Monday, 20 July 2009

Pilgrims Progress

Having painted and based a fair chunk of civilians and baggage elements for my early Crusades armies I want to use them. Reading Runciman’s account (again) of the march from Antioch to Jerusalem spawned the germ of a scenario idea. I then consulted the Chronicles of Kermit the Hermit (also known as The Dirty Fakir):

“Let me relate to you the little known account of my passage from Antioch to Jerusalem in the company of Pierre le Phew, and the battle of Nosairi.

In January the Year of Our Lord 1099 Count Raymond departed the country around Antioch to march south to our blessed goal, Jerusalem. On learning of Raymond’s decent upon them the Emirs of Shaizar and Hama were in great fear of him. Perfidiously the Emirs hid much livestock and booty in a secret valley to one side of his route, then offered Count Raymond tribute, showing him what little they had, and guides to lead him across the Orantes and up to the valley of Sarout. By mistake the guides led Raymond into the secret valley and the flocks and herds, along with much other spoil was taken. The Emir of Shaizar was maddened by so great a loss to his treasury inflicted by Raymond and sought to recover, in one way or another, what was his."

"About this time I, in the hoste of Pierre de Phew which numbered all told two thousand pilgrims, knights and foot soldiery, left Antioch following the route opened by Count Raymond. As our column passed under the walls of Shaizar the Emir made plans to avenge himself upon us and cleared his slave markets in readiness for our arrival. Unbeknownst to us at that time, the Emir of Shaizar had sent his brother, named Cobalt the harsh, and an army of horsemen of the wilder kind ahead of us to lay an ambuscade at a place called the Ford of Raizat. The road, such as it was that led into the valley of Sarout, was beset upon all sides by high and rugged hills. As we approached the ford, which was actually a Greek bridge of stone, the enemy descended upon us from all sides.”

Thus our scene is set for an ambush scenario involving an escorted wagon train and civilians versus a much swifter moving enemy. The scenario has been devised to be played using Ager Sanguinis Rules (these are now available as free a MS Word down load on Yahoo Groups: Piquet, Shattered Lances and MiniatureArmyCampaign. You will find them in the files sections.)

Because of its roots in Piquet Ager Sanguinis lends itself perfectly to this kind of scenario because deployments do not have to be hidden: The cards take care of that elusive quality in wargames - surprise! The deployment map below shows the disposition of both forces.

The river is in spate and is impassable except by the bridge. The hills are type III for movement and cover. The woods are type I for movement but type II for cover versus missilery. The 'river bank' is type II for movement but does not provide cover versus missilery. The village (Nosairi) is type III for movement and cover. Muslims in ambush positions will not be spotted until they move, shoot, or the Christians approach within 8".

Christian forces:

Pierre le Phew (d10 motivation die) with a small unit of knights [K] (mid column) and two units of foot sergeants [FS] (one ahead of his knights and one opposite his knights on the other side of the column.

Hubert le Phew (d10 motivation die) with a small unit of knights [K] at the head of the column, a unit of levy spearmen [LS], and a unit of foot sergeants [FS].

Humphrey le Phew (d10 motivation die) with a small unit of knights [K], a unit of foot sergeants [FS] and a unit of levy missiles [LS].

Two groups of fanatical pilgrims and their baggage [P], each 3 units strong. These do not have a leader as such (motivation die d8).

Muslim forces:

Cobolt the harsh (motivation die d10) with a unit of Turkish ghulams [TA] and two units of elite Seldjuk horse archers [SHA] to his right hidden in the 'bank' of the river.

Master of horse (motivation die d10) with a unit of Arab askaris [AA] and two units of elite Seldjuk horse archers [SHA] to his left hidden in the 'bank' of the river.

Turcoman tribal leader (motivation die d10) with two units of Turcoman horse archers [THA] hidden in the 'bank' of the river.

Turcoman tribal leader (motivation die d10) with three units of Turcoman horse archers [THA] hidden behind the hill in the rear of the Christian column.

Turcoman tribal leader (motivation die d12) with three units of Turcoman horse archers [THA] hidden behind the hill ahead of and flanking the Christian column.


The Christians:
Until an enemy is sighted the Christian column moves as two parts. The leading pilgrim contingent plus Pierre's and Hubert's command roll a single d10 motivation die on March cards and must use any moves to advance at the speed of the slowest element (6"). The rearward pilgrim contingent and Humphrey roll a single d8 motivation die on march cards but may not move faster than the head of the column. Until an enemy is sighted the column must move using the road as its axis (keeping their column formation). Once an enemy is sighted the contingents must roll for movement seperately.

The Christians add one special event 1 card to their deck. If an enemy has not been sighted when this card is turned they roll d10 Vs d8. If the d10 roll is higher the van of the Christain column (Herbert's command) may move indepentantly of the rest of the column and may move away from the road (an ambush is suspected) to reconnoitre.

The Muslims:
The Muslims add two special event 1 and one special event 2 card.

When the special event 1 card is turned the Muslims may treat it as a move card for one command in difficult terrain. The Muslims will have scouted the difficult terrain for suitable tracks to enable them to move more swiftly across it - these cards represent this fact.

When the special event 2 card is turned the Muslims may treat it as two extra move cards for one command that has not yet moved or shot. This card represents the added surprise factor for troops emerging from ambush positions at the ideal time - the chance factor of the 'ideal time' being taken or not depends on when the card is turned in the turn cycle.

Victory Conditions:
These are pretty simple. The Christians must get at least 50% of their force over the river to safety. Anything else is a Muslim victory.

[Scenario notes ammended slightly 2 August 2009 following play testing].

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