Sunday, 15 July 2012

Battle of Kadesh 1275BC using Ancient Warrior Battles (003)

This is game 3 in playtesting my rules Ancient Warrior Battles rules (AWB) by replaying all the Peter Sides scenarios from his Historical Battles books.  AWB is designed to finish in under an hour on 2'x2' tables.

Battle of Kadesh (or Qadesh)
The Egyptian Pharaoh Ramses II battles with the Hittite King Muwatalli II in Syria.

Here is a link of interest:

Wikipedia article

Most other sources I know of are not electronic e.g. Slingshot, Osprey and most recently the Hail Caesar rulebook has a Kadesh scenario.

Changes to the Bill Banks Scenario
I have roughly halved the number of units so it works on a 2'x2' battlefield.  The scenario had Sutekh possibly arrive first from the south, and then Ptah from the west.  I have changed this to Ne'arin from the south first, and Ptah from the west.  I was also tempted to change where Kadesh was etc based on some other scenarios, but decided to just run with what was in the book as much as possible.

2 Chariots, LCH, high fortitude, archer, light armour
1 Spearmen, HI, light armour
1 Bowmen, HI, archer
1 Chariot, LCH, high fortitude, archer, light armour
1 Bowmen, HI, archers
1 Auxiliaries, LI
1 Chariots, LCH, high fortitude, archer, light armour
2 Spearmen, HI, light armour
1 Chariot, LCH, high fortitude, archer, light armour
1 Spearmen, HI, light armour
1 Bowmen, HI, archers
1 +2 General (Ramses II) with Amun
1 camp

Breakpoint: 9 if all divisions on; 7 without Ptah, 5 without Ne'arin and Ptah.

5 Chariots HCH, archer, light armour

2 Chariots, LCH, archer
2 Spearmen, HI, light armour
2 Auxiliaries, LI
1 Skirmisher, SI, bow
1 General (King Muwatalli II)

Breakpoint: 9

The scenario calls for a general per Egyptian division.  In DBA a general gives +1 in combat and for tests. I  made each of the chariots high fortitude rather than add a sub-general to each division. Also, with the number of generals, the book suggests giving +1 PIPs per extra general.  I will make Ramses a +2 general to account for this. A +2 general in AWB means they can re-roll up to 2 move command die rolls per turn.

In hindsight, the Egyptian Chariots, for this battle, should have been classed a HCH with average fortitude and the Hittites HCH with high fortitude.  The difference between LCH and HCH Vs each other was nil (under this version - I have changed it so LCH are always classed as skirmishers, and then there IS a difference), and in fact the high fortitude gave the Egyptians a +1 advantage in combat.  Changing it around would reverse this.  Alternatively, and it may be what I would lean to, if class the Egyptian Chariots as LCH, high fortitude, and make the Hittites poor fortitude.  This would then account for the General attached to each division.

As per Peter Sides: Amun in the camp and P'Re on the board.
Ne'arin dices for entry per turn - arrives of a d6 of 5-6.  Once Ne'arin arrives, Ptah dices for entry and needs a 6.

Overall deployment - low hill in the centre


P'Re.  Note the Chariot is very old and needs a repaint.


Kadesh is bad going and only able to be entered only by Hittites (who then cannot leave or be counted in breakpoint calculation).  Kadesh cannot be attacked.
Both the Orontes and feeder stream are classed as a stream (+1 for defending banks).

Hittites are the attacker and go first.

The Hittite infantry are uncontrolled.  This works very similar to uncontrolled in Armati.  The group cannot be ordered to move, but will react to the enemy, charge enemy if they come in range and fire if they come within range.

The Game
Hittite Heavy Chariots move over the hill towards P'Re.  The other Heavy Chariot group wheel and advance toward the Amun camp. Light Chariots move around the flanks.

The Hittites advance towards the obvious targets
The P-Re division is made up of a Light Chariot and two Heavy Infantry.  The Light Chariot will do attempt a  wheel > 45 degrees - this is a 3+ order +1 high fortitude +1 supported so an auto pass (Compared to a to a 4+ to rotate in place .  However, the Heavy Infantry are not high fortitude but are support so can wheel on a 2+.  Note that the whole unit cannot wheel or the Heavy Infantry would end up behind the chariot.  Passed.

P'Re successfully turns to face the enemy
P'Re is now facing the Heavy Chariots and within 4cm so they need to take a proximity test and they charge down the hill. The Light Chariot fires at the charging Heavy Chariot who does not care.  The Heavy Chariot will have +2 in close combat first turn with heavy mounted vs foot. Note a Heavy Chariot with light armour Vs a light chariot with light armour  gets no special bonus in combat.  The advantage of the Heavy Chariot is against infantry.  Close combat sees the spearmen retreat and a Heavy Chariot retreat.  Note the Heavy Chariot does not retreat the full distance as the stream reduces their move distance.

P'Re after combat (green = disorder, black ring = depleted)
Meanwhile, Amun in the camp needs to reface as well.  The infantry did a small wheel to get out from behind the Light Chariot.

Amun successfully turns to face the on-comers (off picture to the top)
Hittite Heavy Chariot move as far as they can and make it within 4cm of the Amun Light Chariot (triggers a proximity test).  Even with a 1, the unit with Ramses fires back (1+ 1 supported +1 high fortitude +1 general attached). In the ensuing missile exchange all Hittites chariots pushed back.

Amun keeps the Hittite chariots at bay.

Muwatalli moves to the chariots facing Amun.

P-Re Egyptian archers and Light Chariot fire at the opposing chariots. And routs them (really low rolls for the Hittites).  Unexpected.  Well, it could have gone historical but a few bad dice rolls see P'Re survive.

Amun infantry wheels and forces a reaction form Hittite chariot who fires back and causes the Light Infantry to charge the Heavy Chariot but the infantry is pushed back.  Some missile exchanges between the chariots sees a push back on each side.

Hittite chariot pushed back firing on Ramses chariot but the next Chariot can fire at Ramses mount without retaliation (for no effect but a 1 will cause the chariot to be pushed back and disordered so will have to do something, and a Hittite light chariot is coming round the flank).  Hittite chariot charges the disordered Light Infantry that then routs, the chariot pursues into a Light Chariot and the archers.

Hittites among Amun.
The Light Chariot and archer both fire as it charges for no effect.  Archer routs in subsequent close combat while the Light Chariot is locked in melee.

On the Hittite left flank the Light Chariot charges (roll a 6 for command - it is a fair way from Muwatalli!) into the archers but it is a tie.

The Hittite light chariot (on the right) among P'Re

The Ne'arin enter.

Ne'arin enter with another ancient chariot (from ebay) requiring repaint

Subsequent combat sees the Egyptian archer retreat through the spearmen and the Light Chariot pursue into the spears who, already weakened, rout (lucky Ne'arin entered this turn as Egypt reaches 5 towards it breakpoint, which would break the army without Ne'arin on the table).  Light Chariot do not pursue.

The Hittite chariot doing an excellent job of mopping up P'Re

Hittite Light Chariot on Hittite right flank attempts to wheel and charge the camp.  Rolls a 1! so does not.  If it had, and managed to win the combat with the camp and begun looting, it would have made the Egyptians reach their breakpoint.  You have to feel sorry for the Hittites.

The Hittite chariot (foreground) with the camp so close but yet so far...(failed orders to turn)

Combat between Light Chariot and Hittite Heavy Chariot nex to the camp see Hittite Heavy Chariot rout.  It helped that Ramses moved at the end of the last turn to this chariot. Ramses must pursue (rolled a 6 so there was no way to stop the chariot wanting to follow) and contacts Muwatalli who is also gets a +1 for defending the stream bank (from a Ramses perspective, did not want this as now it is a general on general combat).  Lucky die rolls can see one side get a lot closer to their breakpoint very quickly.  They tied.  No effect.

Ramses Vs Muwatalli - combat is a tie.
Lastly, the Hittite left flank chariot would be at a -2 disadvantage if if went into close combat with the Egyptian Light Chariot (-1 disordered and the Egyptian Light Chariot is a +1 for high fortitude).  So it tries to rally off the disorder and succeeds!

Ne'arin chariot charges the flanking Hittite chariot but the Egyptian chariot retreats.

Ne'arin (at the bottom) advances to protect the camp

Hittite Light Chariot chariot wheels, charges the camp that loses the combat and the Hittite chariot moves onto it to loot.  This actually brings Egypt to its breakpoint and the game is over.

Endgame.  The Infantry never moved.  Still bits of Amun and 'Re around and Ne'arin never made it past coming on to the lower left.

Another game I enjoyed immensely.  Fast and furious, and the fact events went completely against the historical outcome (whether plausible or not is debatable) meant is was unpredictable as well. To me, it shows that, for the actual battle, Ramses had a little bit of luck on his side on the day.  Without taking notes, this game took about 50 minutes as well.  Not bad. I forgot one of my own rules in that Ramses could re-roll the action dice twice each turn.  This may have helped a couple of times, especially early on.  I clarified the camp rules and the light chariot unit tyoe and then released the first publicly available version of the rules (version 1.6). This is available on the Ancient Warrior Battles page at the top of the blog.


  1. Looking very nice...nice blog too!

    1. Thanks for the kind words and welcome to the blog!

  2. Great report, and the version 1.6 rules are looking very good at first glance.

    How "close" do you feel this version comes to your ideal 2x2 game?

    1. 1.6 I am hoping will have only very minor changes, likely rules clarifications, for all the battles up until around 500AD. It is my ideal solo rulset for 2x2 for battles 30-40 minutes. for non-solo, I am not so sure - I would really like a ruleset that is like Mighty Armies Ancients but with different combat mechanisms. I do like the fact MAA has no markers and very quick and every combat sees a result of a least one base being killed.

    2. Good to hear! My playing time and playing space are limited, and I like what I see so far for solo. Thanks so much for all of your hard work on this!

  3. Hi Shaun. I enjoyed this report. Like the way you approached the presence of Kadesh city.

    1. Thanks David. I wish I had the energy to create a miniature Kadesh, I could reuse it for a other chariot era battles!.