Tally Ho!

Sunday, 20 May 2018

First Crusade - Byzantine allies

After a short break to complete a Dark Ages Irish I've returned to completing my armies for the First Crusade. With all the Crusaders done its time for a few Byzantine allies.

First cab off the rank is a unit of the iconic heavy cavalry. All the figures are Gripping Beast with a LBMS flag rounding-off the unit.

A unit based for Armati or DBX

Close-up of the flag

The boss-man on a cataphract horse 


Shields also from LBMS
My plan is to add another unit of heavy cavalry, some spearmen, and a few archers to provide a decent allied force. Although intended for Armati I'll base so as to allow them to be reused for Saga.

Friday, 18 May 2018

Armati Pyrrhic Wars - Lilybaeum, 276 BC

A year on from the battle Eyrx Carthage is once again at war with the Greek cities of Sicily and their ally Pyrrhus. He was able to clear many of the Punic forces from the island before besieging their fortified port at Lilybaeum. In a bold move the Carthaginians chose to meet him in open battle in the hopes of lifting the siege.

Pyrrhus' army contained a hard core of Greek / Eporite pikemen, but on this occasion very few elephants, so they are not included in the lists. The Punic army was once again mercenary forces gathered from across the Mediterranean world.

Pyrrhus opted for a balanced deployment with one Calvary unit on each flank and skirmishers scattered across the front. The left flank was slightly stronger with the Peltasts supporting the cavalry. A slow and steady phalanx advanced looked the plan on this occasion.

Pyrrhic left - horse and peltasts

Heavy metal in the centre  

The pikes ready to rumble

The right flank guards - a Companion cavalry unit

The Punic army was larger but of lower quality. Its main advantage was the superior numbers of cavalry and some mobile Spanish LHI. They opted for a double envelopment with their mounted units supported by skirmishers.

Punic left - lots of horse

Punic right - more horse and the Spanish

Punic centre - Africans, Italians, Celts and more Spanish
Sticking with their plan the Punic army immediately advanced on the wings in the hopes of flanking the Greeks before they came to grips with the centre. In theory they had stronger forces on both wings but as we know wargames are not fought in theory!

Celtic and Punic horse attack

Punic right attacks too 

On the Punic right their horse and LHI clashed with their opposite numbers. Despite their superiority they quickly found themselves on the wrong end of events. Inspired by Pyrrhus himself leading the HC, they began to push back the Carthaginians.  

Messy action on the Punic right

On the left the Punic's tried the classic tactic of attacking in waves so that the second unit of HC would have impetus against the stationary enemy and sweep them away. Luck was with the Companions though as they held off against two units of Punic horse.

Companions holding the flank

As the centres came to blows things looked decidedly dodgy for the Carthaginians - their right had been largely destroyed leaving the Greek horse free and their left was stalled by the Companions. The superior Pyrrhic infantry charged their pikes and got stuck in.    

Bump and grind in the middle

The early action was fairly even - the Greeks caused more caused overall but the Celts proved effective and caused some carnage on the Punic left. Then came the decisive moment of the game - having finally overcoming the Companions a unit of Numidian light horse arrived in the back of the Greek army. It quickly gobbled-up a general and stated to chew through the unprotected rear of the Phalanx.

Gaps appearing in the line as the Celts punch through

Spanish held up by the Peltasts

Despite good progress against the Punic left, the casualties began to mount and eventually it was a win for Carthage by 1 kill at the last gasp.  

Celts beaten back temporarily

The cavalry arrives

A very close game and the Punic's were close to breaking themselves. Both sides made errors that meant their heavy cavalry end-up too far from the action to affect the outcome of the game. Perhaps the battle-loosing error though was allowing the Greek general to be captured for a soft kill.

Sunday, 13 May 2018

Kings of War Lizardmen, the new hatching...

Over the bank holiday weekend I was able to complete a new batch of figures for my Kings of War lizardmen but had nt had time to post them to the blog. I've been able to add three new units to the growing roster.

The first are Kaisenor Lancers - the fastest of the mounted units at 8" but with average melee and survivability. Likely they would be decent heavy chaff or back-line units, but the lack of Nimble makes them less powerful than some armies medium cavalry.

The models are a bit of mix. The raptor mounts are 1990's GW Coldones that originally mounted Dark Elves, who look hobbit-like by modern standards. The riders are new GW Skinks - small lizards whose cousins will feature in a unit of their own.  

The second unit is my first flying unit for Lizardmen - a Ghekkotah Skylord. The mount is a Schleich Pterosaur with a spare GW rider perched atop it. This gives a striking-looking mounted hero to ravage the enemies backline.

Finally there is a hero mounted on a dinosaur. This came as part of the GW lizardmen starter army and will probably feature as a Clan Lord on Firedrake. Its a costly unit but is tough and boasts 16 breath attacks, which could be fired over intervening troops.    

It is a beast though as you can see against a standard 25mm figure and stands over 150mm high, making it fairly hard to miss.

Saturday, 12 May 2018

Armati Pyrrhic Wars - Mount Eyrx 277BC

Following his failed attempts to block Roman expansion in Italy, Pyrrhus crossed into Sicily to support the Greeks against the Carthaginian occupiers. The Pyrrhic army was more hard-core for this game featuring a return to a mostly phalangite-based infantry force, albeit featuring reduced numbers of the elite Eiporate troops. The Carthaginians were the usual polyglot force of mercenaries from Gaul, Spain, Italy and Africa. This was not the army of Hannibal so lacks the veteran infantry and elephants.

The field was fairly open but the Carthaginians occupied a low rise that dominated the north of the battlefield. Largely their infantry was inferior to the so they deployed it on the low rise. There right was heavily loaded with cavalry, Celts and Spanish LHI. The left was refused with a small cavalry force guarding the flank.  

Punic cavalry backed by lights

Main  infantry line with Celt on the right flank

The flank guards

Pyrrhus also sought to attack on his right with the cavalry deployed there. His elephants were held in reserve, with a small infantry force guarding their left.  

Successor main force

Successor cavalry force

The flank guards
The Carthaginians pushed forward on their right with their large cavalry force. already deployed at an angle to reduce the need to wheel. Moving rapidly they engaged the Peltasts and light cavalry holding the Successor's left.      

Punic forces advance 

Pelasts under attack as the Celts close-in

This forced Pyrrhus to begin redeploying his elephants to meet the flank attack. At 9" move they are surprisingly fast across the ground.

The main line of pikes 

Nelly the elephant....and friend

The successors were also planning a cavalry flanking manoeuvre of their own. However found themselves harassed, then engaged by a unit of Numidian's that cost them several vital moves as they charged them in the rear.  

Pesky LC!

The LC delay the companions 
At this point the Carthaginians were pretty well set - they had been able to delay the Successors flank attack whilst developing their own reasonably well. As a bonus the Celts had performed well and damaged a few of the pike units with their impetuous charges. The fly-in-the-ointment was that the overloaded flank was becoming congested and so they could not bring their full force into action.  

Celts get stuck in while the Spanish turn the flank

Main lines closing in

As the pikes finally came to grips with the Punic infantry they were hit in the side by the Spanish LHI. Regrettably the congestion meant it was not a deadly flank attack though.

Spanish attack 

Celts join in

On the Punic right the Successor's elephants gobbled-up some cavalry but were themselves dispatched by skirmishers. At this point losses were pretty even and the successor horse had yet to make their presence felt.

Elephants meet their maker

With neither side's flank attack really making headway it became a slog in the centre, which eventually favoured the superior Successor troops. So a win by 2 kills to Pyrrhus, making it 2-1 to him on battles won.

The pikes dish-out some pain

On reflection it was a battle that Carthage could have won if the Spanish infantry's attack been slightly better timed for maximum impact.    

Tuesday, 1 May 2018

Armati Pyrrhic Wars - Asculum, 279BC

Following his victory at Heraclea, Pyrrhus recruited a number of Greek and Italian allies to his cause and then set off towards Rome, but found way blocked by troops under the command of Consules Decius and Sulpicius. Not wishing to pass-up the some comedy potential they were rapidly christened Antius and Decius for our refight.

Pyrrhus force was a polyglot one consisting of elite pikes (FV8), allied pikes (FV7), Greeks (FV6), and raw Italians (FT 5 [1] 1), with the usual supporting cavalry and the elephants. Pyrrhus massed massed pikes in the centre, with the mounted/elephants on the right and the Italians holding the left. He looked set for a defensive battle, seeking to draw the enemy onto his pikes.

Italians and peltasts on Pyrrhus left

The main phalanx

The right featuring the mounted 

The Romans had a large force of heavy infantry with mainly Romans/Latins (FV7) and a few Italians (FV6), with cavalry and plentiful  skirmishers in support. For this battle they also field anti-elephant wagons which we treated as Scythed Chariots ( 5 [0] 0 and 1 BP), which we placed under the command of Antius for obvious reasons! The Romans were planning a general advance with a hope of winning on the flanks where the cavalry and Triarii were deployed.  

The Roman left, ready to take on the elephants  

Roman centre - not much to say!

The right facing off the Italians 
Both sides began with an advance on the flanks seeking to gain an early advantage against the enemy. The deployment favoured Romans on their right but the same was true of Pyrrhus deployment on hist right.
Pyrrhus left moves off

His right also advances

The elite pikes move up in support

In an early part of the battle Antius' anti-elephant wagons went careering across the table towards the Successor cavalry, creating a small dent (knock-for-knock job) before being annihilated, leaving a hole in the line.

Wagons roll!

hmm - that did nt last long

On their right the Romans scored an early victory by routing the Greek light horse, exposing the peltasts to a heavy cavalry charge. In a pincer movement this quickly destroys both peltasts leaving the raw Italians unsupported. Whilst the Successors left looks in trouble their cavalry inflicts damage on the advancing Romans and opens-up a possible flank attack of their own on their right.    

Roman HC eye-up the peltasts

Triarii look to slow the cavalry attack 

Italians on the march

The Romans reposition though and are able to attack the elephants with light troops, making short work of them. On their left the Triarii move up to oppose the advancing Italians and quickly blunt the attack.

Elephants in a spot of bother

The Triarii assault the Italians

As the main lines come to grips its pretty much nip and tuck with no clear winner from the initial clash of legion with phalanx.

Elite pikes advancing steadily, but under threat on the flanks

Legion vs phalanx

Crucially for the Romans their cavalry arrive in the nick of time to pin the advancing Italians and prevent them attacking the Triarii's, which allows them to break through the lines.

Roman horse make a timely arrival

The elite pikes now found themselves trapped between the Latin allied legions and the Roman heavy cavalry.  In this position there was little hope and they succumbed bravely.

Elite pikes caught in a trap


Over on their own right the Successors were finally able to free their Companion cavalry but to late to affect the outcome. The result was a decisive 8-1 victory for Rome - truly a Pyrrhic defeat.

Finally in position but its all over
The post-match analysis was that the Successor left flank was too weak to withstand the Roman forces opposite them, meaning the flank of the phalanx was always at risk. Some bad luck on the dice making this happen quicker than may have been expected.