Armored Horse Archers

Field of Glory II is a turn-based tactical game set during the Rise of Rome from 280 BC to 25 BC.
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Re: Armored Horse Archers

Post by Witan » Mon Mar 12, 2018 11:56 pm

After what i have read about the sassanid army, the armorded horse archers represents the Dehqan ingame? But they are missing a lance in this case.

The fully armored Cataphract represents the Asvārān, ingame they have lances and a sword but they miss the bow, what is sad.

Some heavy armored infantery, like the Daylami, are missed in the actual sassanid list, but as far as i read they were used mainly with other mercenary soldiers in the later sassanid period, so are they planned for the later list?
Also the immortal guard, the Zhayedan, is missing, but as far as i have read they did not play a big role on the battlefield most time, so maybe its ok? Or are they planned for later sassanid lists?

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Re: Armored Horse Archers

Post by nikgaukroger » Tue Mar 13, 2018 6:46 am

rbodleyscott wrote: Or are we inventing a false distinction where there wasn't one?
Well wargamers, IMO, do quite a bit of that in order to create variety between armies - we prefer more rather than few troop types :)

Just because Sassanids (apparently) did not evade in some battles does not necessarily mean they were incapable of doing so. They may have thought they could duke it out, but then found out too late that they were wrong. (IIRC like the Turks did in one battle against the Crusaders, I forget which).
Personally, from the information available (at least that which I have seen which I think is quite a lot) I am happy with the view that they didn't - I think it is consistent with the evidence we have and I do see a difference from, say, the ghilman types. Of course, as ever, the evidence is far from perfect (we are so often left with "balance of probabilities" rather than "beyond reasonable doubt") so there is room for YMMV :D
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Re: Armored Horse Archers

Post by nikgaukroger » Tue Mar 13, 2018 6:56 am

Witan wrote:After what i have read about the sassanid army, the armorded horse archers represents the Dehqan ingame? But they are missing a lance in this case.
I think you are basing your view of the deqhan cavalry from Tabari's description of equipment from Khusrau I's reign. Setting aside the whole question of just what Khusrau I's reforms were and their actual impact, it is probably a mistake to apply this evidence to the whole Sasanid period - especially as there is other evidence that suggests that lances were not used.
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Re: Armored Horse Archers

Post by Delbruck » Tue Mar 13, 2018 12:54 pm

The original question involved armored or close formation horse archers. Whether the Sassanids were different is open to debate, but I think most armies of this type had a tactical philosophy somewhat more sophisticated than random evades, by relatively unmanuverable cavalry. I would imagine Mongols vs Khwarazmians could produce an interesting battle in the current game configuration. Putting it simply, when your MAIN BATTLE LINE consists of armored horse archers, the lack of control of your units makes battle management very difficult.

Out of curiosity, what is the plan for Byzantine mixed lance bow cavalry?

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Re: Armored Horse Archers

Post by NikiforosFokas » Tue Mar 13, 2018 1:23 pm

Delbruck wrote: Out of curiosity, what is the plan for Byzantine mixed lance bow cavalry?
This is the real question...
For Byzantium!!

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Re: Armored Horse Archers

Post by rbodleyscott » Tue Mar 13, 2018 1:28 pm

Delbruck wrote:Out of curiosity, what is the plan for Byzantine mixed lance bow cavalry?
Secret. But they won't be evading!
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Re: Armored Horse Archers

Post by edb1815 » Tue Mar 13, 2018 4:24 pm

Delbruck wrote:The original question involved armored or close formation horse archers. Whether the Sassanids were different is open to debate, but I think most armies of this type had a tactical philosophy somewhat more sophisticated than random evades, by relatively unmanuverable cavalry. I would imagine Mongols vs Khwarazmians could produce an interesting battle in the current game configuration. Putting it simply, when your MAIN BATTLE LINE consists of armored horse archers, the lack of control of your units makes battle management very difficult.

Out of curiosity, what is the plan for Byzantine mixed lance bow cavalry?
Didn't the Sassanid's also employ the dual armed armored cavalry at some point?

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Re: Armored Horse Archers

Post by rbodleyscott » Tue Mar 13, 2018 4:27 pm

edb1815 wrote:
Delbruck wrote:The original question involved armored or close formation horse archers. Whether the Sassanids were different is open to debate, but I think most armies of this type had a tactical philosophy somewhat more sophisticated than random evades, by relatively unmanuverable cavalry. I would imagine Mongols vs Khwarazmians could produce an interesting battle in the current game configuration. Putting it simply, when your MAIN BATTLE LINE consists of armored horse archers, the lack of control of your units makes battle management very difficult.

Out of curiosity, what is the plan for Byzantine mixed lance bow cavalry?
Didn't the Sassanid's also employ the dual armed armored cavalry at some point?
Well it is certainly a possibility, though IIRC the only depictions of dual-armed cavalry are depictions of kings.
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Re: Armored Horse Archers

Post by durecellrabbit » Tue Mar 13, 2018 6:00 pm

Out of interest what is your view on Kaveh Farrokh's new book from last year The Armies of Ancient Persia: The Sassanians?

I'm slowly reading my way through it and so far he portrays them slightly differently from the usual wargaming lists (I spent all my money on mini kickstarters so no dlc yet). On thing that is noticeable even to me is that he lacks solid evidence for a lot of what he says but unless he is omitting evidence then it doesn't seem like there is much to go on either way.

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Re: Armored Horse Archers

Post by nikgaukroger » Tue Mar 13, 2018 6:57 pm

rbodleyscott wrote:
Didn't the Sassanid's also employ the dual armed armored cavalry at some point?
Well it is certainly a possibility, though IIRC the only depictions of dual-armed cavalry are depictions of kings.
I think that the spahbed seals from the late Sasanid period may show double armed cavalry but it depends on how you view them.

http://www.artemissionblog.com/wp-conte ... 1oef1t.jpg

Interestingly they appear to be in catafract equipment with fully armoured horses unlike the famous (probably) Khusrau II depiction with the half armoured horse.
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Re: Armored Horse Archers

Post by nikgaukroger » Tue Mar 13, 2018 7:12 pm

durecellrabbit wrote:Out of interest what is your view on Kaveh Farrokh's new book from last year The Armies of Ancient Persia: The Sassanians?

I'm slowly reading my way through it and so far he portrays them slightly differently from the usual wargaming lists (I spent all my money on mini kickstarters so no dlc yet). On thing that is noticeable even to me is that he lacks solid evidence for a lot of what he says but unless he is omitting evidence then it doesn't seem like there is much to go on either way.

The Pen & Sword one?

An incredibly frustrating book written in a very annoying style.

He has access to books, etc. written in Persian and Arabic that he draws on which is useful for those of us who can't read those languages, however, I feel his interpretations are odd - and he does ignore some information e.g. he pretty much ignores the Strategikon, possibly as it does not tally with his view that the savaran are heavily armoured lancers ...

Having struggled through it once I doubt I'll be going back and rereading it :(
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Re: Armored Horse Archers

Post by Delbruck » Wed Mar 14, 2018 2:22 am

There is no doubt (in my :? mind) that the bullae of the four generals show men with lance and bow. But the possible lack of a lance does not necessarily dictate tactics or fighting style. In a Napoleonic French army the cuirassier were armed with swords, and the lance cavalry were considered lighter (and were given lighter horses). Heck, in the Prussian army landwehr cavalry were given lances to improve their morale. Despite what Byzantine manuals may or may not say, later Sassanid and Byzantine tactics were probably very similiar, and in the end the end the Byzantines were probably learning more from the Sassanids. Giving the later Sassanid cavalry the same tactical function as the Byzantine lance/bow cavalry might be the way to go.

Having said all that, I am not convinced the Sassanid army of 350AD was the same as the Sassanid army of 550AD. The 350 AD army probably had more "shock" cavalry than a typical Parthian army, less (perhaps more protected) horse archers, and more foot archers. In general, in was probably closer to a native Palmyran army than either an earlier Parthian or a later Sassanid. This makes some sense as they were more contemporary, and in general Syrian weapons, arms, and armor was under heavy Iranian influences.

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Re: Armored Horse Archers

Post by durecellrabbit » Fri Mar 16, 2018 10:26 am

nikgaukroger wrote:
durecellrabbit wrote:Out of interest what is your view on Kaveh Farrokh's new book from last year The Armies of Ancient Persia: The Sassanians?

I'm slowly reading my way through it and so far he portrays them slightly differently from the usual wargaming lists (I spent all my money on mini kickstarters so no dlc yet). On thing that is noticeable even to me is that he lacks solid evidence for a lot of what he says but unless he is omitting evidence then it doesn't seem like there is much to go on either way.

The Pen & Sword one?

An incredibly frustrating book written in a very annoying style.

He has access to books, etc. written in Persian and Arabic that he draws on which is useful for those of us who can't read those languages, however, I feel his interpretations are odd - and he does ignore some information e.g. he pretty much ignores the Strategikon, possibly as it does not tally with his view that the savaran are heavily armoured lancers ...

Having struggled through it once I doubt I'll be going back and rereading it :(
Yeah, that's the one. It's definitely a bit of a struggle.

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Re: Armored Horse Archers

Post by kilroy1 » Fri Mar 16, 2018 4:46 pm

durecellrabbit wrote:
nikgaukroger wrote:
durecellrabbit wrote:Out of interest what is your view on Kaveh Farrokh's new book from last year The Armies of Ancient Persia: The Sassanians?

I'm slowly reading my way through it and so far he portrays them slightly differently from the usual wargaming lists (I spent all my money on mini kickstarters so no dlc yet). On thing that is noticeable even to me is that he lacks solid evidence for a lot of what he says but unless he is omitting evidence then it doesn't seem like there is much to go on either way.

The Pen & Sword one?

An incredibly frustrating book written in a very annoying style.

He has access to books, etc. written in Persian and Arabic that he draws on which is useful for those of us who can't read those languages, however, I feel his interpretations are odd - and he does ignore some information e.g. he pretty much ignores the Strategikon, possibly as it does not tally with his view that the savaran are heavily armoured lancers ...

Having struggled through it once I doubt I'll be going back and rereading it :(
Yeah, that's the one. It's definitely a bit of a struggle.
It was a difficult read for me as well. Here are some links to some papers I hope you find as interesting to read as I did. :)

Sasanian Horse Armor by Patryk N Skupniewicz
https://www.academia.edu/8345015/Sasanian_Horse_Armor

The Late Sasanian Army by James Howard-Johnston
https://www.academia.edu/4385959/Late_Sasanian_army

kilroy

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Re: Armored Horse Archers

Post by nikgaukroger » Fri Mar 16, 2018 8:16 pm

kilroy1 wrote:
The Late Sasanian Army by James Howard-Johnston
https://www.academia.edu/4385959/Late_Sasanian_army

kilroy
Howard-Johnston is very good IMO, much better than Farrohk. Wish he'd do more - or at least that his stuff was more easily accessible or cheaper :shock:
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Re: Armored Horse Archers

Post by Sedo » Sun Mar 18, 2018 4:26 am

The following passages are from the Loeb translation of Ammianus, on the battle of Maranga. I'm not qualified to assess the quality of the translation, but it bears directly on this discussion:


"Moreover, all the companies were clad in iron, and all parts of their bodies were covered with thick plates, so fitted that the stiff joints conformed with those of their limbs; and the forms of human faces were so skilfully fitted to their heads, that, since their entire bodies were plated with metal, arrows that fell upon them could lodge only where they could see a little through tiny openings fitted to the circle of the eye, or where through the tips of their noses they were able to get a little breath. Of these some, who were armed with pikes, stood so motionless that you would think them held fast by clamps of bronze. Hard by, the archers (for that nation has especially trusted in this art from the very cradle) were bending their flexible bows with such wide-stretched arms that the strings touched their right breasts, while the arrow-points were close to their left hands; and by a highly skilful stroke of the fingers the arrows flew hissing forth and brought with them deadly wounds."


Which seems to suggest separate lancers and archers among the armored cavalry, rather than double armed troops. Later, after describing the elephants, he goes on:

"And in order that the onset of the bowmen might not throw our ranks into confusion, he advanced at a swift page, and so ruined the effectiveness of the arrows. Then the usual signal for battle was given, and the Roman infantry in close order with mighty effort drove the serried ranks of the enemy before them. And in the heat of the combat that followed, the clash of shields, the shouts of the men, and the doleful sound of the whirring arrows continued without intermission."

Julian is attempting to close quickly to minimize exposure to arrows, yet archery continues throughout the battle, suggesting that the Persians were at least attempting to retreat to maintain "stand off" archery range.

"The plains were covered with blood and dead bodies, but the Persian losses were greater; for they often lacked endurance in battle and could with difficulty maintain a close contest man to man, since they were accustomed to fight bravely at long range, but if they perceived that their forces were giving way, as they retreated they would shoot their arrows back like a shower of rain and keep the enemy from a bold pursuit. So by the weight of great strength the Parthians were driven back, and when the signal for retreat was given in the usual manner, our soldiers, long wearied by the fiery course of the sun, returned to their tents, encouraged to dare greater deeds of valour in the future."

This seems to be a rather clear description of a controlled withdrawal, and of the Parthian shot. And while Ammianus seem to be claiming a moral victory due to "forcing" he Persians to give ground, it's clear that it did not include routing the Persians in frontal clash.

I don't see anything here that would indicate early Sassanid cavalry being less likely to evade than other horse archers (with the likely exception of the kontos armed subset).

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Re: Armored Horse Archers

Post by nikgaukroger » Sun Mar 18, 2018 7:19 am

I read that as being, in game terms, a break off rather than evading. The "with difficulty maintain a close contest man to man" part suggests to me that the withdrawal is a result of hand to hand fighting and not a response to a charge.

There is also another battle of Julian's where the Persians are described as first being pushed back slowly and then they run as if their armour is red hot (or some similar wording) which again indicates, IMO, standing to fight.
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Re: Armored Horse Archers

Post by rbodleyscott » Sun Mar 18, 2018 9:06 am

It is perfectly clear that there is no conclusive answer to this. The non-evading thing is just one interpretation of the evidence. A not-evading evading option could be added (by adding cataphract archers to the list), but it would need to be an option rather than replacing the current cavalry interpretation.
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Re: Armored Horse Archers

Post by Delbruck » Mon Mar 19, 2018 3:03 pm

The cataphract archer idea would be an interesting Sassanid option.

But, back to the generic armored horse archer. As it stands now, in its current configuration, at 72 points each the expert armored horse archer is way overpriced. By comparison, the fierce nomad horse archer is 56 points. I don't see the armored being that much of an advantage over the protected. Certainly nothing to justify the 30% cost difference. Even if the armored had a 30% advantage in melee, the protected would still be a better value since the army will have more units, putting out more missile power, with the ability to threaten and harass the opponent.

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