Author Topic: Philistines on the March, PAWS DBA, May18th.  (Read 44 times)

Martin Smith

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Philistines on the March, PAWS DBA, May18th.
« on: May 20, 2019, 09:48:08 AM »
Five games of DBA v3, at the PAWS club. They hosted in their new venue, a converted casemate in a genuine 18th-19th century star-fort which guarded maritime approaches to the city of Portsmouth. Supercool venue.....
The theme was Babylon and the Middle East, 800-701 BC. I took Philistines (I/29b), and added an ally from their coastal colleagues, the Phoenicians. These latter add punch and the option of littoral landings, always a fun twist to a game.
List:- 1 x Spear general, 3 x Sp, 2 x 3Ax, 2 x LCh, 1 x Ps.   Ally 2 x HCh, 1 x 4Ax.

1. v Paul C., using Later Babylonians (I/21b). We invaded, and Paul placed a fairly restrictive terrain of hamlet and scrubland, plus a road, making it a slower game than the invaders would have liked. The Philistine left faced off Babylonian skirmishers lurking in the scrub, while the right flank moved forward into some more open terrain for the main clash. After a tough tussle, losing heavy chariots and auxilia,  the Philistines claimed the field, with a 4-2 win. (a Championship game).
2. v Paul H., using Early Neo-Assyrians (I/25b). We invaded again, this time into an area of cultivated fields, with a wood and road on the opposite right. The plough-land had no effect on the game (on a ‘1’ for first movement it could have become rough going), so the battlefield was pretty much ‘open’. As the Assyrians advanced my Phoenician ally, initially in reserve, manoeuvred left and advanced upon enemy auxiliary infantry in the open, causing a few casualties. One Philistine chariot was downed by Assyrian sword-warriors on the right, and the Assyrian general with heavy chariot retinue crashed through the Philistine spear line in the centre, then returned to the fray. The game hung in the balance for a while, but then the Philistines’ continued pressure in the centre took its toll, for a 4-2 win.
3. v Bill M., in another Championship encounter. Bill has a deserved reputation for effective use of bow-armed troops, and fielded the Neo-Elamites (I/42), with a heavy chariot general, one unit of auxilia and a light cavalry unit, but the rest archers, a couple of them mounted on light carts (kallipani). The Phoolish Philistines invaded yet again.....and despite some fortunate dice rolls in the terrain placement phase, which saw two terrain pieces fail to reach the battlefield, found themselves facing the hills and woods of Elam, which were crawling with bowmen. Low level skirmishing took place on the flanks, but to no great advantage to either side. Aiming for a defile between hills and woods, occupied by the kallipani troops, the main body of Philistines and Phoenicians trudged forwards under relentless bow fire which somewhat inevitably ground them down, the win going to Bill, who had made excellent use of the terrain which most of my army would struggle in. (2-4 loss).
4. v Colin O next. Colin fielded Kushite Egyptians (I/46b) a heady mix of heavy chariots, cavalry, archers, spearmen and lighter-armed tribesmen. This Nile based army is from  ‘littoral’ topography, like my Phoenician ally. Colin invaded, but this meant if I clung to the coast (ie placed a waterway) he would be moving second in turn sequence, and would be in a position to effectively counter any landing of mine with one of his own. So we chose to stay inland, on a flat plain with a road and a Philistine-occupied fort on my right centre. The Egyptian archers backed away from the fort, which prevented my spearmen from sallying against them, so most of the fighting took place on left and centre. The Philistine spearmen did a decent job of holding out in mid field, but the combat on my left flank was messy, messy, messy. My javelinmen were surrounded by Kushite cavalry, but unexpectedly held on for three bounds before succumbing to pressure. Philistine light chariots raced in their direction to intervene, and fighting soon broke up into individual pockets, with a to and fro chariot tussle dominating the centre. Chaos ruled, but when the Levantine dust settled, after what felt like an extremely tight encounter, the Kushites claimed the victory (2-4 loss).
5. Last game for Goliath and friends that day was against Arnaud M.’s Neo-Babylonians (I/44a), and it was my third SoA Championship battle that day. Like the Elamites, this was another army with a vast quantity of massed fast moving archers. These occupied large swathes of enclosed fields which formed the centre of the Babylonian deployment area, as the Philistines resumed their habitual invasion tendencies. Most of my troops are slow and stodgy in rough ground, such as the enclosures we faced, so pinning down the enemy archers was once again going to be tough. A road on the Philistine left offered some chance for manoeuvre, so we headed towards it, while the stout spearmen marched into the arrow storm in mid battlefield. With more fortune than skill, pressure started to produce results, and a few archers fell to Philistine spears. Babylonian chariotry headed down the road to counter the Philistine push, but luck was on my side, and the charioteers were stopped in their tracks by a spear wall. An epic encounter, and a very lucky Philistine/Phoenician win (4-2).

A fun and challenging day of gaming, and I felt the Philistines acquitted themselves well against an assortment of opponents, their vulnerability to terrain-hugging archers being one point to remember. The Phoenician allies added a handy twist to an otherwise straightforward army list, but didn’t get to show their amphibious prowess, partly because of the aggressive Philistines’ inclination to invade (four away games out of five).
Thanks to Bill and all at PAWS for another enjoyable day, and congrats for finding such a superb venue.
  • Martin Smith
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