Wednesday, 13 June 2012
Thighs of an Elephant! A brief thought on the pachyderm
(A distinctly Grantian elephant picked up on eBay. Airfix elephant (from the Tarzan set?) with balsa howdah, card shields and Airfix Roman archers. The anklet is made of what seems to be blotting paper.)
In the Hannibal in the Alps scenario the Gauls, fearful of the never before seen elephants, were not allowed to come within six-inches of them. This lead Hannibal to the conclusion that the best way to force the pass was to form elephant square and barge his way through. The result was effective, but, from a gaming perspective, slightly underwhelming. To reverse Bosquet's famous words: It was wargame, but it wasn't magnificent.
(The splendid Minifigs S range amoured elephant, probably based on the Funcken illustration of Pyrrhus, though it lacks the scale armour trunk protection.)
In future I'd be tempted to allow troops who aren't used to elephants to engage them in hand-to-hand combat but at half effectiveness. I imagine that nervous troops would approach the elephants tentatively (cavalrymen would be expending energy controlling their nervous horses that would normally have been used for fighting) attempting to poke at the target from a distance, possibly with their eyes closed - a tactic I often used when batting against the fast bowlers.
(Minifigs PBs range Sassanid elephant, bought on eBay. The claret and blue paintwork suggests a Persian affinity with Aston Villa or West Ham United. I have often adopted a similar football-kit lead approach when working out colour schemes, though obviously I draw the line at that 1980s brown Coventry City shirt)