Wednesday, 11 July 2018

The Battle for the Kizil Valley : Blood in the Sand

The Kingdom of Lydia has grown wealthy under the shrewd control of their ageing Kind Alyattes. Safely sat in his capital at Sardis he has expanded his kingdom swallowing up smaller states to the west. This has enabled increased trade across the Aegean with other states across the known world, he has also been fortunate to discover gold in significant quantities and with his son Croesus has recently started a Royal Mint replacing the old system of measuring value with what they are calling “coins”, their first examples have proved very popular.

But such wealth doesn’t go unnoticed and Lydian attempts to expand their influence to the East have angered those best kept as allies. Far to the East there is a growing empire under King Cambyses his fledgling empire known as the Medes is looking for more lands to bring under their control. King Cambyses has already become quite powerful and a substantial force has been sent west to occupy the the border region of Lydia, gold having an unusually powerful attraction to any Tyrant. This invading force is built around a core of his own troops but a significant number of mercenary troops and other units pulled from different parts of his empire. When news of the impending invasion reaches Sardis King Alyattes has immediately set out with the bulk of the Lydian army. But at the same time a message has been sent to the mountain tribes in the North asking for support. It is not clear at this stage if these reinforcements will arrive in time to influence the coming battle.

The left wing of the Lydian army under the King’s son Croesus in the distance the Medes are lined up
On the left flank of the Median army light Scythan horse archers have moved into the valley by the small oasis 
The Medes have also brought units of camel archers who have a particularly unpleasant smell about them, the Lydian cavalry had better beware 
An overview of the battlefield, Medes on the right and the Lydian on the left
The Lycians left flank is predominantly made of blocks of heavily armoured spearmen, tough but slow moving
A huge unit shuffled forward along the river valley, the river will slow any movement but is crossable by everything except chariots
The Medes have brought a single war elephant to the battle but it has come under early fire from a Lydian bolt thrower, it has turned away to seek cover amongst the trees by the river.
The Scythian horse archers have been chased back out of the valley
The centre of the Median line is held by blocks of archers and two heavy chariots, King Cambyses can be seen riding his own Royal Chariot
Having crashed through the River the elephant charges into an infantry block....but they hold and push the elephant back
The hill beyond the river sees the clash of huge infantry blocks
The centre of the Lydian line held by infantry armed with long spears which will one day be adopted by the Macedonians
Light cavalry clashing on the far flank
The Mercenary warriors fighting for the Medes are coming under pressure (we have a special rule which makes them more fragile)
The elephant now wounded just about to charge in again
The Medes also have some barbarian mercenaries who can be seen by the oasis, so fearce are they that they come to battle naked but so terrifying they have already wiped out a unit of Lydian spearmen
The Medes on the right are holding the line but only just
Finally the chariots have joined the battle, they had been holding back whilst their archers attacked from long range
At this stage all was balanced.....but then from nowhere the Lydian mountain tribes arrive out of the hills, crashing into the Median right flank
The hill tribes charging into battle...
Immediately one of the mercenary units is over run and forced to take a morale check, this failed two units can be seen running from the field
Lydian peltasts are the only troops on the right holding the high ground but this part of the battlefield is rapidly becoming a side show
In the centre, long range attacks from the Median bowmen and skirmishers has severely weakened the Lydian Centre
More Median spearmen are pushed forward to hold the bridge 
The final mercenary hoplite unit is now isolated and is easily overcome
The bridge is still being held by a small unit of camel archers
The battle is starting to pivot towards the river
One of the chariots moves across the bridge
On the far left the Lydian’s have won the day apart from some light cavalry and the camels the area is lost
The Lydian army reforms to move upto the river
Lydian cavalry approach the bridge supported by a unit of archers
The last unit of camel archers holding the shrinking bridgehead 
Suddenly the Lydian King finds himself isolated and takes a wound from some nearby skirmishers
Over the river the last Median light cavalry has been seen off
A final charge by the remaining chariot goes in to hold back the Lydians on the hill
Eventually the two armies having fought each other to a stand still face off across the river
At this point the two commanders having battled for several hours in the heat of the desert decided they could not get a decisive victory. Both armies would pull back to regroup.

Another excellent battle lots of fun and hard fought πŸ˜€ for those interested the game was played with KoW rules and took in the region of  5 hours to play.


  1. Great battle. See you saturday

  2. Camels, chariots and elephants, what’s not to like. A fine looking game and report, most splendid indeed, like the Featherstonian pics in particular.

    1. Thanks Phil I am certainly gradually finding the elements of the hobby I enjoy the most...........apart from the spectacle it has to be camels πŸͺ

  3. What a splendid tussle there! Wargaming as it’s meant to be.

    1. Thanks David.....very nice to be able to get a good sized game on the table πŸ™‚

  4. Colossal ancient battle, Matt, marked by many a fine unit. Tremendous collection you have. In which time period would say this battle falls?

    1. Thanks for time period, we’ll it is an imagination campaign. The historical references I use to build my background tend to be 700 to 200 BC a big time period but is flexible and encompasses all that is fun about ancient gaming.πŸ˜€

  5. Lovely game. At Phoenix, I picked up a copy of the KoW Historical set. They look very playable.

    1. Thanks Norm. We like the rules for the larger games but we have added a few local house rules around skirmishers and a few other bits πŸ˜€

  6. Great looking fun historical sword and sandals epic!
    Best Iain

    1. Wargaming at its best πŸ™‚ well for me anyway

  7. Nice report and table. Scenery looks good and I like the big blocks of infantry. πŸ˜€