Category Archives: Successor

Paraetacene Refought

Friday evening found three of us play testing an historical scenario for the Successor battle of Paraetacene, fought in 317 BCE. The Wars of the Diadochi are a particular interest of mine and given this battle has been the focus of a Society of Ancients Battle Day in 2018 it has been on my radar for a while. After some research, considering orders of battle, reviewing frontages, pondering of various interpretations and even a little painting, I felt my almost DBA sized scenario was ready for the table.

For the evening I was joined by fellow Society of Ancients member Andrew and by another local, Ben. During the course of the evening we managed to refight Paraetacene three times, with each player taking command of either Antigonus or Eumenes once. Therefore after the miniatures were deployed in their historical positions, and the small number of special rules explained, our refights began.

In the first Eumenes seemed overly concerned for his right flank and as a result dithered somewhat first reinforcing his left and then moving troops back as other threats developed. Further, while concerned for his right he order an advance with his left, in an effort to pin the Antigonid right and neutralise this flank using his pachyderms. Simultaneously he advanced with the centre. Somewhat caught off guard by Eumenes actions on the left Antigonus threw caution to the wind and advanced. However the arguably rash actions by Antigonus against Eumenes left would leave him exposed.

Above, the view from Eumenes lines, though not all of his forces are shown. Below, Antigonus is caught off guard by Eumenes cavalry and is wounded.

Meanwhile, Eumenes was pressing forward with his centre where he hoped to breakthrough with his veteran Silver Shields and Hypaspists. His aspirations were rewarded, below the Silver Shields secure a breakthrough in the centre.

With the breakthrough achieved the Antigonid centre would soon collapse – the valour of the Silver Shields in the centre clearly carried the day for Eumenes, while Antigonus was carried from the field wounded.

In the second game Antigonus focused his attack against Eumenes left and reluctantly pressed his phalanx forward. Eumenes, cunning as always, deployed light troops in the nearby hills which somewhat frustrated Antigonus’ advance. However, undeterred Antigonus pressed forward and with great personal valour encouraged his Xystophoroi onward. His victory was secured when Eumenes’ left broke and his centre became dangerously exposed.

Above and below photos from the second refight. Above the light cavalry of Antigonus’ left flank. While below Eumenes’ Silver Shields advance while Eumenes’ more numerous light troops attempt to delay the Antigonid phalanx.

Another view of the Silver Shields pressing forward. Antigonus’s was reluctant for his mercenaries to clash with these veterans.

In our final refight of the evening a new Antigonus tested his theory of the strength of his own left flank, or Pithon became overly aggressive, when Eumenes pressed forward with his own right. However, in doing so Pithon greatly over stretched himself and soon Antigonus’ left flank was crumbling.

This left Antigonus desperately trying to hold off defeat here, while gaining some form of advantage elsewhere. Calm heads prevailed and eventually Antigonus steadied his left flank and found an opening. Indeed, success seemed possible when the flank of Eumenes’ phalanx became exposed following pursuit in part by the Silver Shields enthusiam and the caution of Greek mercenary infantry. As a portion of Eumenes’ phalanx collapsed the pendulum seemed to swing in Antigonus’ favour.

Above the centre, viewed from behind the Antigonid lines, while below the another view later after a portion of the Antigonid left centre has reoriented to halt Eumenes’ advancing phalanx.

Yet while progress was made by Antigonus, it was insufficient and soon with casualties growing Antigonus’ proud army was forced to retire.

By the end of the evening we had been rewarded with three very successful games. All illustrated the characteristics of Paraetacene which of course was particularly pleasing. Further, each had provided much debate among the players around commander’s options and key elements of the battle. However, now armed with these play tests I will consider a few additional refinements to my Paraetacene scenario.

The Revenge of Peucestas

Since the death of Alexander a number of his generals had been locked in deadly campaigns each attempting to decide the future of Alexander’s legacy. Two, of these were Peucestas and Lysimachus. Each had recruited armies and despite having a similar core, built around the Macedonian phalanx, differed in several areas.

Peucestas phalanx was bolstered by a strong contingent of mercenary hoplites that ensured superiority in the open against Lysimachus’ army which, though having a similar sized phalanx, lacked the quantity of heavy mercenaries. Instead Lysimachus had recruited a range of lightly armed infantry more suited to broken ground. While both armies comprised xystophoroi and light cavalry, Peucestas supplemented them with a considerable number of eastern heavy cavalry.

Determined to destroy Lysimachus in battle Peucestas had selected a battlefield that he hoped would favour him rather than his devious opponent. The battlefield he selected was relatively open with two gentle hills breaking up what was otherwise a featureless plain. Peucestas planned his main attack with his centre while his mounted would protect his left flank and his light troops the right. Lysimachus however, having seen his enemy deployed, extended his own right and was clearly determined to attack Peucestas’ left.

Lysimachus quickly seized the initiative and advanced rapidly against Peucestas’s left . Peucestas now undertook a realignment moving his centre some distance to the left. In the process of undertaking this complex manoeuvre a significant gap opened in Peucestas line.

Above, the massive gap in Peucestas’ line while below his cavalry engaged on his left flank.

Attempting to exploit this Lysimachus charged forward against Peucestas phalanx at the head of his own xystophoroi, supported by his phalanx.

Alas, in the resulting melee Lysimachus was badly wounded and the attack faltered. Now as Lysimachus was carried from the field Peucestas phalanx pressed forward. Victory was clearly now within Peucestas grasp.

Unfortunately Peucestas left was under pressure and despite his cavalry having the advantage against the Lysimachid light infantry, his eastern cavalry broke. Now Peucestas, at the very moment of victory, was enveloped by enemy light infantry. In the ensuing melee, at the head of his own xystophori, Peucestas was wounded and like his opponent carried from the field.

Above, Peucestas is engaged in the flank and from the front by peltasts and psiloi.

Tragically it was too much for Peucestas veterans who now fell back, surrendering the field to the Lysimachids. Fortunately, their enemy was almost exhausted and leaderless. As such they made no attempt to pursue, thus allowing the bulk of Peucestas army to retire in good order.

Several weeks now passed until both commanders recovered. Both determined to face each other again. Peucestas again selected an open plain. Again he deployed his light troops on his right and massed all his cavalry opposite Lysimachus mounted on his left.

Again the armies advanced towards each other. Initially Lysimachus’ left was most aggressive, a reverse of the previous engagement. Below, Lysimachus peltasts are visible on the right.

However, Lysimachus soon realised that a number of his peltasts would face Peucestas’ phalangites and ordered his advance to halt while he ordered forward his phalanx. The heavy foot of both armies closed for the fateful push of the phalanx. Again Lysimachus hesitated, while Peucestas’ veterans pressed forward driving portions of Lysimachus’s left flank back. Meanwhile, Peucestas mercenary hoplites on his left centre faced Lysimachus’ phalanx and Greek mercenaries. They awaited in well drilled ranks as their opponents moved forward. All soon were locked in combat.

The fateful decisions of the battle however occurred not in the centre but on each flank. Lysimachus right comprised both mounted and additional peltasts. The peltasts here were overwhelmed by Peucestas eastern cavalry, who had previously performed so badly in the proceeding battle. First Peucestas’ cavalry cut down the fleeing enemy foot then turned and engulfed Lysimachus xystophori, who were themselves engaged in a deadly melee against Peucestas’ own xystophori. Lysimachus was mortally wounded despite his personal bravery.

Above, the view of the deciding combat between Peucestas xystophori and this of Lysimachus.

Simultaneously, a body of Lysimachus’ peltasts gave way to Peucestas’ phalangites. As these peltasts routed they exposed the flank of Lysimachus’ phalanx which was now overwhelmed, being engaged to both front and rear.

Above, a view from Peucestas lines with a portion of the Lysimachid phalanx turned 90 degrees and attacked in the front and rear.

With Lysimachus now mortally wounded, and his army attacked on both flanks, it collapsed. Peucestas, had finally secured a decisive victory and with it his hold on his fledgling empire.

Galatian Migrations

A distinct lack of time lately has meant my posts of battles has been less than it should, despite the fact I’m playing DBA games most weeks. I therefore thought it time I made a passing effort to resolve this lack of visual record of games after a local deployed an expanded army recently.

Ben, has had a Gallic army for some time back expanded it to model Galatians and most recently added a scythed chariot. Like the rest of his armies which are well painted and presented this addition is a striking, complete with Galatian crew with the front of the chariot adorned with Celtic shields. The two combine well to provide a Galatian feel to this captured hardware.

we actually played two games, but below is a brief summary our first game where I fielded a reasonably historic opponent in the form of a Successor army under Demetrius. Now I should have used an army under Ptolemy Keraunos, but I wanted to use some elephants.

The Greeks were found to be defending, as you do when the barbarians invade from the north. Demetrius deployed his army some distance from the city of Phileselis, which was lightly held by Greek mercenaries, with his right protected by the Aegean coast. His centre comprised his phalangites and his left his cavalry, a mix of xystophoroi extended by Greek subjects and comprising both heavy and light cavalry. Between his mounted wing and the phalangites he placed his elephants.

The Galatians deployed opposite with a significant portion of the Galatians deployed opposite Phileselis, clearly poised to attack the city by direct assault. The Galatian centre comprised the remaining foot and the scythed chariots, while the barbarian right comprised the remaining mounted.

Above and below, the Galatian host with the city of Phileselis visible on the Galatian left. In the photo below the Greek mercenaries have retired from the city.

While Demetrius advanced his main army his mercenaries retired from Phileselis, hoping that the citizens would delay the Galatians while the Greek main army destroyed the remaining Galatian army. Indeed, Demetrius hoped that should the Galatians attack the assault force would include their armoured veterans (4Bd) weakening their main line. The initial Galatian attack on Phileselis was thrown back. However, a more sustained attack soon after now supported by additional warriors, was successful. The Galatians warriors rushed in and began to sack the city.

Meanwhile while the Greek phalanx and cavalry pressed forward in the centre and left the Galatians unleashed their scythed chariots. A number of these vicious machines, originally facing the Greek left moved forward against the left pike phalanx which they hit with no result.

Above, the scythed chariots attempt to break the Greek line while below, Galatians are shown sacking the city of Phileselis.

Advancing over the broken chariots the phalangites continued their advance while Demetrius charged the Galatian mounted opposite. Alas, it was in the centre that the Greek plan unravelled when the phalanx began to waver under the massed frontal charge of the Galatians warriors.

Soon the left and then the centre taxis broke and with it Demetrius’ hopes of defeating the barbarian host. Above, the Greek phalanx collapses, a disaster for Greek arms. Now we just need to gather an army under Antigonus Gonatus or a few Aitolians to ensure the Galatians are sent packing next time…

Sosthenes of Macedonia

What makes a good game? Well for me it’s well painted figures on visually pleasing terrain and against a pleasant opponent. Fortunately I have this in most games these days so last night’s encounter looked set to produce another excellent game. Indeed, Andrew and I deployed our 15mm figures for a Successor encounter using BBDBA and the game looked the part. I haven’t unfortunately many photos of the game but here at least are a few along with a brief description.

Facing Demetrius was Sosthenes of Macedonia (a Later Macedonian Successor variant) who positioned the right flank of his army on gently rising ground while extending his centre and left towards a rocky hill on his left. Demetrius, positioning himself on his left flank, ordered the advance. His initial focus was to be an attack against the enemy right where he hoped to destroy a large body of Galatians with his xystophoroi . Fearing this Sosthenes reorganised his right flank in a series of complex manoeuvres. As a result, the Demetrius’ early attack on the left, where he had massed his best troops stalled.

Below, another view of the battle, from Sosthenes’ centre looking to his right. A feature of this engagement included some desperate fighting between Macedonian heavy cavalry and a portion of the Galatian mercenaries.

Reorganised, his enemy now formed a resolute array on the gentle slope to Demetrius’ front. Unwilling to attack the infantry on this hill Demetrius looked to his right flank. Here his Greek and asiatic horse pressed the enemy left flank, but again the enemy reformed.

Below another view of Demetrius’ right, where his peltasts block the advance of Sosthenes’ mercenary Greeks. Finally the centres of both armies, which are to heavily engaged, are visible.

A desperate engagement in the centre ensued. Demetrius’ veteran phalangites slowly gained the advantage, only to be forced back. They rallied and pressed Sosthenes’ phalangites back again. However, as they did they exposed their own flank. Now, as they continued to press forward the enemy counterattacked. As a series of attacks unfolded Demetrius could only watch helplessly, unable to intervene, as his centre unravelled and with it all hope of victory.