Hello everybody. I decided to try to do an After Action Report. I never tried an AAR before, so some criticism would be appreciated.
My AAR is on vanilla RTW (with belles map and skin pack). difficulty: M/M (just to have a relaxing campaign)
My AAR will concentrate on Damasos, the youngest son of Antigonos. The style is actually diary-ish
Chapter 1: from coward to victor
269 BC, Inside Sparta.
I am a coward. Nothing more, nothing less.
Some time ago my father asked me: You are 22 so you are a man for six years now. It is time you lead your men to victory and gain honor. I am a really well educated man, so I know every single secret of warfare.
My father said: our spies have reported that Sparta, the most important city in Greece has been left by the Greek leader of the Hellenic leage. I had to take every single man of Corinth who could hold a spear or a bow or a dagger and attack Sparta.
We knew some of their best soldiers were left behind so we decided to attack before the army outside could return. Captain Neoptolemos was a feared captain in the Peloponesos.( ) Because I succeeded in surprising the Spartan remainders I could just walk into the city. I used the tatics my tutor told me to. March in with your spearmen, attack them from behind with your archers and cavalry.
I used another entrance than my spearmen.() I was in command of the only cavalry we had, my bodyguards. At first everything went as planned, My hoplites attacked the front, while those Spartans were attacked in the back with my archers. When suddenly captain Neoptolemos fell ( ) , I thought: “Damasos, now is your time to attack and get glory. “ Almost I attacked. Almost I would have been a true warrior. Instead my nerves were killing me and I didn’t give the order to attack. My second in command, Anaximenes, told me to charge and get my victory. I refused. It is MY fault lots of Greeks have died, it’s MY fault we almost lost the battle, and gave away an opportunity to cripple the City States.
Instead of charging in and breaking the resistance of the Spartans, I sent in my mercenary reserves to pepper the Spartans with javelins,
( ) and then when my other men started wavering I sent them to fight them hand to hand. ( )
Anaximenes shouted again: “By Zeus, attack them and victory will be ours.” Immediately after he added an apology for addressing a family member of the great Antigonos Cyclops without any shame. The peltasts fought better than anyone would have expected of them. It’s because of them this victory was not a major defeat. The Spartans although surrounded fought to the last man. In the region they think I had a heroic victory.( ) I would rather see it as my greatest failure. Afterwards, I obeyed the Basileus’ orders and enslaved everyone in Sparta. I hope when the Greek army returns I will be able to control my nerves or by Ares, Athena, Poseidon and all the Gods of the Olympos I swear, I will throw myself on my sword. I will send note to my father about my victory and about my great flaw. In the meanwhile my men will construct a wall to protect better from the enemy.
Year 267 BC late spring
I had a lot of things to do so I forgot to write in my book. A lot has changed. The oldest son of my brother Gyras, who everybody suspects to be the next Basileus, has gotten to the age where he can take up his sword and fight a battle. In fact, he is so well known the thracians fled even for only his name.
I got a letter from my father. He just ignored the fact that I have been a coward, and that I deserve nothing else than a cold grave in the rocky ground. He just told me Romans tricked him into an ambush, but he was ready and destroyed the Romans. It was a victory everybody will speak of until the end of the world. The Romans were really bad at using Cavalry he told me.
I don’t get it. Why did he just ignore me behaving like a frightened child? Is it because he despises me? Is it because he doesn’t think it worth talking about? Or is it because he expected nothing else from me? I don’t know, and I don’t think I ever will. My father’s arch nemesis, Kleomenes of Sparta came back with all of his army. But when he saw, how reinforced Sparta was now, he didn’t try to take it back from us, but he started roaming the countryside, plundering whatever he could.
Year 267 BC, early summer inside Sparta
Kleomenes is giving me a headache. He is just destroying as much as he can and I am sick of it , that’s why I’m going to confront him.
Year 267 BC, early summer In the outskirts of Sparta
I finally faced Kleomenes, and triumphed, but in the meantime I failed my father again.
Because even my father speaks with respect of Kleomenes of Sparta, I used a large force to attack him.
( ) My mercenary captain, Agathokles came as a reinforcement, but I told them to wait until I gave the sign, because I didn’t plan to use my veterans.
I marched towards my enemy, with my Levy pikemen in front and at the flanks, almost behind them, I put my militia hoplites. My Macedonian archers were behind my lines, and so was I, although I was determined to take my chance and prove I was not a coward. Little did I know my plan was going to fail. When finally we came onto equal ground, Kleomenes decided to withdraw. My archers did some good pickings, and I killed some peasants, who were helping him, but most of the army escaped () , and we followed them over Attica until we reached the sea, where his fleet was awaiting him.
He did not know I was expecting the remainder of his troops to retreat over the sea, so I sent the navy towards him to destroy him. Then I realized why my father speaks with respect when he mentions Kleomenes. Kleomenes succeeded by maneuvering to escape. I had Kleomenes trapped, I don’t know what I should have done different. Should I have sent my armies around to block his way to his fleet, weakening my main force? Or should I just have destroyed his ships before he was inside risking to miss him on land? Only the Gods know the answers to those questions. Kleomenes could be everywhere. The greeks had still fortresses in Rhodos, Syracuse, Pergamum and even on the Greek mainland around Thermon.
266 BC Inside Athens
I have failed my father twice. It’s nothing more than a fact. I sent the full Macedonian fleet after the Greek army, but failed to find it. Kleomenes seems to have escaped. Last time I didn’t lack courage, but I still didn’t do what I was supposed to. Now, my next step is attacking Athens. If I fail again, I will have lost all of my honour beyond repair and I will live as an exile on the isle of Delos, to never leave again.
My most important task to begin with was building siege equipment. First I gave an order to build lots of siege towers because I know from my stay as governor of Corinth that stone walls can withstand a lot of attacks, and the archers in the towers can really decimate anything that comes near.
But one Macedonian, Cleombrotos, had some experience with mining. He told me that a wall can look huge and difficult to overcome, but if you dig beneath, they come crashing down on the ground. I told him that if such a thing would work, I would reward him with nobility, and make him one of my advisors.
But because I didn’t want to put all my eggs in one basket I also built some ladders to take the walls. Captain Lykomedes, my opponent was known to be a really honorable foe, so I decided to attack in broad daylight.
Because digging is really hard work, I sent my peasants, who are accustomed to hard work to dig beneath the walls.
( ) Lykomedes must have known about the sapping beneath the enemy’s wall because he moved one unit of his militia to the place we were digging to. In the meanwhile, I ordered two units of levy pikemen to take the ladders to the walls and take the gate. While walking towards the wall, they sustained heavy losses, but they remained steady and got on top of the walls at both sides of the gates
( ),( ), surrounding some of the peltasts on the walls. The peltasts fought to the death and died every single man. I had almost taken the gate when all of a sudden the wall collapsed. ( ) My first reaction was to cheer: Cleombrotos was right! The wall was just completely destroyed so I made my men charge into the gap. But because there was a bottleneck, my men were dying. At that moment, Anaximenes suggested me to go through the gate and attack the hoplites from behind. All of a sudden my hands start shaking, and I didn’t have any courage to attack. I saw my men die. When I looked again, I saw Cleombrotos go down. Cleombrotos, an ordinary soldier I have only known for a couple of days, but who was the one who made Athens fall. Suddenly I gathered all my courage, charged through the gates into the sides of my enemies.
( ) My enemies routed en masse. Not long afterwards even Lykomedes turned his tail and ran. At the central plaza, there was no possibility left to run. There while I got around the men, my pikes attacked them from behind. They didn’t dare turn around, for I would charge them in the back if they did. ( ) Lots of Greeks and Macedonians died in this battle. ( ) I knew I would never again be afraid on a battlefield. The only thing I had to think about was the face of Cleombrotus, a not-so-ordinairy soldier. I made his family all nobles (with approval of my father of course) and I buried him in a great grave with looks over the Aegean Sea. From then on some began calling me “Damasos Victor”.
This is the end of chapter 1 of the life of the youngest son of Antigonos Cyclops