After a longer break in gaming that expected (and certainly not planned!), I had a great opportunity to play against Paul. This time he decided to try a new faction, Bosporan Kingdoms with some Sarmatian allies.
While I had some thoughts about minor changes in my own army, especially considering my experiences after Ascending Valhalla tournament, I decided to play with the very same force anyway. I did not come up with any alternative option in the meantime so I concluded I should focus on the tactical plan instead!
Unfortunately, my computer has recently crashed and I have not been able to recover some of my date, including the photos from this game. It means I had only end of turn photos I uploaded to facebook in the meantime. Because of that this particular battle report is going to have fewer diagrams, i.e. no sequence of actions gifs and no zoom-ins. I apologise for that, I hope I will still be able to recover them. If I succeed I am going to review and update this battle report.
I have never had a chance to play against Bosporan Kingdoms and I was intrigued by the large number of units Paul started unpacking. It was a mixture of heavy cavalry, horse archers, heavy infantry and skirmishers. Here are the details:
Bosporan Kingdoms - Army List
Nineteen units total vs my eleven! Well, I am usually outnumbered but not by that much! It was shaping up as a very interesting encounter. Majority of the units, however, were formed so I thought they may not necessarily be able to perform very sophisticated manoeuvres. On the other hand, keeping the flanks safe would be a challenge. I needed some terrain for sure!
Here is my army list for comparison:
Early Seleucids - Army List
Although I had one more card for the Pre-battle phase, Paul's Bosporans outmanoeuvred my Seleucids and we ended up on the completely empty plain. Not good. I was then out-scouted which added to the problem, because I had to figure out how to deploy in a safe manner when I had absolutely no terrain to anchor any of my flanks.
|Early Seleucids (South) vs Bosporan Kindoms and Sarmatian Allies (North)|
|Deployment of the Armies|
I knew I cannot cover entire width of the battle field so I did not try. Instead, I deployed in a refused flank formation, with Silver Shields leading the left wing of the phalanx. They were supported by Cretan Archers to help against skirmishers.
Second half of the phalanx was deployed in the center, closer to the camp. It was to see where the enemy is going to go and to protect the camp. Especially, that I was an invader and the camp was mobile. Meaning the numerous enemy cavalry could potentially easily attack and sack it.
I also deployed two TuG's of the Charging Lancers to guard that side as well. While one remaining TuG was deployed in between the infantry units to prevent swift Horse Archers to exploit the gap.
I intended to advance with the left wing and engage Greek Mercenaries. The phalangites, in particular Silver Shields, should be able to win against that opponent. In the meantime, the center would advance but most likely wheel to be able to prevent outflanking and making the enemy work harder and longer if it wanted to get to the camp.
Mounted troops would be plugging the gaps and try to threaten with counter attacks to further interfere with the movements of the opposing army. Let's see if that worked!
Seleucids - Turn 1
The left wing of the Seleucid formation moved towards the enemy at a double and Greek Mercenaries advanced to meet that threat. Seleucid Charging Lancers approached the Horse Archers as well, in order to chase them away and keep the connection between infantry formations.
Meanwhile, Sarmatian Allies moved forward at a double in a wide out-flanking manoeuvre. Seleucid light cavalry bravely moved to intercept, despite being outnumbered 3:1 or more!
|The battle begins.|
Bosporans - Turn 2
It is often said that attack is the best form of defence and Charging Lancers definitely applied that principle. Their charge pushed back some of the enemy mounted troops but they got lucky and managed to catch one unit that did not withdrew far enough.
Phalangites on the left were getting ready to clash with the mercenaries while those in the centre were moving to face the outflanking forces of Sarmatians.
|Bosporans attempt to corner their enemies.|
Seleucids - Turn 3
|The fight begins.|
Seleucids clashed with their enemies and noted some successes. Phalangites on the left flank were inflicting substantial damage to their Greek adversaries and it looked like the mercenaries are not going to hold for long.
The cavalry created a gap in the enemy lines as well, destroying the first unit of Bosporan Horse Archers and chasing other mounted troops away.
On the centre right the phalangites managed to stand in front of the enemy horsemen, protected on one side by the light cavalry and on the other by Companions and Thracians. Companions have already engaged with the fight against enemy Lancers but with the assistance of the Phalangites, they started winning.
|Seleucids attempt to hold off the enemies on the right.|
Bosporans - Turn 4
|Seleucids win on the left flank|
Silver Shields and Phalangites broke through the mercenaries and two more Bosporan units perished. Nearby cavalry was not able to help as they were chasing elusive Cretan Archers.
Seleucid Charging Lancers exploited the gap and moved towards the unprotected camp.
On the opposite side of the battle field, Sarmatians moved too close to the enemy and impetus warriors decided to attack the Phalangites anyway.
Companions defeated their enemies and clashed with the second unit of Bosporan Lancers, while Thracians bravely fought against the Militia. They impressed everyone by performing a manoeuvre usually done by drilled troops. They charged in and then withdrew in good order, when the second enemy unit threatened to outflank them.
|Outflanking by Sarmatians did not quite work.|
Seleucids - Turn 5
|Seleucids sack enemy camp.|
Seleucid Companions and Phalangites defeat another unit of enemy horsemen. Then Charging Lancers sack the camp and that seriously undermines the resolve of the Bosporans and their Sarmatian Allies. Shortly after one more unit breaks and the army loses cohesion and is forced to withdraw.
Seleucids claim the victory!
|Final position of the units.|
|Turn-by-turn animation summary|
Many thanks to Paul for another great game! I must say it is quite intimidating to see so many units deployed against my small army. And it was really difficult to keep that centre right protected. Only because the Sarmatians closed in too far I was able to lure them to charge.
Another crucial element was that Silver Shields and Phalangites won against Greek Mercenaries quite fast. With Charging Lancers being able to make a breach and chase away the Horse Archers, it all ruined the plan Paul had. His attempt was to lock these units there and use his numerical superiority to outflank and destroy them. Or at lest significantly slow the down with shooting.
I am enjoying the flexibility of manoeuvres with drilled troops a lot now and it seems that my initial problems with issuing the orders were not that bad. I changed the way I allocate the command for each group and I make sure that neither commander has more than three elements to lead. Army Commander was giving orders to all three Charging Lancers which allowed the rest to lead the infantry and for Mediocre to command light horse.
It seemed to work well, although I sometimes had the units away from the command of the general, as Charging Lancers tend to move far away quickly. Fortunately, with some targets to attack in 3BW I still kept them moving.
I hope you enjoyed the battle report, despite fewer diagrams than usual.
Thanks for reading!