Wednesday, 21 April 2010

Persian Catastrophe in Bactria

As you can probably tell from the title of this post, all did not go well for the Persians in their attempt to oust the Sakae from Bactria, and reclaim the province as their own.

I chose and deployed the Sakae, in blue above. The deployment was symmetrical: three units of noble cavalry deployed on each wing at the rear, with screening skirmish light cavalry arrayed as far forward as possible. In the centre, a horde of hillmen cowered on a large low ridge, with more light horse in front of them, and skirmish infantry archers in front of them. To the sides of the centre were four units of veteran, superior light horse in column. Everyone in the army had a bow, except for the hillmen, and they could always throw javelins. I took the left, Billy the right. We shared the centre.

The Persians deployed a long line of cavalry at the front, with various kinds of heavy and light cavalry interspersed. They were weighted towards their left flank. Other forces were in reserve - some skirmish archers to take down any Sakae who got past the main cavalry line in reduced state; Kardakes; some more light horse; and scythed chariots in support of the left. Gordon was facing me, and Simon squared off against Billy.

The game played as a glorious Persian cavalry charge. The Sakae shot down Persians all across the front, and still they came on. Eventually the charge hit home, with only one gap where a unit of Persian lights didn't make it. The clash was mighty, but the Persian light cavalry buckled under the strain, and then broke. This allowed the Sakae to push in extra numbers against the various heavier units on the Persian side. More gaps began to appear, and the Persian host crumbled. Some of their support troops finished off various badly damaged light horse units, and some of the Sakae heavies were destroyed in melee. After the dust settled, the Persian centre and right had collapsed. The hillmen didn't even get to throw a javelin.

Not the most subtle game I've ever seen. But even allowing for the fact I won, it was rather exciting - I haven't seen a cavalry charge like this since Eylau. Next up: Carthage again tries to take Sicily.


  1. I'm starting to wonder how to play my Parthians - and it seems you've given me some food for thought. All those arrows at the same time must give any army pause for thought.

    Nice one.

  2. Thanks, Phil. You also have those really useful camels and/or camelphracts to stink out the enemy horse. Of course, a lot depends on how the shooting would work under your chosen rules. Tactica II allows Light Cavalry to be used as mounted skirmishers, ie deploy them into a single rank, and that really does increase the firepower.