On a Monday evening Robert and I setup a HC game: Ottomans versus Tamerlane.
The battlefield was set somewhere in Syria with fearful local mameluks sitting tight into their castle with the door firmly shut (a castle and tower on the table were denoted as impassable terrain). We decided to use a Flames of War scenario and dice for it as described in FoW. This resulted in the cauldron with the Ottomans being surrounded by Tamerlane and friends. Both parties start with at least halve of their units off table, in the case of Tamerlane as reserves and in the case of the Ottomans as delayed reserves. Three objective markers were placed by the Ottomans within 30 cm of the table centre (a 180x120 “classic” wargame table) and one was then removed by Tamerlane. We agreed to use the FoW conditions for determining control of an objective and played at 2/3 speed using our old DBM based armies with 4 elements in a 2x2 setup per unit.
The Ottomans deployed their artillery right at one of the objectives which was on top of a small rise. The rest of their on table units (1 x jannisary, 1 x vojnuks, 2 x azab medium infantry archers & 2 x azab light infantry archers) deployed around the other objective which was located in an area of rough terrain. This left a considerable gap between the lonely artillery and the rest of the Ottomans. Tamerlane’s troops then deployed according to the random deployment rule and we decided to dice per two units because our armies were about twice the size of typical FoW armies. This resulted in three units (1 division) behind the mameluk castle on the timurid right flank, at the Ottoman’s table edge and nearly at striking distance of the Ottoman artillery, two on the opposite timurid table edge and 2 all the way out to the left and at the Ottoman table edge. The last two units were well out of reach of their generals.
The game that followed was a close call at several times. First the timurid troops behind the mameluk castle did manage to charge the Ottoman artillery; which made a deep impression in the right flank timurids when they opened fire. However, the janissary and vojnuks were just in time to prevent the timurids from capturing the objective. Their presence made the timurid general decide to go for the sweeping charge into the vojnuks but it bounced. In the mean time Tamerlane directed his right flank behind a wood in order to prevent the artillery from doing more damage and head towards the other objective. This was more or less being abandoned by the Ottomans in order to save the other objective as well as start dumping large numbers of arrows of the lonely two timurid units out on the left and behind them. Although the move by Tamerlane did take some time it seemed to work out. A single unit of medium azab archers were charged head on and swiped aside allowing Tamerlane to take the objective. Again however, the Ottomans reserves arrived in the form of no less than four units of sipahis. These were able to move in a headlong advance straight on to the timurid unit at the objective and shower it with arrows; the timurids never stood a chance. In his next turn finally the first units of Tamerlane’s reserves arrived at the table, the badly mauled unit at the objective was ordered to charge the sipahis in order to gain time. Again however, all was done without haste, focus and zeal. Even a ‘follow me’ from Tamerlane himself failed to move a unit into support of the charge on the sipahis. And thus ended the game.
This was truly a great game with two important lessons: 1) Flames of War scenarios work great in HC and 2) old DBM armies at 2/3 speed and on a “classic” 180x120 wargame table is fantastic.