Through the Ages, Season 1 Round 8
Turks go into North Africa
An Abbasid version of Early Muslim North Africa and Sicily (Anthony) was invaded by Central Asian Turks (Bob). The Abbasids had two allies – more of the same, and the Turks took an ally, again, more of the same.
The Abbasids had lots of auxilia and psiloi, so took a couple of srubby hills to go with their compulsory sea, both of which came on near the sea, effectively securing their left flank. Meanwhile, the Turkish mounted chose two open fields that were hardly likely to turn into mud to keep the field open. Thus, when the battle began at noon in the clear spring sunshine of 794AD, the one ineffective field that did get on was removed.
The Abbasids deployed the main AxI block front and centre
with bow left and right, and cavalry and light horse behind. The regular SpI
were in the second command further back ready to go left or right as the situation
demanded. They had more bow on their right and more light horse behind. The
ally with the bulk of the cavalry deployed further right with their own light
horse far right and AxI to the front. The ally with the PsS and more AxI
deployed that foot to take the forward scrubby hill, while its Lh and Cv looked
to block the path between the hills.
From L-R as the Turks looked at it, they had an all LhS command opposite the Arab Cv, then more LhS fronting CvO going up against the Arab bow. The C-in-C’s command had more cavalry, a mix of S in front and O behind, up against the AxI plus PsO and hordes to block anything coming over the hill. The ally of more LhS and CvO was on the far left, looking to force the gap between the hills.
Abbasid first turn
Turk first turn
Lots of dead AxI but a few Cv and LhS dead too
On the other side, the other Arab ally took the hill and set up defensively to make life as hard as possible for the more able Turks. Eventually, they got enough PIPs to make an organized attack and killed a couple of LhO, but after that, it all went the way of the Arabs. Bob couldn’t throw a decent combat die to save his life. In an effort to rescue the situation, the hordes and PsO assaulted the hill (I have the photos to prove it) and were duly cut down by the PsS.
Arab Lh die...
...but comrades exact revenge...
...and the assault crumbles.
Back in the centre, the Arabs finally broke and the knock-ons took them temporarily to 40% losses, so it was looking grim. Fortunately, though, they had demoralised their immediate opponents and the C-in-C had been able to persuade the unreliable ally to join the fight just in time. Furthermore, the ally on the Arab left also demoralised the enemy ally and had them almost at breaking point. (Bob indicated that the lose of one more ally Cv or LhS would break the command, the knock-on would take the central command and ultimately, the entire army.)
Turks press home their advantage
Stand-off on the other flank continues
Turks break through in the centre but the Arab wing has activated and advanced
At this point, the fighting alone had been in progress for nearly four hours, so we called it: 14-11 to the Turks.
If, like me, you have lots of Arabs, there are many various armies within 50 years of the ‘filler’ date of 794AD to choose from, and I was expecting Bob to bring a Nan Chao or T’ang morph, so was a bit surprised when another central Asian mounted army hit the table. EMNA with all its AxI and LhO is very much a ‘fun’ army and not a seriously wicked fighting force, but it stands up well against mounted stuff like CAT. As Bob noted, EMNA is no match for something with plenty of heavy foot. Consequently, despite the final score, I think I was the happier of the two generals with the result.