Tuesday, 26 July 2011

Old and Middle Kingdom Egyptian Armies

Conscript militia

One of my 'early' purchases when I started mail ordering plastic figures from Hannants many years ago, were the Atlantic Egyptian sets, Infantry and Chariots. I love these figures which are full of character, especially the infantry. Both sets I understand date back to the '60s. For a long time they sat in their trays without historic opponents to fight, and indeed before I'd discovered either DBA rules and army lists, or the WAB 'Chariot Wars' book.

I'd intended to use them as a core for all my Egyptian armies, but they've ended up being completely displaced in the New Kingdom armies by the excellent Caesar Miniatures figures, and consigned to the 'Old & Middle Egyptian' armies. Even there they have been partly displaced by Caesar figures, which produce much better archers, which being dressed simply in kilts are 'good' for the early period. Archers are under-represented in the Atlantic set, and sculpted in a somewhat awkward pose.

What you get in the Atlantic infantry set is a range of warriors, some bear-headed with kilts and spears (which appears to be based on a wonderful wooden sculpture preserved in the Cairo museum, which I've been lucky enough to see myself), some bare-headed with clubs and sickle swords, and several poses with the characteristic Egyptian head-dress, armed with both spears and axes.

"Spearmen of the Residence & Menfat"

The DBA v2.0 army lists give two period variants for 'Old and Middle Kingdom' Egyptians.

3000-1640BC 1x4 Blades or Litter (General), 5x4 Bow, 2x3 Blade, 1x3Blade or 3 Bow, 1x7 Horde, 2x2 Psiloi

1639-1543BC 1x Light Chariot (Gen), 4x4 Bow, 3x3 Blades, 1x3 Blades or 3 Bow, 1x7 Horde, 2x2 Psiloi

To quote the DBM army book: "Although generals were usually bowmen...their bodyguards were axemen with large shields." Four burly bodyguards waiting for a Pharoah figure to complete the element.

The heavy infantry are described in the DBM army list (from which the DBA v2.0 list is derived) as being 'spearmen of the residence and menfat' shock troops, and the Hordes as conscripts. In terms of deploying the Atlantic figures, I assign the figures with a headcloth as 'menfat', and the spearmen as conscripts. A standard DBA army doesn't employ many spearmen (just 7 figs within the' horde' element), but as I have plenty of figs to fill a 'double-based' army that at least uses 28.

Atlantic archers are not the greatest pose...
...Caesar Miniatures are much better

Chariots only appear in the later period...

There were a lot of 'unification' and civil wars in this period, so you can usefully employ two armies of these troops. Historic opponents include Nubians (who being half-naked tribesmen) are the same figures as you use throughout, and similarly the Libyans, and desert nomads to the east drawn from the Midianite Arab Caesar Miniatures set. The DBA Enemies list also includes Early Syrian and Later Amorite, but I'm not sure how far Early Egyptians ranged that far. Finally there are the Hyksos, for whom I've created an army with a separate write-up.

A 'baggage element' that happened to be in the same box when I took this snaps

This is the basic 'Impetus' army list for the 'Old and Middle Kingdom Egyptians. it basically just allows infantry, 9 formed units and two skirmishers.

2T6302short bow A
2T8302short bow B
1S8201short bow B

FP is the Impetus abbreviation for Heavy Foot (the rule writers are Italians the 'P' is for 'Pesante' ie. heavy). FL is light foot (in DBA terms generally 'Auxiliaries'). 'T' means missile troops and 'S' Skirmishers. An (*) means this can include a general element. Other abbrevations are:

M= Movement; VBU= Basic Unit Value; I= Impetus Bonus, VD= Demoralization Value; VDT= Total Demoralization Value

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