Monday, March 20, 2023

Battle Report: Battle of Ephesus- Ionian Revolt


This is the first scenario in the Ionian Revolt booklet.  Therefore, I am not going to go into a lot of detail about the scenario.  For that, you will want to get the book!  

It is commonly considered that this battle followed the Greek attack on the Satrapy capital at Sardis.  There, the Greek forces were successful at sacking and burning the lower city, but were unable to take the citadel.  The Greeks retreated with their loot and the Persians gave chase.  The Persian troops were able to catch up to the Ionians.  The result was this battle.  

The Forces

The troops here are from the lists found in the Ionian Revolt booklet.  The rules for these units are found in the Men of Bronze book from the Osprey Wargaming Series.  

Ionian Greeks- General Eualcides
1 Drilled Hoplite
2 Militia Hoplite
1 Peltast
1 Psiloi

Persians- Satrap Artaphernes
2 Cavalry
1 Drilled Infantry
2 Archers


The river Cayster is on the Greek Left/Persian right.  The rest of the board is barren, arid terrain and will be good for maneuver.  A few rocky outcroppings dot the plain to break it up. This battle will be on a 6x4 board with both forces deployed on the long table edges. 

This battle has other complications in the Ionian Revolt booklet. 

The Greeks deploy thusly....

The Drilled Infantry and Psiloi are hungry and thirsty so their target numbers are 5+ instead of 4+. 

...and the Pursuing Persians deploy like this.....

Turn 1: 
Both sides collect their 5 Arete Points to begin the turn.  The Persians bid 3, to the Greek 2.  Persians go first. 

The Persian infantry moves up, and then the Greeks try to steal initiative, but fail.  The Persian cavalry move out searching for the Greek flank.  

The Greeks move forward, with the Militia hoplites forming phalanx across the road.  The Drilled Athenians move up on their flank, using the river to anchor their flank.  A gap forms in the line, as the Peltasts curve in and the Psiloi take up a position on a rock formation using their Skirmish ability.  

Turn 2:
Both sides collect their 2 Arete points.  The Persians again bid 3, and the Greeks bid 2.  Persians will go first. 

The Persians move forward, careful to keep their Drilled infantry tot he fore.  However, the far left Cavalry rushes forward and throws their javelins at the Psiloi in the rocks, but fails to get any to stick.  

The Greek Drilled infantry forms phalanx and pushes forward.  They form a solid line with the Militia Hoplites in the road.  Meanwhile, the last Militia Hoplite moves up in loose formation, and the Peltasts move to form a new flank by a rocky outcropping.  

The Psiloi on the hill decide to charge at the oncoming Persians, and despite the extra charge bonus, they fail to cause any damage.  Their hungry and thirsty status took a toll on their attack. 

Turn 3:
Both sides still have 5 Arete Points.  This time, the Persians bid 1 to go first while the Greeks bid 3.  Greeks go first. 

The Greek Peltasts rush forward to help their Psiloi brothers in combat, and a Melee ensues.  Even with the additional dice, they come up with no hits!  The Persians fight back fiercely and reduce the Greeks 1 and cause them to Waver!  The Greeks are pushed back 1 MU. 

The Greek Militia on the road charges ahead using the last Greek Arete Point, and they are met at the roadside by a counter-charge of Persian Drilled Infantry.  There is a bitter battle, where the Persians lose 2 to the Greek 1 in Courage and are pushed back 1 MU. 

The Greeks are out of Arete Points, so the Drilled Hoplites make for the exposed Persian archers behind the Persian Drilled Infantry fight.  The Archers use a Persian Re-roll and cause 1 Courage loss and force the Hungry and Thirsty Drilled Hoplites to start to Waver.

The second Persian Cavalry units charges into the Flank of the melee on the left flank, and they scatter the Greek troops there with minimal loses in return.  They pushed them back 2 MU before scattering the light infantry.  

The Militia Hoplites see the Light infantry flee, but they hold their line and do not waver.  The Greek Light Infantry does trigger a Collapse test for the Greeks.  The Greek commander looks nervous as his Drilled Hoplites need to roll 3 dice and get at least 1 six, or they will flee the battle!  He rolls, and luckily gets a single six.  The other Militia units also stay in the fight. 

Turn 4:
The Persians have struck first and struck hard, tearing away the Greek battle lines right flank protection.  The Greeks collect 3 Arete compared to the Persian 5.  The Greeks bid 0, and the Persians bid 1.  Persians go first.  

The Persian archers again rain arrows down on the Drilled Hoplites, and with them out of formation they lose 1 more Courage.  The second Persian archer units rushes in to support the Drilled Infantry fighting the Militia Hoplites by the road.  Both sides fight hard, and both lose 2 Courage.  The vicious fighting causes the Greeks to start to Waver, and lose formation.  The Persian Cavalry begins to wheel around into the Greek rear to cut-off their escape.  

The Greeks are in desperation mode now, they have to defeat the Persian infantry and force a Collapse.  The unhurt Militia infantry breaks formation, wheels, reforms and charges into the Persian Flank to support their battered foe.  The Persians only have 2 Courage left and might break from a charge in phalanx on the flank in support.  They roll 8 dice with only a single success, not even enough to dent the Persian formation! 

In extreme desperation now, the Greek commander uses his last Arete Point to charge in his wavering Drilled Infantry into the melee.  Their wavering, and hungry and thirsty state makes their additional push inconsequential as well.  

Turn 5: 
The Greeks are barely hanging on.  They collect 3 to the Persian 5 Arete points.  This time, the Persians bid 4 to the Greek 0 to guarantee they go first.  

The Persians use their last Arete point to charge their last Persian Archer unit into support their Drilled infantry to resolve the battle there. The two sides clash ferociously, and both sides are pushed over the breaking point, reducing them to 0 Courage.  

The Persians need to make a Collapse test to win the filed for their two cavalry units.  The first injured units fails and flees!  However, the second stays to claim the field and fore the straggling Greeks back to their Triremes and leaving them to flee back to their home-cities. 

Persian Victory, but it came down to the last dice roll.  The result matches the historical outcome.  This is the second time I have recorded the outcome of this battle on the blog.  Both ended in a Persian victory.  In retrospective, I should have kept my last Archer unit out of that big melee and I would have had a more respectable win... maybe.    

After the battle, the Greek player agreed it was a mistake for his Psiloi who were Hungry and Thirsty to charge, and he threw good money after bad when the Peltasts got involved too.  They were a bigger threat and deterrent as a force in being.  In addition, the Greeks had some awful dice rolls when they needed better.  However, that's the way it goes sometimes.  

First game of the Ionian Revolt down, and four more to go!  

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