Tuesday, 2 August 2011

IV. The second battle of Samaria - General Doukas is stopped on mount Idi

Back to Crete it is then after the triumph of the Byzantines. The Egyptian army moved back two places in our piston campaign and thus it is now fully reinforced. For clarity's sake our areas are: Constantinople - Thessaloniki - Thessaly - Crete - Damascus - Alexandria - Cairo. The first three belong to Byzantium and the last to Egypt. Crete is the neutral area where it all started. Currently, after three battles, the areas are Constantinople - Thessaloniki - Thessaly - Crete - Damascus - Alexandria - Cairo because after the two victories of Egypt there was a Byzantine victory which brought the series back to Crete.

Now, all the units which replaced lost ones come from a limited pool of two extra armies (apart from the initial one) so there is always the danger of running out of reinforcements. In addition, we also have a 'replenishment' rule: after a battle is concluded, the loser rolls the die with a penalty of 3 and the winner with a penalty of 1 and  they recover the equivalent of lost units in the battle (but no more than half). This gives a better chance to an attacker deep within enemy territory to recover losses after a victory, since plenty of normal reinforcements are not probable. Lastly, if the camp falls to the opponent then the loser cannot replenish. On to the battle then and we hope you enjoy it!
General Dukas deploys his troops in a broadhead formation. Most of his cavalry is on his right flank, his infantry prepares to enter the gorge and two units of cavalry guard his left. His personal aids and followers are sheltered inside an orthodox monastery behind his lines.
Once again the armies are similarly arrayed. Formed like arrows, with cavalry on the sides and infantry in the center, the men are ready to clash. Not much ground left for the Arabs to retreat as their ships are moored and in need of repair.
Waiting is over for Turan-Sha. He takes his place after Al-Muzzafar's death as head of the army and encourages his men to face the Greeks valiantly.
Dukas moves boldly today. The varangian guard (Bd) has almost crossed the gorge with the support of kavallarioi (Cv). On the slopes, supporting them from left and right are Bulgarians (Ax) and Seljuqs (Ps). Dukas himself is on the mountain top with his bodyguards. The Egyptians are maneuvering the infantry to a more favourable position.
Almost there... The armies will shed their blood in the gorge once more. The Saracens (Wb) are rushing towards the varangians (Bd) who have not yet exited the ragged gorge. The Greek cavalry has not moved while the Arab horsemen are slowly closing in.
A deep breath and CHARGE! Men charge at each other screaming with spear, axe, sword and bow. The varangians are facing off the saracens while the light Byzantine units skirmish with Arab bows and psiloi.
The seljuqs are pushed back by arrows and Turan-Sha knows that the next moments may determine the outcome.
The rash saracens are chopped down by the varangians but on the right the Greek psiloi are shot down by the sudanese archers. Dukas is suddenly vulnerable, an uexpected target for the Arab marksmen.
As Turan-Sha gallops forth to cover the gap in his center, Dukas is mortally wounded by archers and his men are holding their breath.
The gorge becomes the Greek general's last resting place and things look grim for the Byzantines. Will they make a last offensive or try to retrieve their general's body and retreat?
The Byzantines show their training. With discipline they redeploy in lines and begin to fall back in order.
While the Greek infantry is retreating, two units of Berber light horse gallop forward and try to cut them off.
The berbers moved too far and paid the price. After skirmishing with the infantry without success, they charged to the retreating kavallarioi who turned and chopped them down. A small victory for the Byzantines who fall back into Greek territories once again.