Watchers of Karna versus Easterlings

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Watchers of Karna versus Easterlings

Postby The Mouth of Sauron » Thu Jul 10, 2008 12:47 pm

Kushir had been trailing Tai-Shan, the Easterling, for some time, but his numbers were too great for his force to take on by themselves. He would need allies and he needed to know where he was headed. Only the presense of the Emissary of the Dark Lord protected them from retribution from the Court of Umbar, though Kushir was sure they had nefarious deeds planned. In time it became apparant that Tai-Shan and his entourage were heading to the cursed city. On what business he did not know, but this did give him a likely ally in his battle with his old adversary.

Kushir mustered the warriors of his tribe and approached the guardians of Karna warily. The fanatical zeal with which they defended their self-proclaimed territory was legendary and even the Court of Umbar didn't meddle in their affairs. Such allies would be useful if he were to ever come to their attention. With a wave of his hand Kushir halted the advance of his escort and advanced to speak with the priest who had come to speak with him. It took little convincing to get the priest to agree to lend his warriors to Kushir's initial cause as they had no intention of allowing an infidel to plunder the cursed city of Karna and thus cause the spirits contained within its walls to wreck havoc in their wake as they sought to reclaim their lost treasures.

The battlefield was sparce with a couple small ruins on Kushir's left and a small clump of rocks on his right flank. Across from him the Easterlings and their Khandish allies assembled between two small oasis (woodland terrain) and used a small hill in the center of the field and on Kushir's far right flank as cover from archery fire. Kushir and his ally Ishmrah split their Watcher archers on either flank and spread out the remainder into a skirmish line across the center of the field with Kushir's Haradrim spearmen supporting them from behind.

The Easterlings had split their infantry into three small groups and dispersed them left, right and center; placing their large cavalry contingent in the center as well. A wise position as they could easily sweep to either flank as needed and their infantry would be readily available to support them.

Tai-Shan was not known for his horsemanship and in fact had many times stated his distain for horsemen. Kushir was an experienced raider and had led many a cavalry attack in his time. To be on the receiving end of cavalry with only infantry at his disposal was something new, however. The two forces looked at each other in the cool dawn light. Kushir and Ishmrah exchanged glances and Ishmrah nodded. With that the warriors of Harad advanced upon their enemy. The entire infantry line advanced at a quick pace and not even the archers slowed to fire. The Easterlings took their queue and started their advance. Kushir noted Tai-Shan's reserved movements of his cavalry and also noted that they advanced with his infantry. He was being cautious and wise given the deadly archers at Kushir's disposal. Once past the ruins and at the edge of the hill Kushir signaled for his archers to slow and to form up. Ishmrah and Kushir took their positions in the fighting line in preparation of the upcoming fight. Arrows flew from the Easterlings and a Watcher of Karna to Kushir's left fell dead and arrow piercing his breast.

The Watchers of Karna on the left unleashed a flight of arrows with alarming precision they rained down upon the Easterling warriors nearest to them. All three of the archers in that group fell pierced many times. Tai-Shan reacted by maneuvering away from those archers and moved his cavalry into the shadow of the hill to protect his cavalry from the archers on the right and put enough distance between himself and the other flank that no arrow could reach him or his mounted escort. A couple more Watchers fell to Easterling arrows. Kushir could see that the main thrust would likely fall on his right flank which was held by ten of his Watcher archers. He could easily reinforce that position, but Tai-Shan could just as easily fall back and consilodate his infantry and cavalry and hit the center. The Watchers of Karna are formidable warriors and more than a match one on one for any Easterling cavalryman so Kushir chose instead to start a flanking maneuver with his combat line starting to wheel across the center of the field. All he needed was for his right flank to hold for a little while. Kushir himself slipped to the right to better lead the counter attack from right of center. Arrows again flew and two more heavily armoured Easterling warriors fell dead. The cavalry however proved to be much harder to harm as the rain of arrows deflected from armoured horses and riders. Tai-Shan seized the initiative (won Priority) and charged his horsemen into Kushir's right flank, led by the Khandish prince on his chariot. This attack was fierce, but flawed as it allowed Kushir to counter charge the attack and position himself on the extreme left flank of the attack supported by three Watchers and four spearmen. Easterling archers killed the spearmen supporting Kushir and two more Easterling warriors dropped from the Watchers' return volley. Kushir called a Heroic Combat and swiftly dispatched the horseman. He and three of the watchers continued into the Easterling flank to engage the Kataphract banner and to trap Tai-Shan. Blades, shields and armour clashed. The cavalry charge was beaten back with Tai-Shan avoiding a wound by fate alone, the Khandish prince was alive only through the intervention of fate and several warriors on both sides had fallen. The casaulties were light compaired to what they could have been, but the Haradrim could fight a battle of attrition, the Easterlings could not. Tai-Shan called a Heroic Move, which Kushir did not contest. Again the cavalry charged into the Haradrim lines, though this time the infantry was close enough to lend some help in protecting the flank of the attack. The Mouth of Sauron crested the hill to transfix Kushir, but failed and returned to the safety of the bottom of the hill (he had a bad die roll and a problem with his order of moves which blocked The Mouth of Sauron from entering combat this turn). Again the Haradrim counter charged the attack. All thought of bowfire was abandoned as Kushir's warriors swept in from the left flank and slammed into the hasty defense put up by the Easterling warriors to stop them. In the center Ishmar moved in to support the flanking attack on the cavalry. Combats were a bloody affair with the Haradrim taking the worst of the bleeding, the Khandish prince was amongst the casaulties as his panicked steeds dragged the chariot and the corpse from the field. Of Tai-Shan and Kushir the battle was fierce, though Tai-Shan was forced to back off unwounded by the encounter.

Tai-Shan again seized the initiative and this time Easterling infantry tied up Kushir and many of his warriors trying to surround the cavalry, while Tai-Shan sent his cavalry once more into the breach. This time mostly what stood before him were Kushir's spears. The Haradrim counter attacked with Ishmrah challenging Tai-Shan. The Mouth of Sauron was engaged by a Watcher of Karna, but soon aided by two Easterling warriors that worked to trap this brave warrior. The attack on the left flank was held by the Easterlings once more and they inflicted more than they took in the process. Kushir and his warriors evened out the score taking down a couple of warriors themselves and forcing many more back. Ishmrah and Tai-Shan exchanged blows. Tai-Shan's prowess as a warrior proved no match for the priest and his followers. Ishmrah was slain (with Might unspent). The Mouth of Sauron was beaten back and wounded by the Watcher which now circled warily forcing even the Easterling warriors back to give him space.

Kushir took the initiative and charged Tai-Shan (now out of Might) and bellowed for his warriors to engage the horsemen before they could charge again. In the congestion of the field the cavalry were easy to contain and most were soon engaged. The Mouth of Sauron took the opportunity to spit a dark curse at Kushir who was suddenly struck deaf, dumb and blind. Satisified with his work the Dark Lord's Emmissary charged the troublesome Watcher assisted by the two Easterling Warriors. By now the archers on the left flank had finally reached the battle and added much needed numbers to that flank. The Easterlings on that edge were cut off and completely surrounded. Tai-Shan won his fight easily, but his blows were insufficient to wound the very luck Kushir. With his senses clearing he stumbled back out of the combat while his warriors protected his withdrawal. The Easterlings were cut to pieces in all quarters. Many horsemen fell on the right flank accompanied by The Mouth of Sauron who also fell gravely wounded from his mount, landing in a heap. On the left warriors held out, but were getting beaten and cut to pieces (one fight had 18 to wound rolls). In the center most of his warriors managed to escape death. His force now broken Tai-Shan lost the intiative and Kushir, recovered from the curse, charged in accompanied by several Watchers of Karna and spearmen. None of the Easterlings fled the battle and all fought bravely to the end. Tai-Shan was struck from his horse and his badly wounded body fell onto the field of battle. Few Easterlings were left amongst the living by this time and they broke off the attack, decisively beaten.

Major Victory for the Haradrim!

Aftermath:
Kushir watched as Tai-Shan's limp form was dragged from the field on a litter with but a small remnant of his former escort. The fate of The Mouth of Sauron was unknown as his body was not recovered, neither was the young Khandish prince or his chariot found. Karna was left inviolate and the Watchers saw to the preparations for their own dead, including their chieftain. The battle had been fierce, but the warriors of Harad had proven themselves more than a match for the Shadows of the East.

Easterling force (from memory):
1 Easterling Captain with shield on armoured horse [Tai-Shan]
1 Khandish Chieftain with bow on chariot
1 The Mouth of Sauron on armoured horse
12 Easterlings with shield and spear
6 Easterlings with shield and spear
9 Easterling archers
5 Kataphracts
1 Kataphract with banner
3 Khandish horsemen

Model count was 39.

Watchers of Karna
1 Haradrim Chieftains with bow (Kushir)
1 Haradrim Chieftains with bow (Ishmar - converted Watcher model)
20 Watchers of Karna
20 Watchers of Karna with bow
20 Haradrim warriors with spear

Tactical notes:
Tai-Shan's force was severely out matched from the beginning. His numbers were almost half of mine and the nubmer of attacks I can bring into a 25mm space was greater than his own. His cavalry was his major asset and almost broke through my right flank, but he made a couple of errors in their use. First he charged when he had priority. This allowed me to counter charge and not only blunt his attack, but I also killed a couple of Kataphracts and badly wounded his Khandish prince. This attack went in a turn a head of his infantry which couldn't prevent me from outflanking his force and calling the Heroic Move to get to and remove his banner from play.

He the called a Heroic Move which I didn't contest and used it to charge my line again and basically repeated the previous turn. Instead of falling back and consilodating his cavalry for another better timed charge. This time didn't go so badly for him as I was now losing warriors on my right flank and due to the congestion I was having trouble reinforcing their position. By the time I got conrol over that flank I had been pushed back almost to a 90 degree angle from my main line and had he managed a breakthough I would have had cavalry in my backfield trapping me from behind.

Luckily my own Heroic Move managed to stop this from happening and I was in control of the fight from that point ownwards. Once I overwhelmed the Easterlings on my left flank and stopped the cavalry on my right it was all downhill from there for the Easterlings.

Though Tai-Shan nearly kept me to a Minor Win. Had he rolled better when he beat Kushir in the turn he was transfixed I would have had to settle for a smaller margin of victory.

Notes:
The Watchers of Karna did a great job of taking on the charging cavalry and even managed to win most of their fights. They are truly fiercesome when backed up by a spear. I was having problems wounding the Easterlings and it didn't occur to me until after the battle I should have been dehorsing hte Kataphracts instead of trying to kill the riders. This would have saved me some grief later inthe battle and the horses are easier to wound than the riders. When they did lose I usually lost a Watcher, but not always. Teh Easterlings only wound Watchers of Karna 1/2 the time so unless they were hit with cavalry I usually didn't lose a warrior to a lost combat.

Their archery wasn't all that impressive in this game, but it wasn't used more than a couple of turns. I still managed to take out about 6 models from bowfire, which helped to uneven the combats to follow. More importantly I could leave the archers exposed knowing that they could hold an opponent for a couple of turns while I raced reinforcements to them.
Last edited by The Mouth of Sauron on Thu Jul 10, 2008 2:31 pm, edited 4 times in total.
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Postby BrentS » Thu Jul 10, 2008 2:15 pm

This was another very fun read Tim. Thanks for taking the time to post such a well written battle report.

I couldn't tell for sure, but I think you must have rolled To the Death! for your scenario?

I was shocked when Kushir survived the transfix and fought Tai-Shan. :wink:
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Postby The Mouth of Sauron » Thu Jul 10, 2008 2:16 pm

Meeting Engagement.

I was lucky. Steve rolled really well to win the combat, but he only managed a single 5 to wound which I avoided with Fate.
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