Page 1 of 2

Armored Horse Archers

Posted: Mon Mar 12, 2018 1:17 pm
by Delbruck
I know there has been some discussion of the evade mechanics of light troops, but I don't think there has been anything on close order or armored horse archers. They have have the same evade mechanics as lights, but they are unmanuverable, and cost twice as much. In addition, it's difficult to plan an attack on other HC because everyone scatters when charged. Later armies depending on these troops look like they will be very weak, especially against an army like the Maurkian Byzantines. In addition, I am not sure evading was a normal Sassanid tactic using massed shower shooting.

The auto evasion might be fine for an army like the Roman or Macedonian when you have a core of HI. Not sure it works when the core of your army IS the armored horse archers.

Am I missing something which make armored horse archers more viable? A formation button which gives armored horse archers the choice to be in close order or skirmish formation seems an obvious thing to me.

Re: Armored Horse Archers

Posted: Mon Mar 12, 2018 3:12 pm
by nikgaukroger
Delbruck wrote: In addition, I am not sure evading was a normal Sassanid tactic using massed shower shooting.
It wasn't. The Straegikon specifically says that unlike the Turks the Sasanids did not wheel about (or some such similar turn) and then return to shoot you. That they can do so is a weakness inherited from the tabletop game (mind you it could be solved for that by classifying them as Armoured Catafracts).

Re: Armored Horse Archers

Posted: Mon Mar 12, 2018 3:39 pm
by Witan
it could be solved for that by classifying them as Armoured Catafracts
For more historical flavour that would be a really nice change! Please consider it!

But still, if they dont evade anymore, i think it should be necassary to strengthen their stats, maybe through making them "fully armored", like catafracts should be.

Re: Armored Horse Archers

Posted: Mon Mar 12, 2018 5:27 pm
by nikgaukroger
Witan wrote:
it could be solved for that by classifying them as Armoured Catafracts
For more historical flavour that would be a really nice change! Please consider it!

But still, if they dont evade anymore, i think it should be necassary to strengthen their stats, maybe through making them "fully armored", like catafracts should be.
Reducing points would be a way to balance.

Re: Armored Horse Archers

Posted: Mon Mar 12, 2018 5:29 pm
by nikgaukroger
Mind you I would also say that IMO fully armoured horse archers for the Sasanids are justified from Ammianus :D

Re: Armored Horse Archers

Posted: Mon Mar 12, 2018 6:10 pm
by NikiforosFokas
nikgaukroger wrote:
Delbruck wrote: In addition, I am not sure evading was a normal Sassanid tactic using massed shower shooting.
It wasn't. The Straegikon specifically says that unlike the Turks the Sasanids did not wheel about (or some such similar turn) and then return to shoot you. That they can do so is a weakness inherited from the tabletop game (mind you it could be solved for that by classifying them as Armoured Catafracts).
"The Sassanians themselves do not make use of lances and shields. Charging against them is effective because they are prompted to rapid flight and do not know how to wheel about suddenly against their attackers, as do the Scythian nations" :D

Re: Armored Horse Archers

Posted: Mon Mar 12, 2018 6:34 pm
by rbodleyscott
NikiforosFokas wrote:
nikgaukroger wrote:
Delbruck wrote: In addition, I am not sure evading was a normal Sassanid tactic using massed shower shooting.
It wasn't. The Straegikon specifically says that unlike the Turks the Sasanids did not wheel about (or some such similar turn) and then return to shoot you. That they can do so is a weakness inherited from the tabletop game (mind you it could be solved for that by classifying them as Armoured Catafracts).
"The Sassanians themselves do not make use of lances and shields. Charging against them is effective because they are prompted to rapid flight and do not know how to wheel about suddenly against their attackers, as do the Scythian nations" :D
I am not sure this is evidence against evading, rather the contary. I would be wary of Roman historians saying "they are prompted to rapid flight" as if this implies cowardice - this is the usual slur throughout history against opponents whose tactical doctrine did not require them to "stand and fight" when their opponents would rather they did.

It is certainly evidence against coming back quickly. But they already have to spend a whole turn turning round before they can come back (unlike Skythian light horse, who can come straight back).

If the Sassanids did not evade, they would be pretty much the only horse archers throughout recorded history who didn't.

Re: Armored Horse Archers

Posted: Mon Mar 12, 2018 7:06 pm
by NikiforosFokas
i think Ammianus means here that the heavy armored Sassanian horse archers did not use the famous so-called Parthian shot (or "scythian shot according to Mauricius)

Re: Armored Horse Archers

Posted: Mon Mar 12, 2018 7:09 pm
by rbodleyscott
NikiforosFokas wrote:i think Ammianus means here that the heavy armored Sassanian horse archers did not use the famous so-called Parthian shot (or "scythian shot according to Mauricius)
Agreed.

Re: Armored Horse Archers

Posted: Mon Mar 12, 2018 7:19 pm
by nikgaukroger
rbodleyscott wrote: If the Sassanids did not evade, they would be pretty much the only horse archers throughout recorded history who didn't.
Well they do have a lot of fans who think they are somewhat *special* :twisted:

The non-evading is pretty consistent with the accounts in Theophylact Simocatta on Maurkios' wars. Not that I am going back to reread that as it is turgid and convoluted :roll:

Re: Armored Horse Archers

Posted: Mon Mar 12, 2018 7:20 pm
by nikgaukroger
In game their tendency to evade from Roman infantry is pretty contrary to Ammianus' accounts.

Re: Armored Horse Archers

Posted: Mon Mar 12, 2018 7:30 pm
by rbodleyscott
nikgaukroger wrote:In game their tendency to evade from Roman infantry is pretty contrary to Ammianus' accounts.
Precisely which passages of Ammianus are you referring to?

I know we have had this discussion before, and I can't remember precisely why we decided not have non-evading Sassanid cavalry in the tabletop rules. As you say, they can easily be rendered non-evading by re-classifying them as cataphracts, even without up-armouring them much, but is the evidence good enough to be sure?

Re: Armored Horse Archers

Posted: Mon Mar 12, 2018 9:00 pm
by nikgaukroger
rbodleyscott wrote:
nikgaukroger wrote:In game their tendency to evade from Roman infantry is pretty contrary to Ammianus' accounts.
Precisely which passages of Ammianus are you referring to?
I guess mainly the one where the Persians are first pushed back and then run away as if their armour were red hot - also Maranga I think.

I know we have had this discussion before, and I can't remember precisely why we decided not have non-evading Sassanid cavalry in the tabletop rules. As you say, they can easily be rendered non-evading by re-classifying them as cataphracts, even without up-armouring them much, but is the evidence good enough to be sure?
I have a feeling for the tabletop it may well have been just to avoid an exception for a single army - even though it was an important army for wargamers - also I suspect because the issue came up during list writing and by that time the rules were pretty finalised.

Re: Armored Horse Archers

Posted: Mon Mar 12, 2018 9:03 pm
by rbodleyscott
nikgaukroger wrote:also I suspect because the issue came up during list writing and by that time the rules were pretty finalised.
Mainly this, I suspect.

Of course this begs the question of whether this should apply (if it should apply at all) to later Sassanid armies, or even to Samanid armies.

Re: Armored Horse Archers

Posted: Mon Mar 12, 2018 9:26 pm
by nikgaukroger
rbodleyscott wrote:
nikgaukroger wrote:also I suspect because the issue came up during list writing and by that time the rules were pretty finalised.
Mainly this, I suspect.

Of course this begs the question of whether this should apply (if it should apply at all) to later Sassanid armies, or even to Samanid armies.
Indeed it does.

I have a nasty feeling it could lead down a road that also takes in a re-evaluation of the ghilman/mamluk troops as well ... :cry:

Re: Armored Horse Archers

Posted: Mon Mar 12, 2018 9:29 pm
by Witan
Spoken for myself, i would welcome a change if it gives the game more historical depth, even it gives an exception.

Re: Armored Horse Archers

Posted: Mon Mar 12, 2018 9:31 pm
by rbodleyscott
nikgaukroger wrote:
rbodleyscott wrote:
nikgaukroger wrote:also I suspect because the issue came up during list writing and by that time the rules were pretty finalised.
Mainly this, I suspect.

Of course this begs the question of whether this should apply (if it should apply at all) to later Sassanid armies, or even to Samanid armies.
Indeed it does.

I have a nasty feeling it could lead down a road that also takes in a re-evaluation of the ghilman/mamluk troops as well ... :cry:
Which is part of my issue with this whole line of thought.

Yes, ghilman were shower shooters, but did they evade? They certainly seem to have done so against the crusaders.

Re: Armored Horse Archers

Posted: Mon Mar 12, 2018 9:40 pm
by nikgaukroger
rbodleyscott wrote: Yes, ghilman were shower shooters, but did they evade? They certainly seem to have done so against the crusaders.
True. Perhaps I'm being pessimistic about where it'd go.

Random thought - did steppe type armoured horse archers shower shoot?

Are there 3 types here?

1. Fairly static shower shooters.
2. Armoured steppe types
3. Ghilman who do both.

Should shooting effect of 1 and 2 differ?

Re: Armored Horse Archers

Posted: Mon Mar 12, 2018 9:55 pm
by rbodleyscott
nikgaukroger wrote:
rbodleyscott wrote: Yes, ghilman were shower shooters, but did they evade? They certainly seem to have done so against the crusaders.
True. Perhaps I'm being pessimistic about where it'd go.

Random thought - did steppe type armoured horse archers shower shoot?

Are there 3 types here?

1. Fairly static shower shooters.
2. Armoured steppe types
3. Ghilman who do both.

Should shooting effect of 1 and 2 differ?
Or are we inventing a false distinction where there wasn't one?

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).

Perhaps we are talking about different formations - either of which could be used when required, but not both at once - rather than completely different capabilities.

Re: Armored Horse Archers

Posted: Mon Mar 12, 2018 11:28 pm
by MikeC_81
rbodleyscott wrote: Or are we inventing a false distinction where there wasn't one?

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).

Perhaps we are talking about different formations - either of which could be used when required, but not both at once - rather than completely different capabilities.
Not sure how you guys would ever be able to determine with any degree of accuracy what occurred out there. Given the infrequency of major battles and the fog of war that always existed, compounded by exceedingly limited sources, whose use of different prose could lead one astray in their conclusions...

The Turks always employed mobile horse archer tactics against the Crusaders when possible. The exceptions was during the Seige of Nicaea when Kilji Arslan, who had just recently crushed the people's crusade with ease, engaged in pitched battle vs the Crusaders who understandably performed much differently than an untrained mob and was forced to pull back. Also the Seige of Antioch where the relief force of the Turks seems to have engaged in sort of general melee after pelting the Crusaders with Horse Archers who decided to sally and offer open battle instead of being starved out in the city.

The battle at Dorylaeum had the classic Horse Archer vs Heavy Foot and Cavalry dynamic on full display where an element of the Crusader army was trapped for ~5 hours under a constant storm of arrows by Turkish mounted horse archers until a relief force came in behind the Turks, sacked their camp and dispersed the mounted Turks who fled after seeing their camp destroyed behind them.