Tuesday, 30 July 2013

Battle of Delium 424BC using Ancient Battlelines Clash

This is game 11 in playtesting my ancient rules. Previous games used my rules called Ancient Warrior  Battles.  The latest version is on its own blog page. I am playtesting the rules by replaying all the Peter Sides scenarios from his Historical Battles books.  ABC is designed to finish in under an hour on 2'x2' tables.

The Battle of Delium is not one of the Peter Sides scenarios, or in my other replay list, Bill Banks Ancients.  I came across Delium as a replayable scenario while researching Leuctra.  Hence I am playing it out of chronological order compared to the previous battles.

Battle of Delium
Athens invades Boeotia and fortifies the temple at Delium.The Theban commander, Pagondas, convinces the Boeotian forces to attack the Athenian force, led by Hippocrates.

Here are links of interest and that I used to create the scenario:

Wikipedia article
fanaticus.org DBA scenario
Warhammer Ancient Battles scenario
Thucydides Book IV 89 onwards

I also used Lost Battles (Sabin).


1 Elite/formed-deep Hoplites, HI, protection 0, phalanx, fortitude +1
6 Hoplites, HI, protection 0, phalanx
2 Heavy Cavalry, HC
4 Skirmisher, SI, javelin
1 General (Pagondas)

Breakpoint: 10


7 Hoplites, HI, protection 0, phalanx
2 Heavy Cavalry, HC, fortitude -1
1 -1 General (Hippocrates)

Breakpoint: 9

Athens on the left, Boeotians to the right on the hill.  Note the rivers that inhibit flanking.

Note that both wings are constrained in movement by the rivers.

The Game
An unfair fight if I ever saw one.  But the river restricting the cavalry movements may even it out a bit (in the actual battle, Pagondas moves cavalry from one flank to another to assist the failing left flank).

Thebans move the entire line forwards.  Athens responds by moving three hoplites on their right flank up.

Athenians (top) advance 3 hoplites to face the Boeotian left flank (bottom)
The plan is the Skirmish infantry will throw their javelins, and then hoplites charge forwards and as the general is attached to one of them, there is a chance to break the Theban left flank.  It sort of works - one retreat each.  This is the best chance for the Athenians to win.

One retreat to each side (Athenians at the top)

The Boeotian right flank move up to tempt out the Athenians.  While on left flank the Athenian Hoplites with an attached Hippocrates routs opposing disordered phalanx; they pursue into another disordered hoplite that rolls a 1 and routs too!  Hippocrates is doing well.

Hippocrates (centre) and hoplite unit that has no units in front - they have routed.

Athenian left flank forced to advance to protect the right flank. Pagondas and the Boeotian Heavy Cavalry move from the Boeotian right flank moves to shore up the left flank.  

Pagondas (centre) and Boeotian heavy cavalry (centre rear) moving to shore up Boeotian left
 An Athenian hoplite, shored up with an attached Hippocrates, routs the opposing cavalry (the one that was already on the Boeotian left flank).

Hippocrates and victorious hoplites

Not to be outdone,  Pagondas assists a disordered hoplite to rout an opposing hoplite too.

Pagondas and victorious hoplites.

The centre 2 Athenian hoplites advance and mange to rout a disordered hoplite with Pagondas; they advance and capture him too!

Pagondas (on the left) just before having the hoplites he is with rout, and then being captured by the hoplites he is facing
Boeotians reach breakpoint.  I play to the end of the Athens turn but nothing more.

End of game position (Athens at the top and the left as well).

The Thebans may have had a chance with the heavy cavalry flanking disordered hoplites, and with the elite hoplites (on the right) with the +1 fortitude advantage on the opposing hoplites.  But they just did not get the chance.

Game took one hour, including taking photos and writing the progress of the game.  Fast and furious and great fun.  I did not expect the outcome but the whole game was a tight balance and could have gone either way every time I rolled the dice.  I love ancient wargaming.

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