View Full Version : an El question
08-15-2003, 07:53 PM
I haven't used elephants in the past until I played with a few of Paul Potter's armies (Ghaznavid and Rajputs). I have to admit that I was impressed. I understand some of the "real" advantages why some armies would use these beasts, but one question comes to mind: Why aren't El impetous in DBA? Other than the fact that they would provide a very high firing platform and horses unfamiliar to them become terrified, but in melee against foot, elephants are terrifying to infantry and use their wieght to bowl over opponents. Does a manhout have that much control over the elephant's forward motion? To balance out the elephant's strength as an element, instead of using 2 PIPs to move them, why not make them impetous like Kn? This would simulate the same lack of cohesion that a line of Kn would have (and were used for the same purpose; punching a hole through an enemy line) when in melee. I just thought that I would ask to find a better understanding of elephant tactics.
08-18-2003, 07:32 AM
It would also be fun to give them a flee reaction from time to time so they can trample down their own troops and cause havoc. Easy to justify from history as well.
p.s. You don't want my advice on tactics, trust me...
08-18-2003, 03:38 PM
Elephants add colour to a tabletop and are certainly one of the hallmarks of ancient wargaming.
It would also be fun to give them a flee reaction from time to time so they can trample down their own troops and cause havoc. Easy to justify from history as well. I agree. The recoil "squish ... oops, sorry sport" :D doesn't really seem adequate. Elephants lost more than one battle through panic-stricken rout.
The rules variant here http://www.fanaticus.org/DBA/variants/varberserkelephants.html is a reasonably good simulation although a random movement direction would be more in line with most rulesets interpretation.
Darren: This would simulate the same lack of cohesion that a line of Kn would have (and were used for the same purpose; punching a hole through an enemy line) when in melee. I'm not sure that I can agree with this interpretation. It's fairly easy to picture a wedge of elephants smashing through a panicked mob of fleeing foot (and they certainly did this on more than one occasion) but, from what I've read, they were more often deployed as a screen or stiffeners. I'm thinking specifically of Raphia and the Hydaspes as examples. When you add in the fact that many elephants were escorted by light infantry guards, their role as shock troops becomes more tenuous.
Mahouts can have an extraordinary bond with their charges (think seeing eye dog) and are capable of exercising a fine degree of control over them. The problem comes from panic. An elephant under control and not panicked would not be likely to charge impetuously. Loss of the mahout can change this drastically but the elephant would be just as likely to charge away from the enemy.
The elephants value against infantry was prone to vary inversely with the quality of the infantry and their level of exposure to elephants. Raw troops or those that had never experienced elephants before were much more likely to crumble. Disciplined, experienced troops were rarely discomforted.
Please forgive me if I've gone somewhat overboard here. I am (if you haven't guessed) very fond of war elephants and it has been an area of intense study.
08-18-2003, 07:26 PM
Anderw and Joe thank you for your insight. As I had mentioned, I haven't had much use of elephants. I recently had played with them twice, but hadn't had the knack for them yet. I have been inspired by Mike Demana, David Kuijt and Paul Potter's elephant armies. I have been planning armies for a Tamerlane project which include Muslim and Hindu Indians. So I wanted to get a better feel for El and didn't understand their mechanics. Thanks again for your time.
08-21-2003, 04:15 PM
I was always fond of the results of fleeing elephants in the old PRESTAGS board games -- they'd flee full movement in a random direction (D6 on the hex map), fight each stack they moved into, keep moving if they killed it and had any movement left.
08-21-2003, 04:22 PM
I was always fond of the results of fleeing elephants in the old PRESTAGS board games -- Yeah, but the darn things automatically panicked as soon as you used them! You had to try and get them stuck in so that they would trample more of your opponents units than your own.
Great set of games though ...
08-21-2003, 09:30 PM
A recent game had my opponent's Carthaginian elephant recoil and stomp two units of Gallic foot that were marching across it's rear. jumbo then rallied and moved forward, stomping the Roman legionaries in front of them. That elephant killed half the elements lost in the game.
08-22-2003, 10:50 AM
A recent game had my opponent's Carthaginian elephant recoil and stomp two units of Gallic foot that were marching across it's rear. jumbo then rallied and moved forward, stomping the Roman legionaries in front of them. That elephant killed half the elements lost in the game. Don't you just love 'em :D
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