Tuesday 26 June 2012

100th follower: Engel

Hello to Engel, and thanks for joining. His blog is here and he currently has some material on Zulu warfare using Hail Caesar.

Sunday 24 June 2012


To Lalebrasil and William Kelly.  It took me a while to realise that Blogger sticks you at the back of the list if there's no profile photo, so although the number of folks following might increase, it's not always possible to see who they are.  Sorry if you've been there for a while!  I'm just wondering if William is our esteemed former club member, but even if you aren't, do give us a shout if you ever make it Glasgow...

Saturday 23 June 2012

Immortals completed

I've been quite busy painting away while Cathy has been in New York:
These are the archer figures I have been intending to add to the armoured spearmen I've already painted.
I do enjoy painting them, and they look nice and bright when finished.  But all those stripes are rather time-consuming!
They make a nice change from Romans and Hoplites, though...
The figures are by Foundry.
Here is the completed unit of 36, together with shield barricade.
And another shot, from the gamer's perspective.  I already have another load of archers to add to the unarmoured spearmen, which will give me a unit of spara types as my token contribution to the Persian forces at Plataea.  My running total for this year is now 195 25/28mm figures finished.  I'm hoping to get to around 500-600 if I can.  I think I'll manage because I have five units of partly worked Garrison hoplites to finish, plus whatever else I manage.

Bear's Den Parthian Cataphracts

I've just finished half a dozen of these as part of the batch of stuff I'm painting for Willie:
They are sculpted by Chris from the Phoenix Club,  I'd give a link to the website, but it's inactive, something that has been mentioned on TMP.
I haven't had a chance to ask Chris about the business, but I'm sure that other club members are more up to date with information.
They paint up well, and I like the slightly unusual "officer" type of pose, the guy with his hand in the air.
I've gone for a rugged, campaign look to them, which seems to suit them quite well.  In terms of size, they are a notch up from Navigator Miniatures, in case anyone is wondering.

Another Battle Report from Gordon

This time, the Indians fail to hold on to the territory they have just won in Bactria.  The old Persian state still has some life left in it yet as their forces retake the province yet again.  Bactria has probably become the most common scene of battles in the campaign.  Deployment map:
The Indians are at the top of the map.  Although constrained by a stream, the terrain is relatively open, with only one low hill in front of the invading army's right.  Plan of the action:
And here is Gordon's description of the battle:

"Persians retake rebel province from Indians

In the latest round of the campaign the rump of the once mighty Achaemenid empire, now fighting as Bactrian Greek, turned eastwards to try and recapture a rebellious province now occupied by the Indians.

The Bactro/Persians deployed  from the left, a front line of peltasts with a unit of medium cavalry and two units of elephants in the second line. Then came a small phalanx unit and a companions unit with a further companion unit in reserve. Four further phalanx units filled the left centre and a unit of medium cavalry provided a flank guard. Then there was a sizeable gap. Detached on the right was a single phalanx, four horse archer units and skirmishers.

The Indians deployed in a shallow formation with infantry in the centre interspersed with elephants. The intention was to maximise firepower and give opportunities to exploit the narrower frontage of the Bactro/Persians.  Cavalry and chariots faced the Bactro/Persian left and infantry with cavalry in reserve the right. Surprisingly they had no skirmishers.

The Bactrian plan was to push up on the left, the phalanx in echelon with the right somewhat refused. The elephants would come round the flank of the Indian infantry once engaged by the phalanx. It was expected that the Indians would try to come in on the open flank of the phalanx. As a counter to this it was hoped that the horse archers would be able, using the stream on the right flank as cover, be able to shoot up the Indian cavlry and then pass over the stream and tie up the flanking forces.

Is this what happened? Of course not. The battle on the Bactro/Persian left was fairly even. The peltasts mostly died but did enough damage to allow the second line to come into action. However at this point the left most Indian infantry unit engaged by a phalanx and companions failed its morale on seeing a chariot unit break. In Tactica this does not mean an immediate rout but such failures are usually disastrous. So it proved. The phalanx and the companions flattened it and the next unit then failed its morale and was routed by the phalanx and so did the next unit and was routed and so did the elephants although they did not rout.

The Indians meantime had developed their attackon the right flankof the phalanx. One unit of elephants was drawn off by the cavalry flank guard but an Indian infantry unit was able to attack the end phalanx advantageously and rolled over it in a single turn by virtue of prodigious dice throwing.

On the right despite masses of firepower virtually no damage was done to Indian cavalry (they might as well have used rubber arrows) and the Indian infantry got in about the single Phalanx Unit which was looking a bit poorly.

By this time the disasters on the left had brought the Indian army very close to breaking and a sudden effective round of shooting finally finished of the Indian cavalry. The victorious phalanx routed the elephants and it was all over.

It cannot be emphasised how badly the Indians were let down by their dice on the morale throws. It turned what was looking like a well balanced and interesting game into a total disaster. 
The other Paul took some photos so these may be forthcoming in due course."

Despite some local success against part of the phalanx, then, the Indian army was routed as a consequence of a disastrous morale cascade.  Next up in the campaign is a Macedonian attack on the Ptolemaic forces in Syria, probably in a few weeks' time.

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.

Saturday 9 June 2012

Just noticed that Hankesslinger has joined

...and I just wanted to say thanks!

Foot Companions

These are by 1st Corps:

These are for Willie.  He wanted them done as foot companions; I think they would do for Alexander's Hypaspists with pikes.  This takes my running total for 2012 to 167 painted 25/28mm figs.  It's a bit less than I would have liked, but then I did spend a lot of time building the battlefield for Plataea.  I should catch up a bit more over the next month or so with holiday time.

The Indians reconquer Bactria

No map this time, because it would take me longer to draw it than it did to play the game!  We used our standard Bactrian Greek list to defend against an Indian invasion.  Billy ran our heavy cavalry on the left, David the phalanx in the centre, and I took the light troops on the right, flank resting on a piece of rough ground.  Apart from that, terrain was minimal.  Simon constructed the Indian army, which Gordon deployed, running the right wing of their army.  Paul played their centre and Bill played the left half.  Their deployment was extremely heavy on their right, with loads of elephants interspersed with cavalry and skirmishers.  Their centre was mostly composed of massed chariots and infantry.  Their left was refused, with a small flank guard of chariots and cavalry.
Photo number one, above, shows the impressive force facing Billy on our left.
The Indians close on Billy's troops.  Although the enemy is far heavier overall, they have deployed with a large number of small units.  This will give them flexibility, but if Billy gets lucky they could end up with an unfavourable morale situation if one or two were to be destroyed.
The centre at about the same time.
And my wing.  Nothing is facing my light troops, but they will have to be patient as they wear down the blocking force so as to turn the infantry flank.
Contact on Billy's wing.  He gives the Indians a real scare here despite the weight facing him.
The chariots rumble forward to pin the phalanx in place.  Note the second wave of Indian elephants to the left pf the photo, waiting for the way to clear so that they can flank the phalanx.
I press on my wing.
A close up of my fight.  I have managed to get some Greek medium cavalry into contact against the poorer quality Indian horse.  I will clear the flank of the enemy infantry, but it's probably going to be far too late to be of any consequence.
The rest of the battle was too depressing by this point, so I took one last shot of my limited triumph.  Our left and centre were completely destroyed.

Next up: the Ptolemies attack the Later Seleucids in Mesopotamia.  After that, we have decided to change the way Empire plays a little to make the grand struggle between Rome and Carthage into a more detailed wargames campaign, with quicker resolutions and fewer but more important battles.  The reason for this is that both Simon and I will be irregular attendees over the summer, and we have the armies - this should keep things moving despite the disruption...

A quick welcome...

...to CBHollowell.  Thanks for looking!

Friday 1 June 2012

On the painting tray: June 2012

Lots.  32 1st Corps Argyraspides; 6 Bear's Den Parthian Cataphracts; 11 Magister Militum Parthian Horse Archers; and 16 Immortals with bows.  I'm trying to make up for time spent on terrain and stuff for Plataea; if I can finish this lot in a month I'll be well pleased.

Welcome to Andras

...who is also known as Andrew; blog here.  He has all sorts of interesting stuff, including a very realistic "stunt" basket-hilted sword. His figures include lots of plastics; do go and have a look!