Cham protopanzer division
The DBMM tournament in Milano this year will be open to every army. I have decided to use an army based on elephants and this is a great opportunity to use my Khmer and Cham army.
Khmer has a regular command structure, that need to be properly tailored to well use the lowest pip dice corps. This resulted in a problem for me, because I wanted to have elephants in every corps, and this meant to risk to not use a part of them due low pips. The wiser organization is to have a pip dump and two elephant corps that have decent pips to manouver. But this is not what I was wishing. After some thinking and tinkering, I decided for a high risk approach. Instead to use Khmer, I would field a Cham army.
This resulted in using two allied corps. No good, but the issue was balanced by having an irregular dice command structure, better suited to the elephant distribution I was looking for, and more army points. In the end my list included 12 elephants, three of them being X. The rest of the army was made by regular auxilia and psiloi.
This is the list:
Cham post 1170 AD (67ME)
C1- CiCReg IElO, 3 IElX, 8 RAxS, 4 RPsO (archers), 4 RPsO (crossbowmen) - 21ME (158 AP)
C2- ARegG IElO, 3 IElO, 4 RAxS, 4 RPsO (archers), 4 RAxO - 20ME (118 AP)
C3- ARegG IElO, 3 IElO, 4 RAxS, 4 RPsO (archers), 4 RAxO - 20ME (118 AP)
C4- 6 IBgI - 6ME (6 AP)
This is not an army list suited for a safe tournament approach. The presence of the allied corps is risky so a decent luck would be welcomed. The combination of elephants and auxilia should give an opportunity on every kind of battlefield. The ElX are a great tool against corner sitters, and when facing masses of BwS and X.
The break points are not very high, and a quick demise of the elephants can doom the army. This means that Cham are a difficult army to use, because the elephants need to be committed at the right moment, preparing their charge with the infantry, clearing away enemy skirmishers without losing too many troops in the process.
The reduced frontage and the presence of many regular light troops call for difficult going as terrain of preference, with narrow areas flanked by woods or marshes as excellent attack venue.
The basic tactic is to deploy side by side the allied corps to attack with the elephants screened and supported by the infantry, while the CiC can use the numerous AxS to attack along a flank or bombard from a distance the enemy. Depending from the terrain and the opponent the CiC can also be deployed in the center, but is not ideal, because the wings risk to operate alone without any support, and due the irregular pips this can slow down an attack.
Cham is an army very fun to use, but a successful competition is dependant to some good luck.
These are the games played
Well, 75 points and third place is imho a huge achievement with this kind of army, having no luck of the draw. I never had an ally unreliable, but attacked all four games and my opponents chosed mostly bad battlefields for my army.
After four games I realized that Khmer is much more stronger army. Elephant armies need to defend to cover their flanks and channel the battle to use their behemots and possibly to have a steamroller approach against enemies, to put pressure all along the front, or can explot regular dice to push and manouver the elephant in action against elusive enemies. As example, Tamil and Malays have low of aggressivity and huge number of IBdF/IWbS to screen the elephants and attack along all the line. Chola and Khmer rely on regular commands to send the elephants in action, using the pips also for the infantry screen and support.
With Cham, apart the command structure issue, I often had the problem of having the light support troops exposed to enemy action in good going, and irregular pips unable to substain a pip intensive action for the elephants. It is a difficult army to use. The other side of the coin is that 3IElX are very fun to use, and that the combined psicological threat of 12 Elephants and artillery often make opponents waste huge amount of pips, arriving to paralize enemy action in some sectors.
I like elephant armies, and this one, even with some downsides, is interesting and fun to use. You should try it.