“We people of the Cuman-Kipchak confederacy have thrived and endured in the harsh unforgiving Great Steppe for hundreds of years. Despite the disunity of our clans, we have managed to remain united by a common culture, religion, and a sense of kinship. Few years ago your father, Koncheck khan has united the confederation into a single entity. However this unity won't last for long, for there are those that are still cling to the old ways, unable to put aside their pitiful differences at the cost of a united khanate, but you great khan, will bring those unruly nobles to their knees, unleash great terror on them and remind them who is khan. Centuries ago we have displaced the cowardly Pechenegs who have fled west to the neighbouring kingdom of Hungary, indeed for the Pannonian Basin is a suitable pasturing region for nomads such as ourselves, perhaps we shall absorb it into our khanate to feed the horses of our ever growing armies. South of Pannonia lies the kingdom of Bulgaria and their primitive Vlach underdogs, we have fought alongside them against the invading Latins and they have proven to be most fierce in battle, however we can either continue supporting our “allies” for a large sum of plunder and loot, or take this pitiful conflict into our advantage and strike at both the Latins and Bulgarians, like a wolf preying on two brawling sheep. To the north lies the various Rus’ principalities, our relations with them have always been strained, but the lack of consensus between our clans and dissensions within the Rus’ own ranks have kept us from conquering them and they us. To the Northeast lies yet another nation of Bulgars, they dominate the commerce in the region and it is said that their wealth rivals that of the neighboring Rus’ combined, however their isolated position and hostile relations with the Rus’ will make them an easy target for our raids. To the south lies the kingdom of Georgia, a century ago the traitorous Otork took refugee to this cursed kingdom of mountain dwellers with thousands of his warriors, and now Otork’s successors form the bulk of the their cavalry, perhaps we should test their metal and remind them of whom they were, no body betrays the khanate!. To the southeast stretches Khwarezm, an empire of lies and deception, despite the recent marriage alliance between our peoples, the Khwarezmians aren’t to be trusted for they have persistently undermined many of our attempts to unify the various clans under one banner. And finally, to the east are the most worrisome of them all, a tribe of devilish savages that are said to be the scourge of Tengri himself, we don't know what they want or where they came from, only Tengri knows, though be wary great khan, it is sad their cruelty is unmatched, do not underestimate them. We live in uncertain times, though there are great many opportunities for us to thrive and ascend to greatness, and it is up to you to decide how to deal and approach the challenges we face, the fate of our people lies in your hand. Will we fall and become another nameless people like the Pechenegs and Khazars before us? Or will you lead us to greatness and make us a name to be feared across the world?”
During the early 10th century the Pecheneg khanate was barely clinging its weakened grip into its holdings, moreover the mass arrival of a Turkic confederation from the east known as the Cuman-Kipchak confederacy only hastened the end of their two hundred year long reign. The formation of this confederation will forever change the political and military structure of much of the eastern world for years to come.
Although militarily powerful, the confederacy was not an expansionist entity, however the various clans meddled in the affairs of the neighboring kingdoms by providing their military services, and even establishing dynasties through martial ties. Power was mostly held by a number of great clans and the khan’s own influence was mostly marginal, however the idea of a unified Cumania was nothing new, there were multiple attempts to reunite the khanate into a single entity, the first being by Boniak khan during the early 1090s, but his attempt only deteriorated the situation by dividing the khanate into two separate branches, West Cumania, and the more numerous East Kipchakia. An attempt during the late 12th century by Konchek khan was successful, he not only reunited the two branches, but also managed to introduce political reforms, establish central authority, improve foreign relations through martial ties, and inforce dynastic succession.This slow yet gradual development in the confederacy's tribal structure continued on to the year 1212 under the reign of Konchek’s son, Koten khan of the Terterids.
Like most steppe nomads, the core of the Cuman-Kipchak forces comprised mostly of lightly armed and armoured horse archers that excelled at ambushing and feigned retreat. The main line was made up of heavy lancers and Noger retinues that made up the bulk of their elite and professional troops. Foreign mercenaries and allies have also been reported to have fought alongside them, especially the Vlachs, and other Turkic tribes.
Skirmisher Infantry Units:
Hailing from the lowest of low in a society where climbing the social ladder is unthinkable, these lesser clansmen are only able to afford the most basic of equipment.
With their khanate completely absorbed by the confederacy, the remaining Pecheneg tribes either fled to the Balkans or forcefully served in the armies of their Cuman overlords in the form of poor skirmishers and raiders.
Melee Infantry Units:
Noger Foot Guard
The warrior elite of the cuman khanate, the Nogers were the elite retinues of the cuman aristocracy, something akin to the feudal knights of europe, or the mamluks of the muslim world. They enjoyed the glory of pillage and plunder, and if given the chance they wouldn't think twice of selling their services to those who are willing to pay a large sum, not to mention all the looting and pillaging that comes with the job.
Skirmisher Cavalry Units:
The bulk of the Cuman light cavalry consisted of tribesmen who were armed with only their bows and protected by simple sheepskins, however their skill in battle is not to be underestimated.
Spoiler Alert, click show to read: Born in the saddle, and armed with the traditional composite bow, the cuman light cavalry were the most sought after mercenaries in the balkans, rightly so for only those who possessed the wealth and power to buy their services and those who ever knew the taste of victory.
Heavy Horse Archers
Hailing from the highest and most prestigious of clans, these men are the best warriors the cuman nobility has to offer. Cuman nobility held a considerable amount of power over the khanate’s foreign affairs and policies, though their arrogance and pitiful blood feuds is what kept them from from becoming a united force to be feared.
Shock Cavalry Units:
Chosen from the most courageous and disciplined of warriors, these men are handpicked to serve as the personal guards in the courts of foreign kings and emperors. Their terrifying masks are only matched in terror by their fierce reputation in battle.
The warrior elite of the Cuman khanate, the Nogers were the elite retinues of the Cuman aristocracy, something akin to the feudal knights of Europe, or the Mamluks of the Muslim world. They enjoyed the glory of pillage and plunder, and if given the chance they wouldn't think twice of selling their services to those who are willing to pay a large sum, not to mention all the looting and pillaging that comes with the job.
General Units and Special Characters:
Bori (boyguards) and khan
Named in honour of the wolf spirit, the Bori are the personal bodyguards of the khan. Their unwavering loyalty and discipline in battle makes them a force to be reckoned with.
Koten Khan of the Terterids
Bachman Khan of the Olberliks
Ranged Infantry Units:
During the 15th century the nomadic lifestyle of pasturing and traveling was largely abandoned in favour of urbanization, although the nomadic military traditions remained mostly unchanged, the urban influence was apparent in the form of militias that adopted a similar structure and organization to those of the neighboring Rus' principalities.
Bori and khan
Special thanks to..
- Ltd, Hessam, Slytacular, and Dontfearme for their models, and all other team members who contributed in the development of this faction.
- Avetis for giving us the permission to use his beautiful assets
- Gearhawk for taking the stunning screenshots