Saturday, June 18, 2016

Hoopla on the Hellespont

The battle of Plataea had temporarily postponed the Great King's conquest of Greece but it was thought advisable to maintain a presence on the Greek side of the Hellespont. From this position the Persians could launch the next campaign into the Greek heartland and finish the business once and for all. Toward this end Xerxes brother in law and favorite general, Ardo the Terrible held the land with a potent army of horse and foot. In response, the Greek alliance dispatched an army under the famous General for Hire, Mysoxargon to confront the Persians.

Mysoxargon deploys his flank guards to thwart the enemy horse
In due course the two armies met near the temple of Dionysius. The terrain was a flat plain broken by a few rough hills and a large pond. Mysoxargon placed the main body of his hoplites in the center screened by skirmishers. Smaller bodies of hoplites were told off to protect the flanks of the main phalanx. The center of the Persian army was composed of massed bowmen supported by skirmishers. Their cavalry was deployed on both flanks.

The battle opened with the Greek skirmishers being roughly handled by the massed Persian archers while the Persian cavalry moved to envelop the enemy flanks. Unfazed, Mysoxargon deployed his Hoplite flank guards near the rough hills such that the Persian horse had to face them head on rather than sweeping around. At the same time, as his battered skirmishers streamed to the rear, he drove the main body of hoplites straight forward into the arrow storm.
The hoplites advance on the Persian center
The Persian right broke rather quickly as the hoplites weathered the shower of arrows and drove into and through the Persian foot. On that side the Persian horse never engaged, and fled when the infantry broke. On the Persian left the infantry lines were only partly engaged, but the horse did their best to overcome the hoplite flank guards. However, their repeated charges were driven off by the steady Greek line of spears. In the end the Persian army broke and fled the field.
The last attempt of the Persian horse to turn the Greek right flank
The game was played with Big DBA rules. The problem with DBA is not enough toys, so our version has 6" wide elements of various depths with lots of 28mm figures on them. For example, an element of hoplites has 16 men in 2 ranks, and an element of Persian bows has 6 spearmen and 18 bowmen on a deeper base. Movement, shooting ranges and the table size are in proportion. Overall, it provides a great looking game that can be brought to a decisive conclusion in a reasonable length of time.   

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