The opposing army would of course be the New Kingdom Egyptians, and my original goal was to recreate the battle of Megiddo. However after discussing the project with my wargaming entourage (i.e. John and Nicolas) both of them decided to join the fun, thus changing my plans. Nicolas will paint a Sea People army and while by no means definitive, John is currently thinking of doing the Egyptians. Which means for once I will be able to concentrate on doing one army. Yipee.
Now before I go any further, it might be good to describe a bit the Canaan region and the Canaanites :
From Wikipedia :
Canaan is a historical Semitic-speaking region roughly corresponding to the Levant (modern-day Israel, Palestinian territories, Lebanon, and the western parts of Jordan and Syria). Canaan was of geopolitical importance in the Late Bronze Age Amarna period as the area where the spheres of interest of the Egyptian, Hittite Empire and Assyrian Empires converged. Canaan is historically attested throughout the 4th millennium BC; the later Amarna Letters use Kinaḫḫu, while sources of the Egyptian New Kingdom mention numerous military campaigns conducted in Ka-na-na.
The etymology is uncertain. One explanation is that it has an original meaning of "lowlands", from a Semitic root knʿ "to be low, humble, depressed", in contrast with Aram, "highlands". An alternative suggestion derives the term from Hurrian Kinahhu, purportedly referring to the colour purple, so that Canaan and Phoenicia would be synonyms ("Land of Purple").
From 1800 to approx. 1500 BC, Canaan land bridge and cultural development flourished, permitting the people of Canaan to build their cities into powerful and fortified urban centers. The military influence of the Hyksos and especially the Mitanni brought to the Canaanites the composite bow and the horse drawn chariot. The coat of mail used as body armour for Charioteers also came into use at this time.
|A Maryannu warrior, elite of the Canaan army|
The 'underdog' status of the region, and it's organization into city-states are two things that appeal to me.
Ok, so the history lesson is finished for today. I'll try to include more of it in subsequent posts.
Back to wargaming...This project brings it's own challenges. For example, following a strict OOB is impossible, and there is very little information readily available on the army's appearance and composition.
I find planning is very important when starting a new project. This is just a resume, many of these points will be discussed further in future posts. :
The goal? To play. My first goal is to be able to put together in a respectable amount of time a fighting force. While I do think biblical armies look good, this is not a project to show-off in my cabinet. I love playing ancients, and I can't wait to try to play Chariot wars.
Size? Having to paint only one army makes this easier. However both Nico and John are aiming at a somewhat limited size army, so at the moment I'm thinking an army of about 12 chariots, 3-4 units of 20-24 figures and a couple of skirmishers units.
OOB? Very generic. I'll just try to have a good selection of the limited unit choices of the Canaanite army of the time.
Figures? The Foundry biblical range is one of the reason I got into this era, and I believe it is one of the best range the Perrys ever did. So easy choice. However all chariots will be from Cutting Edge Miniatures. They are just one notch above the competition (more on this in a later post). I will probaly use some Cutting Edge here and there to add some variety.
The rules? War & Conquest, Hail Caesar, Basic Impetus (for the moment). I have them all and they all look interesting, although at first glance War & Conquest seems to have the upper hand. But as usual I will create a collection based on how I want it to look and the ruleset will have to adjust.
The basing? The bane of wargamers everywhere, the damn basing. I think I spend more time thinking about this issue than I do planning the rest of the project! And then you will probably second guess yourself, etc. Over the years however I did learn some things
(your mileage may vary on these) :
- Single basing is not an option when playing with units and large battle. It takes longer to base, it's a pain to move on the battlefield, it takes longer to transport. And I just think units look much better on multi-bases than on movement trays.
- Put more figures than less on bases; it's better imho to have 4 bases of 6 figures than 6 bases of 4. See the moving and transporting issues above.
- There is a delicate balance between too much frontage and not enough, no matter the period.
- As long as you and your opponents have the same basing, it's all good and you should be able to adapt any ruleset to your collection.
- Infantry close order : 6 in 2 ranks on 50mm squares
- Infantry open order : 4-5 on 50mm squares
- Infantry skirmishers : 3 on 50mm square bases
- Cavalry : 2 on 50mm square bases
- Chariots : one chariot on a 50x80mm or 50x100mm bases (not sure yet).