Saturday, 1 August 2020

Battle of Sagrajas : Al Andalus Part 1

Wargames Soldiers and Strategy 106 back in January had an article by Nick Stock on relighting the battle of Sagrajas broken down into a series of smaller large skirmishes. With my developing Al Andalus collection and the continued necessity of virtual gaming this was too good an opportunity not to play another linked series of battles as a mini campaign. I won’t go into the background too much as this is succinctly covered in the article. Suffice to say in 1085 a Christian force under Alfonso VI king of Castile bringing together a force from several Christian states attacked an Andalusian and Almoravid force camped near Badajoz. The article breaks the action into three separate phases although I am sure this could be expanded or contracted into a single large battle (perhaps later in the year). The three scenarios are the initial surprise assault by the Christians on the Andalusian camp, the follow up by the Christians who followed through into the Almoravid camp where they were held and then pushed back by rallying Andalusian. The final phase has the Spanish being outflanked as they try to regroup and routed from the field with Alfonso lucky to escape badly wounded.

So the scene is set we will be using Dragon/lion rampant as the go to rules for these virtual skirmish games, army sizes are about 40 points so we relax the distance rules with friendly units. The first scenario is the assault by Alfonso on the Andalusian camp, the Muslim forces are commanded by Yusuf ibn Tashfin.

Spanish knights gallop forward in the early morning light, this restricts the range of any missile fire
The Andalusians have been allowed to randomly select three units to hold the camp, the formal objective is for either force to hold the three central tents when one side is forced to retreat
Andalusian reinforcement make a rapid advance from their baseline, but they are mainly light troops against heavy cavalry and we know how that goes !
Alfonso has heavy cavalry, spear men and crossbowmen 
The two units of Arab cavalry charge forward to slow the Spanish advance
Taking cover behind an old field boundary wall
 Meanwhile on the road a heavy clash of horses, heavy knights manage to catch light Arab horse men who are wiped out
Yikes ! The cavalry have already broken through
Christian infantry move forward to ransack the camp
Urged on by Alfonso himself
Crunch ........
Luckily the archers survive the first charge and are able to take cover in the long grass where they use the cover to drag the cavalry off their mounts and butcher them with pointy sticks ! Ha !
But not looking good in the centre Alfonso with more heavy cavalry
The lightly armed Arabs are struggling to hold on to the camp
And after another charge the archers flee 
It is all over.......a good win for Alfonso who has taken the whole Andalusian camp

It seemed easier than it was but the knights proved on this occasions too strong and charged in just when they were needed, the Andalusians will fall back for scenario two where the Spanish charge in to the Almoravid camp and are hopefully held ?

Thanks for looking ๐Ÿ‘

18 comments:

  1. Excellent. Light troops in rough ground are a nightmare

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    1. Perhaps the rest of the army would have done better staying in the long grass !

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  2. Thanks Matt, looking forward to the next games. The archers surviving the heavy cavalry charge and then defeating them, did that feel right? Was it a dice thing?

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    1. They were lucky to survive the rest charge, the rules then give a specific advantage if you get heavier troops into bad going. In my minds eye I see them jumping off the road into an area of rough rocks and long grass then the heavy cavalry foolishly charging into the area after them, they turn and ambush them daggers in hand. From the rule set perspective it is the very reason some units are powerful but have the wild charge rule making them vulnerable to such attacks

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  3. Good game report. Swings and roundabouts on the fortunes of war. I think those archers got lucky with holding then beating the cavalry.

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    1. Holding the charge required a lucky morale roll !

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  4. For the archers to have not only escaped with their lives but stopped the charging cavalry suggests something very interesting happened beyond the first reports. Perhaps the hard-charging cavalry fell into a ditch obscured by the tall grass?

    As always, an enjoyable battle report. Your reports always tempt me to bring my Reconquista out of storage for a game. One day...

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    1. Thanks Jonathan as I have noted below whilst the rough ground is represented by grass I have in my mind something rougher with small rocky outcrops and dips and hollows, definitely poor ground for heavy cavalry who foolishly charge after a fleeing enemy !

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  5. Another cracking encounter Matt.

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  6. Great looking pictures and I really enjoy the concept of a mini campaign. The genre is a nice setting for it. ๐Ÿ˜€

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    1. Thanks Stew....finding the stamina for a ‘large ‘ campaign can be hard but linking 3 or 4 games seems to work for us giving balanced games without that tendency in bigger campaign where it all suddenly becomes one sided ๐Ÿค”

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  7. Spiffing looking game there Matt. Really enjoy these smaller games set in Spain.

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  8. Lovely looking game! Rough ground, light troops, wild charge, it never ends well!
    Best Iain

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