Nikaian Byzantine vs Ayyubid Egyptian

Being a Byzantine buff, I like to play armies like that. Nikaian has the interesting combination of western knights supported by skirmishers of good quality. Some friend of mine call it a "Lesser Hungarian". Basically the tactic resolve around a very simple concept: how deliver a powerful and decisive charge. This means manouver, screen the heavy cavalry, outflank, harass and disorder the enemy, attack hard and have reserves to fill gaps and keep on fighting.

In this game I faced an Ayyubid Egyptian army, a typical eastern outfit based on good quality Cv and Lh.

The Byzantine army in this kind of games needs some difficult going on the flanks, because it should avoid a running battle on flanks. Egyptian has a marked superiority in the Lh department, while the Byzantine edge is given by the Latinikon, that can bring havoc on enemy sipahis. So as attacker I put a 2FE marsh, that restricted a bit the battlefield. The Ayyubid kept the table as bare as possible, relying on its mounted arm. The enemy army deployed with the RCvS corps in reserve, screened by assorted skirmishers and medium cavalry.

I did the same, but kept part of the latinikon in column to manouver in the flanking areas if needed. I echeloned my corps to expose less the small CvI corps that was the pip dump.


The opening turn the Ayyubid reacted to my deployment moving his big ILhS command in a central position, while advancing on the right wing with its medium cavalry. The RCvS corps, with the lower pip die, simply went straight forward screened.

A good start with one flaw. The Egyptian left wing now was held by an handful of ILhO, and my RCvI could exploit this.


The Byzantine CvI corps on the left deployed in battle line, while the CiC Latinikon redeployed on the far right to engage enemy CvO.


The Egyptian sent its ILhS to the right to fight the Latinikon and help the RCvO, while all ILhO left tried to bolster the left wing. This left the RCvS in the center unsupported and without reserves, while facing the second Latinikon corps screened and supported.


The Nikaian now advanced on both wings to fix the enemy. The Ayyubid had a concentration of troops on the right, while on the left they were quite weakened.

Furthermore the byzantine had three corps deployed side by side, while the islamic front line was held by just two corps (once the RCvO would have retired through the ILhS), with the third acting as reserve. This could create problem in the brunt of fight. The RCvI with the general upfront attacked by march enemy LhO to pressure them and gain a tactical advantage on that flank.


More manouvering and adjustment. The Islamic now should have pushed forward the light infantry. In this kind of combat is very important to deliver the first charge, expecially if you rely on the feigned flight. The RCvS in the center was to take a knight charge and this is always extremely risky.


The Byzantine put up more screening advancing on the whole front. This was a measure to make a feigned flight dangerous, because two enemy corps would be exposed to retaliation with a huge gap in some part of the battle line. The left RCvI corps kept the attack, because the enemy ILhO engaged belonged to ILhS corps. This was an effective way to weaken a nasty and large enemy command.


Close up of the fighting between RCvI and ILhO. Byzantine needed to win there also to threaten RCvS flank that in that sector were facing Byzantine RCvO.


Once the Byzantine advanced their Kn in charge reach, the Egyptian was forced to charge. The attack was quite successful, but byzantine had reserves to fill gaps.


The byzantine look for overlaps, using the RBdO to screen the RCvO from sipahis charge


This is the Byzantine countercharge. All 12 RKnO enter combat, in the center engaging RCvS, on the right ILhS disordered by the previous combat round.

The Sipahis corps lost 4 RCvS to KnO in a series of 3-2 combats, while the turk command, already seriously weakened by the loss of 4 ILhO, went down making collapse all the army. Ayyubid army, broken by this charge, scored a 2-23.


What are the features of this game? The need to properly screen the better troops, and a balanced deployment for the combat. Looking at the last pictures, You could see that the RCvO is not engaged. In effect the fighting was 3 byzantine corps vs 2. This can work as long you can quickly withdraw from combat and send in reserves. Not easy though, if the enemy is mobile like you and you are fighting a low odds cavalry melee, with casualties that can mount rapidly.