Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Alexander vs. Darius

Club Bowler Wargaming Centre
Alexander the Great: Nick
Darius the Dill: Cameron

Victory is achieved by eliminating / routing a single opposing heavy infantry unit (Phalanx / Hoplite)

Thus it came about that I, Emperor Darius, surveyed yet another dusty battlefield from atop my golden command chariot. A whole lot of flatness out there. Flatter than Bignose the Byzantine after the Imperial elephants finished with him.

Alexander the upstart was knocking on my empire’s door, once again. The little nuisance had a formidable force of …greeks…over there. Why couldn’t he just bugger off back home? Didn’t he realise that the Persian Empire was all powerful?

Clearly not. Only this morning, Leonordis, the royal fan waver, hissed in my ear that there were rumours flying around the camp that Alexander had a terrible ‘itch’. When I queried Leonordis about this affliction he only grunted and his skinny arms flapped the palm frond fan so violently that I may have just as well have been standing on Mount Sinai in the face of a raging Shamal. To long spent with the Zoroastrians does that to you. I’m starting to think they use hallucinogenics in their smoke.

At a loss as to whether Alexander suffered from an anatomical or strategic ‘itch’ I summoned a council of war.

Signortia, commander of the Hoplites was first to speak. “There are an awful lot of Greeks over yonder, my lord”
“Specifically what type of Greeks, Signortia?”, huffed I. A recurring fault of the Persian Empire was its inability to produce any meaningful military minds. Soft succulent servile female companions, yes. Kick ‘em in the teeth, rip out their guts grizzled, gap-toothed warriors, no.

“Phalanx’s and such, my lord. Companions.”
Puzzling…“Oh, they have female company as well?”
“No my lord, I am led to believe that Alexander prefers male companions. Dressed in armour. On a horse.”
Mind boggling stuff. Greeks. What could you say?
Still, there was the small matter of tomorrow’s battle.
“So Signortia, our hoplites can deal with matters adequately I trust?”
“No my lord.”
“Unfortunately, my lord, there is nothing in our current army that can face off against the Phalanx’s.”
“NONE?”“No my lord. The phalanx’s might be dressed in skirts and be commanded by a known shirt lifter but they have long spears and heavy armour. We would be overwhelmed in short order. All would be lost. A terrible curse –“
“Yes, alright, I have the picture, thank you Signortia”
Clearly the Persian army wasn’t where it should be. Haven’t our generals heard of benchmarking? What do they do all day, polish their helmets and wax their leotards?
“And what, pray tell, Signortia, would you advise we do?”
“Run away, my lord. They may be Greek poofters but they are poofters with long spears.”

So it came to pass that as the dawn sun rose in the east I, Darius, took charge of matters and arrayed our mighty forces.
“Signortia, position your Hoplites on the right and as soon as the bugle blows march them sideways as far as you can before forming into a tight defensive position.”
“Sideways, m’Lord?” he muttered, squinting at me.
“Yes sideways you miserable cheese eating surrender monkey. Do as you are bloody well told.”
“Of course, my lord.” He replied, bobbing his head, “Sideways it shall be”. More bobbing. A noticeable cringing about the edges.
Bob away you little turd for by tonight your head will be rolling in the dirt looking for a pair of shoulders to sit upon.
I cast my mind back to business.
“Speedatorium”, the cavalry commander, “I ask only that you put all your light cavalry on the left and all your heavy cavalry on the right”
Speedatorium, apparently suffering from squinters disease as well, peered in my direction.
“Split my command in two, oh wise one?”
“That’s right. Tell them all to gallop around the flanks of the phalanx’s and hit them in the rear. Your horsemen are our only hope. The gods of Fire will be with you all.”
“Yes, oh wise one. It shall be done.”
“Excellent. Proceed.” Good, at last somebody who knows what he is about.

Right, that wasn’t hard. Now where is Leonordis? All this commanding is getting me hot and bothered. Perhaps some olive oil applied by a few winsome slippery royal consorts might help.

Mid morning arrived. All the tedious military formation positioning and repositioning had been completed. Both armies faced each other. I was oiled and ready. All that was needed was the sound of a bugle. I waved my hand and the bugle blared it’s siren call.

Persians (black) and the Greeks (red).

I have to say that it went exceedingly well and according to my master plan. For, oh…, say five, maybe ten minutes. Such was my joy and that of those accompanying me that I immediately ordered wine and food to celebrate.

How presumptuous of me. The God of Fire hissed, sputtered and fizzled out well before any refreshments could arrive. Watching from my chariot I was forced to order all priests and other soothsayers put to the sword, if only to quench my anger at the inadequacy of the entire Persian army.

Signortia, commanding the Hoplites dutifully stomped off sideways only to metamorphose into some kind of self-induced Mesopotamian traffic jam. There were hoplites marching in all directions, becoming more tangled and twisted than the hanging gardens of Babylon.

Speedatorium’s Light Cavalry, attempting to swing around the left flank of the Greeks only succeeded in banging headlong into the entire Greek cavalry force which proceeded to chop them into pieces.

The Heavy Cavarly actually managed to penetrate past the right flank but when ordered to turn in on the rear of the Greek Phalanx’s they rode off into the desert on some kind of wide sweeping arc that encompassed all of Asia Minor. Apparently, so I was told later, Speedatorium got a good deal on horses from Flaky Phil the Philistine at Damascus last summer. Wonderful horses. Strong and fast.

In a straight line.

Try cornering your mount on one of Flakies prize steeds and you’d still be at it by sundown. Bloody horses couldn’t turn.

What a debacle. With all lost and the smelly greeks bearing down on our confused mess of Hoplites I ordered a general retreat. There is one thing that we Persians excel at.

End of the battle. Greeks (red) bearing down on the hoplites in the corner. Persian Heavy cavalry moving around to the rear of the Greek Phalanx's via Turkey and Afghanistan. Persian light cavalry on the left flank decimated.

No comments: