After Action Report for Battle of Arsuf September 7, 1191, using Ancient & Medieval Wargaming by Neil Thomas
Presented by by Burt Campbell The Saracens were portrayed by orcs
During the 3rd crusade Richard, King of England, “The Lion Hearted” met Saladin only once face to face on the battle field.
Richard is leading his force of crusaders and pilgrims south from Acre to Jaffa along the coast road in preparation of taking Jerusalem. Saladin prepared a trap at a point where some hills and a tree ling gave him an advantage. His plan was to draw the crusaders off the march and in to ground he felt better suited his forces.
Each force was divided up into 3 divisions. The crusaders are in march column on the road that stretchers the length of the board. Saladin’s forces are deployed in trees and hills the on the other side of the board. The center of the battle field is mostly open with some locations of soft sand.
Saladin has intuitive so activates first. No one is in charge range but movement puts all the archers in range. Fire is effective and units take hits. Some morale effects. Saladin’s first division who has the job of closing the front door on the crusaders advances out but the other two divisions hold position hoping to draw the crusaders into better ground
Crusaders move and fire with no real effect. Richards fanatical knights move to prepare for a charge in the next turn.
Muslims move and fire again causing more damage. One of Richards knights comes under fire and failing morale turns and heads for the edge of the board. The 2nd and 3rd divisions hold and the crusaders move into the trap. The rear division of the crusaders is slow to engage and because of that suffers from effective archery fire.
Crusaders move and fire again.
The Muslim first division now sends it’s two heavy cavalry units in a charge against the two remaining knight units. The result is inconclusive with all units being locked in combat. More fire is poured in and crusader units are now being worn down or even driven off the board.
The crusaders now begin to have some positive results. Fire at the Muslim first division causes losses and failed morale have some of Saladin’s units retreating.
Saracens now take advantage of the speed of light troops and they charge the flank of one of the cavalry units that are locked to the front. The attack begins to grind down the knights but they still dish out damage to the front. The entire first division is now coming close to being involved. The second and third divisions are still pouring fire into the closing ranks of crusaders. That fire destroys one unit of knights and reduces another dramatically.
The fight now really beings between the first divisions. Richard’s forces begin to close and force the Saracens to react. Melee combat continues.
Saladin’s first divisions sends more light troops on the flank of knights and one light unit stands toe to toe frontally with a knight unit. On the next turn the unit would be crushed by being flanked in both sides but before it is lost is does a hit to the knight unit. More and more first division units are in contact with moderate results while fire from 2nd and 3rd division continue to have effect. Third division does start to move forward as it sees the force facing it begin to weaken.
Crusaders move forward looking for ways to get some advantage but seem to always be one step behind the Saracen forces. Some javelin fire does cause some of Saladin’s units to morale check and failing that retreat.
Saladin’s third division finally springs the trap. With Richard’s third division becoming over stretched two light units come flying out of the woods they were hiding in and with the help of light cavalry make contact with the last two units of Richard’s 3rd division.
One more turn was run before the game was called but it was clear Richard was in trouble. Richard was able to do damage and put pressure on Saladin but Richard would have called a truce and withdrawn back to Acre