Friday, February 10, 2017

Narnia: Battle of Anvard Maps

Click on image to enlarge and read the fine print.  This
order of battle serves as a legend for the maps.
The siege and relief of Anvard is one of the best-described battles in C. S. Lewis' series The Chronicles of Narnia.  Anvard, the capital city of Archenland, occupies a strategic location and is targeted by a detachment of the Calormene army under Prince Rabadash.  The Calormenes lay siege to Anvard, but King Edmund and Queen Lucy lead a relief force to raise the siege.  This battle is found in the book The Horse and His Boy.

The table above shows the order of battle at the Siege of Anvard.

The first map shows the position of the relative armies when King Edmund's Narnian army arrives to relieve the siege.  Rabadash has sighted the Narnians and remounted 100 of his men to contest the Narnian advance.  A division of dismounted cavalry and archers guards his left flank, while the fourth division continues the siege with a battering ram.

The second map shows King Edmund's battle plan as it develops.  His main force collides head-on with Prince Rabadash's mounted troops, occupying their attention.  Six giants attempt to force back the Calormene left, and it is here that Rabadash's mail shirt is broken by a giant's spiked boot.  However, Edmund's main thrust is on his left, where a division of Great Cats swiftly circles the Calormene positions, avoiding their main body of cavalry. The Cats then rout the Calormene reserve horses.

The third map shows the heat of battle.  The Great Cats are driving away the Calormene horses, and the two battle lines have now met.  Prince Rabadash has moved to command the main body of his men, and he and Edmund nearly fight hand-to-hand, but the ebb and flow of battle separates them.

In the fourth map, the tide of battle has turned in favor of the Narnians.  The reserve horses have routed and the Great Cats are now attacking the division of Calormenes that was still prosecuting the siege of Anvard.  With these Calormenes distracted, the defenders of Anvard (under King Lune) sally out.  The giants are forcing back the Calormene left wing and Narnian archers are moving up in support.  In the main battle line, most of Rabadash's main force is routing for the relative safety of the woods.  This is now forcing the Calormenes to contract their forces for a last stand.

The fifth map shows the hopeless position when Chlamash, the last effective leader of the Calormenes, surrenders to Edmund.  Encircled with the Great Cats on his right, Giants on his left, the Narnians to his front and King Lune behind, there is no escape for the remaining Calormene troops.  I have diverted one division of Edmund's army to watch the routed Calormenes in the woods and prevent them from rallying.  While this is not mentioned in the book, it seemed like a wise tactical decision in the situation.  Rabadash's banner is not portrayed as Rabadash is no longer commanding the Calormenes.  Instead the hole in his mail shirt caught on a hook in the castle wall when he jumped off a mounting block.  He is thus left in the humiliating position of being stuck to the castle wall by his shirt.  What happens to Rabadash later?  To find out, you will have to read The Horse and His Boy.

As I was creating these maps, I was struck with the level of detail which C. S. Lewis included in The Horse and His Boy.  These maps merely illustrate, not create, the deployments and clashes which are described in the text.  In addition, these maps demonstrate that both King Edmund and Prince Rabadash used tactically sound battle plans.  Perhaps this is no surprise since C. S. Lewis served as a 2nd Lieutenant during World War I and could write from experience.

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