We let the dice decide which of the 4 players teamed up, who got which army, first deployment and first move. This resulted in Tony and Chris taking the Mongols and Tim and I the Ottomans. The Ottomans deployed first and we used our greater numbers to stretch our force across the entire width of the battlefield – we were determined not to be outflanked! Tony and Chris deployed second and moved second. This meant that before the Mongols first tactical move our Ottomans had already advanced to secure the up slope stretching halfway across the table.
The first couple of tactical moves for both sides saw the small number of heavy cavalry units mostly accommodating a general, move positions within their own cavalry lines. The attack would come quickly, and the trick would be to make preparations in anticipation of this. Tony opened proceedings by pushing his Mongol light cavalry into shooting range of the extreme left wing of our line where 2 units of Akici cavalry were occupying a small area of woodland. Despite the extra A2 cover afforded by the wood hexes in the ensuing shooting phase managed to disrupt one unit and disrupt and recoil another.
Not wanting to despatch reserves from our centre left to exact some revenge, the few Mongol units were able to outshoot the other Ottoman mostly Sipahis units on that wing during the next shooting phase. Despite the small number of Mongols engaged in the attack I decided to ‘go nuclear’ and send one of our two Qapakulu heavy cavalry units plus a general across ‘to sort ‘em out!’ This was a mistake because in the Mongol’s next tactical movement phase more Mongol lights quickly arrived with heavy cavalry slowly following up. This resulted in the loss of the Qapakulu and a general despatched in the woodland of death!
This small skirmish on our extreme left had turned into a major confrontation. Tim suggested pulling the left wing back on itself. The alternative was to weaken our centre and right and throw more cavalry units into the fight. I had been planning to outflank the Mongol cavalry on the other wing in a swift and hopefully decisive right hook, but we didn’t have the forces necessary to both. Instead, we, or more accurately I, did neither and dithered in the belief that the main Mongol attack would still come in the centre where we enjoyed a numerical advantage. It never did!
The Mongol heavy cavalry and 2 generals were steadily and what you might call stealthily fed into the epic battle on our left. Too late I pulled units from the centre and left and because of the restricted space failed to construct a credible shooting line. The Ottoman greater numbers now counted for nought as the Mongols had established a very effective arc of light cavalry shooters! Ottoman casualties quickly mounted, and the ‘B’ class Mongols soon got the better of the ‘C’ class Ottomans, especially in the hand-to-hand confrontations. I looked to Chris to roll some lousy shooting dice for the Mongols to no avail. He scored well disrupting the Sipahis units charging into contact to try and save the day!
We continue the game for another couple of rounds of fighting, but the Ottomans had already lost the game with casualties massing on the side of the table.
My shooting dice had been pretty poor throughout, but this was really a lame excuse, because we had squandered our numerical advantage by letting the Mongols take the initiative and I was far too slow to respond. We had plenty of opportunity to launch a flank attack on the right and in so doing bring our greater number of bows into action. The Mongols used their speed of movement to good effect while our ‘fast boys’ through lack of decisive generalship, simply sat on their horses and watched events unfold.