Tuesday 28 April 2020

The Zanj

Following the completion of the Arab restoration project, the homeless elements that remained unused seemed to cry out for useful employment. There were plenty of archers, cavalry and camelry. My first thought, these could become the core of a Qaramita army, however, to do this would require a substantial order of camel mounted troops. Thinking further, the four elements of Zanj were made for the Abbasid and an army of Zanj (III/50) would prove to be a better option.

The great Zanj Rebellion was carried out for the most part by African slaves with cavalry and leaders coming from the Arab tribes. The slaves could easily be converted from the large collection of Dervishes in my collection, these have a large contingent of Hadendoa.

To make these, the slave troops would need a different hair style, or wear a turban or head band. The troops selected are seen in photo one and in the foreground are two boxes brimming with Sudanese and Hadendoa.

Aside from the Hadendoa the Sudanese figures would serve for the leaders and archers are extra Biblical Nubians. The spoon shaped swords were trimmed to become the standard saif model and trimming the hair-do would make room for a turban or headband.  

By the end of the week, the army should be completed and with photos posted to the blog.

Between painting, I have been working on a variant set for DBA3 to simulate the amphibious nature of the conflict. Before posting these to the blog, I will complete a timeline of events to give readers a sense of this unusual and long conflict.

01- 05- 2020

The Zanj in battle array.

In the forward rank are the formidable swordsmen (4Bd) supported by archers (3Bw). On the left of them are the skirmishers (Ps) and to their rear, the Zanj horde (5Hd) and positioned on the opposite flank are the tribal Bedouin light horse (LH) supporting the rebellion. In centre are the command elements in three options; Cv, 4Bd or 3Bd.

Next week, the timeline of the Zanj revolt.

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).