Monday, 1 January 2018

L'Art de la Guerre 145 BC - The king is dead!

The year still is 145 BC. After the previous battle against his cousin Demetrios Nikator (HERE), Alexander Balas still sits uneasily on the Seleukid throne in Antioch. Demetrios has withdrawn to Kilikia and established a rival Seleukid court at Tarsos. Alexander, flush with his recent victory presses on and leads his men north to settle the matter once and for all.

This game was a rematch of the last Seleukid civil war clash we had with the same two late Selelukid armies. I was once more playing as Alexander I, this time assisted by Sheik Jameel commanding the unreliable Arab contingent. Andrew reprised his role as Demetrios II - hoping to do better this time.

Above you can see the opposed lines from the southwest. Demetrios's forces are at the top - Alexander's are at the bottom. Demetrios fielded an infantry division across his right and centre, with a cavalry division supported by a mixed light infantry and elephant division, both on to the left of his centre. Alexander held the centre and left of his line, with Sheik Jameel's Arabs holding the right. He again dispatched Plato the Galatian with two units of heavy Galatian horse on a wide sweeping flank march around to the north, hoping to catch Demetrios' camp unguarded.

Demetrios' elephant and skirmisher division advances towards the Arabs. 

The two lines fly towards each other, Alexander's Skythians unleashing a mini (unsuccessful) arrow storm against Demetios' locally recruited hillmen. At the far end of the line, Demetrios' skirmishers exchange shots with the Arabs.

History repeating itself - Demetrios' elephant corp take on the Arab camelry. Unfortunately for Alexander, history didn't quite repeat itself. Rather than scattering the smelly nellies, the camelry were very quickly driven from the field. Cataphracts also charged forward against the Arab archers. The results were pretty much the same.

The rest of the lines close up, each commander hoping to match combats to their best advantage. Well, maybe not so much, but one can hope. 

The cataphracts  did not have room and time to extend their line and are swarmed by the Arab mediocre medium foot. Arab swordsmen slip into a plantation and attack the elite Cretan archers who had sought safety there.

In the centre, Demetrios' elephants made the most of their newly created breatch in the opposite line to turn in on the flank of Alexander's heavy foot. Even without the nellies on their flank, Alexander's infantry were getting the worse of the melee throughout.

On the extreme left flank, Alexander's agema cataphracts make some headway, destroying a unit of hillmen in the first contact. However, his infantry were still feeling the pressure. Even Alexander's Galatian infantry failed to make any headway against Demetrios' Thracians.

Back on the right, one unit of Demetrios' cataphracts were overwhelmed, but the others were doing ok against the Arab foot, despite successive flank charges. The Arab swordsmen in the plantation had managed to route all the Cretan archers, but back at the centre, Alexanders infantry continued to suffer at every point.
That was until Demetrios and Alexander both joined the fight. In a brutal shove of pike phalanxes, Alexander's infantry finally managed a significant win.

Demetrios survived to fight elsewhere, but Alexander had achieved enough of a win to let his men breath. Alexander's flanking Skythians now wheeled around. One unit assisting the infantry melee, the other making for Demetrios' camp. 

Alexander's agema start rolling up Demetrios' right flank, but it may, by this stage, be too late. Everywhere, units on both sides have started to crumble and flee the field. Alexander's line was, in reality, a bloody mess.

Another inspiring moment for Alexander's cause when a clutch of Arab skirmishers attacked and destroyed some of Demetrios' prized elephants.

However, Demetrios' cataphracts continued to hold their own against overwhelming numbers. back in the plantation, the Arab swordsmen found more skirmishers to kill. Off in the distance, the Arab medium cavalry were making a sweeping manoeuvre towards the enemy camp.  

Despite his temporary respite, Alexander and his phalanx found themselves the recipient of an elephant flank charge.

Unfortunately, the elephant charge proved too much - the pike phalanx crumbled and Alexander was killed in the route. At this point, Alexander's army was brought to its break point and collapsed. Demetrios was just two points away from breaking himself. However, with the death of Alexander and the settlement of that particular dynastic dispute, Demetrios had done more than enough to restore the legitimate branch of the Seleukid family to the throne.

The little Galatians who could - but decided that they'd rather not... That particular flank march didn't really work.


  1. Very nicely done. I have a suggestion for the photos. Use the X-Large setting when placing them.

    1. Or you can just click on the pic , for a larger view .

  2. Sounds great, beautiful figures!