Battle of Brionne
HotT-Hammer - Bretonnia battles against an Orcish invasion!
By Neldoreth
July 27th, 2010

As the dawn broke over southern Bretonnia a rag-tag fleet of ships sloshed their way into the harbour of Brionne, preceded only by their foul stench. Despite their fore warning, the people of Brionne began to abandon the city; their Duke was away in the north fighting the rebellious self-proclaimed usurper king, who was the former duke of Bastonne. The Duke of Brionne had lead the city guard out of the gates some months ago, and scant word had made it back to the city on whether he had succeeded in protecting the king or not; the forces of the usurper had cut the lines between the Bretonnian capital and Brionne.

So it was that the citizens of Brionne and the farmer-peasants that supported them fled to seek the aid of the army that the Duke of Bastonne had left behind. Knowing that their lord would not be merciful when he learned that they had invited the rebels of the usurper king into their lands, they indeed requested the aid of the rebels! Lead by the people's champion Jean d'Fleur, the rebels agreed without hesitation! Nothing other than battling the false-king Louen would they prefer to battling the orc! And so they mustered and rode to release the city of Brionne from the curse of the orc... and if they were to succeed, the dukedom of Brionne would indeed fall to the rebels as well...

The orcs form their lines outside the city of Brionne as the forces of the usurper rally in Bretonnia's defence!

As the forces of Jean d'Fleur (fourth element in from the right) began their march against the Orc-held city of Brionne, the orcish warboss decided he would make war outside its walls and so ordered his beasts out of the gates! He mustered his orcsies in the hills, ready to battle the Bretonnians in craggy hills with a uphill advantage. His wolf riders mustered in the vally to his left and a troll that had recently signed on with his band began the battle in the craggy hills on the other side of the valley.

Jean formed up her knights and spearmen around her in the clear plains, while her archers and a group of zealous peasants (playing the role of a warband, not a horde) took to the trees on her left flank. The lines of battle-ready warriors closed wearily at first. The first units to be scattered were the droves of goblins that vicious orc slave masters drove ahead of the general. The first of the Bretonnian bowmen launched barely a volley toward them before the arrows of Bretonnia scared them more than their slave masters, and they fled from their orcish overlords and abondoned the battle!

The lines start to close. The riders and troll hang back on the right flank while the orcish general on the left attempts to get into combat with the archers and chase them off.

The orcish warboss drove his orcsies mercilessly towards the Bretonnian archers in the forest. Despite that though, poor communication lines and under the constant hail of arrow fire, his orcs struggled to get close enough to even yell jeers at their human enemies.

Meanwhile on the right flank, Jean d'Fleur straightened her line as she ordered the advance, ready to meet the orcish riders when they finally charged in to battle. Unfortunately, she failed to take proper account of the troll in the hills, who continued to remain hidden, waiting for his opportunity to fall on the fancy-pants knights!

The archers and the orcish warband continue to skirmish across the shortening gap between them; both sides failed to gain the upper hand.

Both sides being cursed with poor communications continued to struggle for control of the left flank. Bretonnian archers ceaselessly and mercilessly continued to pour bow fire into the ranks of the orcs. The orcs, with shields raised high to avert the stinging Bretonnian arrows attempted to come to blows with the bowmen, but failed again and again as their line was constantly pushed back in disarray.

Despite their failure to come to blows with the Bretonnian archers, the orcish warboss was intent on capturing the woods and taking control of the left flank. In attempt to do so he began to bring up a rider and attempt to spread out his lines, hoping to overlap the flanks of the Bretonnian archers. Jean d'Fleur, realizing that she should engage with the knights before her archers were overwhelmed spurred the line forward!

A unit of orcish riders were caught off guard by the Bretonnian advance and scattered by the
small contingent of Bretonnian spearmen while the archers were driven back by the orcish warband.

As the orcish lines drew nearer, Jean d'Fleur called for the charge down the line and was blessed by the Lady with an uproar from her army as they all surged forward! Archers, spearmen and knights together drove toward the enemy. The archers, surprised by their order to move out of their fortified forest position were pushed back by the orcs in the open, but not destroyed. The Bretonnian archers, with the support of Jean d'Fleur herself caught a unit of orcish riders, scattering them back to the coast and to their ships!

With the advance of the Bretonnian knights, the troll saw its opportunity for man flesh!

As the knights began their advance on the orcish riders, the troll who had been lurking in the craggy hills on the left saw his chance to snatch some man flesh for later and came charging down the hill! Preceded by a spraw of large rocks he crashed into the lines of the Bretonnian knights. Despite his initial attacks, the knigth regrouped and attacked his rear and flank!

Despite their brave assault on the troll, the knights stood no chance. The troll's swinging hammer crushed armoured man and barded horse alike, and those remaning knights caught up in the slaughter fled in terror. The troll had single-handedly crushed the noble knights and destroyed the Bretonnian right flank. Jean d'Fleur saw her chance, and realizing that only herself and her general remained in the centre, she resolved to drive these orcs from Bretonnia's shores or die in the fight... most of her retinue assumed it would be the latter and so hung back, waiting for their chance to flee to fight another day!

Bretonnian archers on the left scatter a unit of orcish warband.

Fortunately Jean d'Fleur's forces were bolstered when word that the brave archers had dispatched a unit of orcish warriors on the left flank had spread through the army. The orcish war boss howled in anger as he realized that his boys had died or fled the bow fire and left a large gap in his lines. He quickly realized that if his communications lines didn't improve, that gap might spell the end of his campaign in Bretonnia. And, under the constant bow fire of the Bretonnian archers, it was unlikely that they would...

Jean d'Fleur and her general tie up the troll on the right flank.

The troll, in its desire to devour man flesh was left in a vulnerable spot, one which Jean took full advantage of. Urging her remaining knights into battle, she called the charge! The troll was forced to make battle, and had to give ground. Despite their drive, it was obvious to the nights, if not to Jean herself, that driving the troll into the hills might very well spell doom for the remaining knights of Bretonnia... Despite this, Jean d'Fleur continued to drive her forces into the ranks of the orcs and trolls alike.

Another orcish unit of riders was cut down by the steady Bretonnian spearmen.

As Jean's army drove steadily forward, another unit of orcish riders was caught and cut down by the Bretonnia spearmen, who were proving to be a rock-solid centre for the remaining Bretonnian army. Jean realized that peasants, and not nobles were the real strength of Bretonnia! Spurring what grace her Lady was willing to give, she called for the final charge that she knew would force the Orcs from the field, and out of Bretonnia itself!

Despite Jean's encouragment, many of the Bretonnians were unwilling to extend themselves too much... Only the archers and rampaging warband of women and children answered her call...

The Bretonnian peasant women and children drive the orcish general from the field!

With a terrible war cry against the attrocities of the orcish invasion, the warband of women and children, supported by archers and spearmen ran screaming into the orcish general's retinue! In what was a flurry of rocks, swinging brooms, naked, mooning butss, and pitch forks the orcish general realized that Bretonnia wasn't a place he wanted to be anyway and sounded the retreat! He figured the Empire would be a better place than the back-water of Bretonnia that Brionne obviously was!

And so the orcs boarded their ships in haste and sailed for more promising lands! Lands free from half-naked children and women with brooms! All in all this was quite the narrative battle, narrowly won by the loss of the orcish general. One this that it did bring into light was the power of shooters in the Hordes of the Things rule set. Shooters roll a +3 against foot and a +4 against mounted! With their +3 factor against foot they can easily hold their own against the likes or warband elements, and with their advantage of having ranged fire, it's a tough fight for the warband elements. What also came to light was how vulnerable knights are to behemoths! If the Bretonnian women and children didn't end the game early it was entirely likely that the troll would have! Excellent game!