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Fallen Bastions: Heraclean Byzantine

Page history last edited by PBworks 15 years ago

Introduction

 

This covers the wars of Heracleus, first against the Sasanid Persians and then the armies of the Arab conquest. The Sasanids came close to complete victory against the Byzantines, until daring campaigning by Heracleus, reinforced by a Sasanid civil war, restored the status quo. The Arabs proved to be a more intractable opponent, and Byzantine defeat at Yarmuk led to the loss of two-thirds of their territory.

 

The main source of information for this period, come from the manual of Maurikios (the Strategikon). It should be noted, that the war against the Sasanids may have contributed to the poor showing of the Byzantines against the Arabs, as a consequence of the loss of experienced troop cadres.


Army List

 

I. Expeditionary Army

Expeditionary armies are those created for offensive and decisive action against an opponent. As such, they tended to be dominated by mounted troops and contained some of the best units in the army

 

0-1 Imperial Division

1 Boukellarioi

1 Optimates

0-1 Scouts

 

1-3 Senior Cavalry Divisions

1-2 Senior Cavalry

1 Cursores

 

1-2 Stratiotai

2 Stratiotai

 

0-2 Infantry Divisions

1-2 Skoutatoi

0-1 Psiloi or Javelinmen

 

2-3 Khazar Ally Divisions (only in AD 627)(1)

2-3 Khazars

 

Optional Units

0-4 Linkers or Flank-Guards (2)

0-2 Skoutatoi (3)

 

(1) A large force of Khazars joined Heracleus in the 627 campaign towards Nineveh. If any Khazar divisions are used, at least 2 must be employed.

(2) Linkers and Flank guards can only be attached to 'all mounted' divisions.

(3) Can only be attached to Senior Cavalry or Infantry Divisions.

 

 

II. Provincial Army

Provincial armies are those raised to deal with a local threat, and tended to avoid battle. They featured troops that may have lacked training, equipment and sometimes, motivation.

 

0-1 Senior Cavalry Divisions

1-2 Senior Cavalry

1 Cursores

 

1-2 Stratiatoi Divisions

2 Sratiotai

 

1-2 Allied Ghassanid Divisions

 

2-4 Infantry Divisions

1-2 Skoutatoi

0-1 Psiloi or Javelinmen

 

Optional Units

0-1 Militia

0-2 Linkers of Flank Guards (1)

 

(1) Linkers and Flank guards can only be attached to 'all mounted' divisions.


Units

 

Boukellarioi

Heavy Cavalry, Initiative 7 (Elite, Deep-line)

2 bases (50 pts)

 

May be equipped with Bow.

 

Boukellarioi were positioned with the CinC, usually in the centre of the army. They fought as mounted lancers, at least 5 ranks deep (possibly more) and could have mounted archers in support. Consequently these can be additionally armed with bows

 

Optimates

Heavy Cavalry, Initiative 7 (Audacious, Deep-line)

2 bases (45 pts)

3 bases (60 pts)

 

These were recruited from Goths and Germans, and used lances or spears

 

Senior Cavalry

Heavy Cavalry, Initiative 7 (Deep-line)

3 bases (60 pts)

4 bases (75 pts)

 

Vexillationes and Illyricani must be equipped with Bow. Phoideratoi may be equipped with Bow

 

The senior cavalry comprised the Phoideratoi, Vexillationes and Illyricani regiments. The Phoideratoi were typically assigned to the 2-in-C. They were recruited from Goths and citizens. The Vexillationes were placed to the right, the Illyricani to the left. The Vexillationes and Illyricani must include integral archers (fight with __bows__), the Phoideratoi may have rear-rank archers so are only optionally equipped with bows.

 

Cursores

Light Cavalry- Initiative 7 (Bow)

2 bases (40 pts)

3 bases (53 pts)

 

Cursores (lit. gallopers) are additionally equipped with bow

 

Linkers, Flank Guards and Scouts

Light Cavalry- Initiative 6

2 bases (32 pts)

3 bases (42 pts)

 

May be equipped with Bow.

 

These are rated as 6 to discourage offensive use

 

Stratiatoi

Heavy Cavalry, Initiative 6 (Deep-line)

3 bases (48 pts)

4 bases (60 pts)

May be equiped with Bow.

 

or

 

Medium Cavalry, Initiative 6 (Deep-line)

3 bases (42 pts)

4 bases (52 pts)

May be equipped with Bow.

 

It is assumed that these regiments were not able to sustain having a front rank of lancers on frontally armoured horses

 

Skoutatoi

Heavy Shieldsmen with Light Archer Detachment- Initiative 5 (Deep-line)

6 bases (32 pts)

8 bases (39 pts)

 

or

 

Medium Shieldsmen with Light Archer Detachment- Initiative 5 (Deep-line)

6 bases (29 pts)

8 bases (36 pts)

 

or

 

Medium Shieldsmen- Initiative 5 (Deep-line)

6 bases (24 pts)

8 bases (30 pts)

 

The normal depth for the Skoutatoi was 8 ranks deep, with the last 2 ranks being archers. Skoutatoi is literally, a "shieldsmen", and were armed with short spears. They were not as well trained as the cavalry. Mail armour was not available to all troops, often only the front ranks.

 

Psiloi

Light or Medium Archers, Initiative 5

4 bases (21 pts)

6 bases (29 pts)

 

Javelinmen

Light Shieldsmen, Initiative 5

4 bases (18 pts)

 

Militia

Light Irregulars- Initiative 5

4 bases (15 pts)

 

These are local troops, often 'hillmen' of a sort

 

Khazars

Medium or Light Horse Archers - Initiative 6 (Ally, Wave)

2 Bases (32 Pts)

4 Bases (52 Pts)

 

A unit personally commanded by the Division commander may be graded as medium, all other units of the Division must be Light.

 

These unts depict the large contingent of Khazars that joined Heraclius on his campaigns against the Persians in AD 627. They gave very valuable help to the Emperor but returned home at the end of the year.

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