Tuesday, 17 January 2017

Blood in the Sand : The Battle of Actae

For many years there has been bad blood between King Archesilaus of Mygdonia and the neighbouring ruler of Chalcidice, King Laertes III. Although both kingdoms are part of the the wider Macedon Alliance the grudge goes back a generation when the Kings grandmother Niceus had been betrothed to the Laertes II. The arranged marriage to unite the two Kingdoms fell through when it was discovered the Bride's dowry had been significantly under value......Iron coins painted gold hidden in amongst the real coinage. Since that time the Kingdoms whilst not openly at war had sought every opportunity to seek revenge. Local border battles and minor piracy in the Themaic Gulf had been the norm, with the small Chalcidian Fleet able to harass trading vessels heading for Therma the main Mygdonian port. This had gone on for many years with no major conflict as each King seethed in the background. The latest outrage however, where Chalcidian pirates had landed at the small fishing village of Actae and enslaved the entire population had prompted a more significant response. Both Kings have despatched sizeable armies to the Border to stamp their authority on the location. On the sandy desert plain behind the village the two armies have met.....

The Mygdonian forces led by Archesileus' son in law General Triptolemus consists of two Regiments of the Kings Royal Cavalry, two large Regiments of Lowland Levy troops armed with the new style longer scarissa pikes, two units of Hoplites from Thema, a collection of mercenary infantry paid for by the  Kings treasury and a range of light troops and peltasts rounded up from the poorer areas of the capital. Laertes finding himself  dragged into the conflict by the over zealous pirates is looking to make the most of a bad job and has despatched his senior General Kyknos with the Chalcidian army, four large units of Hoplites, three of these being well trained armoured troops from the main Chalcidian cities of Acanthus, Stagirus and Olynthus. A large unit of Slingers and light cavalry from the highlands around Mt Athos. A unit of lighter armed Hoplites and the Mendean spearmen. These are also supported by a small unit of peltasts and mercenary Cretan Archers. The forces are surprisingly equal in size, the battle field is a broadly flat sandy plain with a dry river bed restricting one flank, the small clumps of palms trees will provide some cover but not restrict movement.


The armies have lined up on broadly the same front, the Athos light horsemen and Slingers have run forward to harass the enemy as it advances. The Mygdonian Royal Cavalry are facing them and preparing to charge. In the middle ground the levy pikemen supported by the Thema Hoplites are marching steadily forward. In the distance the village of Actae.
A closer look at the Chalcidian peltasts and Athos Slingers, the main Chalcidian battle line is holding its ground attempting to pull the Pikemen forward out of line so they can be fought and destroyed piecemeal.
The Slingers and light horsemen have had a dramatic effect on the Kings Royal Cavalry and having failed to charge home they are now in turn charged by the remaining light horse and peltasts.
Some of the Mygdonian barbarian mercenaries advance to help whilst the cavalry melee swirls back and forth, eventually outnumbered the Royal Cavalry breaks off from the combat leaving the Mygdonian skirmishers and mercenaries to force the opposing light horsemen back as well.
General Triptolemus on his grey horse can be seen urging his left wing forward, in the centre the slow inevitable advance of the pikemen continues, the Chalcidian are holding their ground possibly put off slightly by the collapse of their right wing.
The Athos light horse flee from the battlefield, whilst the Chalcidian Hoplites brace for the charge.
Closer to the village unarmoured Hoplites have pushed forward to the small group of trees but haven't noticed the advance of the second regiment of Royal Heavy Cavalry....if they are not careful, and they aren't, they will be charged in the flank.
In the foreground light troops continue to push forward pursuing the Athos light horse off the table securing the Mygdonian left flank.
With a crash the regiments in the centre clash, but the Chalcidian Hoplites are well disciplined and despite the longer levy pikes they hold their ground. In the distance the Royal Cavalry are pursuing the remain unarmoured hoplites off the battlefield. Both generals have moved to the centre of the battle field where things will be decided. But there is not enough room to make the Mygdonian superior numbers count. Instead the Chalcidian Hoplites, first hold them, then gradually force them back before the levy break and run for their lives.
To his obvious consternation Triptolemus is unable to rally the levy and has to lead the final decisive charge himself, one final clash of spear on shield, initially the Chalcidians hold but just in time the Royal Cavalry are able to reform and bring a crushing charge to their rear. Triptolemus and Kyknos can been seen in hand to hand combat but before a decisive blow can be made or Kyknos captured the remaining Chalcidians turn and flee. In the confusion Kyknos escapes but it is unlikely his reception back at the palace will be a warm one.

Having ensured the protection of the village and paid appropriate honour to their dead Triptolemus leads his force forward into Chalcidian territory. His King has made it clear the Chalcidians must be made to pay for their dishonour..........

14 comments:

  1. Great AAR, the campaign background gives the whole a solid narrative.

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    1. Thanks AJ I am hoping the campaign will develop gradually with time๐Ÿ™‚

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  2. Cracking opening battle. death to pirates

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  3. Looks very nice, great looking armies and terrain...

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  4. This is one of those comments where I've no idea what to say, except it all looks very good and you've obviously thought a bit about it all. It'll be fun to see where you take this - personally I'm hoping for a small naval clash between a trio of royal ships against a couple of pirates caught in a bay...but that's just me ;)

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    1. This is one of those campaigns where I have no idea where it is going.....but I know I will eventually get some camels ๐Ÿ˜€

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  5. Lovely table...lovely figs...exciting and close run battle! Looking forward to the next episode!

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    1. Thanks as always....really just an excuse to play more games, buy more figures etc.......

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  6. Entertaining back story, fine collection, super pictures and good AAR. Worth the visit and no mistake.

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    1. Too kind too kind.......secretly it is all really just an excuse to get elephants on the battlefield ๐Ÿ˜€

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  7. A fine narrative, splendid looking table and well turned out toys, inspirational blogging indeed.

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    1. Thanks Phil you are very kind, such warm support encourages me to do more ๐Ÿ˜Š

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