Category Archives: I/61a Early Carthaginian

Chariots at War

There is something about chariots, perhaps it is the models or perhaps the stirring images they create on the battlefield. Either way when one of my regular opponents suggested a preference for earlier armies, and the opportunity to use his chariot centred armies, who was I to disagree. Therefore last Tuesday the scene was set for two DBA games using armies from the Chariot Period. Unfortunately my armies are limited in this period so the battles would not between historical opponents. Despite this with both sides using chariots they were both visually interesting. First to take the field would be Early Carthaginians who would clash with my opponent’s Mycenaeans.

The Carthaginian commander, advancing along the coast deployed his army opposite the enemy who blocked his advance. The Punic commander now deployed his outnumbered heavy chariots in the centre and extended his line with his heavy foot. A proportion of his lighter troops and a small contingent of citizens were retained on aboard ships to his left as a reserve.

As the enemy advanced, complete with a great number of heavy chariots and dense ranks of infantry with long spears, a prearranged signal was given and the naval contingent disembarked its landing force behind the enemy flank. While light troops advanced boldly on to a rocky hill, from where they threatened the Mycenaean right, a body of 1000 citizens began a slow advance towards the enemy camp.

The battle was however to be decided in the open plains. The Punic commander focused his attacks on the Mycenaean flanks. On the left, in a surprise situation his heavy foot where driven back. While on the right light troops and cavalry, after at first being thrown back, finally gained some success. Yet the Mycenaean host continued to advance.

Above the battle on the Carthaginian left flank where the heavy Punic foot were pushed back by the Mycenaeans. Below, the Carthaginian right where finally the Punic horse drove in the Mycenaean flank, despite heavy losses to the supporting Carthaginian light troops.

The Mycenaean chariots and massed foot achieved several breakthroughs but Punic resolve stiffened and on the Mycenaean left casualties mounted. A final Mycenaean push looked likely to succeed. That was until the Mycenaean troops began to falter, which soon turned to rout. Their resolve was shattered when they learnt their camp had been sacked by the enemy, curtesy of the 1000 Punic foot who had pushed every inward after their landing. The Carthaginians had it seemed achieved victory by the narrowness of margins.

Now to our second game which involved Hittites and Later Hebrew. Again not historical opponents, but somewhat closer.

The Hebrew found themselves defending against a Hittite invasion. Aware of the large number of Hittite chariots and a preponderance of Hittite heavy infantry the Hebrew commander opted to offer battle on a field broken up by a series of steep rocky hills. Here he hoped his lightly equipped warriors would be able to dominate the terrain and then strike at the slower enemy.

The Hittites deployment was weighted to their right where the hills provided less of a hinderance to their heavy chariots and infantry armed with long spears. The infantry and chariots were generally drawn up interspersed with the chariots forward. The Hebrew in contrast had their own chariots to the rear of the infantry.

Then with the armies deployed the Hebrew centre almost immediately moved forward with skirmishers thrown dangerously forward on to a hill near the Hittite centre left which was progressively reinforced.

Above the battle is underway with the Hebrew infantry securing a hill and reinforcing it. Below a view of the Hittite centre and right. The Hittite light chariots are formed on a road.

Frustrated with this aggression the Hittite commander ordered the advance of his levy to begin the process of securing the hill. Simultaneously his light chariots began their flanking manouvre against the Hebrew left. If successful the chariots would eventually be well placed to overrun the Hebrew camp.

The fighting in the centre was however the focus. With the Hittite levies and Hebrew skirmishers locked in combat the fighting would slowly draw in additional forces to left and right, as can be seen below.

Soon a breakthrough by the Hebrew skirmishers, whose motivation and abilities in the rocky terrain was achieved, as can be seen below. However, this situation was neutralised by a cunning Hittite redeployment.

Now, attempting to prevent the Hebrew left from reinforcing the fighting in the centre several Hittite chariots advanced forward. Isolated they were overwhelmed by Yahweh’s warriors who now poured down from the rocky hills on the left. With the situation deteriorating the last hope for the Hittites was a final push against the relatively undefended Hebrew camp. Alas, again the Hittite chariots were meet by more Hebrew warriors who again poured down from the hills overwhelming the last light chariots and demoralising the Hittites.

In the end two very challenging and extremely enjoyable games. It was great to get the chariots out. What’s not to like about these earlier armies.