Under the Chariot Wheels – 1280 BC

I’ve started a solo six-player DBA campaign, based on the events around the Hittite Empire, around 1280 BC. The six empires are the Hittites, Assyrians, Elamites, Midianites, Egyptians and Mycenaeans. Since I have no figures for this period, and I’m on holidays, I’ve elected to play the entire game electronically, using Paint to monitor the campaign map and Battle Chronicler to resolve the frequent battles.

I was really happy with the map actually; I went online and found a map of the ancient world with no political borders or labels, and then (using google again) marked three major cities for each empire on the map using Paint, which is such an easy program to use. Using the generic (and boring) 6-player map at the back of my DBA rulebook as a guide, I drew roads between the various cities, ensuring that each capital was only approachable through friendly territory, and that each smaller town was connected to their other cities, one enemy city and the central hub at Aleppo (which is under Hittite control). Good graphics can make online wargaming much more engaging.

DBA campaign Hittite Empire 1280 BC

The above map encapsulates the situation at the start of spring, 1280 BC. The Mycenaeans are poised to launch a thousand ships at fabled Illium, the Egyptians and Assyrians look ready to march on Hittite territory around Aleppo, where the main Hittite force is located, while Midianite raiders are mustering at Dedan to strike at Egypt’s Ethiopian underbelly. Meanwhile, the Elamites hold a relatively central location at Ur.

The First 3 Turns: Spring-Autumn 1280 BC

The Mycenaeans attacked Troy, and the Hittite army rushed to rescue the town, only to be convincingly defeated at the battle of Illium in a hilly valley where the Hittite battleline broke apart and was then demolished by the more mobile Mycenaean charioteers. Having lost twice as many men as the Achaeans, Mutuwallis withdrew to his capital at Hattusas to lick his wounds.

Seeing Mutuwallis’ discomfiture, the Assyrians laid siege to Aleppo, which is the central hub of my ancient world. Meanwhile the Egyptians launched an ambitious amphibious assault on Crete because they felt confident of overwhelming the battle-weary Mycenaean army. However, the Achaeans stayed at Troy, so Rameses laid siege to the town of Knossos and waited.

He only had to wait a few months before the Mycenaeans sailed south and disembarked at Crete’s northern tip. However, the ensuring battle was a complete disaster, with the entire Mycenaean infantry arm mowed down by the Egyptian infantry, although the Mycenaean general heroically repelled no less than three overwhelming assaults by the Egyptian chariot wings. Rameses pursued the Mycenaean army to their capital and stormed the city while the walls were weakly manned; capturing the city and reducing the Mycenaeans to a vassal state in less than in five months of campaigning. The entire Mycenaean army was lost during the siege, encouraging the Hittites to besiege Troy (unsuccessfully), hoping to retake it before the Mycenaeans could regain their full strength.

Meanwhile, Aleppo fell to the Assyrian army while the Elamites besieged Babylon (an Assyrian stronghold). The Assyrians chose to let them weaken outside the walls of the city until autumn, when they headed back to fend them off.

While armies were marching and counter-marching in the east, north and west, the Midianites headed south in the summer, laid siege to Abu Simnel in southern Egypt and captured in late autumn, forcing Pharaoh to withdraw to Memphis in northern Egypt in preparation for a new war at the opposite end of his expanded kingdom.

Still to play: Autumn, 1280 BC