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.


  1. Long live Pharaoh! 3 nice victories for this legendary army...Beautiful reports!

  2. The battles were a lot of fun. You can describe them as 'back to basics' as both were infantry forces.

  3. Hello Scott,

    Yes. This is DBA3.0 as played on the large board measuring 80cm x 80cm.

    If you click on the Index, you will find other eras listing a variety of armies, battles and campaigns covering the Consular period (post 2nd Punic War) to the first millennium AD.

    There is also a fantasy section which uses the Witcher as its central theme.


  4. The Egyptians were on a roll this day. I like your terrain features. Simple and elegant.

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