The General Archive > The Battleground

Rembrandt's 4th A3 Battle (LOTS OF PHOTOS)


A Real Fight

Baron Yanton had only recently arrived in the desert realm of Araby, sworn to serve his cousin the Bretonnian Lady Evette. He himself was a Bretonnian lord of sorts, at least by right of inheritance, although he had been born and lived all his life in the Border Princes. There he had been unable (and uninterested) in keeping with his predecessors’ traditions when it came to tactics and battle. In such a war-torn land one soon learned that the only way to survive was to be willing to use whatever was available. This meant the baron, although of noble Bretonnian descent, had arrived in Araby with nothing like a Bretonnian army.

He landed his force upon the western coast near the Great Lighthouse, a place that most ships avoided – thus the lighthouse. His most experienced pilot (an arab) had assured him it could be done, that there was one small bay able to take boats. The use of boats did not make the landing easy, however, for Yanton had brought with him what was basically an artillery train! As such the guns had to be dismantled and rebuilt on the beach, a task that took several days (and lost him one of his guns). Yet his force of Border Princites, Empire outcasts, Tilean and Estalian renegades and (much to Yanton’s relatives’ disgust) mercenaries knew full well how to work with war engines.

Almost half their number was hand-gunners, and Yanton even had an expert engineer to command the mortar, two heavy and one light cannon. Having made a ‘surf-passage’, his handgunners cleared the tallow fat and beeswax from their arquebuses and flashed the pans to ensure they were ready for service. Lancing at the sky and the sandy hills, they knew that they probably needn’t worry about moisture for some time yet. Soon a camp sprang up just beyond the dunes, and Yanton sent scouts to advertise his presence to the Bretonnian masters of this land.

His force was ‘welcomed’ with scorn by the messengers from the Arabian Reclamation Pact that eventually came to him, and was soon ordered to the offensive and sent off towards Al Haddok. Let his guns be turned on the enemys’ guns, thought the military commanders in Araby. Let him fight without honour against those without honour, for how could his hands get any dirtier? To welcome Yanton and his force into one of their settlements and treat him as an equal would surely offend the Lady, and certainly threaten their martial reputation, their very honour?

Thus it was that four artillery pieces, two regiments of household Halberdiers, a band of Free Company (sailors), Braganza’s mercenary Besiegers, two regiments of handgunners, a bodyguard of Great Swords and a body of Duellists marched into the realm now dominated by the forces of the Imperial Merchants’ Council.


Rembrandt’s dreams were just that – dreams, not nightmares. His confidence was returning. The busy work of fortifying and recruiting and training and patrolling had swept aside his fears, or (more accurately) allowed them to settle as merely a memory and not an ever-present fear.

His army was swelling in size. This was necessary as he was forced to disperse more and more troops into the ever-growing number of garrisons. Not only were towns and villages being fortified, but forts were springing up hither and thither across the land. He was certain that there was no route into the region that was not at least overlooked by a watchtower.

So when news came of a slowly approaching enemy force, his youthful courage welled up and he set about mustering his forces. This time he vowed he would lead from the front – he must prove his bravery and suitability to command not only to his men and the gods, but to himself.

Surveying the field of battle he was not sure which side it favoured. Yes, he could employ the fortified gatehouse as a strongly defended post, but the enemy could occupy several hills to give their artillery clear fields of fire, and make retaliatory fire from Rembrandt’s lines much more difficult.

Nevertheless, it would have to do, for the enemy were already arraying themselves. Rembrandt studied them through his expensive perspective glass and wondered whether the foe had believed they were to attack a great fortress, for they had brought with them the kind of force a siege engineer would be proud of. Perhaps they too had lost their horses in the passage (he was still cursing the apparent loss of his own horse-soldiers’ transport vessels)? They certainly had no mounted warriors amongst them.

At least Rembrandt no had mounted men. Not horsemen, but camel riders, and from what the young captain had witnessed of their training they were in some ways more ferocious than horses. Certainly they seemed sufficient for the task of fighting in this hot realm, and were entirely unperturbed by missing as much as two day’s water!

Once again Rembrandt took his position at the front of his Middenheim Swordsmen, this time out on the far right flank of his line. Some skirmishing archers moved ahead of his regiment as a screen of sorts, and the detachment of handgunners marched loyally by its side. Next in line was a regiment of newly raised Arabyan spearmen, encouraged by the presence of Rembrandt’s Battle Standard Bearer in their front line and surprised by the wizard lurking in their rear ranks. Further towards the centre marched a free company of sailors, and in the centre itself the elite black-clad swordsmen that had been brought into his service by a local sheik. They were now Empire troops when it came to drill, for by their side marched a line of crossbowmen, trained to act as a detachment. The artillery sat out to the right, flanked only by the Camel Riders led by the Arabyan captain (the local sheik’s son). Unknown to the enemy, the fortified gatehouse out beyond the front of Rembrandt’s battle-line was occupied by merchant marine rangers, nursing their long barrelled muskets ready to fell the foe with withering fire.

Baron Yanton was quicker off the mark than the young Rembrandt, and it was his force that seized the initiative and began the advance first. Most of his regiments moved as fast as they could towards the foe, though Great Swords and the central body of Halberdiers crept forwards cautiously. His artillery opened with a thunderous roar and in one bombardment the mortar killed Arabyan swordsmen, the cannon slew 4 local Spearmen and the other cannon clipped one of Rembrandt’s cannons but failed to wound it. Braganza’s crossbowmen added to the slaughter by felling three more spearmen. The Arab spearmen were shaken, but showed steely resolve not to yield their settlement to the enemy and marched on. Not so the blood-spattered swordsmen, who turned tail and routed.

Rembrandt failed to notice this, for he was giving the signal that would bring his secret weapon into play. The rangers popped up over the walls of the gatehouse and began their expert work, killing 4 Handgunners while the crossbowmen showed what they could do and killed 4 more. The enemy, however, showed their own resolve and stood firm in the face of this.

The Swordsmen had rallied (thanks to their musician) and began to re-order themselves in the rear, while the rest of Rembrandt’s force began a general advance. The Camels played it cautiously at first and moved slowly on the flank – their young Arabyan captain knew he had to time his charge carefully in the face of skirmishers armed with pistols. His intent was to rid the hill ahead of him of guns, but to achieve that he had to see off the duellists at the base of that hill. Galloping past them was not a viable option.

The two cannons now attempted to show their worth and played upon the central regiment of enemy halberdiers. The result was impressive with two direct hits slaying 5 in total. Even with their general behind them, the halberdiers were horrified by this turn of events and fled, crashing through the smaller of the two handgun regiments behind them and causing this second regiment to break too! Yanton cursed to see his centre broken like this, and yelled furiously to make them rally. This they would indeed do at the base of the central hill.

Meanwhile the two regiments on the far left of Yanton’s line advanced onwards. Perhaps having witnessed the damage caused to their right they yearned to close as soon as possible before those same guns were turned upon them?

As Yanton’s central regiments rallied beneath the hill, the Greatswords fatefully moved up to take their place in the centre of the line. Inside the fortified gatehouse some of the marines, reloading their pieces cheered – they knew the enemy’s Lord General was likely to be present with such an elite unit. They also knew armour fades into insignificance against bullets.

Baron Yanton’s artillery now opened up for a second time, but this time they overshot, undershot or failed to fire. Only the light cannon managed a hit, though even they missed the skirmishing boy they were after and ploughed into Rembrandt’s Swordsmen behind, killing 3. The handgun detachment, who had occupied the building to the left of the Swordsmen, suddenly felt glad they had chosen to do so!

Bullets and crossbow bolts flew in storms to kill 2 crossbow and 4 Free Company. But none of this was enough to severely test the allies’ morale.

On the far left the Camel riders decided to delay no longer and charged headlong into the Duellists. The inevitable happened, and 4 brave desert warriors tumbled onto the sand having been slain by bullets. But the charge didn’t falter and they crashed into the Duellists to break them, pursue and slay them to a man. Only 5 Riders now survived (including their young captain) but they were where they wanted to be. The only problem was that the cannon on the hill swung round to point its muzzle right at them.

Rembrandt’s Sword Regiment and Free Company continued their advance and their commander began to realise that this time he really was going to end up in the thick of it. He whispered a prayer to Sigmar and Manaan and fixed his face into a steely grin.

While he did so his artillery, crossbow and rangers all fired simultaneously into the Greatswords. Even though one cannon misfired, the effect was as impressive as it was awful – 8 of the veteran warriors where torn to pieces by the volley. Nevertheless they stood their ground – it would take their stunned commander a few moments to come to his senses and order a retreat away from certain death. The Rangers on the gatehouse’s battlements were amazed at the courage of the foe, but did not let this surprise slow down their efforts to reload their muskets!

As the centre of Yanton’s line retreated, the Baron’s Free Company charged desperately into the Arabyan Spearmen…

… while the Halberdiers in the centre and left both moved up once more. The cannon on the hill grapeshot into the camelry and slew one more. The mortar on the same hill landed a murderous grenado onto Rembrandt’s lines to bring down two Free Company soldiers and one spearman.

The combat between the Free Company and Arabyan Spear was hard, what with a Priest in the ranks of the Free Company, and the men of the Border Princes slew 5 men to the Arabs slaying of 4. The struggle went on, though the proximity of Rembrandt’s own Free Company hinted at what would happen next – they charged into the enemy’s flank. This was too much for Yanton’s men, who received a bloody mauling and so broke and fled. The pursuing Arabyan Spearmen hurled into the enemy Halberd regiment that had just been charged by Rembrandt’s bodyguard of Swordsmen, an action which ensured victory in that fight too. Within moments Yanton’s Halberdiers broke and fled also, to be cut down in their flight.

On the far left of Rembrandt’s lines the camels split to approach the artillery on the hill: their captain leaving them to come from the flank while the three troopers faced right at the mouth of the cannon that had just slain their comrade. It seemed these arabyan warriors were made of stern stuff indeed!

While all these combats were being fought, the two cannons and the fortified Rangers played against the central halberdiers, but only managed to kill a total of 3! Nevertheless the Baron Yanton had done well to flee in the previous turn, otherwise he could have been dead now!

Yanton, however, was not yet broken, just reluctant to die pointlessly. He left the two surviving Greatswords and while they went to the right to attempt to scupper the Camel Riders plans against the artillery on the hill, he went the other direction to see if he could take down Rembrandt. He had decided that he had not come all this way to waste his life, but would make sure he struck a blow before he died.

On the hill the Border Princes Engineer aimed and fired his repeating pistol at the advancing Camel Rider Captain. The blast wounded the lone Arab, but didn’t kill him. He swirled his magical sword about his head expertly and came on. The cannon’s grapeshot took down another camel rider. Only yards away the mortar crew tried to get some good shots in before they were distracted by the approaching camels. They lobbed a grenado at the Empire Swordsmen, just as the cannon on the other hill attempted to fire at directly on Rembrandt himself. The mortar’s bomb fell a little short, but in doing so took down 4 Free Company as well as 5 Swordsmen. The gods seemed to be favouring Rembrandt, however, because the cannon aimed at him misfired.

A more murderous blow came when Braganza’s Beseigers felled another 7 Free Company. Rembrandt shouted ‘Steady Lads’ as if it were all nought, and both regiments somehow found the nerve not to run.

In the centre, the Black Guard Swordsmen were wondering if it might be safe to leave the cover of the gatehouse at last.

When Braganza’s charged the repositioned Free Company the boys fled, but not in fear – this was a trick of tactics to draw the enemy mercenaries into a failed charge. It worked, for moments later Bertand’s Swordsmen smashed into the Beseigers breaking and routing them instantly. Without pausing, Bertrand’s bodyguard raced on, ran the mercenaries down and hit the Handgunners in their flank.

The Camel Riders began a bloody squabble with the crews upon the hill, a fight which the last two remaining Greatswords threw themselves into. While they fought, Rembrandt’s own gunners thought it was time to silence the mortar – they couldn’t risk it firing even one more deadly shot. Two balls flew at it, and one hit it directly – luckily the wizard’s Second Sign of Amul gave the luck the ball needed and it destroyed the mortar. As for the combat by the now ruined mortar, it took time, but eventually the hill was taken, the engines quietened, and the riders could pat their mounts in gratitude for their service.

As the last regiments of missile troops launched bullets, bolts and arrows across the field, killing men here, there and everywhere, somehow Baron Yanton got through and charged straight at Rembrandt.

(Annoyingly out of focus - and this was the photo I was looking forward to most!)

Here was Rembrandt’s last chance to shine, and he did not waste it. The challenge was fought and Rembrandt’s magical armour proved worth its weight in gold (which it actually was). Both Yanton and his handgunners could not withstand the Swordsmen’s blows, and when they ran, Rembrandt made sure he cut the enemy general down personally. His men cheered.

Elsewhere, Yanton’s army knew they were beat. The last regiment of Handgunners were already making a fighting retreat; the last great cannon crew abandoned their machine. The remaining handful of battered Halberdiers in the centre of the field simply lay down their arms, fell to their knees and begged for mercy.

Having killed their fill of brave men that day, none of Bertand’s men could bring themselves to fire at them.

Victory to Rembrandt van Haagen. Praise be to Manaan! All hail Sigmar!

Rembrandt van Haagen - bloodied in battle, but a victor and proven warrior. His men lit bonfires that night to celebrate, and feasted and drank to victory. Rembrandt was now a man, a soldier and a general.

Now, he thought, who will I defeat next?

rufus sparkfire:
Great pictures!

( How did I miss this earlier ? )

Hurray for Rembrandt !!  :biggriin:

Another great report - I personally like the out of focus shot of Yanton and Rembrandt - gives it a " combat painter " in the thick of it feel .

Look forward to seeing more Padre .


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