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Thread: 'Un Official' Single Post AAR Thread

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    NorseThing's Avatar Primicerius
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    Default Re: 'Un Official' Single Post AAR Thread




    Introduction
    I am beginning a thread that I hope will attract some interest and many many contributors. This is as of now -- the Un Official Single Post After Action Report (AAR) Thread for Medieval II Total War (M2TW) on TWC. That was a long title. I will try and give it a shortened handle in the thread title. Official you may ask? Well it is the first and I have officially christened the thread. How more official can we make it?
     
    This thread is meant to be a posting and commenting thread for single post AAR's for M2TW. Use any modifications you want or none if that is your fancy. I will or perhaps a kind staff member will help maintain the Table of Contents (TOC). You will see your name in lights in the TOC. It is just like a dream you may have of appearing on Broadway or on the marquee at the local Bijou. You can even post a Private Message to wake me up to update the TOC.
     
    We can even be silly old Duffers here with no embarasment. Or not. That is the joy of this thread. Or perhaps it is a dream of future glory for this thread. Who knows?? If this proves to be popular, maybe it could become an AAR of the Bimonth (AotB). How is that for a cheesey acromyn? Well, no. That might be too much to hope for.
     
    If you have never written an AAR and you want to start, then this thread is for you. No need to start off with a fear of commitment of years of posting weekly instalments to your AAR. A single post here will get your feet wet. I can assure you that the AAR bug will bite you and bite you hard after even one completed post to this thread.
     
    Of course if you are one of the old ancient masters of the art in creating an AAR, you are encouraged to make a post here as well and show all of the new guys (that includes me) how a master performs his craft.
     
    You can within the space of a single post have pictures. You can have character development. You can have conflict. You can have peace. You can and will begin and end with one post. You can snip a bit of a campaign and have it stand on it's own here as well. This can be a single grand battle to the death of a noble king or a tale of an assassin that knows how to keep a blade sharp and well used. You can use modifications if you wish. Even post a single post AAR from the Third Age to inspire other members of the fun playing within that modification as an Orc. Look in your dustbin of prior modifications and create a single post AAR of an older less used modification or post here with the newest and greatest just released modification hosted on TWC (for advertising purposes, of course) Do what you want and have a bit of fun doing it as a single post AAR!
     
    I will start this off with a single post AAR on Scotland. This will be setting the bar a bit low, so there will be room for all to post a much better single post AAR. There is nothing like the angry and proud Scots supporting their nobles in battle. So for now, I sign off. I must rally the troops and march on towards York for freedom and Scotland!!!!
    Last edited by NorseThing; May 05, 2018 at 05:02 PM. Reason: Changed title to Un Official

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    NorseThing's Avatar Primicerius
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    Default Re: 'Un Official' Single Post AAR Thread



    From the Highlands of Scotland
    to the Lowlands of Antwerp

    A Scotland AAR as a Single Post AAR
    by NorseThing


    Playing slow is the theme with this single post After Action Report. This AAR is more commentary on strategy employed. It is a pure narrative with a few pictures to just dress up this single post AAR a bit. This is a bit like my new budget priced Fiat. My commentary is meant for beginners, but the experianced player might also be amused and learn a bit as well. I will plead guilty if charged with the crime of not including character developement and also omitting a story line. Enough with the apologies -- on with the story!
     
    I have just finished playing on a short hard / hard campaign with Scotland (75+ turns). No modifications were used. This was a simple straight out of the box play as a short Scottish campaign. I learned a bit and had a great time. This would not work for a long campaign or in a multplayer game, but I was surprised with what happened.
     
    I started with a basic 5 settlement Britain / Ireland strategy with mainly siege until settlement surrenders or sallys out to their demise. I coupled this with a quick marriage to the English princess before she loses her charm. The marriage was impusive but necessary. This restricted the English options. England's options were quickly being reduced towards war with France or do nothing. War was my original intention, but do nothing would work as well for my plan of conquest. I did not want to do anything to upset the hoped for future conflict between France and England. Set the stage and stand back and enjoy the view. There is no hurry to set the stage with frenzied expansion. Taking your time is a part of the slow play tactic.
     
    Click image for larger version. 

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    Turn 10 and about to complete the 5 settlement standard start

    I laid low and simply built up while expanding into Oslo and Stockholm. A prolonged peace with England due to the marriage was my intention despite the short campaign requirement that England be eliminated. My 'long range' goal for the 15 settlements would be a 'united' kingdom of Ireland, Scotland , and England (7) and Hamburg thru Rennes (5) and some random settlements including Oslo and and maybe Stockholm (3). The Danes would live to fight another day by keeping Arhus, Stettin and whatever the Danes could hold further east than my interests as Scotland.
     
    There was an eternal low level of war with the Danes though. This probably began after my beloved Prince took a rebellious but free Oslo and thus Norway. This was a part of the strategy to force war between England and France. This was the last settlement in rebellion near to England. Now England had to go to war or simply sit and over recruit into bankruptcy. Scotland may be frugal and England may be a spendthrift, but it all balances out in the end. Right?
     
    The war with Denmark kept the Scottish Papal rating hovering significantly lower than I am used to playing. Since I was playing slow and not aggressive, I accepted the lower Papal rating as part of the trade off with this style of play. To magnify the low Papal rating, I never tried to make an alliance or even trade rights or an exchange of map information with the Pope. And no pence nor bending of the knee to St. Peter! The Scots are not going rogue, but they are not subserviant to any foreign nobilty either. I kept all agents and military forces closer to Scotland and Scotland's near interests in the north. I never even recruited an assassin though the buildings were constructed if the need arose. I did a bit of trade ties with many of the near factions, but I only allied with England and the Holy Roman Empire.
     
    As I was saying I had an eternal but low level conflict with Denmark. War may be too strong a term for what the Danes were doing. The Danes would start a war and then sue for peace. A few florins would change treasury balances and trade would be renewed. This pertetual war and peace was probably due to Scotland holding Oslo. Several times we were at war until they began to own the Baltic with a powerful navy. The Danish empire eventually stretched from Antwerp to Helsinki. Of course Antwerpt and Hamburg were among my targeted goals, so it did not matter whether the Danes would continue to sue for peace or would forever be an enemy of Scotland until the ends of time. Well at least remain enemies and at war until the Scottish royal flag was unfurled over Antwerpt and Hamburg. Well the Danes did yet again sue for peace and Scotland was gracious to accept some more florins and resume trade yet again.
     
    This was a truly unusual Danish navy to support the Danish Kimgdom's interests. A useless but deployed navy with no incentive to transport troops to invade or even to blockade my ports even though we were often at war. A money sink that prevented a true Danish Empire from rising. Well Denmark did keep the Baltic free from piracy. Maybe the Pope was telling them to stop even though I never was at Papal parity or even close to the Danish Papal rating.
     
    I did not mass recruit priests either. I never had a navy of any consequence. After yet another war was initiated by Denmark, Scotland seized Stockholm from the Danes. There would never be peace again between Scotland and Denmark. Scotland would not challange the Danes in naval superiority on Baltic waters and the Danes never ever thought of marching into Sweden or Norway with their armies.
     
    A brief side note on holding Oslo. The English were my ally by marriage, but clearly not by mutual common interests. The English Prince, Henry, came to look over Oslo with only his personal bodyguard as an escort. No army, just poor Henry. Maybe he had problems back home. Later an English army did appear that contained miscelaneous city and castle recruited spears and peasants. No cavalry and no missle troops other than one company of peasant archers. And no other generals other than the reclusive Henry. Just 12 companies that were no threat to a balanced castle garrison led by the Scotish prince. Norway was truly a prize that Scotland valued to retain.
     
    Click image for larger version. 

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    The reclusive Prince Henry

    The English prince never combined to lead the English spear army either. Maybe the computer was waiting for the army to turn rebel. In any case after what seemed like a long period of no action, the tension mounted with time. This went on for about 10 turns until the English army just boarded one of the many English naval fleets and went on toward the French manland where they could die battling the French. I never did follow or know what happened to this early level spear army that England had recruited. Henry stayed on a bit longer and then he also left. So during this interlude of a stare down and then waiting, I was convinced it would result in the English betrayal of the marriage based alliance. I was wrong. It became a nothing burger. Maybe the computer ally was simply showing support against Denmark. Yeah, right.
     
    I did ally with the Holy Roman Empire early in the campaign. The alliance ended when the Holy Roman Empire ended. The French went through the Empire in a short war. About turn 35 the French drove to Frankfurt by sacrificing Paris to the English while Venice and Milan also took pieces of the dismembered Empire.
     
    Well at least that is what I was able to understand by looking at the comparative stats from time to time. It seemed like all of the Empire but one or two settlements were conquored when the remaining one ore two went into rebellion. Comparative stats can be very useful -- no need to 'cheat' and lift the fog of war for a peak if you know what you are looking at.
     
    One interesting aspect: One of my spies was just hanging around Danish held territories and he spotted a Danish assassin near Hamburg and then the assassin was off to who knows where to commit sabotage or assassinations. Denmark has built only up to a brothel in Arhus. Denmark was limited to a selection of castle settlements plus Antwerp, the Danes only other city settlement. The assassin had to have been recruited in Antwerp and then headed east. I have Stockholm and Norway and I, as Scotland, am at war with the Danes. Why would the computer think it wise to boost up the brothel line in Antwerp instead of Arhus? If I were playing as the Danes should I be looking to do the same despite an enemy within Scandinaia?
     
    My guess would be it is just random spam, but is there a purpose behind the spam such as a focus on training up on unescorted English and French units very close to Antwerp versus Assassins coming from Arhus and then needing to go beyond Hamburg and Stettin to find the same hunting grounds with the HRE and the Poles but much further from their original recruitment. I never did spot any spies or assassins lurking in the Oslo and Stockholm areas. My guess is that expected distance from the recruiting settlement to potential targets does make some internal difference for where the computer does choose to build and recruit.
     
    Another mystery -- How does a general 'earn' the attribute of sloppy builder? My Scottish family member seems to hold this attibute sometime after taking Oslo. It was not the Prince, thank goodness. He was back in Oslo awaiting the English who were expected to betray the marriage alliance.
     
    Click image for larger version. 

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    Sloppy Builder???

    I noticed it -- the silly builder trait -- after the family member completed taking Stockholm from the Danes and made some minor repairs and ordered the construction of the next chosen building. I did not notice this trait when or what happened prior to getting the trait. So he better have something going for him as compensation. Oh, he also has deep pockets and silly beliefs, but he does have 4 star command and is a wall taker. I probably should pay more attention. ha, ha, ha.
     
    Another interesting aspect: Navy spam! I was being a bit on the peaceful side except the war with Denmark. This allowed the English to spam a navy which bankrupted the English. I had just gotten the Welsh castle population to a fortress ready level before canceling the trade and alliance with England. Notingham's fortress (English) fell. The single general in defense of this fine settlement was never a challange for the Stcottish might. Hamburg's fortress (Denmark) fell with the army sent from Oslo commanded by Prince David. Again weak defense and a prepared Scottish army. Shortly after, Prince David marched to Antwerp confident. The army was retrained. Antwerp (almost a incredible income with the Danes) fell after the Danes withdrew all but a token garrison. Sacking the lot in the space of a few turns proided more florins than Scotland would need to complete the rest of the mission.
     
    The sacking did have a cost though as the Scottish Papal rating plumeted to zero. No excommunication, but I now had to take great care with all operations and would have to respect every Papal wish. Then came a call for a Crusade on Tunis (Sicilian held) that my King was required to join or face excommunication. Yep, my Papal rating was recovered, but it was still at two points. Still no excommunication but the King was prompt to organize a Crusading force at Notingham. The Scottish King was expendable as far as game play was concerned, but I took the Crusade seriously and did not want failure either in the upcoming siege of Tunis or when the army was being transported from the French shore near Toulouse to Moorish held lands to the immediate west of Sicilian Tunis. I was able to recruit 4 mercenary squadrons with two at Crusade pricing. This 4 squadron fleet was not exactly an armada, but it would have to do. I avoided sailing my navy transporting the King from getting too close to the mess near the Italian penninsula. No need to take chances with my royal highness aboard and a state of war existing with Sicily due to the Crusade.
     
    With the low countries and Scandinavia (other than Arhus), Tunis put me over the top on the needed settlement count. And the Papal rating recovered with the successful Crusade. Recruiting Priest at Tunis and I was now a golden boy of the Pope. I had to continue to add a few more settlements by moving inland from the North sea ports. The mission required English lights out so a final mop up of some of the ex-French holdings the English had held began. Eventually the rest of the English held settlements went into rebellion as there was no heir among the remaining English nobles. England was no longer a faction. Scotland was victorious in a short campaign. Well relatively short -- it did take over 75 turns to complete the mission since I was playing a slow play themed campaign.
     
    When I usually play Scotland, I try and get a marriage with the French Princess while she still has a great bit of charm. In this play of Scotland, I had the English princess and thus never allied with the French. My usual loyal ally was simply a ferocious poodle against the Empire while their own lands were conquored by the English. The French were never my ally (really!) I give the French credit though. Without their efforts to 'let' the English spread behind them as they decapitated the Holy Roman Empire, this would have been a much longer campaign. Playing slow can pay off! It can also be a fun variation on a theme to add a bit of spice to your play of Total War.
     
    I kind of wish I had saved more than a turn or so as I went along. I had not really planned to write up a 75+ turn short campaign AAR. This was fun and totally unexpected with my style of play! Well maybe there is a future more detailed AAR in this on a replay that would include character developement, pictures, and a story line! I will be honest about the benefits of writing an AAR. Even just doing a quick play thru in a part of a few evenings, I am thinking along story lines. I know notice many more details and as many have said, it truly is a submersive experience. Well so much for my attempt at a slow play Scottish Short Campaign.
     
    Thanks for giving this a quick read. Comments?
    Last edited by NorseThing; May 05, 2018 at 05:03 PM. Reason: danged pictures

  4. #4
    Hitai de Bodemloze's Avatar
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    Default Re: 'Official' Single Post AAR Thread

    Little Belisarius
    A Medieval 2 Byzantine Micro AAR, m/m setting, 0.5 timescale

    Author's note: This is a really awesome idea by NorseThing! So kudos to him for getting the ball rolling on this. I got a bit carried away with this single post/'micro-AAR', but I hope it fits with the spirit of this endeavour. I did actually play a campaign as well! None of my usual shenanigans. It was very fun to 'go back to basics' as it were, and just write something a bit fun and carefree. I hope it's an enjoyable read, even though it's a little rushed, and I look forward to seeing what everyone else has to offer!


    I
    Constantinople, Byzantine Empire, 1082


    “You can have my daughter’s hand in marriage when the banners of the legions fly high atop the walls of Rome once more!”

    Voulgariotes of Preasnitza scowled at the emperor’s mocking tone. With a twirl of his cape, Voulgariotes turned to stalk out of the throne room, his every dogged footstep falling almost in sync with the mirthful jeering of the assembled court. Determined, resolute, the young seventeen year old noble had sought to make the princess Anna Comnenus his bride. Despite his lowly background – his fortunate adoption into a lesser court family being his only claim to nobility – he had seen the way she looked at him; the embarrassed half-smile, the coquettish flick of the hair, his heart belonged already to her. That wasn’t to say that he saw no merit in advancing his own standing within the decayed remains of the Roman Empire – it was an added bonus, as one might say.

    But if planting the legion’s banner atop the walls of Rome was what it would take to marry Anna, then that was what he would do.





    II
    Palermo, Kingdom of Sicily, 1086

    It had taken two years of patient coaxing, cajoling and compromise before Voulgariotes could finally set sail with his army – and then another year crossing the treacherous waters of the Mediterranean. They were pronoai, skythikon and vardariotai mostly; young and disenfranchised Cumans and Magyars, drawn from the dregs of Byzantine society and lured to the shores of Italy by the promise of fortune and glory. It was not an army to be proud of, not a well-drilled and disciplined legion of old, but a motley horde of nomads and vagabonds. They were all Voulgariotes had, but they would bear the imperial eagle on its final flight home.

    Despite his ambition, he knew these men had little faith in him. They did not expect to ever see Rome, but instead to disperse and raid into the fertile lands of Italy at first opportunity. Like the courtiers of Constantinople, they mocked and jeered him, foreign tongues hiding their barbed words from his comprehension. But he could always pick out the same word. ‘Belisarius’. It was spoken not with the awe or reverence or respect that it once might have been, but with scorn and callous mirth; he was the imposter, the fraud, the fool who thought himself the equal of the last conqueror of Rome. It would have saddened his heart, if Anna’s love had not already occupied every atria and ventricle within.

    His meagre fleet had set sail in 1084, announcing its arrival by sinking the Sicilian navy in the Strait of Messina. The Byzantine army disembarked onto the shores of Sicily, barely kept to heel by Voulgariotes, making for the castle-town at Palermo. A gaggle of Italian mercenaries, axes brought out to grind with their local lords, joined the encroaching horde, bringing with them ladders to scale the walls, and local knowledge of the city’s weak points. Voulgariotes had little with which to pay them, but he was assured the debt incurred would be paid with his blood, should the siege fail.

    As the months bled on into the new year, the army set forth to war; Cumans, Magyars and assorted renegades, ready to liberate the first city of the ancient Roman homeland.





    III
    Naples, Kingdom of Sicily, 1086

    Palermo had fallen with minimal loss of life. The city had been lightly defended and after his Italian mercenaries took the walls, Voulgariotes’ horsemen stormed through the city, slaughtering the Prince Simon who had barely enough time to raise his sword before he was swept from his steed and trampled under hoof.

    After ransacking the city, the army’s lust for gold was quenched – if only temporarily – and they begrudgingly accepted his authority, following his standard north. With the destruction of the Sicilian navy, the seas were clear and Voulgariotes’ fleet ferried them across to the heartlands of Italy, docking in the port of Naples.

    Emboldened by their recent victory, the army was keen to fight once again and another cohort of mercenaries flocked to the Byzantine cause, swelling their ranks even further. As the host surrounded the ancient Roman city, the Sicilians looked out fearfully from their parapets, shocked and surprised not only by the audacity of Voulgariotes’ endeavour, but its swift success thus far. Italy had been impregnable for centuries, thwarting every effort of outsiders to invade. But now it lay fractured and divided within; the Kingdom of Sicily warring with the Republics of Venice and Milan, and the even the Holy Roman Empire. Rome was ripe for recapture, if only in this brief window of time.

    As Voulgariotes prepared his siege lines, the Sicilian King Roger came to parley. Dressed in regal attire atop a magnificent ivory steed, he looked down at the brash young upstart. “Who are you to trample over my lands and burn my cities? Speak your devilled name, that I may know your house and exert my vengeance upon your kin – after I have put you down first.”

    “He thinks he is Belisarius,” snorted one of Voulgariotes’ nomad commanders in reply, his thickly accented tone scornful and derisive.

    Voulgariotes scowled at the man, before turning to Roger. “I am Voulgariotes of Preasnitza, general of the Roman Empire. I am here to liberate our homeland from usurpers and heretics.”

    “Usurpers and heretics? You fool of a boy, your people gave up their claim to Rome a dozen generations before you were even born. You are Greeks now, not Romans. Go back to your true home and take these vermin nomads with you, little Belisarius.”

    “The banners of the legions shall fly from the walls of Rome once more,” Voulgariotes asserted, losing his patience with the petty king. “You shall not stand in my way. Come and do battle, I have had enough of your mewling.”

    King Roger spat on the ground in front of Voulgariotes, before fleeing back inside his castle. And when the Byzantine army stormed the walls the next day, Voulgariotes made sure that he slew the king personally.





    IV
    Outskirts of Rome, the Papal States, 1087


    “The Pope rides to meet us, Little Belisarius.”

    Voulgariotes didn’t miss the wry smile of the nomad commander. After King Roger’s use of the nickname, it had spread like wildfire through the Byzantine camp. Although not in a good way. Despite taking Naples, he was still regarded as the upstart; in fact slaying the king himself had somehow cemented the image in their minds that he took affront to the appellation. The condescending name of Little Belisarius was now his to bear.

    The Kingdom of Sicily had been shattered and gutted in the space of a year and now Rome lay in their sights. However, as his captain had just informed him, Pope Gregory himself had sallied out with impressive host to do battle – determined not to let the Byzantines take one single step further into their ancient homeland.

    The Pope however, was no tactician. Taking up position in the mountain passes outside of Rome, the ramshackle Byzantine army settled itself on the high ground. A fresh host of Italian mercenaries formed the battleline, whilst the nomad cavalry spread out across either wing. The forces of the Papacy walked straight into a slaughter. Whilst a devastating charge by their holy knights nearly broke the Byzantine spear wall, the bloodthirsty vardariotai descended upon the flanks, enveloping the defenders of Rome and scattering their host of pressganged infantry. The knights, suddenly caught out without their infantry support, tried to flee, but Voulgariotes led the counter charge against them himself.

    His army broken and scattered, the Pope retreated. Rome was now in sight.





    V
    Rome, the Papal States, 1088


    The walls of Rome had fallen swiftly, despite fierce resistance from the remnants of the Papal army. Many of his men had fallen at the parapets, but the city had finally been breached. At the head of his vardariotai, Voulgariotes led his legion into the city; the first Byzantine soldier to set foot in Rome in generations. It felt strange, spurring his steed through the cobbled streets, but he had no time to dwell on his mixed feelings.

    The last of the Papal forces had gathered in the centre of the city, readying for their last stand. Voulgariotes led his cavalry spearhead into the soldiery, taking a usurper’s life with every swing of his sword. Piece by piece, the rest of his force slowly came in to circle the beleaguered defenders, the multiple hammers smashing them against his anvil. The battle lasted for many hours, but there could only be one conclusion.

    Amidst the cheers, Voulgariotes stalked through the captured city, making for the mighty gateway that opened out into their liberated homeland. As he ascended the city walls, the raucous cheers of his men slowly began to blend together, like an artist’s paints mixed together on a pallete, slowly converging to chant the same phrase – a phrase he had heard all too often that past year, but never quite like this. There was no more scorn or callous mirth. Now there was awe, reverence, respect.

    Voulgariotes smiled, and planted the banner of the legions atop the walls of Rome once more.





    Epilogue


    “Let us join then, the Princess Anna of the Imperial House of Comnenus, with Voulgariotes of Preasnitza, liberator of Rome.”

    The cheer raised by the assembled crowd was cacophonous, but Voulgariotes somehow still managed to hear Anna’s subsequent words to the priest – a twittering birdsong of a voice that matched the mischievous twinkle in her eyes and playful, yet thankfully honest smile stretched across her painted lips:

    “I think you mean: Little Belisarius.”



    Gameplay notes
    For a one-post AAR I wanted to keep my actual campaign objectives pretty simple. Although I've always been more of a Shogun AARtist, I do enjoy Medieval 2 a lot and the Byzantines are far and away my favourite faction. Mimicking Belisarius' reconquest of Rome seemed like an easy, quick and fitting goal to work with (and should be a theme familiar to people who have played the Attila DLC). I decided to play on m/m, because I'm not really fantastic at the game and I also didn't want the campaign to get too bogged down. On reflection though, it was very easy to capture Rome quickly, so maybe I should have upped the difficulty a bit more. In my test campaign, I got crushed autoresolving the pitched battle with the Pope, so I was worried about that battle when selecting the difficulty. But when I fought the battle myself in the actual campaign, I was able to rout him with minimal losses. The amount of elite cavalry that the Byzantines can recruit from the start of the game is crazy! I thought invading Italy would be a very difficult prospect right from the get go, but going through Sicily as opposed to Venice was surprisingly simple. Although Venice look menacing, I was actually much more concerned about getting caught up in a war with the HRE, who control the gateway to Rome in the north. So that pretty much made up my mind that I would take Rome from the south.

    I went about the campaign in a reasonably normal manner. I invested most of my early gold in economic buildings, then just pumped out cavalry units at Corinth. Taking the castle at Smyrna with my faction heir is standard, and gave me four units of vardariotai for completing the mission. In my trial game I also took the rebel province of Durazzo, but Sicily or Venice usually want to take it afterwards, and I didn't want to open myself up to any trouble there - especially when most of my money is going into funding my army in Italy. It probably wouldn't have made a difference to the story if they had taken the province, but I was hoping it would either stay rebel, or Venice would capture it - then I could destroy Sicily in one campaign. Unfortunately, and as in my trial game, Sicily took it anyway. Not that it really matters of course.

    I was also lucky to get an early marriage proposal for Anna from a young general with a cool name and nice picture, which gave me a nice protagonist to work around (and meant I didn't have to restart a whole bunch). Obviously they married then, otherwise I wouldn't have the general available, although for story reasons I moved it to the end. After allying with the Turks (a scene I cut from the opening part of the AAR, because it was very dialogue heavy compared to the rest of the story) and securing my eastern front, I sent my army off to Italy and never looked back.

    From here on out I focussed on my campaign in Italy. Sadly Sicily was no challenge at all. They sent the bulk of their forces to take Durazzo, so Palermo and Naples were basically undefended. This was still helpful though, because if I had taken serious casualties then, I wouldn't have been able to fight the Pope's stack outside Rome that easily. In my trial game the Pope didn't even bother to come and stop my siege of Rome and I had to go to him, but in this campaign he was kind enough to come out and try to stop me before I even arrived at the city. But once the rout chain reactions began, it was largely over. I also had a high ground advantage in the fight, so he didn't really stand a chance. The final siege of Rome wasn't an epic affair, but they put up more resistance than the other two cities.

    Mercenaries were a huge help in keeping the momentum up, especially because I arrived in Italy with no infantry and no access to siege equipment. Luckily there were two mercenary regions, so I could grab a few units in Sicily and Southern Italy, then stock up on 8(!) more at Rome, which was really useful. Sacking each settlement was also a boon, because recruiting so many early game cavalry really put a dent in my economy.

    The whole campaign only took 16 turns, which worked out to 8 years (obviously). I set the timescale down from 2.0 to 0.5, in order to scale the ageing better. Setting the timescale like this means characters age correctly - so Voulgariotes was 17 when he came into the game in 1082, and 22 when Rome fell in early 1088. I definitely prefer this and it avoids a problem a lot of Medieval 2 AARtists can tend to run into. Other than that, the game was entirely unmodded and unedited. Two of the screenshots did come from custom battles though (I and V), although the rest were all from the campaign.
    Last edited by Hitai de Bodemloze; April 22, 2018 at 08:10 AM.

  5. #5
    Alwyn's Avatar Frothy Goodness
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    Default Re: 'Official' Single Post AAR Thread

    This is a great initiative, I enjoyed both AARs and hope that there will be more. NorseThing's report shows that there's still merit in using the 'classic' AAR style, commenting on the tactics, strategies and key events in a campaign. There are useful tips here for playing Scotland.

    Hitai's tale is an expertly done introduction to narrative AAR writing. Right from the start, we know that the main character faces a big challenge and I'm interested in seeing whether he can achieve this. The gameplay notes provide excellent tips for writers, for example the idea of adjusting the timescale and using custom battles for some screenshots.

  6. #6
    Turkafinwë's Avatar Cheerful Nihilist
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    Default Re: 'Official' Single Post AAR Thread

    I think it's a great idea Norsething and I shall be looking to do one in the coming days. I have some old recorded games I could take snippets from to make a single-post AAR. As for the two AAR's that are already here I must say they are most enjoyable. Whether the more strategic explaining manner of yours, Norsething, or the more narrative driven one of Hitai. The gamplay notes were a nice addition to the whole post.

    Great work!

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    NorseThing's Avatar Primicerius
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    Default Re: 'Un Official' Single Post AAR Thread

    Hitai has raised the bar more than a little bit. But for those of you thinking of a first post to this thread -- Do not be deterred. Hitai is one of the masters of the craft!

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    Hitai de Bodemloze's Avatar
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    Default Re: 'Un Official' Single Post AAR Thread

    I would always hope I could inspire, rather than deter

    'Master' is also pushing it a bit I've still never even finished a full AAR!

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    Caillagh de Bodemloze's Avatar to rede I me delyte
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    Default Re: 'Un Official' Single Post AAR Thread

    I seem to remember you being part of the inspiration for my one and only (and as yet unfinished) AAR, Hitai.

    I'm not disputing the 'master' description, though.
    Last edited by Caillagh de Bodemloze; April 24, 2018 at 03:25 AM. Reason: Greater accuracy...






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    ♔atthias♔'s Avatar Modding Staff
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    Default Re: 'Official' Single Post AAR Thread

    Quote Originally Posted by Hitai de Bodemloze View Post
    Little Belisarius
    A Medieval 2 Byzantine Micro AAR, m/m setting, 0.5 timescale

    Author's note: This is a really awesome idea by NorseThing! So kudos to him for getting the ball rolling on this. I got a bit carried away with this single post/'micro-AAR', but I hope it fits with the spirit of this endeavour. I did actually play a campaign as well! None of my usual shenanigans. It was very fun to 'go back to basics' as it were, and just write something a bit fun and carefree. I hope it's an enjoyable read, even though it's a little rushed, and I look forward to seeing what everyone else has to offer!


    I
    Constantinople, Byzantine Empire, 1082


    “You can have my daughter’s hand in marriage when the banners of the legions fly high atop the walls of Rome once more!”

    Voulgariotes of Preasnitza scowled at the emperor’s mocking tone. With a twirl of his cape, Voulgariotes turned to stalk out of the throne room, his every dogged footstep falling almost in sync with the mirthful jeering of the assembled court. Determined, resolute, the young seventeen year old noble had sought to make the princess Anna Comnenus his bride. Despite his lowly background – his fortunate adoption into a lesser court family being his only claim to nobility – he had seen the way she looked at him; the embarrassed half-smile, the coquettish flick of the hair, his heart belonged already to her. That wasn’t to say that he saw no merit in advancing his own standing within the decayed remains of the Roman Empire – it was an added bonus, as one might say.

    But if planting the legion’s banner atop the walls of Rome was what it would take to marry Anna, then that was what he would do.





    II
    Palermo, Kingdom of Sicily, 1086

    It had taken two years of patient coaxing, cajoling and compromise before Voulgariotes could finally set sail with his army – and then another year crossing the treacherous waters of the Mediterranean. They were pronoai, skythikon and vardariotai mostly; young and disenfranchised Cumans and Magyars, drawn from the dregs of Byzantine society and lured to the shores of Italy by the promise of fortune and glory. It was not an army to be proud of, not a well-drilled and disciplined legion of old, but a motley horde of nomads and vagabonds. They were all Voulgariotes had, but they would bear the imperial eagle on its final flight home.

    Despite his ambition, he knew these men had little faith in him. They did not expect to ever see Rome, but instead to disperse and raid into the fertile lands of Italy at first opportunity. Like the courtiers of Constantinople, they mocked and jeered him, foreign tongues hiding their barbed words from his comprehension. But he could always pick out the same word. ‘Belisarius’. It was spoken not with the awe or reverence or respect that it once might have been, but with scorn and callous mirth; he was the imposter, the fraud, the fool who thought himself the equal of the last conqueror of Rome. It would have saddened his heart, if Anna’s love had not already occupied every atria and ventricle within.

    His meagre fleet had set sail in 1084, announcing its arrival by sinking the Sicilian navy in the Strait of Messina. The Byzantine army disembarked onto the shores of Sicily, barely kept to heel by Voulgariotes, making for the castle-town at Palermo. A gaggle of Italian mercenaries, axes brought out to grind with their local lords, joined the encroaching horde, bringing with them ladders to scale the walls, and local knowledge of the city’s weak points. Voulgariotes had little with which to pay them, but he was assured the debt incurred would be paid with his blood, should the siege fail.

    As the months bled on into the new year, the army set forth to war; Cumans, Magyars and assorted renegades, ready to liberate the first city of the ancient Roman homeland.





    III
    Naples, Kingdom of Sicily, 1086

    Palermo had fallen with minimal loss of life. The city had been lightly defended and after his Italian mercenaries took the walls, Voulgariotes’ horsemen stormed through the city, slaughtering the Prince Simon who had barely enough time to raise his sword before he was swept from his steed and trampled under hoof.

    After ransacking the city, the army’s lust for gold was quenched – if only temporarily – and they begrudgingly accepted his authority, following his standard north. With the destruction of the Sicilian navy, the seas were clear and Voulgariotes’ fleet ferried them across to the heartlands of Italy, docking in the port of Naples.

    Emboldened by their recent victory, the army was keen to fight once again and another cohort of mercenaries flocked to the Byzantine cause, swelling their ranks even further. As the host surrounded the ancient Roman city, the Sicilians looked out fearfully from their parapets, shocked and surprised not only by the audacity of Voulgariotes’ endeavour, but its swift success thus far. Italy had been impregnable for centuries, thwarting every effort of outsiders to invade. But now it lay fractured and divided within; the Kingdom of Sicily warring with the Republics of Venice and Milan, and the even the Holy Roman Empire. Rome was ripe for recapture, if only in this brief window of time.

    As Voulgariotes prepared his siege lines, the Sicilian King Roger came to parley. Dressed in regal attire atop a magnificent ivory steed, he looked down at the brash young upstart. “Who are you to trample over my lands and burn my cities? Speak your devilled name, that I may know your house and exert my vengeance upon your kin – after I have put you down first.”

    “He thinks he is Belisarius,” snorted one of Voulgariotes’ nomad commanders in reply, his thickly accented tone scornful and derisive.

    Voulgariotes scowled at the man, before turning to Roger. “I am Voulgariotes of Preasnitza, general of the Roman Empire. I am here to liberate our homeland from usurpers and heretics.”

    “Usurpers and heretics? You fool of a boy, your people gave up their claim to Rome a dozen generations before you were even born. You are Greeks now, not Romans. Go back to your true home and take these vermin nomads with you, little Belisarius.”

    “The banners of the legions shall fly from the walls of Rome once more,” Voulgariotes asserted, losing his patience with the petty king. “You shall not stand in my way. Come and do battle, I have had enough of your mewling.”

    King Roger spat on the ground in front of Voulgariotes, before fleeing back inside his castle. And when the Byzantine army stormed the walls the next day, Voulgariotes made sure that he slew the king personally.





    IV
    Outskirts of Rome, the Papal States, 1087


    “The Pope rides to meet us, Little Belisarius.”

    Voulgariotes didn’t miss the wry smile of the nomad commander. After King Roger’s use of the nickname, it had spread like wildfire through the Byzantine camp. Although not in a good way. Despite taking Naples, he was still regarded as the upstart; in fact slaying the king himself had somehow cemented the image in their minds that he took affront to the appellation. The condescending name of Little Belisarius was now his to bear.

    The Kingdom of Sicily had been shattered and gutted in the space of a year and now Rome lay in their sights. However, as his captain had just informed him, Pope Gregory himself had sallied out with impressive host to do battle – determined not to let the Byzantines take one single step further into their ancient homeland.

    The Pope however, was no tactician. Taking up position in the mountain passes outside of Rome, the ramshackle Byzantine army settled itself on the high ground. A fresh host of Italian mercenaries formed the battleline, whilst the nomad cavalry spread out across either wing. The forces of the Papacy walked straight into a slaughter. Whilst a devastating charge by their holy knights nearly broke the Byzantine spear wall, the bloodthirsty vardariotai descended upon the flanks, enveloping the defenders of Rome and scattering their host of pressganged infantry. The knights, suddenly caught out without their infantry support, tried to flee, but Voulgariotes led the counter charge against them himself.

    His army broken and scattered, the Pope retreated. Rome was now in sight.





    V
    Rome, the Papal States, 1088


    The walls of Rome had fallen swiftly, despite fierce resistance from the remnants of the Papal army. Many of his men had fallen at the parapets, but the city had finally been breached. At the head of his vardariotai, Voulgariotes led his legion into the city; the first Byzantine soldier to set foot in Rome in generations. It felt strange, spurring his steed through the cobbled streets, but he had no time to dwell on his mixed feelings.

    The last of the Papal forces had gathered in the centre of the city, readying for their last stand. Voulgariotes led his cavalry spearhead into the soldiery, taking a usurper’s life with every swing of his sword. Piece by piece, the rest of his force slowly came in to circle the beleaguered defenders, the multiple hammers smashing them against his anvil. The battle lasted for many hours, but there could only be one conclusion.

    Amidst the cheers, Voulgariotes stalked through the captured city, making for the mighty gateway that opened out into their liberated homeland. As he ascended the city walls, the raucous cheers of his men slowly began to blend together, like an artist’s paints mixed together on a pallete, slowly converging to chant the same phrase – a phrase he had heard all too often that past year, but never quite like this. There was no more scorn or callous mirth. Now there was awe, reverence, respect.

    Voulgariotes smiled, and planted the banner of the legions atop the walls of Rome once more.





    Epilogue


    “Let us join then, the Princess Anna of the Imperial House of Comnenus, with Voulgariotes of Preasnitza, liberator of Rome.”

    The cheer raised by the assembled crowd was cacophonous, but Voulgariotes somehow still managed to hear Anna’s subsequent words to the priest – a twittering birdsong of a voice that matched the mischievous twinkle in her eyes and playful, yet thankfully honest smile stretched across her painted lips:

    “I think you mean: Little Belisarius.”



    Gameplay notes
    For a one-post AAR I wanted to keep my actual campaign objectives pretty simple. Although I've always been more of a Shogun AARtist, I do enjoy Medieval 2 a lot and the Byzantines are far and away my favourite faction. Mimicking Belisarius' reconquest of Rome seemed like an easy, quick and fitting goal to work with (and should be a theme familiar to people who have played the Attila DLC). I decided to play on m/m, because I'm not really fantastic at the game and I also didn't want the campaign to get too bogged down. On reflection though, it was very easy to capture Rome quickly, so maybe I should have upped the difficulty a bit more. In my test campaign, I got crushed autoresolving the pitched battle with the Pope, so I was worried about that battle when selecting the difficulty. But when I fought the battle myself in the actual campaign, I was able to rout him with minimal losses. The amount of elite cavalry that the Byzantines can recruit from the start of the game is crazy! I thought invading Italy would be a very difficult prospect right from the get go, but going through Sicily as opposed to Venice was surprisingly simple. Although Venice look menacing, I was actually much more concerned about getting caught up in a war with the HRE, who control the gateway to Rome in the north. So that pretty much made up my mind that I would take Rome from the south.

    I went about the campaign in a reasonably normal manner. I invested most of my early gold in economic buildings, then just pumped out cavalry units at Corinth. Taking the castle at Smyrna with my faction heir is standard, and gave me four units of vardariotai for completing the mission. In my trial game I also took the rebel province of Durazzo, but Sicily or Venice usually want to take it afterwards, and I didn't want to open myself up to any trouble there - especially when most of my money is going into funding my army in Italy. It probably wouldn't have made a difference to the story if they had taken the province, but I was hoping it would either stay rebel, or Venice would capture it - then I could destroy Sicily in one campaign. Unfortunately, and as in my trial game, Sicily took it anyway. Not that it really matters of course.

    I was also lucky to get an early marriage proposal for Anna from a young general with a cool name and nice picture, which gave me a nice protagonist to work around (and meant I didn't have to restart a whole bunch). Obviously they married then, otherwise I wouldn't have the general available, although for story reasons I moved it to the end. After allying with the Turks (a scene I cut from the opening part of the AAR, because it was very dialogue heavy compared to the rest of the story) and securing my eastern front, I sent my army off to Italy and never looked back.

    From here on out I focussed on my campaign in Italy. Sadly Sicily was no challenge at all. They sent the bulk of their forces to take Durazzo, so Palermo and Naples were basically undefended. This was still helpful though, because if I had taken serious casualties then, I wouldn't have been able to fight the Pope's stack outside Rome that easily. In my trial game the Pope didn't even bother to come and stop my siege of Rome and I had to go to him, but in this campaign he was kind enough to come out and try to stop me before I even arrived at the city. But once the rout chain reactions began, it was largely over. I also had a high ground advantage in the fight, so he didn't really stand a chance. The final siege of Rome wasn't an epic affair, but they put up more resistance than the other two cities.

    Mercenaries were a huge help in keeping the momentum up, especially because I arrived in Italy with no infantry and no access to siege equipment. Luckily there were two mercenary regions, so I could grab a few units in Sicily and Southern Italy, then stock up on 8(!) more at Rome, which was really useful. Sacking each settlement was also a boon, because recruiting so many early game cavalry really put a dent in my economy.

    The whole campaign only took 16 turns, which worked out to 8 years (obviously). I set the timescale down from 2.0 to 0.5, in order to scale the ageing better. Setting the timescale like this means characters age correctly - so Voulgariotes was 17 when he came into the game in 1082, and 22 when Rome fell in early 1088. I definitely prefer this and it avoids a problem a lot of Medieval 2 AARtists can tend to run into. Other than that, the game was entirely unmodded and unedited. Two of the screenshots did come from custom battles though (I and V), although the rest were all from the campaign.
    well done +rep
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    If yes, then the Rise of Mordor team linked above is looking for you!
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    It adds back units who were deleted from the campaign in MOS 1.7, namely the Winged Swordsmen, the Citadel Guard Archers and the Gondor Dismounted Bodyguard.

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  11. #11
    Hitai de Bodemloze's Avatar
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    Default Re: 'Official' Single Post AAR Thread

    Quote Originally Posted by Caillagh de Bodemloze View Post
    I seem to remember you being part of the inspiration for my one and only (and as yet unfinished) AAR, Hitai.
    I was? I didn't know that!

    Quote Originally Posted by ♔atthias♔ View Post
    well done +rep
    Thanks!

  12. #12
    Turkafinwë's Avatar Cheerful Nihilist
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    Default Re: 'Un Official' Single Post AAR Thread

    Author's notes: This is a snippet from a campaign I did a long time ago in SS. Even though I don't have any screenshots anymore, nor the save files for that matter, from this campaign I have documented it very well. Hope you guys enjoy it!

    History of le Armée Hispanique

    Le Armée Hispanique was a armed force of the medieval French Kingdom. It was founded in 1220 by king Philip the Second, of the House Capet, of France to protect French interests in the Iberian Peninsula. The fledgling army was placed under the command of Duke of Aquitaine, Gaston Talvas, aged 32 at the time, with his second in command Junien Gaudin (36) and the king's bastard Philippe (19). Assembled in Bordeaux the force consisted mostly of Aquitainian troops. It's first objective was to conquer the independent kingdom of Navarra by taking their capital of Pamplona. During this a period of civil strife raged between the king of France and some of his dukes, called the Ducal Wars. Le Armée Hispanique was not to participate in this conflict. However when news of a Castillian siege of Pamplona reached Gaston, he diverted the armies' focus on the rebellious duke of Languedoc. The army, however, never reached Toulouse as news of the Castillians' their defeat in Navarra reached Gaston a couple of months later. Gaston promptly returned to his task of incorporating the Navarran kingdom into France and would not return to France for many years.

    In June 1223 the Armée Hispanique finally reached Pamplona and layed siege to it.

    In 1227, after 4 years of laying siege, the stronghold surrendered to Gaston and his army. Here Philippe the Bastard was granted the title of the newly formed Duchy of Navarre, by his father king Philip the Second.

    It was not until 1229 that the Armée Hispanique was called upon again when France declared war on the kingdom of Aragon. Junien was named the Governor of Navarre and was left in Pamplona while Gaston (41) and Philippe (28) where to embark on the disastrous campaign of 1229 into Aragonese territory. The plan had been to conquer Zaragoza and Barcelona cementing a strong southern border in Iberia. Gaston and Philippe did not besiege Zaragoza for long before they were suprised by an Aragonese army coming from the north. Being outmaneuvered by their foes and unable to flee back to friendly territory, Gaston ordered his troops to venture further into Aragonese territory. This flight would continue until they reached the place where the Ebro met the Mediterranian sea. It was in this place that Gaston decided to make a stand. It was here that two of the bloodiest battles would be fought in the Iberian campaign.


    Ducal and German War

    Legend:


    Armée Hispanique


    Armée d'Allemagne


    Armée de l'Ost


    Armée Première


    1st Battle of the Ebro


    Duke Gaston Talvas of Aquitaine commanded a force of 1700 men strong consisting of mostly infantry armed with spears and shields and a couple of lightly armed swordsmen. They were supported by some 300 crossbowmen, mostly peasants who had been recruited from the rural lands of southern France. With Gaston there were also some 200 mounted French knights.

    Against him stood Prince Alvar Ramirez, a son of the King of Aragon. He brought with him an army of 2100 men consisting mostly of infantry and skirmishers but also a catapult and ballista and some 300 mounted knights.

    Although outnumbered in almost every aspect, Gaston and Philippe managed to win the battle. Prince Alvar was killed on the battlefield. The Armée Hispanique however did lose about 65% of their entire force and they were still deep in enemy territory with another army descending upon them.


    Not long after the first battle of the Ebro, a second Aragonese army appeared on the horizon. Although smaller than the former it still posed a great threat to the seriously diminished Armée Hispanique. The king of Aragon had sent two of his other sons to crush the French army.

    2nd Battle of the Ebro

    Duke Gaston's army was but a ghost of it's former self now only counting 630 men. The losses in the first battle had been equally divided between the cavalry, infantry and skirmishers respectively. His men were ragged and some still beared wounds from the previous engagement.

    Prince Nuno and his brother Jimeno commanded a small force of 820 men. They had brought only squadrons of infantry, disregarding their personal retinue of knights.

    Gaston and Philippe won the battle only through great personal courage and with a quick defeat of the enemy commander, killing him on the spot. Morale broke among the Iberian troops as they saw their prince's defeat. Jimeno, seeing his brother being killed, preffered fleeing more than taking revenge on the French.


    Le Armée Hispanique had escaped complete annihilation and Gaston ordered a retreat back to Navarre. It was a very tense march through the enemies' their heartlands and they always stayed close to the Ebro which had saved them through this horrible campaign.

    Upon their arrival at Pamplona, Gaston started recruiting Aquitainian and Navarran troops to rebuild his army. He commissioned the making of badges depicting a river for all veterans of the so called “Ebro-Campaign”. These men bore their badges with pride and told everyone they met they had survived the Iberian Hell. He also asked the king for funds to raise a memorial for the fallen soldiers of this campaign, which was granted and was promptly build.


    Ebro Campaign

    Legend:

    Armée Hispanique

    We jump quite some years further till we reach the year 1235 when Gaston and Philippe once more venture into Aragon with a 1800 strong army of Frenchmen and Iberians on another campaign. Once again the Armée Hispanique lays siege to Zaragoza, the capital of Aragon. This time they were assisted by a Castillian army of 2000 men storng, led by Enrique de Castilla.

    Defending the city was Jimeno, now king of Aragon after his father's death at the Siege of Barcelona a year prior. This was indeed the same Jimeno who ran away at the 2nd Battle of the Ebro. The severely outnumbered army of Jimeno was slaughtered and the city taken, pushing the Aragonese Kingdoms' boundaries south of the Ebro river. This would become the southern border of France for most of the coming years.

    Gaston and his troops returned back to their base in Pamplona for the remainder of the war in Iberia.

    Campaign of 1235


    Legend:
    Armée Hispanique


    Armée Aquitaine




    In 1237 a peace treaty was signed between France and Aragon called the Treaty of Bologna. Aragon would cede control of Zaragoza, Barcelona and Palma to France as well as paying France an annual tribute of 4000 florins for the next 5 years.

    Gaston Talvas retired as commander and returned back to Bordeaux to live the rest of his days in peace. Supreme command of the Armée Hispanique was transferred to Duke Philippe of Navarre who was planning an invasion of the Moorish territories in Iberia and Morroco. Philippe was envious of his half brother, Prince Louis, who had participated in the Fifth Crusade and had conquered both Gaza and Jerusalem. As Philippe would not inherit anything he wanted to make a little kingdom of his own.


    Thus in 1241 he began preparing the Armée Hispanique to march into Moorish occupied Spain. He however changes his mind and in 1243 he sets sail for Morroco embarking at the port of Pamplona. Landing in Mauretanië he splits his army in two. A small force to take Marrakesh and the bulk of his army to go with him towards the city of Fes.

    In 1246 Marrakesh fell to the French forces and its population got butchered. The victorious soldiers march north to join up with Philippe and the rest of the army.

    Philippe now back in command of his full force continues the siege of Fes. However soon he is pushed further into Moorish territory with the arrival of a grand Almohad army. Le Armée Hispanique flees into the mountains of the Atlas. Out of supplies and not able to run any further they turn to face Maymun al-Nasir's forces in the Battle of Atlas in the winter of 1247.

    Battle of Atlas

    Philippe, aged 46, commanded a force of Frenchmen, Iberians and Moorish troops. A force of almost 2200 men strong, consisting of a 1000 heavy infantrymen, supported by some 240 French archers and some 240 Iberian shirmishers. For cavalry he commanded 200 French knights but also some 60 of light Moorish cavalry.

    Maymun al-Nasir commanded a force of some 3050 men of which 1800 were Arab infantry, some 1000 cavalrymen and 200 archers and skirmishers. There were some christian guard cavalry present in the Moorish forces which disheartened the French army greatly.

    Philippe, a aggressive commander, employed a very daring strategy against the larger force of Maymun. The French infantry was to lock the Moorish infantry in combat as fast as possible and hold them while Philippe and the little cavalry he had would try to eliminate the enemy cavalry one unit at a time. The plan failed as Maymun held his cavalry in one big block to avoid units being seperated from the rest. Philippe conducted an even riskier plan by charging straight for Maymun. Unfortunately Maymun had prepared for such a tactic and feinted a retreat pulling the French cavalry further away from the battlefield, all the while enveloping them with his own. Maymun turned round and charged the now cut off French knights and slaughtered them all. Philippe met his demise here.

    With their commander dead morale soon started to break and the French army tried to flee but to no avail. The Moorish cavalry soon pursued and massacred the running Frenchmen.


    Morrocan Campaign

    Legend:

    Armée Hispanique

    With the defeat at the disastrous Battle of Atlas le Armée Hispanique ceased to exist and it was never reinstated by king Louis the Eight. Though the force would always be commemorated for its services in the Aragonese war, Philippe's shameless attempt for personal power was removed from the annals of the army.

    Previous second in command Junien Gaudin had only died a year before the utter demise of his former force.

    Former supreme commander Gaston Talvas would survive for a couple of years before dying peacefully at his chateaux in 1251 at the age of 63. With Gaston gone the last figure of the Armée Hispanique vanished, but its memory was not forgotten and even today you can visit the Remembrance stone of the heroes of Ebro in Pamplona and the banners of the Armée Hispanique can still be seen in the Capet France museum in Paris.

    Thus ends the story of the Spanish army -1220-1247.

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  13. #13
    Alwyn's Avatar Frothy Goodness
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    Default Re: 'Un Official' Single Post AAR Thread

    Great AAR! The maps and banners for different armies work well alongside the reporting of events and I like your idea of focusing on one army.

  14. #14
    Turkafinwë's Avatar Cheerful Nihilist
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    Default Re: 'Un Official' Single Post AAR Thread

    Quote Originally Posted by Alwyn View Post
    Great AAR! The maps and banners for different armies work well alongside the reporting of events and I like your idea of focusing on one army.
    Thanks very much! I was lucky past me did a sort of narrative/roleplayed styled game in SS a couple of years ago as well as documenting it very well. Most of the banners and maps had already been made so it wasn't that much of an effort to change it a little to suit the narrative. I've got loads of stuff written down just lying in the dust of my cupboard. Mostly Third Age and submods for it. Maybe for another Single Post AAR perhaps in the future. Who knows what's lying down there.

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    NorseThing's Avatar Primicerius
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    Default Re: 'Un Official' Single Post AAR Thread



    Johao's Story

    A Portuguese Noble's Search for Acceptance

    This tale is a single post AAR. It was intended originally to be a multi part narrative AAR of a Medieval II Short Campaign with Hard Campaign Difficulty & Very Hard Battle Difficulty. That AAR may still appear (maybe). This is written giving a non-historic version on why the starting position of Portugal includes the Navarra for those who find the standard starting position somewhat annoying to a 'purist' perspective of history. The readers are advised that this is probably not a 'perfect' plan if for no reason than the results that unfold in this tale. The focus here is on General Johao and not on Portugal as a whole.
     
    * * *

    1080
     
    King Henrique, the first King of Portugal is from the Portuguese House of Burgundy. Yes, this is not the House of Burgundy that was a particular thorn in the side for kings of various European rulers. This is a branch off of the tree though. Today he is meeting with his closest military advisors which include his son Prince Alfonso, Admiral Martio, and Noble Lopo Periz) in Lisbon. Notably absent among his closest advisors is Noble Johao, the administrator / general stationed in far away Pamplona. Pamplona is a recent ally and now effectively a fief within the Kingdom of Portugal.
     
    King Henrique began the short meeting with a surprising announcement, "Nobles, we are embarking on a mission with great risk to our kingdom as well as great personal risk to all nobles of the realm. Pope Alexander III only last year blessed our kingdom by recognizing Portugal as an independent state. Portugal now owes no fealty to any other nobility. Portugal owes fealty to only the Pope himself. This is very important to our future and we shall remember him as we expand the church in his name. My cousin thinks of himself as the King of Spain though he is indeed merely a king of a small part of the peninsula that we call Spain. Not since the ancient Roman times has Spain been united. He is king to his subjects within Galicia, Leon, and Castile. He is clearly not a king of all of Spain as he is often heard to proclaim. He views our house as mere rebels that have strayed. He views Portugal as his fief as the King of Leon."
     
    The king continues, "But times have changed the map thanks to the edict of Pope Alexander III last year before his ascent to heaven. It is now time that Portugal does it's part on also changing the map. We have sent our regards to the Duchy of Aragon to join our recent union with Navarra. Our kind offers of a joint union against the Moors have been dismissed though our offers have met with a positive response from some on the Aragonese nobility. It is time that such a union be completed and so I have commissioned our able general, Noble Johao, to leave his administrative duties in Pamplona to enforce such a union by force of arms. I will travel with an army from Lisbon our eastern interests via our Navy. Pamplona will now become our administrative capital, at least for a bit of time. We desire this entire region which includes Aquitaine and Catalonia to hopefully join our union with enthusiasm against the Moors. Negotiations are of course in progress. We are hopeful."
     
    The king ended the announcements with a short aside, "A final request nobles, the Council of Nobles is seeking an appropriate partner in marriage for my beloved daughter Princess Maria. I am sending her on a mission to meet with the Moors to establish trade relations as she and her entourage are headed towards Pamplona over land. This should in no matter delay the search for an appropriate partner. Please give whatever assistance is needed for the council to fulfill it's mission."
     
    The meeting continued, but the important matters are already settled. The rest of the meeting is mere details and thus not reported in the chronicals in any reliable detail.
     
    After the meeting had concluded the merchant Verisimo Ramiric met privately with the king:
     
    Nobel Ramiric, "Your highness, it may be imperative to keep your son close to Lisbon for some time. The tin mines need developing. My men can trade a bit but your treasury will suffer without the construction of better mining facilities. Simple merchants trading with the local people can produce only so much profit for you. The move of our capital may also mean a slight reduction in income as well. It is even more imperative that I begin trading more agressively and that the mine construction is supervised by your son, the Prince."
     
    King Henrique, "Yes, you are quite expert on these matters. I will also suggest to General Johao that improvements be made as quick as possible to Zaragoza in this matter as well. Also, both Cardinal Manoel and Noble Lopo Periz will be studying the land and the defenses between here and Zaragoza. I will ask that they also look for likely merchant opportunities in the Moorish and Spanish lands."
    * * *

    Just as the king was advising his council of war, General Johao was assembling a modest army to besiege Zaragoza. This was the principle administration center for the Aragonese. A short siege would immediately contain the local militia garrison to the town while battering rams are built to break open the small town's gate. General Johao is a bit uncertain on what will be needed to be successful so he has stripped the Pamplona garrison of all but a company of peasant archers. He was placing a great deal of trust in the imposing stone walls of the castle since there was now nearly nothing behind the walls to defend Pamplona.

     
    He did have the wisdom to order the construction of a garrison quarters before heading off to siege Zaragoza. Johao then spoke to the troops, "The new quarters will give Pamplona new recruiting and training facilities. Portugal's Lusitanian Javelins will bolster the defenses in Pamplona." Of course this was in the future and not for the very immediate needs. Would time allow General Johao the luxury of this reckless gambit?
     
    General Johao thought to himself but also out loud so that his infantry and cavalry could also hear: "Those future javelin skirmishers will secure the region from the rebels that seem to be an ever present threat to Pamplona and our beloved peasant farmers. Perhaps these rebels are some of the dissatisfied Navarra nobles that have lost position with the union -- with Portugal." With the thought finished and satisfied that Pamplona was now in 'safe hands', he mounted and led the army south to Zaragoza. And yes, those beloved peasants included the lone company of archers left as the garrison that would bear the blame if this gambit failed.
     
    The siege has became a show of Portugal's force with 3 cavalry regiments and 5 companies of infantry. All of these fine units are fully supplied and fully trained to Portugal's standards. Even the uniforms are new and in parade ready form. They are opposed by only 4 companies pinned in and defending Zaragoza. Once the siege begins, the Aragonese garrison will weaken while the Portuguese will be well fed on the forage from the very peasants that General Johao hopes to rule from Pamplona.
    * * *

    Princess Maria did succeed in completing a trade agreement with a Moorish captain near Cordoba. There would be a bonus of a nominal annual tribute by the Moors to help close the deal that the Moorish captain was so eager to make. In some ways this trade deal probably would make the Council of Nobles search for a prospective and suitable partner for Maria a bit easier to complete. A simple truth of Medieval Europe: the more charming any princess is, the larger the suitable prospect pool seems to grow.

    * * *

    Over matched, the Pamplona garrison quickly retreated to the town square once the battering rams began to move forward. General Johao quickly ordered the 3 spear companies and the 3 cavalry regiments to enter and then seize the perimeter road inside the walls. The peasant crossbowmen moved up to a position just inside the gate to cover the movements of cavalry and infantry. It was to be a three sided march against the town square in true imperial Roman fashion with the spears marching in confidence and the cavalry preparing for the final charge from all sides.

     
    * * *

    The end result was never in doubt. Portugal's general did earn some good marks for this occupation with a minimal cost to Portugal's military. The Jinetes are easy to bring back to full strength in Pamplona's castle stables. General Johao thought the experience for the infantry was worth their loses.

     
    He believed any success is always better than any failure. But - - meeting expectations was not his plan. He was the second son of a minor noble family. He desired acceptance by the ruling Burundian noble family and perhaps a substantial grant of land south of Lisbon. That part of Portugal was claimed by King Henrique but was still not quite secure from Moorish and Islamist influence.
     
    * * *

    1082

     
    General Johao then moved on towards the administrative center of Aquitaine against the stone castle at Bordeaux with the 3 companies of spear militia and a company of peasant crossbows. The Jinetes were sent back to Pamplona for resupply and new recruits to bring the regiments back to a full status. Unknown to General Johao, Bordeaux was already the target for King Henrique's army moving by the combined fleet from Lisbon as well.
     
    Pamplona was not going to see reinforcements from King Henrique. A Spanish army led by General Vasco was already poking around near the Valencia region. If the poking became more hostile toward Portugal, Pamplona would quickly fall. General Johao was simply not a part of the actual plans. His knowledge was obviously limited to a need know basis. He had received orders. He was supposed to keep an adequate Pamplona garrison. He was not doing what King Henrique had ordered.
     
    He had decided to 'temporarily' leave a minimal force of peasant crossbows reinforced by the Pamplona peasant archers in occupation of Zaragoza while construction began on a stronger wooden wall on the town's perimeter. General Johao had already shown how inadequate a wooden palisade was against a determined foe. A small town can defend against some bandits and even a small band of rebels, but a palisade and a gate or two is only a real defense against an angry mob of peasants armed with clubs that are outside the town. The Noble Johao has also shown a willingness to gamble once again on a weak garrison and this was with both religious and general unrest in the region. His gamble has always been by leaving the peasants in charge of defending Portugal's interests. Perhaps not a truly noble act, but typical for many for this time and place.
    * * *

    1084

     
    The Council of Nobles has completed it's task and has found a suitable partner for Princess Maria! Feram Porco is a 25 year old noble from good parents of the Portuguese nobility. The council had also urged the royal family to proceed with better relations with Spain despite the problems between King Henrique and his cousin the King of Spain. The Spanish Princess Uarraca el Valiente, one of the daughters of the Spanish king, approached Zaragoza after General Johao had left. The captain left in charge knew of the difficulties between his king and Spain, so despite the potential for better relationships with a royal marriage to the Prince, the Princess left with only a trade treaty in exchange for some florins. The council quickly rewarded King Henrique with a couple of companies of town militia.
     
    The marriage took place in the new administrative center of Pamplona. Diplomacy is now lacking with Princess Maria now newly wed. Princess Maria and her new husband could not understand this oversight by her brother the Prince or her father the king. As a member of the inner circle, Princess Maria wasted no time in urging her new husband to take charge of what to her was both chaos and opportunity for her new husband.
     
    The Noble Porco was now within the inner circle. It is obvious that General Johao's authority is slipping and not just slipping due to this royal marriage. The now fully reinforced cavalry had orders to rejoin Johao's army, but those orders needed to be reconfirmed by those in authority. In this case, Noble Faram Porco was the authority. He then raced to Zaragoza to begin the construction of a town hall with the gifted town militia as well as his own personal bodyguard of mounted knights to reinforce the garrison. Princess Maria had convinced her new husband that diplomacy was lacking and was essential for King Henrique's overall plans. In any case, the growth potential of any town of some size needs such administrative facilities. Truly the Noble Porco was now acting more as a future heir. He was indeed acting with much more authority than General Jahao ever held.

    * * *

    1086

     
    The castle at Bordeaux had already suffered substantial damage by French soldiers based in the Catalonian castle at Toulouse. The French Prince appears to also have plans to rework the map of Europe that did not work hand in hand with Portugal's plans. General Johao wasted no time in beginning another siege of Bordeaux. This was a golden opportunity since only two companies of battered defenders remained in the castle at Bordeaux. When the reinforced cavalry arrived, the assault was to began. There was no need to have further military assets present since even the over cautious General Johao knew the Bordeaux garrison now was only two battered and demoralized companies of infantry. The recruitment of any mercenaries that seemed to be plentiful within the region were not needed. Only the construction of some ladders and battering rams were now needed to complete the assault. Then Bordeaux would be an asset of Portugal thanks to the seizing of opportunities, thought General Johao.
     
    * * *

    1088

     
    At the very moment the final assault was to begin, the King Henrique landed with the combined fleet along with the Lisbon garrison to take charge of the assault. Bordeaux was now properly a part of the growing Kingdom of Portugal while a small Spanish army looked on in awe. King Henrique was achieving a great deal as a mere 'rebel out of the Spanish fief'. Once again General Johao's ambitions have been frustrated. Once again the ruling family was taking charge without any appreciation shown towards Noble Johao.

    * * *


    The King offered a bit of hope though as he commanded the general to take the cavalry regiments and the spear militia companies back to Pamplona and Zaragoza for resupply. The mission was more though. It was to lead an army against General El Cid in Valencia! This may be his opportunity that had been so elusive up until today!


    * * *

    If it was to be a siege of Valencia, General Johao knew the cavalry regiments would be of limited use within the castle walls. The inner streets were narrow. His own personal heavy cavalry bodyguard was going to need to play a part. There is little room for maneuver. Any cavalry engagement could be costly. The spear militia companies after their refit in Zaragoza would be useful to counter El Cid's cavalry regiments. The same problem of the narrow streets could also be working for him while on the attack against the cavalry defenders. The newly formed Lusitania Javelin companies might be of use after the walls are taken by the town militia companies, but were these javelin companies suitable to actually take the castle walls? He believed the key would be to use all of the javelins as skirmishers before El Cid could take his troops and fall back to the town square to defend Valencia to the death. This would mean flanking within the tight confines of the castle pathways. This had some potential. Yes, there was clearly some potential for success.


    * * *

    1094
     
    General Johao has led an initial army to the border of the Valencia region and made camp. The army consisted of 7 companies of a mix of infantry (Lusitania Javelins, town militia, peasant archers and crossbows) and two cavalry regiments. General Johao was of two minds now. This army needed several companies of spear militia from Zaragoza after the Town Watch construction is completed. There were 3 battered companies that had returned with the General from the Bordeaux campaign that were now garrisoned in Zaragoza with a regiment of Jinetes. Feram Porco had promised to bring these and perhaps more Lusitania Javelins to Valencia to begin the assault. Of course there was the risk of once again a ruling family member taking credit. Perhaps El Cid would want to break the siege? Perhaps Johao could achieve victory in an open field battle before Noble Porco would arrive? General Johao has now spent about a dozen years in the field in the service of King Henrique. His search for acceptance by the royal family has come down to facing El Cid on the plains in front of Valencia with what he knows is not sufficient force to win the day. Or should he wait and let a member of the royal family face El Cid with a more capable army?
     

    * * *

    Author Commentary
     
    I have tried to portray the main character as a bit over cautious as a commander. He was willing to let others clean up what he leaves behind as he moves on for new opportunities. He is all for putting on a good show and likes to see a military on parade but he hesitates to take action when the future result is in doubt. Johao does not seem to fit the romantic image of nobility or military leadership, but is he really out of place? We write of the successes because they are popular to read, but were men like Johao more common in European history? He is both the result of a society that believes in birth rights (think what it was to be a peasant - Johao is of noble birth) as well as man who believes he suffers as a result of birth rights of others.
     
    So will General Johao cross the border and hope to engage El Cid or will he wait for more men and material only to then once again blame the ruling family for taking credit?
     
    Well -- this is a single post AAR, so perhaps we will never know the answers.

  16. #16
    Alwyn's Avatar Frothy Goodness
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    Default Re: 'Un Official' Single Post AAR Thread

    Good AAR! This shows that a Single Post AAR thread can be used to try out an idea which might turn into a longer AAR, as well as tales which were only ever going to have one post. You set the scene well, showing how Portugal is proudly independent but that independence might be threatened. General Johao does come across as a cautious commander; I imagine that the soldiers under his command appreciate this quality, since he does his best to keep them alive. (If you turn this into a longer AAR, I wonder if it would be worth giving him and other nobles specific titles - such as a baron, a count, a viscount or duke of somewhere. (I found an article listing titles of Spanish nobility here; it includes titles granted by Kings of Spain in their capacity as King of Portugal.)

  17. #17
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    Default Re: 'Un Official' Single Post AAR Thread

    Hmm, seems like Photobucket is showing pictures again, wonder how long that will last.. Here are some old ones of mine.

    Small Easterling Battle Walkthrough

    Spoiler Alert, click show to read: 

    Among the dark lord Saurons many subjects are obedient and dutiful men, orcs and trolls to depend on for carrying out his many tasks.

    And then there are also the Easterlings of the Sea of Rhun.

    Keeping with their proud record of untrustworthiness ranging from the betrayal of the less dark side at the battle of unnumbered tears, the Easterlings of today have made peace and allied with the men of Dale, the dwarves of Erebor, the elves of Mirkwood and even Gondor. Not only that, but Rhunic armies have captured the Black Gate itself as well as gained control over Barad Dur. In his fury, Sauron has withdrawn his protection of Mordor and disarray now characterize the Morgoth-worshipping political entities of Middle Earth. Desperate to reclaim their lost lands and prestige the forces of Mordor break the truce and attack the Black gate, commanded by the infamous Easterling Maltook. Not only is his lack of obedience an affront to dark creatures in general and Sauron in particular, but he mocks the very idea of evil sides by letting all his prisoners go free after capturing them in battles, time and again.

    After a catastrophical envelopment and mass rout outside the Black gate and the loss of the local mountain troll company and half a field army in a failed attack on the plains of Morgai the remnants of the northern forces of Mordor cower in the stronghold of Durthang while inventing new derogatory synonyms of Maltook and working up their previously battered sense of safety. The commander, Laglug, has already ordered two entire companies of scouts eaten and morale is sure to stabilize after the brilliant display of the fine Orc leadership. Luckily, Durthang is an impressive fortress, situated in a mountain valley with steep slopes and cliffs providing natural fortifications.

    Only a complete fool would attack a force three times as big holding the high ground in mountainous terrain.

    Seriously.

    That would be totally stupid.

    Idiotic.



    After replying to the sceptical looks from his valued colleague Margoz, the heir to the throne, with swaggering promises of glory and honorific suffixes, Maltacus evaluates the unsuitable field. The first Mordor army occupy a ridge halfway to the cliffs where the larger one is descending. The slope is gentle but very long. The scope of the strategic fiasco laid bare, the Easterlings instead chose to take a defensive position near some mysterious village at the south-eastern edge of the field. Two groups of building combined with the huge cliffs to the right create two fronts where vast Orcish units can swarm them.



    The Easterling army is both headed and spearheaded by the Dragon regiments wearing golden plate armour and brown clothing. Infantry with halberds and maces block the two fronts equally divided (3 and 4). The exceptional archers, nearly on par with elves, line up at the left where the ground is open (2). The less exceptional but enthusiastic Balchoth wait near the mountain to support the right front (5). Lighter and weaker infantry take position behind the middle buildings to block enemy incursions (6) while the heavy cavalry guarding the both generals wait unchivalrously far behind the left front (1). The “light” cavalry wait behind the right one. While covered in lamellar and scale and wielding strong lances, riding next to plated Kataphracts tend to put weight issues into perspective.

    Seeing the enemy intimidated enough to retreat the orcs advance, confident in their numbers. Behind his steel veil, Maltook sigh with relief. It would surely have been embarrassing if the enemy had simply stood their ground.



    From the attractive vantage point that at least would be attractive if there were any trees and water nearby Laglug and his minions experience both the picturesque Mordorian weather with lightning flashing without rain as well as the less picturesque sight of the Horse Guard cavalry slaying the pitiful ranged department of the first army. Slightly less visible is the vanguard pursuing them after they engage the right wing of the Easterlings and the Balchoth tribesmen do their best to blot out the enemy, currently lacking a sun to do it to.



    On the flat left front the orcs are less numerous but more dangerous. Uruks storm the lines of halberdiers along with less feared Orcish raiders. Two halberd companies make up the Easterling line while macemen stand ready as a reserve and mobile force. Fearing his lines being worn out prematurely, Maltook leads a sally and succeed in chasing them away. As the Orcish reserves rush in to fill the gap the left wing is again under pressure. Unfortunately for the orcs, only half the Easterling front is properly targeted and the left half is again open to a combined attack by cavalry and the macemen who flank the orcs, securing the passage for the cavalry and binding the enemy forces until the Kataphracts have had time to run around and slam into their rear.



    On the right, things initially go slightly better for Mordor after the somewhat pointy hailstorm has passed. While the ground before the halberd infantry is turning into a steadily more crimson tone, the macemen, lacking the spear wall capability, are pushing steadily forward into the enemy formation and risk becoming enveloped. Unfortunately, their captain involuntarily picks that moment to experience the less attractive part of being an orc and falls in the general chaos. Seeing the Orcish horde waver the Balchoth storm forward and drive them away along with the Dragon infantry. The second army is yet to be heard from but closing steadily. They have spread out a lot and are grouped in ineffective marching columns. That alone will be worth a lot unless Laglug can make them form up properly before engaging.



    Seeing the lack of Orcish interest of the middle buildings, Maltook fancies a guess that Mordor not only find them architecturally inferior but also inaccessible. Wanting to take advantage of the vantage point he sends forth his archers, unused until now, to switch place with the lighter infantry. His tactical blunder soon becomes apparent as Uruk archers prove their range and shoot down a dozen Easterlings before they can retreat to safer ground behind the buildings. From there one has excellent view of the right flank and the tightly packed Orc archers trying to elbow their way into firing position. A more tempting target than the Uruks.



    Contemplating the truth in the old statement that one has to do everything one wants done on ones own, Maltook leads the heavy cavalry in yet another sally whose similarity to the former ones approaches the mind-numbingly dull. As the macemen engage the current unsupported infantry Maltook and his cronies spread confusion among the archer ranks and attract the attention of Orcish reserves. Spearmen hurry to protect their archer comrades, or at least colleagues, incidentally blocking their view in the process. The archer threat is partially neutralised for the moment but fresh reserves pour in to renew the attack on the left wing. Still stubbornly ignoring the left portion of it.



    Showing it can match the left in every respect, the right front provides the same tedious repeat of past events. Only more amplified this time. The macemen again drift further and further into the enemy formation and every single soldier is locked in melee combat with one or more smelly, grunting grunts. The notoriously more successful halberdiers are left more or left alone and when the Easterling general at last spots their predicament he is forced to order them forward along with the infantry reserve in order to save something of the Dragon line. Not only that, but as the Kataphracts charge forth yet another time, orc archers simply push their way round the flank of the overwhelmed halberdiers on the left wings right wing. They get off a few annoying and very embarrassing (for Maltook) volleys before light cavalry and the Easterling archers catch them. Casualties are mounting among the Rhunic army as more and more of the orc archers get into positions on plains before them and the right wing suffer under continuous pressure from the main part of the Orcish infantry. Maltook and Margoz stumble forward on their trotting tin cans to reach the archers who are falling back up the slope. Simultaneously, the left wing is advancing to engage the orcs left behind by the cavalry.



    It is at this moment that Laglug falls to an unknown unpleasant object in the hand of an unknown unpleasant Easterling, presumably somewhere in the chaos on the right front. With the loss of their general, the Orc army falls apart and individual units fight to get away as Easterlings bear down on them. Soon the entire army is routing and the battle is over.



    Many orcs escape and many more are released by Maltook afterwards. Still, Durthang will be in trouble and Mordor loses vast forces.




    The Dragon infantry do their job well by all accounts, but suffer serious casualties. The halberdiers (Loke-Gamp Rim) prove their superiority when defending. The macemen (Loke-Flag Rim) are better suited for teamwork along with cavalry and a more mobile role. Their shields and heavier armour make them more resistant to arrows and they are a better choice for envelopment manoeuvres rather than stationary defence. The archers (Loke-Nar Rim) are effective as always but do not excel as the enemy do not focus their entire force on one esily hit point. The Horse Guard suffer notable casualties in the last phase of the battle when formations have been broken and all has become a mess. As always, they work best when assisted by some heavier unit.


    Last edited by Maltacus; May 21, 2018 at 05:47 AM.

  18. #18
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    Default Re: 'Un Official' Single Post AAR Thread

    Disrespectful Siege of Orc Fortress (Northern European fortress layout)
    Spoiler Alert, click show to read: 

    Yaguf the random orc captain walks confidently around the battlements of Durthang. While the fortress is currently besieged by that heathen Easterling horde there is no immediate danger. Their dim-witted leader released all prisoners captured in the previous battle so the fortress is swelling with over two and a half thousand orcs. Even at half strength, the garrison is big enough to deter any sensible commander with an inferior force, even that insufferable slime Maltook, turmoil be with him.

    Soon someone will send a relief force and chase those golden desert lizards away. Just thinking of their silly scale armour…embarrassing.

    An orc archer is running up towards his wall. Seemingly in a hurry. What now?



    You’ve got to be kidding...




    Maltook has constructed a sizeable amount of siege equipment numbering more precisely two rams, two towers and eight sets of ladders. His army is spread out along the eastern and northern side of the fortress. Clearly he is trying to overwhelm the defenders by attacking from many directions at once. But Yaguf is smarter than that. He focuses his troops near the gates, the most important sections of the outer wall.

    Along the eastern wall stands a ram crewed by light infantry along with the Easterling halberdiers and half the Balchoth tribesmen. To its right are spread the heavy Clan Guard infantry with ladders. Along the northern wall are the other half of Balchoth tribesmen with ladders, another ram together with the cavalry and the archers next to it with ladders. Further to the north are the two towers crewed by the heavily armoured macemen.



    After the fellowship has made at least half a ring around the fortress the two towers continue the story with the goal of ending it with the return of Maltook alive and as the king of the battlefield and the castle. Rolling in from a diagonal angle to stay in enemy archers sights for as short time as possible, the macemen finds a surprisingly empty corner to land on. Obviously Yaguf thought the many ladders scattered around his walls a more direct threat. He nevertheless soon realises his mistake and send orc infantry to put things right but the macemen manage to get a foothold on the wall before they engage. While the other company climbs down to the street to block more reinforcements the archers outside start running right and go around the corner to climb up and take advantage of the secured walls and the height they offer.



    One archer company hijacks the gala entrance also known as the siege tower while the others have to be satisfied with their personal ladders. Jumping down at the wall eyes narrow and smiles form maliciously as the evil Easterlings survey the tightly packed orcs. Volleys slam into them and decimate their company, even if the macemen are unnecessarily close and catch some very unfriendly friendly fire. Yaguf meanwhile starts to evacuate the outer wall and begin the retreat to the inner one. The macemen on the ground rush up to relieve their exhausted comrades and after a while the orcs break apart when smashed between the two companies. Unfortunately, their demise prompts a second orc company to rush for that wall section and the reinforcing macemen soon find themselves in need of reinforcement and desperately bolts for the other end of the wall to avoid the brunt of the massing orcs and make some space into which the archers can shoot.



    In spirit a repetition of their performance in the last battle, the macemen push their antagonists back to their own detriment. While the orcs are an easy target they are pinned so close to the tower that the macemen obstruct the view of the closest archer company that would otherwise shoot best. After they have descended to the ground they relocate and manage to get a clearer shot. The orcs rout and the corner is secured. A stronghold inside the enemy stronghold. Meanwhile, both rams and their accompanying forces advance while the scattered ladder units congregate at the respective gates.



    A lone orc band has been left behind at the northern gate for some odd reason. Light infantry and beyond heavy cavalry make quick work of them. The outer walls are secured. The march through the streets take up valuable time but stamina must be conserved for the attack on the inner walls. An incredibly frustrating situation. Two Bachoth tribesmen are sent north with ladders while everyone else make for the inner gate.



    First to approach is light infantry crewing a ram. Much to their dismay, the gate is open and can not be rammed! Probably left open just to mock them. They take cover as best they can close to the gate as the Clan Guard approach with their ladders and suffer from arrows from the towers. If only they had the plate and shields of the macemen… Upon the sight of all the ladders being raised the orcs run back from the walls to the central square and the light infantry manage to secure the gate at the price of surprisingly few men burned by the hideous oil. They run to the side immediately after entering, trying to get out of the way of retreating orcs.



    They fail. Their unit is caught up in melee with one of the orc companies coming out of a stairway right at their side and more orcs quickly rush from the square and the other stairs. Worrying about the oil, Maltook is hesitant to send cavalry to assist them before having been reassured it’s safe. The presence of Uruk archers on the square adds another spoonful of urgency to the situation. Aided by Clan Guard descending from the walls the mighty bodyguard cavalry plough their way through the enemy formations surrounding the now much weakened light infantry.



    The gates secured, the Clan Guard form a line to cover the deployment of more troops. No rushing or breaking formation prematurely. Unless the orcs do it first of course. The cavalry manage to squeeze in a limited flank attack but Margoz bodyguard has great success in cutting down the Uruk archers who are clearly not well thought of in Durthang judging by the lack of aid received from the other orcs. As the archers who have previously been lined up on the ground next to the square switch places with Balchoth tribesmen on walls and halberdiers arrive and form up, Maltook leaves to eliminate a lone archer company not yet retreated from the walls where the Balchoth have broken in as all defenders retreated to the square. Finally all is in place. Halberdiers in formation on the ground. Archers on the walls. Without any battlements blocking their view. What was that thing someone said about fortifications benefitting the defender, Yaguf wonders.



    When Easterling arrows begin to blot out the square Yaguf orders a final charge. He moves left against the lightly armoured Balchoth who are approaching to throw their sticks from the flank of the halberdiers. Maltook counters by blocking the way with his less light ly armoured riders. A rush by the Clan Guard from the safety behind the halberdiers into the enemy flank crushes the sally and the remaining defenders fall to arrows and javelins and the halberds of the so far unmatched Dragon Infantry. Yaguf is among the last to fall. Last of all is a very impaled orc of an orc band. Only one minute and twenty-nine seconds remain of the so called day! Victory is the Easterlings! Happy Easter! No, wait a moment…



    The low quality of the defending infantry show in the casualties. A fortress filled with half an Uruk stack would have been a very different matter. The orc archers (a few companies) do particularly bad and manage to get entangled in their own infantry, squandering a lot of potential damage to the invaders. On the whole, Maltooks army could have much done worse and remains very fit for field duty.



    Most casualties derive from the light infantry caught between the retreating orcs and the overly offensive action of the macemen. Here on the walls they shine particularly with their ability to move faster than halberdiers and still put up a stiff front. Given the ineffectiveness of the enemy archers it is quite possible that halberdiers would have been a better choice for the towers but then again, their slow movement may also have allowed the defenders to form up more before they arrived. Ultimately the fault lies with Maltook for simply not using the macemen effectively enough, costing the Easterling valuable elite infantry.


    Last edited by Maltacus; May 21, 2018 at 05:58 AM.

  19. #19
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    Default Re: 'Un Official' Single Post AAR Thread

    Dooming Dwarf Ambush
    Spoiler Alert, click show to read: 

    ”The goblins are upon us! Run!”

    “But wait just a moment and send a volley at them before we continue to run franticly."

    “Did anyone forget to tell you that goblins are faster than us, captain Fili?!”
    “Shut up and keep moving!”



    ”Into the forest! There we can hide from them!”
    “Do you think me an elf or something!?”
    “No, elves have bigger beards…”
    “THAT does it! Come back so I can give YOUR beard a trim! With my axe! At shoulder height, I think!”
    “I was only joking, relax.”
    “Relax? We’re being hunted by nearly two thousand goblins and you tell me to relax?”



    “I meant focus your breath on running instead! I was just making a light-hearted pre-battle speech back there to lift spirits.”
    “It would have been better if it could lift bodies. My legs feel like overly boiled hobbit vegetables.”

    “Bah, stop complaining. We’re almost there. Aaah, home sweet line!”

    “Easy for you to say. You won’t have to shoot for the rest of the battle, just stand at our left looking pompous.”

    “Pompous? Me? I don’t know what you’re talking about. Now form up next to the other archers and shoot! The homeland needs you, brave fellow countrymen, so hold the line with thy last breath and we shall surely prevail and cleave in twain the mischievous mongrels that plague the fair lowlands…”
    “See? That’s what I was talking about! Besides, if we hold out with our last breath we will be dead and wont have prevailed at all. Furthermore, what part of archery and axe throwing is it you don’t understand? Cleave in twain…with this little arrow tip?”



    “Shut up! I’m great and they’re not! Ready! Aim! Fire!
    “No, we do NOT use fire arrows, you captain clot!”

    “I am a servant of the Ered Luin, wielder of the axe of Fili! The rusted mail with not avail you, stinking goblin!”

    “Why is he giggling manically and pointing?” What’s that smell? Aaaah! Ballistae!”

    “Right, men! Archers, forward!”
    “You mean downward?”
    “Haha.”
    “Sigh, just after we ran UP this endless slope.”
    “You can always roll on the ground if it suits you better. Now move on! Are you a man or an elf?”
    “How dare you?!”



    “This goblin rabble shall not stop me! Hmm, where is my unit? Perhaps I shouldn’t have ran through that goblin infantry company.”

    “Look! There.s the ballistae! But where are the axe throwers?”
    “Perhaps somewhere in the direction you sent them, captain? At a distance found by multiplying their velocity by the time they have been gone?”

    “There they are! At least there is a great dust cloud coming from the left. It is not a flawless dust cloud or the most devastating dust cloud, but it is OUR dust cloud!”

    “Ha! We have them now!”
    “No, the axe throwers have them. We arrived to late do anything else than shoot at scattered routers.”



    “Is that not meaningful, you say!? Shoot! Don’t let them come back with mysteriously reconstructed siege weapons in the next battle, and the next, and the next no matter how many times we chase them away in no matter how short time!”
    “Really inspirational. I feel SO much more motivated for a long campaign against the enemy now.”



    “Hahahaa! Victory! Elves and men will look upon this victory and claim us mighty warriors!”
    “Elves and men will look upon this victory and claim us wannabe elves. Forest ambush…isn’t that against our ethics?”
    “It’s worth it. Would you rather have fought the goblin force properly spread out and enveloping our flanks? Now they all got into each others way and became totally exhausted from the climb.”
    “Yes. I know. It may have escaped your attention but I was present for the whole battle.
    “No, I could not possibly fail to notice your ever-present bickering, however dear such a character trait would be to me.”



    “Yo, listen up here’s a story
    About a little blue dwarf that lives on a blue hill
    All day and all night and everything he sees
    Is just blue like him, goblins and hobbits
    Blue, he’s captain with a blue little mantle
    And a blue dwarf axe
    And everything is blue for him and hisself
    And every goblin around
    Cause he ain’t got no shortbow to shoot them with

    He’s blue da ba deed a ba die…”

    “What is this!? Shut up!”

    “He has a blue house with a blue window
    Blue is the colour of all that he wears
    Blue are the mines and all the pines are blue
    He flies a banner, and it is so blue
    Blue are the captains here that walk around
    Blue like our corvette, it’s anchored outside
    The mighty Ered Luin, and we’ll see
    A little sea raid, but when will it be?

    He’s blue da ba deed a ba die…”

    “Bringing up such cacophonic terrors of the past! I will have you court martialed!”


    The battle went fairly well I think. Finding that ballista was a pain because for once I did not cheat and zoom out but kept the generals camera centred on the...well...general (the minimap was zoomed in during the actual battle). Damn trees! I sent the axe throwers probably 90 degrees to far to the left and then I had to order them around blindly so they would not be hit by the ballista until Fili could get within sight. Unfortunately I was careless and missed that only one of the two goblin companies on his right routed, so he got caught up in the other and had unneccesary losses.

  20. #20
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    Default Re: 'Un Official' Single Post AAR Thread

    Smashingly Bearded Siege Defence

    Spoiler Alert, click show to read: 

    Fror the christmas-looking governor of Fornost, captured from invading orcs, has a busy day. A vast host from Gundabad storm the walls and among it march growling wargs and a company of grunting snow trolls. He has a garrison consisting of only one company of the useful defensive halberdiers, two of axe throwers, one of archers and three of offensive dual wielding infantry. Deploying his little army around the inner gate Fror has to fight off a tiresome tirade of foolishness from less experienced dwarfs.

    “We should deploy right behind the gate with many men to block the enemy”

    “Post melee fighters on the walls where the enemy ladders will come to meet them head on”

    “Our units should not have guard mode activated because I have heard that it makes them fight less effectively”

    Sigh. Why did I hire those morons? No, no, no. Deploying right next to the gate never works unless you perhaps have a huge army of pikemen in which case it is doubtful that any enemy would feel secure enough to attack in the first place. The enemy must be given open space in some direction to spread out so they do not concentrate their whole mass on your defending units. If you place infantry right behind the gate the enemy unit will expand right after squeezing through the narrow portal and that will force many more enemy soldiers to be pressed against your front than if the enemy is allowed to spread out – something leading to greater intensity in that fight – which is exactly what you do NOT want as the defender.

    Meeting attackers head on at the walls is equally unnecessary and detrimental. The point of the defending infantry is to block the enemy from going to the square and around your soldiers, not to slay as many enemies as possible. The ideal situation is where as many enemies are tied up with as few friendly units as possible. Indeed, why hold this short wall at all except with the units it takes to activate the towers and gatehouse (more precisely, one unit)? There are no wide areas where archers can be posted for great effect and really not any ground worth defending.

    Lastly, guard mode may make your units fight slightly less effective but the holding infantry that will engage the enemy first is not supposed to fight, it is supposed to hold. Both hold the enemy back and, equally important, hold their positions. Thus, guard mode, in order to minimize the chance of them being lured out by engaging some random enemy infantry unit.

    No, here is how we will form up instead, Fror states with a determined glance at named nameless lard-brain:

    The best defenders are without any doubt the halberdiers. They have the most mass, the spear wall formation which gives them stability, and good armour. The will stand behind the gate but at an angle, anchored on the wall to the right of the entrance to the stairs. They can thereby block both attackers going through the gate as well as those climbing down from the wall. Behind them is the light infantry with their dual weapons, acting as a reserve where needed. Axe throwers and archers stand directly behind the gate, ready to shoot into the open end of the halberd line. The rest of the axe throwers hold the other wall where it is wide enough for them to relocate if enemies storm it. The enemy will be hooked up by the halberdiers but spread out to the left of the gate where there is open space. From there the archers will fire point blank into their massed ranks.

    The orcs begin by sending heavy infantry with ladders against the right wall. They easily claim the undefended section and proceed down while the rest of the orcs wait for battering rams. The axe throwers have tried to hit the trolls from the walls, some have succeeded.



    When the orc infantry pour down and out they face the solid halberdier line. The orcs, with shields and one-hand weapons, have not nearly enough mass to push deep into the halberd formation. Nor are the halberdiers close enough to the stairs to give the orcs any advantage from spreading out quickly. The thick layer of heavily armoured corpses to the right of the gate is the result.

    The wargs spearhead the Gundabad army and their mass is great enough to push even the halberdiers back when backed by such masses of infantry. Fror sends the axe throwers to link up with the halberdiers, now reinforced by light infantry, to keep advancing enemy elements contained. The archers are firing from the end of that corridor, scoring many hits among the unprotected wargs and the massed infantry. Among the holding dwarf infantry, about a third of the soldiers are engaging the enemy. Among the orcs, hardly more than one out of ten is in position to swing at the dwarfs.

    Even the snow trolls can not push through that choking mass without trouble. Half their company is caught up among their lesser colleagues and do not reach the dwarf line until much time has passed, during which the dwarf light infantry have been able to handle the first trolls much more easily. The orcs also send much heavy infantry to claim the left wall from the axe throwers.

    The constant fighting is starting to take its toll on the dwarf light infantry and halberdiers. Fror feeds more and more of his reserves into the melee while the orcs follow their trolls and push the dwarfs further and further back. They waver since their captain has had an accident with a dwarf halberd on his warg, but press on.

    When the trolls at last fall, the spirit goes out of the main orc force. Without their capatain and the resilience and stubbornness of the dwarfs, they break and flee.



    The heavy infantry on the wall remain, locked in a battle with the lone dwarf company. What an ineffective use of two heavy infantry companies… Only six dwarfs are engaged at a time. The orcs can’t have hoped to break through here anytime soon.



    The battle is a clear victory for the dwarfs but the garrison suffer heavy casualties, from the trolls of course. The high amount of light offensive infantry is obviously not optimal for siege defence.



    The entire formation at the gate is made to give missile troops time to shoot properly followed by a counter attack from reserve infantry. The dwarf archers do well, as should be expected. The halberdiers are hit the hardest but still make it out with fewer casualties than the light infantry which lack the protection of the spear wall formation and also face the trolls head on. The only clear failure of Fror is his overly careful use of his own bodyguard, whose thick armour could have been much more useful, and used.



    Last edited by Maltacus; May 21, 2018 at 05:58 AM.

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