new Scottish hero appears. Even so, it sounds like Adelmo's forces will be more than a match for this new opponent!

  2. #222
    NorseThing's Avatar Primicerius
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    Default Re: (SSHIP-Pisa) Dreadbolt: Forward, Advance, X-4

    Just caught up on this. It seems "freedom" may have lost some meaning when the onslaught from Italy strikes so far in the north.

  3. #223

    Default Re: (SSHIP-Pisa) Dreadbolt: Forward, Advance, X-5

    Dreadbolt: Forward, Advance
    Ch X-5: Harsh Change in Climate



    As another Novgorodian general died of... something, we again crossed the Empire's eastern border and headed to the city of Pleskov.




    According to a Novgorodian peasant, it seems the various leaders had decided to rely on something known as "Climate change" to defeat us.

    It seems that in history, many invaders were bogged down in the cold or wet seasons, becoming easy prey for a counterattack that reversed their territorial gains.


    Certainly, the wet season was quite annoying, but...




    Our Lady laughed when this somewhat speculative explanation of Novgorod's strategy was brought up at an officers' meeting. "It seems they underestimate our interest in the very land itself." The reason for this was obvious: we had been "continually" (on-and-off) invading them for several years by now.

    Besides the various new roads built during that period, the landscape was dotted with patrol waystations, forts and a few small castles. The military had cycled through a few reinforcement cycles, though that might not have been obvious to a foreign eye.




    Additionally, settlers in the frontier lands were very militarized (actually, the first generation was usually retired military) and this meant using military-grade (if a bit old, still well maintained) crossbows. Furthermore, the now-Pisan peasants were able to share useful knowledge about the region.

    Each major offensive thrust was made at a particular locus of power, and then slowly absorbed and integrated the surrounding area, beginning with the native villages and finally ending with the uninhabited areas being settled by newcomers from the homeland.




    By the way, those peasants were so willing to part with their local knowledge because they, being already farmers on the land, obviously were the first to recieve attention. Unsurprisingly as a result, villages grew into towns and would eventually develop into full cities as the regional economy began to develop.

    One thing they dd tend to lose though, is craftsmen who had a tendency to move further into the Empire where larger cities, with more potential (and richer) customers. With the notable exception of blacksmiths and the like who were kept very busy by the military. Also, crossbow manufacturing was frequently taken up as the Empire itself was happy to provide everything necessary.





    ==========================================================
    ==========================================================



    The city of Polotsk, under Putimir Cheshko, put up a rather well thought-out resistance. At least initially.






    As the first units began moving to encircle the city, a pair of defending trebuchets began shooting over their walls, causing some consternation as even a heavy pavise does not protect one at all against such attacks.

    However we were encouraged by their lack of regular missile units (which are much more dangerous in aggregate) and pressed hard against them as our own siege engines responded by targeting the fortifications.






    Perhaps panicked by this, they switched to incendiary rounds which while frightening to behold, only scored a few hits. Very few losses were taken.

    Furthermore, we had determined where the defending engines were located and loaded our own "firepot" ammunition to stop them.






    It only took several shots to bring down one of the two trebuchets. As this was going on, infantry were probing the breach in their walls to determine if the time was right for a full assault.

    They were (probably) also using the walls to protect themselves from the possibility of being hit by the defender's trebuchets. In some cases, closely "hugging" walls can be a useful trick to safely mass units near a breach.






    Perhaps confused by our tactics, the Novgorodian infantry rushed out in a brave sally, only to be met by our own infantry with spears levelled just outside the walls.

    Unfortunately for the enemy, our crossbows were still "set up" further away and took them down in a hail of close-range crossbow bolts.








    One of those slain in the missile massacre was the garrison commander. Very quickly after this, the city's citizenry surrendered before we had begun to force our way into the wall.




    Taking a goodly-sized city is a great boon, as they rather naturally house a great number of people and can thus accommodate an army sheltering in winter. A castle would be cramped, to say the least.

    However, even if there isn't a convenient point to "stop" at, the army simply begins building and dispersing into various fortifications (to capacity) while some will withdraw into the homelands once this job is done. They will then be on standby for quick responses to an enemy siege.

  4. #224
    Alwyn's Avatar Frothy Goodness
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    Default Re: (SSHIP-Pisa) Dreadbolt: Forward, Advance, X-5

    It sounds like Pisa's continuing expansion is well-planned and that Oberto's tactics are highly effective - and, as ever, the action is expertly illustrated by screenshots.

  5. #225

    Default Re: (SSHIP-Pisa) Dreadbolt: Forward, Advance, X-6

    Dreadbolt: Forward, Advance
    Ch X-6: Continuing





    Thinking to save themselves by taking advantage of our (momentary) peace with the Moors, Portugal finally gave in and became their vassal.

    However, given that we didn't care much if the Moors decided to come to their defense or not, the offensive simply continued.




    They are not impressed by your diplomatic play.

    Spoiler for Santiago de Compostela (Taken)







    One sign that the Pisan religion had basically become THE religion was that people like Simone "the Merciless" were considered very pious. Proof of the righteousness of the cause could be seen in the extraorinarily vigourous 61-year-old general who still scored kills in battle.

    Yes, a lot of those kills might have been routers, but that's basically the diet of Pisan cavalry nowadays, as they fill the critial "anti-router" niche in the army.




    The march into Moorish territory continues apace, meeting little resistance.

    Spoiler for Shlib (Taken)







    Spoiler for Qurtuba (Taken)







    Spoiler for Batalyaus (Taken)





    However, a great number of Moors-in-arms were concentrated in their greatest cities, while we were currently seizing the low-hanging fruit rather than giving battle directly.

    ==========================================================
    ==========================================================



    Similarly in the east.
    Spoiler for Pleskov (Taken)




    However, a small setback. The Rus counterattacked and took the castle Goroden back by surprise assault.
    Spoiler for Goroden (LOST)




    However, we're not about to deviate from our own planned assaults on their own weakly-defended "strongholds".
    Spoiler for Volodymyr (Taken)






    Spoiler for Halych (Taken)





    ==========================================================
    ==========================================================



    In the far north, however, in one small corner of the Pisan Empire, the broken English rebels were being pulled into a new power....





    William Wallace looked at the impressive Scottish fortress in front of him as its gates opened and the banners of the occupying evil empire showed themselves in ranks as its Pisan garrison began to march out.

  6. #226
    Alwyn's Avatar Frothy Goodness
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    Default Re: (SSHIP-Pisa) Dreadbolt: Forward, Advance, X-6

    A triumphant return for Pisa's mighty armies, despite the setback at Goroden (which will surely be remedied with all speed). The fires of independence burn in one corner of Pisa's empire, but will they last or will they be put out quickly? I look forward to finding out.

  7. #227

    Default Re: (SSHIP-Pisa) Dreadbolt: Forward, Advance, X-7

    Dreadbolt: Forward, Advance
    Ch X-7: A Lack of Shade



    Adelmo had the luxury of overlooking his enemy from atop the keep of Dun Eideann. The Scots had been planning for an offensive against their southern neighbours, which showed clearly when these preparations were seen by their new southern neighbors.




    "Long" bows took the basic bow to a conclusion that the Pisans were, while not unaware of, less interested in. It was notable as the first substantial employment of the weapon in battle, and would be the last to be recorded.




    Long spears, well suited for dealing with cavalry that desired a frontal charge. Somehow the use of these "pikes" had been a lost technology from the days of Phillip of Macedon.

    However, the use of shields with two-handed long spears remained lost. Due to their preference for large infantry shields, the Pisans would probably not have been keen even on pikemen-with-shields.




    Very large two-handed swords that shouldn't have been possible given the level of the prevailing* steel technology. One might think they were well suited to dealing with heavy armor, but in fact, due to "various reasons" they were not actually armor-piercing**.

    Perhaps they were like the ancient Gallic longswords, which supposedly were prone to bending due to being larger than the metallurgy would support. Supposedly, anyway.

    (*In SSHIP this type of unit only shows up much later in the campaign)
    (**In SSHIP most other two-handed weapons are AP, which is intended)



    And the ultimate development of their use of long weapons and heavy armor, using long spears while wearing steel breastplates of a fashion not ever seen before. These style would be adopted in a more widespread fashion a century or so later, in part due to the battle that was about to ensue...

    Which was in a way unfortunate for armorsmiths, as the Scottish armor was effective protection, as we shall see.






    Adelmo surveyed the field before turning to his officers, summing up his impression of the day's foe thus:

    "They seem to have forgotten their shields."




    As the Pisans took up their positions, the Scottish forces engaged at range with their longbows, sending a quick flurry of burning arrows down on the approaching formation.

    To be sure, against the relatively light English infantry they had been raised to pick apart, it might have been both terrifying and deadly.




    However, the Pisan tendency toward heavy infantry armors and large shields meant that the storm of arrows felt like only a light drizzle.

    At this point, though, Pisan cavalry remained in reserve behind the citadel walls. This was possible because the Scots did not have heavy cavalry which would exploit their lack.




    The Pisan missile response was devastating to the less armored Scottish warriors. Those archers, pikemen and skirmishers who had mail or less found the incoming bolts able to bite deep into their numbers.

    At this point the Pisans were primarily concerned with targeting these supporting elements, as Adelmo and the officers expected the Scottish armor to be a capable defense, requiring a more concerted effort rather than simple missiles to finish the job.




    Scottish cavalry charged the Pisan spear line, with predictably little success. Perhaps their extensive use of pikes meant William Wallace thought one-handed spears were ineffective against horse?

    He would have been right if his force had included heavy cavalry, but his light cavalry was definitely outmatched, routing off the field with the main casualties being Scots who went down in the initial charge.






    After this, the main body advanced together. Though the front was in tatters, there were certainly some heavier elements which would have to be dealt with.

    By and large, however, the Scottish infantry were not able to make an impression on the Pisan formation of shields and spears.




    Adelmo's cavalry units rushed out and around his forces' right flank, finding little opposition. They immediately began running down any missile units or routers, as a picked unit of crossbowmen quickly moved forward.

    And this is where the story of "armor vs crossbow" comes from...




    The heaviest Pisan crossbows were brought up to relatively close range of the Scottish elite pike formation., and began shooting them from the flanks.

    Although the crossbow manufacturers of Venice were quick to claim that their various innovations had rendered the Pisan crossbow dominant on the battlefield, actually the pikemen were mostly defeated when the formation collapsed. The lack of order meant that when the infantry pressed forward, the enemy were caught and dispatched by dagger, or else routed and were taken down by cavalry.

    Reports of battlefield "collectors" suggest that most of the Scottish armor was not penetrated by Pisan bolts. However, with the secrets of its manufacture still unknown to Pisan armorsmiths, it would not be employed to protect Pisans for some time to come.






    As for William Wallace and his most fanatical followers, most depictions show that they did not wear helmets for some reason. If true, it is unsurprising that their armor, be it mail as shown or even breastplates, did not protect them.




    Spoiler for Details



    The complete defeat and destruction of Wallace's forces cemented Pisan control of this final northern frontier.
    Last edited by Alavaria; November 19, 2019 at 06:14 AM.

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