Sunday, 14 January 2018

Historical Match up – Old Kingdom Egyptian vs. Later Amorite

During the end of the Middle Kingdom dynasties, the Egyptians first encounter the Later Amorite {1} in what is modern day Palestine. In this test series, the Later Amorite are the aggressor (3) and face the Egyptians on their home territory which is represented here as the eastern delta (Littoral).

Game 1
Returning from another successful campaign against the Ammu Bedouin the Egyptian army found its path blocked by the Amorites. An eventual confrontation with the Amorites had been expected, but not so early in the campaign season. 

The Amorite deployed in three ‘divisions’, one securing the approach along the beach, a second further inland on the outskirts of marsh land and the remainder of the army formed a battle line between the two divisions. 

The Egyptians nomarch positioned his main body in centre with skirmishers deployed to both wings and in reserve were the conscript infantry. 

The Amorite moved its wing ‘divisions’ ahead of the main body as it moved slowly forward. Amorite auxiliaries moved forward in support of each wing. Egyptian skirmishers moved to counter the enemy on the flanks.

Altering his plan, the nomarch moved the conscripts forward while giving them supporting archery fire. The conflict now escalated as the left wing required the aid of the menfat to support the skirmishers.

Both lines were now wholly engaged in battle and within minutes the formations dissolved into smaller battles with casualties falling heavily on both sides (2 – 2).

It was not long before the situation became desperate as the Egyptian right collapsed leaving the nomarch no further choice but to call a general retreat. Score 4 – 3 for the Later Amorite.

Game 2
Making use of a night march, the Egyptian army slipped past the Amorite to march further south. Re-equipping the army from the supply ships that shadowed the column, the nomarch decided to utilize a number of transports to assault the Amorite from the sea.

Anticipating a seaborne assault, the Amorite shortened their line facing the Egyptians and placed auxiliaries to patrol the shoreline and a unit of warriors were held further back as a reserve. 

The main Egyptian force advanced slowly forward giving the archers plenty of time to find their targets as the seaborne column disembarked from their boats, these were the menfat joined by a unit of skirmishers. More skirmishers had slipped past the marshland to support the seaborne effort. 

The Egyptian left wing had quickly taken care of the Amorite skirmishers forcing their general to commit his reserve. Both lines were heavily engaged but the situation for the nomarch became desperate as his line of archers crumbled under the blows of Amorite axes (3 – 2, Amorite).  

With the line of archers gone, the nomarch found himself surrounded and died. Despite inflicting further casualties among the Amorite, the Egyptians lost heart with the loss of their leader and fled the battlefield. Score 5g – 3 for the Later Amorite.

Game 3
The final blow to the Egyptian army came when they found the Amorite blocking their retreat back to Egypt. The Egyptians deployed closer to the shoreline with the conscript infantry positioned forward of the line leaving the newly elected commander to deploy the remainder of the army further back allowing the archers additional room to use their bows.

The Amorite did not take the bait and focused first on stripping the Egyptians of its ‘wings’. For this task he sent the skirmishers supported by auxiliaries to open the battle. The main body moved slowly forward.

The Amorite plan worked well as the casualties on the Egyptian flanks mounted with no loses for the Amorite (3 – 0).

Egyptian archers kept the Amorite tribesmen at bay but elsewhere the situation became desperate as the army was now encircle on both flanks (3 – 1).

The slaughter now became general such that the army broke leaving their newly elected general to cover its rear. Score 6 (+horde) – 1 for the Later Amorite.

{1} this period of history the Egyptian kingdom is split between a Lower Egypt controlled by the Hyksos and an independent Upper Egypt ruled from Thebes. The unification of the kingdom was known was begun by Kamose during his reign (1555 BC – 1550 BC). Ahmose I (1549 BC – 1524 BC) continued the war against the Hyksos finally expelling them from Lower Egypt. In all likelihood, any conflict with the Later Amorite would place it after this period.  

Tuesday, 9 January 2018

Historical Match Up – Old Kingdom Egyptian vs. Early Libyan

Game 1
Having crossed the desert, Libyan raiding parties reached the delta region to reign havoc among the small Egyptian communities. The Nomarch {1} of the region assembled troops to repel the invaders and these were met in the marshland area of the Nile.

Surprised that the Libyan deployed more troops against his left flank the Nomarch ordered the re-positioning of the conscript troops.  Changing positions, the conscripts were dogged by Libyan skirmishers until held at bay by Egyptian light troops.

Through a miscommunication by the Libyan chieftain (low pips) the archers were not able to move against the Egyptian left. This delay gave the Libyan chieftain no other recourse but to order a general assault.

The Libyan assault was easily met and the battle that ensued was as brief. Total Libyan casualties quickly rose and the death of their leader broke their spirit to continue the fight. Score 4g – 1 for Egypt.

Game 2
Pursuing the Libyan raiders to their wasteland hideout, these were tracked to a hilly region dotted with thick dry brush. The Egyptians quickly deployed a battle line with all the skirmishers on the left among the hills and conscript infantry on the right. The Nomarch and archers held the centre.

The Libyans placed the majority of their troops facing the hills with archers and tribesmen holding the scrubby ground covering their left flank.

Horns signalled on the far side of the field and Libyans could be seen sprinting toward the hills. Their light troops quickly ascended the crest line with a thick column of tribesmen reaching its base.

Left to their own devices and outnumbered, the Egyptian skirmishers did their best to contain the assault. The Nomarch, having little control over the battle developing in the pass, pushed his centre and right wing forward. Signalling to the menfat positioned on the nearest hill he ordered them to support the left wing. But would they make it in time?

The fight in the pass was desperate as the superior number of Libyan skirmishers and tribesmen led by their chieftain gave the Egyptians little room to manoeuvre. A lucky javelin thrust put an end to the Libyan chieftain and other members of his guard, but despite his loss the Libyans continued the battle.

The menfat, moving off the crest line arrive in time to save the last survivors. By now, the Libyans aware that their chieftain number two had been slain continued to the fight. Libyan archers held the Egyptian centre at bay while the tribesmen on the left awaited the attack by the conscript infantry.

The battle had reached a turning point when the Libyans lost further casualties and so fled the field.  
Score 5g – 4 (+horde) for Egypt.

Game 3
Continuing the pursuit of the Libyan, the gods smiled on the Nomarch as the enemy were caught again on open ground. Securing the heights on its right, the Egyptians formed their battle line with the conscript infantry on the left with the Nomarch, his guard and the archers in centre.

The Libyans faced the Egyptians with their extended battle line equalling that of the Egyptians.

The Libyans started the battle having their right wing encircle the Egyptian left. It was unknown if the direct route taken by the Libyans was meant to goad the Egyptians into action, but the Nomarch held his troops in check, but did alert the menfat held in reserve to expect the enemy on the open flank.

The battle soon erupted on both flanks leaving both centres cautiously eyeing one another.  The Libyans were the first to incur casualties (1 – 0).

Casualties for the Libyan began to rise as arrows found their mark and menfat cleaved holes in the Libyan battle line. (3 – 0).

The final blow came when the menfat widen the gap between wings by bringing down their opponents to decide the battle. Score 4 – 0 for Egypt.

{1} NomarchThe territorial divisions or province of Egypt were called sepat or nome in Ancient Greek. Each sepat was ruled by a heritapa√° or nomarch who was also responsible for the security of the territory. During the Old Kingdom period nomes were autonomous city-states eventually becoming unified by the rule of Menes (First Dynasty). 

Saturday, 6 January 2018

Early Elamite Army (3000 BC – 2100 BC)

Listed as Book I, 5a and 5b in the DBA army lists, the Early Elamites were constantly at war with the Sumerian. I built this army around the number of excess archers that remained in my collection.  The army is not one I would consider a ‘killer army’ but it does provide a player with a number of interesting challenges to overcome.

It can comprise of 100% archers (3Bw) but some may prefer the presence of skirmishers (Ps) to augment the army. I prefer their use as they can impede the progress of enemy so archers may shower them with arrows.  

The figures are Old Glory Amorites which are packaged half javelinmen and half archers. One pack was sufficient to fulfil the ‘a’ list, but I also found the javelin figures could be converted to ‘axes’  giving me the needed elements of blade (3Bd) for the ‘b’ sub-list. Other bowmen and chariot crew formed the two elements of ‘household’ retainers armed with bow (4Bw).

In the photo you will see the twelve elements that make up the 'a' sub-list. The WRG publication ‘Armies of the Ancient Near East 3000 BC to 539 BC by Stillman and Tallis describe Elamite fashion as progressing through three stages of evolution; being near naked, to wearing a kilt and finally a long tunic. The latter are worn by the household retinue (4Bw) of the ‘b’ sub-list while the remainder are in kilt.

Wednesday, 3 January 2018

Historical Match Up – Old Kingdom Egyptian vs. Bedouin

Game 1
Returning from a military exercise on the northern frontier, Pharaoh had caught sight of an Ammu Bedouin raiding party plundering a coastal village near Joppa. The Bedouin hastily formed up between the village and marsh posting auxiliaries further to their left along the beach (Littoral terrain).

Pharaoh in centre formed a battleline with the menfat and archers to either side and to contest the stretch of beach posted skirmishers on that flank. The conscripts with the support of skirmishers formed on the left flank to deal with any threat issuing from the village. 

As expected, Bedouin skirmishers moved out of the village to threaten Pharaoh’s left and demonstrating their eagerness for battle quickly engaged the Egyptian skirmishers. The Bedouin centre kept pace with their archers as they were showering the Egyptian line with their arrows. 

The Egyptian left and right flanks were steadily retreating but in the centre Pharaoh and the menfat were cutting through the Bedouin line, 2 – 1 for Egypt.

The menfat capitalising on their breakthrough turned on the Bedouin archers to cut them down. Pharaoh, in his pursuit confronted their chieftain but was flanked on both sides by Bedouin tribesmen. Egyptian archers proved ineffective at supporting their leader, but by the gods, Pharaoh cleaved his way through to slay the Bedouin chieftain. Seeing their leader slain, the Bedouin fled. Score 5g – 1 for Egypt.

Game 2
Pursuing the Bedouin to their tribal lands (Dry), Pharaoh caught the tribesmen on open ground between hilly and rocky terrain. All the skirmishers were formed on the right flank to take advantage of the high ground with the main army formed up at the base of the hill; conscripts on the right, menfat on the open flank with Pharaoh in the centre flanked by his archers.

The Bedouin deployed in front of rocky ground with their right flank echeloned back.

As the lines advance, it was obvious that the Bedouin would contest possession of the hill before launching their main assault on the Egyptian line. Pharaoh, confident that the light troops were sufficient to contain any threat to the heights moved the menfat further forward.

The battle now became general with combat taking place on both flanks and centre right. Pharaoh and his archers were keeping the tribesmen to their front at bay with their archery fire. Elsewhere, the conscripts were pushing their enemy back while on both flanks the Bedouin were losing casualties. In desperation, the tribesmen launched an attack on Pharaoh and his supporting archers.

It was the concentration of strength in the Egyptian centre that turned the battle as gaping holes appeared along the battle line. Fearing further losses, the Bedouin chieftain called for a retreat. Score 4 – 2 for Egypt.

Game 3
The Bedouin were encountered again in hilly country and offered battle by forming their line along the slope of a hill to extend to the open plain on their left. Pharaoh having to contend with difficult hills and rocky ground changed from his normal battle deployment to adapt o flexible formation. Skirmishers held the heights and rocky ground near its base, while archers covered the open ground between the two. On the right flank, Pharaoh would lead the conscripts and menfat in an attempt to turn the Bedouin left.

Catching the Egyptians by surprise, the Bedouin moved quickly to contest the heights while moving the tribesmen against the skirmishers holding the rocky ground. The remainder of the Bedouin were content to slowly move up with their archers giving covering fire.

The situation became desperate as causalities on both sides were having their effect (2 – 2). Seeing the threat to the archers, the menfat (3Bd) were moved to the right. Enemy tribesmen quickly filled in the vacated spot. On the Egyptian left, the archers were proving their worth by clearing any further attempt to take the heights. There remained only the conscripts who have yet to have their weapons taste blood.

Encouraging the conscripts to do their part, Pharaoh joined their attack on the enemy left. Together with the menfat, the entire Bedouin left was crushed. Seeing the heights still held by the Egyptians and his left flank destroyed, the Bedouin chieftain called his tribesmen to retreat. Score 4 – 3 for Egypt.


The three successive victories by Egypt were all the more remarkable as they were slightly under strength. The army list calls for four archer elements (4Bw) and by a sloppy keystroke had one pack delivered in place of two. That will be rectified soon. For these battles, an extra skirmisher (Ps) did double duty and to my surprise, the difference in numbers had little effect.