Khmer Arny

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BirminghamBunny1
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Khmer Arny

Post by BirminghamBunny1 » Tue Nov 17, 2009 7:46 pm

I noticed that the Khmer army is rather weak compared to its prior treatment by wargames and in relation to the regional opponents. There is no likelehood of this army, as currently listed, being played (successfully) in an open tournament. The Thai alliy, being light spear swordsmen, would crush the Khmer. This army should be stronger. Also the flavor of the army is not represented in the FoG list.
In the old WRG 6th Edition the Maiden Guard were Regular A quality. DBM treated then as regular Ax(O). A small 4 stand guard unit like those used in Swifter than Eagles lists represents these units well. I would suggest a unit of 4 medium foot, protected, either elite or superior, drilled, light spear swordsmen, as an optional unit. Also a unit of guard cavalry should be provided. I do not think that they should be a cataphract unit as the old WRG 6/7 list rated them. I would suggest cavalry, protected, superior, light spear swordsmen in a 4 stand unit as an optional unit.
The spearmen in the current list are useless. WRG 6/7 rated them Regular B, LHI, JLS, LS. DBM treated them as A(S). There is no doubt they should be better then th normal units in the region. There are substantial issues between protected and armored in FoG and whether they wore armored coats. I would suggest they be medium foot, protected, drilled, light spear swordsmen. They carried no sword but carried two spears with a buttspike used for thrusting much like the Roman legion use the short sword. Therefore I would resolve the armor-weapon issue for protected swordmen.
There is no unit of Ph'kak men, I would suggest a 4 stand unit of medium foot, protected, superior, heavy weapon.
Finally the elephants should be superior quality and in BG sizes of 2,3,or 4 stands to show the massed units.

philqw78
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Post by philqw78 » Tue Nov 17, 2009 7:53 pm

What evidence do you have to back this up, other than a near 30 year old set of wargame rules
phil
putting the arg into argumentative

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Post by ethan » Tue Nov 17, 2009 7:55 pm

Not sure on Khmer, but I think some of the elephant armies are more playable than people are willing to give credit for just yet. I think the Burmese may be decent.

What I think has to be remembered is that 12 stands of elephants is a rough equivlant of 3 4 element BGs of knights (better in some ways, worse in others) and the rest of the army is supports for the elephants. Yes, much of the infantry is a bit wonky and not overly useful, but at least in the Burmese you can get enough useful stuff (mostly archer types) and enough cheap stuff that everyone should get rear support. The Burmese at least can be mostly drilled which is also handy.

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Post by Scrumpy » Tue Nov 17, 2009 9:22 pm

Lee Cleveland used a Malayan army at cold Iron, and they looked a decent army. Add in a Yuan Chinese ally to bolster the light horse count and they were decent enough in the right terrain. My Khmer's are busily being re-educated to think they are now impact foot sword rather than the light spear only version.

At least Lee managed to field a competitive Cleveland side.....:)

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Post by BirminghamBunny1 » Tue Nov 24, 2009 1:23 am

I base my suggestions on the inscriptions on the monuments showing each of these units. Obviously, monuments do not show quality and sometimes over-represent the elite units. However, I wonder what the basis for such a radical departure in the quality from the other rules depictions would be. I am not aware of any stunning new discoveries in Cambodia in the last 30 years. One thing is certain: if an army performed well against its historical opponents, as the Khmer did for several centuries, the overall effect should be to replecate that. My point is that this army does not do that because the support for the elephants is lacking. As is well documented, the sprearmen wore the armored looking coat and carried a long shield. There is considerable dabate regarding armored vs protected status of many units in FoG. Also, the spear carried by the spearmen had a butt spike and is depected as a thrusting weapon. The spearmen could be armored status, to show that compared to those around them they were significantly better armored. The spear could be rated as swordsmen to show their skill in close fighting using the butt spike and tip both. I would think armored, light spear, swordsmen would be a bit overpowering; although supported by the monuments. However, drilled, superior, protected, light spear, swordsmen seems to be the best balanced fit for infantry described by some as Roman like. This would be a decent support for the elephants, not hitting as hard as the impact foot, swordsmen some have, but not being easily swept away by them either.

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Post by deadtorius » Tue Nov 24, 2009 1:45 am

Well for what it is worth looking at the old WRG 7th lists and DB whatever the Indians have been downgraded too in FOG. In the old days old rules they were given longbows and 2 handed cutting weapons or Bow (S) and heavy weapon whatever the DBX classification was. In FOG they have been downgraded to bows and swords. Oh well gonna paint one up one of these days anyway. So dont worry that the Khmer army does not match your expectations try it and see how it works for you.

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Re: Khmer Arny

Post by carlos » Tue Nov 24, 2009 2:24 pm

BirminghamBunny1 wrote:Finally the elephants should be superior quality and in BG sizes of 2,3,or 4 stands to show the massed units.
I read your post w/ interest until I came to this point which made me think you've never played an actual game of FoG. Do you realise the impact a BG of 4 superior elephants would have? It'd be tremendous, even if they cost 110 pts or so, especially as they'd then have zero or v/ few natural enemies on the table. BGs of 4 elephants were tried out during the early phases of development and abandoned as they were too powerful. BGs of 4 elephants that, being superior, break when losing 3 stands would be even worse.
I am not aware of any stunning new discoveries in Cambodia in the last 30 years.
FoG's designers can't be blamed for mistakes of past rulesets I think.

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Post by BirminghamBunny1 » Sat Nov 28, 2009 2:12 am

I can certainly see not allowing four stand superior elephant battle groups IF they are so overpowering as to be unrealistic. Not having play tested them, I can honestly say that I do not have a clear understanding of what impact they would have across the range of opponents. Maybe those that did play test four stand elephant units have an insight I do not. Maybe they should be play tested in the elephant armies to see if they are unrealistic in the elephant based armies. I do not recall seeing the elephant based armies in the play test lists. Maybe they were play tested in the elephant based armies; but if so, I am not aware of it. I can see that a four stand elephant unit in a successor army would be out of balance, making it a main unit of the army not a support unit.
Having played a Malayan army at Cold Iron in Birmingham, Alabama, I know that two stand average elephants are very brittle. That is not too much trouble where elephants are a secondary support unit or two. When elephants are the main units of an army this can weaken it below its historical performance. Maybe three stand elephant units are the play balance solution in the elephant based armies. They would not auto break on one casualty, but would not be as powerful as four stands of elephants. My main point is the army needs another look to bring it up to its historical performance.
I am not as familiar with the Indian armies as I am with the southeast Asian armies. Though bow swordsmen as opposed to bow heavy weapon could be based on the armor cancellation and the impact plus effects of heavy weapon while still retaining the general melee plus. Bow swordsmen are rather powerful in my opinion.

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Post by mannmarke » Mon Mar 15, 2010 5:18 am

http://www.twcenter.net/forums/showthread.php?t=218027

The link above clearly shows the Ph'kak men at Ankor Wat which also shows all the other troop types within the Khmer army.
Other rule sets are not the issue but they did exist.

Cheers Mark

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Post by rbodleyscott » Mon Mar 15, 2010 8:06 am

mannmarke wrote:http://www.twcenter.net/forums/showthread.php?t=218027

The link above clearly shows the Ph'kak men at Ankor Wat which also shows all the other troop types within the Khmer army.
Other rule sets are not the issue but they did exist.
The issue is not whether they existed. That is not in doubt. The issue is whether they formed up in separate FOG sized battle groups. We considered having battle groups of Ph'kak men but on balance decided against.

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Post by DeadKraken » Wed Jul 20, 2011 6:04 pm

i find it strange that 'Attecotti' are included in the Early Pict army....quite a leap of faith that one , but not axe men units in Khmer armies, especially from the amount of said weapons that have been found not to mention ranks of axe armed men on reliefs.

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Re:

Post by rpayne » Mon Jul 02, 2012 9:58 am

rbodleyscott wrote:
mannmarke wrote:http://www.twcenter.net/forums/showthread.php?t=218027

The link above clearly shows the Ph'kak men at Ankor Wat which also shows all the other troop types within the Khmer army.
Other rule sets are not the issue but they did exist.
The issue is not whether they existed. That is not in doubt. The issue is whether they formed up in separate FOG sized battle groups. We considered having battle groups of Ph'kak men but on balance decided against.
So, I recently took a trip to Angkor, and remembering this thread decided to take several dozen pictures of the wall reliefs at Angkor Wat and Angkor Thom, for posting later for funsies. I don't know much about Cambodian history but I do hope that these pictures assist in making this list a little less completely boring.

Angkor Wat contains one very long wall relief showing basically the Khmer army in marching order. It also has reliefs showing scenes from the Mahabharata and Ramayana, which depict different troop types in them, but I didn't focus on those, I assumed we wouldn't be interested in the gearing of soldiers represented in the Indian epics. Angkor Thom, which is from a later period, has very similar reliefs, and there are some interesting differences in the troop compositions there. Angkor Thom also has a number of reliefs of the army actually fighting its enemies, with battle scenes showing how the weapons are used.

I did find some interesting things in the wall reliefs.


For starters, the Ph'kak axemen are never shown in seperated units. What you see is one or two of the guys randomly inserted into the warrior units who are equipped with an armored shirt, shield, and a spear that is held close to the point and over the head. I did not see any evidence that they should be represented with their own unit in FoG.

http://www.planetzebes.net/fog/DSCF3172.JPG

The warriors in the battle scenes in Angkor Thom are typically shown pulling their spear backwards as if to throw it like a javelin, so I do not think a classification of Spearmen would make any sense. Lightspear Swords definitely makes the most sense. I think I would also disagree with a classification as armored. While they do wear what seems to be a pretty tough breastplate, they typically have no leg armor, a very small shield, and a helmet that is very ceremonial and religious and doesn't look like much protection. That's just my interperetation, you can decide yourself from the pictures.

http://www.planetzebes.net/fog/DSCF3167.JPG
http://www.planetzebes.net/fog/DSCF3301.JPG (pulling spears back like javelins)

However, with the warriors out of the way, there are seperated units of other troops.

For starters, archers. There are a number of seperated units of archers in both the Angkor Wat and Angkor Thom reliefs, possibly at about a 1/5 or 1/6 ratio to the number of units of warriors. The archers carry the same armored breastplate as the warriors and a bow, but no other gear. I never saw unarmored archers, or archers marching on their own, they were always grouped into a small unit in the marching order. Perhaps one or two units of Protected MF Bowmen are in order?

http://www.planetzebes.net/fog/DSCF3174.JPG

Secondly, at Angkor Wat the Maiden Guard were definitely organized into a seperated unit. There was only one Maiden Guard unit in the wall relief, but it was just as large as any of the archer units, and placed in the vanguard at the front of the army completely away from the king (who is riding an elephant at the back of the marching line). Their equipment looks by and large heavier than the typical warriors. Their shirts are possibly less armored, but their shields are much larger, and their spears are also much larger, though they hold them the same way as the warriors. I could not find Maiden Guard at Angkor Thom, but there was a lot of stuff and I may have just missed them. I'm not sure if their armor would classify them as Armored, but I think a single unit of Protected Superior Lightspear Swords (possibly drilled?) would seem fair just by the wall relief.

http://www.planetzebes.net/fog/DSCF3176.JPG


Thirdly, there were several small units of seperated Cavalry. These all held spears similarly to the warriors, and some had armored shirts while others were nearly naked. Not sure how I would classify these guys, but they were there. I didn't find anything that looked like a unit of Guard Cavalry, but it may have been there and I just didn't notice it.

http://www.planetzebes.net/fog/DSCF3170.JPG (unarmored, difficult to see)
http://www.planetzebes.net/fog/DSCF3175.JPG (armored)

Finally, an interesting difference at Angkor Thom. Angkor Thom has a small number of seperated spearmen units who are equipped differently. Rather than the armored shirt, shield and small throwing spear, they are almost completely unarmored and carry a larger two handed thrusting spear. These spearmen never come up in Angkor Wat, but are shown repeatedly in small units at Angkor Thom, though at a lower frequency than even the archers. In the battle reliefs while the armored warriors are shown pulling their spears back as if to throw them, these unarmored spearmen are shown holding them down in both hands and thrusting with them. Perhaps in a later time period one unit of Unprotected Offensive Spear? You decide!

http://www.planetzebes.net/fog/DSCF3296.JPG
http://www.planetzebes.net/fog/DSCF3300.JPG

Anyway, I am by no means an expert and the reason for my trip had nothing to do with FoG, but it was fun to take the pictures all the same. Hope it helps.

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Re: Khmer Arny

Post by domblas » Thu Feb 07, 2013 10:59 am

thx for the reports
i'v painted a chams/khmer army when DBM was the dominant ruleset, and tried it maybe 6 or 7 time with FOG and lost all my battles. I no longer play with them and they are waiting for a new ruleset to become playable!
A BG of maiden guard, and some sword capacity may help to bring the fig back on tabletops.
Of course, I have no historical arguments but in term of gaming, american armies are very well treated and tropical asiatic ones poorly.
domblas

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Re: Khmer Arny

Post by hazelbark » Thu Feb 07, 2013 6:32 pm

I think the downer nature of people on the list is largely a version 1 6x4 open tournament problem.

Version 2 and themed and or on a 5x3 make these armies fun and not total dogs.

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Re: Khmer Arny

Post by domblas » Fri Feb 08, 2013 8:01 am

domblas wrote:thx for the reports
i'v painted a chams/khmer army when DBM was the dominant ruleset, and tried it maybe 6 or 7 time with FOG and lost all my battles. I no longer play with them and they are waiting for a new ruleset to become playable!
A BG of maiden guard, and some sword capacity may help to bring the fig back on tabletops.
Of course, I have no historical arguments but in term of gaming, american armies are very well treated and tropical asiatic ones poorly.
domblas
quoting myself....
and the artillery on elephant issue too. Did they really shoot from the elephant or where they carried on and unloaded from?
Did you see any sculptings on these mounted artillery??

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Re: Khmer Arny

Post by zoltan » Fri Feb 08, 2013 6:43 pm

domblas wrote:and the artillery on elephant issue too. Did they really shoot from the elephant or where they carried on and unloaded from? Did you see any sculptings on these mounted artillery??
Th best book on the Khmer army I have found is this:
The Armies of Angkor; Military Structure and Weaponry of the Khmers by Michel Jacq-Hergoualc'h (Orchid Press; 2007).

This contains detailed analysis of the various bas reliefs from Cambodia. It has many photos and many detailed line drawings based on the bas reliefs. It attempts to analyse all aspects of the Khmer army including, for example, the various hair/headress styles of the soldiers etc.

The analysis about artillery includes the 4 different types of elephant mounted ballistas and several wheeled versions. While the analysis is not conclusive about precisely how the mounted ballistae were operated, the strong implication is that these were fired from atop the elephants.

I'll be trying out an 800 point Khmer army with Thai ally (7 BGs of elephants) at a small open comp next weekend. I'll let you know how it goes! :|

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