An English Crusade

Our second game of the evening was an encounter between my Wars of the Roses English (IV/83a) and Robin’s Ottomans (IV/55a). Clearly the English were on a crusade likely in search of the Kingdom of Prester John.

Prester John as depicted in the chronicles of Hartmann Schedel (1493) – Public Domain.

It has been a long time since I’ve seen the Ottoman host deployed. As with all Robin’s armies they are well painted and based. However, I felt they would suffer badly against the English longbow. I envisaged a short game and one that was one sided. It transpired I couldn’t have been more wrong!

Below, the English left as it reacts to the Ottoman attack.

The Ottomans were to be well served by their aggressive commander and from the first moment seized and then held the initiative. The initial feint by a body of ghazi horse archers against the English right soon was replaced by a series of aggressive attacks on the English left by sipahis and additional ghazi. In support an aggressive pinning movement spearmen and azabs skirmishing archers occupied the English centre.

Above, the general situation just prior to the main attack. Below, a view from the English lines. The English mounted reserve is clearly visible mounted and is under command of Henry himself.

The pinning attacks on the English centre were arguably too aggressive and the Ottoman foot were cut down by English men at arms, billmen and archers. Yet the attack on the English left was being driven home with great determination.

Indeed, the English left was soon encircled and the attacked from the front, flank and rear. The attacks here were relentless. No sooner had one attack was beaten off another would come in.

Above, English gunnes are attacked from the rear and English archers from the flank. Below, Henry’s reserve is engaged by ghazi of the Ottoman centre. Henry is supported here by English billmen and in the distance by archers who have been attempting to drive off a body of ghazi.

Despite a series of complex Ottoman attacks the now isolated English units fought determinedly, their resolve unbroken. Slowly the English defenders reorganised and finally the Ottoman army, having been aggressive throughout, fell back.

No doubt the Sultan would be reforming for another attack on the infidel, but not it would seem tonight. The search for the Kingdom of Prester John could continue…

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