Alexander's Successors 323-47 BC

Ptolemy Keraunos (Early Macedonian) vs. Early Galatians


Part 1:

The Galatian horde was arrayed across the plain with it's warbands in order left to right facing the gallant army of Ptolemy Keraunos: 24 Warriors 42 Warriors 30 Warriors 40 Warriors 1 Scythed chariot 40 Warriors 8 Cavalry 3 Chariots in reserve behind the cavalry.
The Thunderbolts army was arrayed facing the Galatian invaders from left to right: 15 Thracian Warriors 15 Thracian Warriors 30 Mercenary Hoplites 25 Recruits Elephant 25 Mercenaries 1 Light Bolt Thrower 25 Recruits 9 Companions with the ASB.

Ptolemy's army advanced initially across it's entire frontage. The Companions on the far right were screened off from the rest of the army by a gentle hill, so Ptolemy ordered the unit of recruits on that flank to the top of the hill to tie the line together and to give them an advantage of being up hill. His bolt thrower continued to fire at the scythed chariot to no avail as the Galatian horde advanced. The Companions struck first and charged the Galatian chariots which had moved up as the Galatian cavalry had moved further to the right flank. The chariots were defeated with the loss of a single companion and the pursuit put the companions out of harms way from being charged by the Galatian cavalry and a large warband. This warband struck next though, and along with the scythed chariot slammed into the unit of recruits positioned on the hill...miraculously, the recruits held as the scythed chariot killed just 4 of their men and the warband could not penetrate the wall of pikes.

At the same time, the unit of Mercenary Hoplites was charged and held against another large warband. Things were looking up for Ptolemy little did he know things would shortly change. The companions maneuvered to threaten the rear of the Galatian line. The unit of Thracians on the far left hit the smallest warband in the army in the flank and defeated it. The Mercenary hoplites on the left of the main line and the recruits on the hill on the right continued a grinding combat...winning, but having their enemies hold.

In the center it was time to strike! Ptolemy Keraunos ordered the other unit of recruits to engage one of the two remaining warbands while charging into the other accompanied by the mercenary pike and elephant. How quickly things can change though as his elephant was completely ineffective...he himself didn't kill a single Galatian warrior, and his mercenary pike grumbled about their pay and gave a half hearted effort...the Galatians won the combat by 3...stampeding the elephant, routing the general and the mercenary pike, and panicing the nearby recruits.

The battle was lost and Ptolemy Keraunos was run down by a mass of Galatians...his last thought was "at least I didn't fall off an elephant"...


Playtested the Early Mac list vs. the Galatians (run by Joe) at 1970 points (the current limit on Joe's Galatians...keep painting Joe!). The battle developed nicely for me with the companions winning and holding with the recruits on the right while maneuvering with the 2 units of Thracians on the left against the small 24 man warband. I hoped to gain an advantage on the left and right and force Joe to peel off a warband against these threats while holding my line. The plan was working until the big combat in the center...I only did 2 casualties with 20 attacks (3 general, 6 elephant and crew, 11 pike) while Joe did 4 AND had his ASB in the unit...

I proceeded to roll 9's for the break tests, but only 5's for the flee and Joe caught me. Joe rolled low the entire game except for that one combat...but he was consistently low...only doing 1 or 2 casualties per round and losing the combat, but then rolling 2's and 3's for break tests...I on the other hand rolled high except for that one combat in the center...doing lots of damage, but then failing my break and panic checks miserably. The new Successor phalanx ability was a non-factor vs. warbands with 5 ranks.

After discussion with Joe, an "outnumber" result may better than the extra ranks...especially if you don't want to see phalanxes arrayed 4 wide by 7 deep! Galatian fury worked...the WS 4 really mattered against the pike in the first round and gave them a legitimate chance of winning...after that initial round the advantage swings to the pike with more armor, the -1 to hit, striking first, and fighting in 2 ranks. We liked how this worked.


Part 2:

King Bolgius of the Galatians, Overlord of Thrace, calls out King Ptolemy Keraunos of Macedon to defend his throne and life. With over 4,000 Warriors, a thousand young skirmishers, 500 Mounted Warriors and a corps of Chariots, Bolgius is confidant of victory. The enemy are rumoured to have a formidable 1,500 Pike and Silver shields, plus two separate Thracian allied contingents mustering at around 1,000 each. The core of the Macedonian Army is the Companions, thought to number around 250 men, but as a force they are formidable! Even in mounted, likely even in skirmishers, the two armies will clash and it will be seen if a paltry 1,500 'good foot' can hold back the tide of 4,000 screaming barbarians!

The dawn of the day of battle ...... the war drums of the Galatians fill the hills to the North, and the hills are suddenly covered in a swarm of figures, so many that the very earth seems to darken, so many that only a very rough guess can be made of numbers. Still a half days march away, yet so slowly dawns upon the Macedonians that these are the families of the warriors...not just an army, but a whole people are on the move. The families sit and spread little cloths and settle down for a picnic, to watch the sport, the slaughter of the Macedonians. Mothers point out the fine arts of killing Greeks to children.....then all falls deathly quiet... The Galatian Army seems, to the Macedonians, to appear almost magically out of the mists. So close that there is now no going back, so close that the Galatians are committed to attack. So close that the Macedonians could not now withdraw if they wanted to.

Suddenly a thousand youths rush forward form the Galatian lines...and the battle begins..... One observer comments "I'm glad those bloody barbarians don't march in step for if they did the very walls of Pella would tumble!" The marauding Galatians entered into a broad plain between the mountains and expanded to fill the valley floor. The four thousand warriors, with the Skirmishers in front, moved forward, with Light Cavalry and Chariots extending around the right flank and the Noble Cavalry around the left. The Scythed Chariots occupied gaps between the four great blocks of warriors. King Bolgius and his standard stood back apart from his men.

Bolgius had learnt of the Greek fighting methods, and his head swam with ideas on how he was going to win, but sadly he did not understand the art of war as well as he thought he did. Seeing that he had a huge advantage in Infantry and Skirmishers, Bolgius sent his forward, and sought to drive off the Enemy left flank Skirmisher Cavalry, while seeking to avoid the strong enemy left wing cavalry. Early on things went well, the left flank Noble Cavalry, on seeing the enemy Thracian light cavalry trying to outflank them, turned and with a hail of Javelins broke them. They then turned to face the Thracian foot, taking a position on a hill in an attempt to 'pin' them, while skirmishers and a warband moved up in support. It was then that the Elephant was spotted, luckily well away from the mounted Nobles!

On Bolgius' right the enemy cavalry in Wedge charged into skirmishers, who had been trying to damage them, with javelins. The Javelinmen fled and in doing so allowed the Light cavalry to be caught standing by the charging wedge of Thracian Nobles. Elsewhere skirmishers [all Javelin armed] were getting in the way of the warbands, delaying the clash for no good reason. Mean while the Chariots sought to flank to the extreme right, a little hemmed in by some broken ground, were charged by Peltasts and chose to evade, but sadly this evade took them right back to hills, failing to rally over the rest of the game.

So, the enemy had flanked Bolgius to the Right, and he pondered for just a moment before deciding to personally intervene [Warband Roll of 1] and he charged the Noble wedge in the flank....taking the Standard bearer with him 'just in case'! One scythed chariot moved to be in range to charge in support...and the skirmishers were pulled back to protect the rear of the advance... Finally things were hotting up, as one warband and one scythed chariot charged, sadly into different targets. The veterans were so close to the enemy they could almost breathe on them, and the Galatian flanks were turning outwards to face threats.

The Scythed chariots proved to be an expensive waste, only being really useful if they could combine with the huge [52 figure] warband blocks...which Bolgius failed to achieve. The warband clashed with a Pike block, only to find them being veterans...the Warband lost the first round of melee, despite being led by a chieftain....but they held their ground [4 needed, 4 rolled!]. Sadly the Elephant was so close it could touch them with its trunk, and inevitably charged in! Before that, however, fleeing slowly skirmishers on the left held up the combat, and Bolgius and his Standard Bearer did no hits, and took no casualties, so lost 'automatically' on the 'battle of the bands'....and failed both test, and retest on leadership to stand [and of course also broke automatically because of being < 5 figures].

The wedge pursued [even though facing the wrong way, it's still a wedge so turns to pursue]. The King and his Standard bearer just escaped the pursuit, although it did just reach the Scythed Chariot. So King Bolgius rallies, the Standard bearer legs it, the Scythed chariot is destroyed and the wedge pursues into the skirmishers, who take 50% [6] losses from the wedge, get no fight back and lose the other 50% in the pursuit..Ouch! But the unit fighting the Veteran Pike and an Elephant break and are caught by the pike, who then charge into the left flank warband...and are assisted in this by the Rhomphia Thracians. The veteran warband take minimal losses from the Peltasts javelins and charge, into a pike until and the Peltasts. The noble cavalry, no longer with any support, are charged by the warband 'wild Thracians', and defeated, just, but of course the cavalry break...the enemy being warband!

The left warband wins the fight against the veteran Pike and Rhomphia men, mainly because they kill so many Rhomphia men that these get little fight back, and the Veteran Pike failed to do much damage. The Pike stand, as they are 'Stubborn', but the Rhomphia unit breaks and the Pike panic, despite a re-roll!. The warband pursues and takes out both units...the Rhomphia unit only because the stubbornness of the pikes..otherwise they would have escaped! The veteran armoured Galatians fight Ptolemy [now on foot with Pike], Pike and Mercenary Peltasts. Due to the Pike and the Peltasts fighting 2 ranks deep the veterans lose badly, they break and are pursued and destroyed! The battle ends with the remaining two about to destroy the elephant, having contacted the flank in pursuit of the Pike and Rhomphia-men, and the other surrounded ...having been evaded by the only enemy it could charge!

A crushing defeat for Bolgius, who escaped .... but is unlikely to ever lead an army again...probably just as well given his incompetence. Lessons:- Don't go for 4x12 Skirmishers with Javelins....take half as many at most! Put the General in a unit, same with the Standard Bearer! Don't take Scythed Chariots against Pike...well take them only if you can work out how to get them in with another unit! Take more foot, maybe...... Galatians even with ferocity are poor as they only get a single rank...and against troops like Pike who fight first this is not that valuable..the veteran pike killed 6 a only got the Chieftain and 3 other rolls 6 dead, max 5 kills in return! Don't try to be over clever with Galatians...steam into everything..EXCEPT PIKE!




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