Normans & Their Enemies at WAR 2023
Fatimid Egyptian vs Kingdom of Sicily
In a surprising turn of Mediterranean regional geopolitical events, the Fatimid army followed up its dominance of North Africa by launching a daring invasion of Norman-controlled Sicily later that afternoon.
Capitalizing on their extensive naval experience (?) to initiate the invasion, a massive fleet of well-armed Egyptian warships arrived under the cover of the afternoon tea and biscuit break, catching the Normans off guard as they disembarked from their ship.
This element of surprise proved to be a crucial factor as the Fatimids quickly established a small shoe-hold on Sicilian soil (selling sea shells no doubt?) and arrayed their forces for battle against the Sicilian Norman foe
In the late 11th century, the Normans, led by Roger I and his brother Robert Guiscard, launched a series of conquests in Southern Italy. Their successful campaigns culminated in the capture of Sicily from the Arab rulers, who had held control over the island for centuries.
Roger I's son, Roger II, ascended to the throne in 1130. He further expanded Norman control in the region and, in 1130, he was crowned as the King of Sicily, effectively creating the Kingdom of Sicily. Under his rule, the Normans merged with the local culture and established a multi-ethnic and religiously tolerant kingdom.
After the death of Roger II, the Kingdom of Sicily experienced internal conflicts and succession disputes, weakening its unity. The Angevin dynasty eventually took control of the kingdom in the 13th century, ending the Norman period in Sicilian history.
The stage was now set for a decisive last-round battle in the pleasant surroundings of the coastal regions of Western Sicily, which would soon bear witnessed fierce clashes between the well-trained Fatimid forces and the battle-hardened Norman soldiery.
The lists for the Fatimid Egyptian and Kingdom of Sicily 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 Fatimids tactical approach was evident from the outset, as their forces sought to find a battlefield with plenty of rugged terrain for their Dailami and other loose formation troops to run into, avoiding the Normans mighty Knights.
The Sicilians meanshile were mostly mounted, and relying on speed and 4-legged determination to sweep the Fatimids from the field. This would be a real clash of cultures.
The Dailami-led sweep on the right flank of the Fatimid army found itself facing almost no opposition in the fields and terrain on the Norman left, and so started inching centre-wards to try and deliver a telling blow on the Norman spear line projecting from their left flank.
Asses Milk! All of the Fatimid spearmen and Sariyah Phalanx were blocked together (ish) in the middle where they faced off against a wall of Norman knights and cavalry - adopting the brave but bold and simple strategy of planning to take the enemy charge on the chin with a wall of spears
Off in the far distance, Arab cavalry prepared to duel against the Normans own horsemen on the fringes of the battlefield
Feteer Meshaltet! The initial skirmishes were intense but the Normans suddenly confounded the Fatimids plans by marching their spearmen off behind the centre of their army, leaving the left flank almost totally bereft of troops.
Their superior coordination and cohesion immediately threatened to outmanoeuvre the Faimids carefully constructed plans, although quite how Normans hoped to deal with a gaping flank, or indeed what they planned to do with a second line of spearmen behind their knights was anyone's guess?
The Normans, known for their formidable military and fanaticism, took the Fatimid bait and stood up for the challenge, charging home against the wall of Arabized spearmen at pace under the valiant leadership of their experienced commander Duke Robert.
However, they were unprepared for the quiet ferocity and determination displayed by the Fatimid soldiers, who closed ranks and dug the large butts of their spears into the desert sand to seek to better withstand the dynamic and fierce Norman attack.
Baba Ganoush! As the battle raged on the Fatimid army stood firm, repulsing the Normans and slowly gaining the upper hand in the pivotal centre ground.
Reports slowly started to emerge on Arab language Sicilian social media networks and YouTube channels to suggest that the Sicilian populace, long oppressed by the Norman rule, were growing optimistic that the Fatimid forces would prove to be their liberators, as an upsurge in "spears beating knights" memes emerged to show strong local support for their noble cause.
Here's My List: Command by Command
1 Mamluks Heavy Cavalry Bow ------
1 Mamluks* Heavy Cavalry Bow Elite
1 Bedouins Light Cavalry Impact ------
The textbook Arab-style micro command, 2 HCv Bow and a Light HOrse, this time with Impact on the basis that either they are not fighting, or that they will be outgunned by a proper Ghulam command so need to get in there quickly and start fighting the enemy LH asap!
The Commander is of course embedded with the Elite Mamluk, whic comes close to making this unit the equal of any enemy Knights (once the first round of combat is survived...)
The role of the command is to go down first in the deployment order to hide the rest of the command (ie the surprise of the massed Medium Foot Dailami command), to try and not concede a flank while the meat of the army gets stuck in, or to coordinate with the mounted component of the first command (2 more HCv) to assemble a properly sized mounted wing to push forward if the opportuniy and opposition allows it
The extravagantly decorated African cavalry contingent aiding the Sicilians now found themselves in brutal conflict against hard charging Arab lancers
This was not a part of the table where the Fatimids felt any need to press - holding steady while the Dailami and Guard Swordsmen swing round the enemy flank, and blunting the Norman's charge in the centre were the Egyptians clearly mapped routes to victory from here
Pharaoh's Curses! The Normans' African buddies had other ideas, and as they started to gain the upper hand against Cairo's lancers the Fatimids were forced to commit more cavalry to try and gum up this entire sector, preventing troops from either side breaking out and materially impacting the rest of the field of battle
Kushari! The first batch of Norman knights was now firmly on the slippery sandy slope to defeat against Egypt's Finest spearmen, their initial charge failing to make inroads into the solid formation
As the mail-clad noblemen struggled in the stifling embrace of the desert warriors, the Al Sariyahahaha Pikemen also pushed past them towards the now-exposed second wave of Norman spearmen
The second block of Norman Knights were now unleashed toward the eclectic assemblage of forces on the Fatimid left of centre
Fatimid cavalry skittered away feverishly from the powerful charge, leaving yet more of their spear-armed infantry to absorb the initial fury
Fava Beans and Falafel! In a potentially decisive development in the battle, the piratical Fatimid lancers led a direct assault on the Norman baggage camp, further disconcerting the enemy.
This daring manoeuvre, emasculating the Norman army by cutting off their supply lines, dramatically weakened the Norman's resolve
As their thoughts turned to what might be happening with their bed rolls and spice racks, the Normans soon found themselves psychologically overwhelmed by the relentless Fatimid onslaught.
The Normans were being suffocated by the cloying ministrations of the Fatimids, as countless hordes of Egyptian soldiery swarmed around them and started to drag them from their horses to their deaths
Arab spearmen in Norman service milled around nervously in the background as the Fatimid Dailami and Al Sharisiyah pikemen came ever closer to the point of working out if now was the time for a decisive assault
Suddenly almost all of the Knights faltered, and were instantly trampled underfoot by eager Fatimid spearmen and Pikemen keen to get stuck right into the second wave of their spear-grasping turncoat brothers in Islam.
Only one Sicilian Knight had survived, and finding himself suddenly marooned behind the Fatimid front lines, he charged bravely into the buttocks of one of the the Al Shirabiah Phalanxes!
Apart from that slight annoyance however, the whole Fatimid attack was now coming together as one, with the most vulnerable (to a Dailami and Clubman combination) point of the Norman line, arriving in perfect synchronicity to hopoefully deliver a telling blow against the turncoat spearmen and punish them severely for their marching cowardice earlier in the game
The Norman infantry stood no chance
Surrounded, outnumbered, and with their baggage being audibly looted just behind them their morale folded like a paper bag suddenly finding itself bereft of dates due to an unfortunate Indiana Jones style Capuchin monkey theft incident.
The game was now well and truly up for Norman power in Sicily!
Duke Robert fought bravely, but he was eventually captured, leading to a decisive victory for the Fatimid army.
Read on for the post match summary from the Fatimid General Al-Shearah, as well as another episode of legendary expert analysis from Hannibal
Post Match Summary from the Fatimid Egyptian Commander
This capture of the Norman-controlled territories in Sicily marks a significant shift in the balance of power in the region. As news of the Fatimid-Geordie triumph spreads, neighbouring regions (such as Sunderland) will be closely monitoring the situation, with the Maccums council perhaps anticipating potential implications for civil disorder in the branches of Greggs that festoon their own territories like dangling pasty-clad piles round a truck drivers arsehole.
The Fatimid-Geordie's successful invasion of Norman-controlled Sicily cements our reputation as a formidable military force in the North East Mediterranean.
With this victory, we have established a reet firm foothold on the island, opening new possibilities for future expansion of shops selling black and white shirts, and Newcastle Brown breweries in the area.
However, it remains to be seen how the Maccum-Normans and other neighbouring powers will respond to this setback. The aftermath of the battle may lead to further political upheaval and territorial disputes in the region, with far-reaching consequences for the Mediterranean geopolitical landscape. But probably no while Sunderland remain outside the Premier League and we are enjoying further outings in Europe on the back of wads of Middle Eastern oil money.
Hannibal's Post Match Analysis
Ah, my esteemed Caliph of the Fatimid Egyptians, I must say, your recent victory in conquering Norman Sicily is quite an accomplishment. However, allow me, Hannibal, to offer my humble insights on how I would have led your army to an even greater triumph, for my tactical brilliance knows no bounds.
You speak of blunting the charge of the Norman Knights with your spearmen—a solid approach, but lacking finesse. Had I been in command, I would have devised a series of elaborate traps and strategic obstacles to redirect and disrupt the charge, turning their strength into weakness. The Norman Knights, formidable as they may be, would have faltered before the genius of my designs
And then, your Dailami hill warriors sweeping around the enemy's flank—commendable, but oh, how I would have orchestrated that maneuver to perfection! With my guidance, they would have executed a synchronized and seamless assault, leaving the enemy's infantry shattered beyond repair.
Now, to address the matter of your allegiance to Newcastle United—a football club, of all things! I must admit, I find it amusing that a commander of your stature would be invested in such frivolities. Nevertheless, I cannot ignore the irony that your military achievements have surpassed the recent successes of your beloved team in European competitions.
You, the Fatimid Egyptians, have triumphed in foreign lands, expanding your dominion across the Mediterranean, while Newcastle United has yet to taste such continental glory. Perhaps you should consider dedicating more time to emulating the brilliance of my strategies on the battlefield, rather than the fortunes of a football club.?
May you find wisdom in my counsel, and may the future victories of the Fatimid Egyptians transcend even the most glorious chapters of history. As for Newcastle United, well, even with all that Saudi money surely they shall remain in the shadows, unable to match the splendour of our military achievements?
That's the end - so why not go back to the Match Reports Index and read some more reports?