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Saturday
Nov052016

Fontenoy en Puisaye - June 25, 841 (A la charge!)

After the death of Louis the Pious, the successor to Charlemagne, and despite the treaty of Worms on May 30, 839 with its sharing arrangement, his sons turned on each other. On July 24, 840 in Strasbourg, the new emperor Lothaire I declares that everything must be under his control. According to the ties of loyalty, each lord sets himself under a banner; the emperor's or that of his brothers, Charles the Bald and Louis the Germanic. 

In June 841, the two armies face off near Fontenoy en Puisaye. Lothaire and Pépin II are about to claim a victory when suddenly, the arrival of Guérin, duke of Provence at the head of an army tips the balance. While most have chosen a side, it is not the case of Bernard of Septimany, who awaits the result before aligning himself with the victor. Finally, the battle ends with a stunning victory of Charles the Bald and his half brother, Louis the Germanic.

The death toll is particularly high amongst the Frankish nobility. Nevertheless, the conflict lasts two more years before a sharing agreement is signed at Verdun in early August 843. The imperial unity is by then over.

Charles anchors his flank in and around Fontenoy, while he takes position on his side of the stream. Lothaire sends his southern forces to face off with Charles, also sending a detachment to contest Fontenoy.

Charles is pushed back from the stream, while Lothaire orders more troops in to take Fontenoy.

All along the stream, men from both sides clash around the stream, hoping to gain an advantage.

The battle shifts decisively in Charles the Bald's favor when Bernard of Septimany, in Solmey, joins him and duke Guérin of Provence arrives with his men from the south.

Lothaire leads a desperate charge to break through Charles' forces, but is checked at Fontenoy.

Charles' forces begin a general envelopement, while he personally leads the attack against his beleaguered brother. Lothaire and his picked knights are eradicated and with this act of fraticide, Charles the Bald claims victory.


Saturday
Sep032016

Hannibal: Rome vs Carthage

The Second Punic War was fought between Carthage and Rome and was ignited by the dispute over the hegemony of Saguntum, a Hellenized Iberian coastal city with diplomatic contacts with Rome. After great tension within the city government, culminating in the assassination of the supporters of Carthage, Hannibal laid siege to the city of Saguntum in 219 BC. The city called for Roman aid, but the pleas fell on deaf ears. Following a prolonged siege and a bloody struggle, in which Hannibal himself was wounded and the army practically destroyed, the Carthaginians finally took control of the city. Many of the Saguntians chose to commit suicide rather than face subjugation by the Carthaginians.

Hannibal then prepared a daring land attack on Italy itself, to bring the war to the Romans.

(218 BC) Hannibal leaves Hasdrubal to siege Massilia and marches through the alps into the north of Italy, where he finds himself blocked by the counsular armies of Tiberius Longus and Publius Scipio.

(217 BC) Hasdrubal abandons the siege of Massilia and returns to Iberia. The Roman counsular armies, now under Fabius Maximus and Lucius Aemilius, still block Hannibal from going further south in Italy.

(216 BC) Hannibal finally attacks a counsular army, under Gaius Flaminius, while Tiberius Longus is too slow to intervene.  Flaminius is forced to withdraw to Rome which leaves Etruria wide open to Hannibal.

(215 - 214 BC) In Sicily, Mago arrives in Syracuse after a daring sea voyage. Tiberius Longus takes command of a nearby army which was sent to bring the city to heel and iniates a siege despite the Carthaginian reinforcements. Hannibal, now with free reign over Italy while the Romans are licking their wounds, heads south to stir up more trouble.

(213 - 212 BC) Syracuse falls back to the Romans. The Carthaginian general Gisco lands in southern Italy with a small force to support Hannibal's dwindling army, but is soon crushed by Fabius Maximus' army. Hannibal retreats toward northern Italy.

(211 - 210 BC) Multiple Roman armies converge on Hannibal and with is army depleted by attrition they are finally able to destroy his army and kill him. Meanwhile, Mago lands in southern Italy and Scipio Africanus leads an expedition into Iberia.

(209 - 208 BC) Mago is defeated by the Romans but not before wreaking more havoc upon Italy. Finally free of any Carthaginian armies on their soil, the Romans attempt to formulate a strategy to contain the turmoil in Italy. Meanwhile, Scipio Africanus is reinforced in Iberia. 

(207 - 206 BC) Hanno leaves Carthage with most of its army and lands in southern Italy, quickly defeating one of the Consuls for the year. The Romans realize that the situation in Italy is untenable and decide to strike upon a vulnerable Carthage. All Roman armies converge upon the enemy capital and while Hanno returns to defend the city, he is forced to leave the bulk of his army behind in Italy. Soon after, Carthage falls to the Romans, ending the Second Punic War.

Sunday
Aug282016

1914: Germany at War

On 28 June 1914, Archduke Franz Ferdinand of Austria and his wife were shot dead in Sarajevo, by Gavrilo Princip, member of the Black Hand, a political organization seeking for a merging of the Balkan area into a Greater Serbia or a Yugoslavia.

Austria-Hungary subsequently issued an ultimatum against Serbia. As the ultimatum was rejected, Austria-Hungary then declared war, marking the outbreak of the war.

While France and Russia immediately sided with Serbia, Germany joined Austria-Hungary and started a surprise offensive in the west with the objective of quickly defeating the French, to then turn east and knock the Tzarist Russia out of the war.

August 1914, the attack on France is about to begin...

The Schliffen plan is put into action, an all out attack through Belgium and a hard push to Paris. Almost immediately the Germans storm through the fortresses of Liege and Namur in Belgium and are poised to strike at Brussels. Meanwhile, the French make an attack of their own in southern Alsace-Lorraine, with some success against very weak German opposition.

The German attack on Brussels has begun and it is only a matter of time before the capital of Belgium falls. The British Expeditionary Force (BEF) has arrived in France and spearheads a successful counter attack in Belgium, but the Germans circle around this strong force to take two lightly defended French fortresses. Meanwhile, in Alsace-Lorraine, the Germans have brought up more forces to counter the French push and now both forces are deadlocked.

September arrives and with it, the fall of Brussels. Lille and Mauberge, which had previously fallen to a German push are now contested by the British with some French support.

The Germans are whittled by the British in the battles for Lille and Mauberge, before being forced to withdraw. Antwerp and Ypres fall to the German onslaught, finishing the occupation of Belgium. In Alsace-Lorraine, the French make another push, this time directly towards Strassburg, but are checked. The German exploit this opening of the French lines to quickly take the fortress of Nancy. 

The Germans then storm the fortresses of Calais to the north and Tous to the south. With so many fortresses taken by the Germans, their valour wins them the day.

Sunday
Jul032016

Sainte-Mère-Eglise - June 06, 1944 (Memoir 44)

Historical Background: Establishment of a defensive base at Ste. Mère-Église was one of the key objectives of the US 82nd Airborne Division. In contrast with other regiments, the 505th Parachute Infantry, landing northwest of Ste. Mère-Église, had one of the most accurate drops. Rapidly regrouping and tipped by a French native to the presence of German troops in town, the paratroopers planned to surround Ste. Mère-Église and move in with knives, bayonets and grenades.  In the meantime, to the north, Lt. Turner Turnbull deployed his force on high ground near Neuville-au-Plain, engaging and fighting the enemy to a draw. This bought some crucial time for the battalions around Ste. Mère-Église, giving them a chance to meet the German southern thrust and annihilate several enemy units. This led to an overestimation by German command of American strength in this sector, and as a result, the Germans withdrew. 

The American paratroops storm Sainte-Mère-Église (in the center), while also blocking the German advance on Neuville-Au-Plain (on the right). (Allies 0, Axis 0)

The Americans take Saint-Mère-Église but are hard pressed by German reinforcements, while the Germans push hard on Neuville-Au-Plain. (Allies 1, Axis 1)

The Americans counterattack around Sainte-Mère-Église. (Allies 1, Axis 1)

The Germans repel the American counterattack. (Allies 1, Axis 2)

The Germans fortify themselves in Sainte-Mère-Église and its surroundings, while also taken care of any paratroopers in the vicinity. Meanwhile, in Neuville-Au-Plain the Germans occupy part of the town. In the face of this determined resistance, the American paratroopers are forced to pull back. (Allies 1, Axis 4)

Sunday
Jul032016

Fourth Kawanakajima 1561 - Phase 1 (Samurai Battles)

Historical Background: The battles of Kawanakajima is the story of two powerful clans each at the limits of their geographical power, but neither clan in the first three battles were willing to commit and therefore resulted in indecisive encounters.  In 1561, Uesugi Kenshin marched to Kawanakajima determined to bring the fight to Takeda Shingen for a final and decisive battle.  A series of signal-fires, however, alerted Shingen of Kenshin's advance and he ordered his army to mobilize.

The two evenly matched armies were again in a very familiar position, until Yamamoto Kansuke, one of Shingen's most trusted generals, proposed a plan called "Operation Woodpecker" which called for a flanking move and attack on the rear of the Uesugi  army.  Shingen approved, but Kenshin suspected something and after detaching a force  to guard his flank, ordered is vanguard to attack the Takeda army that had crossed the Chikumagawa.  As dawn broke, Takeda Nobushige, Shingen's younger brother, was shocked to find that the Uesugi army was not retiring as planned, but was charging forward toward his vanguard.

The Uesugi army begin by a charge at the center, pushing back the Takeda vanguard and killing Takeda Nobushige in a duel. (Uesugi 0, Takeda 0)

The Uesugi push their attack further, either wiping out or driving off most of the Takeda vanguard at the loss of one of their commanders. (Uesugi 1, Takeda 1)

Most of the Takeda forces fall back back to their samurai for support. (Uesugi 1, Takeda 1)

The Takeda samurai on the left flank surge forward in a counterattack and wipe out part of the Uesugi mounted samurai. (Uesugi 1, Takeda 2)

The Takeda samurai in a forward position fight on fiercely, but fail to finish off multiple troops of the Uesugi army. Meanwhile, the remaining Uesugi cavalry leads an attack against the battered remains of the Takeda vanguard to devastating effect. (Uesugi 4, Takeda 2)

The Takeda samurai try to intervene against the charge, but too little effect as more of the remains of the Takeda vanguard are exterminated. With so few forces left, the Takeda are forced to accept defeat. (Uesugi 5, Takeda 2)