The Battle of Muret (1213 AD)
By Eric Lindberg and Konstantine Trtiambelas
We decided to create a historical scenario, and settled on the battle of Muret in 1213 in southern France, where the French Crusaders lead by Simon de Montfort defeated a combined force of Aragonese and Albighensian troops, killing Peter II of Aragon.
The city of Muret is about dead center on the French side of the board. A river (automatically shallow) winds around the city and runs off to the French left, with marsh on either side of the river where it meets the board edge. A road runs from the city to the Aragonese side of the board. The side of the city on the French right is the French camp (the castle of Muret). The rest of the city is rough terrain. There are two gates in the city, one facing the river, and one facing to the French left.
There is a web reference to the battle, including a map, at http://www.mairie-muret.fr/bataille_muret.htm.
The Aragonese camp is on the road, six inches in from the Aragonese road. The French "camp" is the castle of Muret, on the right side of the city. The rest of the city is rough going.
Deployment and Special Rules
All French infantry must start in the camp or the city. The French knights and cavalry must deploy in three columns of two knights each between the board edge on the left and the city. The front element of the any group in front of the marsh should be able to clear the swamp in three bounds. The other two groups of knights should be able to clear the river in two bounds.
The Aragonese forces start in three lines, to their right of the Aragonese camp. The front line consists of two knights and a cavalry. Behind them are the three spear. In the rear are the knight general and two light horse. The remaining two psiloi and crossbow are deployed behind the camp. Aragonese troops may move in and out of the camp at will.
The French move first. To simulate the Aragonese unpreparedness, they cannot move any troops in the first bound. The French win by routing the Aragonese army normally. The Aragonese win normally, or win automatically either by capturing the French camp or by occupying the city and clearing it entirely of French elements.
The Historical Battle and the Refight
Historically, Simon de Montfort caught the Aragonese by surprise. In the confusion, Peter II was killed in battle. The Aragonese cavalry fled, pursued by the French. At the same time, the Aragonese infantry launched a new assault on the walls, only to be caught between the city and the returning French cavalry.
Our refight was similar. The French (Eric) rolled well on the first two bounds, allowing all three groups of knights to cross the river and deploy before the Spanish (Konstantine) could reach them. The Aragonese deployment left them with the unpleasant choice of trying to meet the French at the river while in a confused position, or else holding back and allowing the French to deploy. The Spanish front rank cavalry tried to delay the French, but was overrun (due to some bad die rolls). The Spanish light horse had better luck, destroying one element of knights and surrounding the element of cavalry, but not before the French knights overran the Spanish spear and won the battle.
In retrospect, the battle is probably too lopsided in favor of the French, particularly if the initial pip dice are good. Six well-deployed stands of knights and one stand of cavalry can do serious damage to nine badly deployed stands of knights, cavalry, light horse, and spear. Perhaps the French infantry should be limited to one element of crossbow and one of auxilia, to allow the Spanish to attempt an assault as the cavalry battle rages, as historically happened.
Last Updated: May 28, 1999
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