Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Diadochi Campaign: Battle in Palestine

Ptolemy has invaded Palestine by sea outflanking Perdiccus who had to retire from Egypt to fight to restore his supply line.  Ptolemy chose a battlefield with woods and sand on both flanks.
Ptolemy (Peter, Mike & Chris): Phalanx div, 2 light infantry bow div, 1 allied horse archer div (from Leonadis
Perdiccus (SteveJ, Mark & Mitch): Infantry div of phalnax, medium bows & small light jav, 2 cav divs of 3 heavy & 2 horse archer.
Ptolemy has his phalanx between the woods with light troops in each wood & horse archers in front. Perdiccus has sprung a surprise by putting his infantry on the lefts & his cavalry in the centre. 
Ptolemy advances his whole army.  Perdiccus' infantry advance is slowed by sand compounded by blunders while his light cavalry advances driving back their opposite numbers.
Ptolemy is being as unconventional as Perdiccus & has charged the enemy heavy cavalry with his phalanx.   (HC says that cavalry can't charge undisordered pikes frontally, but that infantry that charge cavalry are disordered. Our interpretation is that the cavalry can countercharge in this case as the pikes are disordered by charging.  We resolve the fight with both sides disordered & without charge bonus).  The result was mixed - Perdiccus lost  2 heavy cavalry & Ptolemy lost a phalanx. 
Both sides draw back in the centre with significant losses, but the Perdiccian cavalry div that lost to the phalanx was broken by bow fire as Ptolemy's left breaks out of the wood on their flank.  On the far flank Perdiccus has given up his flank march and is trying to get his phalanx out of the sand.  His medium & light infantry has attacked the wood, but has been repulsed.
Perdiccus is bringing his phalanx back to the centre while his lighter infantry now defend his left flank.  Ptolemy has pulled his damaged phalanx division back while outflanking Perdiccus' right with bowmen.
Perdiccus tries to hold off the bowmen on both flanks while preparing for a counterattack in the centre with his phalanx. 
Ptolemy has rallied & re-ordered his phalanx and has advanced to meet Perdicus' phalanx.  Perdiccus' flanks are still holding out under a hail of arrows.
 The phalanx fight has been indecisive with both sides falling back. 
Both side' phalanxes have run out of steam, but it's seems only a matter of time before the the ring of Egyptian bowmen get lucky & break some more units.
Finally, the phalanx covering Perdiccus' right & the medium infantry covering his left both break and with them the army breaks.

It's a moot point whether Perdiccus' flank attack was a good idea.  Perdicus' large infantry division is an unwieldy beast and it only took a couple of bad command rolls to get the flank march bogged down in the sand.  But it did avoid the risk of a frontal attack with a wood full or archers on each flank. Instead it provoked Ptolemy into attacking in the centre - an attack that ended in stalemate, but could easily have lost him his phalanx & with it the battle.  As it was he was able to rally his shaken phalanxes before Perdiccus could organise his counterattack.  In the end it was the shear weight of Egyptian bowfire on the flanks that won the battle.  On the Eygptian right the bowmen were protected by the woods & on the right where they advanced in the open they were fortunate that Perdiccus' cavalry was so weakened by the phalanx attack that they never had to face a serious cavalry attack. 

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