Research Help : Deceptive Deployment

Discussion of the upcoming Battle Card system for TRIUMPH!
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David Kuijt
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Research Help : Deceptive Deployment

Post by David Kuijt » Tue Feb 02, 2021 3:09 am

As a part of finalizing the text for the Battle Cards, we have decided that we needed to add another one:

Deceptive Deployment.

The deal is this: there are a number of armies where some bright fellow used a fancy trick of some sort to deceive foes about something having to do with deployment. We've got a good mechanism set up for this rule. It is not going to be a killer rule, but should add some fun for a few armies -- a bit of historical flavor and a fun rule, not a "Gotcha-you lose" rule. I'll give you four or five examples that have come up so far.
  • The Murong Xianbei used women riding oxen, shaking bags of dust into the air, to simulate the movement of troops (probably cavalry) and deceive enemies. This is a case of a deployed dustbag women on oxen counter that can be swapped for an on-map deployed stand of cavalry, after deployment is complete.
  • Agathokles of Syracuse, fighting (I believe) on the north coast of Africa, equipped a number of his camp followers and rowers with hoplite equipment to deceive his enemy (Kyrene, I think) into believing them to be hoplites. This is a case of one or two stands of Horde that can be swapped each for a deployed pair of hoplites (in rear support position).
  • Both Caesar and Pompey (Marian Roman) equipped camp followers on nags and used them to deceive enemies into believing they had more cavalry then they actually did. This is a case similar to the dustbag women -- a deployed counter that can be swapped for a JavCav or Bad Horse stand, after deployment is complete.
  • Yi Dynasty Korean infantry included a lot of pike with long spears. They also had a bunch of militia, equipped the same way but fighting much more poorly. Those troops would be very difficult to tell apart at a distance. Another case like Agothokles of Syracuse -- one or two stands of Horde that can be swapped each for a deployed pair of pike in rear support position.
  • In the Breton army, a group of Saxons (fierce fighters, i.e. Warrior) were disguised with Breton clothing and haircuts and hidden among the Breton levy (Horde) as a deception against the Franks in a battle in 590 AD -- another case where the Horde swap could occur, after deployment is complete but before the battle starts.
So what do we need? We're asking for help in doing research. Help us identify examples of battles and armies where this Battle Card might be considered.
DK
MarkusB
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Re: Research Help : Deceptive Deployment

Post by MarkusB » Wed Feb 03, 2021 9:15 pm

Interesting! I don't know if these are relevant, but:

In his book "ancient battle formations", Justin Swanton hypothesizes that at Sellasia, Antigonus' 1600 Illyrians might have deployed 'in parembole' with 5000 phalangites on his left flank - that is, with intercalated/interjected files. The whole formation would probably just seem an ordinary pike phalanx from afar, effectively hiding the Illyrians. This would explain why (according to Plutarch) Cleomenes could not see them nor the Arcananians. At the start of the battle, the sneaky Illyrians could have countermarched unnoticed to the back to the phalanx (which would had time to close their ranks in the meanwhile), making them free to then 'close the door' on poor Euas' flank.

I also remember reading that the exiled Spartan general Cleandridas hid a second small phalanx behind his main battle line during some battle of the Iapygian-Tarentine wars, but I can't find which at the moment... The hidden phalanx managed to swing out and turn the enemy's flank if I recall correctly.
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FanatiChris
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Re: Research Help : Deceptive Deployment

Post by FanatiChris » Fri Feb 05, 2021 9:49 pm

I'm having trouble finding my reference, but recall an account of a Dark Ages battle in Scotland where at the height of the battle, grooms and camp followers were mounted on pack horses from the baggage train and brought forward to a hill overlooking the combatants, causing a panic among the opposing side who feared that the mounted force represented the arrival of substantial reinforcements. This is circa 700-800 AD as I recall. I'll keep digging and post the reference if I can find it.
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Re: Research Help : Deceptive Deployment

Post by FanatiChris » Fri Feb 05, 2021 10:13 pm

Here's a fun one from Frontinus' Strategems:

On one occasion when Pericles, general of the Athenians, was about to engage in battle, noticing a grove from which both armies were visible, very dense and dark, but unoccupied and consecrated to Father Pluto, he took a man of enormous stature, made imposing by high buskins, purple robes, and flowing hair, and placed him in the grove, mounted high on a chariot drawn by gleaming white horses. This man was instructed to drive forth, when the signal for battle should be given, to call Pericles by name, and to encourage him by declaring that the p77 gods were lending their aid to the Athenians. As a result, the enemy turned and fled almost before a dart was hurled. Source: https://penelope.uchicago.edu/Thayer/E/ ... /1*.html#8
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David Kuijt
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Re: Research Help : Deceptive Deployment

Post by David Kuijt » Fri Feb 05, 2021 10:16 pm

FanatiChris wrote:
Fri Feb 05, 2021 9:49 pm
I'm having trouble finding my reference, but recall an account of a Dark Ages battle in Scotland where at the height of the battle, grooms and camp followers were mounted on pack horses from the baggage train and brought forward to a hill overlooking the combatants, causing a panic among the opposing side who feared that the mounted force represented the arrival of substantial reinforcements. This is circa 700-800 AD as I recall. I'll keep digging and post the reference if I can find it.
You might have that confused with Bannockburn. Unless it happened twice. Or some minstrel decided to copy thematic elements to make their song better, which also happened sometimes.

If that was a deliberate deception at the start of the battle it would be exactly what we're looking for -- the Bannockburn sort of random dudes at the end of the battle getting confused with reinforcements doesn't fit the way the rule we've developed would work.
DK
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David Kuijt
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Re: Research Help : Deceptive Deployment

Post by David Kuijt » Fri Feb 05, 2021 10:18 pm

FanatiChris wrote:
Fri Feb 05, 2021 10:13 pm
Here's a fun one from Frontinus' Strategems:

On one occasion when Pericles, general of the Athenians, was about to engage in battle, noticing a grove from which both armies were visible, very dense and dark, but unoccupied and consecrated to Father Pluto, he took a man of enormous stature, made imposing by high buskins, purple robes, and flowing hair, and placed him in the grove, mounted high on a chariot drawn by gleaming white horses. This man was instructed to drive forth, when the signal for battle should be given, to call Pericles by name, and to encourage him by declaring that the p77 gods were lending their aid to the Athenians. As a result, the enemy turned and fled almost before a dart was hurled. Source: https://penelope.uchicago.edu/Thayer/E/ ... /1*.html#8
Nice!

Sadly, ways of preventing a battle by deception don't fit with Triumph at all, since prevention kinda ... stops ... the battle from happening.
DK
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