Thursday, 2 September 2010

Macedonians v Persians

Well once again we have had a lull in activity on the blog. The summer holidays have meant that it has been a while since our last game. John is on holiday now so no games for another two weeks! We did have a very big 40mm game a couple of weeks ago ( SYW Prince August ), with over a thousand figures on the table, and Paul is promising to do a write up on it. Come on Paul!
Anyway I found these pictures of an Ancients battle we fought a few months ago. I had already posted some photos of the initial dispositions at the time and promised a write up but failed to deliver. So here is a very belated account, written from my perspective. Any inaccuracies are honest and purely due to my fuzzy memory!
The battle was between a Macedonian army led by Alexander (me) and his general Parmenio (Paul) and the Persians led by their Great King Darius (John). The photo above shows the initial dispositions. The main terrain features were a low ridge between the armies with a ruined temple at one end and, on the Macedonian right and Persian left, a slightly higher hill which seperated the enemies.
As i have said before a picture paints a thousand words so here goes a run down of the action.
The Macedonian left wing commanded by Parmenio. Alexanders plan was to seize the central wing and hold with his left wing while attacking the Persian left centre with his Companions and right wing phalanx.

The Persian centre infantry.

The Persian left wing cavalry. John would send this powerful force forward and half would swing out left to attempt to outflank the Macedonian right wing.

The Macedonian phalanx with Thracians screening.

The right wing cavalry. Two units of Companions led by Alexander himself (Red and Blue). My plan was to swing out wide as if to out flank the Persian right wing then direct these diagonally at the Persian left centre infantry while a unit of Hypaspists advanced rapidly to block Johns left wing cavalry.

The armies advance to contact. In the right bottom corner is the Hypaspist unit.

The Persian left wing advances on to the hill.

The centre left infantry. The target for my Companions.

On the centre ridge Parmenio has advanced quickly with his Agrianians and skirmishes with Scythian cavlary and Persian archers.

Darius throws in more cavalry and elephants to dislodge them while Parmenio advances with his Hypaspist unit on to the ridge.

The Hypaspists have successfully blocked two of Darius left wing cavalry units and the Companions wheel in to attack the Persian centre. This attack would break into the infantry with a fifty fifty chance (odds or evens). I had the Red Companions following the Blue in case they failed to break in.

Aview from the Persian lines. The other two Persian left wing cavalry units are off to the left out of picture having to avoid the palm grove on the hill.

On the Persian right wing the Greek mercenaries advance.

The fight for the ridge. The Agrianians are under severe pressure but they are doing there job tying up Persian troops and blunting the attack of the elephants.

Evens! The Blue Companions break into the Persian infantry.

A view of the action along the line. The Red Companions have wheeled away as they are not needed. In the centre Alexander has ridden to Parmenio's cavalry to lead them in exploiting the break through.
Macedonian peltasts engage the Persian centre as the phalanx moves up.

Alexander assumes command of the left wing cavalry.

Follow me! is Alexanders order. The cavalry are led by a third unit of Companions.

On the right a critical moment as the Persian left wing ouflanking cavalry threaten to charge into the exposed phalanx.

On the Macedonian left wing the phalanx advances to crush the Greek mercenaries.

The right wing Hypaspists are finall y defeated by the Persian cavalry. In the background the Blue Companions slaughter the Persian infantry.

A general view of the battle at the same point in time.

Darius despatches his Red Cataphracts to counter the Blue Companions.

On the ridge the Agrianians are finally overcome but the Persians are disordered and depleted.

Viewed from behind the Persian centre Alexander can be seen leading his cavalry to exploit his breakthrough.

The phalanx crashes into the Persian centre which wavers under the attack.

The Red Cataphracts advance to engage the Blue Companions who are still mopping up the Persian infantry while Alexander pushes through the gap with the Brown Companions in the foreground.

Alexander drops off the two units of Allied Greek cavalry to shore up the right wing and attack the disordered Persian cavalry while he leads his Brown Companions on his mission - to kill Darius!

The Persian left wing cavalry finally launches its attack and collides with the disordered Hypaspists. In the foreground the Greek cavalry charges the reforming Persian cavalry. In the background (by the dice!) the Red Companions prepare to snuff out the Persian flank attack.

The Macedonians hold the central ridge.

The left wing Macedonian phalanx coninues its advance. Part of the unit is slowed by the slopes of the ridge by the temple.

Darius (in his chariot) witnesses the destruction of his centre.

The high water mark of the Persian flank attack as the Macedonian cavalry close in on their flank and rear.

In the distance Darius can be seen as he turns his chariot and flees the battlefield.

Alexander leads his Companions after his quarry.

Darius executes a hand break turn in his chariot as his centre crumbles.

Darius and his body guard flee as Alexander approaches. The Persian infantry in the centre have melted away.

Darius leaves the field of battle.

A view of the battlefield at the end of the game. Parmenio can be seen with his Generals at right centre after his cool handling of the left wing in classic Parmenio style.
This was a hugely enjoyable game of the kind which remind you just why you wargame. It felt historically "right", it could have been won by either side, and all 3 of us had smiles on our faces (even Darius!) when it was finished. John must once again be credited with setting up (its a set up!) a nicely balanced game, as he almost invariably does. I just hope he doesn't mind the bias in my report! Once again thanks for looking and I hope it was enjoyable to read about a very very enjoyable game.