Saturday, 23 April 2011

Macedonians fail in Syria

On Tuesday the second half of the Empire campaign got off to a resounding start with the Macedonians attacking into Syria, again, and failing, again.  Deployment map:
Terrain was a large low ridge favouring the defenders and an offset smaller hill on the attackers' right.  The invaders are in blue.  From the top left as you look at it, their right wing (Simon) has 8 Skythian horse archers; 12 Greek light horse; two units each with two elephants; and a large unit of 18 Peltasts.  Their centre (Billy) has a large unit of 48 elite phalangites; a smaller unit of 32 veteran phalangites; and three units of 32 standard medium phalangites.  Their left (William) is led by a large unit of 18 elite Companion lancers, supported by 14 Greek medium cavalry, 12 light cavalry, and 8 Skythians.  Loads of missile skirmishers are in front of most of the army.  Leading with the left, then...

I built the Seleucid defenders, and deployed them symmetrically.  I will run the left wing: 12 javelin-armed light cavalry; 8 Skythians; 12 Comapnions, two units of 12 Peltasts; 2 Elephants; and a unit of 24 Argyraspides.  On our far right wing William has exactly the same forces.  Marco commands the centre, comprising three large 36 figure heavy phalanxes.  The usual mix of skirmishers is out front. I had decided to deploy all of the pikemen three-deep because we have a substantial height advantage.  This explains why we overlap the enemy infantry line by so much.  Can the enemy left break through, or will our left turn their centre?  And what will happen when it comes to push of pike in the centre?

Above you can see the massed Antigonid pikes, and in the distance their ominous left cavalry wing.  Just at the top right Willliam has moved some cavalry forward to see if he can manage to disrupt the storm coming his way.  Shot taken from my position on our left.

A photograph showing most of our centre and right, at an angle.  I originally deployed our phalanxes behind the hill, partly so that the enemy couldn't see their exact composition, but mostly to protect them from missile fire.  They can always move onto the ridge later.
My advance on our left forces Simon's troops to retire in front of me.  He doesn't have the weight to withstand me here.
Another side-on shot of the main part of the field.  I have moved the Argyraspides off the hill at an angle towards the enemy centre; Marco is beginning to do the same with the main infantry body.  In the distance, you can see the enemy left wing pressing forward.
My cavalry continues to push Simon back.  I have now angled in towards the centre here as well.
Another angled shot.  In the immediate foreground my Argyraspides are outscored by peltasts.
My light cavalry presses forward aggressively.
My peltasts join in to save the worst Argyraspides in history from being wiped out by enemy light infantry.  The elephants on both sides bellow noisily at one another.  Maybe it's mating season.
Saved by the peltasts, the Argyraspides attack the enemy elephants and start to lose here as well.  In the foreground the elephants clash.  I need to inflict damage here so that I can turn the flank of the enemy phalanx, before they do the same to William on our far wing.
Billy sends in his phalanxes one at a time against our hill position, rather than risk an all-out assault.  One of his medium phalanxes goes in first, only to find our good unit of Argyraspides in fighting mood.  At the bottom left corner of the shot you can just see a desperate struggle between the Antigonid guards and Marco's first phalanx unit.  Gordon keeps trying to get around our far flank.
A close-up of my rubbish Argyraspides fighting elephants.  Fortunately for me, the elephants rolled badly as well.
And then suddenly, it was all over.  Gordon couldn't get past William on our far right flank.  I couldn't get past Simon either, but at least I did quite a lot of damage.  Marco swung the balance for us in the centre against Billy's phalanxes, and the Seleucids cruised to victory.  It looked as though it would be a  race for either left to swing around, but in fact neither really managed it.  The phalanx won the day for us.  Next up: Carthage tries to take Iberia again.


  1. A great looking battle! Pikes and nellies look fantastic.


  2. Hi Simon, good to hear from you!

  3. Excellent Battle Report. Thanks for sharing.

  4. Thanks, Brian. We're taking lots of chariots to Carronade in Falkirk inb a couple of weeks' time - do look us up and say hi if you make it along.


  5. Looks to have been a magnificent occasion!


  6. Hi Aaron, it was good fun. Especially since everyone else did most of the work...