I am getting Palmyran fatigue already . . .

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stockwellpete
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I am getting Palmyran fatigue already . . .

Post by stockwellpete » Tue Mar 15, 2011 8:41 am

About 4 times now I have had to play against them in about 8 LT battles that I have had. They are certainly a very powerful army with lots of cataphracts and "superior" legionaries but I was wondering if they are too strong - they certainly demolished my hapless western foederati army in short time. One of my current opponents has told me that this Palmyran list originated around 1980 and at some stages the legionaries in it have been rated only "average" rather than "superior". According to this DBA summary, the Palmyran army got the better off its Sassanid enemy but was no match for the Roman army that was sent against it.

http://www.fanaticus.org/DBA/armies/dba76.html

Any thoughts?

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Post by tofman04 » Tue Mar 15, 2011 10:04 am

Hi,

The palmyran list how is it now, it is a Roman list doped with a lot of cataphracts. It correspond to Odenaethus period which was made "dux Romanorum" in the east by emperor Gallienus and had in command roman legions from the east.
A truly palmyran list will be one without legionaries of any kind (see the war of emperor Aurelian against queen Zenobia, when Palmyra didn't used against romans any kind of troops of legionary type).

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Post by stockwellpete » Tue Mar 15, 2011 11:41 am

tofman04 wrote:Hi,

The palmyran list how is it now, it is a Roman list doped with a lot of cataphracts. It correspond to Odenaethus period which was made "dux Romanorum" in the east by emperor Gallienus and had in command roman legions from the east.
A truly palmyran list will be one without legionaries of any kind (see the war of emperor Aurelian against queen Zenobia, when Palmyra didn't used against romans any kind of troops of legionary type).
OK thanks. So the Palmyran army did have cataphracts and legionaries for a very short period of time, but this was not typical of a Palmyran army. I couldn't make out why it was so strong, seeing as it was a town stuck in the middle of the Syrian desert. :lol: Do you think a more usual Palmyran army list is needed as well?

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Post by Examinondas » Tue Mar 15, 2011 12:34 pm

stockwellpete wrote:I couldn't make out why it was so strong, seeing as it was a town stuck in the middle of the Syrian desert.
That made me remember of a very old (and very good) article in Miniature Wargames, titled something like "A Queen and a camel", in which the Palmyran army was evaluated using some edition of the WRG rules. IIRC, the author wrote that Palmyrans could usually won against Romans, and that their historical defeat probably had something to do with the Romans having a large point advantage in real life! :D

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Post by tofman04 » Tue Mar 15, 2011 12:52 pm

Yes, I think so. for Palmyra should be two lists.
One for truly Palmyra (in fact they had an army based on cataphracts, camel cavalry, horse and foot archers, maybe some foot infantry, levies) and one for period 260 ad (year when emperor Valerian was defeated and taken prisoner by Shapur I) - 268 / 270 ad (year when king Odenaethus of Palmyra was assassinated). In this period, Odenaethus, how I said before, was made "dux Romanorum" in the est and commanded all Roman forces beside his palmyran forces.
In Aurelian campaigns of 272/273 ad against Palmyra, the palmyran army was the traditional one, without any roman type units.
In fact in LTR book for TT version is written in the army list that the roman units are available only before 272 ad.

In conclusion, should be two lists for Palmyra in respect for historical truth.

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Post by stockwellpete » Tue Mar 15, 2011 12:52 pm

Examinondas wrote: That made me remember of a very old (and very good) article in Miniature Wargames, titled something like "A Queen and a camel", in which the Palmyran army was evaluated using some edition of the WRG rules. IIRC, the author wrote that Palmyrans could usually won against Romans, and that their historical defeat probably had something to do with the Romans having a large point advantage in real life! :D
The DBA article that I linked to above says this though . . .

"Aurelian led a Roman army into Asia Minor, defeating the Palmyran army at Tyana, Immae, and Emesa, forcing it to retire until he was able to lay siege to Palmyra itself. Queen Zenobia was captured on the banks of the Euphrates as she fled south on camel to seek help from the Persians and the city fell soon after."

So that seems to be four separate occasions in quick succession where the Romans get the better of the Palmyrans. Did the Palmyrans beat the Romans elsewhere then? I am sorry but I do not know the history of this period very well. :wink:

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Post by Examinondas » Tue Mar 15, 2011 1:02 pm

stockwellpete wrote:So that seems to be four separate occasions in quick succession where the Romans get the better of the Palmyrans. Did the Palmyrans beat the Romans elsewhere then? I am sorry but I do not know the history of this period very well. :wink:
Let me clarify my previous post:
Examinondas wrote:IIRC, the author wrote that Palmyrans could usually won against Romans in WRG games, and that their historical defeat probably had something to do with the Romans having a large point advantage in real life! :D
IIRC, the first battles against Aurelian were inconclusive, the Palmyrans (with some Roman units in their army) retreating without suffering major losses. Only when the Romans serving in the Palmyran army left them and joined Aurelian, the Palmyrans were defeated.

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Post by stockwellpete » Tue Mar 15, 2011 1:19 pm

tofman04 wrote:Yes, I think so. for Palmyra should be two lists.
One for truly Palmyra (in fact they had an army based on cataphracts, camel cavalry, horse and foot archers, maybe some foot infantry, levies) and one for period 260 ad (year when emperor Valerian was defeated and taken prisoner by Shapur I) - 268 / 270 ad (year when king Odenaethus of Palmyra was assassinated). In this period, Odenaethus, how I said before, was made "dux Romanorum" in the est and commanded all Roman forces beside his palmyran forces.
In Aurelian campaigns of 272/273 ad against Palmyra, the palmyran army was the traditional one, without any roman type units.
In fact in LTR book for TT version is written in the army list that the roman units are available only before 272 ad.

In conclusion, should be two lists for Palmyra in respect for historical truth.
Very interesting information, tofman04. Thanks very much.

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Post by stockwellpete » Tue Mar 15, 2011 1:22 pm

Examinondas wrote: IIRC, the first battles against Aurelian were inconclusive, the Palmyrans (with some Roman units in their army) retreating without suffering major losses. Only when the Romans serving in the Palmyran army left them and joined Aurelian, the Palmyrans were defeated.
OK thanks. It seems we all must begin a lobbying campaign for a second Palmyran list to be added at some stage. :D

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Post by batesmotel » Tue Mar 15, 2011 2:38 pm

stockwellpete wrote:
Examinondas wrote: IIRC, the first battles against Aurelian were inconclusive, the Palmyrans (with some Roman units in their army) retreating without suffering major losses. Only when the Romans serving in the Palmyran army left them and joined Aurelian, the Palmyrans were defeated.
OK thanks. It seems we all must begin a lobbying campaign for a second Palmyran list to be added at some stage. :D
The entire Palmyran list covers a period of less than 20 years so you're not likely to get two separate lists. If you want to use a pure Palmyran list, don't buy the Romans. Seems simple enough. Historically there aren't many sources describing the armies commanded by Odenathus or Xenobia so the list definitely involves a large amount of interpretation for what it complains. In the notes for the TT list, the authors do note that it is unclear whether many or any of the Palmyran troops should be drilled. So buying a pure Palmyran list with mostly undrilled cataphracts and archers may well be the most historically accurate way to use them. If Romans are used, there are good arguments for the majority of them being average since in general the Eastern troops had a lower reputation compared to the western units.

As an additional suggestion, the Palmyran list is probably less formidable at lower point totals so you can't buy all the superior legionaries and drilled cataphracts. At 400 points the Palmyran player definitely has to make choices.

Chris
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Post by Examinondas » Tue Mar 15, 2011 3:15 pm

Let me add a couple of quotes from Phil Barker's superb "Armies and Enemies of Imperial Rome":

* Battle of Orontes 272 A.D.:
Aurelian with a large Roman army strong in light cavalry faced a Palmyran army, probably including the remains of the Roman army of the east with at least two Legiones.
[...]
Most of the Palmyrans seem to have escaped to fight again.
* Battle of Emesa 272 A.D.:
Aurelian had now been reinforced by eastern Roman units which had cast off their allegiance to Palmyra, as well as his Danube Legiones and Dalmatian and Moorish light cavalry.
The Roman cavalry [...] [was] ridden down by the cataphracts.
However, the Roman infantry not only coped with the Palmyran infantry to their front, but managed to wheel to take the cataphracts in the rear.

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Post by stockwellpete » Tue Mar 15, 2011 4:00 pm

batesmotel wrote: The entire Palmyran list covers a period of less than 20 years so you're not likely to get two separate lists. If you want to use a pure Palmyran list, don't buy the Romans. Seems simple enough. Historically there aren't many sources describing the armies commanded by Odenathus or Xenobia so the list definitely involves a large amount of interpretation for what it complains. In the notes for the TT list, the authors do note that it is unclear whether many or any of the Palmyran troops should be drilled. So buying a pure Palmyran list with mostly undrilled cataphracts and archers may well be the most historically accurate way to use them. If Romans are used, there are good arguments for the majority of them being average since in general the Eastern troops had a lower reputation compared to the western units.

As an additional suggestion, the Palmyran list is probably less formidable at lower point totals so you can't buy all the superior legionaries and drilled cataphracts. At 400 points the Palmyran player definitely has to make choices.

Chris
Fascinating stuff, Chris. Good ideas there for friendly games I agree and thanks, but in the league at 500pts the Palmyrans are going to be the equivalent of a Swiss pike army in SOA (without the historical justification for it really). I suppose one possible way of helping with this is to slightly amend the existing DAG list so that a player can only choose a couple of "superior" legionaries and the rest have to be "average". Is that a sensible suggestion?

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Post by stockwellpete » Tue Mar 15, 2011 5:20 pm

Following on from my previous post and to be more specific. Perhaps amend the DAG list to something like . . .

Veteran legionaries 14pts 0-2

Average legionaries 11pts 2-12
Average mixed legionaries 10pts

thereby removing superior mixed legionaries altogether.

Camels were also mentioned earlier and I see you can choose 0-4 camel units from the Arab allies so that is covered OK really.

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