Sunday, November 15, 2015

Japanese samurai Armies Taking Shape

It's actually been about six years since I started work on building samurai armies from the (Japanese) Civil War era (1467-1615), and up to now, my six factions have been operating at well below anticipated full strength.

I've made some huge progress this past month getting five of the six up to where I want them to be. Just one more faction to finish off, plus, I want to get one or maybe two units of nobushi archers who will fit in "as required", and I'll be good to go.

Red Faction and some Gold Faction forces made the most of a photo op this afternoon......

Red Faction forces deploy (above) to defend a village from attack. And below, a more close-up look at some of the forces. Ashigaru armed with spears and arquebuses and sheltered behind shields on the flanks, samurai on foot in the center on either side of the road, and mounted samurai at the back on their right flank (on the left in the photo). Plus, of course, the general in the center.

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Amazons Vs Hittites

(Not an historic battle - hopefully the first episode in a series involving two of my newer armies, and maybe others as the campaign develops)

Eager to make his mark and establish himself as a worthy potential successor to his father, King Tudhaliyas on the Hittite throne, Crown Prince Suppiliulimas led his forces north, in order to tame the barbaric Amazons.

The Amazons received forewarning of the threat, and Queen Antibrote led her warriors in an effort to repulse the attack at the landmark known (to the Amazons) as "Penthesilea's Gate" - the place where the road enters the mountains south-west of the Amazon lands, between two rocks. The Amazons regard the site as a sacred place, with the rock formations marking out a "gateway" separating the lands of the various hill-tribes, and the plains beyond, claimed by the Hittites.

Reaching the site first (as shown in the photo above), Queen Antibrote initially deployed her forces in the foothills around the "gate". With the Hittites still not making an appearance, she pushed her forces further forward, hoping to establish her archers in forward positions from which they could harass the Hittites as they advanced toward the gate.

As the Amazons attempted this however, the Hittites (shown above breaking camp for the morning) arrived, catching them on the wrong foot.

Hittite Archers were able to drive their Amazon counterparts out of a woodland area east of the road, and while Antibrote and her bodyguard warband were able to destroy the threat of the Hittite archers (the skirmish is shown in the photo above), the time it took them to do this had enabled the main Hittite army to force the Amazon warriors on the opposite flank into full withdrawal.

A counter-attack by the late-arriving Princess Iphinome and her cavalry couldn't save the day as the Hittite chariots pressed on remorselessly (see above).

Realizing the day was lost, Queen Antibrote ordered a full retreat, handing the Hittites a decisive victory.

As a result of the battle, Antibrote was subsequently challenged for the status of Queen (of Military Affairs) of the Amazons by Matriarch Clemache. Antibrote successfully retained her crown. However, her 11-year-old nephew, the son of Queen (of Civil Affairs) Lysippe, died shortly thereafter. The death of a family member - even though it was only a male - was seen as Antibrote's "atonement" to the "Mother Goddess" for her defeat.

Footnote: The Amazons were ruled by two queens - one each responsible for military and civil matters. Antibrote and her sister Lysippe are the two current Amazon Queens.

Crown Prince Suppiluliumas subsequently demanded that the Amazons supply a unit of Heavy Horse, led by a member of the tribes royalty and serving in the capacity of a "Subordinate General", to assist the Hittites in future campaigns. Much to their embarrassment (the Amazons didn't like taking orders from men), the Amazons agreed to provide such a unit, led by Princess Iphinome, to assist the Hittites in their 2016 campaigns.

The victory also saw the Paphlagonian tribes ruled by King Mursilis seek an alliance with the Hittites, agreeing to send troops to assist with future campaigns. (Historically, the Paphlagonians don't really appear on the scene until the era of the Achaemenid Persians - some 600 years after the Hittites and the legends of the Amazons, but they came from the same area, so I'm letting them in. In the absence of an Assyrian army, I will probably let my Persians join in also as the campaign proceeds).

Crown Prince Suppiluliumas celebrated his success with a marriage to the Hittite Princess, Kamrusepa, grand-daughter of Gal Bentepharis (commander) of the Royal Bodyguards.

Story to be continued........

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

It's tasking a bit longer than expected to finish off the photos and write-up from the weekend's battle between the Amazons and the Hittites, so for now.......Japanese samurai.

This month I'll be trying to get my Japanese Civil War (Sengoku Jidai) armies sorted out. I'm trying to create six small factions, each with varying organization and weapon types. Come battle time, I can dice or whatever to decide who fights on which side, and should always get a clash between two very different armies, even though they are both made up of samurai and ashigaru.

Blue Faction's forces are pictured above. Ashigaru in front, crouched behind their shields firing their arquebus, with samurai behind. Blue Faction will be the only one (probably) with gunpowder weapons, which were just making their way into Japan at this time. The rest will stick with bows and arrows for their missile fire.