YesthatPhil came around with his Seljuk (or Seljuq) Turks, Timurids and Mongol Conquest armies to kick off the Yangtse narrative campaign. So General Ming Wu-chan 无情的铭 (The Merciless) took a contingent of troops to see them off. Tamberlaine actually died in 1405 on his way to fight them, so read to the end to see how they might have faired! He was aided indirectly by the Tibetans, and by the Seljuks and Mongols squabbling amongst themselves.
Game 1: IV/73 Ming Chinese 1350-1598 AD vs IV/75 Timurid 1360-1506 AD
IV/73 Ming Chinese 1350-1598 AD
General Ming Wu-chan (Cv), 2 Chinese cavalry (Cv), 1 Javelin men (Ps), 2 Chinese Halberdiers (4Bd), 2 Chinese crossbowmen (4Cb), 1 Bolt thrower (Art), 1 rocketeers (Art), 2 Chinese militia (7Hd). Arable: aggression 2.
IV/75 Timurid 1360-1506 AD
1 General Zombie Tamburlaine (Cv), 1 Elephant (El), 5 Cavalry (Cv), 3 Turkoman horse Archers (LH), 1 Sabadar archers (4Bw), 1 Militia archers (3Bw). Steppe: aggression 4.
The Ming defended, setting up their artillery in the centre of the battlefield and their cavalry on the left flank. Ming the Merciless’ cunning plan was to back the artillery with hordes , who would advance to protect the artillery from an untimely death if the enemy closed.
He need not have worried – the Timurids swung over to his left flank to overwhelm the inferior Ming cavalry, and shooting proved to be underwhelming. Below, we see Ming getting a merciless thumping from the Timurid elephant and friends.
Again, Ming charged off the hilltop to avoid being outflanked and hopefully initiate the combat at a five to three advantage from the right flank. Again, it didn’t work!
Result: Ming (1-5) Timurids
Game 2: Mongol Conquest vs Tibetan
General Dargey Tamang was back in the saddle for this one, facing Mongols in one of their many iterations:
III/15 Tibetan 560-1065 AD
General Dargey Tamang (4Kn//Sp), 4 Tibetan cataphracts (4Kn//Sp), 3 Tibetan cataphracts (4Kn//Sp) or 3 Nepalese cavalry (Cv), 1 Nepalese cavalry (Cv) or 1 garrison spearmen (Sp) or 1 nomad horse archers (LH) or 1 mountain tribal archers (Ps) or 1 Nepalese swordmen (3Bd), 1 Nepalese archer (Ps) or 1 nomad nobles (Cv), 2 Tibetan cataphracts (4Kn//Sp) or 2 nomad horse archers (LH). Hilly, aggression 3.
This was such a heavy metal army that cavalry had to stand in for cataphracts, and I used a pin to mark the only cavalry element in the army. Phil’s Mongols are very jolly and brightly painted, having looted lots of silk on their journeys east. The rope thrower is waving the heads that he is planning to load into the bucket to hurl at the enemy. Charming!
IV/35 Mongol Conquest 1206 – 1266
General Ghengis Khan¹ (Cv), 2 Mongol armoured cavalry (Cv) or horse archers (LH), 5 Mongol Horse archers (LH), 1 Mongol horse archer (LH) or rope pull stone thrower (Art), 3 Uighur, Khitan, Khwarizmian, or Chinese cavalry (Cv) or 3 Mongol horse archers (LH). Steppe, aggression 4.
Phil fielded 4 cavalry and 6 horse archers instead of 2, 3 or 5 cavalry and 5,6 with no artillery, 8 or 10 light horse. I’m sure it won’t be the last time either of us do that, and it made no difference. It depends on whether or not you think that the somewhat arbitrary divisions in the army lists are that important. I don’t.
The game started with the Tibetan steamroller trundling forward in a cloud of dust. The whole table rattled and the Mongols peeled off to both flanks to work their way around the Tibetan rear. The Tibetans responded by trundling on serenely and wheeling the right flank of their front line to catch the Mongol’s own left outflanking movement.
Ghengis had misjudged the speed of the Tibetans, but rallied quickly to catch them in front and rear. The Mongols bounced, and lost a light horse element. (1-0).
Phil kindly talked me through the peculiarities of DBA movement that meant a legal move needed the Tibetan element with the large banner to attack the rear light horse, then the small pennants had to do an Immelman turn to attack the front element. A less charitable opponent would have just watched me flounder and told me that I couldn’t do what I wanted.
In the centre, things were going badly for the artillery, as might be expected. Nobody likes skull-chuckers! It looked as if the Mongol camp might be ripe for sacking! (3-0)
The game ended when the cataphracts on the right wing sauntered back into the surviving light horse, who were caught on the board edge and destroyed. General Tamang was left wondering how many skulls could a skull-chucker chuck?
Result: Tibetan (4-0) Mongols.
Game 3: Seljuk Turks vs Mongol Conquest
My Mongols are not nearly as pretty as Phil’s: Mine are very brown and hairy, but are looking forward to a bit of plunder as they fight more battles. Spoiler – they didn’t get much after this one! I went for a five cavalry, six light horse mix and left the skull-chucker at home. The General is only pretending to be a cataphract, he is really cavalry.
III/74a Seljuq Turk Rum Army 1037 – 1276 AD
General Malik Shah with Mamelukes (Cv), 2 Askaris (Cv), 5 Turkoman horse archers (LH), 1 Armenian, Georgian or Kurd horse (3Kn or Cv), or Franks (3Kn) or Turkomans (LH), 2 Armenian or Kurdish foot (3Bw or Ps) or 2 Turkoman horse (LH), 1 Agulani (4KN) or 1 Dailami (4Ax) or 1 Turkomans (LH). Steppe, aggression 3.
General Malik Shah doesn’t have to pretend – he has 4 and 3Kn. Still, Genghis can take him! The Mongols defended and put down a minimum of gentle hills, then set off with cavalry in the first ranks and light horse in the second. With hindsight, the Khan might have had more success with the classic double envelopment, as the first rank cavalry were always going to be outclassed by the opposing Seljuk knights.
The two opposing front ranks clashed. Malik Shah has wisely put his toughest (4Kn) element on the flank, supported by the (3KN) Georgians, and is expecting to win the inevitable scruffy brawl on the odds. Ghengis‘ light horse on the left flank are looking for a gap that isn’t there yet.
Things have gone better than expected for the Mongols in the melée – the Georgians have been destroyed, but so has one of the Mongol light horse on the right flank and one of the cavalry in the centre (1-2). More Mongol light horse have filled the gap. What I should have done next was to put my general back into the line, with light horse fixing his opponent’s flank, but what I actually did was slip the two light horse in to reform the line. What was I thinking? The cavalry would have done the job better! Lack of experience was well to the fore there and the Mongols ended up losing (1-5) as Phil mopped up my general and one more element in his turn. Every day is a school day!
Result: Mongols (1-5) Seljuk.
Post Game Chit Chat
- I used to own two cats – Genghis Khan and Attila the Cat. They were horrors too. This picture isn’t actually Attila, but it might as well have been.
- The final tally in the first game was 5-1 to the Timurids, with the Ming leaving two artillery elements on the battlefield. This means that if a siege comes up, then they will have two captured elements of artillery to add to the siege.
- The Tibetans achieved an impressive 4-0 victory in Game 2, (as opposed to the previous Timurid marginal 5-1 victory 🙂 ) by ignoring the temptation to react to the Mongol plan, and relying on brute force to shrug front and rear attacks off. General Dargey Tamang can be a reckless rascal when he wants.
- The Seljuks took a massive 5-1 victory over the Mongols proving the exception to the rule “The army with the simplest uniform wins“. I snatched a massive defeat from the jaws of a smaller defeat by not realising that an element can always perform a flanking move when a hole has been punched in the enemy line, and being fixated on taking on the most dangerous element, rather than killing weaker ones .
- So in summary, three very enjoyable and instructive games with another opponent who knows what he is doing and is prepared to share tactics. Thanks, Phil!