Tally Ho!

Friday 18 May 2018

Armati Pyrrhic Wars - Lilybaeum, 276 BC

A year on from the battle Eyrx Carthage is once again at war with the Greek cities of Sicily and their ally Pyrrhus. He was able to clear many of the Punic forces from the island before besieging their fortified port at Lilybaeum. In a bold move the Carthaginians chose to meet him in open battle in the hopes of lifting the siege.

Pyrrhus' army contained a hard core of Greek / Eporite pikemen, but on this occasion very few elephants, so they are not included in the lists. The Punic army was once again mercenary forces gathered from across the Mediterranean world.

Pyrrhus opted for a balanced deployment with one Calvary unit on each flank and skirmishers scattered across the front. The left flank was slightly stronger with the Peltasts supporting the cavalry. A slow and steady phalanx advanced looked the plan on this occasion.

Pyrrhic left - horse and peltasts

Heavy metal in the centre  

The pikes ready to rumble

The right flank guards - a Companion cavalry unit

The Punic army was larger but of lower quality. Its main advantage was the superior numbers of cavalry and some mobile Spanish LHI. They opted for a double envelopment with their mounted units supported by skirmishers.

Punic left - lots of horse

Punic right - more horse and the Spanish

Punic centre - Africans, Italians, Celts and more Spanish
Sticking with their plan the Punic army immediately advanced on the wings in the hopes of flanking the Greeks before they came to grips with the centre. In theory they had stronger forces on both wings but as we know wargames are not fought in theory!

Celtic and Punic horse attack

Punic right attacks too 

On the Punic right their horse and LHI clashed with their opposite numbers. Despite their superiority they quickly found themselves on the wrong end of events. Inspired by Pyrrhus himself leading the HC, they began to push back the Carthaginians.  

Messy action on the Punic right

On the left the Punic's tried the classic tactic of attacking in waves so that the second unit of HC would have impetus against the stationary enemy and sweep them away. Luck was with the Companions though as they held off against two units of Punic horse.

Companions holding the flank

As the centres came to blows things looked decidedly dodgy for the Carthaginians - their right had been largely destroyed leaving the Greek horse free and their left was stalled by the Companions. The superior Pyrrhic infantry charged their pikes and got stuck in.    

Bump and grind in the middle

The early action was fairly even - the Greeks caused more caused overall but the Celts proved effective and caused some carnage on the Punic left. Then came the decisive moment of the game - having finally overcoming the Companions a unit of Numidian light horse arrived in the back of the Greek army. It quickly gobbled-up a general and stated to chew through the unprotected rear of the Phalanx.

Gaps appearing in the line as the Celts punch through

Spanish held up by the Peltasts

Despite good progress against the Punic left, the casualties began to mount and eventually it was a win for Carthage by 1 kill at the last gasp.  

Celts beaten back temporarily

The cavalry arrives

A very close game and the Punic's were close to breaking themselves. Both sides made errors that meant their heavy cavalry end-up too far from the action to affect the outcome of the game. Perhaps the battle-loosing error though was allowing the Greek general to be captured for a soft kill.


  1. Getting your general caught?.......That really is giving it away, especially as, added to a unit with a rear pactor of 1 the general brings it up to 2 and tnus equal to the attacking light horse!!

  2. Suffice it to say Pyrrhus was not happy about it ;-)