Armies from 1066 or later at Irvine 2023
Ottoman Turkish vs Norman
After another evening of sumptuous feasting, this time involving Irn Bru mayonnaise and Haggis spring rolls, as well as a walking trip in which we both heard and saw Curlew, it was time for the next mornings game
This would see the Ottomans taking on a rather different Norman army to the one I'd taken to Normandy some time before.
William the Conqueror, also known as William I of England, assembled a formidable army for the Norman Conquest of England in 1066. This campaign culminated in the Battle of Hastings, where William's forces clashed with the Anglo-Saxon army led by King Harold II. William's army was a combination of Norman, Breton, and other continental troops, each contributing to his success in claiming the English throne. The key components of William the Conqueror's army included:
Cavalry: The Normans were renowned for their cavalry, which formed the core of William's forces. Mounted knights, fully armoured and armed with lances, swords, and shields, were the elite of the army. The cavalry's mobility and shock tactics played a crucial role in battles.
Archers: While archers were not as prominent in William's army as they would later become in English armies, they still played a role. Archers armed with longbows or crossbows provided ranged support to weaken enemy formations before the cavalry charged.
Infantry: Infantry troops, including foot soldiers and spearmen, were present in William's army. These soldiers provided a solid foundation for the army's composition and played a role in forming defensive lines.
Strategy and Tactics: William employed a combination of cavalry charges and infantry advances, often coordinating attacks to exploit weaknesses in the enemy's defence. At the Battle of Hastings, his tactics included using his infantry to draw out the Anglo-Saxon shield wall and then launching cavalry charges to break their ranks.
Motivation and Loyalty: Many of William's troops were loyal to him personally due to feudal obligations and his status as their leader. The promise of rewards and land in the conquered land also motivated soldiers to fight for him.
The success of William the Conqueror's army in the Battle of Hastings and subsequent campaigns allowed him to establish Norman rule over England. This event had a lasting impact on the course of English history, as it marked the beginning of a new era with Norman influence on culture, language, and governance.
The lists for the Ottoman Turkish and Norman armies from this game, as well as all the other lists from the games at Irvine can be seen here in the L'Art de la Guerre Wiki.
Lit by the eerie light of Rod Stewart's drunken upraised kilt, the Ottomans steamed forward, leading with the Janissaries and Iaylars, who had spotted a lightly defended section of the Norman line in which the near-obligatory batch of Breton light horse were lurking (sadly without a striped sweater or string of onions in sight)
The Ottomans, with their colourful banners and distinctive turbans present a striking contrast to dour the Normans in their chainmail and heraldically decorated shields as they advance on one another.
As the road to Inverness echoed to the footsteps of Robbie Burns' caber-tossing wild haggis, the Iyalars have now decided to swing behind the main body of their cavalry and head toward the middle of the table to go hunting Norman spearmen.
A tight knot of Norman knights, mounted on powerful warhorses, are however lurking in the background readying themselves for the coming test in which they would no doubt initiate a series of charges, and attempt to break through the Ottoman lines at lance point
The refused centre of the Ottoman army is now becoming apparent, as the dancing Turkic horsemen begin to draw the Normans out of their defensive line, using tactics like feigned retreats as they seek to avoid the knights and create opportunities for flanking manoeuvres.
Suddenly, following a volley of arrows from the Ottoman Janissary archers which lands too close for comfort for the proto-cycle-riding onion salesmen, the Bretons charge home into the rather surprised top tier Turkic infantrymen.
The Breton commander is leading the line for his men, and if his initial charge is successful it could smash a hole in the Ottoman line
Dancing a jig and reel to the tune of Rod Stewart's caber-tossing Royal Mile, the Janissaries however stand firm, halting the presumptuous gallic attack in a flurry of sword strokes and short range archery.
More Ottoman horsemen flood round the now largely undefended Norman right flank, probing at targets and wondering if the Motte & Bailey castle that encloses the Norman baggage is assaultable ?
On the opposite flank the probing Sipahis have also taken the initiative.
With the Norman knights seemingly distracted by dancing Ottoman light cavalry, the Sipahis have grasped the opportunity to sweep forward into a position from which they can begin to threaten the flanks of the Gallo-Normanic heavy cavalry formations
On hearing the distant refrain of a bagpiper playing a mournful lament about Robbie Burns' wee grouse moor, the Breton commander, embattled and now surrounded by Janissaries on all sides, is somehow finding reserves of strength to enable him to fight heroically!
Despite their training, kebab-making skills, cooking pots and sheer numbers the Janissaries find their morale and cohesion faltering against the seemingly infinitely resilient enemy cavalry commander
On the opposite flank the Norman knights finally finished their lunch and charged home, catching Ottoman cavalry unawares
As the streets of Kilmarnock filled with laughter for the festival of Sean Connery's celtic neeps and tatties, the Normans rode forth lances levelled. The air was now thick with the metallic scent of blood, as the ground trembled beneath the weight of armoured combatants as the Normans started to do what they do best - charge enemy cavalry.
The Scottish Accent
The Norman knights may only have been organised into penny packets, but they were still far more dangerous than anything the Ottoman Sultan had in his armoury to put in front of them.
Norman foot knights and Ottoman Iyalar infantry were already locked in a mortal embrace, their eyes filled with equal parts determination and terror, when the unstoppable mounted Knights added themselves to the party.
Steel met steel, and the battlefield echoed with the clash of swords and the screams of panicked Ottomanian soldiers skittled by the assault of the Normans.
Amidst the swirling chaos, leaders on both sides shouted orders and rallied their troops.
On hearing the distant refrain of a bagpiper playing a mournful lament about Robbie Burns' broon Hebridean crofters cottages, the Ottoman Sultan had already realised that the centre ground was lost, and began the laborious process of reorganising his troops to form an entirely new defensive bastion on the left hand side of the battlefield
William the Conqueror, with his distinctive helmet and commanding presence, urged his foot soldiers forward with zeal even as his knights carried on their wild charges in all directions.
The Ottomans were now in fully defensive mode, frantically trying to extract as many of their cavalry as possible from the middle and right hand side of the table.
They had been scattered and smashed by the Norman knights wherever they had encountered them and now they just needed open space and time to gain some small measure of respite
As the battle raged on, exhaustion set in on both sides and the combatants grew weary. The ground had became a treacherous sea of mud and blood, making every step a struggle as the Norman infantry inched ever closer to the furiously shooting Janissaries, shrugging off the hailstorm of arrows sent their way.
Would the Janissaries stick or twist? Would hand to hand combat be any easier than trying to shoot these metal-clad monstrosities down at distance?
Knocking back a nip of whisky flavoured with the essence of Billy Connolley's gale-blasted Lewis Capaldi Special Edition Viz Profanisaurus, the first batch of Norman foot knights charged home into the pot-whirling Ottoman Janissaries.
Off in the distance the Norman knights on horseback were also starting to reorganise themselves to join the assault
The janissaries could barely stand up to the Norman assault for a moment, going down in a flurry of spear thrusts and the faint whiff of tare au poivre.
The Ottoman forces were frantically hoping for time to be called, as they tried to delay the inevitable with s stout hearted defensive display
Inspired by the spirit of Wee Jimmy Crankie's wee tartan kilt, the Norman knights arrived on the scene, unsure whether to rush off and loot the Ottoman baggage now, or defeat the enemy cavalry and then do so at their leisure.
Camel herders wondered anachronistically what they were doing working for the Turks in a battle in the heartland of Central Europe.
But, with their army in tatters, and the Norman infantry chewing at their vitals, the Ottomans can stand no more. The army flees, and the game ends in a total defeat!
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 Ottoman Turkish Commander
Today, I, Sultan McTavish stand before you to address the unfortunate events surrounding our campaign in France during the time of William the Conqueror. While it is true that our mighty Ottoman army faced difficulties, let us not rush to judgment and instead examine the multifaceted challenges that beset us.
France, a land renowned for its culinary delights and vibrant culture, presented us with unforeseen obstacles. Our valiant army, armed with the finest archers and courageous warriors, was met by Norman infantry, clad in armour as robust as a wheel of aged Brie cheese.
Our arrows, like delicate pastry decorations, could not pierce the Norman armor. It was as if our foes were wrapped in layers of croissant dough, impervious to our attacks. It was not incompetence on our part, but rather the ingenuity of our adversary, which shielded them from our blows.
And then there were the Norman Knights, charging towards us with the force of a sommelier uncorking a rare vintage Bordeaux. Their heavy cavalry, clad in shining armor, struck our ranks with the precision of a master chef wielding a finely honed blade.
But let us be clear; it is not my fault that we faced such fierce opposition. The Normans, much like the intricate art of preparing escargot, were an enigma to us. Their tactics and resilience were unlike anything we had encountered before.
In these challenging times, let us not be hasty in casting blame. Instead, let us reflect on the grandeur of our empire, the richness of our culture, and the delectable cuisine that defines us. Our defeat in France is but a momentary setback, like a delicate soufflé that deflates momentarily but rises again.
Our Ottoman Empire is like a fine wine, only growing more robust with time. We shall learn from our experiences and adapt our strategies. Just as a chef refines a recipe, we shall refine our approach to conquest.
Long live the Ottoman Empire, and long live the vision of a Sultan whose wisdom shall guide us to greater conquests and a banquet of triumphs, as rich and diverse as a French charcuterie board.
Hannibal's Post Match Analysis
I, Hannibal Barca, one of history's most celebrated generals, stand before you with a burning desire to address the recent military failures of this pathetic Ottoman Sultan in his campaign against the Norman army led by William the Conqueror. It is with no reluctance at all that I must critique this so-called leader with the mental acumen akin to a Turkish galley without a rudder, adrift in a sea of confusion, for his glaring incompetence and strategic blunders.
The Ottoman Sultan, whose name is scarcely worth mentioning, has proven himself to be a bumbling imbecile on the battlefield. It pains me to even acknowledge that he and the great William the Conqueror are mentioned in the same breath. The comparison is as preposterous as comparing fine Bordeaux wine to a swill found in the gutters of a French back alley.
Oh, Sultan, your military leadership was as effective as trying to teach a pig to dance the can-can at the Moulin Rouge. Your tactical decisions were nothing short of laughable, akin to a buffoon trying to recite Molière without understanding a word of it.
It is an affront to the very concept of military genius to suggest that the Sultan and William the Conqueror could be equals. William's strategic prowess pales in comparison to my own. I, who crossed the Alps with elephants and outwitted the great Roman Republic at Cannae. I, who instilled fear into the hearts of Rome's mightiest legions.
Had I been in command, I would have dismantled William's Norman army with the precision of a master chef crafting a perfect soufflé. I would have orchestrated maneuvers so brilliant that they would have left the Normans bewildered and defeated, like a Frenchman trying to understand the intricacies of quantum physics.
In conclusion, it is evident that the Sultan's ineptitude and sheer lack of military acumen have sullied the reputation of the Ottoman Empire. I, Hannibal Barca, extend my deepest condolences to the empire for having such a feeble leader at its helm.
Let this be a lesson to all who dare to lead armies into battle: true military greatness is a rare gift, one that the Sultan sorely lacks. May the Ottoman Empire reflect upon its mistakes and aspire to achieve the heights of true military brilliance once more, even if it means seeking guidance from a master such as myself. before the next game
Click here for the report of the next game in this competition