Wednesday 15 April 2020

East Romans vs. the Hamdanid

Raiding parties had become a perennial occurrence for the Byzantine Empire and by the mid-10th century, the Bedouin felt emboldened to strike deeper into the Anatolian plain. As general, Nicephorus Phokas revitalised the East Roman army well enough to not only counter the raids but undertake punitive expeditions into the heart of the emirates of Aleppo and Mosul.  

Game one
Pursuing one such raiding party, Nicephorus sent a flying column to block its passage through the Taurus mountains. Traversing the Taurus mountains, Bedouin scouts reported Romans were blocking their path.
Despite the narrowness of the terrain, the Bedouin commander deployed infantry on both flanks with a screen of light cavalry in centre. Behind this line, heavy and light cavalry were positioned as a reserve.

The opening moves by the Bedouin fell foul to some miscommunication leaving the right wing to move forward unsupported. The infantry of the right wing quickly took casualties as the East Romans counter attacked with such rapidity not seen before.

The Dailami were first to fall leaving the hills on the right in East Roman hands. Roman cavalry charged the Bedouin spear and overwhelmed a number of units.

In an effort to counter balance the situation on the right, the Bedouin commander ordered units on the left and centre to engage the Romans. The effort gathered little momentum. Seeing the right wing broken, the Bedouin fled leaving their plunder behind. Score 8 – 1 for the Nikephorian Byzantine.  

Nikephorian Byzantine
2 x general (Cv), 8 x kavaillaroi (Cv), 2 x light horse (LH), 2 x Klibanophoroi (6Kn), 6 x skoutatoi (8Bw), 2 x Rus auxilia (3Ax), 2 x archer (Ps).
The Emir of Aleppo
2 x general (Cv), 2 x lancer (Cv), 8 x Arabitai (LH), 2 x Dailami (4Ax), 8 x thughur (Sp), 2 x archer (Ps).

Game two
With the East Roman army fully occupied with the Emir of Aleppo, the Emir of Mosul sent his own raiding party into former Armenian land. Gathering his forces, the Strategos moved to intercept the Bedouin before they could cross the frontier. To his surprise, the Bedouin were arrayed for battle with infantry in their centre, the Bedouin light horse on the left and Kurdish allies on the right.

The East Romans led with their right wing with the cavalry (Klibanophoroi) of the centre moving in echelon behind. The Arabitai did not stand their ground but moved away exposing a second line further back.  
Hesitation struck as the East Romans found themselves outnumbered and their flank threatened.

The hesitation was an invitation that the Bedouin gladly accepted. The ensuing clash of proved devastating for the East Romans leaving survivors to recover their wits as they fell back on their reserve formation. This had a knock-on effect as Cavalry formations in centre now ground to a halt leaving the Strategos to shift his effort elsewhere.

It was at this moment; the Kurds decided to demonstrate their prowess and charge the East Roman cavalry with the shock sending them back on their second line. The situation became desperate as East Roman were quickly suffering casualties on both wings. To relieve the pressure, the Strategos ordered the infantry forward.

In less than an hour of combat, both wings of the East Roman army were neutralised and the final indignity was the loss of a unit of Klibanophoroi to Kurdish bowmen leaving a flummoxed Strategos to call a retreat. Score 8 –1 Dynastic Bedouin.

Nikephorian Byzantine
2 x general (Cv), 8 x kavaillaroi (Cv), 2 x light horse (LH), 2 x Klibanophoroi (6Kn), 6 x skoutatoi (8Bw), 2 x Rus auxilia (3Ax), 2 x archer (Ps).
The Emir of Mosul
2 x general (Cv), 2 x lancer (Cv), 8 x Arabitai (LH), 4 x thughur (Sp), 2 x archer (Ps) plus Kurdish allies: 4 x cavalry (3Kn), 2 x archers (3Bw).


  1. Great looking games with beautiful and unusual armies...impressive banners!

  2. Thank you Phil,
    I am pleased with the refurbishment of the entire Arab collection.
    Two more Arab armies are planned, but these will be conversions from existing figures.

    The banners do improve the look of any medieval army.