SoA Kadesh Refight

Phil Barker wrote:


Since I was representing Muwatallis, not Rameses II, in the DBMM game, I
willingly give full credit for our magnificent victory to my clever
subordinates, played by Duncan Head and Chris Hanley.

There were three sub-games; first the surprise attack on and rout of the
Egyptian P’Re advance guard (with the historical result), second the attack
off line of march by the victors on the Egyptian camp (which temporarily
penetrated its defences and put Rameses in considerable danger from which he
was saved only by the heroics of Sherden mercenaries), and thirdly the big
battle of the second day in which I took part.

I commanded a small guard of heavy chariots and a mass of infantry of
varying quality. Arriving early across the river from a delayed march due to
a 6 granted by the favour of the Gods, I put some of the worst of the foot
into Kadesh to hold it and took the rest forward over the river to threaten
and possibly assault the Egyptian camp. My loyal subordinates had decided I
should have the low PIP dice. Since the low dice scored 1, 1 and 2 during
the 3 bounds between my arrival and the end of the game, this was very wise!

My left was protected by Chris with a force of allied light chariots of
mixed grade. This were attacked by elite Egyptian chariots issuing out of
the camp, leaving Rameses behind.  I had left a large force of horde
protected by psiloi behind on by right, since they would have needed 2 PIPs
to move and pushed forward the regular spears (Pikes ) towards the camp,
while my three heavy chariot elements moved with the general’s PIP to
protect Chris’s right flank, which was overlapped by the Egyptians. Egyptian
archers rushed out of the camp across their defences to hinder this move,
shooting down one of my chariot elements and temporarily recoiling
Mutuwallis. He came forward again; and instead of moving into overlap (where
he would have been shot at by all the archers), moved into front edge
contact with the flank of the end Egyptian chariot (where he could not be
shot at). The spears could not get up fast enough to intervene, but as the
Egyptian army now broke,it was no longer necessary. I did not get get use my
brilliance privileges either to double PIPs or add a brilliant +2, but it is
notable that Chris’s dice improved markedly after I joined the fight, which
I attribute to my personal charisma, his outstanding loyalty and competence,
and divine favour.

The Egyptians collapsed before their Amorite allies flank march arrived.
Whether this was due to a rapid political realignment with extreme prejudice
after the Egyptian reverses on the first day, or, as seems possible, the
player picking a dice out of the bag that happened to be marked only
1,1,2,2,3,3 (another act of the Gods?) is an open question. We do know that
the dice he used was the same colour as such a dice discovered later, but
not whether it was the same one. Even normal dice can be unfriendly!
However, the moral is plain. Follow the dice prescription in the rules
rigidly and check a borrowed dice before using it...

On the day in general, it was as always well organised, and the institution
of a prize for the best terrain had paid off in that every game for every
rule set had exceptionally nice terrain. Pardon a swell of husbandly pride
if I mention that Sue and her friends in the Shrewsbury club won it for the
second year running with their GBDBA game. Their Kadesh city model in
particular is superb. This was one of two games put on using a development
version of DBA 3.0

Ian Russell Lowell started the day off with a short lecture on the sources,
using material from a series currently appearing in Slingshot. That bit was
good, but he also commented on Hittite chariots, using a small thin book by
an Australian Hittiologist and horsewoman, which he said specified the
Hittite chariots as trained to trot all day at 13.2 mph. I had to query
this, because the speed of a trotting horse is universally specified as 8
mph. It only occurred to me later that Australians do not use miles, and
that 13.2 kph is 8 mph.  He also referred to a “fast canter or hard gallop”.
I suggested that “Hard” is a very easy typo from “Hand” and that a hand
gallop is actually a fast canter, but he was not prepared to discuss this or
show the source, although he had it with him.

He is convinced that Hittite chariots did not have a 3 man crew and fought
only with bows, but I found his alternative explanation of the 3rd man
depicted in chariots (as embarked for the specific purpose of attacking the
Egyptian camp) unconvincing. He is a firm believer that all chariot fighting
was distant combat with bows and that the javelins and spears depicted in
Mycenaean and Assyrian chariots would have been useless. When two lines of
chariots close with each other, the natural result is that they would pass
through the gaps (necessary for manoeuvre) in each other’s lines, and here
spears might well be valuable. I have seen a Chinese film depicting heavy
chariots in combat in which a warrior is hooked out of a passing chariot by
a long dagger-axe! Duncan advanced the conventional view that since the
heavy 4 horse chariot largely replaced the light 2 horse chariot, the
Hittite 3rd man might be regarded as a prototype for this.


Duncan Added:

Very many thanks both to Richard for organizing the day, and to Dave and Toby for planning and putting on the DBMM game. It's a difficult game to refight for several reasons - the nature of the sources, our perennial uncertainty as to how chariot combat worked, and the episodic way in which the battle unfolded.

I commanded the main Hittite shock force of 20 Kn (O) chariots plus a Kn (O) general. In the first mini-game we struck the P'Re division, commanded by Peter Kershaw, in the flank and duly demolished it. Can't have been much fun for Peter :-(. In the second, we tried to attack the fortified camp occupied by Norman's Amun division and the Inert Ramses. I didn't think carefully enough about the advice to "treat it like Beecher's", and instead tried assaulting through two of the open gateways with columns of chariots. This very nearly paid off spectacularly, as the first chariot destroyed the Blades holding one gate and pursued on to attack the Sherden defending the gateway of the inner enclosure. Success would have meant pursuing into the rear of Ramses himself; sadly it was not forthcoming. We did a certain amount of havoc, aided by Norman throwing one solitary PIP - zero when modified for Ramses' Inertia! - in about four of the first six turns; but when a couple of chariots were bounced by archers and fled out of one of the camp gates, it seemed a convenient time to declare the assault a failure since Dave and Toby were worried about running out of time for the planned third game.

After lunch we fought the whole battle as a conventional DBMM game with normal dicing for flanking and delayed-command reinforcements. Again I led the chariots, as a concealed command, into the flank of P're, this time commanded by Norman. I got seriously worried when Peter's P'tah division decided on the first bound to appear on my flank; but fortunately I had the high PIP dice in the Hittite army, while Norman and Peter had middle and low (I think) minus Inert penalty. With Chris' second-wave chariots coming over in our direction to engage Egyptian forces moving out of the camp, I was able to destroy P're again - though not so quickly this time - for minimal loss before P'tah could manage much more than some fairly ineffectual archery, and Chris' destruction of Amun (aided in unorthodox ways by the dice gods - or demons...) assured us the victory.

A good day's play; thanks again to all concerned.


Norman added:

I would like to second Duncan's vote of thanks to Richard Lockwood for the day and David Mather, Toby Partridge and Peter Kershaw for putting on the DBMM game.

I thoroughly enjoyed the game and the company and would also like to thank the dice that gave me nearly as many PIPs during the game as I had bounds in play. (If that is an exaggeration it is only a small one and I am allowed it for being  Rameses II for part of the time.)

As ever, whether out on the wide dusty plain or between the guy ropes of Pharaoh's tents, DBMM played a treat.


Peter Added:

Speed bump seems to be my lot in life. Sigh.


We were particularly stymied when in the same turn we both received 0 pips.
:( This meant that some hardflanking and at least one rear attack couldn't