Hydaspes 326BC (Macedonia vs. Paurava India)

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Luddite
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Hydaspes 326BC (Macedonia vs. Paurava India)

Post by Luddite » Wed May 28, 2008 7:11 pm

Hydaspes (326BC)

This is a historical scenario between the Macedonian forces of Alexander the Great and the Paurava Indian forces of King Porus
It is designed to be represented by 15mm figures on a 6x4ft table.

Background

The Battle of the Hydaspes River was a battle fought by Alexander the Great in 326 BC against the Indian kingdom of Paurava ruled by King Porus. Following his conquest of the Persian Empire, Alexander pressed on into the Indian realms beyond.

The Hydaspes was the last major battle fought by Alexander and represents the furthest extent of his Imperial expansion.

The battle took place on the east bank of the Hydaspes River near the town of Nicaea.

After Alexander defeated the last remnants of the Achaemenid Empire under Bessus and Spitamenes in 328 BC, he began a new campaign against the various Indian kings in 327 BC.

The main Macedonian force advanced into India through the Khyber Pass, but a smaller force under the personal command of Alexander went through the northern route, taking a fortress at Aornos on the way. In early spring of the next year, he combined his forces and allied with Taxiles (Ambhi), the King of Taxila, a political move that drew him into war with the neighbouring King of Hydaspes.

The actual battle

Porus drew up on the south bank of the Hydaspes River, and was set to repel any crossings by Alexander. With the Hydaspes River in flood Alexander knew that a direct crossing would fail, so he found a crossing point 17 miles upstream and crossed the majority of his force under cover on night, leaving Craterus in charge of a deceiving force opposite the Indians.

To combat the new threat, Porus sent a small cavalry and chariot force under his son to the crossing. The force was easily routed, the chariots in particular being impeded by the mud near the shore of the river, with Porus' son among the dead.

Porus now saw that the crossing force was larger, and decided to face it with the bulk of his army. He left behind a small detachment to disrupt the landing of Craterus' force now crossing the river.

When the battle actually started, the Macedonian cavalry was to the right of the line, but Alexander sent a group of cavalry to circle behind the Indians and attack them from behind. The Indians were poised with cavalry on both flanks, the war elephants in front, and infantry behind the elephants.

These war elephants presented an especially difficult situation for Alexander. Most of his success on the battlefield came from his ability to separate the enemy lines and drive his crack Companion cavalry into the opening. This was used with devastating effectiveness at both Issus and Gaugamela. However, the Indian elephants scared the Macedonian horses. The mere scent of these incredible creatures forced Alexander to modify his strategy.

Alexander started the battle by sending horse archers to shower the Indian left cavalry wing. After this, he led the customary charge on the weakened cavalry wing. Predictably, the Indian right cavalry wing galloped to the opposite wing in order to reinforce the charged cavalry. At this moment, Alexander sent his officer Coenus with cavalry either to attack the Indian left by way of circling behind the enemy, or to attack the Indian cavalry after a feint to the Indian right. Thus, Alexander was able to destroy the Indian cavalry while minimizing his mounted units' exposure to the Indian war elephants. Had the Indian cavalry not been destroyed they could have endangered his phalanxes later in the battle, and the Macedonian horse may not have been able to support the foot soldiers against the Indian cavalry due to the proximity of the elephants.

Meanwhile, the Macedonian phalanxes had advanced to engage the charge of the war elephants, which was stopped, albeit with heavy casualties to the infantry. The Macedonians eventually surrounded the Indian force, which amounted to a mass surrender.

Although victorious, Alexander's exhausted army mutinied and refused to go any further into India. His tired army saw the use of war elephants for the first time in years since Gaugamela. King Porus and his men put up a fierce resistance against the invading Macedonian army which even won the admiration and respect of Alexander.

Forces

Macedonians

List used: Alexandrian Macedonian (Immortal Fire p41)

Points total: 942
Initiative: +4

Commanders

Alexander Inspired Commander (CinC) - 80
Seleucus Field Commander - 50
Coenus Troop Commander - 35

Infantry

Hypastpists 12x [Heavy Foot, Protected, Superior, Drilled, Pikemen] - 96
Foot Companions 12x [Heavy Foot, Protected, Average, Drilled, Pikemen] - 72
Foot Companions 12x [Heavy Foot, Protected, Average, Drilled, Pikemen] - 72
Agrarians 8x [Light Foot, Unprotected, Superior, Undrilled, Javelins, Light spear] - 40
Agrarians 8x [Light Foot, Unprotected, Superior, Undrilled, Javelins, Light spear] - 40
Macedonian Archers 4x [Light Foot, Unprotected, Average, Drilled, Bow] - 20
Cretan Archers 4x [Light Foot, Unprotected, Superior, Drilled, Bow] - 20

Cavalry

Agema 4x [Cavalry, Armoured, Elite, Drilled, Lancers, Swordsmen] - 80
Companion Cavalry 4x [Cavalry, Armoured, Superior, Drilled, Lancers, Swordsmen] - 68
Greek Heavy Cavalry 4x [Cavalry, Armoured, Superior, Drilled, Light spear, Swordsmen] - 68
Podromoi 4x [Light Horse, Unprotected, Average, Drilled, Lancers, Swordsmen] - 32

Taxilian Allies

Taxiles Troop Commander (Ally) - 25 (King Ambhi of Taxilia – Allied commander)

Taxilian Horse Archers 6x [Light Horse, Unprotected, Average, Undrilled, Bow] - 48
Taxilian 'Residual' Cavalry 4x [Cavalry, Protected, Poor, Undrilled, Light spear] - 20

Taxilian Archers 6x [Medium Foot, Unprotected, Average, Undrilled, Bow, Swordmen] - 36
Taxilian Archers 6x [Medium Foot, Unprotected, Average, Undrilled, Bow, Swordmen] - 36


Pauravan Indians

List used: Classical Indian (Immortal Fire p32)

Points total: 1060
Initiative: +2

Commanders

King Pontus Field Commander (CinC) - 50
Sub-general (unnamed) Troop Commander - 35
Sub-general (unnamed) Troop Commander - 35

Infantry

Javelinmen 6x [Medium Foot, Protected, Poor, Undrilled, Light spear, Swordsmen] - 24
Javelinmen 6x [Medium Foot, Protected, Poor, Undrilled, Light spear, Swordsmen] - 24
Javelinmen 6x [Medium Foot, Protected, Poor, Undrilled, Light spear, Swordsmen] - 24
Javelinmen 6x [Medium Foot, Protected, Poor, Undrilled, Light spear, Swordsmen] - 24
Archers 8x [Medium Foot, Unprotected, Poor, Undrilled, Bow, Swordsmen] - 32
Archers 8x [Medium Foot, Unprotected, Poor, Undrilled, Bow, Swordsmen] - 32
Archers 8x [Medium Foot, Unprotected, Poor, Undrilled, Bow, Swordsmen] - 32
Archers 8x [Medium Foot, Unprotected, Poor, Undrilled, Bow, Swordsmen] - 32
Archers 8x [Medium Foot, Unprotected, Poor, Undrilled, Bow, Swordsmen] - 32
Archers 8x [Medium Foot, Unprotected, Poor, Undrilled, Bow, Swordsmen] - 32
Archers 8x [Medium Foot, Unprotected, Poor, Undrilled, Bow, Swordsmen] - 32
Archers 8x [Medium Foot, Unprotected, Poor, Undrilled, Bow, Swordsmen] - 32
Archers 8x [Medium Foot, Unprotected, Poor, Undrilled, Bow, Swordsmen] - 32
Archers 8x [Medium Foot, Unprotected, Poor, Undrilled, Bow, Swordsmen] - 32
Archers 8x [Medium Foot, Unprotected, Poor, Undrilled, Bow, Swordsmen] - 32
Archers 8x [Medium Foot, Unprotected, Poor, Undrilled, Bow, Swordsmen] - 32

Cavalry

Elephants 2x [Elephants, Average, Undrilled] - 50
Elephants 2x [Elephants, Average, Undrilled] - 50
Elephants 2x [Elephants, Average, Undrilled] - 50
Elephants 2x [Elephants, Average, Undrilled] - 50
Elephants 2x [Elephants, Average, Undrilled] - 50
Elephants 2x [Elephants, Average, Undrilled] - 50
Heavy Chariots 4x [Heavy Chariots, Superior, Undrilled, Bow] - 80
Heavy Chariots 4x [Heavy Chariots, Superior, Undrilled, Bow] - 80
Cavalry 4x [Cavalry, Protected, Average, Undrilled, Light spear] - 28
Cavalry 4x [Cavalry, Protected, Average, Undrilled, Light spear] - 28
Cavalry 4x [Cavalry, Protected, Average, Undrilled, Light spear] - 28



Scenario

Terrain

The terrain should be set up as seen on the deployment map below. Although the majority of the ground is soft, it is firm enough to count as open terrain.

The areas of ‘broken ground’ are noticeably soft and count as UNEVEN.
The areas of ‘brush’ are boggy ground that counts as ROUGH.
The areas of ‘marsh’ count as DIFFICULT.

The Hydaspes is impassable. Its tributary to the rear of the Indian position is difficult going.

Motivation / Objectives

Alexander and his army are nearing exhaustion. After months of campaigning and the defeat of the Persians they are now facing a whole new theatre of war. In support of his new ally Taxiles, Alexander is simply trying to achieve a vitory to cement his alliance and further expand his empire.

For the Macedonians, the only motivation is to win in order to survive.

Pontus is defending his land from the invading Macedonians and his bitter enemy Ambhi (Taxiles) and is therefore keen to destroy the invaders. His son was killed by the Alexandrians in skirmishing only the day before so he is also likely to be seeking revenge.

Pontus is seeking to defend his land by the destruction of his enemy. He is also likely to be seeking the death of Taxiles and revenge for his son’s slaying.

Deployment

The battlefield should be 6x4ft (at 15mm scale figures) or adjusted to fit the figures scale being used.

For the initial deployment locations of both armies, see the deployment map below, in relation to the following key.

Macedonians

A Hypastpists
B Foot Companions
C Agrarians
D Macedonian Archers
E Cretan Archers
F Agema
G Companion Cavalry
H Greek Heavy Cavalry
I Podromoi
J Taxilian Horse Archers
K Taxilian 'Residual' Cavalry
L Taxilian Archers

The Macedonian skirmishers are deployed 15MU in from their base line. Their formed BGs are deployed at 10MU.

They must be deployed as close as possible to the positions represented on the deployment map.

Alexander begins in contact with the Agema.
Coenus begins in contact with the Companion cavalry.
Seleucus begins in contact with the Hydaspists.
Taxiles deploys in contact with the base table edge. Some sources place Taxiles at the battle with his allied troops, but there is little evidence recorded for his actions on the day. He is therefore included and can be used as an allied commander.

Deployment notes

The Companion cavalry and Podromoi may be deployed in column facing east if desired.
The Hypastpists and Foot Companions may deploy in battle line or with gaps between them of up to 1 base width.

Pauravan Indians

A Javelinmen
B Archers
C Elephants
D Heavy Chariots
E Cavalry

The Indian force is deployed 10MU in from their base edge.

The elephants must be dispersed evenly across the front of the infantry as show.

The infantry can deploy in contact or with gaps between up to half a base width, provided no BG deploys further east than the edge of the marsh.

The Chariots must deploy in a single rank.

The cavalry on the west flank may deploy in column if desired.
Pontus may deploy independently or in contact with any infantry BG near his deployment.
An Indian sub-commander may deploy independently, or in contact with any cavalry of chariot BG.

Deployment notes

Neither side has a camp at the battle, as they have both left their supply train back at the original site where the two forces met on opposite backs of the Hydaspes.

Turns

The Macedonians start the first turn.

Victory conditions

Simple attrition points are used to determine victory, with the following bonuses.

Alexander knows his men are nearing exhaustion. If the Macedonians have not routed the Indian army by the end of their Joint Action Phase on turn 12, the Macedonians suffer +2 Attrition points lost.

Pontus is aggressive and keen to drive the invaders out of his land. If the Indians do not have at least half their BGs fully beyond 12MUs in from their base line by the end of their Joint Action Phase on turn 12, the Indians suffer +2 Attrition points lost.

Notes and Comments

Taxiles was certainly at the battle of Hydaspes, but aside for a reference that he ‘contributed 5000 men’, I’ve not found much other evidence as to the detail of those troops or Taxiles’ role on the day. I’ve therefore included his allied contingent, placing them in the roles I was unsure about.

The ‘residual’ cavalry on Alexander’s left flank for example; I’ve made those allied Taxilians. The key ‘horse archers’ that opened hostilities for Alexander may well have been Sogdians, but I’ve taken liberties and made those Taxilians also.

Pontus’ elephants are difficult to represent within the Field of Glory (or indeed any) rules, as they were dispersed across the Indian infantry front, but deploying them as isolated BGs should be OK. I’ve left the option for the Indian side to advance them and form them up but in reality they probably shouldn’t.

The constitution of the Indian infantry is also conjectural. I’ve made the majority poor bowmen, as the archery the Macedonians encountered seems to have been not greatly effective. For variation, I’ve also included flanking javelinmen.

As I’ve no wish to write further ‘core rules’ the damage the stampeding and panicked elephants did to their own infantry during the battle will not be represented either.

The terrain seems to have been rough and marshy, but there is no mention of the Macedonian phalanx suffering unduely, so I’ve kept the majority of the battlefield open.

Deployment Map

Image

Luddite
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Post by Luddite » Thu May 29, 2008 8:01 am

Incidentally chaps, if any of you use my scenarios, let us know how they went! :wink:

stevoid
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Post by stevoid » Thu May 29, 2008 9:28 am

Nice work there Luddite!

I'll see if we can anyone down the club to play this. We actually did this as a multi-player a year ago under DBM so it will be a good comparison.

Steve

Luddite
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Post by Luddite » Thu May 29, 2008 9:52 am

Cheers Stevoid, let us know how it goes.

There are some potential issues with the deployment of the Indians, that come from the problem of representing the elephants dispersed across the front of (and within) the indian infantry.

I'd considered deploying the elephants in column, alternating within the infantry block. But its clear they were up front and the accounts i read talk of the elephants being the first enemy contacted by the Macedonian phalanx...

Not sure...

I tried to give a deployment that would allow the Indian player some flexibility in forming a mixed inf/elephant line on the advance, but with undrilled CMT this will be challenge, representing the mess the Indians got themselves in at the battle...although it was their cavalry/chariots that really fluffed it up!!

Hopefully this deployment should present some interesting challenges in a similar vein...

As ever, i'm not sure though... :D

gilnocky
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Post by gilnocky » Wed Jul 23, 2008 7:36 am

Wow, great writeup. The diagram is phenomenal. Just one minor issue that I saw; somehow "Porus" became "Pontus" for the order of battle and diagram.

SirGarnet
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Post by SirGarnet » Wed Jul 23, 2008 8:12 am

Note that the Indians if deployed in sensible 2 deep formations (1 deep for chariots and elephants) as shown would be 38 bases frontage or just over 1.5m wide with no gaps, leaving about 20 cm on left and right margins on a six foot table, meaning a larger table would be needed to give the Indians significant maneuver room on the flanks. The Macedonians and allies have plenty of elbow room.

Deployed as they are, doing the historical thing in FoG terms with Elephants in this formation would mean running them forward to engage and keep the main body far enough back to avoid being burst through, or contracting to open avenues for the Elephants to rout or deploying with the allowed half-width spacing and then shifting to open avenues as they advance.

A more practical formation might be to have 4 Elephant bases in the middle and 4 on each flank as part of the battle line for mutual support, also allowing the archers to shoot.

Mike

ars_belli
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Post by ars_belli » Wed Jul 23, 2008 12:29 pm

Very nice scenario, Luddite!

One tiny little correction: for the Macedonian list, I think you meant to have two units of Agranians, rather than "Agrarians." At least, since I don't own a copy of Immortal Fire, I am assuming that they aren't listed by their rural lifestyle in the supplement. :wink:

Anyway, thanks for the great scenario posting. Please keep them coming! :)

Cheers,
Scott

azrael86
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Post by azrael86 » Fri Mar 19, 2010 10:28 pm

Very good write up, but shouldn't there be thracian peltasts? According to Arrian they used rhompaia to hamstring the elephants (whether success was a good thing for the hamstringer is perhaps less clear)....

I also wonder if some of the Indian Infantry deserve average classification. Arguably the cavalry could be poor (again, sources suggest they got the horses drunk before battle to0 stop them bolting).

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