Fighting over a scrap of desert….

After getting some new guys painted up, I had a game this Tuesday with Gareth, or for this weeks game Ptolemy.  And let me tell you, what would have been a tale of woe and despair for my Carthaginians, if it wasn’t for the heroic efforts of  a plucky unit of Balearic slingers who managed to salvage it into just a tale of woe.  And so, let our fictional conflict begin…

Contrary to most experience, the new chaps were actually one of the last units ON the table instead of the first off it.

After some disagreement over Egyptian support of Syracuse, whom Carthage had been fighting for some time, the Carthaginian general Hanno, (or was it Hasdrubal? Started with a H either way) gathered his army and attempted the long march into Egypt in a show of force to pressure the Egyptian administration into withdrawing their support.  Alas, he over estimated his own force and was met by a force led by Ptolemy himself, incensed at the Carthaginian Trespass into his territory.

The Carthaginians offered battle upon a plain between the sea and high ground.  Confident of their victory, and the man they had paid to delay the phalanx they had a plan.  Defeat the Ptolemaic cavalry and flank the Phalanx.  It seemed as if the Egyptians had the same idea and had amassed their cavalry on their left flank as the Carthaginians had amassed most on their right.  A Herd of Elephants (Ironically imported from the enemy) was also on the Carthaginian right, intended to act as a screen against the cavalry.

That’s a lot of Cavalry…

Led by their king, the Ptolemaic cavalry surged forward, pushing back their Carthaginian foes in a confused and disjointed melee.  Seeing their right flank in danger, Hanno sent some of his Iberian mercenaries to stabilise the flank, putting pressure on the companions, however to little avail.  This left the centre weakened however, which was to be a critical mistake, as soon the Egyptian Phalanx, mostly composed of Macedonian settlers, but with a unit of Egyptian Phalangites on their flank who whilst being regarded as unreliable would pull their weight in the phalanx like their comrades, Ptolemy himself managed to break away from the swirling melee and flank the Carthaginian centre.

Here they come!

This Onslaught, pushed the Carthginian centre back, before a rout began except for a small contingent of Libyan Hoplites who with the General fell backwards in good order. 

Even that 10 couldn’t save them…

Still, elements of the Carthaginian army managed to fight back, causing some damage and salvaging some of the armies tattered pride.  Foremost amongst these champions of dignity and honour were a unit of Balearic slingers, who had spent most of the game languishing in garrison duty in the camp, but now came forward at an opportune time, and after seeing off an enemy unit of skirmishers, pelted the Egyptian Phalangites with bullets, disordering their formation and killing many of their number, truly these men were the heroes of this dark day.  This allowed, in a rare counter attack the Carthaginian general and his bodyguard to break them with a well timed charge.

Last shot of the Centre, General and his friends can be see to the left.

The Battle for all intents and purposes was over, but for a little bit of mopping up on the flanks.  Driving off the last of the Carthaginian cavalry, and leaving this bit of desert firmly in the hands of the Egyptians.   Hanno managed to withdraw from the field of battle, returning to Carthage… However… his failure was noted and he was later crucified as an example to others who would follow him.

Despite the utter drubbing, this was a very enjoyable game with some learning points within it.

  1. First off… Pikemen are frankly… Obscene.  Had I had actually read up on them before the battle instead of finishing off my Libyan unit, I would have taken a different tack with them.  Instead, assuming they were a normal deep unit, I tried to fight them head on when they advanced.  Not being able to fight back against them hurt, lots.  Throwing Javelins and slingstones at them is a prioity.
  2. Lances are awesome, I wish I could get them, espiecially when coupled with Generals and veteran cavalry.  This combination is what allowed the Companions to forge ahead a path.  Gareth had a command which was his senior General and such a unit, allowing him to wander around killing people.  Something very in character with Macedonian style generals.  Something I may have to try in future
  3. Most of the time I think I have spent too many points on camp guards.  With my Spaniards when I expand them I will probably have a unit of Youths/women/elderly to guard the camp and call it a day.  In this game the slingers left in camp would have been of much greater use elsewhere. (Such as throwing stuff at Phalangites)
  4. With Flank attacks, go big or go home.   I had a small attack on my left which would have been better served supporting my centre.
  5. Try not to let commands get scattered… difficult activations are not nice.

All in all, I learnt some useful lessons here which I hope to put into practice next time I face the Sucessors.  Next time I hope to perform better, but until then, I will leave you with what is fast becoming a tradition…. my “Unit of the Match” picture in the form of Balearic Slingers.  3 Shots, 3 Hits, Well played gents.

Not quite sure what I was on when painting these guys.... they didn't turn out as well as I wanted.

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