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Dorostolon, 971 AD

Posted: Wed Jan 19, 2011 9:08 pm
by tonymcenery
Hi folks,

back from holiday and back to scenario design. Have been working on this one for a couple of weeks, drawing from John Skylitzes and Leo the Deacon to come up with something which is a bit like the battle of Dorostolon!

This can only be desribed as a gigantic slugfest between the Kievan Rus' and the Byzantines. An interesting one - a big aggressive infantry army (the Rus'), versus a smaller but more balanced and drilled army (the Byzantines). The Byzantines, militarily, are close to their peak as a professionalised fighting force. The army of the Rus' is interesting as it contains Varangians - while these would later be recruited by the Byzantines, on this occassion they were on the other side. From the accounts given by Skylitzes and Deacon the Byzantines were clearly impressed by their bravery, claiming that the fought to the death rather than face capture.

The scenario given below represents the second phase of the third and decisive battle of Dorostolon. The Byzantines have retreated to lure the Rus' to attack them in a space where the Byzantine cavalry can count. If playing as the Rus, you must attack - this was a make or break battle for them. They had been cooped up in Dorstolon and had failed twice before to break the Byzantine siege. This was the last throw of the dice for the Rus - they had to beat the Byzantines or be beaten. For the Byantines, if you get a draw out of this you have a tactial victory - a draw would have been almost as good as a win for them. As it happens, they got a resounding win out of the day.

For those of you who like a bit of colour in your game I have named key characters. Note also that I have resurrected John Kourkouas (Byzantine) and Ikmor (Rus), just for fun. They had both been killed prior to this final engagement. Purists may want to delete their names. Note also that I have assumed - as have some historians - that there may well have been Scandinavian mercenaries at the battle. The Kievan Rus' often employed such mercenaries, so including them in the battle is at least plausible. Finally, I have not included any Bulgars. While The Rus' had plenty of them in Dorostolon, the sources seem to agree that they did not trust them one inch and may even have put them in chains to stop them getting up to mischief! Oh - and I have used the Slavicised names of the Rus' commanders, not the Hellenized names given in the Byzantine sources.

Anyway, enjoy!

Posted: Wed Jan 26, 2011 5:47 pm
by omarquatar
just played as the byzantines against the AI and won 77:4 :roll:
hope that in MP it will be a closer run ...posted a challenge as the Rus, anyway

Posted: Wed Jan 26, 2011 5:49 pm
by tonymcenery
Hi Omar, a bloodbath then - the AI is pretty poor at playing the Rus'. A key for the Rus - like all infantry armies facing cavalry (Poitiers, Hastings etc) - is to keep a 'shield wall'. The AI does not get this. Maybe I should give you a game as the Rus'! :lol: