Sicily - Athens at the gate    
  4 - The final rush - 413BC   1 unit = 300 HI, 150 LH, 200 LMI or Cav, 100 LI
     
 

Background:
Notwithstanding Nicias's misgivings, Athens decided to continue the struggle and sent fresh troops and funds under generals Eurymedon and the crafty Demosthenes. Eurymedon sailed directly to Syracuse while Demosthenes collected troops on the way and even found the time to wage a small offensive against the Pelopponese. Things had gone from bad to worse for the Athenians in Syracuse meanwhile. The Syracusan navy had adopted a Corinthian device for ramming enemy ships: by heavily reinforcing the bows of its ships, it made them strong enough to ram enemy vessels head-on. This also made the ships less maneuvrable, but that was an inconvenience of little consequence in the confines of Syracuse's harbour. Nicias lost several ships as a result and was forced to beach the rest. It was thus with immense relief that the Athenians saw a fresh fleet of 73 ships come to their aid, carrying all of 6000 new troops drawn from the empire. Gylippus had not been idle either. He had recruited 4000 fresh troops from Sicily and received 1000 hoplites from Greece itself, not the least of which were 300 elite Thespians from home soil. Virtually all of Sicily and large parts of the Aegean and Southern Italy had committed themselves to this war and this escalation had stretched resources so far that defeat by either side would spell either the ultimate ruin of the Athenian enterprise or the end of Syracusan independence. Demosthenes immediately proposed a surprise night attack on the Epipolae, but gave in to Nicias's wish to test the defences in a conventional daytime attack. This was easily beaten back and Demostenes got the opportunity to execute his daring plan. On a moonlit night in July 413, he placed himself at the head of the first of three infantry divisions and started climbing the western slope of the Epipolae escarpment. He easily overwhelmed the guards of the small fortress there and deployed his division around the northern side of the Syracusan counter wall. From there he charged across the plateau, uncertain in the dark of the resistance he might expect and trusting that his supporting two divisions were close on his heels. But the Syracusans had time to raise the alarm.

Game notes:
No cavalry, missile-armed troops or Siculi are involved in this night combat. Visibility is limited to 1UD. Movement is normal due to the enthusiasm with which the Athenians sped over the plateau. They are at risk of losing cohesion however and a D6 die must be rolled for every unit, beginning with the one on the left. A score of 1 or 2 means it has deviated 1/2 UD to the left, a 3 or 4 it has held course, and a 5 or 6 that it has strayed 1/2 UD to the right. Units that dice first and deviate, will always interfere with units that dice subsequently. A unit that finds friends in is path will stay behind it. Any unit that keeps the Syracusan counter wall on its right shoulder does not have to dice. Gylippus had camped the Syracusans across the southeastern end of the Epipolae and had deployed the elite Syracusan lochos in a forward position. Still, his Syracusans and other Sicilians held their line only with difficulty in the face of fleeing comrades and the din of battle and enemy war cries that approached unseen through the dark night. As a result, these troops have been downgraded and will only recover when an Athenian command becomes demoralised, unless they themselves are demoralised first of course.

Deployment:
As per map

Historical outcome:
The initial Athenian rush made headway across the plateau, but as the Syracusans overcame their fear and surprise, the lack of cohesion in the Athenian ranks began to tell and their attack was thrown back, to be turned into a headlong flight down the slopes of the plateau. The Athenians had suffered heavy casualties and had no option but to abandon their siege of Syracuse. Over the coming months, procrastination, disease and strategic errors cost them virtually their entire army and the ambitious adventure met with complete and utter ruin.

 
     
 
 
     
 
ATHENIAN ARMY Greece and Danube - list 60
Command: +3 Army demoralisation value: 36
  Command 1         command strength 13
CinC Demosthenes Included brilliant  +2 CP Range: 8UD      
units Troop description type Quality move strength Range M ft M mtd Abilities & notes
10 3000 Athenian hoplites* HI spear Ordinary 2UD 5   4 5 armour
2 250 Acarnanian & Megaran skirm LI javelin Ordinary 3UD 2 1UD 2 1  -1 fire; +1 javelin vs LI & LH; evade
  Command 2         command strength 13
Sub Eurymedon Included competent  +1 CP Range: 6UD      
units Troop description type Quality move strength Range M ft M mtd Abilities & notes
8 2500 subject Aegean hoplites* HI spear Mediocre 2UD 5   4 5 armour
4 750 Messapian peltasts LMI javelinmen Ordinary 3UD 4 1UD 3 2 no armour; evade
  Command 3         command strength 10
Sub Nicias Included poor  +0 CP Range: 4UD      
units Troop description type Quality move strength Range M ft M mtd Abilities & notes
10 3000 Allied hoplites* HI spear Ordinary 2UD 5   4 5 armour
 
     
 
SYRACUSAN ARMY Syracusan - list 50
Command: +6 Army demoralisation value: 46
CinC Gylippus detached brilliant  +2 CP Range: 8UD
  Command 1         command strength 14
Sub Diomilus - Syracusan general Included competent  +1 CP Range: 6UD      
units Troop description type Quality move strength Range M ft M mtd Abilities & notes
2 600 elite Syracusan lochos* HI spear Ordinary 2UD 5   4 5 armour
8 2400 Syracusan hoplites HI spear Mediocre 2UD 5   4 5 armour
6 600 skirmishers with javelin LI javelin Ordinary 3UD 2 1UD 2 1  -1 fire; +1 javelin vs LI & LH; evade
  Command 2         command strength 20
Sub Hermocrates - Syracusan gnl detached competent  +1 CP Range: 6UD      
units Troop description type Quality move strength Range M ft M mtd Abilities & notes
10 3000 Sicilian hoplites HI spear Mediocre 2UD 5   4 5 armour
5 1500 Himeran & Selinuntian hopl HI spear Mediocre 2UD 5   4 5 armour
2 500 hoplites from Camarina HI spear Mediocre 2UD 5   4 5 armour
2 400 peltasts from Gela LMI javelinmen Ordinary 3UD 4 1UD 3 2 no armour; evade
  Command 3         command strength 10
Sub Thespian general Included brilliant  +2 CP Range: 8UD      
units Troop description type Quality move strength Range M ft M mtd Abilities & notes
1 300 elite volunteer Thespians* HI spear Elite 2UD 5   4 5 armour
4 1200 Corynthian & Sicyon hoplites HI spear Ordinary 2UD 5   4 5 armour
2 400 peltasts from Camarina LMI javelinmen Ordinary 3UD 4 1UD 3 2 no armour; evade
 
 
 
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