ADLG World Championships at Rome 2019
Khurasanian vs French Ordonnance
With the previous nights meal having been so good, here's a few more photos from the hotel restaurant:
The final evening sunset from the top of the hotel was spectacular - looking out over the rooftops of Rome on a clear warm night with a view which very few Premier Inns or Travelodges can match.
The setting sun paired ideally with the pre dinner drinks.
Breakfast revealed another stunning day - perfect to be pinned indoors playing toy soldiers, and something which decided me to make sure I got into the pool as quickly as possible after each of the pair of games.
Somewhat obviously though, the "prompt 9am start" we were told about by the organisers the night before failed to translate fully from the local language... leaving a selection of Northern European and Antipodean wargamers kicking their heels for quite some time as the Italian version of 9am eventually arrived..
The 5th game saw the Khurasanians facing off against another French army, after the Franco-Mexican Carolingians the previous day.
This time it was a much later French Ordonnance army, who were aggressively invading Khurasania in the steppe-like terrain of the Iranian plateau under the command of a General with the world's most European pair of trousers.
The lists for the Khurasanian and French Ordonnance from this game, as well as all the other lists from the games at Rome can be seen here in the L'Art de la Guerre Wiki.
French Ordonnance is a heavy metal army par excellence. Top quality Knights, longbowmen, mixed foot and a core of the Medieval speciality of cheap pikemen. A good army for a stand up fight, but somewhat narrow for a featureless plateau.
Volia! With almost no terrain at all on the Iranian Steppe the Khurasanians were summoning their memories of the first game on Friday night and trying to channel the spirit of Ghengis Khan (but without the weird bent finger stuff) to dance in front of the advancing tide of French steel. The French in turn would be trying to close them down quickly and violently.
Al dente! With a table near the doors to the outside world, the temperature and humidity was tolerable, but unfortunately the challenges of photography facing into direct sunlight were considerably harder to deal with as the Khurasanian army sent its two wings of cavalry at maximum warp speed out to the flanks of the lumbering French aggressors.
Their heavily armoured knights must have been baking in their suits of plate steel as they lurched forward, frantically sliding sideways to try and prevent the Arabian horsemen from outflanking them early doors.
The same tactic was being executed with some alacrity on the left wing as well, where the French were even more thinly spread than a single foil-wrapped packet of Boursin on an inter-railers baguette 3 weeks into a 4 week journey around Europe.
Only a solo mounted crossbow skirmisher unit acting as outriders to their professional knightly masters stood in the way of the Khurasanian stampede. Allemagne dix points!
Bain Marie! The more pedestrian components of the army of Samarkand and Bukhara closed ranks and steeled themselves for their proper job, acting as a rather small but perfectly formed anvil onto which the French were being encouraged to dash themselves
Chateuneuf du Pape! The game was pulling both armies to the extreme edges of the world in which they were fighting.
What's Going on Here Then?
The Khurasanains, challenling the spirit of the Mongols who will sweep away their descendants in the almost forseeable future, have sent their cavalry at full speed towards both flanks in an attempt to wrong-foot the much slower French army.
The French have been able to respond on their left (where their Knights began the game closer to the edge of the table) and are looking well set to bring the Khurasanians to battle before their flanks are too badly over-exposed.
On the French right however the vast open plains of the Steppe terrain are simply too big and empty for the limited numbers of French Knights to cover, and Khurasanian cavalry are driving away a paltry French skirmish screen and even now turning inwards to look for the flanks of the French knights.
The main Battle of French infantry has left its defensive fortifications and is advancing to support both flanks of Knights - but with the Khurasanians vacating the centre of the table at some speed on horseback it is already unclear whether the French foot will see much action this game.
The theory was simple for the Khurasanians, but the execution did depend on French participation and an overly central deployment - which the blank open steppe terrain board had sort of given away the fact that this would be a bad idea.
Sudanese A'bid mixed spear and bow units started to realise that they may well need to contribute to the battle.
But, try as they might, there was simply too much table and too few French noblemen to close all of the doors that the terrain had left gaping open.
With Khurasans's men now flooding to the left the advancing line of garlic-swilling knights suddenly found themselves almost immediately surrounded as the aggressive and numerous (if admittedly poor quality) lancers of the Afghan army drove off the crossbow skirmishers of France.
Plume de ma tante! The quivering Arabian spearmen started to gain immediately in confidence as they saw a future in which they may not be called upon to actually fight.
The Sudanese A'bid on the opposite flank were finding life a lot more challenging and congested, as the opposing mounted lancers steamed forward.
With the Khurasanian mounted archers now in position to race down the flank someone needed to take one for the team and prevent the French from sliding ever closer to the open door out to the poolside bar and patio area - and tonight Matthew, that needed to be the underequipped A'Bid. Pot Pourri!
The plan was as obvious as a camel on a Kashmiri motorway, with A'bid tasked with occupying the enemy knights attention while the Khurasanian mounted worked their flanks.
Fabrique belgique! This shot, taken as a screen grab from a photo drone crew from Bukharan TV shows clearly how the A'bid's sacrifice - or possibly heroics, but hey - was intended to pin the Frenchmen in place while the faster, tougher, and more well paid mounted arm of their army made great horsey-shaped strides down the outside wing
The A'bid held! Digging their somewhat bendy spears deep into the desert dust, bracing for impact and loosing volleys of close range archery fire overhead the Medium Foot managed to only lose by a small margin against the initial onslaught, picking up just the two hits where they might well have feared being blown away at first contact.
The plan was still just about working assuming that you are viewing this from the point of view of a Khurasanian mounted archer rather than a poor infantryman.
L'Art de la Guerre hint - Mixed formations like the A'bid get a +1 if they stand to recieve a charge and end up losing a first round combat after normal factors and dice rolls are applied, representing the overhead archery of their rear rankers. This mitigating factor however does not apply if the enemy has Heavy Armour. Like these French knights do. So, effectively the A'Bid are just very expensive Inferior Medium Spearmen in the open here - surviving at all is a huge bonus!
Tel Aviv! With more space to play with and less opposition to overcome the other two commands of Khurasanian troops had assembled on the left wing and were fast setting up an envelopment that even Ghengis himself may well have been proud of.
What's Going on Here Then?
The Khurasanains have fully outflanked the French on the Khurasanian left and now are already thinking how best to tee themselves up for the optimum sequence of attacks to neutralize the French Knights powerful frontal charge
On the Khurasanian right the French have been more aggressive, and in a mofre confined space are bringing the Khurasanian infantry to battle before the Khurasanian horsemen can get into position to neutralise them with flank attacks. By committing to attacking the infantry however the French may then leave their small force exposed to dangerous counterattacks as the Khurasanians start to get their cavalry into better positions.
The Battle of French infantry is still plodding forwards, seemingly committed to an assault on the Khurasanian camp as it lacks either the will, the speed or the command and control to split off into multiple segments and send some of its men to either flank to support the French nobles in their efforts not to be overwhelmed.
Inspired by the simplistic success of their colleagues over in the far distance the right wing daylight-hugging Khurasanian column made a dash for it as well, scooting along the very edge of the world and right past the still-embattled A'bid formation.
Di Stefano! This drove the desert horsemen into a position where surely many Good Things could happen - they weren't quite sure yet what any of them were, but surely this must be a move which ends in favour of the men of Samarkand and in bad news for the croissant-loving trouser-sophisticates from the land of croutons?
French - foux du fa fa
But the French were far from done - instead of just waiting around to be overrun the creme of Gallic Nobility lanced up their lances and committed themselves to battle with some eagerness and alacrity, catching the Khurasanians before they had chance to fan out into battle formation. Mange tout!
With the surviving A'bid watching in horror the full weight of the pinnacle of C14th Military Evolution started to teach the upstart warriors of Islam a harsh lesson in the inequalities of frontal combat between two troop types of wildly differing costs.
The French on the Arab left wing had also realised that they needed to commit to battle or simply be over-run from all sides.
Splitting up their linear formation the Knights startburst-charged in all directions, slamming into Khurasanian troops who had actually hoped and probably expected only to be ploughing into the already engaged flanks and rear of the French nobles.
This whole "being attacked when you thought you were just toying with the enemy" thing was rather unexpected, expecially as the Khurasanians mounted archers were often unable to evade, lacking space or simply not being in the right place at the right time.
But by now the numerical superiority of two commands of fast moving Samarkanidan horsemen against one block of Knights was also starting to make a difference, and as numbers counted up in Arabic, the effect gradually became known.
Fromage Frais! The French were committing like strawberry jam to a croissant, but the Khurasanian cavalry and foot only needed to survive for mere moments of French furious combat before arab-style reinforcements would then appear from all directions, coming to their aid in their time of most need.
Chasse de forme! The well-illuminated window-side flank was rapidly breaking down into a swirling mess of individual unit on unit combats as the French totally gave up all pretence of maintaining formation in their forward momentum.
Instead they now were all vying to be heroes, perhaps just for one day but anyway they now all looked to take on Khurasanian troops wherever they could reach them.
But, isolated into small penny packets the impact of the once-mightly French attack was becoming as diluted as cheap spanish wine is by coca cola as the Afghans were able to bring their panoply of overlaps and support to bear to negate the Gallic superiority in factors and armour.
This was a messy battlefield, but one which probably suited the faster, more mobile Khurasanians more - but as they say, tete a veau!
The French were now as fuilly committedto combat on their right as a French farmer is to burning tyres on a motorway in August.
Apres moi le deluge. The challenge of facing thousands of opponents caused the noble tin-can-wearing horsemen to split their linear formations into multiple units yet again as they sought to take on the encircling Arabian-style forces.
A crouton-laden French onion soupcon of regret must have crossed the minds of the surely sweltering knights as to why their King had ordered them to attack the Persian-Afghan border in high summer across a bald open field...
Having broken through on the right, the column of Khurasanian cavalry spun about, pivoting on their position and returning with interest to fully encircle the by now thoroughly confused Frenchmen.
Everywhere they looked beturbaned horsemen with flowing robes and fluttering flags bearing Arabic inscriptions were massing, and the already limited gene pool of French chivalry could now anticipate moving towards a state of semi-permanent shallow endedness as their men were cut down one by one.
What's Going on Here Then?
The Khurasanian cavalry have danced round the French on both flanks and launched a series of devastating charges against the exposed Knights, some of whom have however still managed to get into contact frontally before being hit from all sides.
Even so the French have been unable to withstand this onslaught, and by now most of the mounted fighting power of the French nobility has been destroyed
The Battle of French infantry remains mostly intact, although its right hand end is starting to unravel too as the victorious Khurasanian lancers follow up their destruction of the French Knights by rolling up the fllank of the enemy infantry as well.
Creme de menthe! Just to emphasise how fast the Khurasanians had redeployed to the flanks of the French advance, the main Battle of infantry now hove into view having advanced seemingly unopposed across the desert steppe towards the back end of the enemy table.
Pike, longbows, crossbows - all were sweating profusely in their thick padded jackets and woolly tights as they schlepped through the shifting sands of Samarkand in their advance into nowhere.
With the French right now rapidly collapsing however the Gallic centre suddenly found itself in the front line!
Spare Arabian lancers were everywhere, and with some of the French infantry looking vulnerable to a bold attack the bold aggression of the desert horsemen paid off as they rapidly ran over the end of the French infantry line, creating yet more problems for the embattled medieval army
Pas de Calais! The French knights were being swamped as if by a sandstorm as the variously assembled components of the Bukharanese army all dug in grimly to blunt the Gallic warrior-princes' initial charges.
As soon as they lost momentum, the Knights soon then found themselves being hammered in flanks and rears by countless swarms of desert horsemen and beturbaned infantry waving sticks and cursing loudly in Arabic expansive epithets in which the soles of shoes and the manners of dogs were readily invoked.
Battle of Samarkand
The same scene was unfolding on the Khurasanian right as the envelopment came to a Romanesque hot climate citrus flavoured fruition, as the baguette-waving opposition started to realise that their fate was pretty much as well sealed as a boulangerie after 1pm when English tourists often decide to try foolishly to go shopping in rural French villages.
With both flanks stove in, the French army collapsed to a defeat in the desert - only moments before the Arab baggage was due to be sacked. Argent Comptant!
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 Khurasanian Commander
As Mr Alan Shearer ah seeys what a fantastic result fre the lads frem Tha land of Jgurasan, which I believe is great on the late night kebab front but not quite so hot for pints of newky broon.. Ah wez reet pleased on how wi had a cle-ah plan to run dooon both wings and get some tellin' crosses into the box right quick sharp like, which a man with a massive foreheed like me can then nod into the in the onion bag and notch up another goal or three like.
Or, put another way, we knew that there would be summatz like this enemy, with a load of tin cans i knew we must be ready to gan down the wings on a bald table like, so I had designed the whole army around exactly this potential propa match up.
Ah did feel a bit o'sympathy like for the poor foot soldiers of the Frenchies army, and ah can understand whey they might be so angry to just miss out on stealing some of our reet proper geordie arabian scran when they fell just short of ah baggage like. There even was a fellah with a kettle on 'is heed gannin' proper radgie, like when he didnae get a chance to pile on in there at the end.
But, anywayh, we is gannin up the table towards the podium places at a reet rate of knots. I always said Newcastle-under-Khurasania FC was a big club, and now we are going to prove it t'the world!
Hannibal's Post Match Analysis
That my unintelligent and lumbering friend was close. Much closer than you may wish to claim in the post match analysis of your own, and with perfect terrain as well, which is a treat that many wish for by few achieve
Adding insult to incompetence, this sort of terrain is one you could have picked yourself in any of the games in which you won initiative - if there are any of those with you sub-par initiative of just +2 I guess. But, even taking that into account you still managed to underestimate how fast your own horsemen could ride down both flanks, with the end result that you ended up getting caught by the Sudanese A'bids down your right leg, sorry, flank and given a right royal kicking by knights who honestly you should have hoped to never have to fight frontally at all, never mind with some of your softest anti-knight options in the whole army
At least you managed to claw your way back to a better position before your baggage fell to an advance of glacially slow heavy infantry pikemen - an ignominy which would have been about par for the course in your pantheon of patheticness.
I honestly can't believe you think you have a cat in hells chance of a decent finish - especially as there must be someone better (even if their trousers are not quite so French) waiting for you in the next game
Click here for the report of the next game in this competition