Maccabees in FOG 2

Field of Glory II is a turn-based tactical game set during the Rise of Rome from 280 BC to 25 BC.
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Maccabees in FOG 2

Post by vaalen » Sat Nov 18, 2017 4:08 pm

I was surprised and delighted to see that FOG 2 included, in the rise of Rome campaign, a way to fight the jewish revolts against the Seleucids and Romans.

However, when I began a campaign as the Maccabees against the Seleucids, a war that the Jewish rebels actually won against a huge empire, the troop types available for the Maccabees, the Jewish rebels, did not reflect history as I understand it.

My information is based largely on Battle of the Bible, a book written by an Israeli general and an Archaeologist, and the Hammer of God expansion to the boardgame SPQR, designed by Mark Herman and Richard Berg, and published in C3I magazine.

The description given by the game says that the Jewish rebels probably used Greek style units and tactics. That is a reasonable assumption, but not accurate.
Judah Maccabeus, the leader of the revolt, developed a new military system designed to take advantage of the weaknesses of the Seleucid armies, and the rough terrain of the hills. Judah spent a year training his troops while they hid out in the hills after beginning the revolt. While they used captured weapons, and the native bows and slings, their system was quite different. The revolt arose when the Seleucid empire tried to ban the Jewish religion by force, and force the Jews to worship the Greek Pantheon. This enraged many of the rural Jews, who joined the Maccabees, and felt they were fighting for the very survival of their religion and people.

The heaviest troops would be medium infantry in game terms, who were fairly good on rough terrain, These heavy troops were armed with bows, swords, light armor, and light shields. They had a very effective charge, being fanatics with the highest possible morale. In game terms, these troops would be impact foot, and swordsmen, with elite quality. They were capable of standing up to a phalanx for a time.There were also lighter troops, with no armor, who were similarly armed but not expected to stand up to the phalanx, and specialized in missile attacks and attacking the enemy from the flank and rear. They also would be archers and swordsmen, with superior troop quality.

Finally, there would be ordinary archers and slingers, recruited from the villages, who would use missile attacks only. These would also be superior in quality, because of their fanaticism.

The Maccabees had no cavalry, and did not use Greek spear tactics. They won most of their battles, but suffered some defeats. They were particularly vulnerable to elephants. They were always outnumbered.

I would love to be able to fight this campaign, as the FOG system would simulate it more accurately than the boardgame. However, I lack the computer skills to design scenarios. accordingly, I request that the team consider putting actual Maccabee units as described above into the Rise of Rome campaign.

For those who are interested, You can find the Hammer of God module at the internet. I could not save a link, but if you go to tje C3I ops center on the internet, you can find it this way.

Once you have reached the C3I ops center, click on the C3I article by Game series index in the list at the right of the page.

then click on The Great Battles of History series.

Then scroll down to the two articles entitled "Hammer of God, part one, and Hammer of God, Part 2.

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Re: Maccabees in FOG 2

Post by Jishmael » Sat Nov 18, 2017 4:27 pm

honestly, as much as a macabee fanboy that I am, the notion that a bunch of religious fanatics with a year of training and mixed arms merits elite status in the FOG2 engine is simply bizarre to me.

I would be very interested in having some more sourced input on the actual tactics and order of battle of macabees vs being a simple hoplite army, cause with sufficient historical proof i ca smell an interesting mod here
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Re: Maccabees in FOG 2

Post by rbodleyscott » Sat Nov 18, 2017 4:42 pm

The army list in the game is based on one of the Dead Sea Scrolls, entitled "the War of the Sons of Light against the sons of Darkness". It describes the Maccabean army in considerable detail - with the bulk of the army clearly fitting the thureophoroi standard.

Not only that but thureophoroi were the standard type of mercenary troops in the eastern Mediterranean in this period, and many of the rebels would probably have experience of serving as thureophoroi prior to the revolt.

The cavalry are also based on the description in the scroll.

It is true that the description in the scroll may represent a later stage of the army's development than the initial revolt, when they would have been less well organised. And no doubt there are other possible interpretations.

However, one should beware of reading a list of weapons in a source and assuming that all of the men are armed with all of them, rather than being divided into separate close-fighting troops and skirmishers. If the rebels were armed as you propose they would be completely unique during the period concerned. That might be so, but following more conventional contemporary military practice is perhaps more likely.

Anyway, we stand by our interpretation, which has good evidence to back it up, but you can always mod the units and army lists if you disagree.

I should note that we do have Zealot infantry models lined up for the Imperial Roman period dlc (for the Jewish revolts against Rome), and these would do nicely as part of an early Maccabean army list. They don't have bows, but if you accept the idea that the archers were most probably different men from the close-fighters, you could make a very nice list for the early part of the revolt. In the DLC they will be classified as Medium Foot, Superior, Lightly Protected, Impact Foot, Swordsmen - which in itself is a fairly generous classification.
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Re: Maccabees in FOG 2

Post by vaalen » Sat Nov 18, 2017 6:38 pm

Greetings, Richard.

The army described in the Dead Sea Scroll you mention sounds very much like a later Hasmonean army, as described in Battles of the Bible.

The Hasmonean dynasty was founded by the Maccabees, and their armies changed dramatically over the initial guerilla forces. After the kingdom was independent and the threat to the religion ended, The fanaticism was gone, and the Hasmoneans depended largely on mercenaries, most of whom used Greek arms and tactics.

I agree with you that the system I described would be unique, but, according to Chaim Herzog and Mordechai Gichon, the authors of Battles of the Bible, the system was unique, invented by Judah Maccabeus specifically to exploit the weaknesses in the enemy system.

I think they are right, because not only do they have a number of sources to back their claim, the fact is that the Maccabees won the war, and the revolution was a success. They were fighting a huge empire with resources many times their own, and were always substantially outnumbered. If they used a system similar to their enemies, they would have been swamped by numbers and never had a chance. At first small armies were sent, and destroyed. Later medium armies, and, finally, large armies. The Maccabees suffered some defeats, and Judah was killed in battle during one of them, but they won most of the battles, and ultimately, the Seleucids gave up and withdrew.

They describe battles in which intensive arrow fire was used to break up Phalanxes, which were then attacked by men with swords. Swords were better for close combat in rough terrain, once the formation of the phalanx was disrupted. Flank and rear attacks were common.

The C3I articles i mentioned in my post have detailed descriptions of six Maccabean battles during the revolt, if you care to look at the articles. I think you would find the descriptions interesting.

That said, it is hard to know exactly what happened thousands of years ago, and sources can differ. But I do think it would be fascinating Allowing Zealot infantry to be used in maccabean revolt battles would go a long way towards showing the swordsmen the Maccabees used, or perhaps there could be alternate armies in this situation.

Thanks again for this magnificent design.

Regards,

Vaalen

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Re: Maccabees in FOG 2

Post by kongxinga » Sat Nov 18, 2017 6:53 pm

I can't really contribute to this discussion, but being able to hear well sourced and well argued positions on historical compositions is one of the reasons I read these types of forums, so I am enjoying this discussion.

I will add my 2 cents that I think Elite status is too generous, and is mostly reserved for absolutely superlative quality troops. If possible to separate out, have the troops have (sky) high elan and poor(er) training like the Poeni foot mentioned in the manual.

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Re: Maccabees in FOG 2

Post by vaalen » Sat Nov 18, 2017 9:54 pm

I see your point about elite status, and it makes sense. however, some of the Maccabees were absolutely superlative troops. Judah had a bodyguard of such troops, that he put int the most dangerous position, and that he would use to help kill the enemy commander, which they accomplished several times. Every one of them fought to the death to defend him in the hopeless battle where he was killed. Maybe giving one or two of their sword bearing units elite status would account for that, with the rest of the troops being superior.

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Re: Maccabees in FOG 2

Post by rbodleyscott » Sat Nov 18, 2017 11:44 pm

vaalen wrote:The army described in the Dead Sea Scroll you mention sounds very much like a later Hasmonean army, as described in Battles of the Bible.

The Hasmonean dynasty was founded by the Maccabees, and their armies changed dramatically over the initial guerilla forces. After the kingdom was independent and the threat to the religion ended, The fanaticism was gone, and the Hasmoneans depended largely on mercenaries, most of whom used Greek arms and tactics.
If you had to pick a date for the transition, when would you suggest?

It would be easy enough to divide the current list into two and make the earlier list more zealoty and archery when we do the Imperial Roman DLC.
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Re: Maccabees in FOG 2

Post by vaalen » Sun Nov 19, 2017 1:35 am

I would pick 110 BC. That is when the Hasmonean king John Hyrcanus abandoned the national army created by his ancestors and decided to raise a large mercenary force, so he could start conquering his neighbors, as the Seleucid empire was greatly weakened. John conquered Transjordan, Samaria,Galilee, and Idumea. Idumea was a pagan kingdom that he forcibly converted to Judaism. My guess is that the army referred to in the Dead Sea Scroll you used as a source was referring to that conflict, with the "sons of darkness" most likely referring to the Idumeans.

The army created by Judah was not suitable for conquering other lands, something the people were not interested in doing. So John solved that problem by switching to a mercenary army.

I am very excited by the idea of dividing the army into two periods, once you have the Zealot units. The period of the original Maccabee army would begin in 167 BC, and end in 109 BC, the year before King John switched to a mercenary army in 110 BC.

Thank you for considering this idea, which would solve the issue for me and give us the option of doing a Maccabee revolt campaign.

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Re: Maccabees in FOG 2

Post by rbodleyscott » Sun Nov 19, 2017 7:30 am

vaalen wrote:I am very excited by the idea of dividing the army into two periods, once you have the Zealot units. The period of the original Maccabee army would begin in 167 BC, and end in 109 BC, the year before King John switched to a mercenary army in 110 BC.
Actually the first list would end in 111 BC, which is the year before 110 BC.
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Re: Maccabees in FOG 2

Post by rbodleyscott » Sun Nov 19, 2017 9:47 am

How about this:

Zealots are Medium Foot, Superior, Lightly Protected, Impact Foot, Swordsmen. (No elites, but adding general to unit gets a similar effect for the general's bodyguard units)

"Irregular Foot" are the medium foot previously called "Javelinmen"

This is the list for 1200 points.

Note there are a lot of lower quality non-zealot infantry which would have had to be used to build up the size of the army enough to engage in a pitched battle. In fact you can avoid bringing most of them.

This list would come out with the Imperial Roman dlc.
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Re: Maccabees in FOG 2

Post by vaalen » Sun Nov 19, 2017 4:01 pm

Of course you are right about the date the list would end. It is bc, not ad. Sorry about that.

The list sample you posted is excellent. I am completely happy with it.

The combat advantage given by leaders will perfectly reflect the elite bodyguards used by the Maccabee brothers.

Speaking of leaders, the five Maccabee brothers led the various contingents in the battles. All but one of them was eventually killed. In addition to Judah, the brothers were named John, Simon, Eleazar, and Jonathan. All but Simon were killed. Simon was the one who finally made peace with the Seleucids, and founded the Hasmonean dynasty.

The Maccabees did not use poorly armed rabble, preferring to have a smaller, more disciplined force, but they could have. So including them gives the player a choice that the Maccabees could have used. They did use a lot of archers and slingers, as many village people in the area already knew how to use those weapons.

Needless to say, I am really looking forward to that expansion!

Regards,

Vaalen

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Re: Maccabees in FOG 2

Post by grumblefish » Sun Nov 19, 2017 11:48 pm

vaalen wrote:...In game terms, these troops would be impact foot, and swordsmen, with elite quality


:lol: :lol: :lol: :lol: :lol: :lol: :lol: :lol: :lol: :lol: :lol: :lol: :lol: :lol:


Also, for the idea that this Hebrew army should have 2+0/9 "Zealots" that are superior: Absolutely not, unless Sparta gets a Kleomenes III era army list with superior pikemen, and every other up-start faction that won some battles gets treated similarly well.

Kleomenes III elevated 5,000 people as new citizens and trained them in the use of the pike. They smashed a bunch of opposing armies in the Peloponnese, so they had experience. If we're just going to give every upstart faction superior or elite troops, such as "Maccabees" zealots, then be consistent. Give it to the Spartans, give it to ANY faction that was a revolutionary or rebellious force and won some battles. I mean, SPARTACUS has a grand total of 0 superior or elite infantry!


Finally, and I'm no expert on the Seleucid Empire, but during the time period we're discussing they were in a lot of trouble. They had recently suffered massive defeats, lost valuable land, were in debt, and faced multiple civil wars and coups. The empire itself was destroyed a couple of generations later (actually, I suppose the rebels were also blown out by the Romans two generations later, too).

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Re: Maccabees in FOG 2

Post by ulysisgrunt » Mon Nov 20, 2017 3:47 pm

My 2 cents...
The problem of the Zealots would be solved if we could have two separate lists; one if the nation is defending on home territory, that would have the Zealots;
A list if they were attacking, they would not have Zealots
I do not know if the game mechanics would allow this.
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Re: Maccabees in FOG 2

Post by grumblefish » Mon Nov 20, 2017 6:36 pm

Ulysisgrunt wrote:My 2 cents...
The problem of the Zealots would be solved if we could have two separate lists; one if the nation is defending on home territory, that would have the Zealots;
A list if they were attacking, they would not have Zealots
I do not know if the game mechanics would allow this.
Danny Weitz
Then every single army list should contain superior units when defending its home territory. Almost all these ethnic groups perceived a certain area of the globe as especially belonging to them and their relatives, and they had various reasons to justify their defense of the land such as honouring their ancestors, protecting their families, carrying out some divine will, etc. Many of these groups had men who gained the necessary experience through training and various military victories.

If the devs want to include some kind of home-court advantage, fine, but Maccabees do not deserve special treatment that will uniquely shower them in superior/elite warriors.

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Re: Maccabees in FOG 2

Post by 76mm » Mon Nov 20, 2017 6:42 pm

vaalen wrote: Finally, there would be ordinary archers and slingers, recruited from the villages, who would use missile attacks only. These would also be superior in quality, because of their fanaticism.
I don't think that fanaticism makes you a superior slinger or archer, don't you have to know how to aim?

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Re: Maccabees in FOG 2

Post by Jishmael » Mon Nov 20, 2017 9:32 pm

76mm wrote:
vaalen wrote: Finally, there would be ordinary archers and slingers, recruited from the villages, who would use missile attacks only. These would also be superior in quality, because of their fanaticism.
I don't think that fanaticism makes you a superior slinger or archer, don't you have to know how to aim?
no you just need to believe hard enough and your projectiles will hit
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Re: Maccabees in FOG 2

Post by vaalen » Tue Nov 21, 2017 8:58 pm

I do not know that being superior makes you a better shot in FOG 2, though I could be wrong. I was thinking of their high morale, but, on reflection, Having them be average makes more sense.

All the male villagers in the area learned the bow or the sling as part of growing up. Raiders and bandits were a danger, along with wild animals, and the villagers favorite weapons were the bow and the sling.

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Re: Maccabees in FOG 2

Post by 76mm » Tue Nov 21, 2017 9:44 pm

vaalen wrote: All the male villagers in the area learned the bow or the sling as part of growing up. Raiders and bandits were a danger, along with wild animals, and the villagers favorite weapons were the bow and the sling.
Probably true of all/most villagers of the era, especially those who became slingers/archers--should all of them be superior?

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Re: Maccabees in FOG 2

Post by Yaitz331 » Thu Jan 03, 2019 11:52 am

I'm pretty late here (more than a year late, but hey), but I've got to mention the excellent book "Judas Maccabaeus - The Jewish Struggle against the Seleucids" by Betzalel Bar-Kochva. It's an absolute must-have for anyone interested in early Maccabean military history, going into depth on the general tactics, army makeup, specific tactics in some well-recorded battles, and manpower of both Judah Maccabee and the Seleucids.
Among other things, it gives very strong evidence for Judah having had cavalry forces from the Tobiads, a semi-independent Jewish duchy in Ammanitis which lasted until Antiochus IV destroyed it.
In essence, his argument (which is very well argued) is that Judah's army was as usually believed through the purification of the Temple, but after that, when he had to go on the offensive and had territory he had to defend, he restructured the army into a more typical Hellenistic army, with cavalry and even heavy infantry. Read the book for more details; you will not regret it.
It's hard to find, but I was able to get a PDF. You can find it here on my Google Drive.
I would love if the first Maccabean army in the game currently was split in two; one for the first stage of the revolt (the first as it is now), and one for the second stage (with the additions of Tobiad Cavalry and some Heavy Foot), in addition the later Hasmonean army and the Herodian army.

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Re: Maccabees in FOG 2

Post by rbodleyscott » Thu Jan 03, 2019 4:00 pm

Yaitz331 wrote:
Thu Jan 03, 2019 11:52 am
I'm pretty late here (more than a year late, but hey), but I've got to mention the excellent book "Judas Maccabaeus - The Jewish Struggle against the Seleucids" by Betzalel Bar-Kochva. It's an absolute must-have for anyone interested in early Maccabean military history, going into depth on the general tactics, army makeup, specific tactics in some well-recorded battles, and manpower of both Judah Maccabee and the Seleucids.
Among other things, it gives very strong evidence for Judah having had cavalry forces from the Tobiads, a semi-independent Jewish duchy in Ammanitis which lasted until Antiochus IV destroyed it.
In essence, his argument (which is very well argued) is that Judah's army was as usually believed through the purification of the Temple, but after that, when he had to go on the offensive and had territory he had to defend, he restructured the army into a more typical Hellenistic army, with cavalry and even heavy infantry. Read the book for more details; you will not regret it.
It's hard to find, but I was able to get a PDF. You can find it here on my Google Drive.
I would love if the first Maccabean army in the game currently was split in two; one for the first stage of the revolt (the first as it is now), and one for the second stage (with the additions of Tobiad Cavalry and some Heavy Foot), in addition the later Hasmonean army and the Herodian army.
Would you like to suggest specific changes and dates for this later list?
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