Category Archives: II/18e Antigonas Gonatas

Galatian Incursions

Friday evening found a selection of armies converging on my temporary gaming room for an evening of DBA. As it turned out a Galatian theme developed.

Our first battle of the evening found the Galatians (Ben) migrating into the provinces of Asia Minor and clashed with the Kappadokians (Andrew). The Kappadokians had suffered a series of defeats recently so were keen to turn the tables on the most recent invader.

The two armies deployed and it was soon apparent the Galatians were advancing in the centre and right. This rapid advance by the Galatian centre was countered by a thrust against the Galatian left flank through various rocky paths over an area of basalt peaks. Below, the Galatians prepare to engage the Kappadokian centre which is already scattered. Visible in the Galatian line is a Scythed Chariot.

As both armies manoeuvred they slowly became more disjointed with the likely result the struggle would be prolonged. However, a sudden series of attacks were launched by the Kappadokians with great elan and surprisingly the Galatian morale shattered as each attack was driven home with devastating results. The Galatians fled suffering a devastating 4-1 loss for their invasion.

Discouraged but desperate for loot the Galatians (Ben) moved west towards Greece. From here they moved south along the coast towards an army assembled by Ptolemy Keraunos (Keith). Keraunos, deploying first, placed himself in the centre of the phalanx astride one of his several elephants with the intention of smashing his way through the Galatian line. However, as the Galatans deployed he became increasingly concerned about his right flank. Seemingly oblivious to potential threats he undertook to expand his right by a series of complex manoeuvres. The Galatian left, comprising mounted, surged forward. Macedonian casualties were immediate with a portion of the phalanx breaking at first contact under the Galatian mounted onslaught. However, slowly Keraunos gained the advantage and the Galatian left was driven back.

Above an below the armies engaged. The Greek left is held by Greek mercenary peltasts (3Ax) who would fight valiantly for some time against Galatian armoured warriors (4Bd) and naked warriors (4Wb). Below, the Greek right and a portion of the centre driving back the Galatian left and centre.

Elsewhere the fighting was both intense and certainly confusing with Greek sources unclear of all events. However, slowly the Galatians gained the advantage. Keraunos himself meanwhile, at the head of his pachyderms, pressed forward driving the Galatians to his front back. Though Keraunos fought valiantly his army finally collapsed with a 4-2 victory to the Galatians.

While the Galatians focused on their plunder Ptolemy Keraunos (Keith) reformed his army and move to counter another threat, this time by Antigonus Gonatas (Andrew). Gonatas had taken the opportunity to bolster his smaller phalanx with a number of Galatians, Greece was flush with mercenaries after all! Now both commanders deployed with their phalangites in the centre. Keraunos again deployed his elephants between the taxis in a commanding position on one beast. Gonatas meanwhile deployed on his left wing with his cavalry opposite Ptolemy’s mounted. On the opposite flank both commanders deployed their thureophoroi and other mercenaries, Ptolemy’s left flank resting on an small village.

Above, Ptolemy Keraunos army on the right foreground while in the distance Gonatas’s army can be seen. In the top right a Greek fleet is visible, this fleet failed to intervene in the battle, no doubt more focussed on supplying the army, or providing morale support!

Gonatas advanced with his right leading. But it was here that he miscalculated and found his thureophoroi engaged by a portion of Keraunos phalanx. Now both commanders rushed to reinforce the battle with reserves and eventually portions of their centre.

Above and below views of the centre and Ptolemy’s left where portions of the centre of both armies are being committed, creating a gap. Below, heavy casualties have befallen the Ptolemy left taxis visible here. Yet the survivors repeatedly drove back the Galatians who themselves had suffered heavy casualties. Likewise Ptolemy’s peltasts (3Ax) fought the Gonatas taxi to a standstill – amazingly.

Meanwhile on Keraunos right flank the cavalry of both armies were now involved in deadly combat, with Keraunos reinforcing his mounted with phalangites deployed in open order. Simultaneously Ptolemy engaged Gonatas’ centre with phalanx and his elephants who desperately attempted to secure the breakthrough.

The battle was particularly confusing with first one commander then the other commander securing a small but fragile advantage, only to watch as these hard earned gains slip away.

Above, Ptolemy in the forefront of the fighting tries to turn a portion of Gonatas’ line.

Finally Gonatas, his own army near exhaustion, gained a final advantage and Keraunos’ army broke. Yet, too exhausted to seize any real advantage, the price of a 4-3 victory, Gonatas breathed easy realising that his own army had only just survived this desperate battle for domination of Greece and Macedonia.

Another outstanding evening of gaming and one that drew in the Galatians in some form into each battle. No doubt they will return as will their Greek opponents…

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.

img_0363-1

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…