Ashland Tactical Challenge Event

Ashland Tactical Challenge Event

The results are in. The winner is HuldricFranconian! View the rest of the results in the posts below. There will be more rounds to come and with better gift cards.

Greetings Elyrians! In the interests of community building and general fun Ashland will be hosting an ongoing event for the next four months!

For starters the winner of this round of the contest will receive a $10 Gift Card from the Elyria merchandise store.

The premise and rules are simple. Every month, or thereabouts, a scenario for a battle will be posted to the forums. These battle scenarios will all be based on historical battles. Each scenario will be presented in such a way as to most accurately represent the historical situation.

Only the situation leading up to the battle such as the general strategic situation, disposition of the commanders, composition of the armies, and other relevant information will be provided. The historical battle the scenario is based on and the historical participants will be omitted. Further, the scenario will be presented from the point of view of the historical winner.

Each round the battle scenario presented will become progressively more difficult, but also more rewarding with increasingly better gift cards. The side presented to the contestants will always be the side of the historical winner. There are by definition no unwinnable scenarios despite how difficult the third and final scenarios may be.

In this contest every contestant will submit at least one page and no more than three pages explaining their plan to win the battle scenario presented. Submissions ought to be in Times New Roman 12 pt font and double spaced, or similarly formatted.

These rules are meant to keep the review process flowing smoothly so that everyone’s proposals are fairly judged, so please be concise. If a submission is deemed to exceed these parameters too much it will be disqualified. Please be considerate of the reviewer’s time.

At the end of two weeks all the submissions will be reviewed and an overall winner selected. The winner’s proposal will be posted in the first of the reserved comments below that round’s post, they will receive their $10 gift card at that time. The second reserved comment will then present the historical outcome of the battle, its name, date, location, and the participants. The third reserved comment will be for an honorable mention of the runner up, and, if applicable, the most out–of–the–box solution presented even if it wasn’t really practical.

Ashland Tactical Challenge: Round 1

The enemy has penetrated deep into the territory of your nation. However, they have out run their supply lines and the proximity of your army and your raids against their camp are preventing them from foraging. Wracked by dysentery and facing starvation the enemy is now hunting down your army in the hope of forcing a decisive engagement before they lose the strength to fight. Given this reality the exact site of the battle is largely in your control.

The enemy commander is an experienced soldier with a good reputation as a general. He has led armies to victory before and understands the battlefield. It shouldn’t be expected that he will fall for noticeably obvious traps.

The enemy force consists of 20,000 men mostly infantry. Their army consists of veteran warriors with good fighting experience. As for equipment the enemy troops are not using body armor or greaves and most go without helmets, they use large shields only for protection. They have no archers or other skirmishing or ranged units. Most are armed with a combination of medium length spears (which may double as javelins) and axes. These weapons are used in combination, to great effect.

Your army consists of about 18,000 men. Your army is a tough experienced force which has fought in many battles before under your leadership. You have a variety of units of cavalry including cavalry armed with javelins and bows and heavy cavalry armed with two–handed lances. Your elite infantry is heavily armored with long mail–coats and spiked shields. The rest are lightly armored. Your line infantry has integrated units of javelinmen, archers, and slingers which are trained to support the line in battle with direct fire. You have a number of auxiliary units of fierce and experienced heavy cavalry and cavalry archers. Lastly you have some auxiliary infantry with similar experience and equipment to the enemy’s infantry.

Closing Details

It is your job to formulate a strategic and tactical plan for defeating the enemy force without permitting their army to escape intact. Only the forces mentioned in the scenario should be taken into consideration; it is assumed that neither side will receive reinforcements in the foreseeable future. Neither should you expect to have the time or resources to retrain portions of your own army in order to create other troop types.

In your submission please be as detailed as you can. If you have any questions please post them in the comments below.

Due to the fact that the scenario is based on a real–world battle exact numbers for army elements may not available for every battle. As such a certain amount of leeway will be given as regards interpretation of exact army compositions. Please be reasonable and use your best judgment.

All submissions should be sent via e–mail to: [email protected] by May 6th. Submissions after this date will not be accepted. The winner and historical battle will be ready on the 13th. Round 2 starts on the 20th.

After the winner has been chosen all submissions will be available to be viewed on Google Drives at: Ashland Tactical Challenge Round 1

Special thanks to Barleyman for putting this all together.

5/7/2019 7:27:18 AM #46

This whole idea of the Tactical Challenges seems like an awesome method of both rallying the community together as well as practicing and thinking about tactics of the time period. I am so hyped to see all the other responses and see how the historical battle ended! This is a great idea of a forum thing and totally ready for more complex tactical scenarios!

5/8/2019 3:17:50 AM #47

Thank you everyone who participated. All submissions are closed. The winner and historical battle reveal will be on the 13th. Round 2 starts on the 20th.

5/8/2019 4:19:45 AM #48

Just to toss this in, with no intention of competing.

Continue the raids to prevent foraging, keep their avenue of escape cut off, then offer the enemy general terms of surrender.

If he refuses, continue as we have been, allowing his army to destroy itself. If he accepts the terms, I ransom the officers back to their country, split his army to work at hard labor for no less than 5 years, before exiling them into different nations,

Any who resist, or show the slightest will, execute.

Edit: the reason I chose the strategy I did, is preservation of my own troops. Presumably, as this is a battle, there will be other battles, not only will I need these troops. Them knowing I value their lives, and will not spend them lightly, will improve morale.

5/15/2019 5:21:29 AM #49

Round 1 Wrap Up

Greetings Elyrians! The winner is HuldricFranconian. The runner up is Kokorozashi and the honorable mention is Terham, because his presentation was excellent.

The results and the historical battle are all on the first page of this thread.

Thank you all for your participation, feedback, and commentary! We will use the example of Round 1 to produce a more refined product for Round 2 with more specific guidelines for submissions and more details for the scenario. It has also been recognized that a number of minor mistakes were made both in the presentation and execution of the event. We were fortunate that none of the mistakes really ruined the event, however we wish to reiterate our appreciation for the feedback we've received and we look forward to Round 2! We hope that everyone who submitted a plan for Round 1 will come back for Round 2!

If your submission was not selected as the winner or runner up and you have questions or concerns about the reviewing process please direct these issues via e-mail to the e-mail used for submissions. Once again, all submissions were reviewed purely in terms of their relation to real world tactics and strategy. These contests are not be interpreted as having anything directly to do with warfare in COE.

Finally, just to reiterate first prize for Round 1 is a $10 gift card from the COE store. Round 1 was intended to be a relatively easy and simple scenario. Round 2 will be more difficult and to reflect this first prize for Round 2 will be a $20 gift card from the CoE store.

We apologize for falling behind schedule, the reviewer Barleyman, lost his internet connection yesterday morning and wasn’t able to get it back until this afternoon. Thank you all again for your participation.

5/15/2019 8:26:10 AM #50

Glad to be on the podium, but I'm confused with your criteria. The winner and the runner up seem to be the ones who found the closest strategy to your historical reference. I think more explanations would help the other participants for the next rounds, myself included.

Do you have other criteria, and how much important they are for you ?

Could you explain why you choose Huldric and not Kokorozash or me ?

Barony of Kern’s gate

5/15/2019 12:51:18 PM #51

Posted By Terham at 02:26 AM - Wed May 15 2019

Glad to be on the podium, but I'm confused with your criteria. The winner and the runner up seem to be the ones who found the closest strategy to your historical reference. I think more explanations would help the other participants for the next rounds, myself included.

Do you have other criteria, and how much important they are for you ?

Could you explain why you choose Huldric and not Kokorozash or me ?

It wasn't intentional that the top plans happened to correspond most to the historical outcome, that's just how things happened to work out.

The issues many people had included; plans which were too complicated; underestimating the enemies capabilities; or anticipating certain behaviors from the enemy which it is unlikely they would conform to.

Since you commented here instead of e-mailing I'll address yours directly. The coordination required of your units in order to pull off your plan is too great, and if the enemy does not act as expected the plan starts to fall apart. Command and Control on a chaotic battlefield is an important factor to remember. Most units do not see the whole battlefield or even a very big part of it. In order for a complicated plan to work in which many units are maneuvering precisely each unit must have precise orders at the precise moment and the enemy must behave as expected. Well, that just seems like too much to ask.

Further, it's a little much to expect that the enemy won't do effective reconnaissance and discover hidden units. Historically there were hidden units, but these were hidden behind the line of battle where the enemy would be unlikely to spot them prior to the engagement. While there are instances of armies being caught by hidden units hidden in front of the line of battle, such as Cannae the stereotype battle, the inexperience of the Roman commanders and army at Cannae is what made this situation possible. It was mentioned in the scenario presented here that the enemy commander was experienced, and that his men were veteran warriors despite their circumstantial disadvantages. Additionally, it was mentioned that they were a tribal force with experience in living off the land and path-finding ie travelling without roads or through wilderness. At least one submission presented a battle plan which took place on a road and assumed that the enemy would therefore approach on the road, obviously that isn't something one can necessarily assume.

Many people ended up falling behind on account of simple oversights. Someone, who I am pretty sure knew the battle's historical outcome, wanted to begin the battle in a V formation to catch the enemy's charge. In this instance if you begin in such a formation you expose your left and right flanks to the enemy. It's ridiculous to think that when they see your pre-prepared V the enemy will charge right into it.

Once again, the two overall biggest issues I saw were over-complication and failure to anticipate the enemy's decisions and capabilities (other than assuming they will fall into your plans).

Finally, all of that being said, there was only ever going to be one anyway. Most people who submitted were going to lose from the beginning as that's just the nature of the beast regardless of simply whether their plan would have worked or not. Many flawed plans presented in this scenario probably still would have worked in practice, but that's just it, we weren't looking for any plan that would work, we were looking for the best plan presented. Even minor flaws could knock a submission out of the running.

5/15/2019 2:38:04 PM #52

Glad to be on the podium, but I'm confused with your criteria. The winner and the runner up seem to be the ones who found the closest strategy to your historical reference. I think more explanations would help the other participants for the next rounds, myself included.

While I was actually surprised at how close the historical outcome was to my layout of the plan. I didn't know the battle in particular, but I can tell you the thought process I had for the operation order(OPORD).

Firstly, I didn't want to assume the enemy location, even though I was free to place them however I wanted. Being that knowing your enemy's location, make up of his forces, and general posture of your foe is key, before acting.

Secondly, despite being outnumbered, my forces had significantly more options than the enemy forces, who were also "looking for a decisive engagement, and also suffering from dysentery, and hunger." made it easier to bait the enemy to moving into terrain that favored cavalry.

Lastly, as I mentioned earlier, the enemy was itching to fight, likely because they couldn't sustain an operational tempo (OPTEMPO) for operating in enemy territory. While my forces had supplies and rest, that allowed them to sustain a higher rate of attack. The key, in this engagement, was to sow chaos in a already beaten enemy. If I read into the challenge, they enemy wanted to get an attack over and done with, or in other words, get put out of their misery. A last ditch effort. With terrain favoring cavalry, with troops morale and spirit still high, and simplistic orders, to follow. That's what ultimately allowed friendly forces to overrun the enemy.

Hope that helps.

5/15/2019 3:11:58 PM #53

just out of interest... how many entries were there in total and how many were litterally exactly what happened in reality (like mine and the ones that won (who put more work in it and included nice graphics and stuff))?

Friend Code: 30EF47

5/15/2019 8:35:54 PM #54

As an addendum, I fully recognize that there were some flaws in the presentation. I said that people could choose the site of the battle, but I didn't realize that people would interpret this to mean they could literally dictate enemy behavior.

Any plan that expects a sick and hungry enemy to commit to an uphill battle already has marks against it in terms of feasibility. Taking a operationally defensive posture with the enemy in this way is more likely to give them the opportunity to escape than it is to entice them to an obviously suicidal fight.

I would like to point out for everyone that historically the enemy army almost won anyway despite everything against them. If they had been able to split the Byzantine line they could have enveloped both halves of the infantry from the opening in the center and routed the entire army. While you all had the advantage in cavalry the enemy's battle line consisted of their entire army which outnumbered your army cavalry included. The sheer weight of their attack concentrated on a single point would blow apart most any infantry formation deployed against it, all other factors being equal. That was the enemy's gamble (historically), one do or die assault and it almost worked. Of course, that isn't to say that they would automatically do the same thing in each of the submissions presented.

5/15/2019 8:39:12 PM #55

Posted By Gromschlog at 09:11 AM - Wed May 15 2019

just out of interest... how many entries were there in total and how many were litterally exactly what happened in reality (like mine and the ones that won (who put more work in it and included nice graphics and stuff))?

To be technical none of them mirror reality exactly. I think at least three of them used cavalry charges to the enemy's rear.

5/16/2019 2:46:04 AM #56

Posted By Terham - Wed May 15 2019

Glad to be on the podium, but I'm confused with your criteria. The winner and the runner up seem to be the ones who found the closest strategy to your historical reference. [...]

I have re-read Huldric's submission, and I do not at all see how it mirrors the historic battle plan employed by the Romans.

In Huldric's plan, the heavy infantry is expected to wedge into the enemy formation. Which is what the opposing force was trying to achieve. Still haven't gone through all other submissions though, but I have read Terham's cuz the pictures caught my eyes XD.

I am pretty happy how I successfully predicted the opponent's battleplan on an open battle given the limited info. And the historical outcome does prove most of my concern valid. The critical difference is that there is a loyalty issue in history, which I assumed there is none in my scenario.

As I have said before, it is up to the reviewer to decide how reasonable a prediction of enemy movement is. I, as a participant, simply lay out on what ground my prediction is based on.

Never argue with an idiot, cuz he will drag you down to his level and beat you with experience.

Vice mayor of Lux Verloren

5/18/2019 5:37:58 PM #57

Looking forward to seeing the second round ^_^

5/21/2019 3:42:45 AM #58

I am looking forward to Round 2. I would be utterly shocked at ever winning these as I know absolutely nothing about battle tactics (as likely evidenced by my submission lol) but it's a fun thought exercise and I think being able to see other people's submissions will help me have a better handle on what you're looking for. So hopefully attempt 2 will be less awful, even if it will still be bottom-of-the-barrel most likely. :D

Maybe I'll manage some better graphics than my 10 minutes with Microsoft Paint this time too. lmao

reptiles are misunderstood and unforgiven ~ unknown