Last month WR traveled south to enjoy a Clash of Empires Battle of the Granicus 334 BC free setup game. David K. pre-rostered the army of Alexander and the local Satraps of Asia Minor but gave the players the abilities to have some different starting disposition on the tabletop.
Rosters used for our COE game:
With the ability to change from the historical starting positions, both player teams elected their captains and set about positioning the units. Tim and David as Macedonians vs. Doug and WR as Persians. All the Persian and mercenary Greek close order infantry starts off table and arrive on the Persian table edge on turn one. Game has six scheduled turns plus a 50% chance for additional turns after the first six are completed (dice roll).
Persian deployment (see pictures below). The Persians elected to deploy their skirmishing infantry and some small open order unit along the riverbed position. The skirmishing bow armed cavalry formed the right flank (foreground in first picture), leaving the Persian massed cavalry formations on their left flank away from the river line. Macedonians weighted their left flank with 4 phalanx formations, three cavalry wedges and some light troops. Their center was weakly held leaving the remainder of Alexander’s army on the far right flank. So, right off the start we have a different set up for each army. Tabletop starting zone was the right half of the 16 foot table (8 feet). Once the battle started both sides could march into the table void to seek flanking opportunities. Riverbed was 50mm across with two fording points (brown sections). Later on we determined the river terrain should have been only 40mm across after re-reading J. Jonas’ scenario notes below. WR feels the locals feed Alexander some poor river depth intel.
Terrain notes: Riverbed and tall hills are rough terrain under COE rules. The low hills and river shrubs were just for show (break up the “flat table look”) and had no effect on movement or combat.
Starting with the Persian left flank we have the massed cavalry formed up. From right foreground around the corner and into the distance. Facing the flank are the Colonist cavalry Hyrkanians (16), backed by the Colonist cavalry Paphlagonians (20). Facing the riverbed on left end are the Greek mercenary cavalry (16), then the Persian Medes massed cavalry (20), the massed Satrapal guard cavalry Cilicians (20), Bactrian noble Bactrians (20) and ending with the Bactrian noble Kappadokians (20). A Kyrtian slinger (10) unit out front.
Going to the right flank… the Persian command deployed only weak skirmishing units. Some Mysian javelinmen (10) and two Colonist skirmish cavalry formations (10 each). “We hope the riverbed is deep water” …muttered someone wandering about… “that is a lot of Macedonians on the far bank”.
In the Persian center we see the end of the massed cavalry (l to r) formation: The massed Satrapal guard cavalry Cilicians (20), Bactrian noble Bactrians (20) and ending with the Bactrian noble Kappadokians (20). Near the riverbed the two Takabara units (10 each) and remaining Mysians (10) and Kyrtian slingers (10) are deployed.
Macedonian left flank had the power of the army and Alexander himself (leading near wedge). Three cavalry wedges (one-off photo)… Companions (10), Companions (9 + Alex), and Thessalian Pharsalians (10). Four Pezhetairoi phalanx formations (20 each) then in the distance Agrianian javelinmen (12), Lancer cavalry (6) and Cretan archers (12).
Macedonian right flank deployment: Lining the riverbed was some more Agrianian javelinmen (12), a Hypapist unit (20), two Pezhetairoi phalanx formations (20 each), Prodomoi cavalry (8), and Macedonian archers (16). Backing them up along the open right flank was Agema Hypapists (10), Thessalian Pharsalian wedge cavalry (9), and the remaining Allied cavalry (8).
Both teams in position…. starter arrow is loosened. Already team Persian is sending messages to the big man Darius. Did you pay the mercenary Greeks? They haven’t arrived yet and those pesky Greeks…aka Macedonians, are coming your way. Signed local man in charge… Arsites.
Turn 1a: Macedonians have first move. Surging across the two fords (phalanx) or into the slow going riverbed, the Macedonian army advances to engage the Persian light troops. Arrows fly into the nearby Takabara positioned on the low-rise causing severe casualties (passed MC test).
Turn 1b: Persians react with a wild Takabara charge across the riverbed against their tormenters. More men fall, pieced by arrow and javelins but the valiant (crazy) Takabara crush the Agrianian javelinmen, then pursue into the stationary and surprised lancer cavalry. The nearby Cretan archers see this and promptly think about their future on the battlefield.
Persian cavalry react to the slow Macedonian riverbed advance. As one Macedonian phalanx crosses the ford, the Prodomoi cavalry watering their horses is suddenly faced by massed Persian Medes cavalry on the far river bank. As the Persian and Greek mercenary infantry arrive (foreground), Persian cavalry shift position and manuever towards the open left flank.
Turn 2: After a short fight, The horse watering Prodomoi were crushed by the Persian massed Medes cavalry. Macedonian phalanx crosses the ford as another follows with Agrianian javelimen. The Satrapal massed guard Cilicians (20) and Bactrian noble Bactrians (20) cavalry look on.
On the Persian right flank, the skirmishing Persian cavalry have loosened arrows and sling rocks into the Macedonians. Alexander is leading the center cavalry wedge seeking his glory. Phalanx crossing the ford and riverbed.
Turn 3: Left center has the Macedonians across the riverbed and advancing. The massed Persian Satrapal Phrygians levies units (36 each) are uncovered by the Persian cavalry and loosen their arrows into the leading phalanx. Massed arrows impact the phalanx and cause losses.
Far left flank has mercenary Greek cavalry defeating the Macedonian Allied cavalry (center top) as the remaining Thessalian Pharsalians wedge cross the riverbed. Agema Hypapist unit enters the riverbed. Persian cavalry (l to r) are; Colonist Paphlagonians, Colonist Hyrkanians and massed Persian Medes (facing flank). Arsites is seen directing the Persian Medes cavalry towards supporting the flank cavalry. Note: The blue tipped stick is one of our pre-cut measuring sticks also marked with 2cm and 5cm adjustments. The set has pre-cut 8, 10, 12, 15, 20, 24, 25, 30, 36 and 40cm lengths, all color coded.
Macedonian viewpoint of the right flank at end of Turn 3.
Macedonians advance across the open ground as the Persian skirmishing units give ground. The valiant Takabara have chased the Cretan archers off the table (near Tim’s god arms). They went on to loot the Macedonian camp, thus causing all Macedonian mercenaries to immediately test. No Persian luck, but a good effort. Note that one of the Macedonian cavalry wedges finally broke from losses and has fled back across the river ford.
Turn 4: The mercenary Greek cavalry have defeated the Macedonian Allied cavalry as the Agema Hypapists wheel to flank. Thessalian Pharsalians wedge rides around the flank in foreground as Arsites cheers on his Persian cavalry. Massed Persian Medes and Satrapal guard Cilician cavalry manuever to flank the Macedonian phalanx near river ford.
Turn 5: Faced by the rapid advance of the Macedonian Companions and Alexander, the drilled Persian Bactrian noble Kappadokians charge the right hand Macedonian wedge. Opps…. WR forgot that these are xyston armed cavalry…. they get “1st stabbing”. With the entire wedge attacking, the Bactrian noble Kappadokians are quickly broken and run off the table edge. Companions hold from pursuit as they face off against the mercenary Greek hoplites.
Back in the center, Persian Satrapal Phrygian arrow storms are causing losses. Agrianian javelin attempt to screen off the Macedonian phalanx. Massed Persian Medes cavalry wheel into position near the riverbed.
General view at end of Turn 5. With the Macedonian infantry under a barrage of arrows, circling Persian cavalry, Alexander better push forward soon to support the pressured Macedonian center. This view shows well the massed Persian Satrapal Phrygian infantry and the three mercenary Greek hoplite units. Memmon is positioned behind his Greeks as the small Takabara unit is still routing from its position along the riverbed.
Turn 6a: The last turn without a game ending dice roll. Macedonian center screened their phalanx and Alexander’s Companions and nearby phalanx advance on the Persian right flank, pressuring the mercenary Greek hoplites.
Turn 6b: Why wait? … The Greeks react. The veteran mercenary Greek hoplites, lead by Memmon, charge home against the Macedonian phalanx. Long spear and pike push into the scrum. Other Macedonian phalanx position themselves with Alexander and his Companion cavalry.
Persian Satrapal Phrygian levies, along with their Persian Medes cavalry charge home against the Macedonian infantry. What will happen? stay tuned and read on….
First combat…. Greeks vs. the Macedonian phalanx was a Greek disaster. Phalanx inflicted 4:1 losses…. Greek broke and fled only to be run down by the phalanx. Memmon killed. Persian / Greek morale test pending from the shattered Greeks. The Macedonian Companion cavalry looks on and sees the open Greek flank in the distance. Alexander chasing the retiring Persian skirmishing cavalry.
In the center the Agrianian javelinmen fled and were run down by the Persian Medes cavalry charge who then impacted the weakened single rank Macedonian phalanx infantry. The massed Medes cavalry crushed the shattered phalanx then pursued into the Hypapists behind them.
Turn 7a: Successful Macedonian roll for another turn (50/50 roll). On the far Persian left the cavalry wheel about as the Macedonian Thessalian Pharsalian wedge faces the mercenary Greek infantry unit. In the center, the Persian Satrapal Phrygian infantry watch as the massed Persian Medes cavalry fight the hypapists.
On the Persian right flank, the mercenary Greek hoplites fail their morale and turn away and retire. So much the Persian right flank except for a few scattered skirmishers.
Turn 8: Another successful Macedonian turn roll. The victorious Macedonian hypapist unit wheels and charges into the Persian Satrapal Phrygian levies. The fight was brief, the Persians fled the combat and were totally destroyed in the pursuit. With the right retiring, the center broken up, only the Persian cavalry left shows aggressive actions.
Turn 9: No turn, the Macedonian roll is failed for another turn. Game over.
Persians almost held their ground. We had the center going our way but the delaying right flank tactic just fell apart. The two right flank combats, Bactrian noble cavalry vs. the wedge and the veteran mercenary Greeks vs. the phalanx should have held them for another turn, thus giving the Persians a good chance for a drawn victory. Alexander “held up at the Granicus“ could have been headlined on the local tabloids. But alas, Alexander has his future conquests, fame and the history books.
Another great game from the hands of David. Thanks again to Doug, Tim and David for the Granicus treatment err…experience. Drop in gamers always welcome.
Miniatures from the collection of David with a few strays from WR. Terrain from past David tabletop actions…just moved around and scattered.
Some other basic reference material:
Next game this month is scheduled for a sub-continent match up. Ancient Indians vs. Ancient Indians with their massed bow , spear, elephants and chariots on both sides. If in the area for 27th of May, contact WR.