Carthaginians and pseudo-pikes I (Antipater, II/18a)

25 July, 2010

The week before the Christchurch Wargames Club DBA competition I got back from my travels without my family (who stayed in Korea for 10 more days). As John is now working not far from me we took the opportunity to have a couple of games at my house after he finished work. These were a workout for the Carthaginians, who were still seeking their first win after seven games. To this end we chose to recreate some pike armies for the Carthaginians to face; this involved pressing some Saxon fyrd into service as pikemen and rounding up the usual suspects of knights, Irish and a giant to fill out the rest of the army. In the first battle, we recreated the army of Antipater,  the man left in charge of Europe when Alexander went east. This has a 3Kn commander, a 3Cv, six 4Pk, a 4Ax, an El and two 2Ps. As mentioned these were played by Saxons, Irish, Normans and a giant.

One can imagine that Hasdrubal was still at sea, and had come across a very odd collection of men, one for which I’ll forbear to attempt a rational! He was the attacker (from memory), but Pseudo-Antipater chose to play a waterway, a road, two hills, one steep and the other gentle, and a large wood.

Hasdrubal got to face the enemy with the waterway to their back, but he was too cautious to try a littoral landing. The Saxon ‘phalanx’ was split between either side of the giant, and had only one rear element between two front ones, an experiment to increase their frontage.  On the steep hill were the Irish, while the cavalry was kept in reserve.

Initial Deployments: Antipater on the left and Hasdrubal on the right. One Saxon element appears back from the road, owing to its unfortunate habit of upending the narrow base!

Hasdrubal went for only one elephant, and took some Gallic mercenary cavalry along with two psloi and two warbands as his other options. He deployed with his warbands and Spanish facing the Irish and his spear and Numidians on the right flank. In the centre was his cavalry and elephant.

Initial contact was made on the left flank, where the Irish attacked with the advantage of higher ground. In this encounter the bonnachts were recoiled by the Gallic warband.

Recoil and follow up by the Gauls.

The Spanish then moved in to give flanking support, but even with this the Gauls were forced back by some kerns. The other Gauls got a stick, but were now in a fairly unenviable position, far forward wtihout suppport.

Gauls fail to dislodge doughty kerns.

At this point the Gauls on the hill ran out of steam and were rolled over by the bonnachts. This flank was now effectively a stalemate, with neither side having enough to make progress, but it was a situation that definitely suited Anipater more than Hasdrubal.

The rash advance of the Gauls finally comes to grief. Note how the Carthaginian elephant has skilfully advanced in front of his spear!

There then ensued a bit of skirmishing; the Numidians made a run for the opposition camp, but were rebuffed; in fact they were put to flight, which got them back to where they could harass the opponent’s rear. The elephant, facing pike recoiled over some of his spear—oops.


The elephant has backed over his spear, and the Numidians have fled from the camp, close to the enemy's rear.

Hasdrubal then set to trying personally to destroy an element of pike. Yet despite Numidians to the rear he failed. At this point, annoyed at the failure of the dice to let a single combat that mattered go in my favour, I stopped taking photos! At this point, over a week later and with no photos to remind me, I’m not sure how the end came for the Carthaginians, but after two promising starts on each flank had failed the Carthaginians were becoming despondent (and jetlag was also working against them!. They’d had the advantage in each of the combats, but failed: 3-2 against the kerns and 4-3 against the pike, each with support on the flank or in the rear.

So this battle trailed off to become the Carthaginians eighth consecutive defeat (not counting the solo game). By now I was really beginning to despair of the Carthaginians, as although I had made plenty of mistakes, I was having no luck with the dice; perhaps I should have gone with the Gauls, who seem to win despite my generalship! However, to blame the dice for my defeat is detract from John’s generalship; he did not allow me the luxury of recovering from my mistakes or unlucky combats.

4 Responses to “Carthaginians and pseudo-pikes I (Antipater, II/18a)”

  1. John Says:

    Hi Mark,

    Eventually your General went down to a friction kill – leaving the final score 4G-1 from memory.

    You are rapidly running out of Barcas! I am sure I will run into Bob Barca soon – but please, please, please do not field an army commanded by Phil Barca! 🙂

    • Mark Davies Says:

      Thanks, I think, like Gibbon when describing Tertullian’s enthusiastic description of the last days, I drew a veil over that unhappy conflict!

      As for running out of Barcas, this may be the first time the general has died in battle for my Carthos. He’s actually been pretty solid, let down by the rest of the army! In most games he’s succeeded in killing an enemy element. This particular Hasdrubal has also been at sea for a while, and not had to explain his losses to the 104 yet. He’s hoping for a few big wins before that happens! Crucifixion is so damaging to one’s career!

  2. John Says:

    True. Fine if you are a Messiah, a bad day overall if you are not! Looking forward to the reports on our second game and the Cantabrian combats!

    • Mark Davies Says:

      Yes, not really heard about the afterlife of crucified Carthaginian generals!

      Just written up last weeks games, as there are no photos to jog my memory, and am starting on the others now.

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