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Subject: 2nd Mantinea at SELWG rss

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Philip Sabin
United Kingdom
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At the SELWG show in south London last Sunday, we easily completed three refights of the classic large scale hoplite clash at 2nd Mantinea in 362 BC, despite the show running only from 1000 to 1600.



In the first refight, the Thebans advanced the cavalry and infantry on their right to outflank the Allies should they advance, while the Allies moved forward only in the centre, creating a stand-off across most of the battlefront. Fighting meanwhile raged by Mytikas hill, with the Allies shifting two more heavy cavalry units across to reinforce this sector. Epaminondas was hard pressed, making three successful rally attempts and nearly dying during one of his many failed attempts. However, his wing achieved six hits on turn 4, and on turn 5 it broke through as his centre finally advanced to engage. The Allies at last advanced their own left on turn 6 to avoid being defeated piecemeal, but their outflanked centre collapsed that turn and on turn 7 their left followed suit. The Thebans won a clear game victory by 90 points to 62.



Our second game had several audience participants, and was a nail-biting contest which swung back and forth for two hours of play. This time the Allies advanced their centre at the outset, and on turn 3 they pushed this force forward into the pocket of the refused Theban centre while advancing their left also to meet the advancing Theban right (as shown in the picture above). The frenzied clashes next to Mytikas meanwhile raged on, but this time it was on the Theban right where the brittle subject hoplites had all been shattered by turn 5, leaving only the cavalry and light infantry to play for time as best as they could. Epaminondas again made three successful rallies and nearly died in the process, but on turn 6 he finally broke the Allied right, prompting the pocketed enemy centre to flee as well when on the brink of victory. The Allied left fought on for two more turns against the pesky cavalry and light troops until a cavalry charge into its rear from Epaminondas's wing ended the battle. This time the battered Thebans won only a narrow game victory, by 87 points to 80.

We rushed to begin the third refight lest it too prove to be such a drawn-out contest, but in fact it was over in only an hour. Both sides advanced immediately all along the line, producing a simultaneous linear clash. The Allied centre performed very well, breaking through on turn 4 and surging forward into the gap. Epaminondas again nearly died rallying his men, but on turn 4 his own wing broke its Allied opponents and shattered the Spartans who continued to resist. The resulting morale shock carried away all the rest of the Allied army, and the Thebans won another clear game victory by 84 points to 57.



All three refights showed the critical importance of luck regarding Epaminondas's own survival. He could easily have died as he did historically, producing a much more equivocal outcome in the battle as a whole. However, even with the front so constrained between the impassably steep Mytikas and Kapnistra hills, there were still plenty of difficult tactical choices regarding whether to advance or hold back across the rest of the line and regarding the best way to employ the numerous cavalry and light troops. All in all, the day was another great success, and it provided an impressive and dynamic spectacle thanks to the combination of my terrain and the troops of Eric, Alan and Mark (pictured above).

Phil
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Barry Kendall
United States
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Very entertaining report. Thank you for the excellent photos. It truly looks to have been an epic day!
 
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David
New Zealand
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May the Great Spirit Bless all who read this.
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As usual another great session report
 
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Roger Hobden
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Thanks for the AAR !
 
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Jim F
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You know with Hitler? the more I learn about that guy, the more I don't care for him
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Ashwin
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How did I forget SELWG was on?
 
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