280 B.C. Summer
Kleomenes of Sparta
Demosthenes of Athenai
Sparta, Athens, Rhodes, Pergamum
Regions gained last year:
Regions lost last year:
Our allies, due to the Athenian’s peacetalks, are the Macedonians and the Seleucids. Our enemies: several independent Hellenic city states, a force of independent Gauls, and bands of rebels which have managed to overthrow several city governments. After acts of aggression and several raids into isolated settlements, the council has decided to treat these people with steel and might until they surrender.
The coalition sparks into a speedy and immensely active force, whereas before they were merely regulating trade and training city garrisons.
Pirates had been brought to attention to the Athenian council. The island of Crete, which was once a friendly trading partner with the city states had now gone silent for quite some time and it has been rumored a force of pirates to be the culprit. Due to many fishermen’s account of broken merchant ships washing aboard the coasts of southern Greece, Kleomenes has organized an investigation force that would soon set foot on Cretan land to bring a swift resolution to this manner. Admiral Polydoros loads up a small force of slingers from Rhodes and arrives at the Athenian docks, meanwhile forces from Sparta, including a third of the Royal Guard, make their way to Athens. No support would be sent from Pergamum.
Builders start construction on several shrines throughout the city states, an idea suggested by Demosthenes. These shrines will please the populace and bring a breeze of calm, which would be crucial since the council knew change was looming over the Greek horizon. Diplomats are sent to Thrace and Pontus to negotiate treaties and trade rights.
280 B.C Winter
Before the first eastern breeze of cold could be felt, Kleomenes, along with Demosthenes and several other city state kings and generals were onboard a fleet of biremes under the command of Admiral Polydoros. Morale was low, all the troops except the Spartans were neither joyous nor eager to fight outside of their own lands. Kleomenes expected no less, for he had brought a garrison to fight, not an army. The phalangites were poorly armored, and the doryphoroi with their cheap shields and minimal training were expected to do no more than stop a street fight.
The trip was short and smooth; land was sighted early on in the morning and the troops started to unload on a fairly empty beach. The star of Crete, Cydonia was east, and so the soldiers marched towards the rising sun. After a couple of hours, a force was spotted a mile from the city walls. To Kleomene’s surprise, their standards flew high and proud; … these were no pirates.
Cretans! But these were not the same which Kleomenes had established a friendly relation with. These were not their trading brothers, their instructors in archery…
Kleomenes gave the order, and one of the generals sounded the horn once to alert the force of their presence. Kleomenes and Demosthenes rode forward on their white stallions, the formation behind their backs idle and at attention.
Once they were a formidable distance away from their formation, they expected for the Cretan officer to come about and discuss the situation. Yet nothing was sent forward, although they heard some shouts from the Cretan formation. It was then when they caught sight of what seemed to be dozens of birds lifting from the ground, as if surprised by something. As the black hail approached in closer, Kleomenes lifted his eyebrows, grabbed Demosthene’s reigns and immediately pulled back to their formation, arrows piercing the Cretan land all around them.
A furious Kleomenes gave the order to advance, and so the formation marched towards the rocky formation that now gave shelter to the Cretan force.
As Kleomene’s troops marched forward, a scout caught sight of a general on horseback riding towards the Cretan force, from the direction of the city. The Spartans started joking their general had overslept. This eased the militia phalangites and the flimsy doryphoroi.
As they approached arrow range, and this was an extended range, for they knew they were dealing with Cretans, Kleomenes pointed his sword forward and the cavalry began a sprint towards the Cretan’s right flank for there was many unprotected archers, probably the same ones who opened fire at the lone generals. The vibrating earth, the sounds of horns, and the ever increasing thundering sounds of cavalry must have unnerved the archers, for their arrows were far from being truthful to their targets. As they shortened the length separating their horses from the vulnerable archers, Kleomenes divided the cavalry force into two, with Demosthenes leading the second one. Demosthenes then started aiming for the second formation of archers on their left flank.
The archers started panicking, some fled from the formation. It was too late, Kleomene’s cavalry came down upon them tenfold the power of their previous volleys.
With same results, Demosthenes crashed into the other formation of archers, trotting them down mercilessly.
After sending two formations of their archers running, there stood a solid wall of Cretan hoplites which, although looking menacing, made the mistake of giving their archers no protection whatsoever. Both cavalry divisions avoided them, circling around them and aiming for yet another third formation of archers which had been causing casualties on Kleomene’s militia.
The two cavalry forces became one again, as they tore through the panicking archers. One of the horsemen caught sight of a standard rising above yonder, and it was no more than a few seconds when the enemy general joined the fray, clumsily charging into the backs of their own archers while trying to get at the Greeks.
Both general and any surviving archers were promptly surrounded and destroyed. The Cretan general, surrounded by spears, finally fell much to the dismay of his Cretan troops.
Away from the chaos on the hill, a scout on the echelon of the Greek formation caught sight of a band of Cretan hoplites attempting to flank the phalangites. Demosthenes looked down and briefly gave the order to the southernmost phalangite to meet them.
And so they did.
It was a battle of overhand versus underhand, and although the hoplites suffered greatly in the initial clash, they were able to cut through the spears and penetrate the formation, for the phalangite were only militia and as mentioned before, poorly trained.
The Spartans, angry at the fact they were being used as reserves, circled around the phalangite and slammed into the hoplites’ backs without any order given. This, added to the disheartening death of their general, incited a mass rout in the Cretan army, and the battle was won.
What was left of the garrison in Cydonia laid down their arms and was spared. To the surprise of Kleomenes, the Cretan people welcomed them, claiming the general they had killed known as Iolkios had overthrown the wise but weak government, angry at the alliance between the city states and the Seleucids. Cydonia was occupied peacefully, and now Cretan archery instruction could begin, in addition to valuable naval trade.
Note from the author: this AAR is discontinued