Wednesday, 12 October 2011

VII. This is SALONICA! - The Byzantine empire strikes back.

Well, there is a pattern emerging here. The arabs won and pushed back the byzantines to Thessaloniki twice, where then it became a disaster for them. Apart from the competence of the greek commander when fighting in Thessaloniki (it's his homeland after all :), this is both due to the agression of the egyptian generals but also because of our campaign system. You see, the further in enemy territory one gets, the more difficult reinforcement becomes. The first time this led to a 13vs10 battle favouring the defender. 

This time though things are more balanced: 13vs12 (one mercenary crusader spear for the greeks), so on to the battle then to see how byzantium defends against the infidels (or wait... are the christians the infidels?). Well, I guess this still remains to be decided.

A roman arch dominates the battlefield and, like a gate to Hades, it awaits the dead. Both armies deploy in wide fronts facing each other, on this flat plain. Turan-Sha will lead from the frontline with his ghulam bodyguards, khwarizmians and berbers all around him.

Will it be a personal fight between generals? Palaiologos is similarly in the center of the greek line, preparing for the march forward. On the right a unit of pachenegs (Lh) is already maneuvering.

The egyptians move neatly forward between the woodlands and a monastery. Their plan seems simple. Move forward and stick the enemy with the pointy ends. On the other side, the greek general denies the challenge and moves behind the line.

Not much longer now... The lines are almost symmetrical and the opponents are weighing each other. For the first time the two armies are about to clash in such a wide front.

It's all hanging in the balance. Who will make the decisive move? None of the two armies has the upper hand in an all-out charge while the archers start shooting.

First blood! A gap opens in the egyptian lines as the cuman bowmen shoot down a berber light horse. Once again the bow proves to be a deadly weapon against horsemen.

Again! This time khwarizmians go down (Cv) by the bowmen, and the day is turning sour for Turan-Sha. Will he order the charge and personally go against the byzantine cataphracts?

The iraqi archers are not as efficient on the greek right where they just push back a unit of kavallarioi. The two armies are a breath away from each other.

CHAAARGE shouts Palaiologos!!! Thundering hooves and screams fill the air as the armies clash on the green fields. The varangian guard get the chance to swing their axes while the egyptian general braces for the attack of the cataphracts. The initiative is with the byzantines.

The cataphract charge was too deadly and Turan-Sha's hopes die with him. Next to him the saracen warband are slain by skutatoi (Sp) while the varangians push back the turcomans (Lh). The egyptian lines are broken and they are wavering.

Palaiologos wants to join the fray, having made the empire safe again. His troops are elated and start the pursuit.

The rest of the arab army runs and gallops back to the camp. The greeks chase them off and shout "Long live the emperor"!

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