Despite a more aggressive battle plan the dice were against the Mongols who deployed first, massing the Mongol cavalry, both light horse archers and lancers, on the left flank and their, less than dependable, Volgar Bulgar allies on the right. The centre was held by a single unit of horse archers, the idea being to delay the Rus centre while the cavalry smash the enemy's right.
The Rus responded by deploying their own allies, all skirmishing cavalry and infantry facing the Volgar Bulgars, their crossbowmen and both mounted and dismounted Druzhina on the right facing the Mongol cavalry and archers backed by urban militia spearmen in the centre with the heavily armoured Senior Druzhina cavalry. Their idea was to hold the flanks whilst destroying the centre and allowing their armoured cavalry to turn and roll-up one of the flanks.
Mongols start to surround the Rus infantry centre.
In the end the Mongol plan work a tad better than the Rus' idea. The two allied contingents stalemated each other, despite a cunning outflanking manoeuvre by some Rus light cavalry, who were unfortunately destroyed by the combined firepower of the Bulgars' archers and cavalry.
In the centre the Rus infantry advanced only for the spearmen to be cut down in the crossfire between the centre horse archers and a couple of units who swung across from the Mongol left. The cavalry then charged the archers who got in the way of the Senior Druzhina's counter attack.
On the Mongol's left the heavy lancers smashed into the Druzhina cavalry whilst the lighter cavalry saw off the crossbowmen, then turned into the flank of the already engaged Druzhina, routing them.
At this point we had run out of time, but with the Rus Army Morale down to a dangerous 1 we called it a Mongol Victory. The Mongol tactic of massed bow fire concentrating on one target, then charging whilst they were disordered worked well. From the Rus side, a lot of their missile troops were tied up facing off the Volgar Bulgars, so didn't shoot more than once, if at all. Also their killer unit, the Senior Druzhina (think western knights, but with bows as well) never got into contact. But then, what do you expect from a newly painted unit!
Urban militia and bowmen being harassed by horse archers.
The very pretty, but ineffective Senior Druzhina.
Volgar Bulgars thinking about advancing to support their Mongol masters (just thinking about it!).
There were only two other games at the club last week, it's quieter in the summer due to holidays.