Monday, September 27, 2021

Battle Report: Heirs of Empire- Battle of Kretopolis


After Perdiccas' death at the Nile, the remaining Successors met to divide the empire once more. At Triparadisus in 321 BCE Antipater was made the new Regent.  Perdiccan loyalists were cut out of the agreement entirely and became rebels against the regent overnight.  Antigonus was put in charge to root out these rebels as Strategos of Asia.  At the command of the Royal Army, Antigonus marched into Asia and forced Eumenes of Cardia to withdraw into a mountain fortress and out of the political game.  

Eumenes of Cardia was not the only remaining Perdiccan loyalist though.  There was a group of Perdiccas' relatives and hold-outs.  They gathered an army of their own and prepared to face Antigonus at a pass near Kretopolis in Asia-Minor.  They had recruited a phalanx, peltasts, cavalry; a true Macedonian style combined arms force.  

Antigonus Monopthalamos left the siege of Eumenes and force marched his troops 300+ miles to get the drop on the Perdiccans.  This caught the 4 loyalist generals by surprise and they rushed to rally their troops.  A battle between the Royalists and the Perdiccan rebels ensued for control of Asia Minor. 


Again, we know very little of each army, except the following.  1 Perdiccan General was busy raising and forming the Phalanx units.  A second one led the Peltasts and Cavalry in a delaying attack on Antigonus' troops.  Meanwhile, Antigonus also had a strong cavalry component to his army.  There was also a reference to the trumpeting of Antigonus' elephants.  Otherwise, we will use the Minor Successor list for the Perdiccan Loyalists Line of Battle and the Antigonus list from the rules for his forces.   

2 Bronze Shields 

2 Asphracts Cavalry

Companion Cavalry- Antigonus (General) 

Perdiccan Loyalists
Bronze Shield - Dokimos (General)
2 White Shields- Attolos

1 Asphract (Javelins)- Alketas
1 Asphract (Javelins)

1 Archer
1 Thureophoroi- Polemon
1 Skirmisher

You can read about how I built and painted these armies here

To fit the historical situation, today's battle will be a surprise assault fought on a 48MU by 48MU board.  In the Surprise Assault, the Attacker can deploy on any board edge, while the defender sets-up in the center of the board.  The Defender wins if they can escape the board with up to 15 points of models.  

After reading up on the battle, we decide to place it on a 48MU x 48MU board with each MU being 1 inch.    

The board is a long pass with dangerous mountains on the west side of the board, with large ones being impassable.  The east side has hills running along the edge with various clear areas.  The Hills themselves are difficult terrain.  North and South are the entrances and exits to the pass. 

The Perdiccan Loyalists are placed in the center of the board, in column of march heading to the North Side of the Pass.  That means they are deployed with their Right Wing in front, Center in the center, and Left wing in the rearguard.  

Antigonus places his Right Wing coming down the North side of the pass, the Center threading the hills on the East side of the board, and his left wing coming from the South up the pass.       

The Heirs of Empire: Wars of the Diadochi rules are available on the Blood And Spectacles Wargame Vault page.  Let's begin! 

Perdiccan Loyalists on the left, Antigonid forces everywhere else! 
Turn 1:
Both sides roll up the Commander's Gaze for their respective wings and get ready to fight.  The Perdiccans roll was very poor, only generating 4 Commander's Gaze between them all!  Antigonus ended up with 8.  Antigonus bids 3, and the Perdiccans bid 0 to use them to try and interrupt.

One of the Antigonid Asphracts declares a charge on the Perdiccan Asphracts in the rear.  They do not try to evade at all.  The Antigonids hit hard enough to cause their foes to Waver and be pushed back 2 MU.  They are reduced to 2 Courage, and the Antigonids also lose 1 Courage in the fight.   

The Perdiccans try to interrupt!  They fail the dice roll.  The second Antigonid Asphract charges into the second Perdiccan Asphracts as well.  Their charge is enough to cause the enemy to rout, but they also lose 1 Courage in the fight.  

The Perdiccans again try to interrupt, but this time they succeed!  The skirmishers at the front of the column move forward and barrage the Companion Cavalry with Javelins.  They are reduced 1 Courage.  

This time Antigonus Interrupts, and succeeds.  His Companion Cavalry charges forward at the Skirmishers.  With the use of their last Commander's Gaze, they rout the Skirmishers in their charge, pushing them back 1 MU.  

The Center of Antigonus' army marches forward.  With all of Antigonus' army activated, play turns back to the rest of the Perdiccan troops. The archers fire a barrage into Antigonus and his cavalry, and cause them to lose 1 Courage and to start to Waver. 

There is not much they can do about the Asphracts to their rear, so the main units start to march towards the only units blocking their escape.  

Several Perdiccan units see the Skirmishers flee.  The Theurophoroi see they are next in line and to get hit, and they start to waver.  The Wavering Asphract unit sees their fellows flee but stays strong, they are too busy fighting for their lives! 

The Perdiccans are down two units all ready. 

Turn 2: 
The two sides determined their Commander's gaze, and again Antigonus has the advantage by only 1; 7 to 6.  This is a bit more of a decision as Antigonus' Companion cavalry is in a dangerous position if they can not rally and get moving.  Both sides bid 3.....but Antigonus ups his bid 1 to go first.  

Antigonus Rallies his Companions and then charges into the wavering Theurophoroi in front of his troops.  Unsurprisingly, the light infantry are blown away by the charge.  However, the Companions lose another 1 Courage.  

The Perdiccans manage to successfully take over the initiative.  The Perdiccan Bronze Shields declare a charge at the Antigonid Bronze shields, who eagerly counter-charge.  Bang!  The Antigonids lose 1 courage and are pushed back 2 MU.  Plus, the Antigonids are out of Commander's Gaze.  

The rest of the Perdiccan troops try to get out of the valley using the gaps in the Antigonid line.  Play turns back to the Antigonids.  

The Antigonid Asphracts engaged with the Perdiccan cavalry easily rout them, but are reduced 1 courage and start to Waver themselves.  The rest of the Antigonid army tries to close the noose on the fleeing Perdiccans.  

The second Perdiccan Asphract unit is removed from play, but no one sees them flee.  They were an isolated rear guard.  The Perdiccan light infantry Theurophoroi also flees the field and a White Shield unit sees them leg it.  However, they pass a discipline check.  

The Perdiccans have lost over 25% of their force, so Collapse tests are called for.  The trailing White Shield unit disintegrates into chaos as the soldiers start to surrender en masse to the Antigonid forces.  The unit is removed from the board.  Ouch! 

Turn 3: 
The Perdiccans are in a tough place.  They have lost their rear guard, and much of their advanced guard.  The Perdiccans get 5, to the Antigonid 7.  The Perdiccans have two units close to escaping, so really need to go first.  They bid 5 Commander's Gaze.  Antigonus bids 3 as he needs Gaze to maneuver and charge! The Perdiccans go first.  

The Archer vanguard manages to flee the board.  The Antigonids try to interrupt.  However, they fail to do so.  The Perdiccan White Shield unit just falls short of getting off the board.  

The Bronze Shields continue to push at each other, and the Perdiccans push back the Antigonids 1 MU, and reduce them 1 Courage.  However, they do not Waver.  

The War Elephants charge into the rear of the Perdiccan Bronze Shields with a trumpet like blast.  The rear attack is largely ineffective as the Perdiccans carefully re-position their troops to defend against it!  

The Antigonid Rear Guard tries to maneuver up to the fight, while the last Bronze Shields tries to close off any escape back to the rear.  

Antigonus himself has his tired Companions break into open order, wheel about, reform and then trot into combat with the fleeing White Shields to hold them up.  The White Shields easily hold the cavalry men off, but now they are caught in combat.  

The Archers escaped for 4 points out of the 15 needed to escape.  Things look bad for the Perdiccans.

Turn 4: 
The Perdiccans roll up 3 Gaze to Antigonus' 6.  Neither side bids since all the Perdiccan troops are tied up in combat.  The roll-off let's the Perdiccan loyalists go first.

They start with the White Shields vs. Antigonus.  If they can rout the Companions they might be able to get some of Antigonus' army to collapse.  Re-rolls flash, and Antigonus' men are successful at reducing the White Shields 2 Courage, and causing them to waver.  However, they exert themselves  mightily and decide to retire from the field, taking their Diadochi with them!

The Bronze Shields battle have the Perdiccans putting up stiff resistance despite being out-numbered and attacked in the rear by War Elephants!  They lose 1 Courage and are pushed back 1 MU in good order.  

The forward Asphract unit went too far and is disordered.  They are too far away from their fellows.  The second unit catches up, while the first uses a Commander's Gaze to rally.  

The last Bronze Shield Unit charges into the big melee in the middle with the Perdiccan Bronze Shields.  This manages to knock the Perdiccans down two more courage.  They still have two left to the enemy 3.  

Antigonus retires from the field to observe the rest of the battle from a distance.  The rear attacking Bronze Shields see this and start to Waver. 

The entire Antigonid army now needs to make Collapse tests as their Diadochi has left, and they are below 25%.  As Antigonus withdraws, an Asphract and the War Elephants also decide to pull back.  

Turn 5: 
This time, the Commander's Gaze for both sides is limited.  Antigonus' vanguard has withdrawn, along with him!  This leaves him with 3 Commander's Gaze to the Perdiccans 2.  Both sides bid it all to go first!  Antigonus wins.  

The last Asphract unit goes as fast as possible towards the White Shields.  However, they do not have the distance without the charge.  They fail to make contact. 

This leads to the battle with the Bronze Shields.  The Perdiccans pinned on both sides are reduced to 1 Courage! However, they are still in the fight!  

The White Shields pass a Discipline check and move out off the board disordered, but escaping!  That is 12 of the points needed.  If they can break the bronze Shields, they can still win. 

No Collapse or Waver tests are needed.  

Turn 6 - Final Turn: 
The Antigonids get 6 to the Perdiccan 3 Gaze.  Neither side bids any, saving them for the big melee.  Perdiccans win the roll-off and decide to start with the big Bronze Shield battle! 

Again, re-rolls flash as both sides put their all into the fight!  The Antigonids get hammered and lose 2 Courage down to 1 left.  They do not waver.  This time, the Antigonids give it a big final push and crush the last of the Perdiccans.  Their general Dokimos is captured as the Perdiccan phalanx is over-run.         
Only a handful of Antigonid troops are left.  A heavily battered Bronze Shield unit, a disordered Bronze Shield unit, and a battered Asphract unit.  However, it is enough.  

12 of the 15 points needed to escape managed to make it off the board.  Plus, the Perdiccan Bronze Shields put up an amazingly fierce resistance! They even caused Antigonus to retire.  A hard fought battle, but ultimately, it was not enough.  The Perdiccans are routed after an unexpectedly hard fought battle! 

In the actual battle, Alketas took the Peltasts and cavalry to try and slow down the approaching Antigonid forces in the hills.  His co-general's tried to get the Phalanx together and ready to fight.  Alketas' diversionary attack did not go well and was repulsed with heavy losses.  In addition, Antigonid cavalry came charging down the pass and managed to flank the assembling phalangites.  Instead of fighting, they surrendered!  Only Alketas managed to escape but it did not last long and he committed suicide in a nearby fortified city.  

This battle did not play out that way exactly.  The Antigonids were the ones to launch the attacks, and Alketas didn't even get time to maneuver any of his units out of formation.  Instead, the Phalanx formed up and gave the Antigonids a hard fight!  The cavalry charge down the pass routed two enemy units, but was too costly to maintain momentum and saw Antigonus himself routed!  That is a big difference from the history books!  The battle ended up going down to the wire and was surprisingly close.     

The Heirs of Empire: Wars of the Diadochi rules are available on the Blood And Spectacles Wargame Vault page.  Pick them up and give them try!                     

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  1. First time I ever heard of or visited this blog, very nice. Rules look intriguing not that I own any collections for this particular era.

    1. WELCOME!

      This blog has more than just ancients, and also has a lot of talk about Wargame Design too. Hopefully you will find something of interest to you!