Thursday, 21 August 2014

The Illyrians

I have added the Illyrians to our non-standard armies on the Dies Martis campaign page.  Here is the list as a separate post in case anyone wants to have a more printer-friendly version:


0-10%:  Massed Cavalry
0-5%:  Light Horse with javelins
30-50%: Warriors
0-30%:  Thureophoroi
0-30%: Peltasts
3-6%: Skirmishers with javelins
0-2%: Skirmishers with sling
0-2%: Skirmishers with Bows

The Massed Cavalry must be medium types (FV 4-6 in Tactica), but any or all of them may be upgraded to Elite to represent the nobility.  The same goes for the Warriors, who are Warband types with Impetus. The Warbands can be in loose or close formation, whether or not any of them are elites. The Thureophoroi represent Greek influence, and are basically FV 4-6 medium foot with spears in close formation. The Peltasts can be either FV 3-6 or FV 4-6 to represent this particular speciality of the Illyrian tribes; they must be in loose formation.  The Illyrians were noted for especially high morale, hence the possibly high proportion of elite types.  Apart from these, everyone in the army is of standard veteran quality.

Campaign Events: 141-138 BC

Here we go:

Autumn 141:  The Romans annexe Corsica and land in Crete. The Egyptians retire to Elymais after their epic battle against the Parthians, there to build up their strength again.
Spring 140:  The Romans move to Sardinia and annexe Crete.
Summer 140:  The Romans annexe Sardinia and "visit" Rhodes.

Autumn 140:  Rhodes "joins" the Roman Republic.

Spring 139:  The Roman army in the Western Mediterranean makes a glorious return to the capital.  These troops have conquered Carthage, Numantia, and Viriathus, and have also added the Baleares, Corsica and Sardinia to the growing might of the Republic.  Their triumph is well deserved and they are finally allowed to rest.  Meanwhile, the other consular army continues its tour of the Eastern Mediterranean with a landing in Euboea. At the same time, the Parthians finally stir themselves after recovering from their brutal campaign against the Ptolemaics, and advance their army into Tabiena.
Summer 138:  The Romans annexe Euboea.  A new consular army marches from Rome  into Dalmatia, where it becomes bogged down in guerilla warfare with the local tribes.  Further eastwards, the Parthians return to Carmania.

Autumn 139:  The Romans move to Lesbos and finally subjugate Dalmatia.  The Parthians re-incorporate Carmania into their empire.
Spring 138:  The Parthians return to Persis. The Romans annexe Lesbos and attack the Illyrians.

So that's it - a whole load of reorganising.  The Romans have picked up quite a bit more territory, and are about to try to extend their conquests.  They seem to be getting a bit of a taste for it.  There was at one point a 5 in 6 chance that an Indian army would make its appearance, but I blew the roll.  This will give the Parthians a bit more time to recover, which they are beginning to do.  So next up will be a Roman attack into the wilds of Illyria.  After the initial burst of enthusiasm, the great powers have settled into a pattern of vicious short term wars followed by long periods of retrenchment - that's three years without a single battle this time.  But the might of Rome is growing...

Second Outing for the Parthians

Tuesday evening saw the second battle involving the new power of Parthia in the campaign. I constructed the armies and supplied most of the Parthians.  Simon brought along some Thureophoroi and the Ptolemaic invaders.  All photos are taken from the Parthian perspective.
This is the right wing of the Egyptian army, ably commanded by Gordon, as it faces the Parthian left: a load of medium and light horse with skirmishers out front, to protect the flank of the phalanx.
On a slight variation from normal practice, one division of the phalanx is offset to the enemy's right, with a reserve unit of heavy horse at the back.  Presumably this is to give the infantry a bit more flexibility to watch their own flank, as well as to keep the heavies for the right moment.  You can see the rest of the phalanx into the centre of the deployment, screened by many sacrificial javelinmen - someone has to soak up all those arrows.  Billy is in command here.
The far left of the Ptolemaic army, as it faces our right.  Here the flank of the phalanx is covered by Simon's command comprising some camelry and a large unit of Peltasts near a handy wooded area. Gordon and Simon between them deployed the army, taking full advantage of the army composition and the terrain, such as it was.
Graham deployed our army.  Here is the left, commanded by Malcolm: Some horse archers at the extreme left, then a formidable force of cataphracts, plus some Greek city Thureophoroi for good measure.  A few javelinmen screen the Greeks.
I have masses of horse archers in the centre.
Graham has the weight on our right:: Thureophoroi, cataphracts and some horse archers. he has deployed all of the heavy stuff towards the wings, with a lightweight centre.
The battle begins on our left with the enemy horse advancing to try to cramp the style of our heavy guys here. Malcolm spreads the weight a little.
In the centre, the endmost enemy phalanx angles to protect the rest of the line, while their heavy horse remains in reserve. My first arrow storm peters out harmlessly.
Graham's moves on our right.
Back over to our left: the forces align.
Some space is opening up just to Malcolm's right as the enemy advance continues. I manage to press some horse archers forward into the gap.
Frustrated, my horse archers disperse into skirmish formation to ride down the pesky enemy javelinmen. If I can get rid of those, I can start to ping away at the phalanxes.  I am, though, under no illusion here - the enemy weight is too great, and I know that I will simply have to skirmish away in front of them.
On our right, Simon charges recklessly forward with his camels, in order to stop Graham's Cataphracts shaking out into line.  Combined with the peltasts in the woods, this frustrates Graham mightily.
The situation at the join between my forces and Malcolm's.  I have had to retreat my advanced unit of lights, but their threat has forced Gordon to commit his heavy horse.
Meanwhile, a traffic jam is causing Graham more problems on our right.
Malcolm's cataphracts attack at our extreme left.
He is also able to gang up on the lone phalanx with a combination of cataphracts and thureophoroi.
Meanwhile, as predicted, the relentless advance of the central phalanx presses back my horse archers.
Graham's right hook comtinues to struggle, but at least he has forced the enemy to commit a phalanx in this direction.
Success for us - Malcolm's combined arms assault has destroyed a phalanx.
The end of the battle in the centre and right, just before my guys ride off the field and concede a tactical defeat to the enemy.

Having said that, the destruction of part of the phalanx means that although the Ptolemies won the battle, they have lost the war.  They have taken too much attritional damage to be able to hold, never mind continue, and will have to retire gracefully.  The combination of the campaign rules and battlefield flexibility is making the Parthians an interesting army to play, and a tough nut to crack.

Tuesday, 19 August 2014

Saying hello to Christopher Axebreaker

..whose own blog is here.  Thanks for joining, Christopher, I have reciprocated.  Or at least I think I have -sometimes Blogger can be rather peculiar...

Parthian Cataphracts by Aventine

Things are finally beginning to get back to normal, so here are some photos of newly completed Parthians for Willie.  Mind you, I'm not complaining about this summer: Commonwealth Games; Visitors from the USA and Australia; plus a week in sunny Stratford-upon-Avon, for work reasons, honest.  Not much gaming has been gamed, nor painting painted, but it has been a lot of fun.
These were a real joy to paint, as always with Aventines. 
I made the armour nice and shiny and used a limited number of colours to draw them together as a unit.
They had very little flashing, and only one guy needed a small amount of filling at the join between his torso and his legs.
They will see action this evening as the Parthian host finally descends upon an invading Ptolemaic army after much attrition has been inflicted.  Totals for this year so far are 376 foot, 130 mounted and 7 nellies.  I'm also part of the way through another of Caesar's elite legions, and then after that we'll see.  The Society of Ancients Battle Day game for 2015 is Hydaspes.  We already have Alexander's army, and Simon has most of the Indians in glorious techicolour.  We will need some more for the large, albeit ineffective, infantry contingent, and I could do with some of those for my halting progress with the Persians and their friends for Plataea.  So I reckon I'll be painting a couple of large units of, say, 48 figs each for that.