Saturday 20 October 2012

Seleucids Fight Again

This Tuesday saw the latest Empire campaign battle, the second in a row for the beleaguered Seleucids.  After seeing off the Ptolemaics last time, they have to turn around and face another attack, this time from the Bactrian Greeks.  As with the previous battle, all photos are taken from my position behind the Seleucid lines:
 The photo of the enemy's deployment facing our left didn't come out too well, but later fighting shots did, so not to worry.  The first picture (above) shows their right centre: a unit of elephants with two units of light infantry in front,preceded by skirmishers, and then moving more into the middle of the field (to the right of the photo as you look at it) are three phalanxes.  These are deployed three deep; it's just that Simon's figures are based four deep, hence the look of the units.
Their centre left is next, with more phalanxes and elephants with light infantry helpers.  This is a mirror image, so their entire centre is arrayed symmetrically.
Their left wing is powerful: a phalanx, a large unit of medium horse, and two units of horse archers.  A unit of elite heavy lancers is in reserve.  Simon commands the right half of their army, Gordon the left.
As with the previous game, I roll randomly to see what kind of set up we would adopt, and it turns out that we are going for a left hook.  And here it is: two units of light horse with javelins, one behind the other; a unit of line heavy cavaly, with a unit of catpahracts behind them; and two units of elephants, each preceded by light infantry.
Our centre comprises five divisions of the phalanx.  Pretty straightforward stuff.

Our right is weak.  Stationed at the flank of the central phalanx units are the Argyraspides, held slightly back, with a large unit of Galatian medium horse en echelon.  We do have quite a few skirmishers, but I'm just going to have to hope that these Galatians perform much better than their predecessors did against the Ptolemaics.  David runs the left wing attack, I run the defence on the right and we split the phalanxes between us.
David begins the battle as planned with an advance on our left.  Facing us, the invaders have exactly the same troops as they have on the opposite flank.  This time, they are the ones who have a symmetrical army deployment.  They throw forward their horse archers to try to wear down David's powerful attack a little, while holding back with the rest of their troops here. This is shaping up to be a standard Successor battle.  Will David's strong left win it for us?  Will my weak right lose it for us?  And what will happen with the phalanx units in the centre of the line?
Both centres advance, although I hold back a little with the phalanxes to the right of our line so as to echelon properly, in keeping with the plan.
I also angle the Argyraspides somewhat so as to present a less open flank, and the Galatians stay where they are.  Sporadic skirmish shots begin to pepper the enemy on the flank a little.
On David's wing, the cavalry clash occurs pretty quickly.
The centres continue their relative advances.
I am well outmatched on the right.  I just have to hope I can hold here as long as possible while David wins the game for us on the other side of the field.
Contact between my Galatians and Gordon's horse archers.
Even more combat develops on David's wing.  Simon rolls really badly for his medium cavalry, so things are going well for us here.
Back at my end of the line, Gordon holds back his equivalent unit of medium cavalry as the rest of his troops start to catch up.
My Galatians don't take too much damage, but they don't inflict much either.
Disaster strikes the invaders facing David.  Their large unit of medium cavalry is easily destroyed, and their phalanx unit on this flank is disordered on morale.  In front of elephants.
And at the same time, the disordered unit is fighting one of our phalanxes, just to make things even worse for the attackers.  They throw in their light infantry in a vain attempt to slow down the remorseless advance of our pikemen.
This is the last photo I managed to take as the decision point arrived.  Gordon throws his cavalry and phalanx into my Argyraspides, and at the same time his lancers move in behind them to threaten our central phalanxes, which are off picture to the left.

And then, suddenly, it was all over.  David had real problems against Simon's reserve lancers, but the rest of his troops wiped out everything in front of them.  In the centre, Gordon's lancers helped to destroy two of our phalanxes.  But on our right, my Galatians finally destroyed the enemy light cavalry; flanked and destroyed the enemy medium horse; disordered the enemy phalanx on morale; and then destroyed them too. They suddenly remembered how to fight on horseback!  Game over, and a second successive victory for the Seleucids.

We rolled for the next event, and the Romans have increased the strength of their legions in central Italy.  We then rolled again, and next time the Later Macedonians will attack the Ptolemaics in Syria.  If the attack succeeds, the Macedonians will cut off the Ptolemaic forces further north and link up with their Seleucid allies, who have held out so valiantly.  Only time will tell if this is the high water mark of Ptolemaic aggrandisement.  And in the meantime, the Roman juggernaut gathers force under a certain Cornelius Scipio.

Saturday 13 October 2012

The Empire Campaign Resumes

I was hoping to start things moving again before now, but a series of very large games held us back. That, and the fact that everyone in Scotland has had a cold for the last six weeks.  Finally, we played a Successors game on Tuesday evening.

The rampantly successful Ptolemaics decide to try to remove their Seleucid rivals entirely from the map, invading what's left of the Seleucid "Empire" in Mesopotamia.  They encounter the defenders in an area of rolling hills.  All of the following photos are taken from behind the Seleucid army, which I ran all by myself for a change:
The right wing of the invading force, as seen from my left flank perspective.  They have plenty of skirmishers, along with some medium cavalry, a couple of elephants, and two units of Light Infantry.
Moving along towards their centre, the photo above shows a unit of elite phalangites and the start of their central phalanx proper, with more skirmishers in front.  Simon was in command of this entire half of the army.
Next is the start of Gordon's half of the army, a very large phalanx, along with more elephants, Light Infantry and skirmishers.
The fourth picture shows their left wing, comprising a large unit of light horse with javelins, and a nasty looking column of elite heavy lancers.  Plus even more skirmishers.
I had no idea what to do, so I rolled for it on a D6: 1-2 left hook, 3-4 sort of symmetrical, 5-6 right hook.  The dice gods settled for symmetrical, and this was the left flank: a unit of 8 light horse with javelins; a large unit of 18 Galatian medium cavalry; and 2 elephants escorted by a dozen light infantry.  I don't have so many skirmishers in my force, so there is a forlorn hope of eight skirmish archers as well.
The shot above shows my Argyraspides: 24 elite pikemen in three ranks, and then three of my 32-figure pike units, with a dozen javelinmen out front.
My right centre is another couple of phalanxes, with a dozen light infantry and two elephants to their right.
My right flank has a dozen cataphracts, a dozen heavy cavalry, 8 light horse with javelins, and another forlorn hope, this time of 8 slingers.  Overall, the battle lines look pretty much even right across the field - neither army has much superiority in any particular location.
The action begins.  My left advances, as does the opposition.  They feel slightly worried by my large Galatian cavalry unit here, so they keep their own smaller cavalry contingent back, hoping to use their skirmish superiority to wear down my lot.
Both armies advance in the centre.
And the same again.  At the top right of this shot, you can see that Gordon has decided to move out his flank command at an angle.  He has more light infantry here, so I'll need to try to keep my elephants covered.
I keep things cagey on my own right flank.  Overall, I feel that I have a bit of an advantage at my left, the centres are evenly matched, and I will have to see what happens at the right.
Accordingly, my left continues its advance.
I have a bit of an overlap at my left centre with my Argyraspides .  Just to their right my first phalanx attacks the enemy elites.
In the centre, the phalanxes close.
Things are developing on my right.  I found it difficult to take decent photos of this part of the field, because the light in the centre of the hall isn't great.
Back on my left, the Galatians go in with their superior numbers and get hammered.  I'm going to need to get my light horse around the far left, assuming they aren't shot to bits.
Things are going well for my guys just to the right, though, as the Argyraspides start to crunch their way through the enemy light infantry.  I'm hoping to turn the end of their infantry line and roll up their phalanx, but I'll need my own central infantry to hold out long enough.
Continuing here for a moment, the Argyraspides are about to take the enemy elites from behind.
A shot of the pike clash in the hills.  My lot aren't doing very well...
My left wing is victorious.  My light horse managed to avoid most of the enemy shooting and helped the Galatians to see off the enemy cavalry.  My elephants are winning here too.
A gratuituous close-up of the enemy elites about to find out what it's like to be a phalanx with no flank protection...
My centre is barely holding, though.
My left wing continues its progress.
The enemy elites have been destroyed, and my Argyraspides advance upon the rear of their phalanx.  One of my own centre units has been destroyed, and the one you can see on the hill in this photo has been disordered on morale.  I'm hoping the rear attack will save them, and this is indeed what happens.
To finish, here's the only photo of my right that worked out.  The opposition performed really badly here, and you can see my lot heading off in pursuit.

Overall, it went in my favour.  My left worked well, and the right exceeded all expectations.  The centre held just long enough for the Argyraspides to come in and destroy the enemy phalanx.  Quite a comprehensive win in the end.  Next up: the Seleucids have to turn around and face an invasion from the other direction as the Bactrian Greeks decide to try their hand.

Monday 1 October 2012

On the Painting Tray: October 2012

80 Garrison Hoplites.  I originally bought a load of these for next to nothing at Wappinshaw years ago, and gave them a basic paint job.  The intention was to make them different enough from my other Hoplites to be used as militia grade, but then I realised that there were enough for 5 units of 36 figures each.  So I then bought the same number again, this time directly from Garrison, and I've been painting those in fits and starts in between other things.  If I can finish this lot of 80, I'll have another 5 units of 36.  And that will give me enough to do the opposition for my other Greeks, if I ever need them for a clash between city states.