Thursday, 3 December 2015

Chaeronea 338 BC

 
Go tell the Athenians - your sons died well!
 
 
Yesterday at the Uni the Wollongong Wargamers replayed the fateful battle of Chaeronea of 338 BC.Chaeronea represents a natural chokepoint which the Athenians and their Thebian allies wanted to deny to the advancing Macedonian phalanxes...
 

 
Our table looking from east to west, with the River Cephissus and marshes in the foreground, and the heights of Chaeronea in the background:
 
 
Before the battle we got into the mood by admiring the artwork of the late, great, Angus McBride...

 

Peter prepared the scenario and orbats....


And provided all the gorgeous, gorgeous models...






The young Alexander and his Companions receive the plaudits of the a Phalanx...
The Thebian spearmen were represented by Spartans...
After briefings, of which I understood at least half, we deployed - the Athenian spears stretched thinly to cover the valley floor, the Macedonian phalanxes well closed up...


With 6 combat points for a deep phalanx compared to 4 for a thin line of spears, how could we Macedonians not prevail?


However, out on the far right Macedonian flank, on the rugged hilly ground, my peltasts would have a tricky job, fighting the same number of Alan's light troops...


The phalanxes advanced remorselessly across the valley floor...


Whilst my young psiloi advanced, but perhaps with a hint of remorse....Alan threatened all sorts of amazingly cunning and clever strategems which would break my command and leave the flank wide open...


Back on the plains below, a gap had opened up in our line - poor commands, or enemy counter attack? With this scale of game, I didn't know and just had to do my best to contain Aland and hope the rest of my team had a better idea of what was going on...


What was worrying was that in adhering to the main phalanx on my left, I had exposed my right to an Athenian overlap, reducing my advantage by one point...


The Athenians and Thebans had also arranged things to give themselves small reserves... 


And yet, perhaps inevitably, the Macedonian phalanxes were gradually, steadily, edging forwards....Alan's about to be unleashed cunning plan grew even more fiendish in the telling, but, as he admitted, even the most clever plan needs command pips....


A key moment came when the young Alexander broke through the Athenian line with a small group of Companion cavalry...



The centre gap slowly expanded....


But in my neck of the woods I still had a fight on my hands - that pesky overlap!


I was advised to move my small cavalry contingent up to pin them in place, but with poor command rolls, the priority was to keep faith with the main line to my left...


I struggled on, until a cheer alerted me to the fact that the two central Athenian commands had broken - the Athenian centre was bare - victory was ours!


Its not until you've organised and hosted a few games yourself that you realise how much work and worry can go into putting on a big bash like this, especially give the challenges of staging a game in the grand manner that can also be played in an evening...


But I'm happy to report that his efforts were appreciated, best summed up by Caesar:

Thanks to Peter for a very enjoyable game.
Hats off to the Greek players for a stalwart defence – they had the odds stacked against them. Geoff was able to tie up the Greek elite on the flank with a handful of troops backed by companion knights, while Ralph and I got to business with grinding down the centre and other flank, capitalising on pike superiority over spears – slowly. But the game didn’t feel slow for one moment and there were plenty of tense and amusing situations. I’m extremely jealous of Peter’s expansive figure collection – just spectacular.
DBA handles hoplite combat very well to my mind. There are so many well-thought out subtleties in such a simple overall format. I’m quite amazed that the entire version 3 rules (including explanatory diagrams) comes to just 30 pages, with the rest being comprehensive army lists. It makes looking stuff up very quick and a quick reference sheet is not really necessary. 

16 comments:

  1. The problem was that I didn't immediately spot the cunning plan possibility, and when I did I didn't get the command points to implement it for a couple of turns. By which time it was too late to implement it :)

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    1. Indeed! And if I'd had points to spare your chaps would have had their hands to full with plain vanilla fighting to execute your knavish tricks! Shows how central C2 is to these rules...

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    2. Pah! You wouldn't have known what to do with those PIPs. I would have bedazzled you with my years of applied HOTT experience and caused you to have wasted them :-D

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  2. Very impressive pictures, love htis battle!

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  3. Well done. Loved the write up and thoughts on the rules. Pics were great.

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  4. Very nice - but with Xyston Macedonians vs Essex hoplites there was only ever going to be one winner!

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    1. Thanks mate - I dunno - both armies were very smart - but I'd certainly take a Phalanx over Spears any day!

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  5. The Greeks will make a come back soon. Nice write up Ralph.

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  6. Thanks Peter - yes looking forward to another game!

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  7. How did you get Alan to play DBA?

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    1. By using a version that's not a snore-fest. We used 3.0

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  8. Sparker hears a knock on the door. Looks through eye hole to see a Greek bearing a gift.......anyhow, very nice write up there me old china, at lest this time you where facing the right way. Not bad for a non artillery type just follow the guy in front.

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  9. Great looking game and a fine report Ralph--even if anything DBx is a swear word amongst us!!

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