The Battle of Dumah, 689BC

 

 

Emperor Sennacherib of Assyria (army I/45 Neo Assyrian Empire) is on campaign in the desert, hoping to gain some control over the nomads who recently allied with the Babylonians. He encounters Hazael, king of the Arabs (army I/6 Early Bedouin), at an oasis near Dumah.

Hazael sets his army up with his camelry in an oasis, and his foot in the open. He hopes to take advantage of the camelry’s superior mobility in oasis and dune terrain, to outflank the chariotry, as well as mobbing them with supported auxilia. He keeps some 2Ps and his 2Cm out of the way to make flank attacks. 

Sennacherib deploys his chariotry in a position to move straight down the middle of the table to attack Hazael’s foot, with his foot and cavalry to hold off the camelry. His hordes are left in a second line to guard the camp.

The Battle of Dumah. Assyrians on the right.

The Battle of Dumah. Assyrians on the right.

Turn 1

Sennacherib starts off with a PIP roll of 6. His army moves forward.

Hazael makes a PIP roll of 4. He moves his 2Cm forward in a double move on the flank. He pivots his foot troops so that a frontal attack by the Assyrians would mean that they had their backs turned to the light troops on his left flank. His camelry moves forward.

Turn 1. Sennacherib thunders towards Hazael's troops.

Turn 1. Sennacherib thunders towards Hazael's troops.

Turn 2

A less impressive 2 PIPs for the Assyrians. Somewhat over-optimistically, Sennacherib starts moving a 7Hd off to act as a flank guard.

Hazael rolls 4 PIPs. He moves his supported 3Ax forward, moves the two 2Ps elements on the flank into a better position, and does not spend his fourth PIP.

Turn 3

Sennacherib makes a PIP roll of 4. He pivots his chariotry, leaving one to act as a flank guard when he realises how slow horde are. His cavalry moves ahead.

Hazael rolls 2 PIPs. His camelry charges the Assyrian cavalry. Again he does not spend all of his PIPs. One problem is that the 2Cm is at the very limit of his command range, so any move would render them hard to control in later turns.

Hazael’s camelry gives a stellar performance in combat, doubling both of the Assyrian cavalry elements and destroying them.

Hazael's camelry efficiently disposes of Sennacherib's cavalry.

Hazael's camelry efficiently disposes of Sennacherib's cavalry.

Turn 4

Seeking vengeance, Sennacherib rolls 5 PIPs. He charges the Bedouin foot with his chariotry and moves his flank guard HCh element to attack Hazael’s 2Cm. He pivots his foot to face the camelry.

Combat does not begin well for Sennacherib – his flank guard chariot loses 6-1 to the 2Cm and is destroyed. He more than makes up for this in the battle with the supported 3Ax. Although the element in front of his stands its ground, the other two are quick killed, along with their supporting Psiloi.

Game over! 4-3 to Sennacherib. A quick, bloody, and close fight.

Sennacherib makes short work of two units of Hazael's javilenmen and their supporting skirmishers, ending the game.

Sennacherib makes short work of two units of Hazael's javilenmen and their supporting skirmishers, ending the game.

Commentary

A deeper deployment would have helped Hazael, with camelry in the lead and the infantry as a second line. His existing deployment had an air of inevitable defeat about it when the Assyrian chariotry arrived. But the simple gambit of shifting a supporting Psiloi element to be behind an unengaged front line element would have meant that he was still in the battle the next turn, and could have made life most unpleasant for the Assyrians. I’ll put up another post to show what I mean. Ungentlemanly deployment of terrain might also have helped – Hazael could have placed another Dunes terrain piece or a Steep Hill in the centre of the board, say.

Sennacherib could have had either cavalry or auxilia cooperating more closely with his chariotry, protecting the flanks. The dikut mati horde are not exactly mobile and you’d have to be very lucky to be able to move them into a position where they can do any harm on the offence.

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3 responses to “The Battle of Dumah, 689BC

  1. Great battle. Ax in the open against HCh, even supported is pretty brave! Hazael needed to delay that encounter by another turn!

  2. Yes the ‘hold ’em by the nose and kick ’em in the pants’ stratagem only works if you manage to ‘hold ’em’! Hazael should not have moved his Ax forward.

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