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The  Threskourion

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Steven O'Brien's Thracian armyClick on Army Lists to see several Thracian army lists for different rule sets, including proposed alterations.

Click on Figurines to see Thracian warriors depicted in 15mm and 25mm, a list of the figures available, their manufacturers, and reviews.  If you know of a Thracian figurine not listed, or have a photo of Thracian figures, please let me know!   Manufacturers welcome!

Wargaming with Thracians

The Thracian army is enormous. As you can see in the picture, a 400 point DBM 2.0 army easily covers the width of a 6'X4' table.  You are likely to outnumber and outflank your opponent. The army looks fantastic close up, but lacks anything that can move fast and hit hard, so you don't see it winning any competitions!  This page has hints on using Thracians on their own or as mercenaries in other armies, and the odd battle report.

Thracians vs Skythians: A DBM 3.0 game with my 25mm figures

A Thracian battle report (vs L. Moors) at Ethan Zorick's DBM page

http://www.zipworld.com.au/~wsgs/tactica_battle_report_3.htm - a Tactica battle between Sassanids and Thracians.  Guess who won!!

Alexander vs the Triballi, from "Great Battles of Alexander" You can refight the battle between Alexander and the Triballi (see the Arrian  page) in the Interactive Magic computer game "Great Battles of Alexander", where it is called the Battle of Lynginus.  Click on the picture to see a larger image (150 Kb).  Alexander's troops are at the bottom of the screen, and the Triballi are at the top, in the woods.  This is the scene at the start of the battle.  Alexander's light infantry can be seen in small groups in front of his main body. 

The DBM Thracian list:  List suggestions and discussion from the DBM mailing list

Battle Reports

DBM 3.0

Thracian vs Later Imperial Roman, by John S.

My army list at 325 pts: all elements are Irr; 63 EE total

CinC: CinC Cv(O), 4 Cv(O), 6 LH(O), 2 LH(F), 6 Ax(S), 6 Ps(S), 2 Ps(O) = 23 EE

Sub1: Sub1 Cv(O), 18 Ax(S), 2 Ps(O), 6 Bg(I) = 20 EE

Sub2: Sub2 Cv(O), 6 LH(O), 4 LH(F), 6 Ax(S), 4 Ps(S), 2 Ps(O) = 20 EE

He had 2 commands: CinC’s with Kn(X), Cv(O), LH(O), Ax(S), and Ps(O) and Sub’s with Cv(O), LH(S), LH(O), Bd(O), Ax(S), Ps(S), and Ps(O).

From my view there was a wide river that ended up being paltry about 2 ft in on my left, also on my left between the river and the table edge was two woods, a rough hill, and a rough area. In the center was rough hill. On the right was a wooded hill.

My Sub2 set up on my left with the Ps in ambush on the other side of the river along with the LH(F) in a column. The rest of the command was near the river in two columns. Sub1 was set up on the center rough hill. The CinCs command had the Ax fwd facing the wooded hill with the mouted refused. He placed his small command at an angle from the wooded hill to his base edge. The Ax of the CinCs command were behind the wooded hill in columns and the mounted were between the hill and the right board edge.

Basicly through out the game I rolled good PIPs. Sub2’s LH(F) advanced down my left and accross the river where it joined up with the rest of the LH(O) from that command. Sub1’s Ax were in two ranks and wheeled and then advanced to face his small command. The LH(F) in the CinCs command delayed the Roman mounted. Finally our lines crashed. It was slow going in the center as my two deep Ax vs his Bd and Ax fought each other. On my right our mounted line finally hit. His Cv(O) rolled well, his Kn(X) rolled lousey. One Kn(X) fought an Ax(S) multiple times and failed to kill it. Eventually Sub2’s LH and Sub1’s Ax broke his small command and then my CinCs command killed enough of his CinCs mounted to break his army. I took very few losses overall mostly LH from my CinCs command.

John S Galleo@aol.com

DBM 2.x

Steve O'Brien's  Franco-Thracian Rumble I (Thracians vs Franks)

Shortly before Christmas, Nance Michalos agreed to let me try out my Thracian army against her new warband undertaking: the Early Franks. We used version 2.1 rules at 400AP.

Nance agreed to invade, so we ignored the aggressor die roll. I set up four Rgo terrain pieces: 1x1.5 TE and 3x0.5 TE (terrain nomenclature: edge = position die 1-4, interior = 5-6). These fell in Franko middle-interior (1.5 TE), Thrako left-interior, Thrako right-interior, and Franko middle-edge. It was highly favorable for the Thracians with a huge piece of interior rough going just inside the Frank's side of the center line. Two half Rgos in symmetrical interior positions near the center line of both Thracian flank sectors.

The Thracians deployed:

Center: Cnc-ICv(O), 1 ICv(O), 4 ILH(O), 1 LH(F), 9 IAx(S), 3 IAx(O), 4 IPs(S), 5 (IPs(O) BP=8

Right: SG-ICv(O), 4 ILH(O), 1 ILH(F), 8 IAx(S), 2 IAx(O), 4 IPs(S), 7 IPs(O) BP=7.5

Left: SG-ICv(O), 4 ILH(O), 7 IAx(S), 4 IAx(O), 1 IPs(S), 7 IPs(O) BP=7

Center-Rear: AG-RSp(S), 8 RSp(S), 2 ILH(O), 2 IPs(S), 2 IPs(I) BP=4.5

 

The Franks deployed (approximate):

Right: Cnc-IWb(S), 16 IWb(S), 6 IBw(I), 4 IPs(I) Far Rt: AG-ILH(S), 12 ILH(S)

 

Left: SG-ICv(O), 5 ICv(O), 14 IWb(S), 4 IBw(I), 4 IPs(S)

Flank March Left: SG-ICv(O), 2 IPs(O), 6 IBw(I)

Not only was Nance trying out a new army but also the revised Bk II Frank list which she had acquired. Unlike the old list, the Early Franks are allowed to regrade up to 20 of the Wb(S) as Bw(I) and Nance took advantage of this change.

Deployment:

While the terrain was extremely favourable for me in terms of on-board forces, both my flanks were wide open to Frankish flank march. For this reason, I positioned the baggage in the center and mobile Spartan ally just before it with the idea that, given adequate time, it could defend against flank attacks from either direction. The other Thracian commands were fairly balanced with the peltasts deployed to take advantage of the rough going and the skirmishers filling the good going between the gaps. The flank-march-flee zones on either side edge were patrolled by the Thracian light cavalry. Superior skirmishers were placed in forward ambush positions in terrain in all sectors, even in the central one contrary to the new rules (my mistake).

Nance deployed two large Wb commands on either side of the large rough terrain, occupying latter with 8 EEs of her best skirmishers(Ps(S)). Opposite the smaller flank terrain sectors were aligned Bw(I). On the Thracian far right was the Frankish cavalry and on the Thracian far left was the Frank's Alan ally, about 8 or 9LH(S).

The Battle:

Slowly the Franks opened the Ball, keeping both wings in support of the center. Only the Alans moved up aggressively on the Thracian left. In his first bound, the Thracian commander rushed his troops forward to occupy the large terrain area. On the left wing, lurking skirmishers slowed the Alan penetration and allowed the Thracian cavalry and peltasts to move forward, plugging the gap on that side.

Correctly guessing that the Frank flank march would attack his right side, the Thracian commander sent his Spartan ally racing in that direction.

In the early moments of the battle, the Frankish command control was poor and their advance slow. In contract, the Thracian commands all moved forward briskly to the battlefield's centerline, occupying the terrain and consolidating lines of skirmishers across the intervening open areas. Their presence hampered the mobility of the Alan horsemen whose redeployment further slowed the movement of the warband host. On the opposite flank, similar problems arose as the Frankish cavalry consumed time trying to find their place in the battleline. Early in the battle, Thracian peltasts had reached the Frankish skirmishers position in the middle rough terrain and were battling for possession of the battlefield center.

About this time, battle cries on the Thracian right announced the arrival of the Frankish flank march: a half dozen elements of Bw(I)with their command and a few archer scouts. Thracian light horse immediately formed a line to contain the threat while the hoplites, double-timing to their aid, arrived at the same time as the Franks. Initially, the Frankish bowmen met with initial success, slaying some lighter peltasts (Ax(O)) and driving others back. Eventually, however, they caught in a vice between more heavily armed Thracian peltasts and the Spartan hoplites. As the rhythmic stamp of the Spartan phalanx bore down on them, the Frankish archers fought on bravely. Even as they were overwhelmed even more Thracians fell to their arrows. Very few Franks survived to flee the battlefield.

Striving to reach their comrades crying for aid, the Frank warriors pushed forward but their charge was stalled by repeated rushes of Thracian slingers and archers. In the field's center, the Frankish skirmishers were dying but the survivors fought on stubbornly, giving ground and trying desperately to keep the Thracian peltasts away from the flanks of the warrior band. But the peltasts were too numerous and too strong. Further and further back the Frank lights were pushed and eventually, on the Thracian right, the way was open to the warband's flanks.

Frankish cries rose above the screams of the wounded as the warband responded to this new threat, beating off one rush, then two. Eventually, however, they tired while there seemed to be no end to the oncoming Thracian. Rank upon rank of Frankish warriors began to fall. Surrounded by their foes, they became desperate. Their bowmen charged forward into the rough ground, the ground that was home to the Thracian spearmen. Here too the Franks died in large numbers. Seeing their comrades dying and the Thracian warriors ranging among them like wolves, the Frank left wing lost heart and fled the battlefield. With their retreat ended the Frankish invasion of Thrace.

Lessons:

1) Hello-o! It's version 2.1 time. No ambushers in the central sectors. Not even psiloi!

2) We both made a number of mistakes relative to the new rules and in the handling of our new armies. Nance's introduction to warbands was a frustrating one. My Thracians were a much more forgiving bunch and their additional mobility really helped compensate for my mistakes.

3) Even a handful of hoplites is an extremely powerful adjunct to this Thracian army. Kept small and regular, they are adaptable to a wide range of roles. As always when facing Nance's heavy infantry, this game was as challenging as it was fun. As relentless as the Germanic warriors that she favors, I received an email from her the following day, asking for a rematch. This occurred yesterday and will be chronicled in the next battle report. Steve O'Brien

 

Steve O'Brien's  Franco-Thracian Rumble II (Thracians vs Franks)

On the banks of the Morava, a light breeze rippled the new spring growth on the poplars. Ezvamer rode slowly toward his commanders who clustered beneath a large oak watching a figure in a black robe drawing in the dirt with a staff. Approaching, the Thracian king identified the robed form as Buzas, a reclusive goatherd with a reputation for witchcraft. The boy stood in a circle of stones wearing a conical cap festooned with wildly imaginary zodiacal symbols. Ezvamer could hear him mumbling and staring intently at the markings he made in the dust.

Seeing Ezvamer, Diazenis placed his finger to his lips and,pointing at Buzas, whispered, "He's showing us how we may defeat the Franks". Kerses, leader of the Tarusintes clan, leaned on his spear and watched the display with his perpetual scowl. The Spartan general Philodioscuros squatted on his heels next to him and stared fixedly at the goatherd. Leaning over the Greek commander were his two heralds, Blossom and Stench, who followed the mage's antics in utter fascination. A sinuous spindle of saliva stretched from Stench's lower lip to a crimson pool widening on the back of Philodioscuros' red cloak.

[Nance's Early Franks wanted another crack at the riches of Thrace. This was our second ver 2.1 test of our new armies.]

Ezvamer dismounted and stood before his generals. "Are you people simple? This man's a charlatan. He couldn't predict high tide if he were awash in chicken guts. If the sky were brimming with portent, he couldn't tell you in which quadrant to expect the morning sun. He's a common goatherd. If he had a pinch of vision,he would know that when I turn around, I'm going to remove his head from his shoulders."

Drawing his sword noisily, the king turned to see Buzas sprinting away, his robes flapping behind him like an ebony flame. In the stone circle, the conical cap rolled in the dust finally to stop quarter moon uppermost."

Hmmm. Apparently the boy is not completely without foresight."

Ezvamer strode into the center of the circle and turned to his commanders. "OK, bumpkins. I will tell you how we 'may' defeat the Franks. We do it as we've always done it: we kill them and keep killing them until they leave us in peace. Now listen. And by the Thunderer, Stench, close your mouth before you drown my illustrious ally."

"The Franks will use the Morava to protect their right flank. We meet them here to use this village to protect our right flank. My javelinmen will occupy and hold the village. My Triballi will anchor the right end of their line on it. Uncle, extend your men from the river in towards my line. Put your skirmishers against the river and leave a small detachment on its banks, in case the Franks try to cross behind you."

Diazenis nodded at the king. "Yes, Reza."

"Also, place you heavy peltasts in the center, opposite that large brush area near the Frank's center. Their train is likely to be there and your men can use the brush to good advantage."

"Phil, deploy your hoplites in a tight block behind my men. When the Franks form their line, move your small phalanx to its softest point and drive through it. Your handful of Spartans can do that,can't they?"

Philodioscuros shrugged. "We are few, but we are the best. We will break their line."

Turning to his third general, Ezvamer continued, "Kerses, take your clansmen on a wide march beyond the village. The Frank's left flank is wide open and I want you to hit them there. Hard. Get started now."

The Tarusinian saluted, mounted his horse and galloped off. Diazenis cleared his throat. "Is that a good idea, Rezo? Can we trust the Tarusin clan not to run off?"

Ezvamer laughed. "Of course they're reliable. They're Thracians. If they had a choice, they wouldn't be here."

In the west, the Franks deployed: a large command of foot warriors double ranked against the river. In the center, in a huge patch of rough going were the veteran Frankish skirmisher and archers. Beyond the rough terrain was a double ranked line of bowmen and on the end facing the village was the Frankish noble cavalry,supported by more skirmishers. On the opposite bank of the river was a double bank of bowmen and the Frank's Alan ally.

Braying trumpets signalled the attack, and on the far side of the river, the Alan horsemen raced across the field unopposed. Ponderously the dark line of Frankish axemen moved forward, as did the noble cavalry at the opposite side of the field. In response,the Thracian heavy peltasts from both Diazenis (center-left wing)and the king's command (right wing) raced for the hollow center of the Frankish line. Moving forward to the flute, unfolding as in came, the Spartan spearmen marched passed the village, heading straight for the Frankish cavalry. On the Thracian left, a line of archers and light horsemen prepared to meet the slow-moving Frankish warriors.

But the two sides had only begun to move together when Kerses arrived on the Franks left, his Tarusinians forming a murderous host stretching the entire depth of the German flank. Immediately, half the Frankish cavalry wheeled to meet this threat while the other half formed to meet the oncoming Greeks. In spite of his overwhelming numerical superiority Kerses could not break through the Frankish nobles and skirmishers and the Thracian line began to waver. Peltast after peltast fell and fighting in their midst, Kerses himself was forced to retire before the fury of the Franks. Trying to break the Thracian line, Frankish cavalry dashed into a gap only to be surrounded and cut down by the Thracian clansmen. Eventually, the weight of numbers began to tell. Frankish skirmishers fell before the peltasts and their noble cavalry was slowly pushed back.

Across the river, the Alan horsemen tested the water only to find that it was deeper on the Thracian side. A few riders crossed the Morava at mid-field to protect the warband's flank as it wheeled away from the river. The remainder withdrew and crossed behind the Frankish line, moving to help fend off disaster on their other wing. On the Thracian left, Diazenis drove his slingers and horsemen to harry the oncoming Frankish warband, slowing their progress to a crawl.

In the center, Ezvamer drove his peltasts toward the Frank middle,wheeling to make way for the oncoming Spartans and screening his men with his mounted troops. At the battlefield's center formed a maelstrom of Frankish axemen, skirmishers, and bowmen contesting with a horde of Thracian peltasts. Before the axemen, the peltasts fell back. Against the skirmishers and bowmen, they drove forward relentlessly. A gap opened in the bowmen's line and immediately it was filled with slashing Thracians. More and more bowmen fell causing the Frank's left wing to crumble.

The Thracian generals drove their commands to form up and attack the now exposed Frankish center. Across the river and into the rough going raced the Alan horsemen, determined to stem the Thracian tide or die in the attempt. And it was at this point time was called, fully five hours after the encounter began. It seemed like no more than thirty minutes.

This battle was a thoroughly enjoyable knuckle biter almost from the start. We both continued to discover new strengths and weaknesses of our armies. For my part, I find the Thracian-Spartan combination an effective and appealing match. I look forward to 'improvements' the revised Book II will bring to reduce the effectiveness of the ally list. Steve O'Brien

Steve O'Brien's Triballi Triumph at Monterey

Hi Chris:

I thought that I’d send along the reports recounting the adventures of my Triballi Thracians at the recent tournament in Monterey, California.

The Thracians

I played my new army: Thracians with a Spartan ally (pace Luke) primarily because 1) they’re enormously fun to play, 2) they don’t get grumpy when I lose and 3) they’re not Hittites. My OB consists of:

Ezvenis, King and First Spear of the Tribali Thracians

Cv(O)-Cnc, 4 ILH(O), 7 IPs(O), 4 IPs(S), 9 I-Ax(S), and 2

IAx(O) for filler :^) BP=7.5

Diazenis, Chief of the Goatrunner Clan and Uncle to the King

ICv(O)-SG, 4 ILH(O), 1 ILH(F), 4 IPs(S), 7 IPs(O), 9 IAx(S)

and 1 IAx(O) BP=7.5

Kerses, Chief of the Blackspear Clan, assisting not-by-choice

IAx(S)-SG, 4 ILH(O), 1 ILH(F), 5 IPs(S), 6 IPs(O), 8 IAx(S),

2 IAx(O) BP=7.5

Nikostratos, Polemarch of the Lakedaemonian Expeditionary Force

RSp(S) AG, 8 RSp(S), 2 RSp(O), 3 IPs(I) BP=4.5

 

Game 1: Alexandrian Imperial

This is the only game of my Thracians’ last six in which they defended. A large Rgo filled the inner corner of the distal right sector and medium Rgo fell in the center edge of the proximal left sector. Good terrain for the Thracians.

The Thracian commands spanned the field (left to right) Ezvenis, Diazenis, Kersis with Nikostratos’ Spartans in center rear. Skirmishers were in ambush in both the foremost left and right Rgo.

Alexander’s three balanced commands were deployed:

Thracian left: Elephants & auxilia supported by lighthorse.

Thracian center: Pike phalanx flanked by auxilia with Alex and his companions in reserve.

Thracian right: Auxilia, psiloi and lighthorse screening the large Rgo area.

Cautious of their flanks, the Macedons moved forward slowly while lights moved forward to scout the terrain. The Thracians hurried their heavy peltasts up to occupy the Rgo in force while skirmishers controlled the advance of the phalanx. Behind their screen, the Spartans maneuvered right to align themselves between the end of the pike phalanx and the Rgo. In this gap, the Macedonian line was held by auxilia and lighthorse.

Initial contact and most of the bloodshed occurred on the left, where Ezvenis’ troops pushed out of the terrain to threaten Alex’s flank and rear. The Macedonians reacted aggressively. As the fight intensified, order was lost from both lines as groups of lights and elephants locked in melee.

On the right, the Thracians grabbed the terrain while the Greek lights fell back and the Companions moved up to intimidate the peltasts. His foot checked by the Macedonian reserves, Kerses sent his lighthorse around the terrain to eliminate some skirmishers and ruin the Companion’s concentration. About this time, the Spartans arrived. Alex pulled the nearest pike column in echelon to protect the flank and the Spartans moved to attack. Initially recoiled by the pikes, a second attempt pushed the phalangist column into a cocked element and four ranks of pike were gone in a instant. Then the Spartan’s cleared the lighthorse from their front .

On the left, losses mounted for both sides. Since the Thracians had the numbers, the Macedonian wing broke, leaving their baggage unprotected. Things becoming desperate, Alexander sent his Companions on a frontal assault...directly into the waiting Spartans:^) 10-0 Thracians.

Game 2: Attilid Pergamene

The Triballi invaded Pergamon whose forces met them on a plain broken only by a few small hills. Two small areas of brush were situated in the left sectors. Kerses and Ezvenis deployed left and right, with Nikostratos’ Spartans hidden behind a gentle hill in the center rear. Diazenis’ force marched on the right flank.

Pergamon’s army was a regular version of the Thracians: RAx(S) make up the battle line, with a smattering of Kn(F), Kn(X), Cv(O) and enough Pike and Galatian warbands for form a solid HI center. On the Thracian left, the Pergamenes deployed a line of mercenary peltasts (Ax(S) and skirmishers supported by some lancers (Kn(F)). Center-right was the phalanx: double ranked warbands and deep pike blocks in wb-pk-wb-pk-wb formation. Behind these were another small contingent of Seleucid cavalry (Kn(X)). Against the Thracian right more mercenaries with some Galatian cavalry (Cv(O)) in reserve.

The Pergamenes refused on the left so the Thracians pushed forward there. At the same time, the Spartans came over the hill to line up left of the Pergamene phalanx and angled slightly to it while skirmishers slowed the Pergamene HI. On the right, opposing Ax(S) advanced towards one another meeting just over the centerline.

At this point, the war cries announced the arrival of the Thracian flank march. The Pergamene general rushed his mounted reserves to his left while his peltasts on that wing moved into contact. Both lines of peltasts were fighting without the (S) qualifier and quite expectedly, casualties mounted quickly. With the shorter frontage, the Pergamenes took more losses.

On the left, with the lancers withdrawn, the Thracians pushed forward aggressively. Here, the Pergamene commander continued to refuse and fighting was sporadic. The flank march arrived on a pip roll of one. Diazenis left the mounted behind and came forward with all his foot. By this time, an abbreviated line of lancers (Kn(F)) and Galatian cav had formed behind the embattled Pergamene left. Diazenis paused atop a small hill opposite the Pergamene horsemen while the right half of his line continued forward to put pressure on the blocking force’s flank.

Meanwhile, the Pergamene phalanx pitched into the right half of Spartan line. In the first bound of contact, two files of Lacedemonians fell, bringing Nikostratos’ command to half an element of breaking. Coming up from reserve, the Thracian lighthorse plugged the gap and began working on the warband’s flank. As the center dissolved into melee, the Pergamene command brought his Seleucid Kn(X) up to finish off the Spartan right. Supported by their Thracian allies, the Spartans repulsed this attack and pushed back the Pergamenes.

Turning into a game of attrition, across the board casualties from both armies mounted. As the Pergamene losses became critical, a Galatian cavalry troop attacked the Thracian general in a gap which meant sudden death to the loser. The risk paid off and, with the other losses suffered that bound, the Thracian command failed the morale test and broke.

Still, the Thracians are nothing if not resiliant and two more bounds of mutual destruction saw the collapse of the Pergamene left and then the whole army. 9-1 Thacians.

Game 3: Later Assyrian-Sargonid

In this somewhat frustrating game, my opponent was intent on protecting his small army’s flanks. Naturally the Thracians were his worst nightmare. The Thracians invaded, placing a river to avoid thirst. My opponent placed a few patches of Rgo leaving it a wide open table with his right flank snuggled against the river (which he misunderstood to be a WW until I deployed elements beyond it).

Ezvenis and Kerses’ commands were outermost with Diazenis in the center and the Spartans back-center-right. Both Thracian wings pushed forward to threaten Sargon’s flanks but then stalled for pips. With allocatable pips, the Assyrians simply redeployed to meet these with a hedgehog defense. When the Thracians maneuvered to take advantage of the new Sargonid deployment, the Sargonids would redeploy to thwart it. This for four hours. As time ran short, I tried to draw some Sargonids out by dangling bait. After a brief skirmish, the Assyrians would beat a retreat when Thracian reinforcements moved up. The game ended with a 5-5 draw: I lost one psiloi and destroyed nothing. It was, however, a heady experience to see a line of Cv(S) retreating madly at the advance of my auxilia.

This game demonstrated the fundamental difference between a regular and irregular army. My pips were about average. However, I missed opportunity after opportunity because the command that needed to strike quickly was hit with a pip drought lasting just long enough for the Sargonid commands to make the necessary adjustments.

Game 4: Dailami

I anticipated a number of Dailami outfits at the tourney and hoped that I didn’t meet one since I consider them to be the Thracian’s natural predator. It was preordained that I should meet one in the last round and that one marshalled by Ethan Zorick, the Modern Evil Overlord. Naturally, the Thracians invaded. Two large brushy hills were placed: one on the left near sector and one on the right far sector. Both were capable of hiding at least a full command.

Two Dailami commands were visible: a Cv(S) command at center-left (all directions relative to the Thracian deployment) and another center-right. Thracian deployment was Kerses left (screening the near hill), Ezvenis center and Diazenis right with the Spartans rear center-left. Thracian scouts revealed a command and a half in ambush behind the near hill. Doing the mental arithmetic, I calculated that the far hill must be fairly unpopulated and pushed forward mounted lights and skirmishers on that wing to occupy it and serve as a anchor for that flank.

This was the Thracian’s last proactive act. The Evil Overlord rolled three healthy pip-die, stared at them for a second and in his eyes, a wicked light began to glow. In a tactic brilliantly conceived and masterfully executed, he tied up my scouts with a screen of lighthorse and cav, then KMTDed both center commands into column and raced for the Thracian right. Naturally, a Thracian pip drought ensued on that wing. While Diazenis’ lighthorse and skirmishers slowly tried to prepare for the worse, a solid line of Ghulams formed to their front. It looked ugly and then got worse.

The Thracian center spent the remainder of the game trying to respond to this blitzkrieg but with little success. Small parties of Buyid lighthorse and ghulams slowed their efforts most effectively. On the left, about an equal number of dailami and peltasts stared at each other: the Dailami not venturing far from the hill and the Thracians not anxious to attack it.

The ghulams easily wiped out the Thracian lights, breaking the right wing. Stragglers slowed their assault long enough for the Thracians to throw together a defensive effort but even this fell relatively quickly to the rampaging ghulams. A 0-10 loss.

This was my first tourney outing with an irregular army. I was really pleased with the way the Triballi performed and would not hesitate to pack them for another open competition (providing, of course, Dailami were expressly forbidden).

Rgds,  Steve O’Brien

 


Message From: steve.dyett@bt.com
Date: Thu, 10 Jun 1999 16:22:33 +0100
Subject: Thracians at Roll Call (Fairly long)

I only put the Thracians in as a quick strap line and did not think that it would create so much interest, Therefore I suppose I had better do a quick ( and I do mean quick) report on their outing at Roll Call at the weekend.

The army I took was the following, basically a modified version of the doubles army @500ap, that I took to Colchester ( with the dear red robots as allies)

First command

Ax(S) Irr G 1 Thracian Sub general

LH(O) Irr 10 Light horse

Ax(S) Irr 11 Peltasts

Ax(O) Irr 3 Lesser peltasts

Ps(S) Irr 3 Thracian javelinmen

Ps(O) Irr 2 Slingers

Bg(I) Irr 5 Baggage

Cmd Elts: 35 EEs: 27.5 Dem.Lvl: 9.5

 

Second Command

Cv(O) Irr G 1 Thracian C-in-C

LH(O) Irr 4 Light horse

Ax(S) Irr 21 Peltasts

Ax(O) Irr 3 Lesser peltasts

Ps(S) Irr 3 Thracian javelinmen

Ps(O) Irr 2 Slingers

Bg(I) Irr 1 Baggage

Cmd Elts: 35 EEs: 31.5 Dem.Lvl: 10.5

 

Third Command

Ax(S) Irr G 1 Thracian sub general

LH(O) Irr 10 Light horse

Ax(S) Irr 10 Peltasts

Ax(O) Irr 5 Lesser peltasts

Ps(S) Irr 2 Thracian javelinmen

Ps(O) Irr 1 Slingers

Cmd Elts: 29 EEs: 27.5 Dem.Lvl: 9.5

Total APs: 400.0 Army Elts: 99 EEs: 86.5 Defeat Lvl: 43.5

In my mind this army has a couple of very important strengths, firstly it has the ability to operate as either a light horse army with decent infantry support or vice versa, secondly it is big, when you compare it to other armies in the Macedonian and Punic period that I was fighting in.

Game 1

Defending vs Later Carthaginian

I managed to place some gullies and a vineyard, in some fairly useful positions ( If I was defending the standard terrain placement was 3 x 0.5FE Gullies and a 1.0FE vineyard). His army had a plenty of spear and light/auxilia support with a few cavalry. My opponent realising that he was facing a auxilia (S) army sent his warband fast on a flank march. To snip the battle report short the Thracians successfully slowed his spear down while concentrating on mobbing his Cv(O) and his lights with lots of mine. In the meanwhile 8 auxilia lined up to receive the warband. The flank march duly arrived and was dispatched within three bounds by means of LH and auxilia beating up the warband, whilst on the other flank the LH and Ax, broke down the cavalry command. Result 10-0 to the lads from North of Greece.

Game 2

Attacking vs Early Armenian.

Oooops, what did we not want to face this week end, lots of Kn(X). The couple of H(S) that we put down went on his table edge, as did the couple of pieces my opponents put down , so the Thracians ended up facing the thugs from Armenia on a billiard table. The Armenians with two allies started across the table with their 16 Kn(X) including 4 generals bearing down on all the auxilia that they could find. PiPs for the Europeans dried up but we still managed to slow him down long enough for a group of LH to break through the LH(F) screen and finally push the flank back into the Kn(X)s so that a command broke. Very very enjoyable but difficult game - 6-4 to the mob.

That left me with a career best 16 points from the first day, back home for a sleep and then the second day:

Game 3

Defending vs Maccabean Jewish.

Of all the people that you don’t really want to face on a Sunday morning, my opponent had to rate very highly indeed. He is a very good player who does not give anything away. The game was always in the balance and I felt that because we played such a consistent game and that the armies were fairly evenly matched that the battle would hinge on a particular point. It did...... he was regular and that allowed him to have the PiPs where he needed them. Bloody battle but being regular and having that all important (S) after LH gave him the game 4-6. Good game shame about the PiPs when they were needed but that’s the game.

Game 4

Defending vs Seleucid

First time the guys from Thrace had faced pikes all day. I was looking forward to this as I reckoned that both of us had a good chance at placing. My opponent put down a river and then preceded to place his big pike command on the "larger" side of the playing area, hinged on both the base edge and the river, and then place two commands on the "smaller!" side, still as I am always game to have a go, I deployed one command over the river and during the game (as the pikes were not coming to play) funnelled a lot of troops into this area. Lots of skirmishing with camels and kn(F) on his part and lots of lights on mine, result 5-5. Not very satisfying as my opponent thought that by placing the river he would possibly kill one command, but as I explained to him that would not be enough to win the tourney. His reply was that any other deployment was not realistic as he had seen my army before and that I would swamp his flanks and slowly kill his army.

So the Thracians came they saw what was about and took 25 points home, Still being placed ninth out of 38 wasn’t that bad, shame that they did not face one of the three Gallic armies. The Thracians aren’t that bad in this period and they performed as I expected they would, but that is the chance you take with irregular generals. Still IMHO its a great army which even though you like to defend should be used in an aggressive manner. Roll on the doubles in Oxford. More auxilia (S) to play with.

Steve Dyett

 


 

Thracian Vs Picts: a Tactica battle from Ty

The initial set up is as displayed below.

In writing the initial orders, the plan was for the central units to advance slowly, and then on receiving a change in orders to withdraw and delay contact until the right flank had succeeded. Only then were the Hoplite units to advance again. The right flank was instructed to deliver the knock out blow and then swing into the centre. The left flank was to stay in the woods and serve to delay the enemy.

This set up enabled me to concentrate my army instead of trying to cover the whole battlefield.

Thracian Army (Assumptions)

The army composition is made up of a Greek City State forced by the surrounding Thracian tribes to field troops. The Greek Peltast and Greek skirmishers are assumed to be city-state citizens hence pressed and the Hoplites are mercenaries.

Normally in games the Greeks are considered to be a City State working with the Thracians in common interest against an external threat. However this variation was used to make the army more challenging to use.

Round 1

Left Flank. The Greek Peltast and skirmishers in the woods are given hold order and do not move.

Centre. The Hoplites advanced at half speed (advance orders) with the skirmishers ahead. The javelin and shield armed Thracians are given skirmish orders and also advance. The Long spear and Veteran Peltast have advance orders and also move forward. One unit of Javelin armed skirmishers have been forward deployed and are hiding in the rocky ground with order to hold the difficult terrain.

Right Flank. The Pictish light cavalry (2 units) have advanced rapidly. One deploys in skirmish formation in front of the Veteran Peltast; the other advances with 60 paces of my Light Cavalry which means they would hit in the initial charge even if I tried to skirmish. I move up an armoured cavalry unit to threaten his light cavalry's flank. The question is will the Picts charge my light Cavalry as they have shields and I don't. Will he consider the armoured cavalry a bluff?

I declared charges with both the light armoured cavalry. The Picts also declared a charge into the light cavalry. The armoured cavalry rip into the Pictish flank and we have the first broken unit of the day with the Picts streaming back to their lines. A Pictish crossbow unit sees the break and becomes dispirited. The Veteran Peltast also charged the other unit of Pictish Cavalry. They skirmished as expected and the Peltast halt to regroup temporarily disarrayed.

Messages C-C sends message to Greek Allied General to give the Hoplites withdraw orders.

Round 2

Left Flank. The Greek Peltast and skirmishers do not move.

Centre. The Hoplites advanced at half speed with the skirmishers ahead. The Thracians also advance but are held up in the rocky ground, as I want the Pictish skirmisher to enter the rocky ground for my surprise.

Pictish light Cavalry charge my skirmishers which withdraw behind the Hoplites. Pictish Javelinmen enter the rocky ground and find my skirmishers waiting for them. Both units charge each other. At this stage the combat is even.

Right Flank. My light Cavalry pursue the Pictish Light Cavalry. Although being joined by their General the Pictish crossbowmen are also feint charged by my second unit of Light Cavalry and break as well.

Messages Greek Allied General forwards orders to the Hoplites to adopt withdraw orders.

Round 3

Left Flank. Viking skirmishers enter the woods and my poor javelinmen charge in with sharpened sticks and shields against cold steel. The javelinmen are pushed back dispirited. The Peltast still don't move from their hiding place.

Centre. The Hoplites begin to withdraw. The Greek allied General feint charging some enemy skirmishers that were a little too close. The Pictish javelinmen although holding their own in combat over the rocky ground become dispirited as they see the events unfold on their left flank (my right flank).

The second unit of my Javelinmen in the rocky grounds also charges out towards the center to scare away enemy skirmishers.

Right Flank. The Pictish line is in trouble. Instead of rallying the second Pictish light cavalry unit decides running away is the better part of valour. My light Cavalry unit that had been pursuing now rallies behind the flank of a Pictish war band. This war band charges, and is charged by my Veteran Peltast. Over a quarter of the Pictish unit is killed and the unit is now dispirited.

Lacking supporting units as all the skirmishing troops are either routing or dispirited the Pictish General forms a line with his armoured Cavalry and bravely charged the Thracian C-C.

The Pictish General suffers heavy casualties though shooting and is disarrayed in the charge as it is hit by the Thracian C-C's armoured Cavalry and supporting infantry detachment. The Pictish General and his bodyguard are wiped out to a man. On seeing this the dispirited war band breaks and another becomes dispirited.

Messages C-C sends message to Greek Allied General to give the Hoplites advance orders.

Round 4

Left Flank. The Picts pull out a rabbit out of their hat. They signal the Greek pressed units to withdraw as bribed. The Greek Peltast units and the skirmish unit in the woods retreat immediately off the battlefield. The Vikings enter the light woods and advance rapidly towards the centre of the battlefield.

Centre. The Hoplites continue to withdraw and are being screened by the skirmishing units of archers. Pictish Cavalry charge the skirmishers causing them to withdraw. Lucky the main body of Vikings is still to far to charge the Hoplites.

The Thracian Peltast unit closest to the Hoplites is shot at. Their commander fails to control them and they rashly start advancing towards the enemy.

The Pictish war bands try to move away from their left flank (my right) hoping the woods will hide the routs and stop the morale breaking rot that is spreading across the field. Unfortunately for them the war bands are too tightly packed together and word spreads about the disaster unfolding.

The Pictish javelinmen attempt to break off combat but the break off develops into a rout as the remaining Pictish skirmishing troops start to panic. One Pictish war band rashly manages to charge out of their woods into a clearing between the woods and the rocky ground while another becomes dispirited as a war band routs though it. This rash war band is hit by The Thracian subgeneral with Veteran Peltast and by an armoured Cavalry in the flank.

Right Flank. Both Pictish war bands dispirited earlier break. Armoured Cavalry move across to charge a Pictish war band in the flank as mentioned earlier. The C-C stops to rally. Cavalry and skirmishing troops start moving behind our lines to support the Greek Hoplites. They may not get there in time.

Messages. The Greek Allied General forwards orders to the Hoplites to adopt advance orders.

Also a pre arranged signal is used by the Thracians converting any skirmish troops with hold orders to skirmish orders and any Peltast with skirmish orders to attack orders.

Round 5.

Left Flank. What flank is that??? Unfortunately there are no troops there to speak of.

Centre. The Hoplites advance, although the one closest to the light woods forms Partial Square to protect its flank.

The out of control Thracian unit charges in anger straight into a Viking Huscarl unit. A quarter of the Peltast die and the unit becomes dispirited. Other units of Peltast move to support the stricken unit by covering its flanks.

The Pictish routs are in general hidden by their light woods, however two appear at the very edge of the woods and start to cause panic in one other war band which drops to dispirited. There are now 4 war bands routing. The one on combat also breaks this turn.

Right Flank. More units rally and start moving behind our lines to support the Hoplites.

Round 6

A unit of archers moves with 30 paces of the light woods to the left of the Hoplites and finds Viking Beserkers. The fanatics immediately charge my skirmishers, who just manage to evade the charge.

Two Hoplite units charge a Viking Bondi unit. The Hoplites suffer heavy casualties but the Viking Bondi loose over a quarter of their unit. Seeing that their Viking General failed to charge in and support them they become dispirited.

My dispirited Peltast unit attempt to break off. If the Huscarls keep up and hit them in the rear, the Thracians will have a rout in the middle of the battlefield. The Vikings must have over eaten today, the Peltast manage to get away.

At this point 5 out of 7 Pictish war bands have broken and are running away, one remains dispirited, as is the Viking Bondi unit. The army melts away, all thought of combat gone.

The Thracians are left to plunder the battlefield.

 

Game results

Picts lost 4150 point from 8002

Thracians lost 1288 points from 8003 ( 790 points from the troops that ran away)

A Decisive Victory to the Thracians.

It is interesting to note that the Pictish player didn’t use his free bribe rolls for the first 3 rounds of the game. If the bribe rolls had been used earlier in the game, it would have been clear there were no troops to oppose him on my left flank and the Vikings could have moved more rapidly to turn the flank of the Hoplites. (3 of the 5 pressed units were successfully bribed and retreated off the battlefield in round 4)

Comments

Ty,

I know you guys put a lot of effort into re hashing past glories, but I

think this one takes the cake. Quite impressive.

An interesting analysis, written by the victor. Well done. History is the

Prerogative of the winner.

Kieleigh

 

Kieleigh,

It is so rare for an initial plan to actually work that I had to write it up.

Had the Picts bribed my left flank in round one or two I would have lost the centre. The Hoplites would not have been able to hold with a flank turned.

Had the out of control Peltast unit been caught when it attempted to break off, I would have had a rout in the centre of my line. Even if nothing of mine failed their reaction test, the Pictish units would get a plus 2 for their reaction tests which would have been enough to stop the morale crumbling in their centre.

With the Pictish centre stablising and the Vikings moving unopposed through the woods, the game would have ended in a bloody draw. All the good work on my right flank would have been undone.

Ty

 


Campaign Rules

The Last Days of Glory - A complete Third - 2nd Century BC Eastern Mediterranean campaign - Can you stop Rome from conquering the Greeks?  Can Antiochus advance westward?  Can the Skythians conquer Thrace?  Can the Thracians conquer everyone?  Click here for a free set in Word 97 format.  This campaign includes all the major Thracian tribes.

Naumachiae Hellenistic naval campaign rules and information for naval campaigners - Click here for a free set in Word 97 format


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This page last updated on Monday, 07 January 2002 by Christopher Webber thracian@pnc.com.au

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