Battle Report - Sarmatian Bosporans vs Macedonians

12 July vs Graeme Ward
The humble nomads, still seeking their promised rights in the towns of the Crimea, were outraged to hear that the vile Greek town-huddlers had called upon that stinking tyrant, Alexander of Macedon, to drive the nomads away without recompense for all the struggles they had endured for the sake of the Greeks. As they say, when you've shaken hands with a house-dweller, count your fingers, count your toes, count your relatives...

The Macedonians duly made a landing, and we manouevred to draw them away from the coast a little. We caught them near the town of Aegoespotami (named for some insignificant slaughter a century before I believe). We had reconnoitred the ground before mounting our counter-offensive, which was just as well, as we were greeted by a thick mist when we rode forward to seek out the Macedonians.

The noble Antipteruges led a long column of lancers, 8 clans in number, with a large levy of stout Maoitiae spearmen, while King Philokrater had another contingent of lancers, 6 in number, with a number of archers (expert skirmishers), and a contingent of levied Greek townsmen, plus some mercenary peltasts. Valorous Philandra had a smaller contingent of lancers, 4 in number following her, with 4 more groups of archers, and our good friend King Pateraq of the Alans had dispatched his son Prince Dunn with no less than 9 clans of stout Alan riders, plus of course the Prince's household, all riding in the dispersed and fluid formation they are famed for.

The field of battle was as follows: on the right was a substantial stream, bearing towards us, while the centre of the field was occupied by a large rise, gentle in aspect but partly covered in low scrub, known locally as the Hill of Pigs. On the left was the town of Augispitimi, divided in two suburbs, with but strewn stones left from where we had cast down the vile wall the treacherous Greeks had built around it. The coast road followed the stream, and on our side of the Hill of Pigs split off in the road to Mandalai, crossing the stream by a handsome stone bridge. I disposed my forces accordingly: Prince Dunn in the van betwixt the town and the Hill of Pigs, Antipteruges behind the Hill of Pigs, myself (Philokrater) between and among the suburbs of the town, and Philandra on the far right, on the other side of the stream. All our forces deployed in column of march, being unsure of the whereabouts of the enemy forces.

The Macedonians, it later turned out, deployed in similar columns, with two long columns of pike, with supporting peltastes and archers beside the stream, a column of Thessalian cavalry on the other side of the stream, and a pair of columns, one of Greek hoplon-bearing infantry, and one of Hetairoi and lesser cavalry to the (Macedonian) right of the pike, led by the grate Alexander hisself.

I started by sending the Alans forth, to try to find the Macedonian whereabouts. I also had a moment of caution, which - being so rare - I took notice of, and sent half of the mercenary peltasts under my hand to marching across the field to reinforce Philandra. Antipteruges held his lancers back til the fog lifted or the Macedoniai were located, but sent the Maioitioi forth to occupy the Hill of Pigs, while I brought my lancers forth at a gentle trot, behind a cloud of Alan scouts. Philandra, as usual, raced her lancers forward at top speed, bringing the archers up in support.

As the fog started to thin, Prince Dunn led the Alans in a long curvette, darting in towards the stream, the bending away to search for the Macedonians. After a mile or more, he located their flank, spotting first a great mass of democrats seething uncertainly about, while behind them he spotted a long column of cavalry. The Macedonians, on seeing him, deployed a scattering of light horse to face the head of his column, but kept the rest of their horse in march column. At the same time, Philamena made first sight of the leading elements of the Thessalian wing (some scouts), and drove them back roundly. As the fog lifted further, I could see the full disposition of the enemy - their Pike nearing the Hill of Pigs, still in column of route, while the Thessalian wing was just nearing Philamena, with some (unreported) Thracian peltasts far distant behind them: while nearest me was a seething disorderly mass of hoplites, and a column of mixed Companions and supporting psiloi. The reserve horse from their centre were just splashing their way across the stream, intending to head off in support of the Thessalians.

As I swung my column up and deployed into fighting lines, I saw Prince Dunn take his Alans in hand. First he detached the back of his column, half his force, to skirmish and confuse the hoplites, and tempt them into rash charges, while the rest he led up to threaten the flank of the Macedonian horse (and the hoplites also). As they ignored him, he first brushed away the covering light horse, with ease, then led a fine driving charge into the flank of the Macedonian horse. Coming face to face with Alexander, he slew him personally, and the rout of Alexander's bodyguard swept away 2 companies of peltasts trying to move up in support. The hoplites had meanwhile broken ranks, some charging off to meet the Alans left behind, others turning and trying to close with the good Prince.

While this was happening, the Macedonian taxeis (pikes) were marching slowly forward, one half heading for the bridge, the other marching past the foot of the Hill of Pigs. On the right, Philamena was making goats-milk of the Thessalians: there was a moment of danger when the Macedonian reserve approached, but fortunately my peltasts had arrived, forced-marching across the bridge, and threatened the flank of the Macedonian Companions.

The Macedonian Right wavered after the death of their King, but decided to fight on ,rallied by one of the staff officers: some of the hoplites succeeded in pinning several of the Alan clans against their own horse, and dispersed them, but in return i launched my own lancers in a charge down on the dispersed and disorganised hoplites, crushing them with the assistance of the remaining Alan clans, who nipped in at their flanks and kept them confused.

The Macedonian Left crumbled at the same time under the relentless onslaught of Philamena, who caught and slew Ptolemaios personally, while the remaining Macedonian commander, Hephaistion was caught between the Peltasts and more of our victorious lancers, and driven into the stream to drown. The Macedonian pike, lacking both leadership and any cover for their flanks, chose to surrender peacefully, upon promise of repatriation. 


Lessons for the Sarmatians:

1.  *Always* fight in fog if possible: it handicaps Regular opponents far more than you.
2. March columns are wonderful for a flexible deployment
3. Small 'reserve' commands can't hold a wing against determined attack without reinforcement
 

Lessons for the Macedonians:

1. Don't fight in Fog!! He would have been better to sit back in a defensive formation and wait for it to lift
2. Don't expose your Commander to Superior Light Horse if he's only a Fast Knight - the downside is too great
3. Superior Light Horse are a serious threat to flanks & must be treated as such
4. Macedonians are a combined-arms army, and separating the components too far invites disaster