Friday, April 24, 2020

DBA Special: III/25 Arab Conquest (a and b 622 to 660 AD)

DBA book III list 25 (a) and (b) Arab Conquest

This project has taken a while to complete as it is unexpectedly large for a DBA army: (excluding baggage, it has 22 mounted figures and 52 foot - so 96 'pieces' in 'old money', over 100 including the camp) ... this is because there are some dismounts in the earlier period, and because there is a significant shift between (a) and (b).

Normally I don't do 'all options' (or indeed, many options) because I find it annoying to go to the trouble of crafting a particular army and boxing it up ready to use - then when taking it out to play, finding it isn't, in fact, ready to go.  Indeed, it has happened that I have ended up with 13 elements in play (having assumed the army was in the box and good to go, only to find, on counting up later, that there was an option that needed to be selected).

So my usual practice is to work out the definitive army, and prep and paint that. That is what you get in the box.

The Arab list is problematic, however ... the battle I have researched the most is Yarmouk in 636.  It falls 2 years before the list 25 transition to significant cavalry yet was won by Khalid's mobile reserve of regular cavalry.  

I don't know why the list designer puts the transition in 639 (there's bound to be a good historical reason, but I think you need all that cavalry earlier) ...

So my Arab DBA box has all the elements you need to cover (a) and (b), 622 to 660.  All options (but even I can see that's more than 12 and that choices need to be made!)

(DBA III/25 (a) and (b) Arab Conquest)

The key difference, therefore, is that, up to 638, the list is almost entirely infantry with a couple of dismountables ... then, from 639, 2 swordsmen, an archer and the camels become regular 'jund' cavalry.

It might also be worth noting here that at Yarmouk, Khalid re-equiped his infantry as spearmen, but here, throughout the period, they are all swordsmen (4Bd) ...

Also I should say that I intended this to be a fairly 'brown' army ... not particularly wealthy soldiers campaigning in dusty lands ... but as it went along, that didn't look quite right, so the outfits got more decorative.  Hopefully the effect is neither plain not gaudy.

(Khalid ibn al-Walid against a background from the film)

If you look at the background from the movie about Khalid's life, you can see the plainer colours used in the film and lots of basic flags..  It is great for inspiration but doesn't translate well to 15mm.

So the shields have devices, the tunics have stripes and the flags have slogans.

(III/25 ... the general ... in the early period he can dismount at deployment as a swordsman)

(the Arab general ... figures by Battle Honours, Museum and Essex)

The Soldiers

(in the early period you get 2 'fast' bowmen)

(in the later period you get 4 cavalry)

(but you only get 1 element of bowmen - it can, however, now be optionally 'solid')

I've included the 'fast' option in the photo as the figures are in the box.  I would always choose the solid (4Bw) of course -  because of the combat benefits when supported by the swordsmen.

The core of the army in both periods in the solid wall of swordsmen ...

(DBA III/25 Arab Conquest Muslim infantry)

The skirmishing options vary slightly ...

... and the earlier period has a Bedouin option.

Together, the army comprises figures (mostly) by Museum and Essex plus Gladiator, Irregular, Minifigs and Donnington, with a couple of Battle Honours Mamelukes thrown in. 

 The Camp

The Arab camp dates all the way back to my show game 'Welcome to Jerusalem' about the First Crusade.  The tent is scratchbuilt from card, tissue and cocktail sticks.  And there's an Arabian emporium.

(DBA 15mm Arab camp... various angles and details ...) .. 

There are some animals at the back, a camel guard at prayer and an assassin sneaking around the other side.   And there's a man trying to sell you a carpet.

(DBA 15mm Arab merchant Camp Follower)

Why is there a man trying to sell you a carpet?  Well, simply, I went to the Middle East as a young man and wherever I went there was always someone trting to sell me a carpet.  I was a young traveller who clearly had no need of a carpet - but that didn't seem to matter.  It might be different these days.  Of course, once upon a time, they were magic ...

This army fights all its neighbours and has no allies. The later period army is 'aggression' 4 but I still put some terrain in the box.  An Oasis always comes in handy and the mosque (made out of cork tiles and cocktail sticks) looks nice.

Thursday, April 9, 2020

DBA Special: Book IV/35 - Mongol Conquest AD 1206 - 1266

This is the cavalry army from the Mongolian Steppe that turned the 13th Century upside down, both in the West and the East.  It is incredibly manoeuvrable, but it can be a hard army to win with in DBA as its frontal abilities are nothing special.
(DBA Mongol Conquest: here it is stripped of its aura of conflagration)

The army is a mix of Museum Miniatures, Essex, Camelot, Alain Touller, Gladiator, Irregular, MY and Chariot.  A good mix of the usual reliable sources.  Here's the great man himself:

(DBA Mongol Conquest: the commander - more of a Yul Brynner than an Omar Sharif)

The army is basically a mix of cavalry and light horse - indeed, save the general, it can all be horse archers.

Or horse archers.

Horse archers.

(15mm DBA Mongols ... stone throwing artillery)

Or horse archers.  It is defined as 'rope-pull' but I had this counterweight trebuchet which has the merit of fitting on a 40x40 base (just) ... it is very old and came in a bundle of figures donated by a friend - so I have no idea who made it but am pleased to get it onto the table.

The crew, severed heads ready to load, came from Mick Yarrow's Siberia range.  Graham F found them (I had no idea) but they really look the part.

But back to the line up:

(DBA IV/35: Mongol Conquest)

More free select Cv ot LH ... I usually go for 2 more cav and a Cuman.  It gives a symmetrical 6 LH and 6 heavier elements ... 

The Camp ...

The beauty of is it fit both Eastern and Western themes (having terrorised indiscriminately) - here I go with an Eastern theme ... an incident with a tiger near a Buddhist shrine.  The tiger is a reworking of Chariot Miniatures prehistoric one.  It came out nicely  ...

In my head, the narrative was that the scout has been surprised and felled by the tiger, who rounds for a a second attack.  The soldier springs to his feet and looses an arrow.  The outcome is uncertain.

(DBA Mongol Conquest: Camp Follower) 


(DBA Mongol Conquest: the Eye of the Tiger)

This army is a little different in that it can field the stone thrower - which gives it an unusual long-range shooting ability which always ofers the chance of disrupting the enemy and putting them on the back foot.

In my collection, it pairs with Seljuq Turk, and the two armies are quite well balanced.

Monday, April 6, 2020

DBA Special: III/74a Seljuq Turkish army of Rum 1063AD - 1276AD

Seljuk (or Seljuq, as DBA has it) Turks ... this is a refurb of a number of oddments that accumulated during the genesis of numerous Crusades games ... put together with a brand new Camp (courtesy of a ruined temple which I won at Partizan last year and which now has a use) ..

The figures are by Museum Miniatures and Essex, with a little help fom Camelot, Outpost (the cataphracts), Irregular, Battle Honours, Tabletop and Donningon (the Snake Charmer set) ...

(Kilij Arslan was Seljuq Sultan of Rum at the time of the First Crusade)

The bulk of the army is a mix of armoured and skirmishing horse archers.

(DBA III/74a Seljuq Turkoman cavalry)

Indeed, all of the rest of the optional troops can, instead, be Turkoman LH.

Or Turkomans ... I've gone with the ever willing Georgians (as 3Kn

Or Turkomans ... I find a couple of Bw elements always good value in a DBA army.

Or Turkomans ... ordinarily I take the Agulani in order to boost up the strike power of the army.

The camp features a snake charmer and a man who has a performing monkey on his shoulder.  My idea was something like 'the fall of Rome in the East' with a touch of Aladin ... There's a little audience gathering ... maybe some of these are pilgrims ...

(DBA III/74a Seljuq Turkish: camp)

As usual, the Camp Follower detaches for those rare occasions where this makes sense in a game ...

(DBA Turkish Camp Follower element: part of a charming set of Arabian figures in the Donningon - New Era - baggage and equipment range) 

This army sits in my collection paired with Mongol Conquest.

(DBA Turks: camp scene) 

Wednesday, April 1, 2020

DBA Special: IV/61 Italian Condotta 1320 - 1515

This an extract from my later Florentine army that has seen service in a number of formats including DBA ... There are a number of manufacturers represented but it wouldn't be quite what it is without a wonderul selection of Mirliton knights and personalities.

The army is led by English knight and celebrated condottiere, Sir John Hawkwood (Giovanni L'Acuto), who was employed by a number of cities in his illustrious Italian career - this army is Florentine, where he ended his career (and where he is celebrated in a frescoed monument on the walls of the duomo) ...

(Sir John Hawkwood by Paolo Uccello and by Mirliton and me)

The core of the army are the contracted men-at-arms:

(15mm figures by Essex, Mirliton and Donnington New Era)

The infantry is quite traditional - here arrayed beside the Florentine carroccio (which would have been rarely seen by this period but which makes a decorative centrepiece) ...

(Mirliton, Essex, Peter Pig, Minifig and Roundway figures behind Essex pavises)

The camp:

(the Florentine carroccio ... inset ... the wagon as it appeared in 1260 at Montaperti)