Sunday, 3 July 2011

Introduction and first battle report - I. Battle of Samaria (Crete) - A pyrrhic victory for the Egyptians

Hello everyone! This blog has been something we wanted to do for some time and here it is! 

We are two friends, DBA enthusiasts, who were looking for a cost-economic alternative to metal figures and a time-economic alternative to painting and preparing miniatures. So there it was, PAPER! Any hesitation we had in the beginning was soon overcome once we saw and felt the battlefields of our DBA sessions. Most of the things you will see are made of paper, cardboard, styrofoam and other inexpensive materials (including natural ones like branches, sand and others). Most of the paper miniatures were printed from a wonderful website for making a paper army.

Our first posts will be about a campaign we completed (13 battles) playing the Komnenan Byzantine against the Ayyubid Egyptian. Our time is generally limited so we don't know how often we will post but we hope to complete the campaign's reports and maybe describe also how to make terrain and armies made of paper. We are still learning ourselves so advice is more than welcome! 

So, here it goes, the first battle of the Cross and Crescent Campaign between the Emperor Komnenos and the Sultan Saladin, and their generals, John Dukas and Michael Palaiologos for Byzantium and Al-Muzaffar Taqi al-Din Umar and (take a breath) Turan-Shah ibn Ayyub al-Malik al-Mu'azzam Shams ad-Dawla Fakhr ad-Din (no kidding :) for Egypt.

The Byzantine flag flies high while the Greeks deploy. Cavalry to the left and right flanks and infantry to the centre to cross the gorge.

The lines are drawn. The Egyptians are out of the ships and rush forward. They will meet the Byzantine cavalry head on with their own and fight for the centre with their infantry.

Al-Muzzafar orders his men forward and they negotiate the rough Cretan landscape. 

The Byzantine Kontarioi (Sp) meet the Arab jarwajaraya (Ps) on the mountain slope. On the right, the Byzantine mercenary horsemen prepare for the charge.

On the other slope the Varangian Elite Guard (Bd) prepare to take on two Egyptian units, Iraqi psiloi and Saracen infantry (Wb).

First blood! The Arab jarwajaraya (Ps) are shot down by Cuman archers and the right slope belongs to the Greeks. Next to them, the horsemen join battle.

Al-Muzzafar's left is in shambles. The Ghulams (Cv) and the Khwarizmians (Cv) are close to being surrounded and overrun by Kavallarioi (Cv) and two units of Pachenegs(Lh). The gorge however is still contested and close to being won by the Arabs.

Bird-eye's view of the battlefield. The Horse Berbers (Lh) are closing in on the centre to support the Saracen footmen (Wb). The Egyptian left flank is all but done as the Ghulams (Cv) go down by the Pachenegs (Lh).

First Greek blood. The Cuman archers are cut down by the Saracen footmen (Wb) with the help of the Berber light horse.
Disaster for the Greeks! The Varangians (Bd) are chopped down by the Egyptian psiloi and Berber light horse on the slopes. The general Dukas (Kn) senses victory sliding away slowly...

It's done. Another Byzantine foot unit, this time the Kontarioi (Sp), goes down by the Saracens (Wb) and in the gorge there are only Arabs.

Retreat! shouts Dukas and the army falls back in an orderly fashion. Al-Muzzafar has won the day although the war is far from over...

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