In my next game (and the last battle of the year 2020), I had a great pleasure to play against Dean (frequent organizer of various MeG events and a highly dependable provider of all things necessary for games via his fantastic Olympian Games shop). He was kind enough to bring the army of Armenian so that I had a rather rare opportunity to play against historical opponent.
What is even more interesting was the army composition itself. In addition to expected Cataphracts and Horse Archers, there was also contingent of infantry, mainly Phalangites and Roman style armed soldiers. That together created a very diverse and flexible force and here are the details of the army's composition:
Armenian (Tigranes) - Army List
Apart from the fact it has a variety of units, it is also a bit different to the last two armies I played against as it has a significant percentage of skirmishers. That means more manoeuvrable are harder to catch horse archers but also the same break point as my force, despite having more units in total.
I had to correct the composition of my own army as well. I wondered how to do it and I actually ended up with including all three units I have painted in the meantime, i.e. Javelinmen, Cataphracts and Elephants! I believe the list is now correct but please let me know if you spot any issues.
Early Seleucids - Army List
The core of the army remains the same with four TuGs of Phalangites and TuG of Companions. As I do not have enough models at the moment to have more than one small TuG of Cataphracts, I wanted to find a way to have a mix of them and Charging Lancers. I achieved that by taking superiour Agema instead of average Line Cavalry. However, I was still one TuG short if I wanted to keep the break point of 5.
This is when I decided that I am going to include Elephants as well! I came to the conclusion that they would be the same as Line Cavalry from the point of view of resilience (4 bases as well) but would add another element to the army. I often need to deal with the fact that my army has its flank exposed so I thought the Elephants should be a great option to keep it protected, especially against cavalry.
It all came at a price of downgrading one of the sub-commanders to Competent, so I hoped I would not miss that very useful extra card. I also decided to try two units of skirmishers instead of single Cretan Archers. I am sure I would miss their green dice to shoot with but I would have two units to protect the phalanx from the incoming fire.
I was very excited about trying this new version of the army and could not wait to see what I can do with it, especially against such a challenging opponent!
Once again I ended up in an empty battle field, this time as an invader. Dean was kind enough to let the villagers be (for now!) and did not "remove" their houses after a roll of 6! I also got a river on a secure flank but that's all I could do to have a bit of help from the terrain. I had no doubt I would still be facing a challenge of the enemy cavalry units attempting an outflanking manoeuvre.
|Early Seleucid vs Armenian - Seleucid's point of view.
|Early Seleucid vs Armenian - Armenian's point of view.
Because I was also facing enemy infantry, in particular Phalanx, I decided to deploy my own phalangites in the deep formation. At the same time, I didn't want the infantry to be slowed down by the Horse Archers so each group of two Phalanx TuGs was assisted by skirmishers.
I positioned all cavalry units in the front line as well in order to keep any Horse Archers in check. Because Charging Lancers are superiour and Cataphracts are fully armoured, they also had a better chance to limit the efficiency of the enemy shooting. Even skilled shooters would need white dice instead of green versus average Phalanx.
I was concerned with Thracians in the open so I placed them in a second line, hopefully able to follow the path cleared by the cavalry and aid the Phalanx. Last but not least, I kept the Elephants in the second line as well. This is because I did not want them to be the early target for enemy shooting. At the same time, they would be in a good position to discourage and outflanking attempts by the enemy cavalry.
My plan was to move engage enemy infantry phalanx with my own and use cavalry to repeatedly charge the Roman style infantry to aid my own pikes. Either to help with the potential shatter effect or add more rounds of combat. In order to protect the units fighting enemy infantry, I needed to either keep the cataphracts at a distance or engage them with pikes and elephants.
|Deployment of the Armies
Seleucids - Turn 1
|Turn 1 - Sequence of Actions
|Seleucid Infantry vs Armenian Cavalry
Seleucids begun with sending their skirmishers forward to distract enemy Horse Archers. At the same time, phalangites manoeuvred to hopefully intercept some of the enemy cataphracts advancing on the flanks. Elephants moved to reinforce the right flank in doing so as well.
|Seleucids expand the battle line.
Armenians - Turn 2
|Turn 2 - Sequence of Actions.
|Armenian infantry - a worthy opponent!
Armenian Horse Archers covered the advance of the main forces, but were not able to inflict much damage on the enemy just yet. Perhaps their efforts were spread over too many targets. Seleucids used that to their advantage by advancing and expanding their battle line without unnecessary delay. That, in turn, slowed down the Armenian Cataphracts, reluctant to charge the wall of pikes frontally.
|Battle lines close the distance.
Seleucids - Turn 3
|Turn 3 - Sequence of Actions
|Pikes and Elephants vs Cataphracts.
In an attempt to chase off enemy horse archers, impetus Seleucid cataphracts did not slow down in time and were now forced to charge a wall of pikes. Fortunately for them, the casualties were not yet dramatic and they managed to withdraw from a dangerous fight.
Seleucid infantry closed the distance to their counterparts and were preparing to engage, trusting their companions on the flank to keep the cataphracts distracted.
|First combats on the left flank!
Armenians - Turn 4
|Turn 4 - Sequence of Actions.
|Massive scrum in the centre and left.
|And no less important combat on the right flank.
The attacks started on the left flank where phalangites intercepted cataphracts to allow Agema to outflank the enemy infantry formation. Unfortunately for Seleucids, the charging lancers were still a bit too far to join the fight in a co-ordinated manner.
Next, the Companions and Phalangites attacked the enemy infantry and a bitter fight erupted. Phalangites had to win quickly as their flank was exposed to the nearby Hiberians. Some damage was inflicted and Companions withdrew to repeat the charge.
On the right the fights were no less important. The phalangites enthusiastically charged the Armenian Guard cataphracts but were soon defending desperately for their lives. Tigranes' finest routed the Seleucid infantry shortly after.
Their companions were not that luck fighting Seleucid Elephants head on and eventually broke but half of the Seleucid contingent of pachyderms were killed in the process.
|The collapse of the right flank.
Seleucids - Turn 5
|Turn 5 - Sequence of Actions
|Agema, Companions and Cataphracts press hard to break enemy infantry.
|The fate of the battle hangs in a fragile balance.
|Turn 6 - Sequence of Actions
|A moment before the last Armenian Phalanx collapsed.
|Turn-by-turn animation summary.