006 Dara (530 AD)
When negotiation for peace between Justinian and Kavadh failed in 529 AD, the Sassanid king sent an army towards Dara, while Justinian ordered Belisarius back to the region. Despite being outnumbered 2 to 1, Belisarius deployed outside the city walls and prepared the ground for battle by digging ditches (represented by broken ground in the scenario) to hinder the Sassanid cavalry. On the first day of battle a small Sassanid cavalry force failed to turn the Byzantine right flank.
The second day opened with an exchange of arrow volleys, but after the Sassanid arrow supply was quickly depleted, their dense infantry formation closed with the defending Byzantine infantry. The trench broke the Sassanid forward momentum and neutralized their far greater numbers. Next came a massive Sassanid cavalry attack against the Byzantine left flank. The Byzantines were being pushed back until the Sassanids were successfully counterattacked by Pharas’ cavalry which had been hidden behind the hills. The battle then turned to the Byzantine right. Spearheaded by the elite Sassanid ‘Immortals,’ thousands of mounted Sassanids pushed back the Byzantine right flank. Their advance separated them from the Sassanid infantry in the center. Belisarius was quick to throw much of his reserve cavalry into the gap to attack the exposed Sassanid flank. When the Sassanid cavalry turned to fight their attackers, they were swiftly attacked in flank by Belisarius’s personal cavalry and in the rear by the reformed infantry.
The tightly packed Sassanid cavalry could not maneuver or fight effectively and were slaughtered by the Byzantine counterattack. Over 5,000 perished and the survivors retreated in great disorder. With the Sassanid left flank destroyed, the Byzantine horsemen wasted no time in taking the Sassanid massed infantry in flank. The Sassanid infantry formation dissolved into thousands of panicked individuals running for their lives. The pursuit was short. Belisarius had won a signal victory and did not want to risk having his pursuing troops take losses from a Sassanid counterattack.
The stage is set. The battle lines are drawn and you are in command. Can you change history?
Sassanid Army (Use Tan blocks)
• Leader: King Kavadh
• 5 Command Cards
• 3 Inspired Action tokens
• Move First
Byzantine Army (Use Purple blocks)
• Leader: Belisarius
• 6 Command Cards
• 4 Inspired Action tokens
- The Sassanid player gains 1 Victory Banner for each gate that is stormed and opened.
- The Byzantine player may enter Pharas and his Cavalry units by the play of a Command card in the left section. Pharas and/or a unit, when ordered to enter, is placed on a hill hex or on an adjacent hex. The unit may not move but may battle.
- The Sassanid Medium, Heavy and Super Heavy Cavalry units are armed with bows.
- The Byzantine Medium, Heavy and Super Heavy Cavalry units are armed with bows.