Welcome / Bienvenu

This blog presents my different wargames armies, after action reports, campaigns which I have run, some scenarios and a presentation of some of the different rules I play. The pages at the top of the blog contain historical information on the periods that interest me. They are an aid to my poor memory, and not in any way exhaustive nor necessarily correct. As I am an Englishman living in France, some pages are in English and others in French...sorry, I am too lazy to translate...

I hope this blog offers you much enjoyment and some inspiration !

vendredi 31 août 2012

Lion of the North

THE RISE OF MACEDONIA

This campaign was set in the period from the battle of Mantinea (362 BC) which saw the weakening of both Thebes and Sparta and paved the way to Macedonian hegemony, to the battle of Charonaea (338 BC) which brought an end to Greek independance.

During 8 turns, each of which represented 3 years, Macedonia and Athens fought for hegemony in Greece and Thracia. The campaign rules are here.

The campaign ended with a Macedonian victory.

Ten provinces are characterised by their loyalty (their political leaning : + indicates pro-Athenian sympathies, - pro-Macedonian), and their alignment (current alliance status : grey is neutral, white Athenian, red Macedonian).

Battles are fought out with the DSC ruleset.


Turn 1 (362 - 359 BC)
A Macedonian embassy is sent to Epirus. Olympias, sister to Arymbas, the Molossan king of Epirus, is betrothed to Philip, the younger brother of King Perdiccas III of Macedonia. Under the terms of their agreement, the Epirote army (1500 pts) invades Boeotia (1500 pts). As for Perdiccas III, he undertakes a pacification campaign with the Macedonian army (1400 pts) in Paeonia (1000 pts).
Athenian diplomatic efforts are turned towards Thebes. The embassy is unable to persuade the city to take sides, but the embassy's presence improves the position of the pro-Athenian party (+1 loyalty in Boeotia).

Battle : Epirus vs Thebes
The Epirote army, composed mainly of medium infantry, faced the redoutable Theban phalanxes. The battle was limited to 8 turns.

The Epirotes outscouted the Boeotians (19 pts to 11), and used their advantage to place a zone of difficult ground. This was a wise choice, as superior Theban leadership (Cdt 10) ensured that the Greeks otherwise chose the ground that they fought on. The Epirotes were thus caught on a morne plain, the Theban army coming down out of the hills to meet them.
The Theban phalanxes were deployed in the centre, in line in order to cover as much ground as possible, with the Sacred Band holding the left flank. Skirmishers were sent to occupy the steep hill on the Thracian right, and hold out as long as possible.

On the left, the task of keeping the Epirotes out of the difficult ground was conferred on four units of peltasts, reinforced by some Phokian hoplites and provided with support from two units of Cretan archers and, above all, two Phokian-manned stone-throwers. From their position on the central ridge, these could dominate a goodly part of the battlefield. Finally, the Theban heavy cavalry was placed in the centre.
The Theban plan was to advance as rapidly as possible with the hoplites, which meant securing the flanks of the phalanx for as long as was humanly possible. The heavy cavalry was intended to strike fast and hard at the Epirote peltasts whilst still in open ground.
The Epirotes deployed three very similar corps, each doted with a variety of troops to meet all possible situations. Controlling such disparate forces was the down side.


The Epirotes naturally intended to delay and avoid the hoplites, whilst attempting to destroy both flanking corps.

Turns 1-3
Both armies got rapidly underway. On the Theban left, the Boeotian peltasts were the first to reach the difficult ground, deploying in two separate lines to receive the enemy charge. On the westernmost hill, the Cretan archers used the longer range granted by their position to harry and drive back the Epirote archers, diverting the attention of their general and slowing down the advance of the cavalry. These Cretans were reinforced by a unit of peltasts, which proved to be a good decision, as it denied the hill to the Epirote heavy cavalry (any charge would doubtless destroy the peltasts, but cost the cavalry dearly). On turn 3, a double-line of Epirote peltasts charged their Greek counterparts. After fierce fighting amongst rocks and gullies, the Greeks were destroyed.


On the Epirote right, the C-in-C proved unable to coordinate his troops. Despite total cavalry superiority in this sector, he was unable to advance his mounted troops to disperse the enemy skirmishers, who also used the hill crests to their advantage. Cretan bowfire added to the havoc on this flank.

In the centre, the advance of the Theban heavy cavalry was checked by Epirote light cavalry, and a unit of javelineers amongst the rocks. Greek light cavalry were thrown into the fray, and then sacrificed with the aim of wearing down the Epirote light horsemen so as to leave room for the Theban nobles to attack. This proved vain; the Epirote cavalry hugged close to their adversaries, close enough to stay out of the line of sight of the stone-throwers on the hill.



The Phokian artillery took consolation in the damage inflicted on skirmish and peltast units amongst the rocks.  The Epirote infantry commander in the centre also decided to shift his mass of peltasts to his left, in order to thoroughly overrun the rocky area and, once done, he intended to lead them against the artillery on the hill.



Turns 4-5
The counterattack on turn 3 by the second line of Greek peltasts was a disaster, the unit being destroyed and the entire left wing - heavy cavalry included - becoming "poor morale 1" due to losses. The rough ground was firmly in Epirote hands, and the generals on this flank began to look towards the hill on the Greek rear.
This was without counting on the deadly accuracy of the Phokian balista. The enemy peltasts were thrown back in disorder, sowing chaos in their dense lines (two rounds of shooting see all four peltast units disordered). The poor morale of the Greek left did however see the Cretans retreat.

This allowed the Epirote heavy cavalry and archers to advance, and threaten the low hill on the far Greek right.
In the centre, the cavalry melee continued, the Epirote light cavalry supported by javelineers amonst the rocks. The hail of javelins persistently drove back the demoralised Theban cavalry.

On the Greek left, the Theban phalanx had begun to cross the plain, in a cloud of dust, to seek out the enemy infantry. Miraculously, the left flank of the phalanx was unthreatened, the Epirote cavalry inert and still unable to see off the Greek skirmishers.



Turns 6-8
The Phokian artillery and Cretan archers continue to inflict severe losses on the peltasts milling around before them. Disorder is rife, confusion total. Realising that nothing will come of it unless the artillery is forced to choose another target, the Epirote general pushes forward some light infantry. This is a good idea, but too late.
The Cretans and Greek peltasts on the low hill on the Greek right are encircled by archers and cavalry, the latter now also menacing the flank of the Phokian hoplites. The situation looks grevious here, but poor commandment saves the Thebans from disaster, and they manage to hold out to the end of the battle with no further losses.
In the centre, the Theban cavalry commander gets the bit between his teeth. In a series of charges, the Theban nobles are able to catch up with the evading Epirote light cavalry and finally cut them down.

This opens up heady possibilities, with a unit of heavy cavalry now positioned on the flank of the Epirote mercenary hoplites, at the end of turn 7, needing only to pivot to see them. With the rest of their corps by now under pressure, these mercenaries receive no orders and their flank remains exposed...sadly, the Theban onward drive fails and no charge is forthcoming.

The Epirote cavalry and infantry remaining yet again immobile, the steep hill is still in Greek hands, and the left flank of the phalanx definitively secure. The heavily armoured hoplites pick up their pace...and contact the Epirote infantry on turn 8. This is, unfortunately, too late. Hundreds of peltasts are cut down, but as fatigue overpowers both armies and the battle ends, Epirotes and Thebans are still standing.

The battle is a draw, with no political impact. The Thebans lose 22% of their moral value, the Epirotes 25%, and their cavalry general.

Thanks to the losses amongst its peltasts, the Epirote army will lack 515 pts for the next turn (240 of which will still be unavailable the following turn). 300 pts of Thebans are refitting, 220 pts of whom during two turns, again mostly peltasts. In light of this, a very narrow Theban victory can be postulated.

The Epirotes were essentially let down by their right flank, and by underestimating the power of the Greek artillery. Had they arrived in one line instead of two, they would have avoided the mass disorder they suffered and could potentially have taken the hill.

As for the Thebans, the hoplites could scarcely move any quicker, whilst the only units capable of striking both hard and fast - the heavy cavalry - were bogged down by a brilliant Epirote light cavalry corps, amply supported by skirmishers operating out of the rocky area. The Thebans should no doubt have left the rocks to the enemy and avoided throwing away their peltasts against hopeless odds, freeing up good troops for use elsewhere.


Battle : Macedonia vs Paeonia (scale 1:2)
A larger 810pt Macedonian army, composed mainly of medium infantry, some of which of poor morale, faced a 640pt Paeonian army, whose medium infantry were of better quality, but impetuous. The battle was limited to 8 turns.
Neither side had any scouting advantage. Both sides placed large amounts of terrain, with a wood in the centre which was to play a key role in the battle, two ranges of gentle hills and an area of difficult ground.




Turns 1-3
On turn 1, the Macedonian javelineers occupied the wood whilst Perdiccas' corps remains inert. The Paeonian reaction is immediate, and their C-in-C leads his own light troops into action. The Macedonian javelins are decimated in fierce hand to hand fighting.

Their corps is broken, and the Macedonian prodromoi conequently flee off the table. With the Paeonians having secured the woods, Perdiccas' right flank is vulnerable if he attempts to advance.
On turn 2, however, the Paeonian General B, who is impetuous, loses control of his unit and his warband moves forward. On turn 3 he is still unable to control them, and he and his unit are now all alone within striking distance of the enemy !



Turns 4-6
Perdiccas seems stunned by the bold enemy advance, and with no orders forthcoming, the moral aggravé 2 troops in the front line recoil rather than charging. The impetuous (+1) Paeonians do not let the occasion slip. Their charge overruns and destroys one unit and carries them up onto the second line of hills.

Despite their breakthrough, their impetuousity and their height advantage, the Paeonians are nonetheless stopped by the second line of Macedonian infantry. Their general is also wounded. On the left flank, the Paeonians are stalled, as the Cretan archres disorder their light cavalry and the peltasts have too much ground to cover. Consequently, on turn 5, the exposed Paeonian unit is envelopped and slaughtered. The Paeonian body is now MA1, which in turn causes the levies to flee, and pushes the corps to MA2.

The Paeonians attempt in vain to catch and destroy the Macedonian right flank. On the 6th turn, Perdiccas finally manages to engage his heavy troops. The Peonian MI, even on their hilltop position, are no match for the Greek heavy cavalry and are routed.



The Paeonian C-in-C decides to withdraw from the battlefield; it is decided that he would have suffered no further losses. 

It is a decisive victory for Perdiccas of Macedonia, although he has lost 4 units of LI and 3 units of MI.

Turn 2 (358 - 355 BC)
Perdiccas sees no interest yet in sending an embassy to Paeonia, as their army is in ruins and Athens cannot intervene in the region. Let them smart, and wait for the moment when vengeance will cede to good sense...Both the Athenian embassy (to Thebes) and the Macedonian (to Thessaly) are unsuccessful.
Perdiccas orders Arymbas of Epirus to provide him with troops, which he does so unenthusiastically (2 LI, 1 HI, 1 MI). The Athenian army (1500 pts) invades Boeotia (1200 pts) in support of the strong pro-Athenian party in Thebes. As for Perdiccas, his Macedonians (1140 pts) invade Epirus (910 pts), to punish his erstwhile ally for his weak support.


Battle : Macedonia vs Epirus (DBA)
A weakened but still far superior 1140 pt Macedonian army strikes against the weakened (910pt) army of Epirus. The battle is fought with DBA (24 elements vs 16).

The Epirotes had the advantage of a long steep rise, whilst the Macedonians anchored their flanks on two woods. The Epirote plan was to mass their light troops on the hill, take the woods on their left flank, push through with their cavalry, and then swarm down onto the enemy.
The Macedonians, meanwhile, intended to advance their auxilia to the base of the hill, plug the gaps between hill and woods with their hoplites, and destroy the Epirote right with their own left.

Perdiccas' plan unfolded well. The hoplites on the Macedonian right prevented the enemy cavalry from spreading out into the plain, and against all odds, their Thracian tribal allies (ie. Ax(I)) pushed the enemy psiloi out of the woods and bolstered the flank. This allowed the Macedonian centre to check its Epirote counterpart, whilst the left flank overran the Epirote right. The Epirotes were in serious trouble by turn 3 and, although its hoplites long resisted encircling bow fire and the javelins of Macedonian light horse, their right wing broke on turn 5. On the left, the Thracian auxilia were able to bring down and wound the Epirote C-in-C, driving his army off the field on turn 7.

A decisive victory for Perdiccas, with only slight losses (two elements).






Battle : Athens vs Boeotia (DSC, scale 1:2)
The full strength of Athens is thrown against Boeotia, weakened from last turn's struggle.



The Boeotians deployed around a long, narrow ridge on which they placed their hoplites and the Phokian artillery. The Athenian left is anchored on a ruined temple but the army otherwise deploys on a flat dusty plain. The presence of the Skythian archers allows Athens a scouting advantage (12 to 5) which they use for a +1 bonus to all officers' orders on turn 1.
On turn 1, the Theban C-in-C is able to give no less than four successive orders to his heavy cavalry. The Athenian right flank is driven all the way back to their camp (baseline), with two units dispersed. In the centre, the archers are cut down (their moral aggravé 2 gives them only a D6 evade), as are a unit of peltasts !



On turn 2, a counter-attack by the Skythians costs the Theban HC one base, whilst the C-in-C is wounded. On the Athenian left, peltasts chase off the Boeotian skirmishers and the corps becomes moral aggravé 1. The mass of Athenian hoplites is however static. As for the right flank, the mercenary hoplites are now vulnerable. They receive a flank charge from the second unit of Theban nobles; although they resist well, they are unable to inflict any losses on their enemy. Their fall causes the entire Athenian right to flee the battlefield, whilst its general is killed in action.
The hoplites in the Athenian centre are now exposed and disaster threatens on turn 3 as they prove unable to react to this threat. Nonetheless, the slow advance of the Theban sacred band means that the mounted Theban nobles must charge without any support if they wish to exploit the opening. This they choose to do.


In the ensuing melee they decimate one and a half Athenian taxeis, but also lose enough men to degrade the C-in-C's command to moral aggravé 2. The C-in-C is also wounded anew in this action. On the other hand, Athenian losses are sufficient for it centre to also degrade to moral aggravé 2.
The Boeotians are only a hairbreadth away from victory, but it is plain to see that they will not be able to carry the day. Their cavalry are blown, and their hoplites present in insufficient numbers to deal the decisive blow. The Theban 2-in-C therefore decides to march off the field, abandoning his artillery but, thanks to the rearguard action of the peltasts and remaining nobles, suffering no other losses.



This was a short, sharp but extremely engaging battle, which ended in a decisive Athenian victory. Athenian losses were however particularly heavy, with 7 units out of action for the next two turns.


Turn 3 (355 - 352 BC)
Following its recent defeat, the Boeotian League wisely decides to ally with Athens, and Ionia rebels against Persian domination and declares the Athenian cause. An Athenian embassy to Chalcidia is successful (DR of 11); Athena is with her city on this turn.
The death of Perdiccas might have caused alliances to waver, but his son Philip proves a worthy monarch. Both his brother-in-law Alexander of Epirus, and the Paeonian king, join him in a Northern Alliance. Thessaly however snubs his overtures.
Philip II draws allied contingents from Epirus (1 HC, 1 LC, 2 LI) and Paeonia (2LC, 1 MI), each of which is led by no less than their monarch. Persia is quiet, so when this great Macedonian army (1860pts) strikes at Chalcidia, they receive Athenian aid (2 HI, 1 LC, 1 LI) by sea (total : 1635 pts).



Battle : Macedonia and allies vs Chalcidia and Athens (DBA)
22 elements of Macedonians, reinforced by a 6 element strong Epirote corps and 4 elements of Paeonians face the Chalcido-Athenian army, 25 elements strong.
The two armies drew up on a wide coastal plain, bordered on the right by a steep hill, and on the left by a river, which turned out to be shallow along its whole length, and scattered woodland.




Turns 1-2
The Chalcidians immediately began to abandon the woodland in which they had stationed, but command problems would shortly allow the Macedonians - who had chosen the left as their aggressive flank - to catch up with the retreating forces.



On the right flank, the Greek's Cretan archers checked the sweep of the Paeonian light cavalry, but Macedonian infantry began to pick their way across the hill.

Turns 3-6
The Greeks enjoyed far superior leadership during the mid-phase of the battle, no doubt helped by their linguistic unity
The Macedonian right lost its way among the hills (1 PIP per turn for this command during four consecutive turns). Without infantry support, the Paeonian light horse was subsequently shrugged off by the Cretans and unable to play the desired role in the centre.
On the left, the Macedonian assault lost inertia and broke down, with two elements of infantry falling to Greek psiloi.

Turn 6
As the hoplites begin to press home their attack, the Athenians in the lead, both sides sent out their cavalry onto the right flank of the phalanx, and a cavalry melee developed. The Greek right flank is however secure, and the Macedonian reinforcements that pour into the central woodland area are too late coming.



Turn 7
This is the critical phase of the battle. The central woods fall to the Macedonians, and Philip is victorious in the cavalry melee, into which he personally throws himself. The Athenian corps is demoralised, relieving pressure on Parmenion.

Turn 8
The Greek left can hold no longer, surrounded by Macedonian infantry and Paeonian cavalry.



When the Chalcidian C-in-C is driven back by bowfire and ridden down by Macedonian cavalry to his rear, news of his fate spreads throughout the army and the Greeks begin to stream off the battlefield.

The Macedonians win a decisive victory, losing only 2 units of infatry and 1 of light horse. Greek losses are heavier, 8 elements.


Turn 4 (352 - 349 BC)
Alliances remained unchanged, despite Philip courting Sparta. The Lacedaemonians no doubt remained cautious in the face of Philip's strengthening army, with 3 phalanxes now trained for action.
Although Thebes and Athens were looking towards Thessaly, they needed to recover their strength. Philip invaded Chalcidia with an allied force; in response, Ionia (1525pts with Athens), left alone by Persia, swept into Lower Thracia (1500 pts).



Battle : Macedonia and allies vs Chalcidia
Facing overwhelming odds, and with no help forthcoming from Athens, the weakened forces of Chalcidia capitulated without a fight, a decisive victory for Philip.


Battle : Ionia and Athens vs Lower Thracia (DSC)
Athens reserved instead its strength to send a 4-unit contingent of peltasts and hoplites (275 pts) to aid the Ionian army (1250 pts) in its attack on Lower Thracia (1500 pts). This was a difficult battle - the Thracians need only avoid defeat, whilst the Ionians must avoid heavy losses, especially to its cavalry, in order to face a probable Persian aggression in the following years.
Unusually, the Greek sources who recorded this battle neglected to illustrate their manuscript, so only a text account and a hand-drawn map are available.



The invaders had the terrain advantage, having drawn the Thracians onto a wide plain dominated by a low hill, bordering however boggy area on their right flank. The Greeks guessed that the Thracians would deploy in force before the boggy area. Their plan was to delay any advance with peltasts and cavalry, and rapidly crush the Thracian left with their hoplites, who would carry out a pivot manoeuvre from the centre. The hill was secured by Cretans, light cavalry and a mass of javelineers, which the Thracians opposed with archers, light cavalry and some peltasts. The Thracian centre was held by mercenary hoplites.

Turns 1-2
On their right, the Thracian archers occupied the unsuspectedly very difficult marshy ground at the foot of the hill, where they began to exchange fire with the Cretans. On the opposite flank, Ionian archers disrupted the Thracian peltasts as planned.

Exhanges on the Thracian right quickly intensified; the Thracian archers suffered casualties but the Ionian javelineers were lackluster and unable to close and drive them out to where the light horse could reach them. Thracian generals were however proving very reactive, and taking advantage of the terrible immobility of the Greek heavy cavalry to advance into the boggy area and begin to overrun the enemy peltasts there.

Turn 3
By the end of this turn, the Thracians had completely overrun the boggy area, the enemy cavalry having proved unable to intervene. The Ionian nobles were thus withdrawn from their initial role and used, in what proved to be a skilful choice - to protect the phalanx's right flank from any menace in direction of the boggy ground. On the Greek left, the Cretans were beginning to get the upper hand with their disciplined fire.

It was at this precise moment that the Thracian C-in-C made a vital choice for the outcome of the battle : he switched the phalanx of mercenary hoplites from the centre to march against the hill. The mercenary commander, obviously inspired, undertook his task with alacrity, despite having to carve a path through the Thracian light cavalry milling around in disorder in front of him.
By the end of turn 3, Ionian losses were running at 3 bases of peltasts, 1 base of light infantry and 1 of light cavalry; Thracian losses were 4 bases of peltasts (including one entire unit) and 3 bases of light infantry, all archers.

Turn 4
With the Thracian left in check and the right in disorder, the only reaction came from the mercenaries, who continued their steady advance on the hill. The Greeks appeared to panic as they realised the danger.

Turn 5
Having regrouped, the Thracian light cavalry now thundered across the plain [3 successive orders allowing them to cover 75cm !], driving the Cretans off the hill. Only the sacrifice of the Ionian light cavalry saved them from complete destruction. A shudder ran through the Greek left [MA1].

Turn 6
The Thracians continued their magnificent display of military prowess on the right. Not only did the mercenary hoplites now charge up the hill, they were joined by forced-marched Thracian peltasts, who assisted them in the destruction of the Athenian peltasts trying desperately to hold the heights. The Greek left fled the field, whilst the Athenians [counting morale separately as an allied contingent, under a house rule] were now moral aggravé 2.

The Greek C-in-C realised that his position was now hopeless, with both flanks in the possession of enemy forces that could not be dislodged due to their terrain advantages. He played on the Thracian desire to avoid excessive casualties - bearing in mind the Greek heavy cavalry was still intact - and offered a truce and withdrawal. This was interpreted as a tactical victory (level 3) for the Thracians.
Greek losses were 4 units of peltasts and 1 of light cavalry destroyed; the Thracians lost 1 unit of archers and 1 of peltasts, along with 3 other peltast units suffering some losses. A total of 16 Ionian and Athenian bases were lost for 10 Thracian.
The Thracian C-in-C deservedly gained the "Harangue" skill for his tactical performance in this battle, which greatly stalled Athenian strategy in the East.


Turn 5 (349 - 346 BC)
Eager to increase its capacity for intervention, the Athenians coverted a unit of hoplites into marines, increasing their Sea Power to 5. As for Philip, he sent 2 units of mercenary hoplites to garrison Epirus, who, it was feared, would bear the brunt of a Theban attack.
Despite the crushing evidence of Macedonian military supremacy in Chalcidia, the Greek cities there refused to join Philip, despite a powerful oration by his ambassador [two failed DR]. The continued ralliement of Ionia to the Athenian cause was largely responasable [+3 to the Macedonian die roll]. Alliances were once again unchanged.
Alexander the Molossan sent his Epirotes (1500pts ) to invade the plains of Thessaly (1250 pts). Rather than invade Epirus, the Boeotians responded to an Athenian call with 5 units.

The march south of their contingent, sent rumours racing throughout Greece. When Persia (1500 pts) invaded Ionia (1365 pts with Athens), it was widely believed that Athenian plans would have to be cancelled in order to send help; instead, the Athenians sent a weak force overseas and, in a move that none expected, invaded Sparta (1500pts) along with their Theban contingent (1490 pts total) ! Their aim, it turned was to unlock the political and military stalement in the south. Lacking the appropriate troops to invade Thessaly, Athens and Thebes needed a third Greek ally to ensure that they could submerge Epirus through successive attacks and secure an invasion route into Philip's heartland.
For his part, Philip II (1600 pts) attacked Lower Thracia (1295 pts), intending now to bring the wild Thracian tribes into his obedience. Turn 5 was set to be a bloody one, with four battles, and 80% of all provinces involved.


Athens and Boeotia vs Sparta (DSC)
The Athenian army, reinforced by a contingent of Boeotians including artillery, marched hardily into the Spartan heartland to do battle.
Both armies relied chiefly on hoplites and a mass of light infantry. The Spartan king had two units of medium cavalry, but with poor morale 2. He could however count on the ferocious Spartan hoplites (3 attacks per base). Athens counted upon the Theban balistae to disorder them.
The Spartan's choice of a battlefield was, however, masterly. A vineyard denied the centre to hoplites, whilst a long hill on the left masked the Spartan army and sheltered them from the artillery. The Phokian balistae consequently played but a minor role in the battle.



The battle was both intense and extremely short, lasting only 2 turns. The Theban artillery was deployed so as to cover the Athenian advance to the hill, from which they intended to attack with a height advantage (or bring up the artillery if the Spartans stalled). The Athenian hoplites, however, advanced less rapidly than planned. The Spartan king spotted an opportunity, and immediately threw his Guard into the battle. Only one Athenian taxeis had crested the hill when the Spartans arrived. Driving back their enemies, they now charged downslope into the mass of Athenian citizens. A unit of medium cavalry managed to charge the enemy's flank, adding to the chaos. The weight of the attack killed the Athenian C-in-C and destroyed 3 taxeis, and the battle was over. Superior Spartan troop quality and commandement proved vital on the day. The Lacedaemonians lost only one unit of Hilotes for a decisive victory.




Epirus vs Thessaly (DSC)
The numerous peltasts and archers of the Epirote army were sent by Alexander the Molossan to sweep the plains of Thessaly and bring the land of horsemen into the Macedonian camp.
The Epirotes had camped in the vicinity of a low hill, the only feature, apart from a solitary and long-abandoned vinyard, to break the monotony of a windswept plain. They were breaking camp when the Thessalians, thanks to their numerous scouts, located and caught them [the diferential in scouting value was used to compress the Epirote set-up zone].



Turns 1-2
Skirmish lines of both sides clashed intensely, whilst the heavy infantry struggled to deploy and advance. 
On turn 2, Epirote peltasts seized the key vineyard area, whilst the mass of Epirote archers attempted to keep the Thessalian MC at bay.

Turn 3
Despite manoeuvring troops onto the Epirote flanks, the Thessalian's mercenary peltasts were unable to eject their enemies from the vinyard. They offered sufficient distraction however as the Thessalian light cavalry swept past on their left and scattered or ran down the right-flank Epirote light infantry (1 unit destroyed, another with losses, a third unit disordered). On the left flank, the Epirote heavy cavalry, whose striking power no Thessalians could meet, reclaimed the hill. The Epirote centre milled in disorder, with over-compressed ranks under fire from Thessalian javelins. The Thessalian C-in-C moves his medium cavalry to the centre, which seems ripe for the plucking.



Turn 4
On the right flank, Thessalian MC and Epirote heavy cavalry play a game of cat and mouse; the Molossan has ordered his general to preserve the heavies, as far as possible, for battles to come. In the centre, the Thessalians charge as foreseen. One enemy peltast unit, disordered by previous shooting, is destroyed but the Thessalians rein in. Another unit diverts to its left, where they decimate the Epirote archers. Their pursuit carries them into a double-line of peltasts. Some are dragged from their horses and massacred, others are brought down as the hooves of their horses catch in the tangled vines (5cm recoil into difficult ground they cannot enter). In the same vinyard, the Greek mercenary peltasts charge and sweep aside their Epirote counterparts, killing their general.



The situation is delicate for the Epirotes. To exploit their advantage in the centre, where three units of hoplites face one, they must reinforce and retake the vinyard. Unfortunately, the attack on the vinyard falters, and in the ensuing pursuit, Thessalian peltasts cut down the disordered reinforcements. The Epirote right flank takes to its heels. The Thessalian left is perhaps moral aggravé 1, it has definitely done its job. Nonetheless, the Thessalian centre is also moral aggravé 1, which leaves the Epirotes with an opening.

Turn 5
The Thessalians now attempt to break the Epirote centre, but fail to charge an isolated hoplite unit. These have no choice but to risk an attack on the hoplites to their front, supported by light cavalry who throw their javelins into the melee. The Thessalians are victorious in the ensuing melee, the wounded generals on both sides witness to its ferocity.



Turn 6
All is in the balance at the beginning of turn 6. The Thessalian left is moral aggravé 1, the centre and the right moral aggravé 2. The Epirote centre is equally moral aggravé 2, the left is intact, but the right flank has fled the field. Victory for Thessaly comes from the left. Two units of light cavalry spring into action. One cuts off the line of retreat of an exposed unit of enemy archers, the second charges them. Unable to evade (1D6 as they are moral aggravé 2, and forced to deviate due to enemy behind them), the archers are easily caught and cut down.

This is sufficient to collapse the Epirote centre. The northeners stream off the field, leaving Thessaly with a decisive victory.

Losses for both sides are heavy, with 5 Epirote peltast units and 3 archers destroyed; the Thessalians have lost 2 units of peltasts, two javelineers and 4 units of cavalry.

 
Ionia vs Persia (DBA)
Reinforced by an Athenian contingent sent by sea, the Ionians must fight for their freedom against their powerful Persian neighbour.

They fought well indeed, forcing their enemies to withdraw after an indecisive, drawn, battle. With the Persian cavalry unable to break through on the right, with the Cretan archers holding the broken ground in the centre against masses of enemy Ps(I) and Ax(I), the Asiatics were forced into a toe-to-toe shoving match in which the Greeks could not be beaten. After 10 turns of fighting, the Ionians had lost 1 unit of hoplites, a unit of peltasts and a unit of heavy cavalry; Persian losses were similar (1 unit of subject hoplites, 1 unit of takabara and 1 of archers). The Athenian contingent escaped damage despite being involved in the heavy fighting.




Macedonia vs Lower Thracia (DBA)
Philip expected from this battle a victory which would allow him on turn 6 to detach Ionia from the Athenian confederation, and then fulfil his lifelong ambition of invading Persia. Despite being outclassed, the Thracians proved to be a tough nut indeed.

Throughout this battle, the Thracians generals proved to be both steadfast and capable of great personal initiatives. Philip II being struck down by illness in his tent, the Macedonians clearly lacked similar inspiration. Although the pike phalanx was able to close on turn 7, low elan and poor luck drew all strength out of the hammer blow. On turn 8, the Thracian cavalry, who had switched at the beginning of the battle from the centre to the left, dealt the decisive blow to the inert Macedonian army, offering a decisive victory for their King.




Turn 6 (346 - 343 BC)
Paeonia's bonds to Macedonia were strong enough to survive Philip's defeat in Thracia. Added to this, Alexander of Epirus' own defeat in Thessaly, however, left him vulnerable. Macedonian garrisons, who sensed the inevitable, were quickly withdrawn from the allied kingdom.
As they expected, the Molossan was forced to abdicate and Epirus entered the Athenian alliance. Athen's own defeat at the hands of Sparta, however, led to the defection of much-battered Chalcidia, and also, after a successful Macedonian embassy, that of Ionia. The East was, after all, open to the Lion of the North.
Unable to reinforce his phalanx due to losses among his hypaspists, Philip II nonetheless began to plan his Persian expedition.


To this end he gathered in Chalcidian and Ionian contingents, in particular light and heavy cavalry.
His intentions were however pre-empted when Athens sent the battle-wearied Epirotes (1140 pts) into Macedonia (1280 pts). With only lukewarm Ionian support (1 heavy cavalry unit), Philip was not strong enough to defend his homeland and attack the western satrapy of the King of Kings. He did however send an expeditionary force into Thessaly, a much easier target.
In the south, Athens now began to fear a Spartan alliance with Philip. The Lacedaemonians already pro-Macedonian leanings would be reinforced on the next turn by Philip's hold over Ionia. The recovered forces of Thebes (1765 pts with Athens) were thus ordered to attack the Spartan phalanxes (1470 pts) in the hope of bringing them to their knees.

Thanks to Macedonian gold, no Persian armies troubled Ionia. As for Athens, having reinforced the Thebans, she also decided to send an expedition to...Thessaly. The stage was set for a direct clash between the two powers, Macedonia (660 pts with Chalcidian allies) and Athens (940 pts). Finally, the tribes of Paeonia (1000 pts) were set against their Upper Thracian cousins (1000 pts).


Thebes vs Sparta (DSC)
The Theban army (list unavailable), with its Athenian allies, met that of Sparta amongst fairly dense terrain, the village on the Spartan right abandoned by its inhabitants. The vinyard proved during the battle to be "very difficult" going.
The Thebans deployed their cavalry on the left, their peltasts on the right and their hoplites in the centre, with a gap between the Thebans and Athenians which would prove fatal.


The Spartan hoplites were arrayed in the centre, the hilotes on the left, and the cavalry and archers in echelon on the right.

Turns 1-3
The Spartans moved with astounding speed, light infantry infiltrating into the temple on turn 2 and destroying the Phocean balistae. The Theban phalanx began to shift to its left, but in so shredded the integrity of the phalanx. To make matters worse, this redeployment was so slow that the Spartan hoplites were able to seize the heights.



Turns 4-5
Whilst the Spartan cavalry slowed the advance of the Athenian contingent, trapped in the narrow gap between the twin temples, the Theban cavalry remained totally immobile, refusing three times to advance.



On the Spartan left, the hilotes, retreating under a hail of Cretan arrows, were decimated by the peltasts of their enemies, but they had held on long enough. The Spartan phalanx had attained its target.
Lent an irrestible momentum by the hill slope, falling on a Theban phalanx whose front line was broken into three separate sections, the Spartans could only be victorious. Even the Theban Sacred Band was annihilated, and the Boetian army fled the field.



The Spartan plan had worked perfectly, the Thebans never seemed to recover from the surprise of losing their artillery; the time-costly maneovures of the Theban phalanx, and the immobility of their cavalry were their downfall. That evening, a cry roared across the blood-stained plain : Spaaaaaaaarta !


Paeonia vs Upper Thracia (DBA)

Turns 1-3
Having moved towards the hill, the impetuous Thracian peltasts (classed as fast warband) crashed into the Paeonian lines and managed to throw them back off the hill crest.

Turns 4-5
Supported by psiloi, the Paeonian peltasts were able to counterattack with overlaps on both ends of the Thracian line. The Thracians lose the hill crest and, on the following turn, three elements, which demoralises their corps. On the Paeonian left, their own warband, which has caught the Thracian peltasts out in the open, wreaks havoc, demoralising the second corps and securing a decisive victory for Macedonia's allies. The Thracians have lost around 20% of their forces.



Epirus vs Macedonia (DSC)
This battle was motivated by purely political concerns. The Athenians knew that Alexander the Molossan would not have to wait long before returning to the throne and renewing his alliance with his brother-in-law Philip. The Epirote army must therefore be bled dry whilst inflicting as heavy losses as possible on the Macedonians and their Chalcidian allies.



Turns 1-4
With brothers facing brothers on this battlefield, the first four turns were lethargic to say the least. The Macedonian phalanx advanced, briefly threatened by the Epirote heavy cavalry that the Cretan archers pushed back in disorder. The constant harassment by the Epirote light cavalry, as well as mediocre leadership, prevents the Macedonian nobles from skirting round the village to take the Epirote peltasts in the flank.

Turn 5
The Epirote commander-in-chief, and erstwhile replacement for Alexander on the Molossan throne, manages to galvanise his peltasts into action. They decide to charge the Macedonian phalanx. Athenian gold is behind this rash decision; the aim is to inflict as much damage as possible on Philip's elite.
Philip himself is in the front line, and fights like a demon. The Macedonian losses are not negligeable, one phalanx losing 3 bases and the other 4, but the Epirotes are beaten back, and when the front rank is slain, the others quickly surrender. With the C-in-C's corps demoralised, the Epirote army lays down its arms, with a sigh of relief. Alexander the Molossan personally nails the traitors head to the village gate.




Athens vs Macedonia in Thessaly (DSC)
The political situation is critical for Athens, and a victory against Macedonia vital. Victory would bring Ionia back into the Athenian coalition, and prevent Sparta from listening to the Macedonian sirens. Defeat for Athens will see them left with only one ally, Boeotia, whose army has recently been torn apart by that of Sparta.

The Macedonians are heavily outnumbered (16 units to 9), but their troops are of excellent quality, and they dispose of a solid Chalcidian corps including two units of heavy cavalry. Half of the Athenian army is made up of lacklustre psiloi. Their presence does however allow the Athenians to totally outscout their opponents, and to deploy with full knowledge of their positions. They also use their superior reconnaisance to seize the initiative.



Turns 1-5
The Athenian advance offers an opportunity that the Chalcidian cavalry immediately seek to exploit : a gap on their left flank. The Athenian advance grinds to a halt as psiloi units are thrown against the enemy cavalry to prevent them punching through. It is not until turn 5 that the menace is over and the gap closed.




 
Turn 6
The Athenian advance continues. The Chalcidian heavy cavalry is withdrawn obliquely and now finds itself on the right flank of the Athenian phalanx ! Yet another attempt by light infantry to drive it off or at least distract it is thwarted by the steady shooting of the Cretans in Macedonian service. The Athenian phalanx is wearying (two turns left to go) and still at some distance (23cm) from the Macedonian phalanx on the hill, which it must break to win the battle.

Turn 7-8
Despite the Chalcidians failing their first charge, the Athenians cannot press home their attack in good order. Orders for a counterattack are sent to the commanders of the Macedonian taxeis, but a most opportune missile attack by the hordes of Athenian skirmishers breaks it up by throwing one taxeis back in disorder.



The Chalcidian cavalry decide nonetheless to charge home. One unit of nobles is lost, but overruns two Athenian taxeis.
The result is a minor victory for Macedonia (level 1), but its political impact is of the highest importance.


Turn 7 (343 - 340 BC)
After the decisive previous three years, Philip was determined to strengthen his hold over the Greeks. 2 units of hoplites were sent as a garrison to Ionia to counter Athenian interference.

The Athenians now coaxed the Phokians into plundering Delphi and with their secret share of the proceedings, attempted to buy off Persia. Their gold was met with haughty scorn in the East, the satrap would not risk incurring the wrath of Macedonia with the King of Kings already embroiled in his Asian affairs.
Sparta joined Philip II even before rumours of their neighbour's heinous deed reached Lacedaemonia. So too did Upper Thracia and Thebes, and as foreseen, Epirus renewed its traditional alliance with Philip.
The worst Athenian fears had been realised : the city now stood perfectly alone against a coalition of eight provinces. With her army in tatters and powerless to act, Athens could only hope that Philip II would commit an error. The wily northern king preferred to stay on his acropolis at Pella, and bide his time...



Turn 8 (340 - 338 BC)
Despite Thebes and the Boeotians rejoining the Athenian fold, Philip II was the power behind the throne in 7 provinces. Lower Thracia, Persia and Thessaly alone remained neutral.
Armed with such crushing superiority, Philip II gathered his armies and marched south. Athens and Thebes met him in 338 BC at the battle of Chareonea, where they were duly crushed. The independence of Greece had come to an end !




This campaign was a real success, the system worked well and the mix of DSC and DBA allowed it to move along whilst ensuring a lot of tabletop interest. 14 battles were fought. 2 were drawn, 5 were won by neutral powers, 6 by Macedonia or its allies, and only 1 battle was won by Athens or its allies. Philip II deserved his victory.

 

Aucun commentaire:

Enregistrer un commentaire