Battle of Figment Gap
(Assyrian commander, Sha'ol Shamanisar - S range chariot with Garrison 20mm and S range crew- behind Garrison 20mm Assyrian infantry. S Range Assyrian medium infantry to the left, heavy archers from the same source on the right)
Originally I had been intending to fight this action with Stephen, but he was unable to take part due to work commitments and so I played it as a solo game instead. The Assyrian posture was a defensive one, so that seemed a straightforward enough, especially since my right hand rarely knows what my left is doing in any circumstance.
In my dual role as commander of both armies I set the Assyrians up first, a strong line of heavy infantry, interspersed with the close order archers occupied the centre, the slingers and javelins were placed on both flanks, on the hillsides above the Gap with the Lancers - potentially the Host of Ashur's most potent weapon on the left behind a screen of skirmishers. The Assyrian general attached himself to his central infantry regiment, Margash. It was decsion that was to have dramatic consequences.
Tuckekhamen meanwhile arranged his battle line much as he had at the Apocryphal Well with chariots and skirmishers on both flanks. The centre was also screened by skirmishers, with the horse archers of Koth in the middle. Close order missile units formed to the left and right of centre. Mindful that his own melee troops were inferior to those of the enemy Tuckekahmen intended to wear them down with missile fire before launching his main assault. The general himself had attached himself to the red-uniformed Set infantry, held in reserve to deal with any breakthrough by the Assyrian cavalry.
(And did these feet in ancient times...The Egyptian battle lines - with Converse Jack Purcell's to the rear)
Since the Assyrians were cast as the defenders, the Egyptians moved first. The entire line advanced, the horse archers of Koth trotting forward within bow range and letting loose a long range volley of arrows at Shalmaniser and the Margash infantry. Unsurprisingly no damage was done and behind their vast shields and even vaster beards the Assyrians guffawed uproariously at the puny ponies and weedy arrows of their foe.
(Egyptian battle lines. S range close order infantry and PB range archers)
In response to the Egyptian move the Arvad archers fired back at the Koth cavalry causing two hits to the novice horsemen.
(The horse archers. Such newbies to the wargames table they didn't even have bases, they were, nevertheless, to play a fateful part in proceedings)
On move two the Egyptian advance continued the horse archers now moving boldly into close range of the Assyrian lines to add an extra dice in their firing roll. With the general attached it required 16 or more to score a hit on the armoured infantry. The dice were cast: 9, 11, 17, 18. Two hits. "Now," I said to myself as I went to draw the card to see if the general had been harmed, "Wouldn't it be unfortunate if he died this early in the battle". The card was flipped. Jack of Hearts. Shalmanisar followed his predecessor in returning to the bosom of Anu, having issued just one order to one unit.
In previous battles the death of the commander would have been unfortunate but only a little debilitating. However, with the Army Funk Revelator in operation the gauge immediately moved 4 places against the Assyrians. With the Egytian chariots now in range and peppering the javelinmen on both flanks, and the Egyptians skirmishing archers also letting ,the rearguard were already wobbling.
The return fire of the Kish slingers did something to restore Assyrian equilibrium - they had a 100% success rate against the Nubian bowmen, inflicting four hits on the leaopardskin-sporting Africans
(Another one bites the dust...The card draw that saw one more Assyrian commander fatally skewered by Egyptian arrows. The horse archers who dealt the blow can be seen at the top of the picture.)
On move three the Egyptian chariots came fully into the action, and along with the fire of the skirmishing archers dealt a fearful revenge pasting to the slingers of Kish who took six hits during the turn. The horse archers of Koth, who had been severely mauled withdrew to the right rear of the line to avoid destruction.
The Assyrian response - driven perhaps by grief and panic - was misjudged. Sensing that the battle was slipping from their grasp the Arbela Lancers charged down from the hill at the Egyptian slingers. A charge morale test saw the slingers taking a hit, but scampering away out of range. Unfortunately for the horsemen, when the tape measure was brought out it revealed that even with their charge bonus they would fall 3cms short of their second target - the close order Hathor archers. This left them isolated and exposed. All around them the Egyptian missile troops flexed their bows and slipped stones into their slings.
On move four hell broke loose for the forces of Pelmaneser. With the horse archers of Koth circling to their flank, the lancers were subjected to a wave of missile attacks. The horse archers fired first. No hits. The slingers fired next. One hit. Next the Amuket archers unleashed a volley. Two hits. The Assyrian horsemen crossed their fingers. There was just one unit left to fire - the bowmen of Hathor. If they could survive then it would be their turn to wreak the sort of havoc their brethren had inflicted earlier in the campaign. The Egyptians took aim. At close range they were rolling five dice. They needed scores of 16 or more to hit. The D20s rumbled across the desert sand, stopped. 13, 17, 19,17, 19. The lancers were galled beyond endurance. They turned tale and fled. A great cheer went up from the Egyptian ranks, for now the Revelator moved another three places against the Assyrians inflicting a hit on every unit in their army. This proved too much for the slingers of Kish - already on six hits - and they joined the horsemen in running off to the north. The Revelator slid another two places. And the Egyptian fire has not finished yet. On the far right of the Assyrian line the Lullabi javelins took more than they could stand and broke. The Revelator moved up to ten. Another hit inflicted on the Assyrian line. Units all along it were now in a parlous condition. A dramatic response was needed. Brilliant archery from the bowmen of Calah, who struck home with five hits on the Osiris chariot squadron, showed the spirit required, but the other Assyrian units could not repeat their success. The move ended with Egypt ascendant.
(Chariots in operation between the rival battle lines. They have taken a fair hammering, but for the Assyrians it was all too little too late.)
Since it is only move five, Tuckekahmen is aware that all he need do now to ensure victory is withdraw his battered units, and send forward the fresher missile troops to unpick the Assyrian line at leisure. He therefore calls on the enemy to lay down their weapons. A dice is thrown to see how they respond. An unquivocable "No".
Alas the bloodshed that follows is too predictable to be detailed here.