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Persians vs Carthaginians

Early Persians vs. Carthaginians (1750 points)

Two consecutive games were played in an attempt to break, unsuccessfully, the winning streak of the Early Achaemenid Persian Army.

Game 1 - The Armies

The Carthaginian army comprised a total 1,100 cavalry, 3,300 heavy infantry, 1,200 skirmishers and 10 elephants.

On the left,

  • 400 Spanish cavalry with throwing spear, light armor and shields

  • 750 Spanish Scutarii with heavy throwing weapon and shield in reserve

In the center, the core of the army,

  • 1,200 Citizen infantry with light armor, large shields and spears

  • 10 Elephants

  • 1,400 African heavy infantry with heavy armor, large shields and spears

  • 600 Balearic slingers screening

  • 600 Spanish Caetrati skirmishers with javelins

  • 300 Numidian LC in reserve

  • On the right and ordered to round the hill,

  • 400 Punic heavy cavalry with throwing weapons, light armor and shields

The Persian army comprised 900 cavalrymen, 4400 infantry and 30 chariots.

Facing the Carthaginian left,

  • 30 scythed-chariots

  • 1000 Persian infantry all with bows and spears, ˝ with spara

In the center,

  • 1,000 Persian immortals all with bows and spears, ˝ with spara

  • 300 Guard cavalry with spears, shield light armor and barding

  • 1,600 levy infantry, ˝ with bows and ˝ with swords

  • 300 Scythian cavalry screening the front

On the right,

  • 300 Persian cavalry with javelins and light armor

  • 800 levy infantry with spears, light armor and shields

Game 1 - The Battle

Turn 1 to 3

On the left, the Punic cavalry are charged by one chariot (which rolls a 6 for impact hits) and loses 200 men. The chariots go on to be destroyed by the Spanish Scutarii but not before killing 200 of them as well.  In the center, the bulk of the Carthaginian army march towards the Persians, effectively screened by the Spanish Caetrati. The screening Numidian LC however was chased off by the charge of the Persian cavalry, who are then left in the rear of the Carthaginian main battle line.  On the left the 400 Punic cavalrymen round the hill and face the levy spearmen

Turn 4 and 5

On the left, the weakened Punic cavalry and Spanish Scutarii keep clear of the deadly Persian archers.  In the center, a general charge is sounded. The African phalanx and 10 elephants, still untouched by bow fire, charge and break the levy bowmen. The Punic phalanx charges the Immortals behind their sparabala and break after taking heavy casualties. The Immortals pursue and contact the Carthaginian Army Standard bearer lingering behind the phalanx.  On the right, the Spanish cavalry charge the levy spearmen, only to be broken and routed from the field of battle.

Turn 6

On the left the remnants of the Punic cavalry and Spanish Scutarii continue to stay clear of the Persian archers.  In the center, the still untouched African phalanx is charged in the rear by the Persian cavalry. No casualties are caused but the disordered phalanx breaks and are caught by the pursuing Persian cavalry and destroyed. The Carthaginian Army Standard bearer is broken and the Immortals pursue into the rallied Punic phalanx, breaking them again.  On the right, the victorious levy march back to the center.

The End

Having lost the bulk of his army, the Carthaginian general sounds the retreat and pulls the remnants of his army off the field.

Game 2 - The Armies

The Carthaginians redeployed as follows

On the left facing the Persian scythed chariots,

  • 10 Elephants

  • 600 Balearic slingers screening

In the center,

  • 1,200 Citizen infantry with light armor, large shields and spears

  • 1,400 African heavy infantry with heavy armor, large shields and spears

  • 300 Numidian LC screening

  • 600 Spanish Caetrati skirmishers with javelins screening

  • Facing the Persian levy spearmen

  • 400 Spanish cavalry

  • 400 Punic heavy cavalry

  • 750 Spanish Scutarii in reserve

The Persians were deployed exactly the same as in Game 1.

Game 2 - The Battle

Turns 1 to 3

On the left the elephant moves towards the Immortals together with the slingers who are eventually shot away by massed Persian archery.  In the middle, the phalanxes march quickly forward, screened by the Caetrati. The Numidian LC are routed by the Persian Cavalry who then flee from a charge of the Spanish Scutarii from their hilltop position.  On the left the Carthaginian cavalry column march around the hill to face off against the levy spearmen.  The Persian entire battle line wheels to face the flanking move, reducing the efficiency of their archery for a critical turn or two.

Turns 4 and 5

On the left, Persian archery kill the crew and mahout of the elephant, which stampedes to the left away from the sparabara wall, eventually hitting the scythed chariots in the flank and routing them.  In the center, the Citizen phalanx exploits the hinge opening up as the Persian army wheels and charges the flank of the Persian levy bowmen, breaking them and routing them off table.  On the left the cavalry are unable to outflank the levy spearmen and wary of the bristling spear-points, leave it to the Spanish Scutarii to charge the levy spearmen. The Scutarii bounce off and withdraw from combat to regroup and replenish their heavy throwing spears

Turn 6

Both armies realign their armies, reforming the battle lines at 90 degrees to the original. With both armies’ core units intact and daylight failing, the battle ends in a draw. 

Postscript

For fun we played another 2 turns.  The Punic cavalry was charged in the flank and destroyed by the Persian cavalry when they were caught while attempting to flee from the charge (rolling 4 on 3D6 for the flee move). One the right, the Spanish Scutarii charged the levy spearmen again, this time routing them off table. The key battle occurred when the Citizen phalanx charged the Persian Guard cavalry. The Guard cavalry stood for one round, then after being reinforced by the General and Army Standard Bearer, lost the combat, failed their break test and routed off the table. Seeing their standard fall and the general flees the rest of the Persian army execute a rapid withdrawal.

POST MORTEM

Persian massed archery can be effectively screened with reasonable quantities of high quality skirmishers.  The morale 7 Spanish Caetrati provide an effective screen up to the point of contact of the main battle lines in both battles. In contrast the morale 5 shieldless Balearic Slingers routed quickly in both games. Under heavy missile fire, the shields and higher morale proved invaluable in helping the skirmishers avoid the panic test for suffering 25% casualties from missile fire, and in passing the test if necessary.

Wabnuts (L-R) Wahj, Boon & Arjun

Report by WABnut: Boon