Monday, September 25, 2023

Battle Report- Poseidon's Warriors- Battle of Lade


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. 

By the sixth year of the Ionian Revolt, the Persians had successfully counter-attacked and recaptured much of the lost cities.  However, the Ionian Greeks still held out with Miletus being the originator of the revolt still resisting.  The Persians reformed into a single army, supported by naval forces and marched on Miletus to end the Revolt once and for all. The accomplished Persian general Datis took command of this unified Persian force. 

Upon hearing of the approaching enemy, the Greeks decided to challenge them at sea rather than on land.  The Greeks assembled a large fleet from many of their member cities.  They made for the island of Lade in order to stem the Persian attack on the city.  

The Persian force was composed of a multi-national fleet as well.  It had Phoenicians, Egyptians, and even the newly re-conquered Cypriots.  They were likely led by Datis himself.  The Persians sent the former tyrants of each rebel city with the offer to surrender.  This strained the Ionian coalition. In addition, the Greek general Dionysius trained them hard in tactics and fighting.  This did not sit well with all the Greeks.  

Today, we are going to be fighting the Naval engagement that occurred off the island Lade.  Supposedly, some of the Ionians retreated from the battle, persuaded by the Persians offers of peace.  This allowed the Persians to overwhelm the remaining Greeks forces and defeat them.  

Once we get the results of the sea battle, we will also be playing the land battle using the scenario in The Ionian Revolt supplement for Men of Bronze.   


1 Slow Trireme unit with admiral and elite troops
4 Slow Trireme units     

1 Fast Trireme with Admiral and 
1 Fast Trireme
3 Slow Triremes

This battle will take place on a 6x4 table.  The fleets are spread from West to East.  The coast of Lade is on the short edge to the East. The two fleets are facing off.  The Persians are to the North and the Ionians to the South. 

Both fleets have deployed for a standard engagement, with the Ionians having their Fast Triremes on the left edge furthest out to sea.  The two sides spread out across the ocean by Squadron. 

This will be a straight up battle, with both sides looking to sink the opposing fleet.  The basic scenario is found in the main rulebook. 

The turn after the first combat, each Ionian squadron will start the turn with a simple 4+ morale test.  If failed, they will abandon the fight.  They are removed from the table as they signal their desire to fleet and escape to the Persian ships.  They are no longer relevant to the battle.  Once two Squadrons have fled, no additional Morale tests are needed. 

Instead of my normal turn-by-turn breakdown, I am going to try to break the game down into the Maneuver Phase, the Battle Phase, and the End Game section.  Something a bit different to ease the load of book keeping, and to avoid me taking too much time typing during the actual game! 

Maneuver Phase:
The Persians approach while the Ionians have the center approach with the fast triremes going out wide on both sides.  The Persians send a squadron to cover the approach to the east side, by the island.  A few barrier islands make the approach interesting.  

Meanwhile, the rest of the fleet begins to try to align into a two line depth to the fleet.   The fast triremes close in on both edges. Contact seems imminent. 

Battle Phase
The ships have closed into bow shot range, and the Greeks fire first.  The Persian lead unit gets peppered with shots, killing the marines on half their ships.  

On the Persian West flank, the Fast Triremes move in on the exposed Persian ships.  However, they encounter a hail of arrows and sling stones.  1 ship loses its Marines, while enough rowers are lost on the other ships to slow them down.  

The oar damage slows them, but it is not enough and the Greek Western ships smash into the sides of the exposed Persian 5th squadron, and easily sink 3 ships.  

The Persian center pushes forward and manage to strike a straggler from the Greek 3rd Squadron and sink it.  Missile fire from the Persians removed marines from the Greek 2nd Squadron from 4 ships!  Return fire from the Greek 3rd causes some rower casualties on the Persians in return.  Counter-ramming from the Persian 4th Squadron sinks 4 ships from the Greek 3rd. 

The Ionian Cataphract 2nd Squadron fired furiously on the Persian 2nd, but had soon run out of ammo on most of their ships! 

The Greek admiral realizes he does not want to take his Fast triremes head-to-head with the heavier Persian squadron.  He attempts to veer off, and fire with his archers for little effect.  However, it is enough to keep the Persian vessels in the 1st Squadron from ramming him. 

The End Phase
As the Greek Admiral outdistances his pursuers he decides that enough is enough, and in the best interests of his city-state, decides to sail away to safety and take his fellow citizens with him!  The Greek 2nd Squadron after being barraged by Persian ships also decides to leave the battle.  

Remnants of the Persian 5th Squadron smash into the sides of the Greek 4th squadron and sink two vessels.  However, they are sunk in return by the rest of the Ionian squadron. The Persian 4th sinks the last of the Greek 3rd Squadron, and they pepper the Greek 4th with arrows.  They lose their marines.

The Persians have broken through the center of the Greek fleet, and the rest scatter.  The Battle of Lade is over. 

Persians in grey, and Greeks in brown

The betrayal of the Ionian Admiral and the Greek 2nd Squadron proved decisive.  It left the East flank completely undefended, and the Western flank of the Greek fleet had all ready been badly mauled.  However, the Fast triremes on that flank had been effective and together with the other Ionian ships had managed to defeat the Persian 5th Squadron completely in the West.  However, it was too little, and too late as the Persian smashed through the Greek center.  

The Persians had 5 ships sunk, and minimal casualties beyond that.  The Greeks lost 7 triremes, but took pretty heavy casualties, especially on the 2nd Squadron that decided to sail away.  Both Fast Trireme units were in good shape, with the one in the West taking rower casualties. 

This was the second battle where flank attacks by the Fast Triremes proved effective tactically, but failed to be the decisive action of the battle.  Both battles were decided in the center.  My opponent and I will need to re-think how best to use those fast assets.  

This was a semi-historical outcome.  In the actual battle, the desertions happened on the West flank and led to Persian victory there.  Here it was the East flank.  However, either way it was another Persian victory in the campaign and matched the Historical outcome.  This gives the Persians the decisive lead winning 4 out of 5 battles so far.  

Now, it is time for the final defeat of Miletus and to crush this revolt once and for all!  

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