Compulsary Cataphracts in Pamplona 2019
Koryo Korean vs Sassanid Persian
Third game and we are now deep into 'time for a beer' territory as the lunch break hoves into view, along with a Sassanid Persian army which no doubt has a few elephants to go with its obligatory minimal number of cataphracts.
The lists for the Koryo Korean and Sassanid Persian from this game, as well as all the other lists from the games at Pamplona can be seen here in the L'Art de la Guerre Wiki.
The Sassanids tend to be a small army due to all of the expensive toys on offer, which would play to the strengths of the large Korean mounted wing as they could have a good go at overwhelming one flank of the Sassanid army with sheer numbers, as long as it could stay clear of their Elephants.
The field of battle ended up pretty bald, with no real terrain to speak of. Having placed the road in probably the wrong place the Korean army was weighted towards the right with its big monted command there, and the refused flank on the opposite side with the Wagons.
Unusually the Sassanids had gone for a flank march - not a usual tactic on such an open table and with such a small army.
L'Art de la Guerre, ADLG hint - off table troops do not count towards your army break point, so the Sassanid army is more brittle until they arrive.
Unsure as to which flank the enemy flank march would appear on, the Korean response was to just rush forward and try and overrun the Sassanid's open flank with the wall of lancers, and try and roll up the line from there. The plan also needed the Korean foot to absorb the elephant charge with a block of steady infantry.
The Wagon command had faced most of the Sassanid mounted wing, but they were soon turning and marching across the table behind their elephants to face the Korean cavalry and so the wagons only then had a pair of Cataphracts to play with this battle, and now seemed unlikely to have a significant role to play in the overall plan
A Korean War Wagon
The Sassanids had redeployed very quickly, and as the Korean mounted wing stumbled forwards the Asarvan cavalry of the Sassanian Empire appeared through the desert dust before them like a solidifying mirage, ready to stand up and fight.
The two lines of opposing horsemen fanned out into battle formation, each seemingly eager to initiate Barker-like combat across a broad (or for the Koreans especially, broader) frontage. The redeployment of the Sassanid cavalry had done little to give the Koreans any clue which flank the flank march was likely to turn up on so far.
The Sassanids frantically tried to drag their elephants into the looming cavalry melee, but the Koreans had already earmarked a couple of sacrificial infantry formations to hurl into their path.
With part of the Sassanid army off table a quick and speedy resolution to the line of combat could easily see the Persians slump to defeat with relatively few losses so offering up a couple of infantry to help the Korean horsemen win out was well worth a try.
The Wagons were starting to enjoy the concept of dancing around the handful of bemused - and somewhat leaderless - Persian cataphracts as they steamed forwards in a weird and unusual attempt to perhaps start shooting at the Persian baggage.
The Korean forces charged home, relying very much on their first round Impact advantage to try and gain the upper hand against the well drilled and well armoured (and decidedly Mongol-looking) Sassanid cavalry.
The initial charge worked like a dream - or, if you happened to be a Persian, a ball-crunchingly bad absolute nightmare - as the Koreans threw down a barrage of better dice to record a clean sweep of first-round hits, and even a complete breakthrough destruction on the shocked Sassanids.
This flank was now in serious trouble for the Persian army, and with the flank march still nowhere to be seen the game was already tipping in the direction of Korea.
The flank march was in sight, and due to arrive in the next Persian turn, coming in behind the largely victorious Korean cavalry wing!
This could be a game-changer, but also could be an entirely theoretical exercise as the Persians were now within touching distance of a defeat of their entire on-table assets.
We see your flank march!
Needing to grab the opportunity by the throat, the Koreans lurched forward all along the line, throwing themselves into every enemy they could see in an attempt to ratchet up enough Sassanid casualties to break the on-table army before their reserves even arrived. Everything in the Korean army was now committed, and the whole Sassanid force was in shock as the assaults rained in from all quarters.
Korean Navy in action
From my Korean War Memorial Museum Page
Even the long-forgotten Korean Cataphracts were getting into the action, and the Wagons were furiously unleashing a torrent of crossbow bolts at the outriders of the Sassanid force as well. Everything was being thrown at securing a quick win.
The Persian cavalry were simply evaporating under the ferocity of the Korean charge. Two rounds in and barely an Asarvan was left standing on fully half of the field. The Koreans had one more turn of their own to secure a victory before the flank march turned up.
Koreans were everywhere, and the small and fractured Sassanid force simply did not know where to turn - even their levy suddenly found themselves in the line of fire.
The victorious Korean cavalry wing had no time to pause for breath - they wheeled their still-sweating horses and urged them onto yet more heroics as they plunged headlong into the flanks of the somewhat shocked Persian Death Star. This would be a very close run thing...
The Dailami making up the left wing of the Mega Death Star stumbled and were crushed under the hooves of the Koryo horsemen, sweeping away the last hope of the Sassanids of holding on until their flank-marching colleagues arrived to add their weight to the battle.
In double quick time, against a reduced-strength enemy the Koreans had returned to winning ways
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 Koryo Korean Commander
Well, didn't that go well - and in plenty of time for an easrly start on the afternoon tapas and wine as well. What a treat!
The little-known fact that the enemy army is smaller until a flank march arrives on table is one of the rules I have picked up in my many battles, probably as a result of losing a game due to a non-arrived flank march of my own in the past. Luckily, or poissibly to be more Korean about it, LG'ily I remembered it and this time is played into my hands like a small ceramic orgament warmed in a Daewoo microwave, nice and lovely and gently steaming.
As a result I did not even have to modify my tactics, which is lucky as I am coming to realise that this army construction only allows me one real set of tactics anyway - whether I will develop the Korean cojones to use the almost-a-Mongol nearly all mounted version of this list which is my other army selection I really don't know
Either way, back to winning ways and doing so by executing a plan I had prepared long before even packing the army for travel. A good omen for a hard drinking army.
Hannibal's Post Match Analysis
Fighting a sub-sized army allows you a significant advantage, and in this instance your rashness and eagerness to hurl your army forward played to your advantage in bringing on combat sooner rather than later - this however was a moment of luck playing into your natural stupidity!
The wagon-rich flank of your army also proved unsurprisingly half-hearted in its lack of dangerous troops to actually damage the enemy - and yet again your agrression on this wing meant your artillery had no chance to actually shoot at anything of note, wasting their points yet again
But, apart from that, you also needed a lot of luck in your first round combats to succeed against the wall of redeplyed Asarvan cavalry - without that first round series of wins your lack of quality and armour could easily have seen your men stuck in place waiting to be flanked by the arriving marchers.
I imagine you may well face a complete army in your next game
Click here for the report of the next game in this competition