Friday, February 14, 2020

Italo\Normans vs New Rome (Byzantium)

There seems to be more and more variants of the popular Osprey Rules Lion Rampant available. One such variant is called Landwasters and Raven Feeders. The idea was to back up the dates from Lion Rampant and get into the so-called Dark Ages.

A friend and I took the concept to heart and painted two new armies in the old 25mm metal scale. He painted Italo\Normans and I did Commenan\Nikophorian Byzantines.

The lists we used were adopted by me from various Field of Glory lists and scaled down to Lion Rampant unit sizes. We both fieldied 30 points. The date was roughly 1050AD and the location were the parts of Byzantine controlled Italy. The Italo\Normans were the aggressors (naturally) and the Byzantines the defenders. Victory conditions would be obvious or who controlled two of three terrain features in the skirmish.

We played our first game a few weeks ago. Here are the Orders of Battle:


6 Milites of Otronto  Minifig
6 Milites of Syracuse  Minifig
6 Retainer cavalry  Strelets
12 Italian infantry with spears  Garrison
12 Italian infantry with spears  Garrison
12 Mercenary crossbow   Ral Partha
6 Mercenary ribauld   Revell


6 Thematic Heavy Cavalry double armed bow and spear Ral Partha Historicals
6 Thematic Heavy Cavalry double armed bow and spear Ral Partha Historicals 
6 Thematic Light Horse javelin\skirmish Ral Partha Historicals
12 Byzantine "Peltastos" 1\2 spear, 1\2 archer Ral Partha Historicals
12 Mercenary Spearmen Corvus Figures
12 Archers Minifigs
Skirmish Peltastos Minifigs
Skirmish Peltastos Hinchcliffe

The Norman cavalry deploys behind blocks of Italo\Norman infantry.

Imposing any threatening! Oh my!

The Italian unit on the left consists mostly of the old Garrison figures. They are impossible to obtain except a few here and there on eBay.

The mercenary ribaulds in 1\72 plastic by Revell. That's another set that is hard to get.

Minifig Byzantine archers in front the Corvus mercenary spearmen. Corvus historically are as rare as teeth on a chicken.

Byzantine Peltastos of various types in front of a unit of Thematic Heavy Cavalry. Peltastos did not mean Peltast as it did in classical times. It's probably it just meant lighter armored infantry in the Commenan Army.

Ral Partha Thematic Heavy Cavalry and Light Horse. Iron Wind carries many of the old Ral Partha Historicals but they are very pricey. Sometimes you can score them cheaper on eBay.

Italo\Norman Milites (Minifigs) get ready for the charge. Minifigs in 25mm are still available through a shop in the UK.

Nice close up!

The Italo\Norman infantry occupy one terrain feature in some force.

This could be a tough nut to crack!

The intent of the Italo\Norman cavalry was to anchor a flank on the terrain feature and sweep the rest of the field with a cavalry charge.

This Byzantine flank was not weak but it took some time to get into optimum position.

The lighter armed Peltastos types tried to stick to the terrain to negate their heavier opponents. 

An early Byzantine move. The Italo\Norman archers were in range and the cavalry safely withdrew behind the hill for the time being.

The extreme left of the Italo\Normans, This unit faced two Byzantine cavalry units and eventually perished but not before giving the Byzantine commander some pause for concern.

The Byzantines would seek to out flank this formidable position.

The Byzantine Thematic Heavy Cavalry would hold their own against the initial Italo\Norman charge.

The Byzantine Light Horse was meant to skirmish so skirmish they did. 

Rough terrain equalizes armor for most troop types.

The Byzantine left finally gets into position. Activating a unit is tricky business in Lion Rampant rules. It's smart to start with units that have the best chance to activate because if you fail you are done for the turn.

Skirmish type Peltastos trying to use the terrain to their advantage.

At this point one unit of the Italo\Norman Milites have been nearly destroyed. The second one on the far left of the picture would charge and the leader was lost! It was the turning point of the game.

I have extra figures for command but the rules play the same. This unit was the Byzantine reserve. I tried to keep it central.

The Italo\Norman cavalry has shot it's bolt and the Byzantine line has held.

The Italo\Norman right is being pushed back and is danger of being outflanked.

End game positions. The result was obvious. The goal was to learn the rules. We learned a few things from the previous game and a few more from this one. We're interested in achieving period flavor. The Byzantines were the first army used that might be considered to be eastern in tactics. It was a good time.


Phil said...

So many splendid figures in a single table Bruce, looks awesome!

Jonathan Freitag said...

Bruce, you have gathered together an eclectic group of figures from a number of manufacturers. I like that and am surprised you remember all of them. Good looking game too!

Bruce Roeder said...

Thanks gentlemen. I continue to have weird troubles with Blogger and it prevents me from responding indivudally. Thank you for your kind comments and encouragement. The use of the 25mm metal figures was a trip down memory land for us. Back in the day we had large metal armies in 25mm and used to play WRG type rules. Minifigs, Hinchcliffe, Ral Partha. Garrison and RAFM were all much in evidence. Now they are nostalgic and still fun to paint on occasion and get on the game board.