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Uesugi Kenshin Supporting Member of TMP20 May 2009 1:52 a.m. PST

Here's the first (of hopefully several) historical scenario I've created for Field of Glory. Please feel free to play test it and distribute it.

If you get a chance to play it I would love to see an AAR or hear any feedback.

Cheers, now onto the battle!

The Battle of Ain –Jalut, 1260


This scenario has been designed for use with Osprey's "Field of Glory" rules but may be easily adapted to any rule system. The Battle of Ain-Jalut ("Goliaths Well") has been described by many authors as one of the ten most important battles in history. While this may be overstating its importance a bit, it makes an excellent battle to re-create, pitting two of the great Horse Archer armies in history against each other (with a few colorful allies thrown in to boot!).

Intro:

The Khwarizmian, Baghdad, and Seljuk States had all toppled before the onslaught of the Mongol War Machine. The Ayyubid Egyptian Empire had been in a state of disarray after the assassination of its Shah by his own Mamluks! This caused many Syrian Cities to declare themselves autonomous states. It was only natural that the Ilkhanid Khan, Hulegu, looked to Syria as his next conquest.

In December of 1259, after receiving at least nominal submission from several prominent Syrian City States, Hulegu led a mixed army of three tuman (including Armenians, Georgians, and Seljuk Turks of Run) and crossed the Euphrates River. After defeating a hastily prepared Syrian army, Hulegu laid waste the numerous Syrian Cities that resisted his call to submit.

In mid-spring, however Hulegu moved the majority of his invasion force to Azerbaijan after learning of the death of the Mongol Khan Mongke. He left a single reinforced tuman* under the command of a general named Ketbugha to establish control in newly won Syria.

Upon hearing the news of the Mongols departure, The Mamaluk Sultan Qutuz rushed the majority of his army, along with Bedouin, Turcoman, and Kurdish Allies, north to confront the single Mongol Tuman.

Due to an unusual lack good scouting, the Mongols only learned of the Mamluk's approach after a foraging party was defeated by the Mamluk advanced guard, under the command of the future Shah, Baybars. Ketbugha positioned his army in the Biqa Valley, near the natural spring of Ain-Jalut in modern day Israel. On September 2nd the Mamluk advanced guard under Baybars entered the valley and checked a small party of Mongols. On September 3rd the Battle of Ain-Jalut was fought.

Historical outcome:
The battle initially went against the Mamluk's , with their left wing collapsing under a charge by the Mongol right wing. Qutuz was able to rally his army however and lead them to a complete victory over the Mongols, including the death of Ketbugha. While perhaps not "one of the ten most important battles in history," the Mamluk's victory did check the Mongol's advance into Syria for twenty years. The victory was to be a short lived one for Qutuz, however, as he was murdered by his general Baybars whilst enroute back to Egypt.

The Map:

Solid Dark Brown = steep hill, impassable to all figures.
Dark Brown Lines marked "A" = 1 MU wide gulleys and are possible ambush locations for the Mamluk Player. Up to 6 "LH" may be placed at either of these locations in ambush at the start of the battle.
Lt brown = gentle hill, slopes count as "uneven".
Blue, The Nahr Jalut stream is for scenery only, it does cost any movement penalty.

Troop dispositions: (#'s = stands)

Egyptians:

Baybars:
1 General: (Field Commander)
6 Mamluks: cavalry, armored, superior, drilled, bow, swordsmen.
4 Al-Halqa: cavalry, armored, average, drilled, lancer, swordsmen.
8 Al-Halqa: cavalry, armored, average, drilled, bow, swordsmen.
8 Bedouin "Lancers": light horse, unprotected, average, undrilled, lancers, swordsmen.
4 Kurds: cavalry, armored, superior, undrilled, lancer, swordsmen.

Sultan Qutuz:
1 General: (Field Commander)
8 Royal Mamlukes: cavalry, armored, elite, drilled, bow, swordsmen.
6 Mamluks: cavalry, armored, superior, drilled, bow, swordsmen.
8 Al-Halqa: cavalry, armored, superior, drilled, lancer, swordsmen.
8 Al-Halqa: cavalry, armored, average, drilled, bow, swordsmen.

Al-Mansur Mohammad:
1 General: (Field Commander)
4 Mamlukes: cavalry, armored, superior, drilled, bow, swordsmen.
4 Al-Halqa: cavalry, armored, average, drilled, lancer, swordsmen.
8 Al-Halqa: cavalry, armored, average, drilled, bow, swordsmen
4 Syrians: cavalry, armored, average, undrilled, lancer, swordsmen.
8 "Turkomen": light horse, unprotected, average, undrilled, bow, swordsmen.


Mongols:

Baydar:
1 General: (Field Commander)
12 Mongols: light horse, unprotected, superior, drilled, bow, swordsmen.
4 Syrians: cavalry, armored, average, undrilled, lancer, swordsmen.
2 Armenians: knights, superior, undrilled, lancer, swordsmen.
4 Georgians: cavalry, armored, superior, undrilled, bow, swordsmen.

Ketbugha:
1 General: (Field Commander)
12 Mongols: light horse, unprotected, superior, drilled, bow, swordsmen.
8 Mongols: cavalry, armored, superior, drilled, bow, swordsmen.

Al-Ashrat Musa:
1 General: (Field Commander)
12 Mongols: light horse, unprotected, superior, drilled, bow, swordsmen.
6 Mongols: cavalry, protected, average, drilled, bow, swordsmen.
6 Seljuk Turks: light horse, unprotected, average, undrilled, bow, swordsmen.

Troop notes:

Both sides contained "Syrian" Heavy Cavalry units which were actually remnants of the prior Ayyubid State's Amirs and their respective retainers.

*The Ilkhanids are listed in most sources as having two Tuman (usually 10,000 men each) present at the battle, but most modern scholars believe they had only 10-12,000 troops present at the battle (at most!) so these may have been two under strength Tuman, or one reinforced one.

Battle Groups may be assigned as you see fit so long as they concur with the regulations listed in the "Swords and Scimitars" companion book.

Map:
picture

Primary Sources used:
-"Mongols and Mamluks, The Mamluk-Ilkhanid War, 1260-1281" by Reuven Amitai-Preiss (a fabulous study of the first twenty years of Mamluk-Ilkhanid War).
-"Campaigns of the Mongols, Vol. II, The Ilkhanids in Syria" by A Michael Sayce. A "DBA/ DBM" format scenario book covering the four major battles of the war (Ain-Jalut, 2nd Homs, Salamiyya, and Shaqhab).
-"The Mongol Warlords" by David Nicolle. Contains an excellent chapter on the Ilkhanid Khan Hulegu.
-"The Mongols and the West," by Peter Jackson. A good solid read.
-"Devil's Horsemen, the Mongol War Machine." A board wargame by Richard Berg and Mark Herman of "GMT Games." Volume X of their "Great Battles in History" series. Contains separate games for the Mongol battles of Indus River, Kalka River, Liegnitz and Ain-Jalut. A great playing and well researched game (and good source of miniature scenarios!).


Feed back is welcomed!

Stay Tuned:
Homs 1281 is up next!

Danny "Uesugi Kenshin" Riordan
Kenshin68@roadrunner.com

tadamson20 May 2009 3:44 a.m. PST

Some extra info that might be useful.
Ked Burqa had two turmen, both under strength, though by this time the units had permanent bases and left men to guard their flocks and families so 6000 effectives wasn't an unusual strength (somewhat later the Ilkhanids actually classed turmen as "half strength", two-thirds strength" and "normal" – the latter being tamma or guard units)
One unit had previously been disciplined (by execution of officers). Both were Central Asian units formed in the mid 13th c (sadly we don't get proper unit histories for Mongols but you can pull a surprising amount from the sources).

Uesugi Kenshin Supporting Member of TMP20 May 2009 3:45 a.m. PST

Good stuff Tad, cheers for the info!

shurite7 Inactive Member20 May 2009 5:38 p.m. PST

Tidbit info on Ket-Buqa and Baibars. Ket-Buqa wasn't killed in battle, rather he was captured after his horse stumbled. He was brought to Qutuz and after a haughty exchange of words towards his captures, Ket-Buqa was beheaded. Baibars – "under the command of the future Shah, Baybars." Baibars took the title of Sultan, not Shah. Shah (which means independent) was used in the region of Central Asia, not the Middle East. Tekesh and later his son, Muhammad II, took the title of Shah (Khwarizmian rulers) after breaking away from Seljuk control.

I'm not convinced with the statement that the victory at Ain Jalut stopped the Mongol advance. Qutuz and Baibars did not face the full might of the Mongols. The death of the Great Khan and ill relations with Berke (the ruler of the Golden Horde) played a much more significant role for the Mongols not returning for two decades. Also, the region could not support the large number of herds that the Mongols needed to sustain their livestock. Of course, this has been a debate for quite sometime; Mongol failure or Mamaluk success. Probably a mix of both.

When it comes to one re-enforced tuman or two understrength tumans, well Tadamson beat me to it. Hello Tom. See his post, for it concurs with what I've read.

It was nice to see references were listed above. Very nice indeed.

Caliban Supporting Member of TMP21 May 2009 1:51 a.m. PST

Thanks a lot for this! I've always wanted to play this battle. We'll need to see if we can scrape together enough figures to be able to put it on, probably for a different rules system.

Daffy Doug Inactive Member21 May 2009 9:55 a.m. PST

On the map, how do we know the terrain specifics? I would like to hear more.

The Mongols weren't "stopped" by a loss in the field; but they were given pause. And when they turned their attention to "where next", they passed on Egypt for the nonce. Later, it was too late and the forward momentum was gone….

Uesugi Kenshin Supporting Member of TMP21 May 2009 10:49 a.m. PST

Caliban, glad you are using it. Regardless of what rules you use let me know how the battle works out. Also, I have the same battle and 2nd Homs 1281 (same sides) written up for "Medieval Warfare" rules by Terry Gore if you use those.

Doug, sorry for the poor quality map. My computer skills are limited to Windows "Paint" program.

The terrain "specifics" are listed between the battle description and the order of battle in the original post. I will repost it below, but please let me know if you have any more questions about the terrain.

Regarding your comment about them being "stopped" you are correct that numerically it was not a significant loss for the Ilkhanid Khanate overall but it did prevent them from controlling Syria after the battle. It was, more importantly, a large psychological victory for the Mamluks.

Re: them passing on Egypt after Ain-Jalut, they actually invaded Syria another 7-8 times (that I recall, am at work right now) between Ain-Jalut and 1305 resulting in an additional 3 major battles. 2 of these were won by the Mamluks, including the largest set piece battle ("2nd Homs" or "Hims") and the Mongols won 1 battle. So I wouldnt agree that they exactly "passed" on it.

After 1305 the Ilkhanid Khanate had more pressing problems like internal revolts and constant battles over grazing lands in Azerbaijan with the Golden Horde which prevented them from ever returning to the Levant.

Thanks again for the interest in the scenario and let me know if any more questions regarding it.

"Solid Dark Brown = steep hill, impassable to all figures.
Dark Brown Lines marked "A" = 1 MU (one inch) wide gulleys and are possible ambush locations for the Mamluk Player. Up to 6 "LH" may be placed at either of these locations in ambush at the start of the battle.
Lt brown = gentle hill, slopes count as "uneven".
Blue, The Nahr Jalut stream is for scenery only, it does cost any movement penalty."

Daffy Doug Inactive Member21 May 2009 2:25 p.m. PST

Doug, sorry for the poor quality map. My computer skills are limited to Windows "Paint" program.

Your map is perfectly clear. I was just wondering how you knew where to place the hills and streams.

So I wouldnt agree that they exactly "passed" on it.

Even before Ain Jalut, the Mongols were not giving the Levant a full effort; that battle was more like the result of a Mongol reconnaissance in force. It is my understanding that Mongol intent was focused far away to the east and north during this period, and the Levant/Mamluks confrontation was more of a sideshow.

Personal logo vtsaogames Supporting Member of TMP21 May 2009 3:38 p.m. PST

Ain Jalut is the first Mongol defeat of any consequence that I'm aware of. That gives it great import for proving they could be beaten.

Uesugi Kenshin Supporting Member of TMP21 May 2009 4:10 p.m. PST

The map was made after viewing black and white pictures of the valley on line. Aside from satelite images, they were the only pictures I found of the valley. Unfortunatley I don't recall where I found them. But those along with the description of the battlefield in the Amitai-Preiss book and the "Devil's Horsemen" map were the main inspirations for my map.

RockyRusso Inactive Member22 May 2009 10:58 a.m. PST

Hi

Google Earth?

R

shurite7 Inactive Member24 May 2009 12:22 p.m. PST

Here is a link to Rashid al-Din's translated account of the Battle of Ain Jalut.

link

C

Daffy Doug Inactive Member24 May 2009 4:00 p.m. PST

Well, shoot, that was neat. Thanks….

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