Equality for Elephants!

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DaiSho
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Post by DaiSho » Tue Aug 04, 2009 8:14 pm

philqw78 wrote:and all knocked up over night by an army on the march no doubt
Basically - yes.

1 - You're talking about an ARMY, not 3 guys with entrenching tools.
2 - Even with just an entrenching tool 1 guy can build a slit trench big enough for himself to hide in just over an hour (personal experience here, in rocky ground after forced marching 20km to the site). How big a trench with redoubt behind could several thousand build? If they couldn't build a fortification they would create abatis, which I don't care how big and strong the elephant is - it aint getting through!
4 - Do a Google search for 'ha-ha'
5 - We have archeological evidence here Phil! I think you'd be truly surprised at how quickly a fort could be built.
6 - Battles were usually fought after waiting for days for conditions to be right. Very rarely did they come right out swinging. There are several examples of various omens not being right for battle and/or (in the case of the Romans) personage X being in charge on day 1, and personage Y being in charge on day 2, so why give battle when personage 1 is in charge - wait until tomorrow!

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philqw78
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Post by philqw78 » Tue Aug 04, 2009 8:37 pm

But a Pecheneg wagon circle counts as a fortified camp. I've seen those in the films. If you don't get dizzy its the equivalent of mounted attackers not rolling a 6.

DaiSho
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Post by DaiSho » Tue Aug 04, 2009 8:51 pm

philqw78 wrote:But a Pecheneg wagon circle counts as a fortified camp. I've seen those in the films. If you don't get dizzy its the equivalent of mounted attackers not rolling a 6.
Now you're narrowing the field even further.

It was "write a special rule for the one in a thousand chance of an Elephant attacking a fortified camp", now it's "write a special rule for the one in a million chance of an Elephant attacking a Pecheneg wagon circle".

The writers have to go with the generic. The "generic" 'fortified camp' is a Roman Camp. The "generic" spearmen is a Hoplite. If they can't fit a troop type into those loose "generics" then they have to create a special rule or a new troop type. The book would be thousands of inches thick if they tried to cover all contingencies.

There's nothing wrong with the rule as written.

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shall
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Post by shall » Fri Aug 07, 2009 8:47 am

The issue is perhaps aprtely that a fortified camp is many different things.

The ultimate issue I guess being "can elephants climb ladders!!" :? :lol:

Si
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elephants

Post by benos » Fri Aug 07, 2009 9:27 am

but dumbo can fly ;-)
Seriously, if you make a seperate rule for every occurance it will bog the game down, as happened for example with wab. It can be ok on a skirmish scale- dark ages warbands hence why to me wab works best in that era, fog while better tham dbm feels a bit bland for vikings but very good for pathian wars.
So go for the best general option rather than an exception for every little skirmish.
Ben

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Post by lawrenceg » Fri Aug 07, 2009 9:38 am

shall wrote:The issue is perhaps partly that a fortified camp is many different things.

The ultimate issue I guess being "can elephants climb ladders!!" :? :lol:

Si

Yes, a fortified camp covers a multitude of sins.

IIRC the standard Roman overnight marching camp (described in a Slingshot article a few years ago) was a 60 cm deep ditch backed by a 60 cm rampart and on top of the rampart was not a palisade, but a line of "caltrop-like" assemblies of three stakes lashed together at 90 degrees. And this barrier was at least a flaming arrow-shot away from the actual tents.

If they were in a location for longer (e.g. "winter quarters" or a siege) then this would be improved into more substantial fortifications, ultimately resulting in Caesar's massive walls, towers and obstacle belts at Alesia.


In the game what you get for your 25 points is a structure substantial enough, manned by enough determined defenders that mounted troops including elephants need a 6 to get in and foot need a 5 or 6.
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Post by babyshark » Fri Aug 07, 2009 3:25 pm

lawrenceg wrote:In the game what you get for your 25 points is a structure substantial enough, manned by enough determined defenders that mounted troops including elephants need a 6 to get in and foot need a 5 or 6.
A perfect description.

Marc

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Post by rbodleyscott » Fri Aug 07, 2009 4:02 pm

DaiSho wrote:
philqw78 wrote:and all knocked up over night by an army on the march no doubt
5 - We have archeological evidence here Phil! I think you'd be truly surprised at how quickly a fort could be built.
Many Roman marching camps are still visible from the air after nearly 2,000 years. They were not trivial affairs.

http://www.romanscotland.org.uk/pages/i ... hcamps.asp

I am guessing that a 9 feet deep ditch would inconvenience even an elephant.

Elephant steak anyone?

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Post by philqw78 » Fri Aug 07, 2009 9:58 pm

rbodleyscott wrote:
DaiSho wrote:5 - We have archeological evidence here Phil! I think you'd be truly surprised at how quickly a fort could be built.
Many Roman marching camps are still visible from the air after nearly 2,000 years. They were not trivial affairs.

http://www.romanscotland.org.uk/pages/i ... hcamps.asp
But the trench lines in Belgium are barely visible after less than 100 years. A lot of those were concreted. And since, whilst on the march they 'fortified' every night there should be a lot more evidence

I don't think the rules need changing, but it would be a nice change that adds colour to the game if room. And. There are a lot more armies in your books than just the Romans. And I don't think the Pecheneg fortified camps are visible any more, though you might be able to dicscover evidence of the latrine if you knew where to look.

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Post by benny » Fri Aug 07, 2009 10:03 pm

Any good examples of them actually doing it rather than us thinking they did it.

Clearly I could read up on all warfare covered by FOG but I would be in the library until retirement ... can anyone who has done so post a few bits that might trigger thinking?

Me very interested if anyone can.

Si

Tx Si[/quote]

Simon, a book you need to look up on this subject is Scullard's classic 'The Elephant in the Greek and Roman World', pp248-9 covers exactly this question and highlights use of elephants to assault camps and other fortifications, sometimes successfully, sometimes not.

The most famous example would be Hannibal's use of elephants to break into a Roman camp outside Capua in 210BC, but the Carthaginians also used them to successfully assault a rebel camp during the earlier Mercenary War while Romans used elephants in the same way against a Carthaginian camp during the Third Punic War. Diodorus also describes Perdiccas's elephants successfully tearing down a (defended) Ptolemaic palisade in conjunction with attacking infantry. A number of other examples are given, not all of them successful, including Sassanid use of them against Roman fortifications. Aristotle certainly wrote that elephants were capable of battering down walls as did the tactician Aelian.

Whether these add up to sufficient evidence to change the rules is something for you to decide but there certainly seems to be plenty of evidence for elephants attacking fortifications of all kinds.

cheers

Benny

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Post by philqw78 » Fri Aug 07, 2009 10:16 pm

I retract my last, obviously the rules do need changing.

And I would like to see anybody that could be bothered to dig a 9 foot ditch for a camp in one night.

Marching forts for longer stays should be in the PROMISED campaign rules

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Post by deadtorius » Sat Aug 08, 2009 12:34 am

And I am certain the Carthaginians needed to roll a 6 to break into those camps the elephants took out.

Doubt it was a quick 5 or 6 assault, some things us bipeds are perhaps better at.

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Post by DaiSho » Sat Aug 08, 2009 3:35 am

benny wrote:Whether these add up to sufficient evidence to change the rules is something for you to decide but there certainly seems to be plenty of evidence for elephants attacking fortifications of all kinds.
Yes, exactly. All you've done is quote a source that states that elephants successfully assaulted a fortified camp. Big deal. Nobody is doubting that Elephants can assault fortifications. What's being doubted is whether they are equivalent to men. Did we see the dice roll to know whether it was a 5?

I believe infantry would be superior to elephants in taking a fortification.

The one thing we still stand by even today is that you need infantry to take and hold ground. Everything else is there to support the guy on the ground - not on the elephant - on the ground.

The rule is extremely arbitrary. The rules designers decided that mounted are 6 and infantry are 5-6 and so far as I'm concerned that's it, that's the rule! If we start doing the 'what about...' situations, we'll end up with a set of rules written by a committee, and that would suck severely.

Unless we can come up with conclusive evidence (which I think would be all but impossible) for the numbers of elephants represented by a BG of Elephants to be the equivalent of a BG of infantry I think that it's best left alone.

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Post by DaiSho » Sat Aug 08, 2009 3:44 am

philqw78 wrote:And I would like to see anybody that could be bothered to dig a 9 foot ditch for a camp in one night.
A 9' ditch would supply a 18' redoubt. Something you'd need a siege engine to take.

A 3' ditch supplies a 6' redoubt.

It works like this:

---------= Ground level.

You take a shovel and you dig a hole and you end up with this:

-V---

You've got a whole load of dirt left over, so you put it on YOUR side of the hole:

-AV---

Thus, for every 1' of hole you end up with 2' of redoubt.

Put various 'ouchies' on top of the redoubt and you've got something that is fairly difficult to get into.

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Post by shall » Sat Aug 08, 2009 6:56 am

In the game what you get for your 25 points is a structure substantial enough, manned by enough determined defenders that mounted troops including elephants need a 6 to get in and foot need a 5 or 6.
A fine summary ...

In reality we have balanced the effect of camps in a game to give a reasonable incetive to attack them and a reasonable incentive to defend them, without them over dominating in the way that 12 points lost in DBX might. Likewise to give a decent incentive to spend the 25 points.

I know the Capua story having read that source, and it didn't make me want to make Ellies a 5. Having said that whether 5 or 6 I suspect the effect on the game balance - which is where my thinking always goes as long as the rules are historicall reasonable - is rather small. I suppose I am probably in the 5 1/2 camp, but can't see the point of use introducing 12 sided dice to deal with it.

Good stream of debate and by all means keep it going. It will go inthe log of - "little tweaks to consdier when we get round to vs 2 one day" box.

Si
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Post by marioslaz » Sat Aug 08, 2009 8:01 am

... and anyway Ellies are beasts not panzer! They wouldn't go deliberately against a structure. Think to Zama: elephants went in the holes let between maniples, not against infantry formations.
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Post by nikgaukroger » Sat Aug 08, 2009 11:27 am

marioslaz wrote:... and anyway Ellies are beasts not panzer! They wouldn't go deliberately against a structure.
They were, however, on occasion used to attack city gates.
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Post by marioslaz » Sat Aug 08, 2009 7:40 pm

nikgaukroger wrote:
marioslaz wrote:... and anyway Ellies are beasts not panzer! They wouldn't go deliberately against a structure.
They were, however, on occasion used to attack city gates.
Did they crash gates with head butt? :D
I don't know any episode about it, but I guess they attacked city gates from elephant and not with elephant (I hope to have explained what is the difference I mean, in particular for the poor elephants :wink: ). I guess whom started this thread wanted to say elephants could crash camp defences, while authors say troops attacked camp defences from elephants, and so they count as mounted.
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Post by philqw78 » Sat Aug 08, 2009 8:08 pm

Elephants push trees over and gates down with their head

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Post by jcmedhurst » Sat Aug 08, 2009 8:53 pm

And, having visited India a couple of years ago, I can confirm that Indian fortresses (in Rajasthan at least), very often have specific defences to stop Elephants pushing down gates (spiky stuff riveted firmly to the outside of the gate and narrow corners to make it hard to maneuver one's elephant). This implies that the pushy-downy door tactic with elephants was used sufficiently frequently and was sufficiently effective with that some form of special defence was required.

Just my 2-pennyworth :-)

John

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