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Subject: Battle of Cyprian Salamis 498BC rss

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Timothy Bowden
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The Battle of Cyprian Salamis 498BC
(based on F Ray’s "Land Battles in 5th Century BC Greece")
At the time of the Ionian revolt from the Persian Empire, the eastern cities of Cyprus were largely Greek while those on the west tended to be Phoenician. The most powerful polis was Salamis, ruled by the tyrant Gorgus who was loyal to Persia. He was overthrown by his brother Onesilaus, who led a revolt by the Greek cities against the Persians.
Despite help from an Ionian fleet, it proved impossible to stop Persian forces led by Artybius from landing and linking in with the loyal Phoenicians.
Battle took place on the plain outside the city of Salamis.
Most cities on both sides were ruled by local royalty who still employed war chariots. On the Greek side, Onesilaus was able to muster 200 chariots, 10 000 hoplites and around 2500 psiloi.
The Persians landed 6000 sparabara, 200 heavy cavalry and 1800 peltasts. They were joined by 100 chariots, 5000 heavy infantry (some hoplites) and another 1200 psiloi.
Both commanders led units into action, and Herodotus describes Onesilaus, in his chariot, killing Artybius. However, elsewhere other Greek chariout units deserted, and the tide of battle turned when Onesilaus was surrounded and killed, resulting in a Persian victory.
In game terms, this battle takes place on open tiles, as the site is described as a plain, and no terrain features appeared to have impacted on the outcome.
Greeks:
1 x Average Leader [Onesilaus, leading from the front – gets average status since he was able to persuade the other cities to revolt)
2 x veteran chariot units (…since there are no black average chariots, these have to be veteran – but at least this raises the overall army FV and can serve to denote wealthy aristocratic warriors)
10 x average Hoplites
2 x average Light Infantry
Persians:
1 x Average Leader (Artybius, leading the Heavy Cavalry from the front. Gets Average because he was able to persuade desertion)
6 x average Archers (have to use one levy archer and count it as average… wish there were more counters…)
1 x average Heavy Cavalry (did not fight well enough to get veteran status)
1 x veteran chariot
3 x average Light Infantry
3 x average Hoplites and 2 x average Heavy infantry
Other:
Attack limit of 3. Persian key zone in centre, Greek key zone centre right. Greeks enter first as battle takes place near Salamis.
The Battle:
The phalanx formed up three units per tile, with the extra bulking up the centre right. The two veteran chariots had express moved out to the wings, with Onesilaus in the one on the right. The psiloi were in front of the phalanx wings (I wanted to get them supporting the chariots, but they couldn’t get there… battle would have to have been delayed another turn or two by both sides to allow this)
The Persians had their sparabara in the centre and centre right, with the hoplites and heavy inf in centre left. A screen of light infantry fanned out ahead of the entire line. The heavy cavalry moved out to the left, and the chariots to the right.
Artybius and Onesilaus met on the Greek right wing. While the chariots enjoy an advantage, in this case it was the Persians who proved victorious, shattering the Greeks and causing Onesilaus to withdraw. On the other flank it was a different story as the veteran Greek chariot destroyed its counterpart.
In the main battle line fortunes ebbed and flowed. In the Greek centre left the psiloi were able to shatter the Persian light infantry, but then found themselves facing the massed bows of the sparabara (this was the first game I have played where archers have got to use their +1 vs light infantry bonus – very exciting) and were promptly shot to pieces (or at least spent).
The end came when Artybius and his cavalry attacked the rear of the phalanx on the right, causing it to collapse. The Punic heavy infantry and hoplites were then able to advance and roll up the centre. Only the lone veteran chariot, now spent, left. The King of Kings was again in control of Cyprus!
Final thoughts
Another fun use of the Lost Battle system to fight a battle from Ray’s book. The rules don’t really allow the set up to work out as he suggests without both sides agreeing not to attack for the first couple of turns (I could have done this in my solo game, of course, but didn’t worry about it). The little veteran chariots certainly looked exposed out on the wings – they would have been far happier to have some LI along. The desertion of one chariot unit is hard to model without making up some kind of house rule – in this case, the destruction of Onesilaus’unit could be seen as equivalent, though this meant Artybius got to survive and have a major impact with the HC.
I do enjoy watching the whole battle line creak and groan as unit after unit is spent, wondering who will achieve a breakthrough. The race to turn each flank victory into a battle-winner was also interesting.
…and I haven’t even played all the actual scenarios yet! And there are another 171 battles in Ray’s book to go! (Though some are far too small to do)
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Kevin 'Rocky' Robertson
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Nice job and thanks for this, any chance next time to have some pictures?

No problems if you can't just makes it a lot easier to follow :)

Also remember, no battle is too small, some are just hugh!

I really wish I could write like this and put my solo battles up here :(
 
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Timothy Bowden
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I did take some shots - but they are pretty bad. The light in my game room (aka the junk room) just doesn't agree with my camera - too dark, or too much flare.
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Steve Bishop
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Lytham St. Annes
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Great AAR, thanks for sharing.

I'm really going to have to get that book with all those battles.

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