Saturday, 3 December 2011

Athenians try to drive Spartans out of Attica

The second game of the night was a re-match of the main protagonists: the Athenians against the Spartans. Our first two battles had featured the clashing phalanxes of the two great Greek powers, and both times Steve's Spartan steam-roller had carried the day. We kind of had to stop because on the campaign map, if the Spartan's continued their advance and were victorious in the next they would take Athens itself! We couldn't let this happen so early in the campaign, and in any case the historically Athenians simply retired behind the 'long walls' of Athens, and the Spartans went home to their farms after three weeks. Steve generously offered to 're-set' the campaign in this way, but this didn't seem quite right. We had dallied around with battles on the 'periphery' of the action, but I felt I was 'honour-bound' to try and expel the Spartans from Attica!

I set up my phalanx with their left flank against the sea coast. I placed my cavalry and light horse a little in front of them on my left flank and my light infantry on my right flank ready to enter some woods.

Steve placed his phalanx in front of his camp, an element of psiloi on his left flank, cavalry and peltasts on his right flank.

Steve opened up the game advancing his line, and slipping his psiloi into the woods.

I advanced my cavalry and light infantry, using the psiloi's first turn special move to move twice.

Steve advanced his line again, though not his psiloi.

I swung my cavalry to the left on to the slope of the hill and continued to advance my light infantry through the woods.




I bring my cavalry over the hill -some what regretting picking a steep hill, as it is costing me lots of PIPs to get my cavalry across it - to threaten the flank of Steve's line and advanced my light infantry through the woods. Steve breaks off his cavalry and peltasts to face off against my horse, while continuing to advance the main phalanx. He also decides that an unprotected camp is not a great idea, with my cavalry threatening his flank, and sends an element of hoplites back to defend it.






Then Steve charged his peltasts and cavalry up the hills against my horse. Realised it was a damn stupid choice of terrain if I was going to use my horse on this flanks, and even more stupid to get caught in it!






...and down goes my element of cavalry...and with it my superiority in mounted troops!







I decide to use most of my PIPs in the next turn to get my light horse past Steve flanking force, before they meet the same fate as my cavalry.





The hoplite's make it back to protect Steve's camp before I can get there with my light horse.





I decide to get my own back, and gang up on his psiloi, but I'm 50 paces short of making contact.





Steve decides not to hang around for the unequal scrap, and of his own volition sends his psiloi running away...





....meanwhile Steve's phalanx starts to close in...





...and he decides to send his cavalry back after my light horse......a good PIP roll would have been handy here....so I roll a ONE! Completely useless...






















...Steve's phalanx is starting to get close to mine...the moment of decision approaches...





...Steve's cavalry catch up with my light horse...











...while he sends his peltasts off to support phalanx





Fortunately I recoil Steve's cavalry...











This time I get a better PIP roll...





...so my light horse gallop away from Steve's cavalry and I send my light infantry back towards the exposed rear of Steve's phalanx...






Steve's own peltasts catch up with his phalanx





Steve's cavalry lose interest in my light horse....





...and scoot back towards my light infantry...





My light horse turn their attention to Steve's psiloi...





...and destroy them





...but Steve's cavalry threaten my light troops...





...while Steve's peltasts have now caught up with his phalanx...






...which closes in again with my own....





To escape the cavalry my light infantry dash into the woods...











The phalanxes get closer, and my light infantry gets ready in the woods to ambush their flank...





Steve gets a good PIP roll...





He can't quite make contact all along his line so he marches his line with 20 paces or so of my phalanx..















...with the rest he gets his cavalry to cover the flank of his phalanx from my light infantry....






I decide to hold my position. Steve's Spartan hoplites change in. The phalanxes crunch together and lock shields...





Steve moves his cavalry out of ambush range, but close enough to block a flank attack..





Roll low on my first combat, but so does Steve. I lose, but even though overlapped, I'm just pushed back...





We also roll equal on the next combat, but Steve has the overlap now and this is his general...





...so I suffer another push back...






Not much better on the next combat either...




...and my line is pushed back again...





...before taking on my general, Steve tries his luck with his peltasts, hoping to drive my hoplites back into the sea and get two overlaps on my general..fortunately although he beats my roll, I have the higher combat factor, so its a drawn combat...





...and my general with a double line support offsets the overlap holds his position too...





I roll a lousy PIP score of just ONE! No fancy stuff then, just charge back in...






...which straightens up my line again for another round of combat...





Despite having a +2 combat advantage, my general's element can't start me off with pushback and so an overlap for my next combat...




Although my hoplites do force back Steve's peltasts...




My next roll is a good one too (6-2), but against a double-line only just good enough for a push back...





...and another pushback...





...and another one too!





Steve's PIP die roll is no better than mine...




...and he similarly charges back in. These Spartans are tireless!





He again pushes back my single line on my right, then disaster strikes. His general rolls a 5-1 advantage, and that is more than my own hoplites can stand. Two elements are destroyed as the Spartans charge right through them! That's three elements destroyed, Steve needs just one more for victory...





Fortunatley, in the next combat the tables are turned, but I only manage a pushback...





.and despite a low roll by my general, with two overlaps, the general's bonus and supported versus single line, I destroy one of Steve's hoplite elements...




Both sides have put a hole in each others lines...





I at least get a good initiative roll, but don't have that many things I can do with it...





My general's bodyguard swarm through the gap in the line to outflank Steve's peltasts on the left. I pull back my exposed element in the centre to cover the gap that's opened up. My peltasts dash out of the woods to attack the hoplite element on Steve's extreme left from behind...





...First combat is successful, I take down his peltasts...so that's three elements destroyed each...the battle is hanging by a thread...






...but Steve's hoplites push back impressively...with a 6-1 roll my own double ranked element doesn't stand a chance...down they go...and that's it..I've lost 5 elements to his 3..and even my peltasts can't pull that back.








So the Athenians attempt to drive the Spartans out of Attica is unsuccessful. For the third time the Spartans have trounced them. Again I was unable to make my advantage in light troops and horse count for much, before the phalanxes crunched and Steve's superiority there won the day. So the Spartans are proving invincible on land.







Given we don't want the campaign to end so soon, which would happen if the Spartans attacked Athens and captured it, perhaps the next time Athens meets Sparta it should be on the sea, if Steve can find a set of naval rules he likes and gets his cardboard galleys ready!!!










































































































































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