In Defence of Macedonia

Since the release of DBA 3.0 interest in DBA continues to grow here in Christchurch. We now regularly see gamers playing both the standard game and an increasing number of Big Battle games. I generally prefer the standard game as it allows me to more easily play against historical or near historical opponents. Recently however Andrew, who like myself is interested in the wars of the Diadochi, suggested a BBDBA encounter for control of part of Alexander’s kingdom. It’s hard to resist such an opportunity.

As my own Successors are still short of a few stands needed to provide some additional options for these larger games. I therefore opted to used a Lysimachid Successor, again. I really need to get on and finish a few extra stands! Andrew meanwhile opted for an army of Antigonus Gonatas, one of his favourite Successors. Andrew was short a few stands, as a result his army composition didn’t exactly follow the official list. In particular it was without elephants and had some Tarantine light cavalry instead.

Antigonus was, in due course, found to be defending. He deployed his army with his Xystophoroi on his left wing and Galatian cavalry on his right, each supported by light cavalry. The foot deployed between the wings with the Greek phalangites were interspersed at intervals by Galatian infantry who were supported by a number of light troops. Lysimachus deploying opposite placed his own Xystophoroi on his right wing. He was heavily outnumbered by his opponents mounted and only a few light cavalry were deployed on his left along with his veteran Thracian infantry. The Lysimachid phalanx was considerably larger than Antigonas’ and was interspersed with elephants at intervals in the hope this would break up the enemy foot. Light troops of course supported the elephants.

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Antigonus ordered a general advance while Lysimachus advanced with his right and centre, keeping his left flank withdrawn. Indeed, much of his left remaind in place with his Thracian veterans holding a gentle hill. Above, the Antigonid  army is on the left.

In the centre light infantry advanced displaying much courage. The Lysimachid psiloi aimed to protect the advancing elephants and disrupt Galatians, while Antigonus tried to reorganise his lines. However, the skirmishing soon abated and as it did the lines of phalangites collided. Here the overly complex Antigonid deployment of skirmishers created some disadvantage and the Lysimachid phalanx gained some initial success. However, in time these small advantage were lost. The foot of both armies now pushed and shoved with equal determination.

Above and below views of the centre before the phalangites are locked in combat.

On the Antigonid left, where both armies had equal mounted, both attempted to expand. Once completed the Xystophoroi of both armies clashed. Lysimachid elephants were thrown forward in support and eventually both commanders joined the now swirling melee each seeking out the other in personal combat. The fighting surged back and forth until the Lysimachid light horse, on the extreme flank, broke. To counter this Lysimachus’ mercenary Greek infantry were thrown in to stabilise the situation but as stampeding elephants fled the Antigonids were clearly gaining the advantage. Eventually, with casualties mounting the Lysimachid right became demoralised.

Meanwhile the Antigonid right flank had also attacked, it would seem somewhat rashly. Below Galatian cavalry in the foreground with Thracian infantry to their front on a gentle hill.

The withdrawn Lysimachid left was too tempting and the Galatian cavalry, supported by Greek light cavalry surged forward. The veteran Thracians, though forced back in places, held their positions while the Lysimachid light horse counter attacked destroying the Antigonid light horse.

Then, as the cavalry attacks broke up the Thracians poured down on the front and flanks of the Galatian cavalry. The casualties were both swift and horrific.

However, as Antigonid right become demoralised from these attacks the Lysimachid right broke in rout, Lysimachus himself carried off wounded by a few of his companions. Now a race developed as night closed in. While the Lysimachid centre and left tried to exploit the deteriorating Antigonid position, and breaking both, Antigonus pressed home his attacks. Antigonus, at the head of his own Xystophoroi and supported by phalangites, streamed forward overpowering the few reserves and breaking the Lysimachid army. Macedonian it seemed was safe, at least for a time…

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