Thursday, 17 December 2009

Persian Civil War: Clash in Syria

On Tuesday we played a campaign battle postponed from the previous week. The Persian Royal Army tried to crush the pretender Cyrus the Youngest so as to discourage any further discontent in the face of continued Macedonian aggression.

The battlefield was mostly open, with some rough ground on both flanks. The defending secessionists, in blue, set up with their main offensive punch on the left. Two units of Armenian armoured heavy cavalry were tasked with breaking any enemy cavalry and turning the right flank of the Royalists' central battle line. I played the rebels in this part of the field; Paul played the right wing. We split the centre between us.

William set up the Royalists. His plan (I think) was to pin the rebel centre left with his own heavy infantry and punch through the centre right with his own Royal Cavalry and armoured heavy cavalry. William played the loyalists' right; Simon was in the centre; and George played on their left.

From the start, it was reasonably obvious that whichever heavy cavalry punch worked more quickly would win the battle. It was very close, but eventually the rebellion prevailed. They easily turned the right flank of the enemy centre after seeing off their light horse, but it did take a while for the Royal Guard Infantry to go down, opening up the flank of the hoplites to a full roll-up attack. There was the usual heavy infantry scrum in the centre. The loyal Guard Cavalry fared very badly to their centre left, being destroyed by a unit of rebel Persian medium horse who got lucky. The Royal army needed the Guard and Armoured Cavalry to break through together so as to commence their roll-up manoeuvre, and this lack of success cost them time and the game. Things on the other flank bogged down as both sides held their respective patches of rough ground, but the battle was decided elsewhere anyway.

Even though Alexander of Macedon has gone down in history as Alexander the Ordinary, the Persian Empire looks as though it is starting to disintegrate of its own accord anyway. In the meantime, the growing power of Rome has turned its eyes to Magna Graecia after subjugating central Italy. The next game sees the legions march against the Greek colony city-states.

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