The Indefatigable Eumenes

It has been a while since my last engagement using Lost Battles. Now, while Lost Battles is designed to simulate actual battles, which I feel it does a great job of, we decided on a fictional encounter between two of Alexanders Successors. Where better to start than the untiring Eumenes…

Eumenes commanded a strong army. His phalanx along numbered 20,000 phalangites, of which 4000 were the veteran Silver Shields. These were supported by 4000 Greek mercenaries and 6000 light infantry. His cavalry comprised 1500 Companions, 2000 other heavy cavalry and 1000 light cavalry. Finally, Eumenes fielded some 40 elephants. In Lost Battles terms Eumenes army had a fighting value of 80 points to which Eumenes added a further 6 points as an average leader.

Antigonus’ Macedonian army was of similiar general size, though with fewer light troops. His phalanx contained only 12,000 phalangites but was supplemented by 8000 mercenary hoplites, 4000 Thracians and 2000 light infantry. His mounted troops were even more equal with 2000 Companions, 1000 heavy cavalry and 2000 light cavalry. Like Eumenes Antigonus could also deploy 40 elephants. In Lost Battles terms Antigonus’ Macedoniand army had a fighting value of 68 while Antigonus, rated as inspired leader increased this by a further 12 points.

Eumenes, deployed first and positioned his elite Silver Shields in his right centre extending his right with several units of cavalry. His main phalanx however spread to his left where, on the extreme left he deployed his Tarantine light cavalry. In contrast Antigonus deployed with his Companions on the extreme right along with 1000 light cavalry. His smaller phalanx extended left with hoplites mixed in among various taxis of the phalanx. Antigonus’ left centre was the weakest, though not in numbers. Here 4000 hoplites and 4000 Thracians faced the Silver Shields opposite. Finally, the Macedonian left was held by 1000 heavy Greek cavalry and 1000 light eastern cavalry and unlike his right they were not pushed forward. When reviewing the position of the two commanders and their elite troops both commanders deployed with aimed to attack on their right flanks.

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Above, Antigonus’ army can be seen on the left while Eumenes is on the right at the end of the first turn. Eumenes deployed first and his elephants and light troops have been pushed forward while his phalanx is yet to move forward. Antigonus countered by pushing his own light infantry forward and marching his right wing cavalry rapidly forward. Clearly Antigonus intended this would be his main attack.

In Lost Battles the battlefield is divided into 20 sectors these sectors are marked by rocks or high grass in our game. Movement and attacks are made from one sector to another. Unlike most Ancient rules this removes geometric ploys and the need to measure troop movements.

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Above, another view of Antigonus’ light cavalry and a portion of his companions. The light cavalry are represented by three stands of cavalry grouped into a unit. In the distance a portion of the Macedonian phalanx can be seen.

While Eumenes pressed forward in the centre Antigonus continued to move forward on his own the right in the following turn. Withdrawing his light cavalry he ordered his Companions forward. Alas, the Companions failed to drive off the Tarantine light cavalry and Antigonus wasted valuable time reforming before attacking again. This time the Trantine light cavalry were shattered and driven from the field.

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Below, another view of the battlefield. This time from behind the Macedonian lines. Antigonus’ cavalry can be seen on the right while the centres of both armies are engaged.

Note how both commanders have screens of skirmishers and elephants forward. Lost Battles encourages the use of light troops and elephants in the initial stages of battle, a feature that models their historical usage.

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On the Macedonian left however a storm was developing. Eumenes, you will recall, was with his elite Silver Shields, veteran phalangites of the campaigns of Alexander. While these veterans advanced he pushed forward his on Companions and heavy cavalry against the Macedonian left wing.

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Below, while Eumenes’ cavalry were locked in combat the Silver Shields attacked the Macedonian left centre which Antigonus had entrusted to 4000 Greek hoplites and a further 4000 Thracians. The attacks were devastating. As a result an increasing number of the Greek and Thracians units were soon spent as a result of the attacks.

In Lost Battles units start fresh and become first spent and then shatter in combat.

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However, Antigonus to was busy. Having finally driven the Tarantine horse from the field he turned to attack the enemy phalanx in the flank. These turned while the elephants and light infantry tried to hold off the Macedonian phalanx. Alas, they failed and the elephants and light troops collapsed allowing the Macedonian phalanx here to advance. Now, as can be seen below Eumenes’ left centre was assailed from the flank and front.

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Below, another view this time from the Macedonian rear. Note the Macedonian light infantry have been withdrawn, having become spent, denoted by the yellow marker, in early stages of the battle. Spent light troops can not be a lead unit and therefore are forced to retire.

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Below, a more general view of the battle. Eumenes’ left is shown being attacked from front and flank in the top right. Visible in the bottom right Antigonus’ own left is itself being attacked from front and flank.

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As much as Antigonus tried however he could not break Eumenes left before his own left broke. Soon mercenary hoplites, Thracians and even elements of his Macedonian phalanx collapsed as Eumenes cavalry swung into the Macedonian rear zones. Eumenes victory was complete.

Interestingly, despite the sudden turn of events, the battle was a very close run thing. With so much of Eumenes own army shattered or spent he could only claim a narrow victory. Clearly the wars of the Diadochi would continue…

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4 thoughts on “The Indefatigable Eumenes

    1. Indeed it was an excellent game.

      It was a classic revolving door battle. If only I had not left two units of Companions behind and instead pressed on with all the Companions I wonder if your left centre would have broken…

  1. I’ll be keen to give either or both of you some Lost Battling (in addition to MSH) when I arrive next month…

    Cheers, Luke

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