Wednesday, 15 February 2012

X. Thessaly anew - Byzantine revenge in the shadow of mount Olympus

This one took some time so let's get right to it, shall we?

 The byzantines deploy their infantry on the road and cross the river fast. Olympus looms in the background and the greeks are aggressive today.

Similarly the egyptian general sets his foot on the road and protects the flanks with cavalry. Proper deployment for combat will be decisive in this battle.

Bird's view: on the left the byzantines are almost formed in line with archers and spears screening and cavalry in the flanks. On the other side, light pecheneg horses are closing in on a few (even lighter) egyptian troops.

The fight is coming soon next to the river. The greeks are widening their line while Saladin's troops struggle to be as efficient.

Saladin's effective communication and deployment skills bring his army in a line fast. Is it good tactically though? The ghulam warband are itching for a fight with the skutatoi, the sudanese archers pull their bows to shoot the pechenegs and the bulk of egyptian cavalry (ghulams and khwarizmians) are facing the varangians and kataphraktoi.

Palaiologos maneuvers his troops like a maestro (once again) and prepares. Almost there...

Battle is joined! Arrows fly, swords clang and horses along with men are slain. Saladin's center (of all things!) is weak and may prove decisive. His archers are fighting hand in hand with the skutatoi while the ghulam warband is charging the seljuk psiloi.

With irresistible force the varangians chop down khwarizmian men and horses together, with their battleaxes. The kataphraktoi next to them are pushed back while the ghulam foot chases the psiloi. The center hangs in the balance.

The egyptian line is broken in fragments. Will the greek general capitalize his advantage?

The ghulam cavalry on the greek left is quickly surround by axe and mace and seem doomed. The battle in the center is still raging. The sudanese archers are resisting the constant punishment by the skutatoi. On the right the pechenegs move in front of the seljuks to screen them from the ghulam foot.

Close-up on the combat in the center. Not easy for the bowmen.

The ghulams go down and the varangians with the kataphraktoi are ready to terrorize the egyptian right.

Palaiologos is rubbing his hands and considers his options. The battle seems to be in his favour.

Fast defensive redeployment by Saladin. The greeks are forming again for the final push.

In a moment of hope for Saladin, his sudanese shoot down the cuman archers of Palaiologos. Can this turn the tables?

All or nothing; the egyptians take a breath, charge and shout "Allāhu Akbar!". Khwarizmians face pecheneg light horse, the ghulam warband goes agains the kavallarioi, the skutatoi face once more the sudanese and on the greek left the varangians get ready to chop another ghulam horse.

The ghulam foot is slain by the kavallarioi and both generals know the battle is almost over.

Now Palaiologs shouts charge and the egyptians tremble. His loyal horsemen break into a gallop and smash onto the arabs!

'Cowards' cry the greeks as the egyptian army turn tail and run, scattering across the fields.