“And keep the charge of the Lord thy God, to walk in his ways, to keep his statutes, and his commandments, and his judgments, and his testimonies, as it is written in the law of Moses, that thou mayest prosper in all that thou doest, and whithersoever thou turnest thyself” (1 Kings 2)
This week my new Later Hebrew (I/34b) took the field with hopes that they would indeed prosper as described in 1 Kings. As way of background the army has a list date of 968 BC to 800 BC and as such covers the period of King Solomon and his successors in the divided kingdoms of Judah and Israel. The army predominately comprises infantry, modelled as 3Ax, a few light infantry archers (Ps) as well as several light chariots. With a high aggression it promised to be challenging army to use. The army is a recent painted purchase, something I don’t often do these days, with the figures painted and based by Nathan Ward.
My regular opponent selected a near historic enemy in the form of New Kingdom Egyptians (I/22b) which have a list date of 1199 BC to 1069 BC. With an Egyptian numerical advantage in chariots and supported by heavy infantry ensuing engagement looked challenging. Now to the battle…
In the 24th year of his reign King Solomon dispatched an expedition under his son Rehoboam to engage the Egyptians disrupting trade on his southern border. Rehoboam having located the Egyptians, and having avoided a number of Philistine cities, deployed opposite the Egyptian host on a relatively open plain near the coast. In all Rehoboam had at his disposal 200 chariots and some 9,000 foot. The Egyptians, sent by Pharoah Neterkheperre, the Manifestation of Ra – chosen of Amum, deployed some 280 chariots and 8,000 foot.
Rehoboam initially deployed poorly, massing too many of his infantry in the marshes on his left. Now as the Egyptians advanced he undertook to redeploy his army and by a series of bold manoeuvres extended his right flank, though trying at the same time to draw the Egyptian left continually forward.
However, before he could complete this complicated manoeuvre the bulk of Egyptian chariots attacked. In the swirling dust, thrown up by darting chariots, a number of Rehoboam’s chariots were destroyed. Rehoboam’s remaining charioteers, now outnumbered two to one, fell back. Simultaneous his spearmen, mostly drawn from the tribes of Asher and Issachar, continued to realign to extend the Hebrew right.
Above, the disorganised move to the right is illustrated while below the reorganisation is mostly complete.
Supporting the Egyptian chariots were a number of Egyptian infantry. Some such as the Egyptian spearmen (4Bd) were significantly out distanced by the advancing chariots.
The Sherden (3Bd) however, fighting in a more dispersed formation, had generally managed to keep up with the advancing charioteers. Then, as the dust clouds parted, Rehoboam struck. The Hebrew chariots, supported by 1600 warriors of Issacher surged forward and did smite the enemy.
Below, Rehoboam and a group of chariots attack.
With the Sherden decimated by the attack a significant gap now developed in the Egyptian line. While reserves should have been deployed there were none immediately available – due to the speed of the initial Egyptian advance. Almost paralysed the Egyptian commander, now more concerned with his own survival, fell back.
The followers of Yahweh struck again. The fast moving Hebrew warriors surged forward outflanking many of the Egyptian spearmen and driving them back in disorder.
Emboldened with success even the Hebrew archers, lurking in the marshes on the Hebrew left, moved forward pinning the enemy opposite in place and preventing them reinforcing the Egyptian centre which was under unprecedented pressure.
However, it was on the Egyptian left that the battle would be decided. As isolated Egyptians pressed forward, and in doing were subsequently overcome, Rehoboam bought his chariots forward. Now sweeping right into the exposed flank of the remaining Egyptian charioteers he secured his victory. The children of Yahweh had prospered and the godless Egyptians had been smitten, much to both players surprise!