608 Tanagra (457 BC)
The First Peloponnesian War (460-445 BC) broke out due to Megara’s defection from the Spartan alliance, and Spartan envy and fear over the growth of the Athenian Empire. Nicomedes marched an army into Boeotia in 457 BC to intervene in a dispute between the Dorians and Phocians. He forced the Phocians to accept terms, but while he was in Doris an Athenian Fleet moved into position to block his return across the Corinthian Gulf. Athens, then sent out an army to meet the Spartans, and the two forces meet outside Tanagra. The Athenians brought a large contingent of Hoplites supplemented by a number of allies. The total number given by Thucydides is 14,000 plus a small contingent of Thessalian cavalry. The allied Spartan army consisted of 1,500 Spartans and 10,000 allied soldiers. According to Thucydides, the Thessalian cavalry joined the Spartan side during the battle, and the Spartans and their allies wore down and broke the Athenians. Both armies suffered heavy losses, but the Spartans won the battle and opened the way back home. This was the first major land battle of the war and began a pattern of Spartan dominance on land.
The stage is set. The battle lines are drawn and you are in command. Can you change history?
Athenian Army (Use Greek light blue blocks)
• Leader: Myronides
• 5 Command Cards
• Move First
Spartan Army (Use Spartan orange and bronze Hoplite blocks)
• Leader: Nicodemes
• 6 Command Cards
• The Spartan player, when playing a Mounted Charge Command card, will replace each of the Thessalian Medium Cavalry unit blocks with Spartan Medium Cavalry blocks. The unit is ordered by the Mounted Charge Command card and this unit may move and battle for the Spartan player during this turn and for the rest of the battle.
• The Hoplite Infantry rule is in effect.
• Three Spartan units are special five bronze block MH units.
Next I looked at the GMT GBoH Hoplite module scenario. Wall to wall MI hoplites whereas in GMT's Ancients version there are more light troops in both armies than hoplites. Weird?
The Historical discussion states that the Spartans won a victory that established their dominance on land for years to come, but it was hardly a victory at all. All they won was the right to bugger off home. The Athenians suffered no loss other than some face, and it could be argued that not getting stuffed by the Spartans was a moral victory. In fact after the Spartans had gone, and 62 days after the battle, Athens sent another army north and won a crushing victory against the Boeotians at Oenophyta not far from Tanagra, and this victory did establish Athenian dominance over Boeotia (Athenian land Empire) for the next 10 years.