“I see that these people know nothing about war!”
Devizes Wargames Show marks the start of Summer for yours truly. It’s a first class, characterful venue, despite being a school. Mr. Mackie and chums do an excellent job in organising the event, and I wouldn’t miss it. The L’art de la Guerre competition this year was over twice the size of last year’s “congregation”. My choice was the army of Khalid ibn al Whalid and the Arab conquest. Thirteen units of impetuous elite heavy swordsmen were the strength of the army and the fanatical charge the preferred tactic of the true believers. Four games, over two days and all emotions were felt by the Murarizun. The religion of peace has lost Mohammed and it would be up to Khalid to bring enlightenment to the unbelievers.
The army of choice for the weekend would appear to be Nikephorian Byzantines with its heady mix of quality foot and superb horse. Robin had brought quite a representative force, I always find near contemporary opponents more satisfactory. In later years, the Arab foot would adopt more defensive spear formations, but my impetuous troops could gain some time to decide on a plan by deploying well back.
But, the Byzantines weren’t going to allow me anytime. By turn two, the enemy were across the table. The Byzantines were placing heavy reliance upon mixed units and that looked like a target.
Praise be! Abu Ubaidah ibn al Jarrah scares away the infidel heavy horse, whilst Khalid advances on the quivering cowards behind their pavises. The faithful could not be held back and the fighting spread all along the field. The “kettlemen”cataphracts martyred many but the ever – wise Khalid had sown confusion amongst the Infidel horsemen with his cleverly disguised camels.
The faithful held out against the cataphracts, and what’s more, peace be upon them, slew the Byzantine general. Inspired by the martyrdom, another group of swordsmen broke through and dragged another Christian commander from his horse. It was enough, the infidels lost heart!
Elation and joy spread through the camp, although obviously men holding each other in such wild scenes also had to be punished. Thankfully , the female camp followers could make their feelings known…..
But such scenes of deborchery had to be cut short. In the titanic struggle between Porter and Mc Hugh, the African Vandals of Mr. Madaxeman had been triumphant. In an instant, the atmosphere changed, the afternoon would be a still stiffer challenge. Mr Mackie had been stoking the fires of competition with the image below, a feeling of unease coloured my enjoyment of the Halaal cheese and onion sandwiches so sensitively provided by the local Womens’ Institute.
“I am the son of many chiefs, my sword is sharp and terrible!
It is mightiest when the pot of war boils fiercely!”
African Vandals are a brave choice for all but the masters of miniature warfare. Of course Tim has travelled the world playing ADLG and this was going to be quick. He placed his own impetuous foot before his camp and then two corps of mighty elite heavy cavalry on his left wing. Oh dear, the victor of a hundred and one battles (now) had not thought to protect his flank.
There was going to be no shortage of martyrs on my right flank. I thought my proxy elephants might help but impetuous troops are not easy to redeploy. Amr ibn al-‘As would be charged with trying at least to advance on my left, towards the Vandal camp.
The Vandal horse were ferocious in their attack. Hun skirmishers discomfited the defenders before the Gothic knights charged home. It was left to the women of the camp to chastise their menfolk as they quit the field.
Who has both beauty and virtue;
And leave her to the infidel,
The hated, and evil infidel,
To possess, disgrace and ruin!”
The victorious Vandals roamed at will, slaying the believers. Amr ibn al-‘As on the left was still too far away from the camp objective. Khalid ibn al Walid sought martyrdom in a counter attack but it was too little too late.