One of my favourite features in Field of Glory II: Medieval is the included historical battles. I’m no medievalist, so most of the battles covered here, except for the extremely famous ones like Hastings or The Battle on Lake Peipus, are new to me. It’s a wonderful excuse to pop open wikipedia and start doing some reading to go along with playing the scenario. (Modern Edutainment!) Since research is twice as fun when you share it with people (or so I keep telling myself) here’s my after action report of the Battle of Crug Mawr, where in reality the Welsh pushed back the Anglo-Normans in 1136. Will I do as good a job?
Crug Mawr: Field of Glory II: Medieval and Historical Recreation
In 1135 King Henry I of England died without a male heir, his only legitimate son having drowned in 1120. He nominated his daughter, Empress Matilda to take the throne, but a succession crisis quickly broke out leading to a civil war known as the Anarchy.
In Wales, already uneasy about Anglo-Norman advances into their land, the tiny Welsh kingdoms took the opportunity to act. In Southern Wales a large scale revolt wrest control of the region from Norman forces. An attempt to reestablish control by Ricahrd Fitz Gilbert de Clare, the Norman Lord of Ceredigion, was met with another defeat and de Clare’s death. Things were looking up for the Welsh.
De Clare’s death sparked further action by the Welsh Kings, and a combined force set out to plunder Norman holdings in the region, which they managed without much trouble. In the fall of 1136, the combined Welsh force set out again and moved on towards the town of Cardigan.
Outside the town the Welsh force encountered a Norman army that had set out to stop their advance. Meeting on the slopes of a great hill battle was joined and ended in a decisive Welsh Victory. Demonstrating the importance of the Welsh longbow as a battlefield weapon, Crug Mawr was an overwhelming victory and saw the Norman forces pursued to the River Teifi where hundreds apparently drowned.
Why Doesn’t Mine Look Like That!? An After Action Report of Crug Mawr
Firing up the scenario in Fields of Glory II: Medieval leads to a straight forward engagement. The Welsh army, longbows arrayed before spearmen and flanked by cavalry, face off against a line of Norman troops, complete with Flemish mercenaries, atop a steep slope. The lines are long and there isn’t much room to maneuver, so I decide to trust in my longbow and advance towards the enemy.
In the beginning, I was quite proud of them. They quickly scattered the enemy’s skirmishers and began doing some real damage to the armoured Flemish mercenaries. I was sure to focus as much fire as I could on the same units to maximize the amount of morale rolls I could get them to take, but they managed to hold firm, despite a few of them becoming disordered and fragmented.
My flanks were not so great, I didn’t think my horsemen could take their levy’s without assistance from the spearman line, but there were so many units I found it difficult to position them meaningfully. Instead I focused on the center, hoping to do enough damage to nullify the armoured Flemish before allowing my spearmen to take the hill.
It worked…for a few turns. Eventually my supply of arrows ran low and the damage each unit was doing dropped significantly. Perhaps I shouldn’t have even bothered with the skirmishers, and saved my arrows for closer range? Eventually the Normans got tired of being shot and charged downwards, forcing my bowmen to fall back, mostly in good order, to behind the spearmen. Here I thought I could meet them head on, but in a series of disastrous rolls, (even earning me an achievement for rolling double ones on a morale test) the Flemish mercenaries rallied and broke my archers and spearmen.
Then the Norman knights arrived. At first held in reserve, they managed to smash my already wavering spearmen and drive them from the center. The wings soon collapsed and the battle was over.
Sorry Wales, I failed you this time! I guess I’ll have to reload and go at it again! Though I think I’ll try and be a little smarter with my deployment and engagement ranges.