Over 175 elephants fought at Raphia

Following the death of Alexander the Great , his Empire broke up into several kingdoms, initially ruled by his generals. As time passed these new nations became more diverse and hostile towards each other. Two of the largest of these kingdoms was the Seleucid Empire which covered most of modern day Iran and Iraq, and the Ptolemaic Egyptian Empire which extended around from Egypt to modern day Israel, Syria and Southern Turkey. These two empires clashed and soon found Syria and Palestine to be their war zone. In 217BC Antiochus III, the Seleucid Emperor invaded and overran Ptolemaic Palestine, prompting Ptolemy IV to raise an army and counter-attack. Both armies relied heavily on foreign mercenaries, but despite this diversity they were in many ways very similar, still fighting largely in the phalanx method that had been mastered by Alexander over 100 years earlier.

The two armies met at Raphia near modern day Gaza, on a large flat and featureless plain, both forces being huge; 70,000 vs 65,000 men.


Initial deployment at the Battle of Raphia

ORDERS OF BATTLE

Using a figure ratio of 1 to 100 - halve these numbers (except elephants) for 1 to 200 if needs be.


SELEUCID ARMY

Antiochus III - Commander in Chief - veteran, good tactician

Heavy Agema Cavalry (2000 men) - 20 figures - Extra heavy cavalry, barded hoses, cataphract armour, lance, veteran, superior morale

Light cavaly (2000 men) - 20 figures - Open order cavalry, javelins, shield, trained, steady

Greek Mercenaries (5000 men) - 50 figures - Medium infantry, pike, shield, trained, steady

Elephants (60 animals) - 3 models - unarmed driver, tower with 3 crew armed 1 bow, 1 pike, 1 javelins, trained, unpredictable

Elephant escorts (1200 men) - 12 figures - open order skirmishers, bow, trained, steady

Macedonian Phalangites (20,000 men) - 200 figures - close order, light armour, pike, shield, trained, steady

Macedonian Argyraspids (10,000 men) - 100 figures - close order, light armour pike, shield, veteran, elite

Arab Infantry (10,000 men) - 100 figures - open order, no armour, javelins, poor quality morale

Cissians, Medes & Carmanians (5,000 men) - 50 figures - open order, no armour, javelins, shield, steady

Cardacian & Lydians (1500 men) - 15 figures - open order, no armour, javelins, shield, steady

Heavy cavalry (2000 men) - 20 figures - light armour, lance, trained, steady

Elephants (40 animals) - 2 models - unarmed driver, tower with 3 crew armed 1 bow, 1 pike, 1 javelins, trained, unpredictable

Elephant escorts (800 men) - 8 figures - open order skirmishers, bow, trained, steady


PTOLEMAIC ARMY

Ptolemy IV - Commander in Chief - veteran, good tactician

Heavy cavalry (3,000 men) - 30 figures - light armour, lance, veteran, trained

Royal Guard (3,000 men) - 30 figures - close order infantry, light armour, pike, shield, veteran, elite

Libyan Peltasts (3,000 men) - 30 figures - open order infantry, spear, javelins, shield, trained, steady

Elephants (40 animals) - 2 models - unarmed driver, tower with 2 crew armed 1 bow, 1 pike, trained, unpredictable

Elephant escorts (800 men) - 8 figures - open order skirmishers, bow, trained, steady

Macedonian Phalangites (25,000 men) - 250 figures - close order, light armour, pike, shield, trained, steady

Egyptian Phalangites (10,000 men) - 100 figures - close order, light armour, pike, shield, trained, poor morale

Greek Mercenaries (8,000 men) - 80 figures - medium infantry, pike, shield, trained, steady

Galatians (2,000 men) - 20 figures - medium infantry, javelins, shield, steady

Thracians (2,000 men) - 20 figures - medium infantry, 2 handed sword, javelins, shield, steady

Heavy cavalry ( 2,000 men) - 20 figures - light armour, lance. trained, steady

Elephants (40 animals) - 2 models - unarmed driver, tower with 2 crew armed 1 bow, 1 pike, trained, unpredictable

Elephant escorts (800 men) - 8 figures - open order skirmishers, bow, trained, steady



clash of pikemen

THE BATTLE AS IT HAPPENED

The 60 elephants on the Seleucid right flank, engaged and easily beat the 40 elephants of the Ptolemaic army, forcing them back onto their own men and routing the infantry on that flank. Antiochus personally led the cavalry on that wing and chased the Ptolemaic cavalry off the field too. On the opposite wing it was Ptolemy who was winning the upper hand, his cavalry outflanked the Seleucid cavalry and his Greek mercenaries beat the Arab, Medes and other allied troops.

Only the centre phalanxes now remained and both sides advanced into contact, ater hard fighting the Ptolemaic army began to win the fight, encouraged by Ptolemy personally while Antiochus was still away from the battle pursing the cavalry from the initial flank success. When he returned he found his army in rout from the battle and Ptolemy victorious.

Ptolemy lost 1500 infantry and 700 cavalry, Antiochus lost 10,000 infantry, 300 cavalry and a further 4,000 taken prisoner.


WARGAMING NOTES

This is an especially large battle for the Ancient period and with the addition of sub-commanders would lend itself to a multi player game to give it more pace.

Although the battle description sounds quite decisive, in reality it could have easily gone either way, and that also applies to wargaming the battle; eveything to is to play for.


Greek troops of the period

The Corinthian general, Timoleon, had been invited by the people of Syracuse to come to Sicily and restore democracy in the city-state, which had been governed by a succession of Greek tyrants. After restoring order in the city, Timoleon began looking to western Sicily and to try and rid the island of its Carthaginian occupants as well. This started with the liberation of several smaller Greek towns and cities on the island and then successive raids into Carthaginian territory, but his actions provoked an unexpected response when the Carthaginian generals Asdrubal and Hamilcar assembled an army of 70,000 men with troops sent especially from Carthage to conquer Sicily completely.

When news of this invasion force reached Syracuse, the population went into a panic and several hundred of Timoleon's soldiers deserted. Despite this, he gathered together an army as best he could and with less than 10,000 infantry and 1,000 cavalry he marched westward to meet the Carthaginians. Timoleon knew that to cross into central Sicily the Carthaginians would need to cross the Krimisos river (modern day Freddo river), and that there were very limited crossing points, and having identified which point the Carthaginians were approaching, he deployed his army in readiness.

He chose a hill which overlooked the crossing point and a vast plan below, a Spring mist was in the air on the morning of the battle, which shrouded the entire hillside and the Syracuse army. Totally unaware of their presence due to poor scouting, the Carthaginians proceeded to cross the river right in front of Timoleon's men who stood in perfect silence listening to the marching army below. Eventually the hot Sicilian sun burnt the morning mist away and both armies came into view.

Suggested set-up for the start of the Battle of Krimisos 341BC

ORDERS OF BATTLE

Using 1 to 50 scale

SYRACUSAN ARMY

Timoleon - Commander in Chief - excellent tactician, veteran, elite

Light Cavalry (600 men) - 12 figures - unarmoured, open order cavalry, javelins, disciplined, steady, veterans

Heavy Cavalry (400 men) - 8 figures - unarmoured, close order cavalry, javelins, disciplined, steady, veterans

Skirmishers (800 men) - 16 figures - open order infantry, javelins, disciplined, steady, experienced

Syracusan Hoplites (2000 men) - 40 figures - light armour, close order, long spear, large shield phalanx, trained, average

Greek Mercenary Hoplites (2000 men) - 40 figures - light armour, close order, long spear, large shield, phalanx, disciplined, steady, veterans

Greek Mercenary Bodyguard Hoplites (2000 men) - 40 figures - heavy armour, close order, long spear, large shield, phalanx, disciplined, elite, veterans

Syracusan Hoplites (1500 men) - 30 figures - light armour, close order, long spear, large shield phalanx, trained, average

Skirmishers (600 men) - 12 figures - open order infantry, javelins, disciplined, steady, experienced

Slingers (300 men) - 6 figures - open order infantry, slings, disciplined, steady, experienced

Cretan Archers (600 men) - 12 figures - open order infantry, bows, disciplined, steady, elite, excellent shots, veteran


CARTHAGINIAN ARMY

Asdrubal - Commander in Chief - experienced, veteran, rash

Hamilcar - Sub-Commander - experienced, veteran, good

Chariots (200 vehicles) - 4 models - 4 horse heavy chariots, unarmed driver and two crew with javelins, disciplined, steady experienced

Sacred Band (2500 men) - 50 figures - armoured, close order infantry. long spear, shield, disciplined, elite, veterans

Citizen Infantry (3000 men) - 60 figures - light armour, close order infantry, long spear, shield, trained, steady

Sicilian Hoplites (3000 men) - 60 figures - light armour, close order infantry, long spear, shield, phalanx, trained, poor

Light Infantry (2000 men) - 50 figures - unarmoured, open order infantry, javelins, shield, trained, average

Campanian Cavalry (1000 men) - 25 figures - light armour, open order cavalry, javelins, disciplined, trained, steady

Sicilian Cavalry (1000 men) - 25 figures - unarmoured, open order cavalry, javelins, trained, poor

Libyan Spearmen (2000 men) - 50 figures - light armour, close order infantry, long spear, shield, trained, steady


ADDITIONAL WARGAMING NOTES

The Carthaginian Army was on the march at right angles to the hill when the mist cleared, so should be initially deployed in marching columns, facing across the table width, with large gaps between each unit. The river is fordable, however it's geography made it slow to negotiate, so any troops crossing should be heavily penalised on movement and arrive "disorganised" on the opposite bank.

Historically there were several other Carthaginian units following this column, but because of the terrain, and battle ahead of them, they did not arrive on the battlefield or take part at all, we have therefore left these out of the Orders Of Battle.


THE BATTLE AS IT HAPPENED

As the mist began to clear, the Syracuse army which had been stood silently on the hill, could see the previously just heard Carthaginians strung out in an open marching column in front of them. Noting the Carthaginian army was effectively cut in two by the river, Timoleon decided to strike. His cavalry charged down the hill to prevent the enemy from being able to form up in battle lines properly while his infantry marched in order down the slopes to attack. The Carthaginian chariots, leading the march column, turned about and galloped towards the Syracusan cavalry in an attempt to break up their formations but the cavalry evaded their charge and moved to attack the flank near the river ford, while the Syracusan light infantry assaulted the chariots and forced them to flee.

The Syracusan and Greek Hoplites now hit into the still disorganised Carthaginian ranks and with the exception of the Scared Band, broke them to a rout, the Syracuse cavalry in hot pursuit, cutting down the panicked men.

Greek cavalry pursue the fleeing Carthaginians

The Carthaginians yet to cross the river, watched in horror at the site of their comrades being beaten and decided to abandoned the crossing and turned to run also.


Suddenly a violent thunderstorm erupted, making the rout even more difficult, with both slippery mud underfoot and the river becoming swollen and faster moving.


The light skirmishers took over the pursuit to the river, where many Carthaginians drowned. The Syracuse and Greek Hoplites though turned their attention to the Scared Band, which had stood firm, and continued to do so. Totally surrounded, they fought and died to the last man.

Despite being hugely outnumbered, Timoleon had won the day, the Carthaginians had lost over 10,000 men dead, including the entire Sacred Band, and another 5,000 men had been captured.


In the following years there were several more battles between Syracuse and the Carthaginians, the latter often being supported by the Greek tyrants wanting control of the city-state again. Timoleon though kept the city safe, and eventually a peace was agreed with both sides occupying opposite sides of the island. Timoleon went on to be made the new ruler of Syracuse and the city-state enjoyed a new era of peace and prosperity until his death, when once again power struggles would ignite war.



The Jacobites charge at Falkirk Muir - the last Scottish victory

The Jacobite Rebellion of 1745-46 (known as The '45) had begun in August 1745 when the "Young Pretender", Charles Stuart affectionately known as Bonnie Prince Charlie had landed in Scotland at Glenfinnan and raised the standard for the Stuart claim to the throne.

The Stuart's had be dethroned two generations earlier, when the last Stuart king, catholic King James II (youngest son of Charles I and younger brother to Charles II) had been overthrown by the arrival of the protestant William of Orange at the request of parliament. Through the early 1700's James II's son, also James, and known as the "Old Pretender" had stirred up rebellion in Scotland with the 1708,1715 and 1719 Jacobite Rebellions, now thirty years later, his son Charles would attempt the same, and come far closer than he would realise to achieving his goal.


The whole thing was perfectly timed for maximum opportunity. Britain was heavily engaged in war on the European mainland and the Austrian War of Succession fighting their favourite enemy, the French. Consequently many of the best British regiments were on the Continent fighting and home defence was largely reliant on local yeomanry forces. In addition, the French had offered Charles support, both financial and in the promise of a French invasion of southern England if his rebellion could invade the north and draw the British army's attention away from the south. After an inspiring victory at Prestonpans in September, the Jacobites decided to invade England. Advancing past Carlisle, Preston and Manchester, the Scots continued their march south heading for London. Their plan though was not going quite to plan; they had hoped to gather English support for the Stuart cause as they advanced, which had largely failed to materialise. In addition, the promised French invasion hadn't happened, in fact worse had happened, with news of several veteran British regiments returning from Europe and now forming up in London under The Duke of Cumberland's command. Afraid of being cut off from Scotland, the Clan leaders told Charles that they were returning and began the long march home. After a small engagement at Clifton Moor in Cumbria, the Scots crossed the border and back into Scotland.


The Clan leader's plan was now to clear all Government forces out of Scotland and make the British come to them, they hoped that if they maintained the rebellion long enough that the British government would seek peace by agreeing terms, hopefully with an independent Scotland. To start this process, in early January they began to lay siege to the Government stronghold of Stirling Castle. Lieutenant-General Henry Hawley, veteran of several major battles in Europe, set off with a relief force of 7,000 men, many of them veterans, from Edinburgh. They arrived at Falkirk on the 15th January. Charles Stuart gathered as many men as could be spared from the siege and on the morning of the 17th the two armies prepared for battle.


Initial deployment at the Battle of Falkirk Muir

ORDERS OF BATTLE

Using a 1 to 25 figure ratio

BRITISH / GOVERNMENT ARMY


Lieutenant General Henry Hawley - Commander in Chief - experienced, average ability

Left Wing

Ligonier's Dragoons (300 men) - 12 figures - Heavy cavalry, veteran, trained, sword

Cobham's Dragoons (300 men) - 12 figures - Heavy cavalry, veteran, trained, sword

Hamilton's Dragoons (300 men) - 12 figures - Heavy cavalry, veteran, trained, sword

First Line of Battle

Wolfe's Regiment (400 men) - 16 figures - Veteran, trained, musket

Cholmondeley's Regiment (400 men) - 16 figures - Veteran, trained, musket

Pulteney's Regiment (400 men) - 16 figures - Veteran, trained, musket

Royal's Regiment (400 men) - 16 figures - Veteran, elite, musket

Price's Regiment (400 men) - 16 figures - Veteran, trained, musket

Ligonier's Regiment (400 men) - 16 figures - Veteran, trained, musket

Second Line of Battle

Blakeney's Regiment (400 men) - 16 figures - Veteran, trained, musket

Munro's Regiment (400 men) - 16 figures - Veteran, trained, musket

Fleming's Regiment (400 men) - 16 figures - Veteran, trained, musket

Barrel's Regiment of Grenadiers (400 men) - 16 figures - Veteran, elite, musket

Battereau's Regiment (400 men) - 16 figures - Veteran, trained, musket

Reserve Forces

Howard's Regiment (400 men) - 16 figures - Veteran, trained, musket

Glasgow Militia (1000 men) - 40 figures - Militia, raw, musket


JACOBITE ARMY


Lord George Murray - Commander in Chief - experienced, inspiring leader

First Battle Line (Highlanders)

MacDonald's Clan (800 men) - 32 figures - veteran, warband, fanatical, musket, broadsword

Cameron's Clan (600 men) - 24 figures - veteran, warband, fanatical, musket, broadsword

MacPherson's Clan (600 men) - 24 figures - veteran, warband, fanatical, musket, broadsword

Fraser's Clan (500 men) - 20 figures - veteran, warband, fanatical, musket, broadsword

Mackintoshes Clan (500 men) - 20 figures - veteran, warband, fanatical, musket, broadsword

Mackenzies Clan (500 men) - 20 figures - veteran, warband, fanatical, musket, broadsword

Farquharsons Clan (750 men) - 30 figures - veteran, warband, fanatical, musket, broadsword

Stewart's Clan (750 men) - 30 figures - veteran, warband, fanatical, musket, broadsword

Second Line of Battle (Lowland Scots)

Athol Brigade (750 men) - 30 figures - veteran, militia, steady, musket

Ogilvy Brigade (750 men) - 30 figures - veteran, militia, steady, musket

Gordon Brigade (750 men) - 30 figures - veteran, militia, steady, musket

Reserve Forces

Irish Piquets (750 men) - 30 figures - veteran, trained, steady, musket

Scottish Hussars (150 men) - 6 figures - Light cavalry, veteran, trained, steady, sword


THE BATTLE AS IT HAPPENED

On the morning of the 17th January, the Jacobite army took up position on the moor overlooking the British camp. Hawley had a very poor opinion of the Jacobite army, a view that would cost him dearly later, but in holding this view he felt confident the Scots wouldn't dare attack him. When skirmishing fire started to echo around his camp, he decided otherwise, and hastily ordered his men out onto the moor to face the Scots. The weather was a mix of sleet and snow which had made the ground very soft, and failing to take note of this the British artillery guns got bogged down in a sodden marsh north of the battlefield and took no part in the fighting.

The British cavalry charge the Clans

In line with his poor view of the Scots, Hawley believed that a determined cavalry charge against their leading Clans would rout the entire army, so placed all three of his Dragoon regiments opposite the Clans MacDonald and Cameron. Predicting Hawley's plan, Lord Murray dismounted from his hose and took his command in the MacDonald Clan to ensure that his orders were followed precisely.


At 16:00 the British cavalry began their charge, finding the wet ground heavy going. Murray stood in the front line of his men and held the order to fire until the troopers were within 50 paces when they fired a deadly volley that hit the cavalry like a wall of lead. A handful made contact with the Scots, but the vast majority halted their charge and turned in panic, with two routing regiments ploughing straight into their own infantry behind them. With in minutes the entire left wing of the British army had disintegrated, all the Scots had to do now was attack Hawley's right wing.

The Jacobites rout the British Dragoons

Luckily for Hawley, his right wing was still solid, and his veteran troops received the Highland charge and held their ground, managing to even send some of the Jacobites running back, before eventually pure weight of numbers overwhelmed the remaining British regiments, who broke and followed the retreat back to their camp.


As they routed through the marshy ground they met Captain Cunningham, the captain of artillery, who was still there trying to rescue his train and guns from the mud. Seeing the entire army pass by in panic, he abandoned his guns and joined the rout; later he committed suicide with the shame of missing the battle and losing the entire artillery train.


It was now dark and the weather had worsened to a storm, which deterred the Jacobites from a pursuit. Had they done so they may have changed history, but instead the British army was allowed to restore order and retreat to Edinburgh, where they would go on assist Cumberland in his advance into the Highlands and final victory at Culloden in April.


WARGAMING THE JACOBITE REBELLION

Although a relatively short conflict, it is a piece of history that to this day stirs emotions. There are plenty of figures out there to play too, from 54mm right down to 6mm. In the popular scales, we especially like the 28mm range from Front Rank Figurines and the 15mm range from Essex Miniatures. For those who enjoy the look of "big battles" on the table then the 10mm Pendraken range is a perfect mix of detail, convenient size, and low cost. You can find these in our online store.

Pendraken 10mm Jacobites

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