Sunday, July 26, 2015

First Skythians ready for battle

I still haven't finished the full army, but the first few units are now battle ready.

The Skythians traced their own history back to around 1,500BCE, but the first known historical records of them as a people appear in 512BCE, when the Persian king, Darius I launched an unsuccessful raid into their territory, which roughly corresponded to the area we know today as the Crimea, and up into Ukraine and southern Russia. They were fierce warriors known for their horsemanship and archery, and the regular appearances of women warriors in their ranks prompts many historians to believe that the "Amazons" of Greek legend were in fact women of the various Skythian tribes.

The Skythians were an early Steppe nomad peoples, similar to the Huns and Mongols of later eras. They traded with the Greeks and Persians, and hired out as mercenaries. Persian kings employed Skythians to train their own troops as archers, and in the Persian battle lineup, the Skythians were lined up next to the native Persian troops, indicated the higher "prestige" they enjoyed than the mercenaries of other allied and subject nations used by the Persians.

In battle, the Skythian cavalry became known for their "wedge" formation, which was later copied by Alexander "The Great" for his Macedonian cavalry. As seen in the photo above, the Skythian Heavy Horse are deployed in a "V" formation, with the tip pointed towards the enemy, and the flanks protected by mounted archers, who provided fire support for the strike and also shielded the vulnerable flanks from counter-attack.

The "wedge" drove into the enemy line (in the photos above and below, Thracian peltasts), similar to the sharp point of a drill, splitting the enemy line and piercing deep into its ranks. The rear ranks of the "wedge", and also the supporting mounted archers, capitalized on the disorganization this caused among the defenders, eventually overwhelming them.

Skythian standards were usually made of horse-tails - white in time of peace (perhaps the fore-runner of the "white flag") and black in time of war.

The Skythians were crushed by Alexander "The Great" at the Battle of Jaxartes in 329BCE and their power declined from there. They were driven out of the Balkans by the Dacian tribes, and were eventually subdued by the Pontic king Mithridates around 100BCE. When the Romans under Julius Cesar defeated Pharnaces II, the son and successor of Mithridates, they came under Roman rule.

Sunday, June 28, 2015

Sea Peoples Vs Persians (Post 2 of 2)

And here we have the Persians, from their first sighting from behind Sea Peoples' lines, to action up close.

Sea Peoples Vs Persians (Post 1 of 2)

This battle was fought last January and was intended to be the first of a mini-tournament involving eight of my oldest period armies, but due to other events, I haven't been able to progress with it (so far at least).

I expected my Persians to steamroll the Sea Peoples, but the latter put up a real fight. The pics in this post are of the Sea Peoples army, emerging to defend a narrow pass in a Thermopylae-style scenario.

Sunday, June 8, 2014

Prussians Vs Russians - Battle #3

It took three battles but my Prussians finally triumphed over my Russians. (My guess before it started was that this would end up the other way around, but it was not to be!)

The Prussians (and allies) on the left of the picture. Prussian cuirassiers are in white and hussars in blue. Russian cuirassiers in white with a black iron breastplate for protection. Russian hussars and Guard Cossacks are both in red, but the hussars have a blue jacket. The infantry (foot soldiers) clash is between Poles in blue and Russians in green.

(The Poles are Napoleonics and historically fought with the French. Given the performance of my French against my Austrians last weekend though, they've probably done the right thing in siding with the Prussians in the campaign I'm currently running!)


Austrians Vs French

I didn't get any good shots of my French from last weekend's battle, but these are a few of one of my Austrian infantry regiments.

Hopefully over the next few weeks) I will be adding gun limbers and ammunition wagons for each of my Austrian battalions, so the next time you see these guys in action the photo will be a little more crowded.

For the record, the Austrians scored a very decisive win. My (French - not American) Revolutionary War French army used to be almost unbeatable, but they've taken two nasty hammerings now. They held up okay when challenged by Austrian infantry and cavalry, but the minute Austrian guns started firing in their direction, even if they weren't doing any damage, the French got very jittery.

Anyway, enjoy these pics. This weekend my Prussians crushed the final Russian resistance, and I have a couple of neat pics from that to post also. Not sure when they will go up though.

Sunday, May 18, 2014

"Special Request" - Jessica and Heather Vs The Hittites!

I don't usually do (or even get) special requests from people who want to see models of themselves in battle, but I got one last week so here goes.....especially for Jessica and Heather!

I'll let them figure out which of the two girl fighters they are, but they seem to have got themselves into a bit of strife with the local (Hittite) city guard while wandering around the town from my "Battle of Kadesh" setup.

(I was planning to fight this battle this weekend, but it has been overtaken by other stuff - a combo of work and events in my horse and musket campaign, which will almost certainly mean my next battle will be between my French and Austrian armies. Maybe I'll be able to try Kadesh again in a couple of weeks!)

The two female figures are from Cesar's set of "Fantasy Adventurers". Hittites also by Cesar and buildings by Hovels.

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Prussian vs Russians (Post #4)

This time I'm focusing on my Prussian (and Saxon) heavy cavalry.

All these figures are cuirassiers - a full regiment of Prussians on the left, with a lone squadron of (Napoleonic Wars) Saxons on the right. The Saxons wear a (black) metal breastplate to provide extra protection. It wouldn't have been very effective against gun fire, but the main role of the cuirassier was to sit out the bulk of the battle - presumably somewhere safe from gun fire - and charge in at the decisive moment and hammer a hole that had opened up in the enemy line, hopefully to the point that the damage scattered the enemy. Against swords and bayonets, this breastplate would have been effective.

This was actually the first battle for my Saxons, and they performed very well.

After this defeat, the Russians sued for peace, but the Prussians don't appear likely to accept, so it looks as though I'll be preparing for a third clash between the two over the next week or so. It could be a busy time for me as my Austrians have also decided to go to war with my French, so I have at least one battle their to arrange. I had been hoping to give my Hittites and New Kingdom Egyptians a run but that might have to be pushed back a bit.

Then, of course, I still have all those other figures still waiting to be painted....aaaarrrrgggghhhh. I need more free time!