No one in Iowa City plays wargames?
Yes, I like helmets...
The Battle of Arigaeum, which occurred in the Summer of 327 BC in the Hindu Kush, was refought on a chilly day in Southeast Iowa.
The setup was taken directly from the scenario book of GBOA. The Macedonians were the heavy favorites going in.
The Indian player is allowed to place all units freely atop the highly defensible level 5 plateau along the North edge of the map. The Indian force was comprised soley of javelin armed light infantry and supporting Indian archer units, 27 units total. The force was commanded by three (historically) nameless Indian commanders. Each commander took one side of the plateau, placing a small reserve of light infantry in the rear of each line to plug any gaps which might occur. The archers paired up with light infantry for a modicum of protection. The fourth side of the plateau was the board edge-well secured.
The Macedonian contingent was comprised of three groups, one led by Alexander himself, the other two by Ptolemy and Leonatus. Each group was similarly composed of phalangists, some Companion heavy cav, a light cav element, and some skirmishers. Alexander, who was in the middle, also commanded the famed Hypaspists. To Alexanders right was Leonatus, and assaulting the West side of the plateau was Ptolemy.
Turn I began with only minor activity from the Indians on the hill. They had set up after the Macedonians, and were quite content with their defensible position at the edge of the high plateau. They did rain down many of their long shafted bamboo arrows upon the lead Macedonian skirmisher elements, inflicting a few cohesion hits here and there.
Leonatus, with the smallest force, also faced the most gentle slope of the plateau. He advanced quickly, but it was apparent that too rapid an advance could be disastrous. The cavalry and phalangists were taking awful cohesion hits advancing up the steep slopes. Alexander, realizing his momentum potential, sent his men up the very steep central part of the plateau, relieving them of their cohesion hits about half way up. Ptolemy, who faced the steepest slope of all (a rocky, two level incline at the bottom), aggressively moved his two phalanxes up to the third level, and sent his cavalry around toward Alexanders forces on the right (where the slope was more mild). As usual, the high initiative rating of the Macedonians, coupled with the low rating of the Indians, allowed the boys in red to achieve multiple uncontested momentum roles. Leonatus, with his rather Indian like initiative of 3, bogged down despite his leisurely slope.
Turn 2 saw the Indians remaining fairly static once more. Again they fired down arrows (all archers now in range), but now they were targeting the looming Companion cavarly and Hypaspists between Alexander and Ptolemy on the Southwest side of the plateau. Several of the reserve light infantry units shifted in that direction as well.
Leonatus again advanced up his slope, sending a unit of lancers to the Southeast corner of the plateau toward Alexanders advancing troops. Alexander brought his force to within 70 yards of the plateau's edge, once more restoring cohesion as the units advanced up the hill. This was slowed by his failing momentum (thus Alex only got his elite initiative and regular activation). Ptolemy also advanced perilously close to the Indian troops lining the plateau's edge, but he also commanded two units of Companion cavalry (Demetrius and Coenus) into the potruding Southwest corner of the plateau. The frontal assault, uphill and against even numbers, did not go well for the Macedonian heavy cavalry. The Indians held and gave better than they got.
Turn 3 began with the Indian commander opposite Ptolemy ordering a counter-attack with his reserves against the exsposed Companions. It was a desperate gamble, as the Macedonian forces loomed on all three sides, but it appeared to be the Indians only chance to inflict some real punishment on the elite Macedonian cavalry. The attack worked well, in that two units of Companions routed (as well as two Indian light infantry units-well worth the trade). Indian forces also routed the lancers sent up by Leonatus, though they exposed themselves in the process.
Ptolemy ordered a general assault with his two phalanxes, but once more the uphill, two column shift made a large differance. Though the Indian light infantry was weakened, the phalanxes were now bogged down with mounting cohesion hits. Ptolemy's light cavalry drove off the Indian troops who had sent the Companions packing, and opened the first real hole in the Indians three sided line. Alexander rallied his fleeing companions and lancers, and also ordered his phalangites into a frontal assault against the Southern side of the plateau. This assault also bogged down, though it was led by Alexander himself (after his second momentum roll).
Turn 4 saw Alexander achive his elite initiative for the fourth turn straight. This time he ordered his Companion cavalry and Hypaspists into the Southwest side of the Indian line (where Ptolemy's troops had opened the hole). The effect of positional superiority was devastating on the Indian troops. Without the precipe of the plateau, the Indian light infantry was swept away by the elite heavy infantry and cavalry.
The Indians spent turn 4 moving their scarce reserves toward the Southwest side of the plateau. One brave Indian light infantry even routed the famed Agema Hypaspists in a rear attack. However, this was the last offensive victory of the Indians.
Ptolemy continued to roll both the Southern and Western flank of the Indians, freeing up his beleagured phalangists and punching holes in front of Alexanders advancing troops as well. As Alexander came online, his high initiative, coupled with two momentums, swept away nearly all Indian resistance on the West and South sides of the plateau.
Though the Indian forces still held Leonatus at bay on the East edge of the plateau, the result was now glaringly obvious.
Result was a turn 4 victory for the Macedonians. Though the Indian forces had not lost all 50 rout points (35 actually dead), another 30 were routing with little hope of rally at the end of the turn. With Alexander nearly certain to achieve Elite Initiative activation at the beginning of turn 5, there was no need to continue. Though the superiority of the Macedonian commanders was decisive and pronounced, the quality of the Macedonian troops was also of paramount importance. Many of the assaulting Macedonians began their attack with 3 to 5 cohesion hits after scaling the sheer sides of the plateau. Lower quality troops would have required much more time to climb and reorganize before assaulting the well placed Indian troops.
Once more, this battle also displayed how important it is to "punch" a hole in the enemy line, and then assault the sides of the hole with positional superiority. Even the lowly Indian light infantry could run off TQ 9 Hypaspists when they were attacking from the rear (and rolling well). All in all a fun little scenario, and a vivid illustration of how you in fact do "keep them down on the farm" (A sarissa to the head). Mick