Biblical at Campaign 2019
New Kingdom Egyptian vs New Kingdom Egyptian
With a crash, bang and a wallop, wargaming came to the middle of the Milton Keynes enclosed shopping area yet again in May 2019. As the doyennes of John Lewis looked on, and as Cafe Nero prepared to run out of chocolate brownies several teams of crack (hopefully not showing...) wargamers prepared for battle
I had ended up in a Central London Team with no name - which became christened as TOWT - the one with Tim in it - by the organisers.
After a bit of faffing around, coupled with paralyzing indecisiveness we ended up opting for Clive in the classical-agey period, Simon *using my Scots) in the Medievals and that left me in the Biblical era.
This was a chance to wheel out one of the recently refurbished biblical armies from the very limited pool on offer - many of which I lacked anyway, which made the choice even easier. Unfortunately however I had already committed to lend an army to a mate - and so my choice of list construction became somewhat curtailed by needing to only use stuff that I hadn't already lent to someone else.
Campaign is a team competition with three pools, each very tightly themed to a small list of allowable armies. For this year the Biblical theme was this one
Early Hebrew Campaigns 1250 -1050 BC
In practice the combination of looking at what list might be good against the others in the pool, and the fact that NKE is a popular list to own meant that NKE was by far the most popular list, with Bedouin making up the banance
Anyway, all this meant was a smidge more rebasing all to allow a New Kingdom Egyptian army to take to the table.
NKE is one of the more popular, aka famous lists from the Biblical era although it does tend to be a bit lightweight against other in-period options due to its lack of Heavy Chariots. This makes it a challenging army to do well with, but this themed period excluded pretty much all HCh types so the NKE were a decent bet.
The first game saw me drawn against...my own army! Yes, a test of whether the first choice set of figures, or the leftover dregs would prevail..
The lists for the New Kingdom Egyptian and New Kingdom Egyptian from this game, as well as all the other lists from the games at Campaign can be seen here in the L'Art de la Guerre Wiki.
The table had a Nile (of course) and some fields and plantations emphasising the fertile agrarian nature of Egyptian society in the time of the New Kingdom Pharaohs.
The amount of terrain also emphasised the fact my own version of the list was very light on Chariots, so I wanted to try and cover as much of the playing surface with chariot-unfriendly crud as possible.
That didn't really work out though, and so both armies thundered towards each other across a fairly bald expanse of expensive mousemat but lovely and worth it cloth.
With the exceptionally well painted (ahem) enemy army owning a hill in the middle of their deployment area my own warband-rich variant started spreading out gently as it advanced, leaving something of an uncontested gap in the middle of the line full of invisible warriors with no intention to attack an enemy uphill.
On the water's edge the initial rounds of chariot archery from the opposition were as deadly as I could have wished for had they been actually fighting for me. My Spearmen, in their red and white striped hats took the brunt of it, rendering the vague plan I had to use Medium Spear to hold back enemy Light Chariots rather moot right from the off.
As had been flagged previously, my army had been filled with mercenary Sea Peoples and Sherden Warriors, with a sort of plan of trying to run at, and hopefully then over the top of enemy bowmen and normal swordsmen in double quick time before the enemy's presumably superior mounted wings could do anything about it.
This plan was about to be tested on the actual battlefield, as I had lacked the time to do so before the event itself.
Tutankhamun would have turned in his grave to see how on the opposite flank the width and ferocity of my mercenaries charge forward had caught the opposing mounted wing a little by surprise, and they found themselves starting to be overlapped by a tide of well-tanned pedestrian aggression.
The oppositions response was again more volleys of highly accurate shooting, peppering the insufficiently skirmish-screened Meshwesh warriors with a hail or well-aimed arrows.
My Egyptians were suddenly counting up their hit markers with some degree of urgency and trepidation - 7 in this shot alone meant that my army was almost 1/3 of the way to defeat already.
But, even more importantly, the erosion of competence these hits would have on the fighting ability of an army designed to, well, rush in and fight was quite significant. In response the enemy had barely a scratch.
But, charging home was what my army was designed to do, and so charge home was what they did.
A wall of screeching Sea Peoples, Meshwesh, Sherden and Heebie Jeebie Warriors accelleratd furiously into the waiting wall of identically well painted opponents and prepared to take their chances in the resulting dice-fest
With combat now joined across much of the rest of the battlefield the opposite flank was starting to be a conundrum.
The deadly shooting of the enemy chariots continued unabated, and the emergence of a Magic Crystal hit marker denoted that I now had more than twelve shield-type 1-hit markers that I actually owned on table already.
The Sea Peoples were however acting as Impetuous Tsunami People in this game, and despite the grazes and nicks from the enemy shooting they simply swept over and through the opposing line of men, taking full advantage of their Furious Charge to rack up the extra hits at first impact needed to break the opposition in a single turn.
With the two units of Heavy Infantry now also engaged to hold up the enemy Chariots from outflanking the line of mercenaries the situation suddenly seemed a lot better than it had been before.
Uphill was a little more of an uphill battle however. In a somewhat confusion scene the Meshwesh in their yellow hats became bogged down against the well-located enemy archer blocks, allowing the rest of the opposing army's sword-armed infantrymen the chance to outflank and then charge the shattered Sea People at their leisure.
By The Beard of The Pharaoh! The Sea People were great going forward, but no so hot at any of the clever "turn around" or "do something about that enemy on your flank" stuff.
Soon the opposing drilled infantry were carving great holes in the flanks of the previously jubilant and victorious Sherden attack.
Ya nhar eswed! The enemy chariot wing took this as a signal to try and help deliver the coup de grace against the more hairy and pedestrian opponents they had been successfully shooting now for some turns.
Rolling into action the Chariots scattered the hapless and already demoralised barbarians from across the water like Tutunkhamen-shaped ninepins in a Cairo bowling alley and broke through into the rear of my Egyptian army.
The attacking prowess of the Meshwesh and Hokey-Cokey tribal warriors had been utterly blunted by the much more restrained and well organised opposition
My second-choice Egyptians succumbed to a defeat which will send them no doubt back to the land of the sleeping Pharaohs.
Click here for the report of the next game in this competition, 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 New Kingdom Egyptian Commander
Hmmmm.. Sometimes this game is all about the pacing - when to attack, when to hold back and delay combat for a turn or so - and in this game I seem to have learnt from the last game and managed to get the balance just about right, well up until the point that I lost of course.
Of course its' also not that hard to decide to attack with a wall of 9 impetuous infantry, but even so they had to be driven forward as they are a bunch of lazy mercenaries after all.
As soon as the enemy could see some people bearing down on them on my right flank the game tipped in our favour, but then tipped back again later. The solidity of the Heavy Infantry Guardsmen meant this was a tough flank for my opponent to break through - and starting combat later than the right flank made that even more important.
Now I have worked out what I'm doing I am sure this defeat will be a sprinboard for the start of a wonderful weekend
Hannibal's Post Match Analysis
You Egyptian idiot, barely fit to clean the camel turds off the soles of my sandals in this god forsaken and sand-blasted land. Quite why anyone would want to be emperor or such a flea-pit is beyond me, although some of your palaces by the banks of the Nile are to be fair quite jolly
How on earth did you manage to lose to an army that you yourself had recruited? You knew their composition, you even knew their painting style and basing and yet you still slipped to a terrible defeat with which to start the weekend.
When facing better mounted forces you cannot afford to get drawn into a fragmented attack - you have to maintain a line, aboid being overlapped or worse surrounded and just tough it out. Not this half-hearted attack and defend at the same time bollocks that you seem to have tried here
This was a first loss for an army that doesn't come out often for a reason. Maybe we will see more of why in the next game
Click here for the report of the next game in this competition