Later Bulgar vs Ottoman Turks
Later Bulgar is not rated as a top army, but every time I have used it I found the game interesting. The combination of mounted shock troops and skirmishers if well used can deal with every enemy. A plus of this army is the high morphing value, because the late Bulgar soldiers had armour and equipment very similar to Byzantines. Add some balkanic style light horse, like the ubiquitous cumans, and you have most of what you need.
This is the army list I used
My opponent choosed the Ottomans, so we played an historical game.
The picture is taken from the Bulgar side. I defended, and placed two small difficult hills on the outer sides. More centrally there were a brush hill (the green one, put by the Ottoman) and a gentle hill.
Placing first I made a simple plan. I deployed in line the Romanian Frank in the center, with a big light horse corps on its right and the Bulgar nobles on its left. On the far left another small light horse corps as flank guard. The idea was to charge hard with the frankish knights, supporting them with the bulgars. The KnF had to deliver the decisive charge, while the LhS would also infiltritate in difficult going if needed.
My opponent refused the frontal clash, deploying on the far side of the table, with Serbs and the janissary corps angled in a defensive position, and a manouver mass of Sipahis and Akjinis to outflank me. His army was completed by a pip dump corps made by the baggage guards.
His plan was sound except that his army organization didn't allow this kind of game. The Serb cannot be used alone on a wing, they risk too much to be outflanked. They had a side protected by an orchard, but rolling 1 pip would ruin the plan forcing them to advance. Personally with such an organization, I would use the Serbs in the center, supported and protected by the rest of the Ottomans
By the way I had to manouver a lot to grasp the enemy and avoid being surrounded. Things could be dangerous for me.
First turn. No weather and no night. I had excellent pips and used the small Lh corps to close the gap that Ottomans wanted to use. My CiC command formed column and marched to deploy there. I made a mistake, marching too close to enemy. I should have used a route closer to my table edge.
The Franks and the large LhS corps wheeled and targeted the enemy.
The Ottoman reacted slowly, advancing some troops.
The second turn I kept advancing on the right, detaching a 4 ILhS column that can be seen behind the main line to go to bolster the franks and eventually enter the BH.
I withdrew the small Lh corps on the left to make room to the noble column. This was a critical point, an aggressive enemy could really create havoc, but my opponent limited to send some skirmishers column in the terrain to own the flanks
Again with good pips, I detached 2 LhS from the noble column and attacked the enemy psiloi in the BH before they could deploy. I started to infiltrate too the orchard on the Serb flank. At worst this would have costed pips to the janissary corps, not on higher pip dice, to send there reserves.
Exactly at the worst time, Serb rolled 1 pip and advanced in the middle of my Lh horde. The Ottoman lost the psiloi on the brush hill and sent there and to the orchard some reserves. Finally he attacked the head of my column with his Lh, still keeping back the ICvO
On th left a confused melee started. with losses for both. The franks advanced in charge reach surviving the arrows barrage, while the Serbs lost two elements going disheartened.
The Franks and the Bulgar nobles charged together. This was wrong, but the fight in the brush hill forced me to committ too many LhS and this left the knight F without a screen. My LhS small corps was only lightly engaged, so I did something wrong there. The Bulgar charge was unsuccesfull and my CiC corps losses where half element away from being disheartened.
The Franks trampled the enemy, that had the janissary and the Serbs broken.
My opponent tried to kill more enemy elements as possible to at least dishearten the CiC corps but failed, and on the turn after my LhS swarmed the brush hill causing more casualties and breaking the enemy army. 23-2.
I made several mistakes in this game. Set up apart, the left wing managemnt was badly done, and just the passive stance of th Ottomans saved me. Neverless, there I was close to lose a big command. The army performed much better on the other wing, where coordination between Franks and Bulgar LhS was excellent.
My opponent plan was good in theory, but not well suited to the army he played. Above all, a defensive tactic can be a sound one, but not when giving up aggressive spirit and losing golden opportunities to damage the enemy.