Normans & Their Enemies at WAR 2023
Fatimid Egyptian vs North African Arab
With one victory under their Egyptian belts the Fatimid army trundled on into the second round, and this time found themselves drawn against an earlier era of Arabs, the North African Arab list representing one of the many waves of invasion of Spain
The North African Arabs who invaded Spain in the 10th century were primarily from the Umayyad Caliphate based in the region known as Ifriqiya, which encompassed modern-day Tunisia, eastern Algeria, and western Libya. Under the leadership of the Umayyad Caliphate, the Arabs launched an expansionist campaign into the Iberian Peninsula, known as Al-Andalus, during the early 8th century.
However, by the 10th century, the ruling power in Al-Andalus had shifted to a separate dynasty known as the Umayyad Emirate of Cordoba. This emirate was established by Abd al-Rahman III, who proclaimed himself the caliph in 929 and established the Caliphate of Cordoba.
The North African Arabs participated in al-Rahman's victory and subsequent rule of Spain in the 10th century were Berbers who had previously allied with the Umayyads. These Berbers, indigenous peoples of North Africa, played a significant role in the Muslim conquest of Spain. They formed alliances with the Arabs and contributed to the military expeditions and subsequent governance of Al-Andalus.
This would be a battle with no knights for the Fatimid pikemen to try and catch!
The lists for the Fatimid Egyptian and North African Arab from this game, as well as all the other lists from the games at WAR can be seen here in the L'Art de la Guerre Wiki.
The stage was now set in the rugged terrain of the Iberian Peninsula, as the forces representing two powerful Islamic empires prepared to engage in a battle that would shape the course of history.
The scorching sun beat down upon the vast plains as the two armies stood face to face, their warriors eager for glory and honour.
With very little terrain the two armies faced one another across the desert sands, both arrayed in classic Arab style with a centre of infantry and wings of cavalry.
Al-Rahman of Andalus
The Egyptian Fatimid army pushed forward on the right with spears and cavalry in close coordination, a diverse array of soldiers hailing from different corners of the Islamic world all exhibiting an air of confidence, their colourful banners fluttering in the wind as they prepared to defend the Fatimid Caliphate's reputation and extend their dominance into Spain and the second round of the Reading 1-dayer as well.
On the other flank the massed lancers of the Berber army of the Caliph of Cordoba emanated an aura of resilience and determination.
Kushari! The fierce and seasoned warriors clearly bore the marks of their homeland (in this case a semi-detached house in a suburb of Oxford) with their flowing robes and turbans reflecting the harsh desert landscape from which they hailed.
These warriors, deeply loyal to their Caliph (Dave, or "Al-David" as he was know in these parts) were determined to defend their land from Fatimid encroachment.
The Fatimid forces, displaying discipline and coordination, unleashed a barrage of arrows toward the Africans, their arrows darkening the sky like a swarm of angry bees.
The Berbers could not stand for this, and their cavalry, mounted on powerful steeds, thundered forward to try and run down the offending Al-Shearer archers, trampling the earth beneath their hooves as they rode like the wind into combat.
As the battle commenced on the left with the clash of weapons and the thunderous roars of war cries, the rest of the tabletop was still somewhat tentative with the two forces inching toward one another seeking advantage.
The Africans swiftly formed an Essex shield wall, their spears and swords gleaming ominously as they advanced with unwavering determination. Their cavalry, adorned with intricate armour and banners depicting their tribal heritage (probably, but to be fair they are a long way away in this shot), charged forward in a resolute attempt to break the Fatimid ranks.
But, the true stars of this movie were the Dailami, and they were poised to launch a telling assault on the African lines long before their cavalry could even get close.
Fava Beans and Falafel!
The Dailami warriors, strangers to this land, can smell the opportunity for fortune and glory in the spoils of war, while the African Arab spearmen do their best to stand united, defending their homeland and way of life as the Dailami smash home
Here's My List: Command by Command
2 A'Bid Al Sherah ½ Medium spearmen ½ Bowmen ----
2 Dailami Medium Swordsmen Impact Elite
1 A'bid Al Sherer Clubmen Medium Swordsmen 2HW ----
1 Bedouin Lancer Medium Cavalry Impact ----
1 A'Bid Guard Medium Swordsmen Elite
2 A'Bid Al Sherah Heavy Spearmen Support ----
This command majors on the sometimes-unfashionable Medium Foot troop type, with enough grunt in the Dailami, the Guard, the Clubmen and the Mixed Shooters to easily beat up anything else that dares to lurk in horse-unfriendly terrain that they are likely to meet in this competition, but also able to give enemy spearmen a good duffing up in the open too with Dailami and Clubmen particularly effective against them.
The second Brilliant Commander means the army hits the magic +4 for extra initiative points, and allows the "open terrain" spearmen and "rough terrain" Dailami+ blocks to operate independently.
The Lancer is a bit of a wild card, able to quickly exploit gaps carved in the enemy line, and a potent threat if anyone else were to turn up to try to match my 2 Dailami with even more similar troops.
The moment of impact has also arrived for the Al Shirah Pikemen, and chaos erupts on the battlefield as they poke their long sticks at a rather surprised line of yet more Arabian spearmen who are still puzzled why this invention of longer sticks did not make it to their own lands during the expansion of Islamic dominance across North Africa.
The Pikemen, skilled in stick-poking since an early age, attack with determination and precision, striking their opponents with sticks so long that the opportunity for counter-stick poking seems almost impossible to contemplate for the African Arab spearmen.
Instead, undaunted, they raise their shields to deflect the deadly long pointy stick things.
Pharaoh's Curses! As the infantry clash, the flanks also erupt into carnage and battle as the gap between the two blocks of cavalry on the Fatimid left narrows alarmingly.
The table-like ground trembles beneath the hooves of the charging Fatimid and African cavalry and the air is filled with the rhythmic beat of drums, signalling this impending clash of Impact vs Elite Armoured Archers.
With a thunderous roar both forces unleash their war cries, the rattle of their dice echoing across the hardboard plains, instilling fear and uncertainty on statisticians everywhere in the process as the Africans come out very much on top.
Amidst the turmoil of the swirling infantry battle, individual acts of heroism and valour stand out - especially those where the Fatimid clubmen have conjured up an open flank to attack by dint of walking past it, turning 90 degrees and charging in with no hindrance from their opponents.
Those African Arab spearmen imbued with exceptional agility might manage to dodge the swinging club-heads but trapped between Dailami and a hard place they cannot do so for long.
Sizzling Sphinxes! The clash of steel and the cries of the wounded fill the air, painting a vivid picture of the brutality and savagery of warfare
Feteer Meshaltet! The battle rages on, the outcome uncertain, as both sides display unwavering determination (although that whole Clubmen in the flank thing does seem pretty decisive if you are a Fatimid supporter).
Each warrior on either side fights for his life and the lives of his comrades, their spirits intermingling with the dust that rises from the savannah floor.
North African History
Mounted on powerful Arabian horses, the African horsemen have certainly gained the upper hand too, their steely gazes revealing an unwavering determination that has mightily trumped the supposed skills of the Fatimid Ghulams.
The African lancers are now in close quarter combat as they wield an array of weapons ranging from swords and axes to bows and arrows, all of which are smiting mightily on the Fatimid horsemen and sweeping them from play
OK, that didn't perhaps go as well as expected, but anyway, at least it gives a nice clear and unobstructed view of David's Eclectic Arab Horsemen.
And I guess you can clearly see how at thie right hand end of the scrimmage that the swift arrival of some Fatimid bowmen has given some small crumb (grain of cous cous?) of comfort to the Fatmid attack, helping at least one unit of lancers to victory!
The Fatimid Sariyahahaha Pikemen are howver proving utterly unstoppable as they steamroller their way through the middle of the African army at some speed, supported by archers who unleash a deadly shower of arrows aimed toward the enemy camp catching their skirmishers in it's terrifying downpour
Baba Ganoush! The whole panoply of North African Arabian Baggage Retail Establishments lies open ahead of the eager extra long spearmen as they sense some incense (see what I did there?) in their immediate future as they charge ever onwards
Dailami and the Guard Clubmen were giving a right good Egyptian Spanking (other spankings are available) to the other block of African Arab spearmen as well, winnowing them down like Nubian grain threshers separating the wheat from the chaff in a mighty harvest to rival those of their homeland, once known as the bread basket of Rome.
The Fatimids and their place in The Crusades
With the African infantry nearly wiped out by the fury and aggression of the impactful Dailami, the North Africans started to cast their desert-shaded eyes around nervously.
Their infantry nearly gone, their cavalry faltering too - this side of the battle was fast looking like a lost cause.
There were just too many Fatmids for the North Africans to deal with as through the heat and haze the battle raged on.
The Fatimid's mighty falcon's crest unfurled as the warriors of the Eastern Mediterranean swarmed forward, vastly outnumbering the increasingly beleaguered North Africans
This was not a battle, it was a symphony of chaos, with dust clouds rising from the arid plain as the destiny of these two empires unfolded under the searing yet slightly overcast skies of the Winnersh Triangle
With every clash of steel, cries of pain soared out from the embattled Africans as their morale sapped and ebbed away into the desert sand. The fates of their warriors were etched into history as their army slipped towards defeat
And so the tale of valour and loss ends, with the Fatimids victorious through defeating the fighting core of the Africans, only moments before Berber raiders looted the Egyptians camp.
Another victory was inscribed in the hearts of the Egyptians, achieved by sheer aggression allowing their top-notch troops to slam through the centre of the enemy army and sweep it away long before the almost-forgotten debacle on their left wing could be properly enumerated
Though time may pass, and empires fall, the echoes of this battle will live long in history. Although to be fair it's been a while since it happened and this report is kinda late so perhaps there is a gap in that chain of events somewhere too
The Result is a second win for the Fatimids
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 Fatimid Egyptian Commander
Ladies and gentlemen, warriors of the victorious Fatimid Egyptian army! Today, we stand as a testament to the indomitable spirit and valour that courses through our Fatimid-Geordie hearts!
Our enemy stood formidable, their infantry line seemingly unbreakable. But you, my fellow warriors, displayed the true essence of the Geordie spirit as we broke through the very heart of their defences like a Geordie lad breaking through a pack of stotties!
I must admit, my strategy drew inspiration from the most unlikely of sources—a modern marvel from the future called Kawasaki motorcycles! Just as those sleek machines swiftly cut through the streets of Tyneside, so did we slice through the enemy's lines with speed and precision! It was as if our swords were revving engines, propelling us towards victory!
And now, my fellow warriors, let us talk about the unexpected yet delicious secret weapon of our triumph: Taramasalata! I know you may wonder how this delightful Greek delicacy played a role in our victory, but it symbolizes the importance of blending unexpected elements to create the perfect mix. Just like the harmonious fusion of flavours in taramasalata, we united as a cohesive force, working together in perfect harmony to achieve the unimaginable!
As we drove forward, the enemy's defences crumbled before us, like the crumbling walls of the castle keep. With the courage of a Geordie facing the ferocity of a Newcastle winter, we stormed their baggage camp, seizing their supplies and leaving them disarrayed and defeated.
For the glory of Newcastle and the honour of Fatimid Egypt, I thank you all from the bottom of my heart. Onward, my Geordie warriors, to future conquests and adventures yet to be written! Howay the lads!
Hannibal's Post Match Analysis
Ah, my esteemed Caliph of the Fatimid Egyptians, allow me, Hannibal, to offer my humblest congratulations on your recent victory against the Arab force. It is indeed a commendable achievement, and I must commend you on your efforts, though they may pale in comparison to what I would have achieved had I led your army.
As I observed your battle, I could not help but notice the missed opportunities and the errors in judgment that hindered your potential for a greater triumph you Geordie numpty.Firstly, the battlefield positioning seemed to lack the finesse I would have implemented. The terrain offered numerous advantages that you, my Caliph, failed to exploit fully. Your reluctance to adopt my time-tested methods of envelopment and encirclement undoubtedly cost you an even more decisive victory.
And then, your handling of the cavalry charge—it was almost painful to watch. The lack of coordination and timing left your cavalry scattered, rather than forming a deadly spearhead that could pierce through the heart of the enemy. Had I been at the helm, the outcome would have been quite different, I assure you.
Now, let us address the elephant in the room—or should I say, the Magpie? I am starting to wonder my dear Caliph, if perhaps you are an avid supporter of Newcastle United? While I understand the fervour of sports allegiance, it appears this misguided loyalty may have clouded your judgment on the battlefield. The decisions you made, or rather failed to make, spoke volumes of how your mind was divided between military matters and the woes of a football club.
Do not misunderstand my words as disdain, for it is merely a matter of objective observation. Now, let us raise a glass to your recent triumph, for even if it falls short of my standards, it is a victory nonetheless. May the Fatimid Egyptians continue to flourish, despite their football affiliations. Your victory, though commendable, shall forever remain inferior to what could have been achieved under my guidance. As you move forward into the next game, I implore you to remember my words and consider the wisdom that history has bestowed upon my name.
Click here for the report of the next game in this competition