Sunday, September 27, 2009

Breaking the Siege at Tyre

We had our third battle in the Syrian campaign on Saturday. It was a 2000 point Breakthrough battle. The Ptolemaics were trying to get supplies and troops through to the Tyre. I went with a besieging type army, so quite a bit of light troops, little cavalry, and some siege engines.

I took:

A Startegps as general with Army Standard Bearer to accompany him. I also had a Taxiarch to help out leadership wise in units that would be too far away from the General. I had two 28 man Phalanx and one 28 man Silver Shields phalanx. One 10 man unit of Euzonoi skirmishers also came from the Infantry section of the army list.

For Specials I had an armored African elephant with extra crew and a Heavy Ballista. For Mercenaries I used an 18 man unit of Thureophoroi, an 18 man unit of Thracians with Rhomphaia, 12 Arab Tribesmen with bows, and 10 Arab Cavalry.

Jeff had two 24 man Kleruch Phalanx, a 24 man Mercenary phalanx, a unit of Agema cavalry, some Border Garrisons, an African elephant, a unit of 16 Thureophoroi, some Tarentine Cavalry, the hated Cretan archers and some Expert Slingers.

Here are the battle lines. Seleucids on the left side of the table and Ptolemaics on the right.

The game started with the Ptolemaics shifting their main battle line to their right and running the Tarentine cavalry in front of my phalanx to keep them from shifting left to counter. On my left I spent a couple turns firing everything I had at the enemy Thureophoroi to try to get them to panic . They were solid as a rock though marching through the arrow and bolt firestorm. They chased my Arab Cavalry (far enough to get out of he way and rally with their feigned flight) but that opened up an avenue to my ballista and they slammed into that instead. The lowly artillery crew broke and ran as expected but them loosing panicked my Thureophoroi behind them causing them to leave the field. Ouch they were in perfect position to take care of the Ptolemaic Thureophoroi. My only hope on my left was the Arab cavalry.

Everyone shooting the Thureophoroi!!

My Thureophoroi feeling from the broken siege engine. The Arabs hold fast though!

In the middle not a whole much happened. The Tarentines caused a casualties to the Phalanx but had to move out to the flank before they got trapped between the two battle lines. I did manage to shift enough of my battle line to the left to keep in front of the Ptolemaic phalanx.

On the right, the enemy slingers and Border Garrison troops climbed a hill and started lobbing missiles down on my Arab archers. I had my Thracians move up to make room for the Elephant and to threaten the hill. Jeff decided to gamble and charged his Agema cavalry in the middle of my undamaged Thracians. With the most amazing rolling I've seen in quite a while, the 10 man Agema caused 9 wounds to my Thracians and drove right through them. My poor Thracians are starting to get an inferiority complex with the beatings they've taken lately. The Arab archers held with a roll of a 2 on their panic check and shot at the Agema for a few turns to no avail. The elephant had to turn around and spend the rest of the game blocking the cavalry from pulling an Alexander and rear charging my phalanx.

The Thracians about to clear the hill of the poor Border Garrison.

The Agema cavalry charging the Thracians since they were blocked by the elephant and Phalanx.

Which turns out well for them! The Thracians didn't even get a chance to fight back.

The next few turns the elephant kept the Agema cavalry at bay and the Arab archers manned an old temple wall trading missiles with the slingers. The Tarentine cavalry chased the elephant around, trying to get it to panic from multiple little pin pricks but no luck. Finally the Agema had enough and decided to take out the Arabs but facing the wrong direction they were out of the rest of the battle. On the left, the Arab cavalry kept pelting the Ptolemaic Thureophoroi as they turned to get a flank on the Silver Shields. In the center, the battle lines met and started the grind. The Arab cavalry ended up charging the Thureophoroi but didn't break them. They did bring their numbers down to 4 before they were driven off by the combined force of the Cretans and Thureophoroi. All this time the camel caravan is sneaking down the flank with the Ptolemaic elephant next to it.

Elephant / Agema showdown!

Arab cavalry fighting to keep the Silver Shields from getting rolled up.

Silver Shields wearing down the Ptolemaic Mercenary phalanx.

Battleline seen from the Seleucid right flank.

With my flanks done but the Ptolemaic flanks beat up enough they wouldn't cause too much touble, I had to hold the middle and try to keep the camels from crossing my table line. I had move my General and the ASB over to the left to break through the Cretans and hit the camels behind. This left my right Phalanx without any leadership support though. My Taxiarch was fighting with the Silver Shields (and didn't do a thing the whole game! My Arab archers put up more of a fight than this guy) so I had to hope they held (with their leadership of 6...). Well the Cretans held, the camels got away, my right Phalanx broke, and that was pretty much it. The Tarentines escaped with the camels and my phalanxes held a few more turns before we called it.

My General trying to break through the Cretans.

The battle line getting rolled up after the right Phalanx breaks.

My General and ASB chasing off the evil Cretans.

My Silver Shields did well this game (never broke) as did my Arabs. They passed all their panic tests and held up a lot of troops. I'm getting some Companions painted up for next game.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Argyraspides done

Just a quick update today. My first unit of Silver Shields are finally done. These took about 2 weeks to do. It's funny how much more time phalangites take to paint for me. These are from the Polemarch range at Gripping Beast. The shields are embossed Macedonian shields from Crusader. Just a note if anyone wants to use these shields sometime, they are flat on the back. I had to pull out my drill and make a dimple in the back of each shield so they fit on the models' hands.

I have one more unit of Silver Shields to do but I need some cavalry done before that. I have a 1st Corp Taxiarch on the painting block now. I think I should do my 1st Corp Companions next. It's time the big boys start making their appearance in the Syrian campaign.

Monday, September 7, 2009

Seleucids defend the road to Damascus

Today we had Game #2 in the Syria campaign. Following up on their last win, the Ptolemaic Army is rushing to take Damascus. The Seleucids managed to gather a opposing army and block a pass. So this game is in pretty hilly terrain with 2000 points per side.

I had a Strategos as general, a mounted ASB, a Hipparch leading a unit of Politikoi Cavalry (medium cav with xyston), a unit of Arab cavalry (they are like mini Tarentine cav without the Parthian shot, good ballistic skill, large shield... hmm well they can feigned flight at least!), 2 units of regular Phalanx, 1 Silver Shields, unit of Thureophoroi, unit of Thracians with Rhomphaia, some Arab archers, unit of Trallian slingers, and at last a unit of generic Euzonoi skirmishers. I wanted to make another frontier army but with a bit of the higher quality stuff arriving slowing (the 1 unit of Silver Shields). The elephant herd and Hetairoi haven't arrived yet.

Here's my setup. The Euzonoi are off the picture to the left. But battle line goes Euzonoi, Thracians, Silver Shields, Pike 1 & 2, Thureophoroi, Arab archers, slingers with Politikoi Cav behind, and the Arab cav on the way left.

Jeff took a Strategos general and ASB, 3 Kleruch phalanx (basic phalanx), unit of elite light cav (good BS on them), unit of regular light cav, Thureophoroi, small unit of Thorakitai, the dreaded Cretans, some expert slingers, unit of Neo-Agrianians, and finally a African elephant.

This was his setup. The Agrianians are off picture to the left, then the Thorakitai, elite light cav & slingers behind, 3 pike units, elephant, Cretans with Thureophoroi behind looking to climb the hill, then the normal light cavalry on their right flank.

This is view from the Cretans. They had a big target on them this game for the man handling of the Politikoi Cavalry last game.

Close up of the dreaded Cretans.

The first couple turns were mainly moving up with not much happening. The Thracians marched hard to get on the hill in front of them before the Thorakitai, but in the process they got themselves surrounded and pelted after the Neo-Agrianians and Elite light cav ran right through the Euzonoi. The Arab cavalry got into a throwing match with the Ptolemaic light cav across from them and ended up getting charged. They tried to feigned flight but it came up short and they ended up in hand to hand... for the next 4 turns.

This is the Thracians getting seeing the wrong end of the a hail of javelins.

Here is the Arab cavalry fighting over the hill on the left. The Ptolemaic light cav were tenacious fighters almost dying to the man.

Knowing the Thracians can't hold on long my right flank was going to fold pretty quick, I turned my heavy cav unit to go help out. They weren't doing much anyways seeing as their targets in front of them were an elephant and a spear unit. The Silver Shields next to the Thracians charged a phalanx while the Thracians moved up to hold the flank a bit longer and toss some of their own javelins at the Thorakitai. Not a whole lot happened in my turn in Jeff's turn he charged the Thracians in front and behind and moved his elephant and Thureophoroi to engage my Thureophoroi since my heavy cav left them to help out on the right. The Cretans and Trallian slingers have been pelting each other this whole time. Actually one time the Trallians did get too close and got charged by the Cretans but they couldn't catch them and the Trallians rallied. So the Thracians got murdered, the Silver Shields didn't take kindly to seeing their flank wide open from the fleeing Thracians decided to take off with them. Yep this wasn't looking good.

Before the Thracians died....

and after. Well at least they died to the man almost instead of fleeing right off the bat.

Polotikoi Cav turning to save the right flank.

In my next turn I charged in my remaining phalanx and hoped I could pull out a miracle before being flanked by the open Ptolemaic phalanx on my left and the elephant and Thureophoroi beating up my Thureophoroi on my right. I guess be in good with the dice gods because I managed to beat the middle phalanx by one which he failed his break test twice and ran off. His general and ASB saw this and ran too. Then the open phalanx on my right panicked and ran off. All the Ptolemaic pike units ended up either running off the board or getting run down by my phalanx.

Here is a picture of where the pike units ended up after the Ptolemaic line broke. The Egyptian elephant was probably surprised to see all his targets run off into the sunset.

By now the Arab cavalry finally broke the light cav unit they were fighting and started to head back to the center. The Politikoi cavalry got themselves stuck between an elephant to their front and a battered Thorakitai unit behind them. They ended up swinging left and heading down the hill into a hornets next of angry skirmishers. They got their ranks thinned down enough that when they did manage a charge against the Ptolemaic elite light cav it wasn't enough and they fled. The Polotikoi did keep the skirmishers busy for a few turns for the Silver Shields to escape the showers of javelins and block the Egyptian Thureophoroi and elephant. The Silver Shields held the charge from those two units, giving enough time for the red shielded Seleucid phalanx to his the elephant in the rear. That was enough and the Egyptians fled for the hills.

I need to leave a special note for the Cretans and Trallian slingers. They must of had some blood feud because they both stayed until the last. Each giving and receiving turn after turn of fire. Even the Arabs got into it at the end and the Cretans didn't budge.

I practically never made an armor save this game but break test on a 3 or less? no problem! Jeff made a crazy amount of armor saves but a break test on an 8 with a reroll then multiple panic tests on 8's and 9's didn't go his way. I guess it's better have consistently low rolling dice in WAB!

Saturday, September 5, 2009

Couple more units

I finished off some Arab archers and a unit of Thracians.

The Arabs are from Navigator (MagisterMilitum). They are a bit smaller than my Gripping Beast and Crusader figs but I like the sculps and no one else seems to make ancient Arabs. Well Amazon Miniatures makes some but they seem to be very unresponsive even after sending in an order. I found a painting guide for Arab skin on the net using GW Snakebite Leather as the basecoat. After painting the archers with this method I'm not too thrilled with it. I'll try a different color brown next time with my Arab cavalry I have next on the painting block (based off this site

Here are the Thracians. I based them off of the a picture in Osprey Thracian book. This is the first time I painted something from Crusader. They are really nice figs, I just wish they'd make some more Hellenistic Greek type figs.

I got a battle on Monday I'm trying to get the Arab cavalry done in time for.