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Thread: Interactive History III: 'Antiochus' Dilemma'

  1. #1
    Magister Vitae Senior Member Kraxis's Avatar
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    Default Interactive History III: 'Antiochus' Dilemma'

    This is the third installment of my rather successful (if I may say so ) series begun over at the .com (I was Tarrak there).

    So if you know the series you need not read the next paragraph.

    The Interactive Histories are basically me making up history as best I can. I set the parameters and the action by you, the reader desides for me where we are to go. At the end of each 'chapter' I give a number of choices, and the rule is it is the first poster that will get the decision, even if it seems foolish (of course I will try to make sure people don't sabotage it), so you better be fast.
    So far I have done two on Hannibal. The first was set at the end of the Battle of Cannae and we ended up winning the Second Punic War against Rome is a series of grueling and hard battles where the tactical brilliance of Hannibal won the day time and again, but we had our setbacks, such as when the Gauls abandoned our cause due to maltreatment and our own troops nearly comitting mutiny because they were pushed too far into winter with no rest.
    The second I dubbed 'Hannibal's Fate', and it was a much tougher set, both on me and the readers, in fact I never managed to finish it. It started out withthe hypothetical situation that Hannibal had managed to win at Zama (the Roman cavalry didn't return to hit the carthie infantry in the back and the elephants had somehow managed to not get spooked). While Carthage was seriously on the defensive we managed to settle the score good by kicking out the Romans. Scipio Africanus, already unpopular in the Senate couldn't hold on in the face of two rather serious defeats and was pulled home with his remaining forces. Masinissa was forced to join the Carthie side again and it looked like Hannibal was to set foot in Spain once more.

    So the background and the rule (yes it is singular) is set.
    Here we go:

    Antiochus' Dilemma:

    It is 191BC, and you are the high king of the Seleucid Empire, Antiochus III, later to be called the Great, but we haven't gotten to that yet.
    The political situation in Greece has promted you to land forces there in the attempt to sieze or at least subjugate (or as you would prefer to call it, 'liberate') the area in the face of Roman pressure and ambitions there. You had hoped for help from the Aetolian League and from Phillip V of Macedon, but as it has turned out Phillip has been scared shitless after Cynoscephalae (197BC) and has duly chosen to stay well out of this encounter, while the Aetolians have sent you support mainly in the form of verbal encouragement and a few lighter troops.
    You yourself was perhaps a bit too rash in getting into this business as you could only manage to bring 18,000 troops and a handful of elephants, some of these have even been spread out into garrisons and the few Aetolians have not made up for this.

    The Romans already didn't like you very much, being scared of your growing power in the east, so naturally they have reacted with great strength, as is their custom. A force of some 20,000 infantry, 2,000 cavalry and 15 elephants was crossed over from Brundisium, led by Manius Glabrio with the two famous Romans, Marcus Porcius Cato and Valerius Flaccus as tribunes. You have been caught with your pants by your ankles and several garrisons are lost, you have at your disposal only 10,000 infantry, 500 cavalry and 6 elephants.

    As you sit in the house your have taken as your residence while in Greece you ponder the situation. The Romans are advancing fast and have even taken the Tempe pass to the north with an advance party, they outnumber you greatly and they have a serious advantage in cavalry. It looks bleak. Your political advisor Kassandros, a haughty but brave man gives his oppinion on the matter, "Bassileus, we have with us part of the Argyraspids, we are stronger than the Romans. They are not up to the pike, Pyrrhus showed that much. I say, meet them in battle in Boiotia before they get too clos for us to form up properly."
    Just then Hannibal, son of Hamilcar, your advisor and tutor in military matters begins to speak up: "Sire, while Kassandros is right that your troops are better on a basis of one to one, it doesn't help much. The Romans deploy in much less dense formations and will thus easily outflank our formation in any normal battle. Either we should pull out of Greece alltogether or we should face the Romans at Thermopylae, the only pass left to us. If we are to go there we should post strong guards at the paths leading round the pass, so as not to suffer the result of Leonidas and his Spartans."
    From behind Hannibal your aged strategos, Lysias, also gives his advise. "I agree with Hannibal, Thermopylae is the best shot we have here." He said looking at Kassandros. "But we are already far too few in numbers to deplete the main forces by putting them in the obscure paths. The wall has been lenghtened since the Persian Wars and we have preciously few skirmishers. I say let some Aetolians guard the pass, while we deal with the Romans."
    The choice was not easy, for while Kassandros' advise sounds rather out of the question, it has its merits in that many of the plains of Greece are not that big and that your army could be able to find a suitable one on the path of the Romans. Hannibal, cautious in his latter days presents a battle you do not like. Thermopylae is cramped and a deathtrap if caught, but he is as always right that is is the only place to face the Romans if you want to be certain to not get outflanked by superior forces. Lysias present an alternative to the cautious advise of Hannibal, in his version you would be able to change to the offensive quickly should the Romans break in their attacks on you. Finally Hannibal, as always it seems, gives voice for a total abandonment of Greece without a battle.

    What will it be?

    1) Listen to Kassandros and seek out a battlefield in the plains where you have better tactical options, as well as you can get the best oput of your men?

    2) Follow the advise of Hannibal and retreat to Thermopylae to face off with the Romans at the wall with a strong force guarding the paths to the rear, centered around the fortress of Callidromus.

    3) Deside that Lysias has it right and deploy in an elaborate formation at the wall at Thermopylae in two destinct lines, that gives you the great tactical elasticity needed for a sudden change from defence to offence.

    4) Leave Greece at best speed and cut your losses, hoping to get the Romans on sea on their way towards you in Asia Minor.
    You may not care about war, but war cares about you!


  2. #2

    Default Re: Interactive History III: 'Antiochus' Dilemma'

    I choose option number four. Just seems like the wisest thing to do.
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  3. #3

    Default Re: Interactive History III: 'Antiochus' Dilemma'

    Argh Ducky, I didn't think you'd follow the coward's way;)
    Battles are things whose results are not easily foreseen - plus #4 creates more dilemmas, so in the end it might be better heh
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    Evil Sadist Member discovery1's Avatar
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    Default Re: Interactive History III: 'Antiochus' Dilemma'

    #1 seems suicidal with their calv superiority. #2 maybe I don't know. How strong is the force guarding the rear? And since the have elephants... #3) I don't think so. If the Romans attack the pass and are driven off, they would still likely have the stronger force taking into account that the legion is more mobile. #4 is the safest option, but the political fallout could be bad. How strong is your navy? Not that it's really equiped to fight the Corvus.

    So either 2 or 4. I'd go with 2, unless your navy can handle Roman boardings.
    Last edited by discovery1; 07-13-2005 at 00:02.


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    Tovenaar Senior Member The Wizard's Avatar
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    Default Re: Interactive History III: 'Antiochus' Dilemma'

    First poster gets the decision. We can only sit and watch... :]

    Looks good Krax, keep it up. I would have personally gone with the advice of Lysias.

    At Thermopylae one could have forced the Romans into the same situation as the Persians, namely appreciate the one-on-one power of the Seleukids, who are just as veteran as the Romans after so many succesful campaigns under Antiochos. But, with a weakened formation such as proposed by the wily Hannibal, Roman discipline, excellent lower rank leadership and expertise in close combat might win out. If the Aetolians guard the pass, and there are enough Seleukid soldiers in a flexible enough formation to be able to react to any Roman stratagem, I say chances of Antiochos winning out would have been the greatest.



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    Kanto Kanrei Member Marshal Murat's Avatar
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    Default Re: Interactive History III: 'Antiochus' Dilemma'

    I loved the stories Tarrak,
    Hasrubal.
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    Have you just been dumped?

    I ask because it's usually something like that which causes outbursts like this, needless to say I dissagree completely.

  7. #7
    Magister Vitae Senior Member Kraxis's Avatar
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    Default Flight of the Seleucids

    Flight of the Seleucids

    Having given the matter serious thought you end up accepting that you can't win a battle in Greece as it stands, that it is the wisest to embark the troops now, before the Romans arrive.
    As you give the command, Hannibal smiles that halfsmile he wears at times.

    Within a short while the entire army is embarked and on its way home to Asia Minor. The Aetolians are not informed of the decision, so they embark with you, believing that you will land behind the Romans.
    The Romans on the other hand have been pressing hard to get to you fast and arrive at Thermopylae only a few days after the last troops left. This presents them with an interesting problem, as they have been forced to leave the garrisons alone. They are now threatening the Roman lines of communication, and yet Manius Glabrio can't go back as he now believes you have merely sent for reinforcements.
    As a result the Roman navy is sent to safeguard his rear before he can go back and mop up the standed garrisons.

    L. Aemilius Regillus entered the Aegean with the fleet of 83 ships with the intent of giving battle to the Seleucid fleet. At your disposal is a larger fleet of 90 ships, but among the Roman ships is a squadron of Rhodian ships, some 25 strong, reputed to be equipped with fire.

    When your remaining troops landed in Asia Minor the Aetolian troops realized what had happened and refused to move any further until they were informed of what was going on. Who knows, maybe their government is now on the side of the Romans, and in fact it has recently surrendered.
    Unfortunately for you it will take some time yet for you to get the army up in numbers, so there won't be any landings in Greece again soon. And as a result of the untimely retreat from Greece has made it more diffucult for the recruiters to find enough tribal warriors among the Galatians, Arabians and especially in Media.

    Kassandros, again agitating for an aggressive stance tries to persuade you. "Bassileus, we must take to the offensive in the Aegean. We are superior in numbers and we on the homefield compared to the Romans. When we win the Roman army will have no option but to retreat back to Italy, as they do not seem willing to attack our cut-off garrisons. We should seek an honest and open battle."
    Hannibal again opposes Kassandros. "Nay Sire, we should attempt to keep the Roman fleet sailing about chasing ghosts. They are here to fight for some reason, and as long as we denude them that fight they can't cross over. I propose that we fortify the Hellespont to keep them out by means of land as well."
    Polyxenidas, the commander of the fleet chimes in too. "We are superior in numbers and larger ships, but aside from our Sidonian and other Phoenecian ships we are desperately short on superior seamanship. The Rhodians in the Roman fleet would present a serious obstacle for whatever flank would face them. I would like to shadow the Roman fleet and then attack them as they lay up for night, making it easy to destroy them. Then go an pick up the garrisons. I believe that should grant us the possibility for peace."

    As you weigh up your options you also considerwhat to do with the Aetolians.

    What to do? And this time there are two options that must be chosen. One for the naval battle and one regarding the state of the Aetolians.

    A:
    1) Seek out the decisive battle in open waters, at least as open so that you can employ the greater numbers and larger ships. A victory here would be decisive and you would gain control of the seas, possibly force the Romans home.
    2) Play cat and mouse with the Roman fleet and block off the Hellespont. This standoff should soon bore the Romans into foolish action, either against you or against the Greeks.
    3) Cloak and dagger. Let your fleet stalk the Roman fleet and attack it at its most vulnerable time, thus avoiding the better Rhodian seamanship, but risking that the fleet gets caught tired in the open.

    B:
    1) The Aetolians are fine light troops, equipped with larger shields, helmets and swords. Effectively making them good at close comabat where speed is important. Use this to your advantage and try to hire them outright. Your political trouble, caused by the retreat, has deprived you of similar troops, at least for a while.
    2) Play the benevolent ruler and send the Aetolians home in a great PR stunt. Nobody should fight in your army if they have no need for it or no will for it. It should make foreign recruiting easier again.
    3) Inform the Aetolian troops that you are fighting for their freedom from Roman suzerainity, that it is imperative that they fight on with you. To make good on this you position them on the ships as marines, so that they will feel they are fighting an active war.
    4) You don't trust the Aetolians now that their leaders have bowed down to the Romans (such fickle people are untrustworthy), yet you can't send them home as it would be a sign of weakness, and you can't afford that so soon after the less than glorious retreat from Greece. Send them to the east near Seleucia and have them settle a new military settlement, with the help from you of course. They should provide you with plenty soldiers in the future.
    You may not care about war, but war cares about you!


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    Evil Sadist Member discovery1's Avatar
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    Default Re: Interactive History III: 'Antiochus' Dilemma'

    A) Cloak and dagger of course

    B) I think 3


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    Evil Sadist Member discovery1's Avatar
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    Default Re: Interactive History III: 'Antiochus' Dilemma'

    Now for reasons why.

    A)Seems like the dangers are slight(not that I know how fast your ships are nor how good their scouts are.) and could bring about a great victory if successful.

    B)There aren't enough to Aelians to launch a muntany yes? They are fine troops, why not try and use them? And what better arguement than that/ Course, they may not buy it with what happened, so you will need to act quickly on the oceans, or at least look like you are.


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    Moderator Moderator Gregoshi's Avatar
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    Default Re: Interactive History III: 'Antiochus' Dilemma'

    This looks like a good candidate for a sticky. And so it shall be.
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    Bopa Member Incongruous's Avatar
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    Default Re: Interactive History III: 'Antiochus' Dilemma'

    Well I reckon


    A-2. If the admiral beleives that you cannot beat the Romans in an open fight, then don't attempt to. But A cloak and dagger aprroach could flounder and wipe away any chace of invading Europa again. But trying to bore the Romans into a stupid decision could give you a victory which could then be followed up by causing a mass Roman eveacuation of Greece and Illyria. Giving you the power in the Agean and possibly the Adriatic.

    B-2. If you end up beating the Romans and invading Greece once again why not make some friends and up your popularity by sending the Greek soldiers home. Plus, if they mutiny and demand to be sent home, you will have to slaughter them. Imagine what that would do to your political reputation, what sane mercenary would wish to serve under you and the Greeks would despise and simply see you as another oppresive tryant.

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    Default Re: Interactive History III: 'Antiochus' Dilemma'

    Excellent idea Kraxis. I have a suggestion which I think will make the concept much more interesting.

    Split each new desicion/scenario in a separate thread and use polls. Voting should come with a justification of your position.

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    Magister Vitae Senior Member Kraxis's Avatar
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    Default Re: Interactive History III: 'Antiochus' Dilemma'

    Quote Originally Posted by Cataphract_Of_The_City
    Excellent idea Kraxis. I have a suggestion which I think will make the concept much more interesting.

    Split each new desicion/scenario in a separate thread and use polls. Voting should come with a justification of your position.
    Perhaps next time, as this one is already going. Also the people who have thus far chimed in, are all quite capable in determining what is good and what is not. This way of deciding the outcome is only going to be a problem if people are ignorant of history itself, or lack stategic insight. Neither of which seems to be lacking in any great amount here.
    But there is also the problem that your suggested idea might slow down to a crawl, as well as take up a whole lot of my time. So not now, but maybe next time.
    You may not care about war, but war cares about you!


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    Shadow Senior Member Kagemusha's Avatar
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    Default Re: Interactive History III: 'Antiochus' Dilemma'

    A:2 When the enemy is on the move harras him.
    B:3 I believe the Aetolians that in first place came to your aid are the more warlike ones of them,so i think it wouldnt be too hard to get them to continue fighting.And if they will accept it your fleet gains more strength and if the Aetolians are harassing Roman ships as marines on your fleet,that can convince other Creeks to join in the fight too in the long run.
    Ja Mata Tosainu Sama.

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    Magister Vitae Senior Member Kraxis's Avatar
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    Default Maneuvers at Sea

    Maneuvers at Sea

    You quickly decide that there is only one possible chance of victory. The Roman fleet is superior in seamanship and would be a tough nut to crack in an open battle. You let Polyxenidas have his way. At once he wants to get off and do his job, but you have a matter to settle first.

    A delegation of the Aetolian troops enter the audiencehall of the local palace to discuss the future of the troops in Asia Minor.
    They quickly make it clear that they want to return home. They find little point in fighting when their leaders have surrendered and been granted good terms. War for the sake of war is needless is their point.
    When they are finished with their demands and arguments you sit up straight in the throne. "Honourable men, this is not a war that We wanted. We went to the aid of your people. Circumstances forced Us on the retreat but that shall not be so for long. Are you really going to accept Roman suzerainity? Such that you deemed worthy of a revolt against the Roman friendly leaders. We find it hard to believe that you will simply roll over and play dead. We must stand together and fight for what is ours. The Romans shouldn't meddle is affairs that are not theirs. Join Us! We are going to need your help on the sea, as a naval battle is taking form as we speak, We need marines. Also this is going to take the fight back to the Romans and we will be able to land in Greece once again and liberate your people from the Roman yoke. You are of course going to be paid for your services."
    The leaders were not in agreement but the majority favoured helping you out at sea. As it turned out each delegate was a representative of a division of Aetolians, and in the end 3000 of their numbers joined you while 1000 still favoured to be sent home. As your fleet was now engaged in other matters this was not forthcoming an you sent them into the hinterland to 'temporary' settle in Galatia, knowing full and well the reputed beauty of the women and the abundance of them compared to the men.

    The Aetolians embarked on the warships some 30 on each, of course more on the larger ships and no less than 120 on the mighty Octares (eight). This made the ships rather full of marines and slightly heavier.
    Polyxenidas began his maneuvers against the Roman fleet. Knowing full and well that Rhodian scoutships were superior to his own he set about attacking the now Roman allied Macedonian shipping as well as other Roman allied ships, in an attempt to lure out the Roman fleet to a specific area where the scoutships could easily find them.
    For a few weeks this went on while Regillus conferred with Manius Glabrio, but finally he set out to seek battle.

    By this time the pirate leader Nicander had been convinced to at least help your cause and charged with supporting the fleet with another ten decked ships and a number of smaller pirateships acting as scouts. But so far he was not with the fleet.
    Finally the Roman fleet entered the area and began a search for your fleet. Having been in the area for some weeks Polyxenides knew very well how to hide the fleet. Night came and it was time for the assault.

    The Roman fleet beached itself not far from Amphipolis and Polyxenides edged closer as night came. When the fleet was in position they charged at the beach, marines at the ready. The Roman fleet was surprised, but not by much as they had had sentries on watch. The Aetolian and regular marines jumped on board the beached ships after their own ships had struck home. A serious fight ensued at the very end of the Roman line where three ships were mortally wounded by ramming and melee was still going on on another few ships. At the other end however, the Rhodians were vigilant and managed to hold off their attackers by using fire, which the Seleucid ships feared with a vengeance.
    The entire fleet aroused by the sentries Polyxenides was forced to retreat again. Only five ships had been destroyed, three by ramming and two by boarding, none had been captured. His own losses were high among the marines and a single Quadrireme had been captured, though with great damage to the bow. At least the enemy had suffered losses among his rowers and marines as well, but the Rhodians had managed to stay clear.
    The nightattack had failed, but at least with a positive score.

    The next day Regillus set out, led by the Rhodians to find the Seleucid fleet. The scoutships managed to bring back that the Seleucids were trying to get away towards the Hellespont but the wind was dead and they were going slowly by oars. The next day the two fleets were in sight of each other. By some sort of accident or foolish demand to meet the fleet you happen to be closeby as the fleets form up for battle. Though it presents you with some danger it also gives you the option to decide the what formation Polyxenides should use.

    You enter the Octares, the flagships of Polyxenides to discuss the battle.
    He quickly tries to play the knowing admiral and force his decision. He champions a conservative formation of a line with the Sidonian and other Phoenician ships on the right, led by himself in the Octares. 89 vs 78 ships should provide the line with enough length to sweep the enemy formation.
    A lesser captain, known for his untraditional thinking, advises a W-shaped formation, that takes full advantage of the superiority of numbers.
    You yourself have been playing an admiral and voices the choice of a line of slightly less length than the Roman fleet but has a reserve behind the main line.

    So you have to fight a battle you didn't want, and with a rather tired fleet. You do enjoy a rather marked advantage in marines and a slight advantage in numbers and size of ships.
    What do you do?

    1) Let Polyxenides take full charge and fight a traditional battle. This is gives you the advantage that it is less likely to foul up, but the Rhodian ships are given the best of choices.

    2) Follow the advise of the young brave captain and force Polyxenides to deploy in a W. This is more likely to foul up due to not only the unusual formation, but also because Polyxenides is in charge but might not be up to it. But at the same time it takes the best advantage of your numbers and size of ships. There will plenty of chances for ramming and boarding here.

    3) Deploy defensively to be able to react to the Rhodians but also to be able to reinforce any troublespots. This is not likely to foul up a it is merely a doubleline in some places, and Polyxenides should easily be able to manage it. It does annul your advantage in numbers however, at least in the initial engagement.
    You may not care about war, but war cares about you!


  16. #16
    dictator by the people Member caesar44's Avatar
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    Smile Re: Interactive History III: 'Antiochus' Dilemma'

    [QUOTE=Kraxis]This is the third installment of my rather successful (if I may say so ) series begun over at the .com (I was Tarrak there).
    So the background and the rule (yes it is singular) is set.
    Here we go:
    Antiochus' Dilemma:


    The Romans already didn't like you very much, being scared of your growing power in the east, so naturally they have reacted with great strength, as is their custom. A force of some 20,000 infantry, 2,000 cavalry and 15 elephants was crossed over from Brundisium, led by Manius Glabrio with the two famous Romans, Marcus Porcius Cato and Valerius Flaccus as tribunes. You have been caught with your pants by your ankles and several garrisons are lost, you have at your disposal only 10,000 infantry, 500 cavalry and 6 elephants.





    Sorry for my stickiness for facts (minors??) , and for my English , but Cato and Flaccus could not have been tribunes , because the tribunes were forbidden from leaving Rome , so , I suppose you meant military tribunes , in that case it is a mistake because the two were legates

    Btw - very good idea !!!!!
    "The essence of philosophy is to ask the eternal question that has no answer" (Aristotel) . "Yes !!!" (me) .

    "Its time we stop worrying, and get angry you know? But not angry and pick up a gun, but angry and open our minds." (Tupac Amaru Shakur)

  17. #17
    Humanist Senior Member Franconicus's Avatar
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    Default Re: Interactive History III: 'Antiochus' Dilemma'

    Excellent story.

    I chose 1. He is the commander and is responsible. If you really believe that the officer is right, fire the admiral.

    By the way, I'd rather have another choice. After the failure in the last battle and the retreat from Greece I would pretend that I am running away and then try to make another surprise attack

  18. #18
    Evil Sadist Member discovery1's Avatar
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    Default Re: Interactive History III: 'Antiochus' Dilemma'

    I think # 2 is best. While it is new, it also plays up our strengths as much as possible. #1 gives to much to the Rhodians, and #3 may result in the first line being overcome before the 2nd can arrived.

    Edit: This thread is addicting.
    Last edited by discovery1; 07-13-2005 at 16:03.


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  19. #19
    Shadow Senior Member Kagemusha's Avatar
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    Default Re: Interactive History III: 'Antiochus' Dilemma'

    I would choose the 2 because if you have inferior sailors,your only chance is to use your numbers.I think the 1 would be disaster because if i would be the Roman Admiral i would deploy my rhodesians against those phoenician ships.I think key to win this sea battle is to avoid the rhodesians and route the others.
    Ja Mata Tosainu Sama.

  20. #20
    Magister Vitae Senior Member Kraxis's Avatar
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    Default Re: Interactive History III: 'Antiochus' Dilemma'

    Quote Originally Posted by caesar44
    Sorry for my stickiness for facts (minors??) , and for my English , but Cato and Flaccus could not have been tribunes , because the tribunes were forbidden from leaving Rome , so , I suppose you meant military tribunes , in that case it is a mistake because the two were legates

    Btw - very good idea !!!!!
    In these matter there is hardly room for the plebeian tribunes.
    I must admit that I was uncertain as to their true role (I studied the matter od Cato in Spain in late spring but quickly skimmed over his assignment in the east, so my memory failed me a bit here), but since the true battle at Thermopylae had a rather small force under Cato (and Flaccus if I'm not mistaken) become detached, I didn't think a legate would be assigned such a minor force. Though a tribune was certainly a good candidate.

    Btw, Franconius it is impossible to run. The winds are low and the crews are tired, in fact the fleet was indeed running but was caught. Further, in general back then generals and other leaders would abandon an idea if it proved to be a failure.
    Last edited by Kraxis; 07-13-2005 at 17:25.
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  21. #21
    dictator by the people Member caesar44's Avatar
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    Smile Re: Interactive History III: 'Antiochus' Dilemma'

    Quote Originally Posted by Kraxis
    In these matter there is hardly room for the plebeian tribunes.
    I must admit that I was uncertain as to their true role (I studied the matter od Cato in Spain in late spring but quickly skimmed over his assignment in the east, so my memory failed me a bit here), but since the true battle at Thermopylae had a rather small force under Cato (and Flaccus if I'm not mistaken) become detached, I didn't think a legate would be assigned such a minor force. Though a tribune was certainly a good candidate.

    Btw, Franconius it is impossible to run. The winds are low and the crews are tired, in fact the fleet was indeed running but was caught. Further, in general back then generals and other leaders would abandon an idea if it proved to be a failure.


    Well , as you know , military tribunes were young aristocrats , actually , it was their first command , and Cato ? he was already a Consul in 195 , but never mind....
    "The essence of philosophy is to ask the eternal question that has no answer" (Aristotel) . "Yes !!!" (me) .

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  22. #22
    Magister Vitae Senior Member Kraxis's Avatar
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    Default The Battle of Imbros

    The Battle of Imbros

    With the Roman fleet nearing with rather high speed you agree that Polyxenidas should deploy both fast and sure. There is hardly time for new innovations at seatactics. And while you would still love to have reserves for the battle you are persuaded to let Polyxenidas deploy in a full line to get the most of your superior numbers.
    With the warmeeting over, you hurry back to your royal galley to watch the battle from there, with anxious impatience.

    Polyxenides quickly deploys his fleet with a proffesionalism that is worth his position. On his right he positions the best part of the fleet, the Phoenecian squadrons, among them the Sidonian triremes, the best of your fleet. Regillus, opposing you, quickly follows suit. So quick that it has to have been a predetermined formation. On his left he positioned the entire Rhodian squadron while his own Roman ships held the rest.
    As the Roman fleet arrayed itself, Polyxenides pressed his own fleet further to the right to get a better advantage in length. Seeing this the Rhodian ships launched their attack before the signal was given.
    Despite being surprised Polyxenidas managed to turn his ships and face the attack, and as if a great gateway had been opened the entire Seleucid fleet attacked. This was not to Regillus' advantage as his own ships were not fully in position yet and several were still behind the main line.

    Despite being outnumbered and outsized the Rhodians attacked with great fury, using their stopping attack on front (so that their ram penetrated below the waterline while their enemy's penetrated above it) and the glancing attacks to deprive their enemies of their oars.
    On both flanks the Seleucid ships swung in, but on the left they were caught by the undeployed Roman ships as they hurried to their positions and a regular melee erupted onboard the entangled ships. Rhodian slingers swept the decks with their deadly bullets by were in kind pelted with javelins to which they had no shield to protect them from, unlike their opponents. In the center there was a standoff as neither side could get a proper position to ram the enemy and their marines now traded missiles with little effect. But the bigger Seleucid ships carried ballistas and other boltthrowers which turned out to be of great effect against the Roman infantry packing the decks.
    On the Seleucid right things were not going well. Three ships had already been sunk, and another four had been crippled from ramming or oarsnapping, this for the cost of two Rhodian ships, one of which had been basically run over by the Octares and another captured by boarding from the same ship and a Sidonian trireme. The advantage in numbers was dwindling fast. Meanwhile on the left the outflanking ships were struggling for survival. One of the four ships was boarded by two Roman ships while a quinqereme managed to keep potential boarders away with her ballistas, but she was caught with her ram in another ship, immobile. The last two were also fending off various attempts at boarding. In this fight the Aetolians proved to be the saviors of the ships, repeatedly throwing back attacks with javelins and even killing boarders with their swords. But their numbers were weakened by the nightly attack.
    In the center the Seleucid line accidentally opened up slightly, this was jumped at by Regillus and his ships surged at the gap, this in turn gave several ships changes of ramming their flanks and so the center devolved into a bloody melee.
    Finally the Rhodians gained the upper hand by driving off the heavier Phoenecian ships and nearly surrounding the Octares. The Sidonian ships fought back, but they were now outnumbered and driven back from the flagship.
    In the center several ships began to turn at the sight of the fleeing Phoencian ships. A general rout was threatening, but at that moment a number of sails were visible from behind the rocks on the island of Imbros, these lowered, obviously wanting to get into the battle.
    The Roman fleet, busy chasing the Seleucid ships stopped and began to retreat in face of what they thought was another fleet of enemy ships. The tables were turned and the remaining Seleucid ships raced after them, to get away the Roman fleet scuttled their prices. A few were caught and captured, including the Roman flagship, a quinqereme, though without it's commander.
    The Roman fleet then noticed that the new enemy fleet contained but ten ships, barely of trireme size, more likely 2½ bankers called triemiolas. Pirate ships, in fact piratehunter ships, but this time in the employ of a pirate leader.

    Unformed as they were, and severely depleted from battle and pursuit the Romans withdrew, letting the Seleucid fleet grasp the tactical victory.

    In the end it was more like a draw. Of the 89 ships deployed from the Seleucid fleet a grand total of 58 were lost, 23 sunk outright, 32 scuttled by the fleeing Romans, or later sunk from battledamage or scuttled by their own crews, because of their lack of mobility, among these the mighty Octares, and finally 3 captured. Only the arrival of the pirates had saved the Seleucid fleet from outright annihilation. The Roman fleet suffered a total of 40 losses, 26 sunk and 14 captured, the Rhodian losses of these were a mere 4.
    While it was tactically a draw/win for the Seleucids it was a strategic victory for the Romans. They had now achieved what they set out to do, to protect the army from a new landing in the rear while it cleaned up among the garrisons. The Seleucid fleet, on the other hand, had needed a victory to secure the sea for another landing, but at least it was now safe from a Roman landing.

    The political scene has a few changes, Phillip V have now entered an alliance with the Romans and the Ptolomies have sent their positive favour to Rome. Pontus has likewise sent feelers to Rome in the hope that they might gobble up provinces in case of a Roman invasion of Asia Minor. But your positive action, or so it was believed as per the Roman interpretation, in the Aegean have made the Greeks more positive towards you. Also the Galatians and Arabs are more likely to join your army again, but not in the numbers as before your Greek adventure.

    So now you are in a problematic position. The draw/victory didn't produce anything at all, but bad news from the political arena. It is time to show them who is boss once more.
    Hannibal, uncharacteristically, urges you to attack into Thrace and Macedonia. "Trace is weak and will fall at the sight of your current army, some 30,000 strong, especially if you grant them positive terms. Macedonia is weakened since the battle of Cynoscephalae and shouldn't be able to withstand you, and the citizens are likely to support you against Rome. They have a score to settle with them."
    Kassandros, the political animal he is, does not want to create more problems before old ones are settled and he advises a show of force against Pontus. "Pontus is rather strong, we can't afford to have her enemy when we are engaged in Greece or Macedonia. She needs to be brought back in line and our ally."
    You turn towards Lysias, expecting him to speak up. For a few seconds nothing happens, then he finally understand what you are getting at. "Uhm, sorry... Sire, both of Hannibal's and Kassandros' advises are good. But they are limited of scope and even dangerous. In Macedonia we can get bogged down easily in the range of passes and narrow valleys, and by attacking Pontus we lose valuable time in doing something that can be gained by other avenues. I simply think that we should teach the despicable Ptolomies a lesson. They are weakened from rebellions among the natives, and we are massing troops in Antioch anyway. A quick march into Egyp should be enough to force them to break off contact with Rome, and at the same time Pontus should be cowed into submission from such a display of power."

    What do you do?

    1) Take the army of 25,000 infantry, 5,000 cavalry, 22 elephants and 120 chariots into Thrace and Macedonia to force the Romans north and gain allies. This is a sure way to get the Romans fighting fast, and a good way to grant the garrisons, of about 6,000 quality troops, some more time, as the Romans can't afford the loss of Macedonia as their allies. The risk is stated by Lysias, you can get bogged down easily if Macedonia is more hostile than Hannibal appreciates. Also Pontus might take advantage of that and attack you in Asia Minor.

    2) Attack Pontus with the same army. She is not likely to withstand it, but she is stronger than Thrace. A nice and powerful ally she would make once more. The risk isn't so much a risk as a waste of time, for this will take a good while. In the meantime the Romans would likely strengthen their position in Greece, reducing your garrisons and the sudden surge in your popularity.

    3) An attack on Egypt with local garrisons, Cilicians, Arabs, Medes and other eastern cavalry would likely amount to 20,000 infantry and 6,000 cavalry. Of this you would have only 8,000 phalangites, but speed would be the most important matter here. Unfortunately you would need to be present to give the more unregular troops confidence. The risk is that you would have to be far away from the main war, and that Egypt might in fact put up a tough fight when faced with an outside invader once again. You would also lose the garrisons in Greece. On the positive side it would grant you a lot of popularity in Greece, not politically perhaps, but among the common man who would see you as a good commander to lead them to victory.
    You may not care about war, but war cares about you!


  23. #23
    Magister Vitae Senior Member Kraxis's Avatar
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    Default Re: Interactive History III: 'Antiochus' Dilemma'

    Quote Originally Posted by caesar44
    Well , as you know , military tribunes were young aristocrats , actually , it was their first command , and Cato ? he was already a Consul in 195 , but never mind....
    Yes, but that didn't mean they could be reappointed. Especially when a war with a strong enemy loomed. I can't look it up so it is really a moot point on my part.
    You may not care about war, but war cares about you!


  24. #24
    Kanto Kanrei Member Marshal Murat's Avatar
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    Default Re: Interactive History III: 'Antiochus' Dilemma'

    2)Attack Pontus, and give them the good "Alexander Reborn" speech, and get some allies among the Pontus. If the Romans attack, they can only strike across the Hellespont, and there you can be strong against their onslaught with you and your allies fighting.
    "Nietzsche is dead" - God

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    Re: Pursuit of happiness
    Have you just been dumped?

    I ask because it's usually something like that which causes outbursts like this, needless to say I dissagree completely.

  25. #25
    Evil Sadist Member discovery1's Avatar
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    Default Re: Interactive History III: 'Antiochus' Dilemma'

    Yes, attack Pontus. The Egyptians are to far from the main theater. Thrace, uh, I don't know. For some reason I think a low leve resistance will develope that will sap your strength. And maybe the Romans could seize the straits with their fleet cutting you off.


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  26. #26
    dictator by the people Member caesar44's Avatar
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    Default Re: Interactive History III: 'Antiochus' Dilemma'

    Quote Originally Posted by Kraxis
    Yes, but that didn't mean they could be reappointed. Especially when a war with a strong enemy loomed. I can't look it up so it is really a moot point on my part.
    Kraxis ,
    I agree , there is a moot
    Just for example - http://www.barca.fsnet.co.uk/cato.htm in cotrass with - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cato_the_Elder
    "The essence of philosophy is to ask the eternal question that has no answer" (Aristotel) . "Yes !!!" (me) .

    "Its time we stop worrying, and get angry you know? But not angry and pick up a gun, but angry and open our minds." (Tupac Amaru Shakur)

  27. #27
    Shadow Senior Member Kagemusha's Avatar
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    Default Re: Interactive History III: 'Antiochus' Dilemma'

    I Would go with number 3.Leave your current army to secure Hellespontos that would also guarantee that Pontus will stay peacefull and your Navy to haras Romans.Rush to home and Strike Egypt.After that you can come back with lot stronger Army,because you dont have to worry about the Egyptians anymore.
    Ja Mata Tosainu Sama.

  28. #28
    Kanto Kanrei Member Marshal Murat's Avatar
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    Default Re: Interactive History III: 'Antiochus' Dilemma'

    But in doing so, the Pontus might move into my rear, and the Romans would have already marched across the Hellespont. Egypt is a threat, but as said, you have any army in Antioch.
    If you succeed in Pontus, or are attacked midway, give Hannibal command in Antioch.
    I just wonder, wouldn't Hannibal be a good general in the Middle East.
    He has elephant experiance, phalanx experiance, and could probably hold his own against the Ptolmeys. Although in Italy he met incompetence amongst the Romans, he did win some stunning victories. Carthage was unable to support his war effort, and thus it failed.
    "Nietzsche is dead" - God

    "I agree, although I support China I support anyone discovering things for Science and humanity." - lenin96

    Re: Pursuit of happiness
    Have you just been dumped?

    I ask because it's usually something like that which causes outbursts like this, needless to say I dissagree completely.

  29. #29
    Scruffy Looking Nerf Herder Member Steppe Merc's Avatar
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    Default Re: Interactive History III: 'Antiochus' Dilemma'

    I probably would have attacked the Ptolemies, on the condition that I'd be able to bring the Eastern cavalry with me into Macedon. That would be unlikely, and if I couldn't do that, then I'd attack Macedon and Thrace.

    "But if you should fall you fall alone,
    If you should stand then who's to guide you?
    If I knew the way I would take you home."
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  30. #30
    Shadow Senior Member Kagemusha's Avatar
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    Default Re: Interactive History III: 'Antiochus' Dilemma'

    Its just my gutfeeling.But i would be scared to leave my army with Hannibal on command.Surely he is best commander available,but i think he wouldnt stay at Hellespontos.I believe he would either move against Romans or Pontus.My strategy would be gamble i admit.
    Ja Mata Tosainu Sama.

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