Where did it all start? There would be no wargaming without wars, but when did the world's very first war take place?? One thing is certain, and that is they took place for so long time ago that there are no actual historical records documenting them (except for some 10 000 year old cave-paintings). Therefore there are only hypothesis claiming that the first battles were no actual wars but more spontaneous violent conflicts between hunting parties claiming the resources. Hunting parties were armed with spears, clubs, stones, fire and later also with bows and slings.There are also hypothesis claiming that Homo Sapiens violently replaced the Neanderthals and that the extinction of the Neanderthals was a result of a over 100 000 year long 'skirmish' with Homo Sapiens claiming their resources and conflicts over hunting ground.
Again, there are no historical records, but there does exist some few evidences with 'battle-damaged' skeletons and some cave-paintings showing battle between humans.
|Cave painting of a battle between archers, Morella La Vella, Spain|
To support these hypothesis we know that our closest relatives, the chimpanzees (and males to be more specific), regularly teams up and attack and kill other male chimpanzees from rival bands. This implies that cooperative aggression evolved in our same ancestors.
Neanderthals were cooperative big-game hunters using weapons like thrusting spears and clubs. The Neanderthals were more massive muscular builds and had tougher physics than modern humans, and were stronger. Some claims that they couldn't trow objects like spears very well due to their physics. But they must have been superior fighters in close combat.
Homo Sapiens were more numerous, had larger population growth and needed more territory to hunt to feed their growing population. On the other hand, this must have given them numerical superiority in battle after a while. Homo Sapiens hunted with the same weapons as the Neanderthals, but they were more light built and were more dependent on the invention of ranged weapons like throwing-spears, bows and slings making them able to fight from a distance.
There were no regular war declared or big battles, but there seems to been more like small scale raids and ambushes between hunting parties.
If you want to read more on the Subject:
Evidences or not, I became curious how a battle between modern humans with ranged weapons and physical more superior Neanderthals (but without ranged weapons) might have looked like.
I didn't find many free wargame rules covering prehistoric periods, and those I found included hunting, wild animals and dinosaurs in som degree. I wanted rules from the period focusing on man vs. man. I guess parts of different rules covering ancient and medieval periods can work, as such rules are more available. -Just skip some weapons and armour. I was even thinking of 'backdating' Pete Kautz' 1 BC Toy Soldier rules
to prehistoric by rewriting them. I ended up backdating my homebrewed Rules of Engagement
to cover Prehistoric Warfare, and even before any 'Rules of Engagement' even was invented in real life yet regular combat or battles.
Like the rules I didn't find many miniatures to cover this period. -Except for some few and very expensive miniatures. I didn't want to spend a lot of money on this experiment, so luckily I found some free prehistoric paper miniatures I could download and print at Junior General
. The website covers miniatures thru the whole history, even some prehistoric
. I settled for 'Prehistoric Hunters' for my Neanderthal army, and 'Upper Paleolithic hunters and gatherers' for the Homo Sapiens. I printed enough miniatures to make 3-4 hunting parties of 5-6 members for each side. The benefits of printing miniatures and armies from Junior General is that they are free and they come ready 'painted'
. All you need to do is cut them out and base them. I think this is a very underrated source for wargaming miniatures.
|There are free bases to go with the miniatures at the Junior General site, and you can make some of cardboard to make them even sturdier. I chose to be fancy about the basing and 3D-printed some found for free at Thingiverse. I think it's still within the scope of 'print' and 'free' as mentioned in the heading.|
|It didn't take more than 3 evenings after work to print, cut and base these 2 armies|
A hunting party of 3 teams, each with 6 members, of Cro-Magnons coincidentally run into a hunting party of 3 teams, each unit with 5 members, of Neanderthals in an area both claim to have exclusive rights to hunt. The units have a mix of different weapons, but only the Homo Sapiens have ranged weapons like bows, javelins and slings. The mission for each side is to eliminate the other side to claim the territory.
|The gaming table. It's a good spot to hunt, as the big game and prey comes to drink water|
|The Neanderthal hunting party of 3 teams, and mixed weapons|
|The Homo Sapiens hunting party of 3 teams and mixed weapons.|
Time: 1 hour
Result: Neanderthal victory
The hunting parties were sneaking around the lake to look for prey, and they couldn't actually see each other before they were pretty close. The Neanderthals in the bush decided to wait to see what the humans did as they could strike from a distance with their ranged weapons.
Contact! The hunting teams on the other side of the lake could see each other, and the Homo Sapiens shot at the advancing Neanderthal teams. These ranged weapons weren't so precise, so they hit only a few of them. The Neanderthals knew they didn't have a chance on a distance in the open aganst these weapons, and hurried to engage in a melee.
One of the hunting teams of Homo Sapiens decided to run around the lake to fall the advancing Neanderthals in the back and relief their tribe members. But as they were running past some vegetation a small team of Neanderthals showed up from the vegatation and engeged them in hand to hand combat.
There was no time or distance, so the Homo Sapiens couldn't use the advantage of their ranged weapons...
...and had no chance against the raging Neanderthals.
On the other side of the lake, the Homo Sapiens managed to slow down the Neanderthal advance with their ranged weapons...
...So the Neanderthal unit that recently eliminated a whole team of Homo Sapiens, started to run around the lake to fall the Homo Sapiens in the back and come to their tribemembers relief.
But the Neanderthal units managed to close the distance and engage the homo sapiens into hand-to-hand combat, and the Homo Sapiens lost their advantage.
The last 2 Homo Sapiens remaining decided to flee the battle, and was almost caught by another Neanderthal team in the flight, and they barely managed to escape. We know that the Homo Sapiens eventually will gain surperiority by being more numerous so they'll probably be back some day to claim the scarce resources again.
I've been considering to try out 1:72 scale for future wargaming projects for a while, as smaller armies and terrain pieces are easier to store in this space. If I am to 3D-print more terrain and vehicles on my 3D-printer, it will be a lot quicker in 1:72 due to reduced size and the printers size limitations. I've been a little put off by paintings miniatures this size though. The miniatures from Junior General are about 20mm and gives a good feeling about how it feels to game in this scale. As I've already mentioned, I think the resources on Junior General are highly underrated, and I consider downloading more miniatures from there for future gaming projects.
Historically correct or not, no one knows for sure. -But this is a really budget-wargame you can easily print and play for free. -And it is fast as well. If you have any other suitable rules you prefer, use them instead! Feel free to share your experiences if you play this scenario or rules.
I figure Neanderthals might be a little like orcs in combat stats, in other words, human-like but stronger, although maybe not as dopey as orcs.ReplyDelete
I read, recently, that Neanderthals probably had ranged spears but not as great range as the Homo Sapiens had.
There also seems to have been a degree of interbreeding between Homosapiens, Neanderthals and Denisovans. Today's Australian Aborigines, and, especially, Papuans have the highest percentage of Denisovan, higher than Neanderthal in European and Asian populations, which explains their thick brow ridges. Tibetans and other sin that region inherited, from Denisovan interbreeding, adaptation to low oxygen at high altitudes. Africans today have genetics from interbreeding events with 'host' populations of hominids, I am guessing, something like Homo Erectus. The same might have happened with 'Hobbits' in Indonesia. It looks like various hominids lingered in certain places longer than thought so they came into contact with more modern humans.
The interesting thing about Neanderthals is they had brains as big or bigger than Cro-Magnons. However, the frontal lobes were less developed. So, what was all the grey stuff for at the back of the head? Did they have mental advantages as well as disadvantages or was it more to do with how the brain coordinated the body?
Another scenario, kind of 'rapey' 'cause it is, would be rival groups trying to abduct the other side's women.
Contrary to popular beleif, it isn’t likely that Neanderthals would have communicated with primitive grunts and growls and ooga booga. This is because they are one of only three known species in the animal kingdom, including Denisovans and modern Humans, to possess the advanced version of the FOXP2 gene that allows for language the way humans communicate.Delete
So they could probably both 'give orders' then, and coordinate defense and attack within the group.Delete
There are so few records and so many theories regarding our early history, that I actually considered to place this in the 'fantasy category'.ReplyDelete
I agree with you in the interbreeding theories, and they could make a basis for other scenarios as well. - It looks like there are several other prehistoric minis at 'Junior General', even some women and other 'civilians'...
We know that Neanderthals were shorter than humans, often red-headed and had strong bones. Also their females had similar skeletal damage to males, meaning they had less sexual dimorphism and the women took part in hunting and fighting (whereas for homo sapiens there were stricter gender roles).ReplyDelete
In fantasy terms they weren't orcs, they were dwarfs.
Nevertheless they were probably surperior hunters and fighters at close range. Danger Close.Delete