The opening move was made by the Franks who advanced towards the heathen whilst the Seljuk looked on in disbelief. After advancing a way (using all three ‘march’ early in the turn), the Seljuk countered by attacking both flanks of the infidel.
On the Frankish right, a mixed force of Seljuk cavalry and tribal infantry soon came to grips. Following a brief barrage of arrows, the tribal infantry advancing across the valley floor charged home. This put the Frankish right under extreme pressure; the Turcopoles giving way without much of a fight. Only the vigorous efforts of the doughty Frankish foot prevented complete collapse.
Then, on the tree covered slopes behind the flank, Italian screams of terror overcame the general din of battle. Through the trees came hundreds of ‘bronze’ chested men, bald headed and wearing huge black mustaches. The Italian sailors did not stand, they routed from the field yelling “Run for your lives! It’s the Village People!”
Meanwhile on the Frankish left the Turcomans began to harass the infantry there; but to little effect. In the centre the Seljuk cavalry hung back to await the outcome of the battle on the Frankish wings.
Now the tide changed. The Franks began to launch attacks of their own. On the right, they did well, several Islamic contingents were sent running and their cavalry were forced to withdraw as the Frankish foot pressed their attack. The position here was stabilising.
On the Frankish left the pressure was increasing until, as is there nature and without orders, one of the Turcoman tribes (3 units) decided to settle the issue themselves by charging. One after another they were routed by infantry and knights.
The battle was now general along the whole front. The fights on the wings had disrupted the Frankish line to such a degree that it fell to the knights to restore the situation. The Seljuk responded with hails of arrows and counter charges by their heavy cavalry. After stiff resistance the knights, now effectively unsupported by their infantry, were swamped. The King of Jerusalem, after leading three charges, fell with what remained of his bodyguard. What was left of the Frankish knights withdrew from the field post haste, leaving their infantry to be butchered on the field.
In truth, the battle probably had another two turns in it. Neither side had reached zero morale chips. The Franks were certainly in a good position on their right and the infantry on the left were still capable of packing a significant punch. However, it was past 11pm and the table is required for a photo session on Sunday (for Piquet’s Cartouche 2 by Mark Dudley, who controlled the Seljuk left for most of evening, in between sessions rummaging through my bookshelves - 'sticks and stones' are not really his thing) so the figures needed to be cleared away. Below are two pics of the end of the battle as described above – even though this did not actually occur.
The rules, with last week's amendments, worked exceptionally well. I think, hell I know, that this will become one of my favourite war games. The abilities of the troops and general 'feel' of the period are fantastic!