Thematic Byzantine vs Rus

Tonights 1500ap game was my Thematic Byzantine vs Derek’s new Rus army and we played the Heridatary Enemies scenaro from GB’s campagin document where by two units random selected were given Hatred! Thematic Byzantine army Consisted of:

1 x Strategos mounte don Warhorse, HA, Kontarion, Warhorse, Sh

1 x ASB, HA, Sh

10 x Elite Thematic Kavallarioi; Kontarion, Sh, HA, Drilled; Hippo-Toxotai in rear rank Hand Wepaons, HA, Bow, Buckler, LSM

9 x Light Kavallarioi, Kontarion, LA, Sh, LSM

24 x Kotaratoi; 12 x Elite Themtata LSh, LA, ThrustingSP, Drilled; 12 x Elite Toxotai Drilled, Buckle, Bow (HATRED)

24 x Kotaratoi; 12 x Themtata LSh, LA, ThrustingSP, Drilled; 12 x Toxotai Drilled, Buckle, Bow

24 x Kotaratoi; 12 x Themtata LSh, LA, ThrustingSP, Drilled; 12 x Toxotai Drilled, Buckle, Bow (HATRED)

9 x Psiloi; Elite Themata Hand weapons, Javelins, Buckler

Rus army consisted of:

1 x Army General with Dane Axe

Unit of Militia (HATRED)

Unit of Voi

Unit of Varjazi, including 2 Beserkers and the Army General!)

Unit of Jav armed Skirmishers

Unit of Bow armed Skirmoshers (HATRED)

Unit of 10 Pecheneg Cav

Deployment saw the Thema Kontaratoi opposite the Rus shieldwall, the Byzantine Skirmishers on the left flanks opposite and hidden from view by woods the Javelin armed Rus skirmishers, with the far left command by the Byzantine Light Kavallarioi, the Byzantine right Flank was commanded by the Elite Themta Kavallarioi which were opposite the Pechenegs and Bow Armed Skirmishers.

Turn one saw the Pechenegs advance and fire at the Elite Kavallarioi, and then use their nomad cav ability to move back, the bow skirmishers also fired, 1 casualty to the Kavallarioi. Rus Javelin moved off to far right flank ready for Light Kavallarioi. Infantry stayed put. Bit of bow fire from Rus – but nothing comes of it.

Byzantine Light Kavallarioi move up far left flank skirting woods, to within charge range of Jav armed Rus, Byzantine Psiloi move up to woods ready to threaten Jav Skirmishers… Heavy Kavallarioi move up to Pechenegs… Foot stand and cause a casualty on Bow armed Rus skirmishers…

Turn 2 – Rus move forward march move with infantry,Javelins move and fire at Light Kavallarioi with no casualties caused, bow andPechenegs cause another casualty on Heavy Kavallarioi…

Byzantine Heavy Kavallarioi move right up close and friendly to Pechenegs, Light Kavallarioi charge Javelin men Rus, who fight us to a stand still and stick around for another turn! Byzantine Psiloi change direction and move to within Jav throwing distance of flank of Rus Militia – more bow fire from Kontaratoi which surprisingly cause quite a few casualties in the Varjazi! Removing a rank!

Turn 3: Light Kavallarioi defeat Javelin men but fail to run them down on the pursuit!, Rus infantry move up to within charge range of Byzantine Kontaratoi! more bow fire against Heavy Kavallarioi to little effect.

Turn 4: Light Kavallarioi charge and ride down Javelin men, Heavy Kavallarioi charge and contact Pechenegs who are now formed, and beat them in combat and chase them off table, non Hatred Kontaratoi charge Warband and defeat them (just!) and chase them down – and contacting by half a base! the Varjazi (which Derek forgot! have the fearsome ability!) – both the other Kontaratoi units hold off –

Turn 5 City Militia with Hatred charge into Kontaratoi who also have hatred! easily defeated by Kontaratoi but with unmodified 10 LD the Militia easily hang about for more, A Berserk fights his way to the front and easily sees off the Kontaratoi fighting him, although with the extra 1 rank and the general and ASB nearby the Kontaratoi hold on against the Varjazi!

The Heavy Kallarioi use their drilled move to move close and friendly to bow skirmishers of the Rus, the elite Kontaratoi with Hatred charge in to the Varjazi and loose (those Beserks and general cause so many casualties!) but again with ASB/General and hatred in play the Byzantines hold on. The Light Cav move into column of march pointing toweards the rear of the Varjazi. The Heavy Kavallrioi charge and sweep away the Bow skirmishers by reducing them to less than 5 models and fast approach the rear of the Varjazi..

Meanwhile the elite Psiloi have charge and are engaged with the rear ranks of the Militia, the Byzantine Spearmen and doing horrific damage to the Rus Militia but their hatred holds them in the game and this is with the Byzantine ASB and Army General which charged in the flank this turn! Although Militia casualties are rapidly mounting and the unit is fast approaching the 5 model mark!

Turn 6 – as both Rus units are in combat we have more casualties and everyone hangs in there on break tests, with the Byzantine turn both Kavallarioi charge in the rear of the Varjazi who stand and take it, but this combined with the frontal attacks is even to much for the killing machines of the Berserks’ and Rus Army General to counter and they are broken, also the Militia are reduce to less than 5 models and they to break – end of game.

Overall a stunning victory (sorry Derek – the Byzantines had a stunning defeat last outing) with the complete Rus army destroyed and double points for the two hatred units, the Byzantines did not loose a single unit although many were not fit to fight after the victory!

Lessons learned:


Dont forget to use the Fearsome ability of the Varjazi!

Voi are Levies!

Take an ASB on the Varjazi

Take 3 beserkers in Varjazi


The Bow armed Hippo-Toxotai are not much cop – probably best to take more Kontarion armed figures as they can only shoot bow as massed archery – ie no moving and then only half the rear rank – so only 2 or 3 figures at best…

The Light Kavallarioi and not brilliant think about taking the Elite Themata as this will improve WS and make them a better choice – drop a few figures from Themeta spear block/drop the Elite Psiloi to normal to compensate?

Avoid the Varjazi head on as you will loose – they have high WS and very high STR in the front rank and cause serious damage in any unit they meet – averaged 5 or 6 casualties a round!

Overall a great game – and although teh outcome does not say it the game coudl have easily swung Dereks way with a more fortunate match up of the Varjazi, and a few better dice rolls on the Militia as well as remembering teh Fearsome ability of teh Varjazi!

Cheers Derek.