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The Empire Strikes Back: Nikephorian Byzantine

Page history last edited by PBworks 13 years, 1 month ago

Nikephorian Byzantine, AD 963 – AD 1042

 

Draft list by Ulf Olsson

 

A Nikephorian Byzantine army is either a Field Army or a Regional Force.

 

Field Army

The Field Army depicts the large-scale forces assembled for major campaigns. It consists of forces drawn from the centrally controlled Tagmata, several Themes (military districts) and mercenary units.

 

Such expeditions were frequently personally commanded by the Emperor in the reigns of Nikeforos II, Ioannes Tzimiskes and Basil II. The empire could only deploy a single Field Army, since the elite units were not numerous and very expensive to raise and maintain.

 

Regional Force

The Regional Force depicts the forces based in border Themes along with locally available allies and mercenaries. The main task was to defend the frontier from smaller enemy forces and wage flexible guerrilla-style war against major enemy invasions until the Field Army could arrive. Themes were not expected to undertake major offensives on their own, but could be used in cross-border raiding. The Regional Force does usually not include significant numbers of Tagmatic units, but some might be dispatched to bolster defences in especially threatened sectors.

 

A Regional Force containing only mounted units depicts a raiding/counter-raiding force. A raiding force might be dispatched to gain time for the Field Army to arrive for a decisive counter-attack. A Regional force including any infantry depicts a border defence force and must include at least one Thematic Levy Division.

 

The empire could field several Regional Forces at the same time.

 

For a list of sources used to compile this list, please see Byzantine Sources.


 

Field Army

 

Terrain: Normal - Hilly

 

1 Tagmatic Division

1c Kavallarioi of Scholae or Hetaereia Tagmata

0-3 Kavallarioi of other Imperial Tagmata

 

0-3 Thematic Division

1c Kavallarioi of Provincial Tagmata and/or 1st Rate Thematic Kavallarioi

0-2 1st Rate Thematic Kavallarioi ( can only be used AD 963- AD 1030)

0-2 2nd Rate Thematic Kavallarioi (At least 1 unit must be used AD 1031- AD 1042)

0-1 Hyperkerastai

 

2-4 Taxiarchy Division

1c Taxiarchy Hoplitai

0-1 Taxiarchy Hoplitai

1-2 Taxiarchy Akontistai

 

0-1 Allied Armenian Division (AD 976 – AD 1042)

1c Armenian Ally Cavalry

1 Armenian Ally Spearmen

0-1 Armenian Ally Archers

 

0-1 Allied Lombard Division

1c Lombard Ally Cavalry

1-2 Lombard Ally Spearmen

1 Lombard Ally Archers

An Allied Lombard Division replaces one Taxiarchy Division. A Lombard Division must be used in Italy. It cannot be used outside Italy.

 

0-1 Allied Georgian Division (AD 976 – AD 1042)

1c Georgian Ally Cavalry

0-1 Georgian Ally Azatks

0-1 Georgian Ally Spearmen

0-1 Georgian Ally Archers

 

An Allied Georgian Division can only be used on the eastern frontier

 

0-1 Allied Hamdanid Division (AD 974 – AD 975)

1c Hamdanid Ally Cavalry or Hamdanid Ally Bedouin

1-2 Hamdanid Ally Bedouin

 

An Allied Hamdanid Division can only be used on the eastern frontier

 

0-1 ‘Varangian’ Division (AD 988 – AD 990)

1c Druzhina

1-3 Druzhina

 

No additional units can be added to a ’Varangian’ Division.

 

Additional Units

0-1 Kataphraktoi (Note 1)

0-1 Lombard or Armenian Noble Cavalry (Note 2)

0-2 Prokorsatores (Note 3)

0-1 Rus or Armenian Mercenary Spearmen (Note 4)

0-2 Varangoi Druzhina or Varangian Guard (Note 5)

0-1 Norman Mercenary Milites (Note 6)

0-20 Ditch and bank camp defences (Note 7)

0-2 Bolt-shooters and Stone-throwers (Note 8)

 

Additional Unit Notes

  1. Kataphraktoi may only be added to the Tagmatic Division. It cannot be used in Italy.
  2. Lombard/Armenian Noble Cavalry may not be added to Taxiarchy Division.
  3. Prokorsatores may not be added to Taxiarchy Division.
  4. Rus/Armenian Mercenary Spearmen may not be added to a Thematic Division.
  5. Druzhina is available as optional units from AD 991. It may only be added to the Tagmatic Division. If used, a Druzhina can be replaced with Varangian Guard after AD 1000, it must be replaced after AD 1030.
  6. Norman Mercenary Milites may only be used in Italy in AD 1018 or later.
  7. Ditch and bank camp defences may only be used if defending in a positional battle. At least 10 widths of camp fortifications must be used if any are. A fortified camp must completely enclose the area of the camp or abut the Byzantine rear table edge and/or a river or sea. The camp enclosure must be continous except for one or two gaps representing the camp gates. The gate gap(s) must be exactly one base width wide.
  8. Artillery may only be deployed inside a Byzantine camp and cannot be moved during the game.

 

Army List – Regional Force

 

Terrain: Normal - Hilly

 

2-4 Thematic Cavalry Division

1c Kavallarioi of Provincial Tagmata and/or 1st Rate Thematic Kavallarioi

0-2 1st Rate Thematic Kavallarioi ( can only be used AD 963- AD 1030)

0-2 2nd Rate Thematic Kavallarioi (At least 1 unit must be used AD 1031- AD 1042)

0-1 Hyperkerastai

 

0-1 Taxiarchy Division

1c Taxiarchy Hoplitai

0-1 Taxiarchy Hoplitai

1-2 Taxiarchy Akontistai

 

0-2 Thematic Levy Division

1c Trapezitai or Thematic Levy Archers or Thematic Levy Javelinmen

1-2 Thematic Levy Archers

1-2 Thematic Levy Javelinmen

 

At least one Thematic Levy Division must be used if any infantry units are fielded.

 

0-1 Allied Armenian Division (AD 976 – AD 1042)

1c Armenian Ally Cavalry

1 Armenian Ally Spearmen

0-1 Armenian Ally Archers

 

An Allied Armenian Division can only be used on the eastern frontier.

 

0-1 Allied Lombard Division

1c Lombard Ally Cavalry

1-2 Lombard Ally Spearmen

1 Lombard Ally Archers

 

An Allied Lombard Division must be used in Italy. It cannot be used outside Italy.

 

0-1 Allied Hamdanid Division (AD 974 – AD 975)

1c Hamdanid Ally Cavalry or Hamdanid Ally Bedouin

1-2 Hamdanid Ally Bedouin

An Allied Hamdanid Division can only be used on the eastern frontier.

 

Additional Units

0-2 Kavallarioi of other Imperial Tagmata or Kavallarioi of Provincial Tagmata (Note 1)

0-1 Lombard or Armenian Noble Cavalry (Note 2)

0-1 Trapezitai (Note 3)

0-1 Hyperkerastai (Note 3)

0-1 Rus or Armenian Mercenary Spearmen (Note 4)

0-1 Varangoi Druzhina or Varangian Guard (Note 5)

0-1 Norman Mercenary Milites (Note 6)

0-20 Ditch and bank camp defences (Note 7)

0-2 Bolt-shooters and Stone-throwers (Note 8)

 

Additional Unit Notes:

No optional unit may be added to a Thematic Levy Division, or to any Allied Division.

 

  1. Tagmata may only be added to a Thematic Cavalry Division. If Kavallarioi of other Imperial Tagmata are used, 1 such unit must be commanded by the Division’s general.
  2. Lombard/Armenian Noble Cavalry can only be added to a Thematic Cavalry Division.
  3. Trapezitai and Hyperkerastai may only be added to a Thematic Cavalry Division.
  4. Rus/Armenian Mercenary Spearmen may not be added to a Thematic Cavalry Division.
  5. Druzhina is available as optional units from AD 991. If used, a Druzhina can be replaced with Varangian Guard after AD1000, it must be replaced after AD 1030.
  6. Norman Mercenary Milites may only be used in Italy in AD 1018 or later.
  7. Ditch and bank camp defences may only be used if defending in a positional battle. At least 10 widths of camp fortifications must be used if any are. A fortified camp must completely enclose the area of the camp or abut the Byzantine rear table edge and/or a river or sea. The camp enclosure must be continous except for one or two gaps representing the camp gates. The gate gap(s) must be exactly one base width wide.
  8. Artillery may only be deployed inside a Byzantine camp and cannot be moved during the game.

 

Mounted Units

 

 

Kataphraktoi

Armoured Cavalry - Initiative 7 (Elite, Bow, Deep Line)

2 Bases - 52 Pts

3 Bases - 72 Pts

 

Comments:

Very heavily armoured shock cavalry on armoured horses drawn from the Tagmatic elite regiments. This unit was supposed to deliver the main ‘punch’ to an enemy battle-line. It operated in deep wedge formation and was closely supported by Kavallarioi and Prokorsatores. The Katafraktoi were very effective, but also very expensive to raise and maintain.

 

Kavallarioi of Scholae or Hetaereia Tagmata

Heavy Cavalry - Initiative 8 (Bow)

2 Bases - 48 Pts

3 Bases - 66 Pts

 

Comments:

Imperial bodyguard unit consisting of the very best units in the elite Tagmata based in and around the Imperial palaces.

 

Kavallarioi of other Tagmata

Heavy Cavalry - Initiative 7 (Bow)

3 Bases - 57 Pts

4 Bases - 72 Pts

 

Comments:

Includes the Excubitai, Vigla, Arithmos, etc. This is the elite of the Byzantine army and consists of full-time regular cavalry soldiers based in and around Constantinople itself.

 

Kavallarioi of Provincial Tagmata or 1st Rate Thematic Kavallarioi

Heavy Cavalry - Initiative 6 (Bow)

3 Bases - 48 Pts

4 Bases - 60 Pts

 

Comments:

Represents the full-time professional cavalry of the provinces and the very best of the Thematic cavalry. Unless personally commanded by the Division’s General, it can only be used AD 963- AD 1030.

 

2nd Rate Thematic Kavallarioi

Heavy Cavalry - Initiative 6 (Brittle)

3 Bases - 42 Pts

4 Bases - 52 Pts

 

Comments:

Represents the bulk of provincial cavalry, usually made up of part-time soldiers with less training and equipment. They lack skill in horse archery and consist almost entirely of lancers. In the early part of the period (up to ca AD 1030) units of this lower quality were often not taken along on major campaigns. A general and gradual decline of provincial forces makes the 2nd rate Kavallarioi mandatory in Thematic Divisions after AD 1030.

 

Prokorsatores or Trapezitai

 

Light Cavalry - Initiative 6 (Bow, Wave)

2 Bases - 32 Pts

4 Bases - 52 Pts

 

Comments:

Prokorsatores were the best units of light cavalry in the regular Byzantine army. It consists of lancers supported by horse archers. One of its main battlefield tasks was to support and shield the advance of the Katafraktoi. Trapezitai were similarly equipped light cavalry scouts and spies based in border regions.

 

Hyperkerastai

Light Horse Archers - Initiative 6 (Wave)

2 Bases - 36 Pts

4 Bases - 60 Pts

 

Comments:

Light cavalry mainly armed with bows.

 

Lombard or Armenian Noble Cavalry

Heavy Cavalry - Initiative 6 (Audacious)

4 Bases - 60 Pts

 

Comments:

Noble retinues with good mounts and equipment. They are skilled but lack discipline. They are not a part of the regular army.

 

Norman Mercenary Milites

Light Chevaliers – Initiative 6 (Audacious)

2 Bases - 60 Pts

3 Bases - 78 Pts

 

Comments:

Norman mercenaries in Byzantine service. Only available in Italy and Sicily 1018 AD – 1042 AD. They are the ‘prototype’ for true medieval knights and very effective, if somewhat over-enthusiastic at times.

 

Lombard, Georgian or Armenian Ally Cavalry

Heavy Cavalry - Initiative 6 (Ally, Audacious)

3 Bases - 42 Pts

4 Bases - 52 Pts

 

Comments:

Heavy cavalry of contingents allied to the Byzantines. Skilled and well equipped, but not necessarily reliable.

 

Hamdanid Ally Cavalry (AD 974 – AD 975)

Heavy Cavalry - Initiative 6 (Ally, Wave)

4 Bases - 52 Pts

6 Bases - 72 Pts

 

Comments:

Arab heavy cavalry from the Hamdanid Emirate of Aleppo forced to submit and ally themselves with the Byzantines. They are of good quality, but doubtful loyalty.

 

Hamdanid Ally Bedouin or Georgian Ally Azatks

Light Irregular Horse - Initiative 6 (Ally, Wave)

4 Bases - 40 Pts

6 Bases - 54 Pts

 

Georgian Azatks (but not Bedouin) may be regraded to Medium Irregular Horse (same Pts cost).

 

Comments:

Lightly equipped cavalry of allied contingents, they are of good quality but doubtful reliability.

 

Foot Units

 

Druzhina (988 AD – 1030 AD)

Heavy Shieldsmen - Initiative 6 (Deep Line, Audacious)

6 Bases - 38 Pts

8 Bases - 48 Pts

 

Optional Berserker or Axemen Detachment (Medium Shock) +5 Pts

 

Comments:

Druzhina were the personal warrior retinues of Rus chieftains consisting of full-time mercenaries. They were highly effective warriors armed with a variety of melee weapons and of mixed ethnic backgrounds (mainly Slav/Rus and Scandinavian, but possibly others as well). A Druzhina of 6000 warriors were transferred to the service of Emperor Basil II by Prince Vladimir of Kiev. The Druzhina arrived in 988 AD, and are only available from that date. Originally auxiliaries, they stayed in Byzantine service as highly regarded (and highly paid) elite shock troops.

 

Varangian Guard (1000 AD – 1042 AD)

Heavy Shock - Initiative 7 (Deep Line)

4 Bases - 42 Pts

6 Bases - 57 Pts

8 Bases - 72 Pts

 

Comments:

The Varangians in Byzantine service developed into a part of the regular army with considerable discipline and a great reputation for combat effectiveness, as well as a remarkable reputation for political reliability. Whether they always lived up to their reputation is less than certain, though. In AD 1000 or after the Druzhina MAY be upgraded to Varangian Guard. In AD 1031 and later, any Druzhina used MUST be upgraded to Guard. They were definitely elite troops, but it is not certain that they had as yet adopted the widespread use of the great ‘Danish’ axes they are known for in later periods.

 

See: Varangians- Depiction from the Skylitzes Madrid MS

http://tinyurl.com/nqnbf

 

Taxiarchy Hoplitai

Medium Shieldsmen + Medium Archer Detachment + Menavlatoi Detachment (Light Shock)

Initiative 6 (Deep Line, Hollow Square)

6 Bases - 44 Pts

8 Bases - 52 Pts

 

Comments:

These units represent the heavy infantry component of the main Byzantine infantry force of the period. The heavy infantry was well disciplined and consisted of spearmen and archers. They operated together with light infantry in a sophisticated brigade-like structure. These ‘brigades’ often deployed in a box-like hollow-square formation.

 

Taxiarchy Akontistai

Light Shieldsmen + Light Archer Detachment - Initiative 6 (Hollow Square)

4 Bases - 30 Pts

6 Bases - 41 Pts

 

Optional Fire Siphoneer Detachment (Light Shock) + 5 Pts

Max 1 Akontistai Unit in the army may be upgraded with a Fire Siphoneer Detachment

 

Comments:

These units represent the light infantry component of the ‘brigades’ described above. They consist of fast-moving javelinmen supported by archers and slingers. One Akontistai unit can be supported by specialist troops using Greek Fire siphons and/or incendiary grenades.

 

Thematic Levy Archers

Medium or Light Archers – Initiative 5

4 Bases - 23 Pts

6 Bases - 31 Pts

 

Comments:

Lightly equipped infantry archers based in the Themes. Although soldiers of the regular army, they lack training and organisation. They are very valuable in border warfare as lightly equipped infantry with local knowledge for guerrilla-style operations, especially in the rugged mountains of the borderlands, but are unsuited to regular combat. Their quality (and possibly numbers as well) drops sharply in this period as they are seldom called to the colours. The borders are seldom under serious threat and they are not suited to offensive campaigns. Full-time mercenaries increasingly take over the military role of most Thematic infantry, and they often pay a special tax instead of personally performing their military duties. Some Thematic infantry units probably retained their effectiveness, but are depicted by the troops in the Taxiarchy Division.

 

Thematic Levy Javelinmen

Medium or Light Irregulars – Initiative 5

4 Bases - 17 Pts

6 Bases - 22 Pts

 

Comments:

Lightly equipped infantry javelinmen based in the Themes. See Thematic Levy Archers above.

 

Rus or Armenian Mercenary Spearmen

Heavy Shieldsmen – Initiative 6 (Hollow Square)

6 Bases - 38 Pts

8 Bases - 48 Pts

 

Comments:

Mercenary heavy infantry of good quality. Not part of regular army.

 

Lombard Ally Archers

Light or Medium Archers – Initiative 5 (Ally)

4 Bases - 20 Pts

 

Comments:

Infantry archers from the Italian parts of the empire. They formed part of the regular local defence forces, but were of limited skill and reliability.

 

Georgian or Armenian Ally Archers

Light or Medium Archers – Initiative 6 (Ally)

4 Bases - 24 Pts

 

Comments:

Infantry archers from the peripheral parts of the empire and/or allied states. They formed part of allied levies, but were of limited skill and reliability.

 

Lombard, Georgian or Armenian Ally Spearmen

Medium Shieldsmen - Initiative 5 (Ally)

6 Bases - 26 Pts

8 Bases - 32 Pts

 

Comments:

Infantry spearmen from the peripheral parts of the empire and/or allied states. They formed part of allied levies, but were of limited skill and reliability.

 

Bolt Shooters and Stone Throwers

Artillery

1 Base 20 Pts

 

Artillery can only be used if defending in a positional battle. It must be deployed inside a Fortified Camp.

 

Comments:

The Byzantine army had a range of sophisticated artillery pieces of various sizes and types. Most were used in sieges, but the lighter types were also used for defending the army’s marching camps.

 

Fortified Camp

Medium Fortification

1 Width 8 Pt

 

The Fortified Camp may only be used if defending in a positional battle.

 

Comments:

According to regulations, the Byzantine army was always supposed to erect Roman-style marching camps in enemy territory. This was not always done, however. In addition, some battles took place a considerable distance away from fortified camps, so the fortified camp is not compulsory.

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