Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Northampton, 10th February

Kadesh BattleDay part II

We were able to tidy up a few areas in our most recent project evening, and have a good Armati-based game working reasonably smoothly.

Orientation of the battlefield.

I managed to persuade the guys that we should skew the orientation of the
table by 30 degrees or so.

Conventionally, the battlefield is depicted with a North-So
uth axis, and instinct encourages following this arrangement on a rectangular table. The plan shows Pre' marching due North towards the camp of Amun, and the assumption (with no particular foundation, of course) is that the Hittites attack from ambush at right angles to this due North march.

The consequence is that the Hittite attack - assuming it breaks or breaks through Pre' - then must make a sharp right to refocus its attack on the main camp
. Indeed, should you be seduced by Osprey, it creates a vast implausible loop for the Hittite attack (a triumph of graphics over reality, maybe ...)...

I am more interested in translating what we actually know into a wargame that makes some sense of the military manoeuvres an
d monumental narrative.

1. I assume the road Pre' initially follows, generally, leads more or less to Kadesh, rather than directly at the camp of Amun ...

2. I assume the Hit
tites will attack the flank of this line of march at any convenient angle (not just perpendicularly to it) .. notionally west, but depending on how far into/beyond the ambush position the Egyptians manage/are allowed to progress, progressively becoming more 'west-northwest' (as the delayed attack tends towards a flank/rear rather than an - apparently less desirable - front/flank orientation) ...

Not a particularly challenging pair of assumptions, but combined, tending
to realign the direction of the attack on Pre' progressively towards the camp of Amun rather than away from it. This makes the wargamerly 'now go for the camp' pursuit phase easier to manage in terms of game mechanisms, and more coherent to the narrative.

The realigned table might look like this....

Pre' will arrive from the bottom far corner (the ford being perhaps on table, as it was in game 2 ... this depends, to s
ome extent, on the space available) ...

It is necessary, we hav
e found, either to allow Pre' some free movement, or simply to set up on table.
Order of march

The order of march is shown on the reliefs (and Ian wanted us to get this detail right ...)..
Scouts and chariots to the front, then animals on the hoof ... then the main body of chariots, followed by more baggage ... then the infantry, which is where, also, the commander seems to be ... then more baggage. By this ac
count, the carts would seem to be at the back.
(click on the picture for a bigger image)

For the purposes of the Armati
game and mechanisms, we placed the ambushing troops within bow range, but not charge reach, and tried using the game's in-built 'initiative' mechanism to work the ambush.

The Egyptians have an 'undeployed' -2 on their roll, but become aware of the enemy presence if they win. If they don't, the Hittites choose who goes first.

We assume the implications are ... given the edge, the Hittites
will decline to shoot, so staying concealed, win the initiative and oblige the Egyptians to go first ... then emerge from ambush with the intention of winning the initiative in a fairer roll next bound (and going first, crashing into the flank of the undeployed column of march) ...

If they don't, the Egyptians will be able to use the deployment rules (similar to those I employed for Arsuf ... here ..) and cobble together a position.

This is what happenned in our test, and Chris set Pre'
up thus: ...

The ambush was still successful, but at greater cost than might have been the case (no walk over) ...

We were broadly satisfied with how (and why) that played out.

For what it is worth, the much damaged pursuers were no match Ramesses emerging god-like from repose in his chariot.
Well, in this game, the main Hittite chariot corps was one BP of breaking, and Ramesses was able to do this unaided.

So, quirkily perhaps, being able to claim that he put the enemy to flight single-handedly ... We allowed ourselves a wry smile.

(Ramesses II - a towering personality)

This takes the game up to the end of the problematic phases 1, 2 and 3 (ambush, camp raid and Royal counter-attack).

There then follows are more straightforward 'final battle' where both sides feed fresh divisions into the fray, in the plain before Kadesh.

That presents fewer difficulties, of course.

For interest, and played at 'test and discuss' pace, the phases 1 to 3 game described played through in a little under 2 hours.

That should be about right for the Battleday plan of doing the whole battle twice during the day.

The Society of Ancients Battleday pages are here ...

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