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Subject: Alexander Campaign 3: Issus rss

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Philip Sabin
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With the honours even in the campaign so far, the protagonists prepared for the massive duel at Issus, with Darius's vast but fragile forces sheltering behind the River Pinarus as shown below.



On turn 2, Darius exploited a good command roll to dispatch light infantry onto Mount Amanus and to surge his massed horsemen and half the Greek mercenaries across the river up to the maximum stacking limit, following them himself from safely behind the lines. Parmenio's men inflicted considerable losses on the hordes crossing the river, but there were always more to take their place. Alexander opted not to attack the rest of the strong Persian line for the moment, but instead he led his Companion cavalry to drive the skirmishers off the foothills first.



On turn 3, Alexander used his new-found 'flip flop' ability and reversed the turn order from this point on. However, he was not able to break cleanly through the light infantry, and a lone Persian skirmish unit gave ground in a delaying action. Rule 8.7 stopped Parmenio from attacking twice in succession, but instead he pulled back the Thessalian horse on his extreme left and sent some of his other cavalry and infantry to bolster the rest of the line, left rather thin by Alexander's absence. Unfortunately the Persian horsemen charged forward vigorously and left Parmenio's remaining units dangerously battered. Darius used another good command roll to summon two more hoplite units from the centre to reinforce what was turning into a very promising attack.



On turn 4, Parmenio decided that discretion was the better part of valour, and pulled back his flanking forces to the left rear zone, himself joining the centre which would be key in resisting any further Persian attack. Alexander realised that there was now no time to lose in breaking the other Persian wing, and he led his own guard horsemen down across the river while sending other cavalry across the foothills to see off the pesky delaying force and turn onto the enemy flank in due course. Darius bit the bullet and followed his victorious cavalry as they surged after the retreating Macedonians, doing great execution and shattering a phalanx unit. He also ordered his centre to advance out of its fortifications and protect his inner flank, even though the river now counted against rather than in favour of his men and even though most of the mercenaries were left behind in the confusion of successive redeployments.



On turn 5, Alexander inflicted several hits on the Persian left but suffered just as badly in return as he crossed the river, even having his own guard hit. The fighting in the centre was just as evenly balanced despite the poorer quality of the Persian foot, and on the other wing the Persian horsemen surpassed themselves under Darius's watchful eye, shattering all but one of the remaining Macedonian units.



On turn 6, the Persian cavalry broke through along the coast, while Alexander was still held up in the river despite the arrival of his flanking cavalry force. Both sides' forces in the centre were exhausted and on the brink of collapse.



Turn 7 was the high watermark for the Persians, with their left and centre hanging on bitterly despite repeated blows, and with their victorious cavalry surging round to outflank and surround Parmenio's beleaguered centre. It looked for a moment as if Darius might actually pull off a real battlefield victory against all the qualitative odds.



On turn 8, the fragile morale of the Persians at last came back to haunt them, as the Macedonians shattered two more units and slipped some exhausted troops through the gap to occupy the enemy camp. Seeing this, Darius's nerve failed him and he turned and fled while he had the chance, followed by the entire Persian army including three fresh and hitherto victorious cavalry units. As at the Granicus, only the four surviving Greek mercenary units stood their ground amidst the rout, even shattering some of the Macedonians who were rashly looting the camp.



On turn 9, Alexander and Parmenio did their best to inflict the one final hit which would end the struggle once and for all, but they were unable to do so, and the Greeks marched away in good order, covering the retreat of their timid paymaster as the bloodied and exhausted Macedonians lost the opportunity to inflict further damage before time ran out on turn 10.



Although Alexander eventually held the field as he did historically, his army was so gutted (with three average and three veteran units shattered) that it was no surprise that the handicap system penalised him severely. The Macedonians scored 96 victory points (including a 5 point award for seizing the enemy camp) but the Persians achieved no fewer than 124, giving them well over the margin of 19 needed for a major game victory in this scenario. After this battle, the Macedonians have 8 campaign victory points but the enemy have 13, a big lead with just two battles remaining.
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Gav DBM
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Wow. Darius did very well. Thanks for posting.
 
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