Battle of Black River

Posted on February 6, 2010


“Fighting Mad” McGuire, general for Scots Common and “Angry” Anderson, general for Later Sargonid Assyrians face off across arable terrain. An obvious match-up!? 

Not surprisingly Assyrians are aggressors and McGuire chooses a defensive, choked-up board favoring his pikes and warbands. The terrain was selected on a “removal” basis which is a variant speeding up terrain stage for participants who turn up on a casual basis to the venue.  






The only real set-up item of note, which can be seen in this shot from behind Assyrian lines, is that the Scots fort is far out on the left, not really protected by light troops in the woods. More than anything, this proved such a tempting target much of the battle hinged on it. 

Otherwise set-up was fairly straightforward. The Scots are poised ready to swing onto the road on their right, the Assyrians ready both Cav and 1 HCh to cross the river. 

In the early stages of the game, the Assyrian General fixes his opponent’s attention by rolling himself forward, as though to cross the river… 


…while sneakily spending many pips getting his flank chariot over the river. The trouble with this move is that line-of-sight is immediately blocked and bound to be blocked for several moves (at least) so the odds of getting the chariot into action are limited. It would have been better to form column with the 2x3Cv and move slower but surer. 


At first, things go well for Angry’s Assyrians. 2x3Cv push across the river unopposed and given a few more pips the chariot is bound to come up in support. The Scots see the risk but with the General so far away from the forest and fort can do little about covering the approach to the fort. Instead, McGuire orders a bold unsupported push up the road, closing fairly quickly with the Assyrian left where a weak screen of Ax and Ps is deployed hastily. 


To everyone’s surprise the Ax do hold off the Pk allowing reinforcement. Had the Assyrians not been trying to push the right flank, the Pk would quickly have been swamped. 

However, the Pk held on like champions for long enough that the Assyrians lost a lot of momentum. 

The reason was not so much the Scots’ actions as it was the desire to push home an attack on the Scots fort, far away on the Assyrian right. Of course this was terribly expensive in PIPs. The Scots were able to slowly counter this extremely vulnerable position, and the Assyrians were seldom able to push home an attack on the fort. 

As the Assyrians celebrated the final extinction of the Pk on their left, events were taking a distinctly more threatening turn. Getting some hot PIP rolls, the Scots general went skirling and hooting back to save the fort, while at the same time a lone Scots warband seized the bridge and massed Scots pikes attempted an opposed crossing. 

It was the turn of the Assyrians to never have enough PIPs to do more than keep a defensive line. 

This central struggle can just be spotted in the next shot. It swayed back and forward, and at one stage the Scots did force the Assyrians back off the river bank, but then lacked the PIPs to push further forward.  

Instead, they ended up being lapped and lost an element.  


Of course, the Scots’ priority is their own left: if the fort falls it is game over! So in the following very blurry shots you’ll see the invincible Scots KnGen tackle the 2x3Cv. With line of sight and range, the Assyrians never get a winning flank attack on the Scots. 





By this stage things are falling out of the Assyrians control!

A brave but late effort to claim an isolated Wb comes to naught as McGuire finds sufficient PIPs to pull the Wb back.

Turning with relative ease to the HCh McGuire surrounds and butchers it, not even deigning to risk himself.

So too little too late for the Assyrians, losing quite severely on their right.

And full bragging rights to Fighting Mad McGuire for this lengthy and close battle, winning 4-3. 

Posted in: Battle Reports