The Ottoman army of 28 units included 13 units of Sipahis and Akinci bow armed light and medium cavalry plus 6 units of azab foot archers and 9 units of spears.
The French army consisted of 6 units of mounted men-at-arms (knights), 3 units of mounted sergeants, 8 units of men-at-arms on foot and 8 units of crossbow equipped with pavisses – 25 units.
The terrain was chosen and laid out on a 6ft by 4ft table before the 4 players knew which army they would have – we rolled dice for choice of army, choice of table edge, first/second deployment and first move. Dave and Tony won the first of the above di rolls and chose the Ottomans, before going on to win every other di roll for the above, leaving Steve and myself (the French), to ponder what went wrong even before the first unit moved. Despite the terrain being pretty open and therefore good Ottoman cavalry country, there were a number of useful small areas of woodland and a road within and in close proximity to the French deployment zone. With only 8 units of shooters against the Ottomans 19, any additional protection from the Ottoman arrow storm would be crucial. Opening moves saw the mass of Ottoman bow armed cavalry move across to threaten our right wing. In response, we pulled back towards our centre while advancing our crossbow units forward behind their pavisses and occupied a vital 4 hex area of woodland which would provide a bastion against the Ottoman cavalry. On the left of our line, Steve took possession of a 4 hex escarpment and another area of woodland. Steve and I planned to launch our attack at the Ottoman centre in the hope of splitting their army-- infantry from cavalry, with the aim of defeating the weaker Ottoman infantry, before attempting to take on the very illusive and dangerous cavalry. Our initial assault on the centre failed as the combined shooting power of azabs and akincis sent our attacking units backwards causing lots of disruption. It took us a couple of game turns before our units rallied and were ready, in position, for another frontal attack. In the meantime, our left wing suffered a major hammering by the bowfire of Ottoman cavalry. Despite the loss and disruption of many units, thanks in no small part to the 4 hex wood, the line held. The rate of attrition on the French army through shooting left Steve I and with little choice but to re-launch our frontal assault. Thankfully, with the support of the crossbows we managed to take the central woodland from the Ottoman infantry, inflicting the first significant casualties on our opponents, and creating enough space for the French knights to brought forward to reinforce the attack. Dave’s infantry and 2 units of sipahis cavalry attacked Steve’s units defending the wood and escarpment on our far left. The azab archers left the 8 hex hill and moved forward to assist this attack, which provided an opportunity for the French knights to come into charge range of the Ottoman infantry. On the right wing the French casualties continued to increase due to the arrows from Tony’s cavalry, but we managed to keep 4 of our 5 generals out of harms way. The other general had advanced into the heart of the Ottoman cavalry only to be shot to pieces along with his unit. Tony, eventually, perhaps out of sheer frustration at the stubbornness of French infantry, launched his light cavalry into hand-to-hand combat. In response, what remained of the crossbow shot really well, causing units to recoil disrupted and allowing French men-at-arms to contact and fight hand-to-hand with the Ottoman cavalry. These Ottoman cavalry units in hand-to-hand fighting, could no-longer come and support the Ottoman infantry in the centre, which were now being hammered by the units of charging French knights. The azab archers shot poorly and were as a result swept away, leaving a line of Ottoman spears without a supporting general, 2 of which were already lost and a 3rd soon would fall victim to the French knights. The game concluded with the French men-at-arms advancing to victory in the centre with no Ottoman generals available to organise the remaining infantry units into an effective defensive line.
Steve and I (the French), were on the receiving end of the shooting power of the Ottoman army for most of the game and lost a third of our units. The right wing of the French army was saved from obliteration at the hands of the Ottoman cavalry by a 4 hex area of woodland. Once the French men-at-arms finally succeeded in getting ‘close-up and personal’ with the Ottomans, French fortunes were reversed, and the Ottoman army started to crumble.