After the AGM at the Nunawading Wargames Association, Michael and I went all Old Testament with DBA. The fun I’d had with my Hebrews in my last game encouraged me to have another game with them, this time using the later variant. Because the Later Hebrews have lots of medium infantry supported by heavy chariots, I thought it would be fun to field them against the Philistines – lots of heavy infantry with a couple of light chariots in support.
In the first game, I took the Hebrews. I noticed when I was setting up that I only had eleven elements! I assumed that since my son had been investigating the toolbox I carry my armies in, perhaps one of the elements had been removed. I decided to press on anyway. Little did I know that I’d actually brought it along but Michael had inadvertently deployed it as part of his army.
Michael and I were both constrained by steep hills in our setup areas so we both went with fairly condensed setups, and then there was a bit of a race to extend our lines before they met. The main battle lines were pretty even when they met, but Michael had a detachment of a couple of auxilia off on the flank.
I was really very keen to get my heavy chariots off to get at those auxilia, but appalling combat dice meant that they really didn’t have time didn’t have time. I lost four elements to none in fairly short order.
While we were taking everything off the table, I noticed the mistake with the Hebrew element being given to the wrong army. I would have been nice to have had my line that little bit wider, because it would have cut down on overlaps. I took the option of fielding a single element of spearmen, because there was a chance that we would play DBA3.0, and since the regular auxilia (4Ax) is compulsory and in 3.0 they only move 2BW I thought that a pair of solid elements would be better. But in the end we played DBA2.2 and the spear just seemed really slow. A better setup might have left a couple of psiloi in the front rank as ‘doors’ for the chariotry to get through, and better tactics might have been to hang back and use the terrain a bit more.
The rather quick first game meant we had time for a second. Following custom we switched armies, so I took the Philistines. Once again I was constrained by a steep hill, and once again I didn’t use it. Although the Hebrew infantry are all bad going troops, a couple of auxilia up a hill might have encouraged Michael to detach more troops from his main line to deal with them.
Also once again I could have hung back a little and used more PIPs in making my line wider, in the event I was overlapped on one flank when the lines met.
This time, the infantry battle went more the way I expected it to. There was lots of pushing and shoving along the battle line, but not many units destroyed. The Hebrews managed the first kill on a Philistine unit, but thanks to the disruption of the lines there were plenty of overlaps to exploit.
After more fighting, and plenty of epic stands and close calls, both sides were down two elements each, but then Michael was able to kill the last couple of Philistine elements to take him over the line. The Hebrew heavy chariotry didn’t get much of a run. Really the game was down to small scale tactics and luck with the combat dice in the infantry battle.