page id: 194 Battle Report III: Matt's Persian Horde faces John's dead-hard Byzantine army in our first ever Warhammer Ancients battle report!

Ancient Enemies

Battle Report III:

Ancient Enemies

By Matt "Xerxes the Great" & John B. (as in Byzantine)

Atrious was at rest with his fellow men-at-arms, enjoying another night of drink and song. The Byzantine encampment as a whole had fallen into a repititous lull of inactivity, thier march southwards into the desert thusfar unopposed. All the tales of mighty King Xerxes and his mighty horde, and they had yet to see more than tribal skirmishers, and only few of those.

It was then he heard a low buzzing, far in the distance, beyond the valley they had set camp in. No one took notice at first, thinking it a distant sandstorm. Within moments, the buzz turned to a louder shaking, as the ground itself seemed to vibrate. Atrious jumped to sound the alarm; Earthquake! He'd seen the earth swallow whole regiments before in the northern provinces.

He ran to his post, only to hear the quaking grow and grow more, until the whole desert floor seemed jump violently to and fro. A great cloud of dust and sand engulfed the horizon, obscuring his view for miles around. Suddenly, all was quiet. And the dust settled. And the earth stood still. And Atrious looked out upon the horizon to see a thousand thousand men, and beasts, and machines. An army large enough to drink the very rivers dry, to trample the mountains into valleys, to wipe his small Byzantine amry from the face of the Earth forever. He knew their time was at an end; The Army of Xerxes was upon them.

This is thefirst battle report played with the Warhammer Ancients rules and features Matt's persian horde versus John's dead-hard Byzantine army. There is a small but very loyal, and growing "Ancient"s following at the club. If you are interested in learning more, see the related articles in our library section or e-mail Matt for more info.

If at first you don’t succeed, bring more chariots.

This was a big game for me. Not only had John beat me senseless last time we played, but this time we’d fight it out in front of the club as an Ancients ‘exhibition’, and as a battle report to boot! I was determned not to lose again. The biggest mistake I’d made in our first encounter was not sticking to my plan. The Persian army was at it’s best standing its ground, hiding behind spara, and devastating the enemy with bowfire. Pretty much the opposite of what I’d done last time.

The core of my 2000 point army consisted of 5 blocks of heavy infantry, all armed wth bows, spara, and spears. The Persian and Immortal units also got light armor and shields, as they were represented on the models. These units were screened by 3 big units of skirmishers, most with slings. Supporting the whole thing would be the requisite elephant, a big unit of Bactrian heavy cavalry, and the wild card heavy chariots. My general and battle standard rode warhorses, not light chariots as I had initially intended.

My plan was extremely straight forward, very simple, and had no room for error. The blocks of infantry would set up in one long line behind skirmishers, advance for one turn, stop and fire continuosly at John’s best unit, his heavy cavalry. The elephant would hold one flank, the chariots the other. The cavalry would start behind my line and act as an emergency backup.The skirmishers would try to reach John’s crossbowmen and stone sthrower. My general would try not to get himself killed.

My biggest concern was John’s giant unit of heavy cavalry. With thier 2+ save and multiple attacks (due to general and battle standard) they would be very tough to beat in hth. My plan was to hit them with everything I had, especially the elephant, from which they would have to flee. I decided not to worry about his crossbows or stone thrower, as with 160 troops on the field, I could soak up casualties better than he would be able to against a hundred bow shots a turn!

I was especially curious about how my chariots would do in the game. The Ancients rules make them far weaker then their Fantasy cousins. Unable to wheel as they charge and only hitting with d3 St4 impact hits each, I thought they would be best used to scare John off a flank, and would be generally unimpressive in actual combat. As the game progressed, I found out differently... -Matt

The numerous chariots of King Xerxes take the field.

Outnumbered and outgunned.
Well, that’s just the way I like it!

Fighting against Matt’s Persians the first time, I realized that in spite of his access to cheaper, more numerous troops, my advantages lay with higher-quality basic troops, devastating heavy cavalry and good, though not numerous, artillery. I reckoned that I’d need to pick my moment to deliver my best troops, and that they’d need to hit Matt’s line where it was most vulnerable. The rest of my army would stay back and shoot with bow, crossbow, and heavy artillery, while my nomadic Turkish cavalry would get in the enemy’s rear for a supporting charge.

While this worked, I knew that Matt wouldn’t let my plan work twice. In addition, this time we would fight with 2000 point armies, and that would mean I’d be fighting at a two-to-one disadvantage. I needed a new approach.

My bolt thrower, stone thrower and crossbows would hold my right and center, while my nomadic Turk cavalry, which was so effective in the last game, would harry and shoot at his line, perhaps distracting them from my main attack. This would come from my left flank, where I stationed two combined units of crack Scutatoi spearmen and bowmen, and a large unit of fourteen heavy Cataphract cavalry, which my general and battle standard would accompany. A unit of skirmishing archers would screen their flank as they moved toward the Persian line. Simple enough.

Once we began to place our troops on the board, I began to feel like this was not my day. Matt was guarding against a move from either flank, and that meant I might have to charge up the center. With nearly two-hundred bow armed troops facing my 66 assault troops, I started to resemble the water in the river cutting through the center of the field — green. -John

The fearsome Byzantine cataphracts (heavy cavalry).


Nikephros II, Emperor of the Civilized world, scanned the endless Persian line. His eyes rested on the Chariots threatening his left flank and, on the opposite bank of the river, the elephant threatening his right. There was only one vulnerable point — the Persians’ right rested on the river. If they could get behind the enemy’s right, his Turkish horse could perhaps remove one regiment of spearmen from the Persian line temporarily. Nikephros ordered the Turks forward on the right and on the left, his skirmishers moved out to stall the Persian heavy chariots. The rest of the Byzantine troops fired at the almost invulnerable Persian line, ready behind their spara, managing only to kill a couple of skirmishers. The Byzantine artillery, unaffected by the presence of the wall of spara, lobbed a huge boulder into the midst of the famed Immortals, crushing three of their number.


With a long horn blow from the Battle Standard bearer, the Persian horde lurched forward. The entire line of infantry marched toward thier hated Byzantine enemies, screened by swarms of skirmishers. Chariots advanced carefully on the left flank, and with a roar the Persian elephant moved out form behind the cover of the oasis, and onto the pyramid in front of it. Behind the lines, the Bactrian cavalry reformed to face to coming threat of the Nomadic cavalry, with the Marines doing the same.

Created by: system. Last Modification: Monday 26 of January, 2009 03:07:38 PM EST by ZiggyQubert.

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