Godendag Replacement Bus, January 2020
Godendag at Firestorm Games was booked for 11/12 January, but was moved at short notice to a later date inconvenient for many DBM players. Paul Apreda generously arranged a competition in Corntown on the original dates, which he called a “replacement bus”.
Russ and I took a Ptolemaic army, one we’d never used before. Only three commands, each with a block of pikes and various light infantry, one with all the mounted (5 Fast Knights, 3 cavalry and 4 light horse), a pair of elephants in another and two galleys in the C-in-C’s command. We also had three bolt-shooters. Break points were high at 9.5, 9.5 and 9. The general plan was to defend, narrow the table with the compulsory waterway and some palm groves, and steam forward with the pikes.
Our first game was against David Sheppard and John Calvert with Later Sargonid Assyrians. We defended and placed the waterway, and a large palm grove (orchard) in the middle of our deployment area gave us a decent position. The Assyrian chariots, nervous of our elephants and artillery, stayed in the rear and the attack was by spearmen and archers against our right and auxilia into the palm grove, which was defended by psiloi reinforced by auxilia. Almost all the psiloi died, but this took a long time. Meanwhile our lancers charged the Assyrian infantry to the right and initially bounced off with loss, then rode down the archers. Pikemen killed some spearmen. The Assyrian C-in-C attacked a victorious knight, failed and was then slain; his command broke. Fighting on the left was indecisive and the game timed out at 7-3.
Then Nikephorian Byzantines led by Derek Bruce. We’d seen this army several times before, with both wins and losses. Derek’s fleet was more powerful than ours and a brief naval battle ended with our galleys heading for the shore and disembarking the marines. More importantly, Derek outflanked us on the open left flank and his fearsome Bw(X) riddled our pikemen, shooting down 5 of the 12 elements there. However, our lancers and light horse defeated his mounted troops there, while our cavalry gloriously rode down two Bw(X/O) double elements; the Byzantine command broke. Massed pikemen finally got to grips with a command of Varangian Bd(O) and massacred them, breaking a second command for a 10-0 win.
Nick Coles (his partner Paul Apreda being unavoidably absent for most of the game) commanded a Mithridatic army which had done well on the Saturday. Unusually, we invaded and couldn’t cover the table in the absence of our waterway, so we concentrated on the right and charged forward. On the left four scythed chariots went for our Kn(F) lancers but we screened with skirmishers, who destroyed all four for the loss of one psiloi and one light horse. In the centre our pikes met the Mithridatic ones and quality told; the Pk(I) slave phalanx crumbled very quickly and a large (35-element) command broke. On the right Mithridatic Inferior Knights attacked a line of Superior Auxilia – overlapped at both ends, three of the four Kn(I) soon died but the other destroyed five Ax(S) and survived the battle. However, casualties elsewhere eventually reached half the Mithridatic army and it broke. 10-0 win.
We were thus in a strong position going into the last game, in which we defended against more Nikephorian Byzantines commanded by Martin Golay and Tony Green. We concentrated on the right; Tony’s massed Bw(X) were on the far left and had a long way to go. But they got there and proceeded to shoot up our smallest pike block and cavalry, breaking our mounted command with assistance from some cavalry. Then they tried to exploit their advantage but were delayed by some demoralised remnants (one Kn(F) in particular performing heroically), while our main force of pikes advanced on the right. We trapped and killed several cavalry elements, then the pikemen defeated Varangians, scoring the last kill needed right on time – a real injury-time equaliser. 5-5 draw.
32 points gave us a comfortable competition win and a great start to the year with an unfancied army.