Friday, 15 June 2012

Battle Report by Gordon

I wasn't able to make it to the club on Tuesday evening (ongoing family commitments), but here is a report by Gordon.  As commander of the Seleucids, he was defending against a Ptolemaic incursion.  Deployment map:
The Ptolemaics are in red at the top of the map.  Terrain was quite favourable to the defenders: a piece of rough on each flank and a hill.  There was another hill, to the front of the invaders' centre left.

This is Gordon's description of events:

The deployment map shows the initial position of the opposing forces. As invaders it was incumbent on the Ptolemaics to attack as a draw would suit the Seleucids.

The Seleucid plan was to place their Phalanx on the hill in front of the deployment area and rest their flanks on the rough ground on each flank. The left was weighted in the hope that an opportunity might arise for a counter attack. Sufficient force was left on the right to protect the flank.

Needless to say as the Ptolemaics advanced this was thrown to the winds and after a little hesitation the Seleucid flanks and the phalanx rolled forwards beyond the hill. The rival phalanxes clashed in the centre. The rightmost Seleucid phalanx unit moved obliquely to its right to attack the advancing Ptolemaic peltasts and elephants. The rightmost elephant unit advanced into the gap left by the inclining phalanx and sought to move round onto the flank of the Ptolemaic phalanx. This was thwarted by skilful use of LC which drew the elephants into combat beyond the phalanxes. The Ptolemaic peltasts and camel unit pressed forward against the Seleucid right taking the rough ground and routing the Seleucid LC before pressing forward to engage the Galatian HC of the Seleucid right.

On the left the two Seleucid peltast units pushed beyond the rough ground  and defeated the single unit of opposing peltasts. The left most unit threatened the flanks of the Ptolemaic cavalry should it advance. The foremost Seleucid cavalry unit moved out to that flank to support the peltasts and to match off against the Ptolemaic cavalry. To the immediate left of the Seleucid phalanx a melee developed between the rearmost Seleucid HC unit, elephants and LC and the Ptolemaic peltasts and elephants.

At this point by sheer chance the outermost Seleucid cavalry unit found itself unengaged, outside charge range of the enemy cavalry facing it and in a position to turn in and strike the Ptolemaic Phalanx in the flank. It did and proceeded to roll up the Ptolemaic phalanx. With the other Ptolemaic losses, for the elephants on the right had now been broken by the Seleucid phalanx, the battle was over.

Explanatory map:
Gordon's final comments:

It would be nice to claim that this was a triumph of skill. In fact the commanders of the Seleucid right and centre both did a very much better job than that of the left who had managed to create a logjam of units in disadvantageous positions. The most brilliant commander could not have positioned the key cavalry more accurately and yet it was a pure fluke. (not that that is what he will tell the King)

So the Seleucid Empire lives on.  Next week will see the Persian loyalists attacking the newly victorious Indian conquerors of Bactria.  I won't be able to make that one either, but I'll supply the armies.

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