The Battle of Illium

This is a part of my on-going solo DBA campaign, Under The Chariot Wheels, which you can read about here

The Battle of Illium occurred in a low-lying valley past the walls of Troy itself. On the Hittite side lay a small corpse of trees and a hill to the north, where they set up camp. The Mycenaeans had a small forest to their backs, with open countryside between the two armies.

The Hittites deployed skirmishers on either flank, with a long line of both heavy and light chariots to the north of the trees, where the auxiliaries were posted. South of them lay a band of heavy infantry (blades) and a squadron of light chariots in support. Running north to south, the Mycenaeans posted a squadron of light chariots, all four elements of pikemen (two elements deep), and then the rest of their chariots, with the Myrmidons and light infantry holding the southern flank ahead of their camp, facing the Hittite auxiliaries.


The Hittites (Red) face off against the Mycenaean (blue) marauders

The battle commenced cautiously, as both sides attempted to find a way to engage the weakest part of the enemy battleline without leaving their own flank exposed. While the Mycenaean pikemen creeped forwards towards the Hittite chariots in the north, the Hittite axuiliaries rushed forwards to engage the weak infantry sitting in front of the Achaean camp to the south.

The Hittite auxiliaries were the first to engage the enemy, having left the safety of their woods. Unfortunately, the enemy light chariots made short work of one element, but the Greek skirmishers quickly collapsed under the pressure of Hittite heavy  infantry, leaving the far southern flank exposed. First the victorious light chariot element, then the Mymirdons were mowed down as the southern flank disintegrated into a rout.


The battlelines engage…

However, while the Hittites were emerging victorious in the southern brawl, a swirling chariot battle was developing in the centre, as heavy and light chariots charged and counter-charged one another. Since the deadly Mycenaean pikemen lay to the north of this battle, the Hittites did not dare throw their entire chariot force into the melee, but kept them back away from the slow infantry. However, while all of the Hittite resources were dedicated to these battles, the Mycenaean general took a breather from the melee and ordered an infantry charge in the north, while the enemy was distracted.

With one light chariot element pressing their flank, and two elements of pikemen engaging them to the front, the Hittite chariot element quickly disintegrated. Then the Mycenaean general rallied the men around him and charged one of the Hittite light chariot elements in the centre, that had become separated from the rest of the battle line. It was quickly overwhelmed just as the Hittites destroyed the Mycenaean warband in the south and emptied the southern flank of enemies.


The Mycenaean southern flank is under pressure

But that  victory was far too late; the Mycenaeans, who had kept the initiative for most of the battle, simply swamped the Hittite heavy infantry with chariots on the flanks and destroyed it, causing the Hittites’ final fourth loss for the battle, and the Hittites dutifully retired, badly mauled.


Here you can see the Hittites’ complete discomfiture both to the north and in the centre, just prior to their final defeat when the Hittite Blades (Bd) were swamped by chariots. 

The Mycenaeans had lost two units (both on their southern flank) but the Hittites had lost three chariot elements and their elite heavy infantry; losses which will seriously hamstring them next turn.

The Mycenaeans made excellent use of the initiative, overlapping isolated enemy units and outflanking vulnerable troops in what proved to be quite a disjointed little fight The Hittite commander was hamstrung by constant low command rolls, meaning he could only move a few elements a turn during several crucial moments. I suppose you can chalk that up to getting carried away in the melee and failing to issue orders to the rest of the army!


About Joshua Letchford

I'm a 23-year old Christian from far north Western Australia. I'm interested in philosophy, logic, politics, history, military history, strategy, board games, wargaming and reading. I recently completed a Bachelor of Arts in politics and ancient history through Macquarie University, which I studied externally so I could stay connected with my family and my small town community.
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