Gaugamela – the Battle Pack

Set Up

Note that we have broadly followed Marsden’s “The Campaign of Gaugamela” for numbers and deployment, since we (and many other commentators) believe them to be not unreasonable and so as good as any, better than most! Numbers are rounded to avoid spurious claims of accuracy.

The battle takes place in good weather with enough daylight available for the battle to be fought to a conclusion. The Makedonians face east and the Persians face west, although this actually has no impact on the game.

There is no terrain as the battlefield was flat, indeed it had been smoothed by Dareios to improve the chances of his scythed chariots. There was rougher ground outside of his cleared area, however, as it only may have had an effect on the chariots this can probably be ignored. However, should you wish to include this we recommend that if any scythed chariots are within a certain distance of a short table edge they suffer a combat penalty - exactly what this penalty is will depend on the rules used.

As this is a refight normal deployment procedures are not to be used and each army should ideally be deployed as per the deployment map provided. If you think that this is not suitable for the rule set you propose to use please contact the organisers ASAP so that we can agree how best to handle this. We can be flexible where appropriate but as one aim of the Battle Day is to compare how each rule set handles the same battle the less special cases the better.

Table size will be determined by each games scale and number of figures. Again we suggest it is important that the armies are set up in line with the deployment map provided and that the gap between the end of the Makedonian right wing and the table edge is sufficient for the Persians to be able to send troops around the flank, as they tried to do in the actual battle. Whether they are able to do so will depend on how each refight goes, but there must be enough space for this threat to be credible and require that the Makedonians have to plan to counter it.

Hypaspists

As we all know there is limited agreement on how the Makedonian Hypaspists were armed, with some ideas carrying much wargaming baggage. To ensure some consistency between refights, we have decided that each game organiser can choose either of two options for their own refight. The first option is that they are equipped as the rest of the phalanx as pikemen. The second option is that they are equipped as traditional hoplites. The option we are very keen to discourage is that of some sort of hybrid troop type in “loose” order, as the organisers think this highly unlikely. For what it is worth the organisers are in the “equipped as pikemen” camp.

Makedonian’s Mercenary Greeks etc

Again little is known of the equipment of these troops and army lists, etc. often have them in a variety of options. We do not intend to dictate how these are represented in each game with one exception. That is they must be able to stand up to, and effectively hold off the Persian cavalry, as this was the role Alexander envisioned for them in the actual battle.

Persian Levy Infantry

As these played no part in the battle whatsoever we do not require that these are represented on the table. You may do so if you wish, and they may add to the aesthetic appeal of the game. However, we are aware that it is a lot of troops to carry around if they are of no use. If you do choose to represent them numbers are entirely up to you as no credible numbers exist.

Baggage Camps

Both armies camps were a considerable distance behind the lines. Certainly the Persian camp played no part in the battle but a few Persian cavalry reached the Makedonian camp and freed some prisoners. Therefore, no Persian camp need be represented and there is no penalty for this omission if your rules usually impose one. The Makedonian baggage should be represented in some way along their base edge behind the centre of the army. The size and appearance of this baggage is up to you as it is only a small representation of what would be quite an extensive camp.

Makedonian Army

Unless otherwise stated all Makedonians are to be considered “regular” or equivalent if your rule set makes such distinctions. Shields only where specified. (Suggested DBM troop types are included as a guide for those familiar with the jargon).

The troops are described in deployment order from right to left (but see deployment map).

Right Wing

  • 600 mercenary cavalry. Armoured men on unarmoured horses armed with spears. Average morale and willing to engage in close combat. DBM Reg Cv(O).
  • 500 Makedonian Prodromoi. Unarmoured scouting cavalry armed with xyston. Good morale and willing to fight in close combat if necessary against some opponents. DBM Reg LH
  • 500 Paionian Prodromoi. As above but average morale.
  • 500 Agrianians. Unarmoured skirmishing infantry armed with javelins and carrying pelta sized shields. Good morale and willing and able to attack and drive off missile armed light infantry. DBM Reg Ps(S).
  • 500 Makedonian archers. Unarmoured dispersed archers. Usually brigaded with Agrianians and used to acting in support of them. Average to Good morale. DBM Reg Ps(O).
  • 1000 Illyrian javelinmen. As Agrianians except average morale.
  • 2000 Companion cavalry. Armoured men armed with xyston and sundry close combat weapons on unarmoured horses. Elite troops who aim to charge into close combat and are able to beat any contemporary cavalry. Alexander who also commands the right wing is deployed with the right most squadron. DBM Reg Kn(F).
  • 500 Kretan archers. Unarmoured dispersed archers. May have also carried side arms and a small shield. Average to Good morale. DBM Reg Ps(O).
  • 500 Agrianians. Unarmoured skirmishing infantry armed with javelins and carrying pelta sized shields. Good morale and willing and able to attack and drive off missile armed light infantry. DBM Reg Ps(S).
  • 3000 Hypaspists. See Battle Day notes for armament. Elite foot guards who aim to fight in close combat. DBM Reg Pk(S) or Reg Sp(S).
  • 6700 mercenary infantry. See Battle Day notes for armament. Average morale close combat troops. DBM Reg Sp(O).

Centre

  • 9000 Pezetairoi. Close combat infantry armed with sarissa, most probably armoured with linen corslets and carrying a small shield strapped to the left arm. Good morale. Krateros commanded the left most taxis and the left of the infantry and so is deployed here initially. Koinos may have commanded the right of the infantry and if represented is initially deployed with the right most taxis. DBM Reg Pk(O).
  • 12000 Greek allied and mercenary infantry. See Battle Day notes for armament. Average morale close combat troops. DBM Reg Sp(I).

Left Wing

  • 400 Allied cavalry. Armoured men on unarmoured horses armed with spears. Average morale and willing to engage in close combat, but a little less enthusiastic than the mercenaries as they are also hostages for their native cities. DBM Reg Cv(O).
  • 2000 Thessalian cavalry. Armed as those above, however they are good to elite morale and were probably better all round cavalry than even the Companions but less fearsome on the charge. Quite willing to fight in close combat. Parmenio who commanded the left wing is initially deployed with these. DBM Reg Cv(S).
  • 1000 Thrakian javelinmen. As Agrianians on the right wing except average morale.
  • 800 Mercenary cavalry. Armoured men on unarmoured horses armed with spears. Average morale and willing to engage in close combat. DBM Reg Cv(O).
  • 400 Odryssian cavalry. Unarmoured skirmishing cavalry armed with javelins. Average morale, unwilling to fight in close combat. DBM Reg LH.
  • 4500 Achaian and other mercenaries. See Battle Day notes for armament. Average morale close combat troops. DBM Reg Sp(O).

Persian Army

Unless otherwise stated all Persians are to be considered “irregular” or equivalent if your rule set makes such distinctions. Shields only where specified. (Suggested DBM troop types are included as a guide for those familiar with the jargon).

The troops are described in deployment order from left to right (but see deployment map).

In front of the Left Wing

  • 2000 Saka part armoured horse archers on partly armoured horses. Also equipped with a variety of close combat weapons such as spears, swords, axes, etc. Good morale and willing to engage in close combat. DBM Irr Cv(S)
  • 1000 Baktrians similar to the Saka above. DBM Irr Cv(S)
  • 100 Scythed Chariots. DBM Irr Exp(O).

Left Wing

  • 8000 Baktrian cavalry. Probably a mixture of spear and bow armed men, many partly armoured on mostly unarmoured horses (those on armoured horses probably supporting the Saka above). Morale would be average to good and they are willing to engage in close combat. Possibly best represented by 1/3 of “units” of good morale and 2/3 of average or “units” of mixed morale. DBM Irr Cv(S) and Irr Cv(O) or LH. The left wing commander Bessos should be initially deployed with these troops.
  • 1000 Dahai cavalry. Unarmoured skirmishing horse archers of average morale. Unwilling to engage in close combat and ill equipped to do so. DBM Irr LH.
  • 1000 Arachosians. Javelin armed unarmoured skirmishing cavalry of average morale. Unwilling to engage in close combat and poorly equipped to do so. DBM Irr LH.
  • 4000 Persian cavalry. Javelin armed and armoured in partial armour such as linen or lamellar corslets . Also armed with other close combat weapons such as swords and axes. Poor morale, weak in close combat and limited skirmishing ability. DBM Irr Cv(I).
  • 2000 Persian infantry. Probably mixed unarmoured missilemen using bows and slings. Unwilling to fight in close combat and ill equipped to do so. Probably in a relatively dispersed formation. DBM Irr Ps(O).
  • 1000 Susian cavalry. As Persian cavalry above.
  • 1000 Kadusian cavalry. As Persians above.

In front of the Centre

  • 15 elephants. Unarmoured Indian elephants probably with a crew of a mahout and 2 missilemen armed with bows and javelins sitting on the elephants back. DBM Irr El(O).
  • 50 Scythed Chariots. DBM Irr Exp(O).

Centre

  • 1000 Mardian archers. Massed unarmoured archers of average morale, effective at shooting but poorly equipped for close combat. DBM Irr Bw(O).
  • 1000 Karian deportees. Hoplite style spearmen with large aspis shields and long spear. Possibly armoured in hoplite style. Poor morale being deportees, but expected to fight in close combat. DBM Reg Sp(I).
  • 1000 Indian cavalry. Unarmoured javelin armed men on unarmoured horses. Average morale but poorly equipped to fight in close combat and not expected to skirmish. DBM Irr Cv(I).
  • 1000 Greek mercenaries. Hoplites with a long spear, large shield and body armour, mostly linen cuirass and bronze helmet. Average morale and willing to engage in close combat. Full time soldiers so qualifying as “regulars” if appropriate. DBM Reg Sp(O).
  • 1000 Kinsmen cavalry. Xyston armed armoured cavalry of average morale willing to fight in close combat. Note that as they had recently been rearmed with the xyston from javelins they are unlikely to be as proficient as the Makedonians with this weapon. As the royal guard they may qualify as “regular” The King of Kings, Dareios, should be deployed with these troops in the royal chariot. DBM Reg Cv(O).
  • 1000 “Apple-bearer” foot guards. Equipped in similar fashion to the hoplites but in Persian dress. Their spear may have been shorter than the hoplites and they may also have carried bows. As a royal guard they may qualify as “regular” Average morale and willing to fight in close combat. DBM Reg Sp(O).
  • 1000 Greek mercenaries. Hoplites with a long spear, large shield and body armour, mostly linen cuirass and bronze helmet. Average morale and willing to engage in close combat. Full time soldiers so qualifying as “regulars” if appropriate. DBM Reg Sp(O).

In front of the Right Wing

  • 50 Scythed Chariots. DBM Irr Exp(O).
  • 1500 Armenian cavalry. Probably a mixture of armoured nobles, possibly on armoured horses, leading “retinues” of lesser equipped men. Armed with a mixture of missile and close combat weapons. Of average morale and willing to fight in close combat. DBM Irr Cv(O) and Irr Cv(S) similar to the Baktrians on the left wing.
  • 1500 Kappadokian cavalry. Armoured men on a mixture of armoured and unarmoured horses armed for close combat with spears, swords, axes, etc. Average morale and willing to fight in close combat. DBM Irr Cv(S).

Right Wing

  • 1000 Sacesian cavalry. Probably javelin armed and armoured in partial armour such as linen or lamellar corslets . Also armed with other close combat weapons such as swords and axes. Poor morale, weak in close combat and limited skirmishing ability. DBM Irr Cv(I).
  • 1000 Albanian cavalry. As Sacesian cavalry above.
  • 2000 Hyrcanian & Tapurian cavalry. As Sacesian cavalry above.
  • 2000 Sakai cavalry. Unarmoured skirmishing horse archers of average morale. Unwilling to engage in close combat and ill equipped to do so. DBM Irr LH.
  • 2000 Parthyaean cavalry. Unarmoured skirmishing horse archers of average morale. Unwilling to engage in close combat and ill equipped to do so. DBM Irr LH.
  • 1000 Mede cavalry. As Sacesian cavalry above except possibly of average morale. DBM Irr Cv(O).
  • 2000 Syrian & Mesopotamian cavalry. As Sacesian cavalry above. The right wing commander Mazaios should be initially deployed with these.

Behind the Centre

  • Large numbers of very poor quality foot massed together and of limited fighting ability. Weapons would be mixed missile weapons such as slings and bows, and short spears for close combat. However, their ability and effect would be minimal. DBM Irr Hd(O) or Baggage.

Deployment

The original battle pack originally included a hand drawn map, keyed to the above. The map isn’t high enough resolution for the website. We’ll put up a revised map as time allows.

Note - One important feature of the deployment is that Dareios’ infantry centre is deployed opposite the Makedonian phalanx. This is one of the few know facts about the relative positioning of the two armies and so is important.

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