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Subject: Doryaleum In Flames - 9/14/13 - A Case Study rss

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Juan Valle
United States
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Hi Folks!!!

As mentioned in previous posts, the reason to be of the Case Studies is to evaluate, compare and review the interaction of different tactics and weapon systems in a battlefield; in my case, using the armies from GMT Men Of Iron series games (there are by now only two of them, Men Of Iron and Infidel respectively) plus the armies of several of the games from also GMT Great Battles of History series.

In this way, we can cover any clash from about 1300 to 1200 BCE all the way to the first half of XVII century, covering Ancient, Medieval and Renaissance warfare; thanks to GBoH we can add to this mix some exotic armies like those from the Antiquity like Egyptians and Assyrians, or those from Asia like India and Japan.

Since all my sessions are solo, to seek a winner and a looser is not a priority for me, and thanks to these Case Studies we can compare and evaluate armies which historically due to time and geography restrictions otherwise would be unable to face each other in a battlefield. By due reason some Case Studies are unbalanced on purpose, while others are expected to be a hotly contested match; our case study of today belongs to the latter, since the time span between the opponents is less than a century.

Before getting into matter do not think an Ancient army would be defeated by a more modern one; in one of the latest CS a Roman army defeated a Japanese one, with a span of time of over 1000 years between both!

Now back to our case study: it covers a clash between the Crusader army from Infidel Battle of Doryaleum and the Castillian army from Men Of Iron Battle of Najera; the battle map was the one from Doryaleum and although I uploaded over 10 pics in the gallery, only two of them got allowed so you'll find them under same title as this session report.

Both armies deployed according to their scenarios; the Crusaders battle plan was simple: with their two contingents of mounted knights (KN), the Norman and Sicilian/Norman with 10 KN each, they'll contain the Castillian onslaught with their advantage in numbers as to buy enough time and allow their 5 contingents of KN reinforcements to enter the battle map, while at same time keeping them away from the Crusader Camp. In regards to the Castillians their plan was pretty much the opposite: subdue the Crusaders KN by attacking their flanks thus forcing those 20 KN to split up, then attack the Crusader camp with their huge infantry contingent and inflict enough casualties before the reinforcements arrival.

As for the Crusaders this concept of 'buying enough time' was all the more critical since due to Doryaleum rules these reinforcements could only be summoned after a free activation, and the Crusader side might spend an average of 3 to 6 free activations before the first of these reinforcements could enter the map.

The battle started with the Castillian contingent under Don Tello moving from Castillian left to Crusader right; such a move was countered by the Norman KN whom immediately engaged in a vicious fight with the Castillians there; meanwhile at the other flank the Castillian contingent under Count of Dania moved to the other flank and faced the Sicilian/Norman KN. The contingent in the center under Castillian king Henry remained as a reserve, as well as a vanguard led by Count DeGuesclin composed by slingers (SL), crossbowmen (CB) and dismounted men-at-arms (DMA).

At Castillian right/Crusader left the combat between Sicilian/Norman KN and Dania men came into a stalemate, so the mounted men-at-arms (MMA) from King's contingent detached from their unit and lent a hand to Dania's men; at the other flank the Norman KN started to loose ground.

Like mentioned in other posts covering this Castillian army, it has an interesting weapon system which are the Genitors (GE), a sort of light cavalry, javelin armed unit. Since this unit gets out of missiles after each attack and there are 8 GE per contingent (and the Castillian army has 3 of such GE composed contingents) normally I try to use no more than 4 of them within a contingent, since when an enemy attack an 'out of missiles' GE it gets a bonus die roll in the subsequent shock/charge attack, thus keeping some GE with its missile fire capability intact, and try to combine them with their organic CB (2 per mounted contingent, 6 in the big infantry contingent) as to attack an enemy KN/MMA with the GE and/or CB, then once the enemy unit gets disordered, it would by charge by the Castillian MMA.

In this battle and due to there are only 4 MMA per Castillian contingent, the GE had to combine with the CB and in some occasions just execute a fire missile attack by themselves with no hope of a follow on MMA charge attack; the GE practiced a light cavalry maneuver that I named 'the surrounding attack': one or two GE attacked an enemy KN from the rear but do not move afterwards; once the KN is hopefully disordered, then another GE attacks from the front and if the KN gets any retreat result (they do not retire) then since it is surrounded it is instead eliminated; at Doryaleum this one was a sound tactic that contributed to eliminate some KN but also had a drawback: the GE attacking from the rear in turn exposed its own rearguard to the remaining KN, which attacked not only with the 'out of missiles' bonus but also with another bigger bonus for a rear hex attack.

Coming back to the AAR, the Norman KN suffered heavy casualties and Don Tello MMA, GE and CB were ready to finish them off, while at the other flank the Sicilian/Norman were putting a spirited resistance to the Dania and King Henry MMA/GE/CB elements there. Then a twist of luck helped the Crusaders: at the third attempt their reinforcements arrived, the first one being a contingent of 6 Aquitaine KN.

4 GE from Don Tello moved forward as a 'screen force' against the newcomers, but at the blink of an eye the Aquitaine KN eliminated 3 of them and retired the last one; then another reinforcement contingent arrived and this one moved wider to its right, trying to encircle the Don Tello contingent whom a few turns before was in the very verge of victory against the Norman KN and now was fighting for its very survival; the elements of DeGuescling contingent moved to avoid this encirclement and although had some success on it, these were foot units with limited mobility against the reinforcement KN.

At the other flank the Sicilian/Norman made a clever maneuver: although they were in contact with Dania troops, they attacked the elements of King Henry contingent, preventing those from transfer into the other flank and support Don Tello men there.

For this moment of the battle all 5 KN reinforcement contingents have entered the game map, and the situation looked more balanced now. The biggest KN reinforcement contingent was the one with 9 Provencal KN; 3 of these detached from their unit and charge attacked the 3 Castillian units in 'retired' status next to their standard. Three of the CB from the big infantry contingent detached and opened fire against these marauding KN, eliminating one while disordering another.

At the other flank, the Dania elements attacked and eliminated 2 Sicilian/Norman KN and killed its leader, accomplishing their goal of freeing the king Henry men whom immediately moved towards their left flank. However Dania contingent came 'entangled' with the Sicilian/Norman, when Dania men were all needed to stop the KN 'tsunami' at the other flank.

In the meantime, Don Tello contingent simply ceased to exist; Don Tello, 1 MMA, 2 GE and 1 CB were all eliminated after a fierce charge from the Aquitaine and Provencal KN, the latter were now in heavy contact with elements of king Henry contingent.

The situation got very tense and dramatic: the Castillian had 55 FP from a FL of 60, while the Crusaders had 62 FP from a total FL of 70; the outcome could swing in either direction.

In order to force the issue and win this battle, the 3 surviving king Henry MMA charged against 3 KN: the first one was successful and the KN got eliminated; the second charge was successfully counter charged by the KN and the resulting shock attack came as no result; then the third charge which took place two hexes away was also counter charged, with the MMA being disordered and retreated as consequence; the Crusaders FP increased to 65. The leader from Provencal KN seized the initiative and its KN charged the disordered MMA, eliminating it; then the single KN which attacked the retired Castillians a few turns before charged against a retired GE and eliminated it too, with the Castillian now reaching 60 FP. Battle over.

This CS was remarkably tense, and admit it my nails were half an inch shorter once it was over; the comments about this clash are here:

1-This is an uncommon situation, on which the battle plans for both opponents unfolded as planned: the Crusaders brought over their reinforcements to the battle map and ultimately won the battle; the Castillians forced the Norman and Sicilian/Norman to split up and got to a hair width of achieving victory too. As matter of fact, about 65% of Crusaders reinforcements happened before the entrance of the reinforcement or immediately after the first contingent of Aquitaine KN got into play.

2-As mentioned in the AAR, the GE proved to be lethal and contributed to the slain of several KN after a follow up charge attack while in other cases they did as consequence of their own missile fire attacks; however the out of missiles status and subsequent bonus for being caught without weapons was a drawback, specially when the KN were able to counter charge them; about half of the GE casualties were due to counter charges.

3-The Castillian MMA proved more than a worthy opponent for the KN; furthermore in Men Of Iron the MMA charge attacks with a bonus of +2 if not moved before the charge or +1 if moved; the KN gets -1 if moved before charge or 0 if did not move. However the MMA can be dismounted and disordered as consequence of missile fire and also rolls for charge reluctance, although these two situations did not happen in this combat.

4-Castillian CB had a distinguished participation; they eliminated about 5 KN while 3 of their own got lost as well and one more retired.

5-Perhaps the only point to criticize for the Castillians was the fact that Count Dania contingent did not combat with more vigor against the Sicilian/Normans; have they wiped out that contingent, have been able to join the struggle at the Castillian left flank and perhaps change the battle outcome. However the Sicilian/Norman proved a very hard nut to crack.

6-By the same token the only point we can criticize for the Crusaders was the fact that all of their foot infantry at the camp remained uncommitted the whole battle; their missile troops (CB and Archers (A)) could have moved off their ranks and at least provide some support measure to their KN counterparts; however due to the cavalry intensive battle around them, these units might have been eliminated rather quickly by the Castillians; also these A and CB belonged to two different contingents, so their commands perhaps have been disruptive for the KN combat effort.

One last detail: Crusaders foot infantry (including the units deployed at the camp and the Camp Followers) remained uncommitted to the battle; for the Castillian side their huge infantry contingent (30 pikemen PK) also remained out of the combat, except for the 3 CB which opened fire against the KN next to the Castillian standard.

This epic struggle took a little over 2 hours to complete, and believe me it is one of these sessions after which your brains feel as been in a hot frying pan; but you feel tremendously happy and comforted for tasting the fun, excitement, tension and beauty that our hobby of wargaming delivers.

Please enter your comments, and thanks for reading.


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