Persians vs. Macedonians  

By Jos Dijkman


On August 4th 2007, Darius encountered Alexander in a 2000 points battle.


The Plan and Strategy

The plan of Darius was to focus the scythed chariots on one phalanx unit to less than 16 models, after which the Noble Cavalry was intended to break the phalanx, after which the Persian Cavalry,  assisted by the Dahae would roll op the phalanxes by charging in the flank. The Persian Cavalry, on the side assisted by the Takabares, were hoping to hold the Macedonian cavalry long enough. The Dahae had a secondary roll to shoot down any skirmishers which could block the path of the chariots. The Mardian archers were needed to reduce the numbers of the phalanx even more (should the chariots fail their objective).

The plan of Alexander was to use a refused centre strategy, where the phalanxes were hold one side of the field and the light cavalry, Hypaspists and Companions were to strike on the other side and advance to the back.


As everybody knows; plans never survive contact with the enemy...

Phalanx on the left and companion cavalry on the right.


The armies

Persian Army

8 Satrapal Cavalry with heavy armour
12 Takabara in skirmish formation
16 Kardakes with large shield
16 Melophorai with large shield and light armour
12 Mardian archers
2 Scythed chariots
12 half barded, heavy armoured Noble Cavalry, including the army battle standard barrer
8 Persian Cavalry with heavy armour
8 Dahae
16 Kardakes with large shield
13 Takabara in skirmish formation
8 Persian Cavalry with heavy armour

The great King Darius in Chariot located behind the Scythed chariots


Macedonian Infantry

10 Alexander the Great with 9 companion cavalry with xyston and heavy armour.
16 Hypaspists with light armor and thrusting spear.
25 Pezhetairoi with pike and shield and the army battle standard bearer
25 Pezhetairoi with pike and shield
25 Pezhetairoi with pike and shield
25 Pezhetairoi with pike and shield
9 Light cavalry with thrusting spear
10 Agrianians with buckeler and slings
9 Skirmishers with buckler and javelins
9 Skirmishers with buckler and javelins
9 Skirmishers with buckler and javelins
9 Skirmishers with buckler and javelins



The Start

Before the start of the game, Darius had send a message to Alexander and offered him halve of his wives and land in exchange for peace.

Alexander turned this offer down...

The Persians used the option for a flat battle ground and started  first.

The Dahae, Scythed chariots, all other cavalry moved forwards. The Dahae shot at the Light Cavalry and missed.

In the next turn, the Light Cavalry, Companions, Hypaspists slowly moved forward, threatening the right flank of Darius and threatening to charge the flank of the Noble Cavalry. The skirmishers shot and missed.

The Persians, especially the cavalry, had difficulties to position themselves, due to the massed cavalry rule. This took the next turn. The Dahae shot one Light Cavalry model. Weak as they were, they preferred to shoot the enemy from a distance instead of charging them.

The armies clash

Then the Light Cavalry of Alexander, bold as they are, defying the rain of missiles shot at them, charged into the Dahae, which lost the combat and fled away. A hole was created in the lines of the Persians. Darius was threatened. Would he flee?

The 2 scythed chariots charged into the phalanx. They rolled a 1 and a 2. The phalanx lost the combat by -1 but held their ground. The  following panic tests of the Persians due to the destroyed chariot were all passed, thanks to the inspiring presence of Darius.

The Persian Cavalry, on the right, charged into the companions. They failed by a fraction of an inch...

The Satrapal Cavalry charged into a unit of skirmishers on the left flank, which fled and caused the other unit of skirmishers to panic too.

Then Alexander acted. The phalanxes charged their opposing units, the companions and Hypaspists charged the Kardakes. The Satrapal cavalry fled immediately, the Kardakes lost the combat and fled, which caused a chain reaction because the Melophoroi and Mardian archers fled too.


The end

The combined action of Hypaspists and companions caused the Kardakes to flee, the pursuing companions caught them, the Hypaspists pursuing into the remaining Persian cavalry and to make matters worse: ALexanders's
skirmishers shot at the 8 Persian cavalry on the right and caused 4 wounds. The unit was now too small to do a serious flank attack.

The Persian army collapsed, with only Darius and the noble cavalry in an offensive position...

The Conclusion
The game, we both concluded, was a great and tense game, although the outcome was dramatic for the Persian player.

Looking back, it is clear the Darius never should have offered peace to Alexander. This demoralized his army to start with, causing bad die rolls and misjudgements of distances covered.

The other reflections are that small units of Kardakes stand no change against either phalanx nor Macedonian cavalry. The Persian cavalry is very slow and can hardly manoeuvre. They cannot be used in separate units, but should be used as big blocks of (expensive) infantry.

Thanks to Richard for a great game and the next battle will see a battle hardened Darius, looking for revenge...

Happy gaming,

Jos Dijkman


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