The game was taken directly from the Hail Caesar rulebook - the Battle of Barada Bridge 1148.
In summary three crusading kings - Baldwin of Jerusalem, Louis of France and Konrad of Germany have decided to lay siege to Damascus in Syria. They have decided to attack the city from its weakest point which meant crossing the Barada River. Blocking their way to the river was a small force of Saracens holed up in the fields and villages. These could be joined by reinforcements from Damascus. The crusaders have to fight their way across the table before the vast reserves of the enemy can come into play.
I set out the table and forces exactly as the rule book stated. Typically a knight unit would have six figures, an infantry unit 12 or 8 and small light units four figures. I didn't have quite enough mounts for all the light horse so these are represented by 3 figure units.
The buildings are all from my rather stalled Khartoum project.
The following pictures are some snapshots of the action.
|The defenders await the crusaders - Damascus lies in the distance
|The first crusaders of Baldwin meet the enemy
|Saracen forces rush forward
The Crusader forces were numerous but could only enter the table at one point - a failed order meant the whole column would grind to halt until they could get off the road.
Once onto the table they could spread out and advance. The picture above shows two of the three divisions on the field
The first clash under the palms - a rather one sided affair as the Hospitallers charged into the lightly armed Turkopoles
But the Saracen forces were starting to mobilise outside Damascus. If you thought the Crudsaders had a lot of troops the Saracens had eight divisions. By the end of our game they were all ready to enter the table.
More soldiers of Christ enter the table - King Louis of France
Baldwins archers push up through the farmlands
With the Saracen advanced cavalry knocked out the defenders just sat and waited in the orchards
The battle outside the village was now in full swing. The advanced soldiers of Christ quickly disposing of the Saracen advanced guard but soon ran into trouble against the numerous reinforcements.
Trying to push on the Crusaders came under heavy fire from Moslem archers in the Orchards.
The Knights of Christ pushed on....
into another headlong melee - suffering more casualties and slowly becoming weaker
More Saracens crossed the bridge and lined themselves up to meet the invaders
Battle was raging across the village end of the table
It was time for the bloody infantry to earn their keep as thy marched towards the villager
More saracen cvavalry moved up to stifle the Crusader advance
Things fared better for the Christians as they forced their way into the orchards
It was at this point the game had to cease - the crusader cavalry had taken some hard knocks and with the Saracen forces massing for a counterattack we called a halt to the nights proceedings.
A short discussion later suggested the Crusaders would never meet their objectives and so a Saracen victory was declared.
In the scenario write up in the book it suggests the Crusaders won. They must have been extremely lucky. The sheer number of defenders puts them at a massive disadvantage.