But not without a fight! This is the third time the northern barbarians have attempted to conquer the so-called cradle of civilised learning in our campaign. Simon chose the Macedonians and Marco set them up. I chose and deployed the Greeks. Terrain is open, with a long ridge for the Greek Hoplites.
The invading Macedonians are in blue at the top of the map. From their right, the Macedonian deployment has a small but powerful right wing comprising a unit of elite Thessalian Heavy Cavalry and then the start of the Phalanx, with the Hypaspists in the position of honour. Their centre comprises four units in the Phalanx. Their left is six units of Peltasts, four in the front line and two in reserve, with a column of Companions and another of Prodromoi. The overall set-up is compact, with cavalry flexibility on both flanks and skirmishers out front. They know that the Greek Confederation can have plenty of Peltasts, but that their cavalry is poor at best.
The Greeks set up with a left wing comprising four Peltast units and the Theban Sacred Band ready to move out to the left. The centre is five units of Hoplites. The right is a lone unit of mediocre Athenians tasked with protecting the far end of the line. The Thebans have overall command, and are quite happy for their traditional Athenian foes to die on the right. The army has skirmisher superiority across the front. There are no cavalry. Most of the photographs are taken from the perspective of the Greek, because that's where I was, with the exception of the occasional full table shot:
|A long table shot of the two armies, taken from the Macedonian right wing.|
|The skirmish lines clash in the centre.|
|The infantry advances; the Macedonian cavalry move out to their left.|
|Table shot from the Macedonian right flank lines.|
|The Greek Peltasts advance; the Hypaspists move out to the right as the Phalanx echelons.|
|On the Greek right, the Athenians move off to meet the enemy horse. This opens up a gap to their left, but there's not much I can do about that; I reckon the enemy Peltasts will annoy me here, but I can probably afford it.|
|Back on my left, the Peltasts chuck javelins at the Thessalians as one lone unit sacrifices itself against the Hypaspists.|
|The Sacred Band and attendant Hoplites wait for the Hypaspists; slightly forward to their right the infantry lines clash.|
|At the other end of the infantry lines, the Macedonians desperately throw in Peltasts to hold up the Hoplites' overlap.|
|The Athenians meet the Companions and some Peltasts.|
|Back on my left, the Hypaspists charge the Sacred Band and their friends - grudge match!|
|The Thessalians vanish under a hail of javelins and my victorious Peltasts prepare to hit the Hypaspists from behind.|
|Close-up of the Sacred Band and the Hypaspists. These guys really do not like each other.|
|A longer-range shot of the desperate infantry struggle. The Macedonians are doing well in the centre, but both extremities of the Phlanx are in trouble. The Greeks are rolling well and this is going to be very close indeed.|
|The Peltasts join in against the Hypaspists.|
|A close-up the action here.|
|On my right the Athenians have finally died, taking Peltasts and the Prodromoi with them. The Companions have moved to threaten the right rear of the Hoplites. The Macedonian Peltasts have been shredded here by the dozen.|
|Macedonian breakthrough in the centre! I send my general in to shore up the morale of the Hoplites here, but he gets hinself killed in the fighting just as the centre starts to give; both of the Hoplite units to either side are disordered.|
And then it was all over. As the remainder of the Companions charged home, the disordered Hoplites broke, and the Macedonians got their victory. Just in time, too. The Hypaspists were wiped out, and the Phalanx unit at the leftmost end of the Macedonian line was three figures away from breaking. That would have sent the invaders packing.
When I saw the Macedonian deployment, I went for broke. Rather than wait for them to come to me, I brought the Hoplites off their hill. I reckoned that it would be a race against time for me to try to use my left wing superiority before they used theirs. Staying put would allow the enemy to pick on the Athenians at their leisure and then roll up the line. It almost worked. Next up: the Persians attempt to take Bactria from the Sakae. We play this in three weeks' time.