Category Archives: Successor

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…

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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.

Antigonos’ Invasion of Aegyptus

The following is a battle report from our Empire Campaign. The armies involved were Antigonid (II/16a) and Ptolemic (II/20a). The battle found the Ptolemy defending and therefore setting terrain. The following report has been supplied by the Antigonid player.

With Satraps based in Macedonia, Babylon and Aegyptus all campaigning to bring neighbouring provinces under control Antigonos Monophthalmos decided to move to extract Egypt from Ptolemaic control in 315 BC. Recent Antigonid support for the defence of Cyrenaicia and Ptolemy’s seizure of the Alexander’s body were factors in this decision.

Strong naval support helped the army move through Giza and a landing was effected on the coastal plans of the Nile Delta. A camp was established on the firm ground to the west of a major Nile distributary. Significant marshy ground to the east of the river was a major factor in siting the camp and the decision to deploy for battle along the coastal shore.

Ptolemy’s camp was sited inland of the coastal marsh. With a preponderance of mercenary peltasts and other light troops in his army Ptolemy opened the battle with a major thrust of these troops through the marshes. Antigonos and a major portion of his phalanx deployed on a strip of firm ground between the river and the marshes with light troops covering their eastern flank while his young son Demetrius commanded the mounted troops on the western bank. Consummate drill from the Antigonid veteran infantry repositioned the phalanx to cover the flanking troops whilst still remaining on firm ground.

A move by Demetrius to cross the rivers and cut the lines of communication between Ptolemy’s heavy troops and the attacking light infantry in the marshes was confounded by rising water levels in the distributary. Above, Antigonid troops can be seen expanding east and west. Below, Antigonos commands his Silver Shields while to the left Ptolemic phalangites prevent more troops crossing.

Antigonos continued to lead his phalanx on foot and eventually manoeuvred a body of Ptolemaic peltasts out of their marshy ground. An uncontrolled pursuit of the defeated peltasts (below) mired Antigonos’ foot companions in the marsh and a subsequent counter attack led to general being severely wounded.

Although dragged from the marshy ground before the defensive line collapsed the wounded Antigonos’ remained in an extremely vulnerable position. A valiant stand by the remnants of his body guard provided just sufficient time for Antigonos to escape to the banks of the river. A charge across the river by the companion cavalry, led by Demetrius himself, into the teeth of the Ptolemaic phalanx secured a crossing for the injured Antigonos.

With news arriving of a victory by Eumenes in the hills of Armenia, and unable to bring Ptolemy to battle on an open plain, the decision was made to withdraw from Egypt. The need for Antigonos to recuperate and with Demetrius still a very young man, although gifted cavalry commander, the leadership necessary for further campaigning was thin on the ground.

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…