First up we drew John Calnan & Lance Knighton running Sassanids – this was exactly the same army that had undone us the previous year in the last round of BattleCry 2008 (BC’08 Round 4: Sassanid Persian with Sabir Hun Allies 463AD)! We endeavoured to congest their deployment area with Marshes, knowing they would have the edge on us with Elephants, so as to then be able to concentrate our Cataphracts where their Cavalry could, with some reliability, be expected to be deployed.
A bit of over exuberance by the Sassanid Right resulted in them rushing forward at great speed in the first bound – initially this was a concern as they threatened to get Cavalry & Elephants against our Lh(S) before our Knights could get forward (see photo below) – however they had a screen of Lh(F) out in front and we opted to take the opportunity to mix it up with them with our Chionite Lh(S) – despite the risk of getting sandbagged by the supporting Cv(S)! Both armies generally suffered from PiP starvation early on, except the two opposing flank commands on the Kushan left.
The Chionites got into the Sassanid Horse Archers pretty quick on the left (see photo below) and as expected in a couple of bounds of combat the Sassanids took heavy casualties – the Chionites went on to deal with the 2 Elephants assisted by a couple of Auxilia, and also a couple of Cv(S), all with the loss of just a couple of their own… They were also able to push up the outside flank, next to a marsh, to get around part of the Sassanid force. The Sassanid’s meanwhile had dispatched part of their cavalry on an ‘on-table’ flank march (you can see them in the bottom left of the photo above marching towards the bottom left corner of the photo) and these soon had to do an emergency u-turn as soon as PiPs allowed (in effect they got stalled and never participated in the battle – reinforcing Campbell’s oft quoted cry “on table flank marches never work”).
The Kushan left/Sassanid right now degenerated into a real furball of a fight, where possible the Chionites moved aside or back to allow the heavy Cataphracts through and these soon chewed through some of the Cv(S), elsewhere the Sassanids took out a couple more Chionites. In the centre the Sassanids began desperately redeploying 2 more Elephants and some Cavalry to shore up the crumbling the flank… Meanwhile the rest of the battlefield had an eerie calm (caused by lack of PiPs) as the Sassanid’s tried to push their Hun Allies forward as fast as possible…
Gradually the Sabir Huns pushed their way across the rough ground towards the centre of the Kushan army, but the Kushan Centre had moved up a solid line of Chionites supported by a reasonable number of Auxilia on their left. Furthermore the 4 Kushan Elephants waited beyond to take out any Hun Warbands who dared break through! On the Kushan left the action continued, but slowed as both sides took losses and/or got poor PiPs… But by this stage the small Sassanid Right Flank command was disheartened and breaking, and the larger one was also at risk of being disheartened.
On the Kushan right the Huns finally emerged and were met with a wall of Light Horse – and they were contained surprising effectively (see photo below). Supporting Sassanid Auxilia did not emerge from the Rough in any numbers, and the Chionite Lh(S) actually inflicted a few casualties on the Huns over the following bounds, albeit while also being ever so slowly pushed back.
Meanwhile back on the Kushan left things had died down to minor skirmishing as there were large gaps in the line and the Sassanids were getting close to having a second command break, although the Kushan left was also starting to get a few kills up racked up against it and was getting close to being disheartened itself.
Back on the right a dearth of PiPs resulted in a rather slow motion effect, with no effective action by either side on the flank, but in the right-centre the impetuous Chionite & Sabir Huns keep at it, the Kushan Chionites slowly being pushed further back as can be seen above.
In the end the Sassanids were too disadvantaged by the early breaking of their right flank, the larger command broke and combined with the smaller command and the casualties elsewhere (the Sabir Huns) that was it for the army. The Kushan’s although losing several elements on the left flank didn’t even reach 10% losses, so achieved a decisive 25-0 Victory. This left us 1st Equal with Philip Abela & Andrew Hunter (Kushite Egyptians) after the first round.