Saturday, 2 April 2011

Indians repel invasion

I didn't make it along to the club on Tuesday evening, but it seems that a reasonable time was had by all as the Indians sent the Bactrian Greeks back to Bactria.  Deployment map, courtesy of Gordon:
The Indians are at the top of the map.  Their right wing is a mixture of elephants and chariotry.  Theor centre is composed of four large blocks of foot archers, with a nice ridgeline on which to nestle.  And their left comprises three large units of militia grade horse.  Many skirmishers seem to be out front.  The invaders had a powerful cavalry wing on their left: two units of heavy lancers accompanied by two larger units of medium cavalry, with some elephantsand peltasts in support.  Their centre phalanx (4 units) is poised to go over the hill towards the enemy, screened by skirmishing javelinmen.  And their right has a mixture of light horse, inlcuding Arachosian bow cavalry, supported by light infantry and more elephants.

Here is Gordon's description as commander of the invasion:

Every so often the rules, despite the points system, throw up a game where there is a clear imbalance. The Bactrians with their heavy phalanx and good cavalry are a sure thing to run over the Indians. It didn’t prevent their defeat.
As can be seen from the deployment the Bactrians had a preponderance on their left wing and needed only to defeat that part of the Indian army on the flat facing them to win the game. The concentration of bow armed light cavalry and peltasts on the other flank was well able to fend off the poor quality Indian cavalry and an elephant unit was available as a reserve. The Indians could not have deployed in a better way to suit the Bactrian deployment.
The game began with the Bactrians advancing all along the line. The Indians did not come to meet them. The Bactrian leftmost cavalry unit (no 1) engaged the chariots (no 5) to their front and although the odds were in their favour were defeated. The unit of cavalry (no 2) inside it and the flanking peltasts (no 5) attacked the elephants and were significantly outscored. Worse they did virtually no damage to the elephants. The phalanx now came up and destroyed the small Indian chariot unit that had got marooned in no-mans land between the armies.
There followed a bout of morale and impetus inroad failures in the Bactrian cavalry and elephants and this became endemic leading to paralysis of the Bactrian cavalry wing.
A unit of the phalanx pushed through to attack the Indian infantry unit no 5 at the end of the Indian line and was trounced in three turns allowing the Indian unit to attack the adjacent phalanx which was by this time engaged with the elephants.
On the other flank Indian cavalry got in among the horse archers and although eventually destroyed by peltasts caused considerable damage. Things might have been much worse but for the abysmal shooting of the Indians.
The Bactrian losses had now mounted beyond their break point and although the Indian were approaching their (much lower) break point there was a clear winner.
The Bactrians lost:  
1.because of their inability to break through  on the extreme left and roll up the Indians from the flank. This left the cavalry embroiled with the Indian elephants and catastrophic morale failures completed their destruction.
2. the wholly unexpected destruction of a phalanx unit by a much weaker Indian infantry unit.

William's report from the Indian side:
Last night changed the world as the ancients knew it!  Maybe there should be an option for the Indians to increase their sphere of influence (and likewise those others on the edge of the “major players” in this time of empires!). Simon seemed quite happy as he advanced the phalanxes into the withering fire of Billy’s Indian infantry last night – 3 turns of 48 shots caused less than a dozen casualties!  Needless to say Billy was suffering from my questioning of his dice throwing (amongst other things which wouldn’t get past the thought police).  Then when Simon charged home the Indians managed to destroy the first phalanx – after that it went down hill rapidly for the Graeco-Bactrians.  Mark managed to hold our right flank with elephants and chariots and on my side my MG Indian horse managed to overcome their LC and LI opponents.  Billy was obviously delighted that he “won” the war by killing of the phalanx but kudos should go to Mark who managed to take out all of the Greek 4-6 HC and a unit of 5-6 HC before he started losing his chariots and nellies.  (I've removed some rules comments from William's report because they won't necessarily make sense to someone who doesn't have them).
Next up, in two weeks' time: Rome attacks Carthage in Magna Graecia again. That will take us to the half way Victory Points calculation, but from comments made by William among others, we might just not bother with Empire in and of itself from now on.  It has turned into a really good battle generator, and some folks think that the Indians in particular should now be activated as a great power.  We'll maybe have a confabulation after the next game.


  1. Tactically, my Nellies and Chariots worked on the principle that the chariots were dog tucker, and the nellies needed to be able to hold off as long as possibly without risking a rout check when the chariots died.

    we did this by selectively advancing the chariots past rout distance, whenever the chance of a one-on-one appeared.

    By avoiding a single line of battle, and keeping as much that was likely to die as far away from troubling the rest of the force, we slowed the Bactrian attack and left them facing rout checks before we did.

    Not an elephant died !

  2. Well done that man. You're right about the chariots...