Sunday, 17 October 2010

Apollonia 220BC

A refight of this Hellenistic contest between Antiochus III and his rebellious satrap Molon using Warhammer Ancient Battles v. 1.5 with 3000 (ish) points per side. The above photographic plate shows the table before commencement of hostilities.
At this juncture everything was rosy, Molon ( ably played by Mr. Paul Ireland) won the initiative and elected to start rolling his line forward. On his right flank he began the advance with 3 wedges of cavalry supported with archers and misc other skirmish types followed by his infantry in the centre and finally his left wing heavy cavalry and horse archers.

Antiochus ( played not so ably by me) responded in like manner, three wedges of companions were launched from my left wing one of which contacted Molons light cavalry and promptly broke them in the ensuing combat. In the centre my four phalanxes broke into a steady advance and the galatian warband into an uncontrolled charge into thin air having rolled a one. Over on the right flank two heavy cavalry wedges and a unit of Tarentines march moved forward.

And at this point it all began to fall apart for Apollo's favourite son, on the flank closest to the camera, Molons maotian light infantry charged the previously successful wedge in the flank and broke them, the two larger wedges ( with the respective generals ) fought to a stalemate and the remaining wedges fought a combat, won by Molons troops but the companions passed their break test.
In the centre steady advance was the order of the day with some inconclusive archery.
On the far side of the field the light horse launched missiles at each other to no avail.

Now things really begin to go wrong. Antiochus and his left wing cavalry collapse and flee leaving the left flank of the infantry hanging its arse out in the wind and to compound matters one of Molons scythed chariots crashes into the front of Antiochus's right hand phalanx causing it to flee in panic, this in turn prompts panic tests from the Argyraspids to its right and its brother phalanx to the left. The Argyraspids also flee. On a sunnier note the galatian warband charge a unit of archers, they fire and flee but no casualties occur on either side.
Over on the far flank a cavalry stalemate continues.

The nearside debacle now comes to a temporary halt as Molon begins to re align his units to roll up the flank and Antiochus ( from his hiding place in the shrubbery) summons one of his Elephants . In the centre Molons Bithynians charge and break another phalanx whilst his elepant charges the galatians and breaks them. Over on the far side the  elephants fight an inconclusive combat, the cavalry stalemate continues.

In the final two rounds of combat the cavalry stalemate is finally broken as Antiochus's heavy cavalry finally break and flee and in the centre the remaining two phalanxes succumb to attacks from Molon's hoplites and Bithynians. At this point with only a unit of thorakites, two elephants and a handful of skirmishers left over I concede defeat.

The forces involved were as follows:

The Satrap Molon.

Right Wing.
12 maotian light infantry, 8 archers, 6 light cavalry, 3x6 companions in wedge.

8 archers, 8 slingers, 2x18 thureophoroi, 18 hoplites, 28 levy phalanx, 20 Bithynians, 2 scythed chariots, 2 elephants.

Left Wing.
12 heavy cavalry & 9 horse archers.

Antiochus III.

Right Wing.
6 tarentines, 6 heavy cavalry & 10 heavy cavalry in wedge, 1 elephant.

24 argyraspids, 3x 28 levy phalanx, 1 elephant, 20 thorakites, 20 galatians, 2x 8 peltasts, 8 archers.

Left Wing.
2x6 companion cavalry, 1x10 companion cavalry.

And what did I learn from this experience:
Wedges should be deployed with a minimum of ten figures, six man wedges are a waste of time, one casualty and they revert to a standard linear formation.
Under no circumstances should scythed chariots be allowed any where near phalanx units. This is what you get for not deploying covering units carefully enough. Cheap skirmishers are there for a reason.
In a similar vein embedding your general in his companions may be historically correct but his high leadership value is worth more bumping up the saves of other units.
Don't roll crap dice when testing for critical break and panic tests.

The majority of miniatures used were Foundry Macedonians with a leavening of Crusader, Gripping Beast, First Corps, Vendel and two Aventine Elephants. Some of these were not quite in period but they stood in admirably well as their own great grandsons.

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