Maurikian Byzantines vs Avar Horde

It’s clear that I’m not a regular blogger, but hopefully over time my humble efforts will create a useful resource for someone or at least a history of my irregular wargaming habits.

I met up with a couple of friends a few weekends ago to play DBA 3.0. Paul was keen to try out the Avars. Antony and I fielded Maurikian Byzantines from my Nikephorian collection and we had to use the bow armed cavalry from the same collection, plus Normans, to make up the Avars. Not ideal, but it did give Paul a chance to reacquaint himself with the DBA rules and command one of his favourite armies.

Our first battle was a false start. I selected a cavalry strong Maurikian Byzantine army and deployed forests and a village which resulted in a somewhat crowded battlefield. I hoped this would hinder the maneuverability of the all cavalry Avar army. Well, it did that, but it also created a stalemate situation with neither of us being prepared to advance into the killing zone of our opponent.

DBA Byzantines vs Avars 1

Our armies retired to our respective camps when night fell. Game over.

DBA Byzantines vs Avars 2

Antony and Paul played next, with Antony opting for a balanced Byzantine army of mixed infantry and cavalry. The field of battle was relatively open with fields and gentle hills. The Byzantine commander took the risk of deploying his army into five different battle groups. The Avars, in contrast, were an almost unbroken line of terrifying barbarian horsemen.

DBA Byzantines vs Avars 3

The Byzantines, as the defenders, advanced their infantry in the centre, trying to come within bow range of the Avar line. The Avars thundered towards the Byzantines expanding on their right against the small Byzantine flank guard.

DBA Byzantines vs Avars 4

DBA Byzantines vs Avars 5

The Byzantine spear advanced closer to the massed Avar horsemen who charged them and the bowmen in the open. The Avars were repulsed by the solid wall of Byzantine spears and their right centre disrupted by perfectly timed volleys of arrows from the massed bowmen. The Byzantine strategos ordered his knights and reserve cavalry forward to plug the holes and guard the flanks respectively of his disjointed line.

DBA Byzantines vs Avars 6

A general melee ensued across the battlefield. The withering volleys of the Byzantine bowmen caused a unit of Avars to rout and the ferocious Avar charges against the spearmen began to weaken the cohesiveness of their line. The Avar army, however, was unsettled by the unexpected resistance of the Byzantines i.e. low pip dice. The Avar Khan risked a charge against the left flank of the Byzantine shieldwall but was beaten back. The Byzantine strategos calmly moved forward throwing his remaining reserves into the fray and threatening the Avar left flank.

DBA Byzantines vs Avars 8

The Avar Khan is forced back and is flanked by the rapidly advancing Byzantine bowmen, whilst an impenetrable wall of spears closes in to his front. There is no escape and the Khan and his elite bodyguard sell their lives dearly. Meanwhile the Byzantine commander reordered his line and charged in the centre. The Avars fell back in disarray, a further unit of horsemen rout, and when the standard of the Khan is seen to fall the Avar horde breaks off and retreats.

A devastating defeat for the Avars. The Byzantines are the victors losing no elements to four – the Avar general counts as two.

NB: Please excuse the quality of some of my images.

One thought on “Maurikian Byzantines vs Avar Horde

  1. A very interesting report. The pulses of battle, attack and counter-attack, are well illustrated. It sounds like the players enjoyed the game. I look forward to future reports.

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