Sekmem was by no means my first battle of CoF. But when I did finally set it up I lined both armies up for battle and saw the superior Egyptian SI division impose itself and crush any initial hopes the Canaanites may have had, despite the efforts of their slingers and archers to soften and disrupt them before the inevitable clash.
After this game I decided the Canaanites are not a real match for the Egyptians in a conventional battle. So I decided on a different approach. Instead of forming up on the plain just outside Sekmem, why not try and take advantage of the only other feature of the map? So there they were, most of the Canaanite LI archers “taking to the hills” in one difficult trek up rough and steep terrain.
I had decided that it should be the archers making the climb, whereas the slingers would hang around near Sekmem and start building up a buffer against the Egyptian advance.
Finally came the Canaanite SI, in column. The most veteran, better TQ, units would form a rearguard behind the slingers, on open ground, while the four TQ 4 units remained in column and made their way uphill, behind the archers, who by now had taken positions along the outer ridge and at the very top.
The overall idea behind this uneven deployment being to either have the Egyptians attack uphill, where terrain costs, column shifts and that extra -1 for archer fire may enhance my chances at defeating their SI, or, more dangerously, try and funnel them towards Sekmem where the slingers would delay, SI rearguard engage and the rest of my army could try to wheel around and charge down the hill.
The Egyptians approached with care, in a more standard, linear formation, having split their light division on either flank, with the more elite Nubians on the right. Some of the Egyptian archers also climbed up the first level of the hill before exchanging fire with the better positioned and more numerous Canaanites, firing back and forth with no clear advantage to either side.
The Egyptian SI started deploying out of column, and some of them were sent in a dubious uphill charge against the Canaanite LI line, to see just how well the Canaanites were entrenched before commiting to a full assault. What happened next was very interesting: The Egyptians defeated the LI and took the high ground, but were then met with a hail of arrows from the higher levels, and with a counter charge by the TQ 4 Cannanite SI, which was just deploying out of column. Two Egyptian SI fled and all had been expelled from the hills! A combination of column shifts, entry reaction fire, cohesion costs upon taking ground and the final counter charge by the (almost) unscathed Canaanite SI all contributed to see off the much better (TQ 5 and 6) Egyptian units. The Canaanite SI were pretty beat up by the terrain though, but they had done their job nicely and had ended up in coherent positions along the ridge...
Seeing this, Serekh Khu pressed his infantry on directly towards Sekmem, bypassing the entrenched Canaanite left. Here the slingers did what they could by standing in the way, inflicting hits and finally sealing off a damaged Egyptian SI, that was charged by two Canaanite SI but survived! (rolled a 0 in the clash,…). The battle was finally raging on the plain, just in front of Sekmem! This is where the Egyptians should win,...
At this point (turn 5) the Canaanites were actually winning with the Egyptians at 10 rout points and themselves at 5 (a bunch of lucky archers and even some slingers were routed and inside Sekmem though).
The Egyptians, realizing the danger posed by the enemy LI on the high ground, decided to charge in and win in the center before the Canaanites could press their advantage. It was a huge mistake. Most Egyptian units took a few cohesion hits from slingers and archers before they met the enemy SI, and by the time they made contact almost all advantage was lost. The Canaanite right caved in, but it wasn’t enough to turn the tide.
Before long the Pharao’s standard was being harassed by the LI coming down unopposed from the hills, and with routed units mounting, the danger of total collapse was very real. In one final effort, Senusret III managed to rally 5 units before the archers could close in on them, but it was all to no avail. The remaining Egyptian troops lost their nerve and quit the field.
Final score: Egyptians lost 43 RP to 15 Canaanite.
Great game! It was great fun to get the Canaanite LI into shape and figure out ways to make them a threat sometimes, an obstacle at the very least.
I love this game. Still got three scenarios I haven't played. Gotta break it out soon.
Sekmem is a good one ... and it doesn't even have chariots.
Nice write up!