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Subject: Ephesus 498BC rss

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Timothy Bowden
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This is my first attempt to use the Lost Battles system to refight (solo) a battle not included in the original list of scenarios.

All information used comes from Fred Ray's "Land Battles in 5th Century Greece"(see topic 'For the love of hoplites'for further discussion about this text).

This battle takes place during the Ionian revolt against Persian rule. The combined Ionian force, with some assistance from Athens and Eretria, have attacked Sardis and retreated towards the coast. They were pursued by a large Persian force and turned to fight on a plain near Ephesus.

Using the scale of each figure representing 125 men -

Greeks:
10 x average hoplites representing 5000 Ionians
4 x veteran hoplites representing 1000 Athenians/Eretrians
1 x levy light infantry representing 1000 psiloi
1 x uninspired leader (Melanthios, leader of the Athenians)
Fighting value = 51
The Athenians get veteran status because they were able to retire from the battle and return to their ships. Melanthios is included to help keep them together, and because I like having a leader present.

Persians:
6 average and 2 levy archers representing around 5000 sparabara
4 levy heavy infantry rep. 4000 Mysians
4 average and 2 levy heavy inf rep. 4000 Lydians
4 average and 1 levy heavy cavalry rep. 1600 Persian cavalry
1 uninspired commander (Artaphernes)
Fighting value 63.

Only terrain of note is the River Cayster, running down the left flank side of the board from the Greek's perspective.
Ray estimates a battle line of c1.2 km, thus yielding an attack limit of 3.

On the first turn, both sides started shaking down into their historical placements. The Athenians headed out for the river, where they would have the advantage of all being able to fight (each vet unit only counting as .5, attack limit down to 2 in river tile). The rest of the hoplites formed up three per tile, with an extra in the centre right facing the Greek key tile. The light infantry were on the flank as a forelorn guard against encirclement.

The Persians also followed historical placement, with the Lydians facing off against the Athenians in a dense block of units (neither side were able to overcome the other in the battle, so the Persians need depth here to soak up hits) with the archers forming in the next two tiles, then the Mysians, and finally the cavalry on the extreme left.

It took a couple of moves before both sides were ready - by now, the Persian cavalry had moved forward and made short work of the levy psiloi. There was a short pause while they ran down the survivors...

In the middle, both sides began inflicting hits - the Athenians in particular began demonstrating their better fighting value.

But it was only a matter of time... The cavalry turned on the end of the Greek line, which turned to face, exposing a flank to the Mysians. This block held on well, but just as happened historically, ultimately gave way, triggering a general rout.

The Athenians meanwhile had held on, and even managed to finally rout the Lydians, which sent the nearest Persians into rout as well.
The final turn ended with this unit spent but still fully present at 4 units, thus avoiding the shame of routing - they were able to march back for their ships and sail home...

End result was a narrow victory for the Greeks... Historically, this was really a loss, but the action still matches pretty closely Ray's account of the battle.

I think there are still some tweaks needed to the order of battle for both sides...
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willial butler
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good report. Herodotus, who is the source for this battle, wrote that prior to the battle the Greeks had marched from their ships to Sardis, captured and burnt it, and were on their way back when the Persians caught up with them. There is the possibility that the Greeks army could be classed as fatigued.
source
Herodotus Histories Book 5 chapters 100, 101 and 102
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Steve Bishop
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Lytham St. Annes
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Tremendous work Timothy, only another 172 to go.

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Stephen Foulk
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Excellent work mate thumbsup
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Timothy Bowden
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Ah! The fatigued status is a great idea.

This could be a killer for the Greeks, since they just can't help themselves when it comes to becoming spent - they just have to go for it...

I'll fight it again with this variant. Wondering about making their psiloi average, but don't know if they deserve that.
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TimothyBowden wrote:
I'll fight it again with this variant. Wondering about making their psiloi average, but don't know if they deserve that.

Please take some pictures along the way, at least for the initial setup.
 
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Timothy Bowden
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I tinkered and refought this battle - geez, it is hard to get it right!

I made some changes to the Greeks, reducing their veteran hoplites from 4 units to 2, and giving them another average hoplite instead. I also changed one average hoplite to a levy hoplite. My reasoning was that the hoplites from the small city-states were probably not as able to participate in training.
Total fighting value now came out at 42, which is pretty small.

The Persians came out at 57, with a few tweaks.
(I can list all units if anyone interested).

I also made the Greeks fatigued, but confess I didn't always remember to apply that -1 to their combat roles.

I let the Persians move first, as it seemed it was their overtaking of the Greek force that forced them to stop and give battle.

I also focused both forces on fighting it out in the middle three tiles, except for the Greek left where the Persian cavalry sought to outflank them.

The challenge for the Greeks is to smash the Persian line before the cavalry overwhelm their light troops (who at least don't suffer the -1 when on the edge like their heavier cousins).

The rule that disallows attacks on the centre tiles in the same turn as units turn to face them from the flank and rear slowed down the effectiveness of this cavalry force. I wonder if the main Persian line would have been better off holding back. It is an expensive business to get a group of cavalry around the back...

On the board, this time the Persians routed the Greeks from the field. But in the scoring, the Greeks gained a clear victory! If I don't give them the 10 extra points for being fatigued (since I didn't always remember) that drops to a close victory.

Hmmmm...
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