Classical & Roman Warfare at the 2017 BHGS Challenge
Sassanid Persian vs Sassanid Persian
The lists for the Sassanid Persian and other Sassanid Persian from this game, as well as all the other lists from the games at Challenge can be seen here in the L'Art de la Guerre Wiki.
The last game, and another Sausage-based Civil War. But this time, despite the similarity of the Waterway, the enemy had a very different plan. A tight ball of Death Star loveliness hugged the slopes of a scrub-infested hill in their deployment area as the whole army hunkered down on one flank, catching the Loyalists on the hop. The handful of Usurper Light Horse strung out on their right may have some work to do, but the task was interestingly different elsewhere on the field.
The enemy forces piled forward with alacrity, a large and powerful stack of Clibanarii and LH steaming down the beach with no through for whose sandcastles they kicked over or whose suntan lotion squeezy tubes they stepped on in the process.
The enemy Death Star was thick with Light Foot and their Levy were in a looser formation, acting as Mediocre Spear and immediately throwing my Levy into self-doubt as to whether basing all of them as HF Horde was in fact the right thing to do. Possibly another order to Dr Irregular Miniatures could be an outcome of this game were the opposition to be proved correct.
Taking out a Death Star
But, much easier to understand was the pressure piled immediately on the small delaying force on the opposite side of the table. Close range archery was being shrugged off for now, but surely they could not last long?
Facing the enemy Death Star was not a great place for all of the Loyalist Cataphracts, so some of them were sent on a mission to support the counterattack on the left flank as all of the heavy hitting units of the Loyalist army converged on the forward elements of the deckchair-wrecking enemy.
With all of the toys in the Loyalist toy box now scattered on the beachside esplanade, the enemy decided that discretion was now the better part of valour and turned and evaded back in the face of a determined but sadly not quite fats enough Elephant charge. The Loyalist Clibanarii had taken a fair few shooting hits so they faced a tricky decision as to whether to stick or twist with standing to rally or pursuing the retreating enemy horse.
What's Going on Here Then?
The Usurper troops have drawn in the Loyalist forces on the left, pulling them closer to the unassailable rough hill whilst keeping a skirmish screen fully employed on the other flank. The enemy have concentration of force on a narrow frontage, but the Loyalists are still very spread out.
Pictures of Sassanid Troops from my Ancients Photo Directory
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(Click any image to see details of the manufacturer, and a larger version of the photo)
This did leave the middle of the table a tad bare of Loyalist troops, but if that meant underemployed enemy elephants, that was fine by me... and with both sides not exactly looking to populate this bit of dark green desert there were even gaps into which the Loyalists could dream of inserting their own Clibanarii to put pressure on the rear of the enemy army.
The enemy then unleashed a fearsome trick - dismounted Clibanarii, who emerged over the hill ad started shower-shooting into the Loyalist forces who were rather unable to respond in kind, lacking bows and stuff.
L'Art de la Guerre hint - if your opponent deploys fortifications, war wagons or elephants you can dismount your cavalry and knights at the start of the game. They cannot remount later. The Persian Clibanarii dismount as bowmen, as they are armed with bows when mounted, and likewise they are also Elite and Armoured. Pretty tasty, even if that taste has about it a sniff of Iranian goats cheese.
The empty middle of the table was already looking like an end-game setup with lone elements shooting, evading and charging each other in all directions. The Loyalists main aim was to avoid the enemy elephants as long as possible - which one Cataphract seems here to have singularly failed to do.
With the Loyalist forces spread over a wide frontage and intermingling commands, Command and Control was becoming problematic and difficult choices were needing t be made on which actions needed most priority each and every turn. But, finally a coalition of Doom had been assembled to bring chaos to the enemy infantry and their nearly-off-the-hill flirting with the Dailami. Battle lines were being drawn up on both sides for another round of combat
As the dismounted Sassanid bowmen caused merry havoc with the Loyalist Elephant which had expected to be the decisive force on this part of the board, even efforts to attack heroically uphill by the Dailami were coming to naught as the high quality, and apparently better-armoured than Dailami bowmen were able to withstand their assault long enough for the rest of the army to pick off the zupin-throwers and take them out of the game.
In classic style not seen before apart from on several occasions earlier this weekend, an Elephant charges home against a Cataphract and comes off worse on the back of terrible dice!
Soon the Pachyderm is despatched and now the scattered and singular units of the Loyalists have near-total control over the middle of the board - whether there are enough enemy units left here to chew up and make a difference is however a different question entirely.
The delaying Usurper flanking force on the far right of the Loyalist line is somehow still alive - although this has soaked up a whole Commander's worth of control for the enemy, it has also occupied many of the Loyalist troops as well. The sooner the two LH are removed the better, as then attention can return to more important parts of the field
Led by the fearsome firepower of the dismounted Clibanarii bowmen the enemy start to creep forward on their right flank again as the threat of thee Loyalist elephant, redeployed there at great expense of pips is now a distant memory. Will the enemy find a way however of getting past the waiting Loyalist Cataphracts who look ready to interdict their flanks, or will they just balls it out hoping that the split into 5 separate units across many square feet of the playing field will leave their enemies unable to respond effectively anyway.
What's Going on Here Then?
The Usurper troops suddenly turn the tables on the Loyalists on the left, springing the ambush and pourinig arrows into the Loyalist cavalry and Elephants which they cannot ignore or shrug off. The loss of the Elephant wrecks the Loyalists offensive capability and now their line suddenly looks much the weaker
The Usurpers men and bowmen push up, shooting fast and accurate - or at least faster and more accurately than my own men can manage to respond. The balance of markers is not in the favour of the Loyalist Clibanarii.
Emboldened by the pressure their colleagues are now putting on the Loyalist left, the Usurpers Death Star lumbers forward and pushes yet more Elephants off the hill towards the scattered Cataphracts as the less-able components simultaneously fall back to the safety of the brush-clad slopes. It's a confused mess on the Loyalist side, but the Usurpers men give every impression of having a plan - if only I was able to work out what it was!
Suddenly the pressure being put on the enemy line by the Loyalist Cataphract redeployment starts to look like a Kursk-style salient simply begging to be picked off and isolated. On the left the advancing enemy are also still gaining the upper hand in shooting too. Will this encouraging-looking position end up turning the tables ?
Elephant on Elephant action comes out in favour of the more brightly coloured and slightly larger Donnington model over its Essex rivals
If there were points to be won for holding ground this would be a decisive win for the Loyalist King as the Clibanarii mop up and shoot down the last few unwary enemy units in the vast open spaces between terrain
Smelling a clear advantage the enemy charge home along the edge of the beach. This needs heroic resistance from the Clibanarii in order to buy time for the flanking Cataphracts to join the fray.
But they crumple like disused deckchairs in a Skegness gale as the enemy smash through the front line and step forward into the reserves.
Huge gaps open and the Clibanarii are being rolled up like a Persian carpet by their opponents
With their general and his Massive Heed surrounded, the army crumbles to a crushing defeat.
Click here for pictures of these chaps being painted, or read on for the post match summaries from the Generals involved, as well as another episode of legendary expert analysis from Hannibal
Post Match Summary from the Sassanid Persian Commander
How can this be? I wait until the last game of the competition to discover that my own army has a secret weapon which I had totally overlooked. The French are clever and devious and I can now fully understand wht the dismounting rules have been hidden away right at the front of the rulebook where they will be skipped over and not thought of except in the Francophile version.
There were many interesting developments in this battle and in the opposing list, with the Levy deplyed as Mediocre Medium Spearmen to help the Death Star, a micro command to occupy terrain, of course the pedestrian Clibanarii and the large command of Asarvan too. The terrain seemed to allow this most mobile of armies to concentrate and barrel down a flank which gave my deplyment nightmares that will last for many years to come.
The bravery of my elephants and cataphracts was strong throughout, and our choice of uniform colours was far more vibrant than that of the enemy, but other than this there is not much to recommend this outcome I am afraid.
I now have to go back to consider my options - should the Sassanids, newly painted as they are, return in the near future or do other forces, far more anchored in the past and hiding for many years in the box be allowed out on table first? It is a difficult decision and fortunately the many events each year allow me to make it with not too much woe.
Hannibal's Post Match Analysis
You are certainly not my son, and I woudl do far worse to you than cut off one of your hands. Frankly an action figure of you in semi-hard plastic would have had more chance of winning this game that the abysmally inept and unimaginative tactics you elected to attempt here.
In only one game out of four now have you even thought to do anything different to what has become a standard, predictable and now unsuccesful deployment. Looking at youyr one-dimensional commands it is also clear that having a Kampfgruppe mixed capability in each one would give you far greater tactical flexibility - as would not necessarily deploying on the edge of your depolyment zone either.
To be outdone by the simplicity of dismounting is ridiculous - you have the figures for these chaps, and so surely you should have brought some arab bowmen along too?
This is a lazy and sad end to a lazy and intellectually poor weekend or frontal charges - not all of which have been succesful. I can't imagine your list will survive this outing intact, but should it do so you need first to listen to this following podcast to find out how to create a proper winning list. Perhaps we will see it happen in the next competition?
That's the end - so why not go back to the Match Reports Index and read some more reports?