Tactics and organization of Hellenistic armies

by Peter Barritus


I've used a couple of Pk armies over the years, and I find that simple historical tactics are a great place to start. I'd also suggest having
your first couple of practice games against historical opponents of various Hellenistic armies. Once you've got that worked out, you can start to come up with tactics for dealing with the weird stuff you'll run into in open competitions.

In DBMM, I'd always recommend four ranks, in the centre of the army, and advance straight towards the enemy. The great strength of the phalanx is its massive combat factor, which means you should have the confidence to face anything, even Wb (S). You can take advantage of the free PIP for marching Pk to give that command the lowest PIP dice, meaning your flanks have plenty of PIPs to play with.

With Antigonos's army, I don't think I'd be willing to risk the Pk (I) - too vulnerable to archery and to combat opponents who need to double you.

"The "classic" set-up looks right with centre of phalanx, wings of mounted and terrain troops - but what about nellies and those strange Kn(F)."

If I have Ele in a Hellenistic army, I generally place them on the opposite flank to the Kn (F). Ele are desperately vulnerable to enemy Ps, so you might like to give the Ele command some Ax (O) as anti-Ps protection. Ps on the opposite wing provide protection against enemy Ele. So the two flank commands will both have potentially decisive troops, but they also both need plenty of cheap support troops.

The Kn (F) in single-based wedge have two disadvantages, one minor and one not so minor. The minor disadvantage is that they're impetuous, but as they're regular it's trivial to keep them under control. And the bound you want them to
charge in you can let them go and save yourself a PIP for use elsewhere. The other disadvantage is the loss of the quick kill against Cv. This is annoying but not a showstopper. Some have suggested that this means these sorts of Kn should be deployed against enemy infantry, and certainly they're good at that job. But the wedges' advantages provide good reasons to deploy them against enemy mounted too.

Firstly, they can't be overlapped, except by LH (F). Therefore, once the lines of combat get all messed up, you'll have overlaps all over the place, but your opponent won't have any against you. As a result, you can confidently send the Kn (F) in against any Kn opponent, even Kn (S). The second advantage is that because your bases are deeper, you retain overlaps against opponents which other Kn would lose.

Other things to consider:

1. Ax (O) are very useful. They count only 0.5 ME, which means that each loss counts less towards reaching breakpoints. In other words, don't be afraid to throw them in.

2. Bolt shooters may be useful - perhaps one at each end of the phalanx to help break up enemy formations. The downside is that they slow you down.

3. Given Antigonos has an Agression of 3, you're slightly favoured to be the invader. On that basis you might like to consider a couple of naval elements, perhaps Gal (F) that can deploy on Sea or Waterway.


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