Monday, December 28, 2020

A Plethora of Pechenegs

A Headless Body Production
Venue: An Undisclosed Living room
Monday Night, Nov 3rd
Phil running Nikephorian Byzantine
John Doe running Pecthneg, Pechneg, Pecheneg, whatever...
Game System: L'Art de la Guerre, 200 points per side.

A scratch put together game. John decided to run something he never ran before, and I have never seen a Pecheneg Army on the table either, though they dominate my eastern allied forces lists.

The Forces:
Pecheneg (list 159)
Commanders, all Competent
2 Nobles, Heavy Cavalry Bow, Included Commanders
14 Horse Archers, Medium Cavalry Bow
2 Horse Archers, Light Cavalry Bow
3 War Wagons, Bow
Breakpoint of 21

Nikephorian Byzantine (list 127)
Nikephoros, the Brilliant, Adidasphoros, the Brilliant and Pumaphoros, the ordinary, and somewhat unreliable.
4 Tagmatic Kataphractoi, Heavy Cavalry Impact Bow
4 Prokoursatores, Light Cavalry, Bow
5 Varangians and Menavlatoi, Heavy Swordsmen 2HW
5 Skutatoi, ½ Heavy Spearmen ½ Bowmen
4 Light Infantry, Bows and Javelins
Breakpoint of 22

The Board:
The Pechenegs win the initiative and elect to defend in the steppes. They select a hill and 2 brush, the Byzantines a river and a road. The hill disappeared in the adjustment phase, while the river was just a dry creek bed.


The Pechenegs have anchored their flank against a large number of wagons. 21 shooters in the army. That is a lot of missile fire.

The Byzantines hoped for a weak right flank for the Pechenegs and expected to take it with their elite Tagmata, while their Varangian foot hold the center. This plan went onto the trash heap as soon as the war wagons were visible.

New plan. Lets race for the Pecheneg camp with close order foot, ignoring the masses of horse bow. Yeah, that could work...
The wiley horsemen like the Byzantine plan. They send some troops to cut off the Byzantine lights. Many, many horsemen to shoot up the Byzantine main foot line, and another huge force to engage and surround the Byzantine right flank.

Fortune seems to favor Nikephoros. With 21 potential shooters in the Pecheneg army, but it is the Byzantines that draw first blood.

The fierce men of the north continue their advance under a hail of arrows. The Byzantines return a few of their own.
The Pecheneg continue to maneuver for position. So far, less than half of their archers have been able to participate in the missile duel.
With a wild exultation, the Varangians charge! They expect the Pechenegs to flee, and are surprised when they stand.  Man and horse scream with the hacking of cruel axes.
As the Pecheneg "red" force has the main Byzantine battle line engaged, the "blue" force closes. Trading hit against the Skutatoi guarding the flanks.

At this point, John surrendered.  The score was 16 (of 21) to 4 (of 22), and he wanted to save the world from any more"Yellow Submarine"pop culture references.



  1. I seem to recall that a saying in Co stantiniple was to insult someone by saying, "as stupid as a Pecheneg?"

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  5. That was in one of Phil Barkers WRG books supporting Rev 6. I don't know where he got it from. Petchnegs were known for their audacity and timidity. And when asked by the Byzantine Emperor to fight the Turks, the Petchneg King replied, "Since the Turks are both numerous and fierce, we don't want to do that, and furthermore, we would regard it as bad form for you to bring up the topic again."