What you didn't like in the series or what it lacks?/Excessive Segue of Calvalry

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« Reply #15 on: May 14, 2013, 11:24:12 pm »
Quote from: Callan S.
I would have thought the skin spy would simply fake laughter so as to appear to join in? Heck, humans do that!

Interesting if their emotional mimicry involves it having to make sense to them. Makes it somewhat personal to them, rather than Kellhus's various masks. Makes a skin spy somewhat honest.

Quote from: Curethan
Akka's morning apocalypse.
Oh, the horror.
Or Esme liking to make cock jokes, comes to mind.

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« Reply #16 on: May 14, 2013, 11:24:27 pm »
Quote from: Bakker User
From the little I know of ancient/medieval warfare, cavalry never really (as a common tactic) attacked a - any - prepared body of infantry from the front, as to do so was nearly assured destruction. As it so happens, cavalry aren't really a counter to infantry like the RPS mechanic used in some computer games. Especially given that many troops in this time period were spearmen...

Even shock cavalry, even heavily armored cataphracts, would hesitate to do such a thing. Their role was mostly to charge at the flanks or rear to demoralize an already engaged, tired, and/or demoralized enemy. Only the most brittle troops could be expected to crumple immediately under a frontal charge from cavalry. Hell, not to mention the lack of stirrups in the real-old days, or the tendentious fact of equine skittishness at trampling men or approaching massed bodies of men at high speed.

With the later Medieval times - I know very little here - I figure it was that the European knights had full-body armor that was anyway of unprecedented strength, and hey, AFAIK their frontal charges generally ended in bloody failure except specifically when running into untrained and poorly-armed peasant levies; it's my impression that such infantry were predominant in much of Europe throughout the Middle Ages, due to the expense of raising professional bodies of well-equipped infantry that could not be met by the fragmentary statelets common to the period.

In the PoN battle scenes, we see the heavily cavalry-based Fanim making frontal charges against decked-out men-at-arms, and they're mostly light cavalry, right? The Inrithi cavalry does charge in at - Mengedda? - but that's at least got a point to it, in advancing Kellhus in rank and highlighting the folly of the reckless Holy-War commanders. The only real subversion of this error - and I consider it to be one - would be when Kascamandri's elite cavalry "forget their blood" in a frontal charge outside Shimeh, and even that is attributable to plain-old Inrithi zeal.

Early modern: I know pretty much nothing at all, but I figure 18th c. or Napoleonic front-line infantry had only cloth uniforms and bayonets (and perhaps personal daggers?)  to protect against shock cavalry having loosed their volley.

Bottom-line: only a lunatic would back in the day have ordered any type of cavalry to charge a dense, prepared, heavily armed-and-armored body of men (and in high spirits) with the intent of breaking them; cavalry aren't lawnmower-like slaughter machines, but a precarious combat-arm with serious vulnerabilities and heavily circumscribed contextual utility.

I suppose though someone more familiar with the scenes in question and/or the character of period warfare could pick apart my contentions. But I anticipate any charge that I'm committing the fallacy of demanding historicity from the wrong genre with.. well, I don't know, but it just ain't kosher.

For me at least it is more enjoyable to see the mechanics of warfare done right. Certainly, Bakker seems to handle the logistics of war and its consequences accurately and effectively. Surely historicity or even reflection of basic physical reality (that isn't explicitly stated to be divergent) isn't so modular as to allow this fine a pick-n-choose? Could we accept a novel that reflected ancient agricultural practice and reality very well, only to suddenly depict an explicitly Arctic civilization bringing in three harvests over a familiar Earth year - with the same old-school technology as everyone else?

Perhaps a better way to articulate it: if one utilizes a particular set of physical conditions in one's world-building, one must accept the necessary consequences. Otherwise, what makes the cavalry of Earwa  so special that everything but them works as it would have in an Earthen past?

Gah, surely someone can see what I'm saying?

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« Reply #17 on: May 14, 2013, 11:24:35 pm »
Quote from: coobek
I am not familiar with the Antique calvalery operation. I think most of the wars then were fought on foot via Hipolites or Legionaries. Possibly with the use of chariots in Persia.

Regarding the Heavy and Medium Heavy cavalery you are not right that the frontal charge was not something considered. For example for the most effective cavlery formation of its age Polish Hussars it was THE method which allowed them to win on ongoing basis being outnumbered 5:1 against Swedish 'modern' infantry blocks as well as Russian and Turkish infrantry/cavalery armies.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Polish_hussars

Regarding the Medieval Cavalery. Their Charge power was basicly broken with the advent of Lancknecht around 1400's in Switzerland/Germany and the giant blocks of professional infrantry with mixed crossbow/muskeeters and pike/halaberd/doublehanded sword infrantrymen. Not to mention the ingenious tactics of Hussites in Chech Kingdom http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jan_%C5%BDi%C5%BEka. So they evolved into support unit.

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« Reply #18 on: May 14, 2013, 11:24:41 pm »
Quote from: Curethan
Alexander was a big fan of cavalry charges.

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« Reply #19 on: May 14, 2013, 11:24:46 pm »
Quote from: Bakker User
Quote from: coobek
I think most of the wars then were fought on foot via Hipolites or Legionaries. Possibly with the use of chariots in Persia.

Not really...

Quote
I think most of the wars then were fought on foot via Hipolites or Legionaries. Possibly with the use of chariots in Persia.

As I said, I can't speak confidently for the early modern period, but the armor and armament of typical infantry was quite different to what was typical 1500 or even 500 years earlier; thus, they were more vulnerable to shock cavalry.

Quote from: coobek
Regarding the Medieval Cavalery. Their Charge power was basicly broken with the advent of Lancknecht around 1400's in Switzerland/Germany and the giant blocks of professional infrantry with mixed crossbow/muskeeters and pike/halaberd/doublehanded sword infrantrymen. Not to mention the ingenious tactics of Hussites in Chech Kingdom http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jan_%C5%BDi%C5%BEka. So they evolved into support unit.

Seems to be in accord with:

Quote from: Bakker User
except specifically when running into untrained and poorly-armed peasant levies; it's my impression that such infantry were predominant in much of Europe throughout the Middle Ages, due to the expense of raising professional bodies of well-equipped infantry that could not be met by the fragmentary statelets common to the period.

Quote from: Curethan
Alexander was a big fan of cavalry charges.

See:

Quote from: Bakker User
Their role was mostly to charge at the flanks or rear to demoralize an already engaged, tired, and/or demoralized enemy.

Don't forget, it's "Hammer and Anvil", not "Hammer-Hammer-Hammer"

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« Reply #20 on: May 14, 2013, 11:24:52 pm »
Quote from: coobek
Depends how you define Antic period. But still I believe that the main forces of Greeks & Romans were infrantrymen. Indeed I missed the Alex the Great campaigns. He certainly did fight offensive war and claiming huge parts of territory wiothout the cavalry was impossible.

Medieval knights often fought not the infrantry but a similary host of cavalry as the peasant infrantry was no match for them, indeed. Interesting enough that with honor bound knights, taking the hostages being more profitable than killing them, and a very good armor often times the battles between two knight armies on horseback ended up with minimal kill rate.

The charge in flanks role was again for support cavalry (as even the Heavy Cavalry became support in later ages) units and light cavalry. Certainly it was not preffered tactics in medival or later times vide Hussars. Thats why the primary weapon was the Lance.

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« Reply #21 on: May 14, 2013, 11:24:57 pm »
Quote from: Curethan
I don't really remember the scenes, man. 
Charges could indicate charging across the lines for position or raking with mounted bowmen.
Or they could be charging units from flanks after they are already engaged with the conscript levies.
I dunno.
Both sides had cavalry units so it makes sense for them to charge around the battlefield.

Alexander's cavalry charge against the greek mercenary phalanx was descisive at Issus, and heavy cavalry charges were the critical maneuvers at Gaugamela where the Companians formed the centre (although the left was refused).

Quote from: Warfare in the Classical World.  -J Warry
Alexander himself led one squadron (ile) of the Companion cavalry (hetairoi) and a study of his tactics at once highlights the importance of Macedonian cavalry as shock assault troops.
...
The main instrument of attack was the Companion heavy cavalry; the attack was made on the flank, while the phalanx barred the enemy's advance in the centre and the lighter cavalry on the left wing guarded the phalanx itself from being outflanked.

As you say though, hammer and anvil.  Happy to revisit the scenes with a more critical eye if you want to point them out.

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« Reply #22 on: May 14, 2013, 11:25:04 pm »
Quote from: Madness
Big +1 one... Wow on the last couple posts. For my meager offering:

I'll ignore Chariots.

Successful Cavalry envelopment by Greeks vs. Persians, Marathon, 490 BC.

Cavalry vs. Cavalry, Spartans vs. Thebans, Leuctra, 371 BC - Defintely, hammer and anvil though the Spartans break before Theban's have a chance, and Theban Cavalry is used to run down retreating forces.

Cavalry vs. Cavalry, Macedonians vs. Persians, Granicus River, 334 B  - Cavalry are standard on the left and right flanks, respectively. Alexander leads the charge himself, loses his sarissa (cavalry lance) early, and backs their horse with infantry.

Cavalry vs. Mixed forces, Macedonians vs. Persians, Banks of the Pinarus, 333 BC (Issus as Curethan mentioned) - Alexander charges the lines, successfully crushes the Persian left.

... Alexander main forces are horseman and traditionally he's using them for flanking and run-downs, as you good people have all highlighted.

Cataphract (Archer-Cavalry) vs. Mixed forces, Parthians vs. Romans, Carrhae 53BC - Used like the Scylvendi seemed to use their Horseman at Kiyuth, approached the lines, pull back at an arc and harass the lines with arrows.

Cavalry vs. Infantry, Romans vs. Gauls, Alesia 52 BC - obviously, at some point, these horsemen need to engage the line, once the Gauls forced from the town - a little history of subjection, the Gauls push the woman and children out of the fortified town of Alesia and make them to camp between them and Ceaser's forts... to save food. Imagine Bakker had included something like that.

Cavalry vs. Mixed Forces, Goths vs. Romans Adrianople 378 - Mostly, flanking tactics but again, Cavalry would've had to engage Infantry lines on a couple of occasions in the battle.

+1 for Discussion. Certainly, there are examples when Cavalry have to engage a static line of Infantry or Mixed forces, neh?

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« Reply #23 on: May 14, 2013, 11:25:11 pm »
Quote from: Bakker User
Quote from: coobek
Depends how you define Antic period. But still I believe that the main forces of Greeks & Romans were infrantrymen. Indeed I missed the Alex the Great campaigns. He certainly did fight offensive war and claiming huge parts of territory wiothout the cavalry was impossible.

Medieval knights often fought not the infrantry but a similary host of cavalry as the peasant infrantry was no match for them, indeed. Interesting enough that with honor bound knights, taking the hostages being more profitable than killing them, and a very good armor often times the battles between two knight armies on horseback ended up with minimal kill rate.

The charge in flanks role was again for support cavalry (as even the Heavy Cavalry became support in later ages) units and light cavalry. Certainly it was not preffered tactics in medival or later times vide Hussars. Thats why the primary weapon was the Lance.

Alright, I see what you were saying before, but in this formulation, the answer is "depends on who you're talking about". In West Asia, there was a much higher focus on the cavalry arm. As for chariots, by the end of the Bronze Age they were basically for show everywhere outside the British Isles AFAIK. Ceremonial usage...

Light cavalry did not really charge at all. Rather, they cast missiles at the enemy harried routers and light infantry, etc. But light cavalry charging spearmen? That's like an APC running over an AT-mine to disable it. The only exception I can think of is Cannae and Zama, and those were charges from the rear against totally unsuspecting infantry. Hence my point.

@ Madness: Probably (to your closer), but it's certainly not something preferred or institutionalized. I notice that you mentioned Carrhae: note the typical semi-nomad MO of weakening with arrow volleys before making a single charge to break. Had the Parthian horsemen charged the legionaries from the front at the outset, before they were depleted and exhausted, and committed to a prolonged melee, they would certainly have taken severe casualties - and perhaps lost the battle.

So let me reiterate my core contention - no cavalry can charge heavy infantry formations from the front with intent to engage in protracted melee and survive. The tight order of the opposing infantry, their armor, their weapons, their preparedness, their elan, etc. You have to think about this in physical terms. Let's say we've got heavy lancers like cataphracts, charging into a phalanx. Only the first few ranks of the cavalry can make the impact (or else the rear would slaughter the front), so there needs to be a wide formation, perhaps so wide as to bar any friendly infantry from engaging at the same time, creating an immediate front-wide numerical disadvantage. A deep formation would further block any retreat - it's a bottleneck. But now let's talk about the melee - once the charge is made, the lances will mostly have been ruined, so the secondary weapon - sabre or longsword, typically - must be equipped. The cavalry will have to get in amongst the infantry. Now, cavalry like routing infantry or loose enemy formations because it allows the cavalry to take advantage of their greatest asset - mobility. In such a formation, the infantry are confused and horsemen may come at them from multiple directions at once, and so work together to bring them down etc. This is also a very demoralizing position and could evoke a rout in a loose formation or utterly panic already routed troops. But against a tight formation, a handful of horsemen are bearing down on multiple enemies at once, who can lend each other mutual support (while crowded cavalry interfere with each other at a lower density)... (Don't underestimate, by the way, the morale boost from standing shoulder-to-shoulder with your comrades.) Let's say, hwoever, that a few of  the horsemen break through the line -  then what? The first couple of ranks of infantry were brought low in the charge, but since here we're assuming that they didn't rout or break formation, we can be sure that multiple ranks remain behind the penetration. So now a handful of horsemen find themselves with enemy infantry on three sides. (Don't forget that a horse (especially one without stirrups) is an unstable fighting platform.) How long before they are pulled down, stabbed through the thigh ,or whatever? Seconds...

[break]

And let me elaborate on horses: horses, even those bred for war (which by the way are so expensive as to make commanders VERY reluctant to commit them freely and without regard to context), are skittish animals that don't like to be hemmed in at all sides, and don't like to trample humanoids, and don't like the smell of blood and shit, and don't like the screams and clash of metal common to battle, and don't like to be wounded, and are quickly exhausted carrying a man in full accouterments of war (triply so for heavy cavalry, whose horses are themselves pimped out with armor, and whose riders wear...)

[break]

So we see that a handful of horsemen in protracted melee against infantry in close order - let alone heavy infantry - are really no match. This hasn't even mentioned the weapons of most infantry historically, which would have been spears. With spears, it's a sad story indeed. The infantry now outrange the blade-wielding cavalry, and may easily keep them at bay. Even if a spear can't pierce the armor of the heaviest cavalry with a mere overhand thrust, it can still frighten the horsemen, disorientate him, or even knock him off the horse itself! CLOSE-ORDER infantry fighting blade-wielding cavalry directly ahead of them with spears - must I repeat it?

(click to show/hide)

@Curethan: I see your Warry quote explicitly mentions flanking. ;)

I'll bring up the passages for Mengedda in a little later, and we could make a case study out if it. Sure. For now, though, it's really important to pin down precisely what my position is. Please, if it's pellucid to you what I'm trying to get across (and thus the specific constraints of my argument), I think you'll find very little objectionable in it!

Edit: Addendum on light cavalry - I think I mentioned that these were mostly used to skirmish and harry, right? To elaborate: they often served as mobile missile platforms, carrying especially javelins though on occasion bows (though this was a mostly Eastern equipage)...

Addendum 2 - Medium and light cavalry weren't even usually used to charge flanks/rears because the enemy cavalry had to be taken into consideration. It was like MAD, in that cavalry were on the flanks to defend the friendly flanks from the enemy cavalry and skirmishers/light infantry! So unless an opportunity opened, cavalry were often merely engaging other cavalry or used in a purely defensive role. This would have been especially true in Western Europe, which did not have superb cavalry-rearing land or even all that much clear space to fight in.

Caveat - Most of the applies to antiquity, though not strictly I'm sure. Though tactics, armament, armor, the nature of infantry, etc. must have changed, the physical reality of cavalry caught up in the midst of well-armed and armored infantry (close-order) would have not.

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« Reply #24 on: May 14, 2013, 11:25:27 pm »
Quote from: Bakker User
It's difficult for me to write at essay-length, and I've very nearly exhausted my knowledge of cavalry warfare, so please recognize the internal limits (limits, not limitations!) of my argument on the role and capabilities of cavalry.

And please read the edits, anyone who's arrived early!

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« Reply #25 on: May 14, 2013, 11:25:33 pm »
Quote from: Curethan
I'm not really arguing with you, just bringing more info about ancient cavalry charges ;)

They were always charging about for tactical reasons - countercharges, screening, bowfire and the like.

Didn't really think there was much in PON about infantry/cavalry roles and equipment but I might have glossed over it

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« Reply #26 on: May 14, 2013, 11:25:38 pm »
Quote from: Madness
I think we're all just adding stuff in at this point.

Is there some kind of [golf-clap][/golf-clap] sound code on here? Way to be, Bakker User. Love it.

So to balance perspectives (I'm skipping Kiyuth because the portrayal of the Scylvendi Cavalry seems legit):

"Morning broke, and rough Galeoth and Tydonni horns pealed through the clear air, sounding, at the moment of their highest pitch, like a woman’s shriek.

The call to battle.

...

Despite thousands of Fanim horsemen and dozens of small pitched battles, the day previous had witnessed the reunion of the Galeoth, Tydonni, and Thunyeri hosts in the hill country to the immediate north of the Battleplain.

...

 To the northeast, they could shelter their flank behind a series of salt marshes, whereas to the west, they could depend on the hills. A shallow ravine, guttered by a stream that fed the marshes, wound the entire length, from flank to flank. Here they had planned to draw up the common line. Its slopes were too shallow to break any charge, but it would force the heathen to scramble through the muck.

...

Cursing, thundering commands, the Earls and Thanes of the Middle-North managed to draw up their thousands along the ravine’s northern edge. The stream had already become a black, muddy basin, pocked and clotted with deep hoof-prints. On the ravine’s southern edge, before the massed lines of footmen, the Inrithi knights milled in great clots.

...

Taking the dawn as their armature, the Kianene rode out to answer them. They were a race born to the fierce sun, not to clouds and gloomy forests as the Norsirai, and it seemed to bless them with glory. Sunlight flashed across silvered battlecaps. The silk sleeves of their khalats glimmered, transformed their lines into a many-coloured horizon. Behind them the air resounded with pounding drums.

...

Despite their best efforts, it remained uneven, the ranks painfully shallow in some places, and pointlessly deep in others.

...

The Kianene drew closer, encompassing the grey-green plain, endless thousands of approaching horsemen — far more, it seemed, than the Inrithi leaders had supposed. Their drums thundered out across the open spaces, throbbing through an ocean of rumbling sound. The Galeoth longbowmen, Agmundrmen from the northern marches primarily, raised their yew bows and released. For a moment the sky was thatched, and a thin shadow plunged into the advancing heathen line — to little effect. The Fanim were closer now, and the Inrithi could see the polished bone of their bows, the iron points of their lances, their wide-sleeved coats fluttering in the breeze.

...

Crying “Glory to the God!” Athjeäri and his thanes broke ranks, crouching forward on their mounts, slowly dipping their lances. More Houses abandoned the line and pounded toward the Kianene: Wanhail, Anfirig, Werijen Greatheart, and then old Gothyelk himself, bellowing, “Heaven wills it!” Like an avalanche, House after House followed, until almost all the mail-clad might of the Middle-North cantered out to greet their foe.

From a trot the massive warhorses were urged to a slow gallop. Nesting thrushes took flight, burst slapping into the sky. Everything became breath and iron, the rumble of brothers before, behind, and to the side. Then, like a cloud of locusts, arrows swept among them. There was a hellish racket punctuated by screaming horses and astonished shouts. Warhorses toppled and thrashed, yanking knights to the ground, breaking backs, crushing legs.

Then the madness fell away. Once again it was the pure thunder of the charge. The strange camaraderie of men bent to a single, fatal purpose. Hummocks, scrub, and the bones of the Vulgar Holy War’s dead rushed beneath. The wind bled through chain links, tousled Thunyeri braids and Tydonni crests. Bright banners slapped against the sky. The heathen, wicked and foul, drew closer, ever closer. One last storm of arrows, these ones almost horizontal to the ground, punching against shield and armour. Some were struck from their saddles. Tongue tips were bitten off in the concussion of the fall. The unhorsed arched across the turf, screamed and swatted at the sky. Wounded mounts danced in frothing circles nearby. The rest thundered on, over grasses, through patches of blooming milkwort waving in the wind. They couched their lances, twenty thousand men draped in great mail hauberks over thick felt, with coifs across their faces and helms that swept down to their cheeks, riding chargers caparisoned in mail or iron plates. The fear dissolved into drunken speed, into the momentum, became so mingled with exhilaration as to be indistinguishable from it. They were addicted to the charge, the Men of the Tusk. Everything focused into the glittering tip of a lance. The target nearer, nearer...

The rumble of hooves and drums drowned their kinsmen’s song. They crashed through a thin screen of sumac... Saw eyes whiten in sudden terror.

Then impact. The jarring splinter of wood as lances speared through shield, through armour. Suddenly the ground became still and solid beneath them, and the air rang with wails and shouts. Hands drew sword and axe. Everywhere figures grappled and hacked. Horses reared. Blades pitched blood into the sky.

And the Kianene fell, undone by their ferocity, crumpling beneath northern hands, dying beneath pale faces and merciless blue eyes. The heathen recoiled from the slaughter — and fled.

The Galeoth, the Tydonni, and the Thunyeri raised a mighty shout and spurred after them. But the Shrial Knights reined to a stop, seemed to mill in confusion.

The Inrithi knights spurred their warhorses, but the Fanim outdistanced them, peppered them with arrows as they fled. Suddenly they dissolved into an advancing tide of heathen horsemen, more heavily armoured. The two great lines crashed. Several desperate moments ensued.

...

Their enemy was everywhere, before them, beside them, sweeping in on their flanks. Massive cohorts wheeled in the near distance, charged them from behind. Splendid in their silk khalats and golden corselets, the Grandees of Gedea and Shigek yet again assailed the iron men.

Beset on all sides, the Men of the Tusk died. Taken in the back by lances. Jerked by hooks from their saddles and ridden down. Pick-like axes punched through heavy hauberks. Arrows dropped proud warhorses. Dying men cried to their wives, their Gods. Familiar voices pierced the cacophony. A cousin. A mead-friend. A brother or father, shrieking.

...

Through the din, the Earls and Thanes of the Middle-North could hear horns desperately signalling retreat, but there was nowhere to withdraw. Jeering masses of heathen horsemen swirled about them, peppering them with arrows, rolling back their flanks, shrugging away their disjointed countercharges. Everywhere they looked, they saw the silken standards of the Fanim, stitched in gold, bearing strange animal devices. And the endless, unearthly drums pounded out the rhythm of their dying.

Then suddenly, impossibly, the Kianene divisions blocking their retreat scattered, and lines of white-clad Shrial Knights swept into their midst, crying, “Flee, brothers. Flee!”

Panicked knights galloped, ran, or stumbled toward their countrymen. Bloodied bands tumbled through the ravine, careened into their own men. The Shrial Knights fought on for several moments, then wheeled, racing back, pursued by masses of heathen horsemen — a howling rush of lances, shields, dark faces, and frothing horses, as wide as the horizon. Limping across the Battleplain, hundreds of wounded were cut down within throwing distance of the common line. The Men of the Tusk could only watch, aghast. Their song was dead. They could hear only drums, pounding, pounding, pounding...

Dread and the heathen were upon them.

“We had them... Had them!” Saubon screamed, spitting blood.

Gotian seized him by both shoulders. “You had nothing, fool. Nothing! You knew the rule! When you break them, return to the line!”

After he’d skidded through the muck of the stream and pressed his way through the ranks, Gotian had sought out the Galeoth Prince, but had found a raving lunatic in his stead.

“But we had them!” Saubon cried" (TWP, p148-156)

"Great tides of Fanim lancers, countless thousands of them, crashed into the Inrithi line — and were stopped dead. Galeoth and Tydonni pikemen gutted their horses. Tattooed Nangaels from Ce Tydonn’s northern marches cudgelled the fallen in the mud. Agmundrmen punched arrows through shield and corselet with their deadly yew bows. Auglishmen from the deep forests of Thunyerus broke ranks when the Fanim fled, hurling hatchets that buzzed like dragonflies.

At other points along the ravine, leather-armoured cohorts of Fanim swept parallel to the Inrithi ranks, loosing arrows and taunts, tossing the heads of those caste-nobles who’d fallen in the first charge. The Northmen would hunch beneath their kite shields, weather the barrage, and then, to the dismay of the heathen, throw those selfsame heads back at them.

Soon the Fanim began flinching from sections of the Inrithi line.

...

To the northeast, where the common line trailed into the salt marshes, the Padirajah’s son, Crown Prince Fanayal, led the Coyauri, his father’s elite heavy cavalry, against the Cuarwishmen of Ce Tydonn, who had crowded into the ranks of their neighbours to the west and were caught scrambling back to their positions ... [but] the Fanim, without the open ground their tactics favoured, were driven back with atrocious losses.

Heartened by this success, Prince Saubon of Galeoth mustered those knights still mounted, and the Inrithi began, with more and more confidence, answering Fanim assaults with countercharges. They would crash into the seemingly amorphous masses, the Fanim would melt, then they would race to evade the darting masses trying to envelop their flanks. Breathless, they would tumble back into the common line, lances broken, swords notched, ranks thinned. Saubon himself lost three horses. Earl Othrain of Numaineiri was carried back by his household, mortally wounded. He soon joined his dead son.

...

The Fanim withdrew and reformed, and the Men of the Tusk raised a ragged cheer. Many infantrymen, suffocated by the heat, dashed into the corpse-strewn ravine and doused their heads with bloody and fouled water. Many others fell to their knees and shook, wracked by silent sobs. Body-slaves, priests, wives, and harlots walked among the men, salving wounds, offering water or beer to the common soldiers and wine to the caste-nobles. Small hymns were raised among pockets of exhausted warriors. Officers bawled commands, enlisting hundreds to hammer broken pikes, spears, even shards of wood to spike the incline before their lines.

Word arrived that the heathen had sent divisions of horsemen north into the hills in a bid to outflank the Inrithi position, where, anticipated by Prince Saubon, they had been utterly undone by the tactics and valour of Earl Athjeäri and his Gaenrish knights. More cheers swept through the common line, and for a short time, they waxed louder than the incessant thunder of Fanim drums.

...

Then Skauras raised a hand, and the drums resumed their implacable throbbing. The Fanim began advancing along the entirety of their line. The Men of the Tusk fell silent, butted their pikes and squared their shields with those of their neighbours. It was beginning again.

Trailing clouds of dust, the Kianene ponderously gathered speed. As though counting drumbeats, the forward ranks lowered their lances in unison, urged their horses to gallop. With a piercing cry, they threw themselves at the Inrithi, while mounted archers swept to either side, showering the Northmen with arrows. They came crashing in successive waves, deeper and more numerous than in the morning. Entire companies were sacrificed for mere lengths of earth.

...

At several points, the common line wavered, broke...

Then, as though stepping out of the blinding sun, the Cishaurim revealed themselves.

...

They walked to elude the companies of crossbowmen they knew the Inrithi kept behind their lines, armed with the Tears of God. Not one among their number could be risked, not with the Scarlet Spires girding for war — not for any reason. They were Cishaurim, Indara’s Waterbearers and their breath was more precious than the breath of thousands. They were oases among men.

...

Amid the tumult, Crown Prince Fanayal and his Coyauri fled the ravine, the Shrial Knights pursuing them through billowing dust and smoke — or so it seemed to all who watched. At first, the Fanim could scarce credit their eyes. Many cried out, not in fear or dismay, but in wonder at the deranged ferocity of the idolaters. When Fanayal wheeled away, Incheiri Gotian, some four thousand Shrial Knights massed behind him, continued galloping forward, crying — weeping — “The God wills it!” They scattered across the Battleplain, unbloodied save for the morning’s first disastrous charge, hurtling through the grasses, crouched low out of terror, crying out their fury, their defiance. They charged the fourteen Cishaurim, drove their mounts into the hellish lights that unspooled from their brows" (p157-167).

I'd say Bakker hasn't deviated from what we've highlighted here. I left in the part where Saubon makes a mistake committing to a charge and is beset on all sides, exactly like Bakker User described.

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« Reply #27 on: May 14, 2013, 11:26:10 pm »
Quote from: Curethan
Thanks for posting that, Madness.
Seems legit, I'll comment more later.

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« Reply #28 on: May 14, 2013, 11:26:15 pm »
Quote from: Bakker User
Quote
The Kianene drew closer, encompassing the grey-green plain, endless thousands of approaching horsemen — far more, it seemed, than the Inrithi leaders had supposed. Their drums thundered out across the open spaces, throbbing through an ocean of rumbling sound. The Galeoth longbowmen, Agmundrmen from the northern marches primarily, raised their yew bows and released. For a moment the sky was thatched, and a thin shadow plunged into the advancing heathen line — to little effect. The Fanim were closer now, and the Inrithi could see the polished bone of their bows, the iron points of their lances, their wide-sleeved coats fluttering in the breeze.

The Kianene are mostly horse-archers.

Quote
Crying “Glory to the God!” Athjeäri and his thanes broke ranks, crouching forward on their mounts, slowly dipping their lances. More Houses abandoned the line and pounded toward the Kianene: Wanhail, Anfirig, Werijen Greatheart, and then old Gothyelk himself, bellowing, “Heaven wills it!” Like an avalanche, House after House followed, until almost all the mail-clad might of the Middle-North cantered out to greet their foe.

Many horsemen on the side of the Inrithi.

Quote
twenty thousand men draped in great mail hauberks over thick felt

They wear mail.

Quote
Then impact. The jarring splinter of wood as lances speared through shield, through armour. Suddenly the ground became still and solid beneath them, and the air rang with wails and shouts. Hands drew sword and axe. Everywhere figures grappled and hacked. Horses reared. Blades pitched blood into the sky.

The impact of the Inrithi initial charge upon the enemy. Note the switch to secondary weapons. Generally seems plausible, but I'm not sure it's clear whom they are fighting. Are these still the Fanim horse-archers, or are they infantry? Probably still the horse-archers, but still...

Quote
The Inrithi knights spurred their warhorses, but the Fanim outdistanced them, peppered them with arrows as they fled.

Yeah, OK, fine.

Quote
Suddenly they dissolved into an advancing tide of heathen horsemen, more heavily armoured. The two great lines crashed. Several desperate moments ensued.

Inrithi horsemen engaged by Fanim counterparts, who are heavily-armored lancers.

Quote
Great tides of Fanim lancers, countless thousands of them, crashed into the Inrithi line — and were stopped dead. Galeoth and Tydonni pikemen gutted their horses. Tattooed Nangaels from Ce Tydonn’s northern marches cudgelled the fallen in the mud. Agmundrmen punched arrows through shield and corselet with their deadly yew bows. Auglishmen from the deep forests of Thunyerus broke ranks when the Fanim fled, hurling hatchets that buzzed like dragonflies.

So this is precisely the sort of charge I spoke out against. Note that some of the Inrithi are pikemen. Pikemen are practically purpose-built to the elimination of cavalry! Could the Fanim really have been so stupid?

A positive, I suppose, is that they were indeed "stopped dead".

Quote
At other points along the ravine, leather-armoured cohorts of Fanim swept parallel to the Inrithi ranks, loosing arrows and taunts, tossing the heads of those caste-nobles who’d fallen in the first charge. The Northmen would hunch beneath their kite shields, weather the barrage, and then, to the dismay of the heathen, throw those selfsame heads back at them.

Fanim horse-archers again, firing at heavy infantry (note kite shields).

Quote
Soon the Fanim began flinching from sections of the Inrithi line.

As well they should.

Quote
the Coyauri, his father’s elite heavy cavalry, against the Cuarwishmen of Ce Tydonn, who had crowded into the ranks of their neighbours to the west and were caught scrambling back to their positions ... [but] the Fanim, without the open ground their tactics favoured, were driven back with atrocious losses.

Alright.

Quote
Heartened by this success, Prince Saubon of Galeoth mustered those knights still mounted, and the Inrithi began, with more and more confidence, answering Fanim assaults with countercharges. They would crash into the seemingly amorphous masses, the Fanim would melt, then they would race to evade the darting masses trying to envelop their flanks. Breathless, they would tumble back into the common line, lances broken, swords notched, ranks thinned. Saubon himself lost three horses. Earl Othrain of Numaineiri was carried back by his household, mortally wounded. He soon joined his dead son.

Yeah.

Quote
The Fanim withdrew and reformed, and the Men of the Tusk raised a ragged cheer. Many infantrymen, suffocated by the heat, dashed into the corpse-strewn ravine and doused their heads with bloody and fouled water. Many others fell to their knees and shook, wracked by silent sobs. Body-slaves, priests, wives, and harlots walked among the men, salving wounds, offering water or beer to the common soldiers and wine to the caste-nobles. Small hymns were raised among pockets of exhausted warriors. Officers bawled commands, enlisting hundreds to hammer broken pikes, spears, even shards of wood to spike the incline before their lines.

Cool.

Quote
Then Skauras raised a hand, and the drums resumed their implacable throbbing. The Fanim began advancing along the entirety of their line. The Men of the Tusk fell silent, butted their pikes and squared their shields with those of their neighbours. It was beginning again.

Oh no.

Quote
Trailing clouds of dust, the Kianene ponderously gathered speed. As though counting drumbeats, the forward ranks lowered their lances in unison, urged their horses to gallop. With a piercing cry, they threw themselves at the Inrithi, while mounted archers swept to either side, showering the Northmen with arrows. They came crashing in successive waves, deeper and more numerous than in the morning. Entire companies were sacrificed for mere lengths of earth.

The Fanim are getting slaughtered? Makes sense.

Quote
At several points, the common line wavered, broke...

Mrhmpm... but I suppose these could be the points at which the line was "painfully thin", so I'll accept it.

Quote
They walked to elude the companies of crossbowmen they knew the Inrithi kept behind their lines, armed with the Tears of God. Not one among their number could be risked, not with the Scarlet Spires girding for war — not for any reason. They were Cishaurim, Indara’s Waterbearers and their breath was more precious than the breath of thousands. They were oases among men.

That's pretty metal.

Oh yeah, so the Holy War has some crossbowmen. Right.

Quote
Amid the tumult, Crown Prince Fanayal and his Coyauri fled the ravine, the Shrial Knights pursuing them through billowing dust and smoke — or so it seemed to all who watched. At first, the Fanim could scarce credit their eyes. Many cried out, not in fear or dismay, but in wonder at the deranged ferocity of the idolaters. When Fanayal wheeled away, Incheiri Gotian, some four thousand Shrial Knights massed behind him, continued galloping forward, crying — weeping — “The God wills it!” They scattered across the Battleplain, unbloodied save for the morning’s first disastrous charge, hurtling through the grasses, crouched low out of terror, crying out their fury, their defiance. They charged the fourteen Cishaurim, drove their mounts into the hellish lights that unspooled from their brows"

Brothers everywhere
raise your hands into the air
we're warriors, warriors of the World

Like thunder from the sky
sworn to fight and die
we're warriors, warriors of the World

...

That's it? We're just getting to the best part!

***

Alright, so all of this comes down to the tactical folly of the Fanim. But it could be rationalized away. Perhaps, seeing how the Inrithi concentration was on heavy infantry, Skauras felt he could not afford  to give up large tracts of land while playing whack-the-mole with the enemy knights, steadily bleeding the enemy infantry with archery. It's a plausible thing, but still folly IMO. I could believe that Skauras believed he had no alternative to this COA, but I would hope it wasn't out of contempt for the enemy. Eh... So fine, perhaps Bakker knows what he's doing.  :mrgreen:

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« Reply #29 on: May 14, 2013, 11:26:21 pm »
Quote from: Curethan
I agree, the Fanim were tacticly stupid in that fight.  Inrithi had better position and Skaurus seems to have thought his enemy infantry would break, for whatever reason.