Monday, December 14, 2020

A Kracking of Kataphracts

A Headless Body Production

Venue: Virtual Table via Table Top Simulator
Players: Phil Gardocki running Palmyran
               David Ray running Middle Imperial Roman
Game System: L'Art de la Guerre, 200 points per side.
Theme: Just passing time.
The Forces:
Palmyra, List 106
Led by Larry (Brilliant), his brother Darryl (Competent) and his other brother Darryl (also Competent)
6 Cataphracts, 4 Elite
1 Regular Cavalry, Bow
4 Regular Archers, Bowmen
3 "Other Archers", LI, Bow
8 Equites Sagittarii, LC, Bow
2 Equites Illyricani, LC, Javelins
Breakpoint of 25

Middle Imperial Roman, List 86, Commanders unknown
7 Legionaries, Heavy Swordsmen, Impact, Armor, some elite.
2 Auxilia Lanciarii, Medium Swordsmen, Armor, Impact.
2 Auxiliary Archers, Bowmen
2 Equites, Heavy Cavalry Impact, Elite
3 Equites Illyricani, Light Cavalry, Bow
4 Light Infantry, javelin and sling
Breakpoint of 21


The Palmyrans win the initiative and will defend in the steppes.

The hills are mislabeled. They are brush strewn hills, not fields.

The Romans deploy all their horse on their right, legions center, the left with a few Lanciarii. The Palmyrans left is their huge horde of Light Cavalry, the center with the Cataphracts. The hill hides their archers.

A note on annotations. When you see a word bubble "Ouch", "Heus" in Latin this implies a missile hit.

Letters in parenthesis represent some value change for the specific unit. For commanders it is b for Brilliant, c for Competent and o for Ordinary, u for unreliable. For troops it is e for Elite, and m for Mediocre. Other abbreviations, Hvy Heavy, XB Crossbow, LB, Longbow, Jav Javelin, 2HW 2 Handed Weapons, B Bow, Kn Knight, HKn Heavy Knight, HC Heavy Cavalry, Md Medium, Sgt Sergeants, LC Light Cavalry, Chr Chariot, Cat Cataphract, Pa Pavise, LI, Light Infantry, HG Hand Gun, FKn Foot Knight, Hvy Spear, Heavy Spearmen.

"XX" marks a unit killed in that location on that turn.

"????" is an ambush marker, and so it is unknown at this time. 

Turn 1:

The Romans make a general advance.
The Palmyran horse archers race ahead to shoot up the Roman heavy horse.

Turn 2: 

The Roman heavies take no damage and charge. The Palmyrans lights evade as one, the Roman lights follow cautiously.
Palmyran Lights return and shoot again, to no avail. 3 troops of lights are parsed off to assist with the Cataphract right flank

Turn 3:

Roman heavy horse charge and win against their cataphract opponents. The Palmyran lights have found their range and Roman lights take hits.   

The thunderous charge of the cataphacts.  4 cohorts falter, almost to exhaustion, but hold none the less.
The Romans counter on their right.  Chasing away lights off board, and begin to collapse the flanks of the cataphracts.
Cohorts are destroyed, and the Palmyran left flank is secured.
On the left, Roman HC chase off Palmyran LC.  On the right, the Palmyran MC, serving as a flank guard is destroyed, routing through Palmyran lights, which in turn are caught by Legions pursuing a destroyed Cataphract.  The score is now 15-14 in favor of the Romans.

Palmyrans continue to challenge the Roman Juggernaut. On the left, light horse engages a heavy with support, and a cataphract threatening a flank charge next turn.  A cohort is flank charged, but holds it's ground. 
Time is running out though for the Palmyrans.  On the left a LC is sacrificed to keep the roman heavy horse in place.  A bowmen is positioned to protect its flank.  The center cohort, despite being flanked continues to hold.  The Palmyran hill command is assaulted, trading losses.  In the end, the Palmyrans are losing far faster than the Romans, with the score now 21-15.
The Palmyrans get a final throw.  Trading a LC for a Bowman, and surrounding the Lanciarii on the hill.  But too little, to late, as their army hits their demoralization thresholds and surrenders in masse.

What went wrong can be summarized by a quote by Heinz Guderian about the use of the Panther tank.

"It is false to ignore proper panzer tactics because you have Panthers"

The same applies to armored horse.

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