The campaign phase started with the Viking 1st army crossing the river and hurrying towards their anchorage ground. With the 1st Norman army victorious at Flockington, they were keen on covering their base. The Normans, however, decided to march southwestward to intercept the 3rd Viking army, which was already on the march in the direction of Little Tipping.
Meanwhile in the north, the Vikings cast an eye at the strategically important bridge spanning the Upper Bumble. Glade Bridge was guarded by a small Norman contingent of 4 points which was determined to hold its ground. The Vikings, also at 4 points, wanted to push through to threaten the castle and get access to the riches of the small hamlet of Bingley.
Set up saw the Norman bowmen and mounted warriors guarding the ford, while the warlord with his Hearthguard and crossbowmen held the bridge. The Viking Warlord took his levies and Berserkers to the ford and sent the warriors and Hearthguard to assault the bridge. The first rounds saw a slow but determined advance by the Vikings, while the Normans shot with little effect (K. used her SAGA dice very well to neutralise my shooting).
When the Viking warriors finally set foot on the other side, the Norman Hearthguard charged, inflicting some casualties before retreating again. Cautiously, the Norse warriors scurried along the banks of the river to keep out of reach of the crossbowmen. That only led them from smoke to smother, as they now were in range of the Norman light cavalry, which immediatley came at them. No prisoners were made. The riverside was save, but for how long?
Time was running out, and the Norman commander realised he had to physically block the passages over the river to hinder the Vikings from invading his lands. The levies moved into position at the ford, while the mounted Warriors decided to make a charge at the Viking Hearthguard. This attack cost valuable Norman lives and was easily repulsed by the Vikings, who in turn threw everything they had at the poor cavalrymen. A few blows of the axes later the cavalry was gone and the Vikings stood on the Norman side of the river.
Having more units on the other side of the river at the end of the last turn, the Vikings emerged victorious from the battle. It seems like I’m having a tough time of it with the Battle at the Ford scenario! This time, I would have been content with a draw, as this would have meant that K., as the attacker, would have to withdraw on the map. However, playing for time didn’t work. Due to K.’s good use of SAGA dice, I couldn’t bring my advantage in ranged weapons to bear. At the end, I lost initiative and had to resort to the desperate tactics of physically blocking the way with my units. My already banged up Warriors didn’t stand a chance against fresh Viking Hearthguards!
We both lost only one point during the game. On the campaign level, K. saved hers, while I lost it for good. So the 3rd Norman army is down to 3 points, while the 2nd Viking army is at 4. (That also means we now know how much points each army has). The Normans had to retreat two hexes on the map and decided to move westward towards the river, hoping to cover the castle as well as the village.
With the northern bridge gone, the Normans are starting to feel the pressure of the Danish raiders. Will they succeed in defending their territory? Stay tuned!