Thursday, 6 December 2012

Platea 479BC Refight (Take II) Part V

Sparta fights on to the last hoplite, her army now launches itself off the ridge line in a fury at the Persians who were also trying to outflank the Spartan right (see below):

The Spartans survive the torment of the "torrent of Persian arrows" as they close to come to grips with the Persian infantryin hand to hand combat. Here the contest is one-sided to Sparta, as we see a Persian SparaBara Archer unit disintegrate under the momentum of the Spartan hoplite phalanx (see below). The Spartan helots (Hoard) even holds its own against the regular Persian infantry.

This Spartan success rather evens things up,all square:
Persian Casualties (1) versus Spartan Casualties (1) 

However grim things have come to pass in the center of the battlefield for Sparta. Two more Spartan Spears have fallen (see below). The Persian Cavalry and Light Horse with their faster movement simply 'closed the door' on another slower moving Spartan Spear. The (one) elite Persian Spear (+4) unit fixed a Spartan hoplite Spear stand to the front as a unit of bow attacked it in the rear. Both units were in dire straights and must 'win' the combat or die. The Sparta dice rolling this time failed to deliver a miracle.
The hand of fate moves to favour the Persians:
Persian Casualties (1) versus Spartan Casualties (3)  

The Spartans are now but one casualty from being demoralised!

As expected, Sparta fights back and destroys another Persian SparaBara (see below, top left), but in the center of the battlefield the Persians have surrounded the last Spartan valiant hoplite Spear stand. Its position looks totally hopeless (but never tell that to a Spartan to whom the concept of "thantos" is laughable). 

Sparta has almost evens the contest:
Persian Casualties (2) versus Spartan Casualties (3)  

But tragedy strikes the Spartans from an unexpected quarter, their Helots on the right flank (see below) are struck down by a cruel volley of Persian arrows which"darkens the skies" (the Helots were starting at +2 but are reduced to +0 by the sheer weight of arrows [two overlaps] while the Persian Bows are still firing at +2. The Helots are doubled and die horribly). Alas the surrounded unit of Spartan Spears dies too,in true heroic fashion it must be said.

The Spartan command breaks and goes demoralised (something almost unheard of in Ancient times) and the fighting value of the remaining Spartan Spears immediately drops to from +4 to +2. All Pausinius can do his hold a PiP dice worth of units in place (no maneuvering, which seems unduly harsh, but BBDBA seems to want to bring a very quick end to demoralised commands, unlike the later sister rule-set DBM which allows more latitude in demoralised commands fighting on [or have I simply got this BBDBA rule wrong? Answers on a postcard please!]).
Persian Casualties (2) versus Spartan Casualties (5) demoralised 
Allied Greek Casualty count (6), six more required to end the game

Attention now shifts to the other side of the battlefield where the Thebans are now once more formed back into a more or less straight battleline. The Thebans heartened by the Persian successes against the Spartans fearlessly assault the Athenians fixed on the ridge line (see below). One significant advantage to the Thebans is that the Athenian strategos was so worried by the "theoretical" possibility of the victorious Theban Psiloi 'stand' (see previous post) attacking the Allied Greek Camp he detached "two" Athenian stands of Spear to chase it off. This could be deemed as reinforcing failure and taking away vital troops from the locus of the battle, especially since Spears only move two inches and the Psiloi three inches per turn. In addition one stand of Spears would have sufficed. Now as a result of this nine Athenian stands face eleven Theban stands, only the defensive ridge bonus of (+1) to the Athenians makes it still an even fight.  

In the ensuing combat the Athenians are drawn from the hill (losing even this defensive bonus), in search of a desperate "local tactical overlap" advantage.However they lose an Athenian Spear unit in the process. The Thebans simply out-flank the Athenian right and get ready to "close the door" on them (see below):

Athenian Casualties (2) versus Theban Casualties (0) 
Allied Greek Casualty count (7), five more required to end the game, only two more needed for Athenian demoralisation to strike

With their right flanks turned the Athenians are doomed, in the next turn of two more Athenian Spear units are destroyed, ridden under the sandals of the Theban hoplite phalanx (see below):

Athenian Casualties (4) versus Theban Casualties (0) 
Allied Greek Casualty count (9), technically three more required to officially end the game but as stated this is a mere technicality as the Athenians (as per the Spartans) are now demoralised. All effective "Free Greek" resistance is over. The game is called to the Persians as a massive strategic win.

And so ... Greece falls under Persian rule soon to be followed by the rest of Europe as the Persian Empire becomes the only Empire in the Ancient World and may even dominate the globe. Hmm,pause for thought there! My guess is that Thebes will find that being on the winning side with the Persians a very bitter-sweet experience because it makes you effectively Persian, but at least with a big house and vineyard.

A turn up for the books and certainly not the Hollywood or book ending we all know. Many thanks to the enthusiastic participants who made this such an enjoyable night to umpire and I can now proudly award them all their wargaming spurs "won in combat".

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