Monday, July 24, 2023

Battle Report- Men of Bronze: Battle of Pedasus


This is the continuing recreation of the Ionian Revolt.  The Ionian Revolt was a revolt against the Persian Empire by the Ionian Greeks and their allies prior to the Greco-Persian War.  It took place from 499 to 493 BCE.  It was a land and sea affair, so I am using a combination of Poseidon's Warriors and Men of Bronze to re-create the campaign.  Both are from the Osprey Wargaming Series.  In addition, Men of Bronze has a specific supplement for the conflict called The Ionian Revolt. 

Herodotus gives us details of three battles between the Persians and the Carians . The Persians won
the first two engagements, despite a strong challenge by the Carians . These twin defeats had the
Carians on the ropes and desperate. They resolved to fight the Persians one more time, but this time
launch an ambush on the road near Pedasus.

As the Persians approached near night, the Carians attacked. The ambush was a great success and
the Persian general Daurises and his commanders were killed. This forced the Persians to fall back
to regroup, and saved Caria from a siege.

For today's battle, we decided to skip over the 2 defeats of the Carians by the Persians.  We know very little about them but they seem to be relatively straight forward battles.  The first was the Persians forcing a river crossing.  The Carians were then reinforced by the Milisian army and fought again at a sacred grove.  The Persians won again.  

That was the lead up to the ambush at Pedasus.  A last roll of the dice by the Carians versus the Persian war machine.   

Despite the various losses to the Carian army, we are going to assume they still had a relatively standard Greek army at this point.  That means, we will go with: 

Carian Army
Drilled Hoplite - General
2 Militia Hoplites

The Persians will be using a more standard campaign field army. 

Persian Field Army
Cavalry - General
2 Archers
2 Drilled Infantry

This game has a unique set-up, but uses the normal 72MU by 48MU board.  However, this game will be played length-wise instead of long-edge to long-edge. You can find the details of the set-up in The Ionian Revolt supplement.  

The Persian column sees Carian Drilled Hoplites emerge from Pedasus

The Persians vanguard was the Drilled Infantry, followed by the cavalry, archers, and more drilled infantry as the rearguard.  The Carians are in a crescent to ensnare the head of the Persian column with peltasts and psiloi on the edges, then militia hoplites, being anchored by the drilled hoplites in Pedasus. 

The game will use the rules for Men of Bronze based on the Ambush scenario.  This game will also have the Dusk Approaches complication.    

A bird's eye view of the deployment

For this battle, I will not be following every detail.  I have found this method really hampers and slows down the game play!  Instead, I will be covering the action in three main phases; the Maneuver phase, the Battle phase, and the End Game.  The Maneuver phase is where the armies are mostly closing the gap and set-up their attack plans and is typically turns 1-3.  The Battle Phase is typically where most of the fighting occurs and normally falls in turn 4-6, and the End Game is the final moves to determine the ultimate victor and often are turns 7-8.  

The Maneuver Phase: 
The Greeks begin to close the net on the Persian column.  Meanwhile, the Persians begin to shake out into a batteline.  The Greek light troops are leery of getting too close to the Persian archers, who can easily wreck the Greek light troops in a barrage of arrows.  The Persian cavalry goes out wide to threaten the peltasts on the Greek flank.  The Greek drilled infantry form phalanx and easily block the road. 

Battle Phase
The Battle begins with the Peltasts trying to move up and throw javelins at the Persian Archers, but they fall just short.  No pre-measuring can do that!  The Persians then interrupt with an Arete Point, and return fire.  The Peltasts are hit hard.  This barrage is followed up by a Cavalry charge that sends the Peltasts packing in short order.  First blood to the Persians!

The Persians re-shuffle their lines and let the Greeks take-over again.  The Drilled Hoplites on the road charge into the Persian Drilled Infantry opposite them, who counter-charge.  A bloody melee breaks out, but neither side has the upper hand.  

On the opposite flank, the Persian archers try to eliminate the Psiloi, but fail.  Their nearby Drilled Infantry then charge the Militia Hoplites, who counter-charge them back.  The injured Psiloi jump in to support their fellow Carians. The Militia Hoplites win and push the Persians back into their Archers.  

On the road, the Persians face stiff resistance from the drilled Greeks and are quickly pushed back.  The Persian back is broken when the other Militia Hoplite unit joins the fray! However, as the Greeks turn to butchery on the road, the Persian General slams into the rear of the melee with his Cavalry, reducing the Greeks to near breaking!  

On the Persian right, more catastrophe as the Militia Hoplites and Psiloi break the Drilled Infantry and Archers there.  This leads to the last Archer unit to also turn tail and flee.  They failed a collapse test.  The Persian army is in tough shape.

End Phase:
The entire Persian army has collapsed with the exception of the General and his Cavalry bodyguard.  The Greeks are injured but in no real danger of losing at this point.  They use heir Arete Point advantage to make sure they go first.  

The Greeks on the left reposition themselves to finish off any Persian survivors from the center melee.  They then decide to see what happens there.  The rear attack by the Persians cause the Greek General and his Drilled Hoplites and Militia allies to flee. However, they take heavy casualties in return and are also routed.  

Seeing their comrades flee, the other militia Hoplite units collapses! This leaves only the Psiloi left!  The Greeks barely hold the field of battle! 

The first win for the Greeks during the Ionian Revolt and another historical outcome. I thought this was going to be a much more decisive loss than it turned out to be.  It actually went down to the last dice roll again.  If the Psiloi collapsed we would have had a draw. 

I think my plan to turn the flank and get my cavalry behind the Greeks worked well.  However, their line engaged my about a turn to early.  Then, the Greek Hoplites decisively beat their Persian opponents across the entire front.  Only my rear cavalry charge kept me in this game. 

The next battle will be a sea battle using Poseidon's Warriors.   See you next time in the Ionian Revolt.  

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