Sunday 18 March 2012

Rebellion in Pontus collapses

A Macedonian field army strives to reconquer the rebellious region of Pontus in the Empire campaign.
I constructed both army compositions, but had no preference which of the two to play.  In the event, Gordon set up the defenders while I deployed the Macedonians.  Photo number one shows the right wing of the defending Pontic army, which Gordon commanded in person.  The perspective is mine, from the left wing of the Macedonians.  A skirmish line precedes a unit of 12 Light Horse, 12 Heavy Cavalry, 36 Galatian infantry in three ranks, and a couple of scythed chariots.  The far Pontic left wing is a mirror image of this command.
Above is my meagre command: some skirmishing slingers, three units of 12 peltasts and a unit of 36 Thureophoroi in three ranks.
I don't have a decent photo of the central Pontic deployment, which comprised a symmetrical set up of medium phalanxes, Thureophoroi and a couple of small heavy phalanx units, the best troops in the defending army, arrayed just behind a long central ridge with plenty of skirmishers. The photo above shows the centre of the Macedonian army, five units of 36 heavy phalangites in three ranks, with javelin skirmishers out front. David runs this lot, against Willie as the central Pontic commander.
Above is a shot looking from the Macedonian centre towards their right.  This wing is composed of two units of 12 heavy cavalry (one of which is elite) and two units of 8 Light Horse, with the usual skirmishers out front.  Basically, I've gone for a main right punch, powerful central phalanx, and left wing flank guard, a classic Macedonian attack en echelon.  Billy will lead the assault, against Alan of Pontus.
My first action (above) is to pull back my peltasts.  I need to prolong the action here as long as I can to keep Gordon off the flank of the central phalanx.
In the centre, the Pontics move their large infantry centre onto the hills.  They are not as strong as the Macedonian phalanx, but the hill will help to compensate.
Just above, you can see the start of the Macedonian advance, with the cavalry leading from our right.
Back on my flank, Gordon advances as quickly as he can.  My peltasts are now facing the right way.  I don't have much of a plan; basically, I'll just wait for any opportunity for javelins and/or melee to present themselves to cause Gordon as much pain as possible before I'm wiped out.  Nothing personal...
I angle all of my troops towards my left as the phalanx advances in the centre.  Willie commits a small unit of heavy pikemen and some Thureophoroi to help speed my demise while the rest of the Pontics await developments on their nice safe hill.  My slingers are doing well, and the skirmish fight here is going in my favour.  Now if I can just get rid of the last of the enemy javelinmen I'll be able to shoot at some of Gordon's cavalry...
Gordon's light cavalry charges into my endmost peltast unit, so I take a calculated risk and advance the other two into javelin range of his heavy cavalry and Galatians.  Might as well make them angry.  At the same time, I retire my slingers behind the lines.  I fully expect to lose horribly, but if I can do enough damage, the slingers might get lucky and finish a damaged unit.
With the majority of Gordon's troops drawn off against my pelatsts, my Thureophoroi await the inevitable.  At the top right of the photo above you can see our phalanx attacking as the Pontic centre comes off the hills.  Gordon is worried that his right wing attack will be too far out of touch to swing into the middle of the field.
A furious infantry combat develops.  At the top of the photo above, you can see that Gordon has swung his chariots into the centre to try to plug any gaps.
I start to lose, as expected.  Unfortunately for us, so does the leftmost unit of David's phalanx...
My peltasts have been swept away, but the Pontic heavy cavalry have taken a great deal of damage.  I'm hoping that even if they do swing into the centre, they will be too weak to exploit properly.
David's leftmost phalanx collapses ignominiously, but the rest of the pikes make large holes in the centre of the field.
And on our right, Billy's cavalry charges in with great gusto.

In the event, it was quite a comfortable victory for Macedon.  The enemy centre was annihilated and Billy's cavalry swept their opponents from the field, more than making up for loss of my command and 20% of the phalanx.  This takes the current campaign turn to its conclusion.


  1. Great battle - and great photos.

  2. Good rep. I do like to see those huge pike block formations. (I was going to say those huge phalanxes but thought at the last minute that it might have been mis-interpreted!)