So it's Derby World Wargames next weekend, and that on Planet Renko usually means one thing - Impetus. Ok Impetus and beer. Impetus, beer, a curry...
Usually I have my army chosen and a fair few practice games under the belt before the big day - not so this time. This year we are stepping up to 400pts from 300 \ 350. I had originally planned to paint a new Thracian army up for Derby, but that particular bit of mo-jo leaked or was stolen after about half way. That left my Old Faithfull Early Achaemenid Persian, or Richard III, or Ancient British, or.....Hussite
The problem with the Persians is they are very old figures - some of them are from the QT Models range where you got to build the troops by selecting bodies, heads & weapons. All very Avant Garde in the 1980s but now they look rather sad. I have a big pile (a technical term meaning "enough") of Foundry Persians to replace them, but have not quite got around to painting them yet. A also need a camp making. This should be easy, and when completed will look like this
But better and made out of pink foam :-)
So having left it to late to rebuild Persepolis that leaves Richard III - aka Uncle Dicky and his Yorkists. Problem here is that they are spectacularly unlucky, and not a great army to use - their tactic being to stand still and shoot a lot. All WotR armies are similar in that respect, and it makes for interesting games when they play each other but they are horribly one dimensional, and I didnt fancy that.
So Ancient British? Again I'm not feeling the urge. the Ancient Brits are the diametric opposite of the Yorkists - they charge across the table and win or die. Not a lot of command decisions there either, and open competitions like Derby tend to feature a lot of late Medieval armies with Knights - and they ride the Brits down in droves.
So the unloved child going to Derby is Hussites. I have a 300pt 28mm Hussite army based for Impetus. It looks quite nice, but it has all the on table charm of a car crash. I've decided to give it a go at 400pts to see if this step up improves it at all. I should add the Hussites are spectacularly good at what they do, which in Impetus competitions tends to be to act as a massive tripping hazard to competetive armies, particularly light horse armies, who may as well pack up and go home. This Hussite has seen off Mongols, Scythians, Numidians, Sassanids and Templars - mostly without breaking a sweat.
In case you are not au fait with middle European History, the Hussites were a religious group from Bohemia who fell out with the Church in about 1419 over such major issues as who should get the wine at Communion and which way the Priest faced. This all got out of hand to the point Joan of Arc threatened to lead a Crusade to put them right. The Holy Roman Empire thought it could handle this, and descended on them in a wave of heavily armoured knights. In almost all other circumstances this would have ended quickly with the Peasants ridden down and the wine being back as the sole prerogative of the priesthood. In this case they has a secret weapon - Jan Zizka. Zizka had lived the life of a fairly un-noteworthy soldier up to that point, but cometh the hour, cometh the Jan. He realised his army of peasants and townsfolk couldn't fight knights in the open, and couldn't stand a siege forever either. So he perfected a new form of warfare where his peasants fought from wagons that could be chained together to form a sort of mobile fortification. Each wagon was crewed by crossbowmen and handgunners, with some polearm equipped infantry just in case anyone got close. They also used numerous small cannons - another first as no-one thought they were of any use except in sieges. The opposition didn't have a clue how to deal with this and so resorted to plan A - "Charge!!". This lead to a string of Hussite victories - in five years of constant war against just about everyone Zizka never lost a battle, dying in 1424 of the plague. Hussites it is!