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-Greek City Wars -by Paul Bruffell-

Conflict between Greek states was always a close matched affair, typically between opposing phalanxes. The use of cavalry and peltasts developed late on, and eventually Thebes made a development on the traditional hoplite and phalanx formation. I will set out to demonstrate why tactics as used by the Theban General Epaminondas were so successful in its time. Epaminondas used the weight of rear ranks to continue the spear to spear battle longer than the opposing phalanx could sustain and eventually broke the enemy resistance. The term used to express the phalanx 'shove' is Othismos.

As seen below the Theban main phalanx has more ranks than the opposing Athenian hoplites and compensates for a lack of hoplites elsewhere with a thin screen of peltasts and cavalry.

The Rules Manual highlights that close combat positive modifiers can be gained by weight of numbers and this is what we are about to see.

Start position: –Both armies have just over 1000 hoplites and a further 10% strength as light troops (1200 points). The Athenian army is set out for traditional phalanx warfare with 6 men deep (144 men per unit). The game only recognises the othismos on the strength of an individual unit not a stack of units in the same hex. Hence I have created Theban units in the Scenario Editor with strength of 336 men (14 ranks deep) giving more than twice the phalanx depth of the Athenian units.

Turn 2: -The phalanxes are in melee and the Theban light troops are harassing the other Athenian hoplites and keeping them from supporting the main battle.

Turn 3: –The Athenian hoplites facing the Theban deep formation break quickly and rout, a massacre follows. However, the Computer AI is not beaten as it turns inwards the uncommitted Athenian hoplites on the flank of the Theban phalanx and causes significant losses themselves. Within one turn the Theban hoplite unit hit in the flank routs

Turn 4: –The Athenian phalanx has broken and their hoplites are routed. Significant losses can now occur to the routing forces and this is usually sufficient to demoralise the rest of the army resulting in a victory for Thebes.

More to come...