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the end of the samian war campaign

Last week we played the third and last encounter of the Samian war mini-campaign. In the first battle, which you find here also with the overall historical background, the Athenians routed the Samian war fleet, but most of the Samian freighters carrying the army managed to escape. The second battle saw Pericles leading the fleet east, away from Phytagoras, the small village close to Samos were the Athenians camped to sustain the siege. Pericles sailed to intercept a Persian fleet sent by the Great King to support the Samians, which he totally destroyed. The Athenian general did not expect that, while he was away, the remaining Samian fleet executed a surprise sortie against the unsuspecting Athenian naval force still holding the siege! And that's what we played with our modded, V cent. version of He Hemetera Talassa, as usual.

Here's the town of Phytagoras. You see, they also got their little temple on the hill! All these buildings are 3d print from STL files you can download here.

The day for the Athenians began nicely enough, with the ships placidly beached in front of the town while the crews were scattered around in houses and taverns, drinking retsina.

Then the alarms went off wildly. The Samians showed up, in four columns, just in front of the beach!

The Athenians reacted slowly. It took them a long time to launch their squadrons and, when they did launch, they were in such confusion that all squadrons were out of formation.

And when they were finally at sea, and the Samians started deploying their squadron for battle, almost half of the Athenian fleet – two squadrons out of five! – suddenly panicked and run away!

The routed squadrons beached their ships and ran to the safety of the hills beyond town. We concluded that they must have been very drunk.

The squadrons that did not flee, moreover, were still so buzzed that could not even form line. However, the sight of the approaching enemy quickly sobered them up, or maybe they built up some pretty strong alcohol-fuelled battle fury!

On the Athenian right side, Lisander’s squadron faced two Samians, Antiocos and Mindaro. In the center the Athenian Diomedonte had to deal with Dexippo, while on the right the Samian Timoteo faced Aristocrate.

Lisander was out of formation right until melee, but at the very last moment Antioco’s squadron fell in disorder as well (scared of the rabid looking Athenians?) and did not close to melee. That left only Mindaro to fight Lisander.

The now ferocious Athenians managed to really mistreat the unexpecting Samians who, seeing the fleeing enemy squadrons, probably felt they had already won. When Antioco finally joined the melee, it was too late: Mindaro had been killed, his squadron mauled, and numbers were by now equalized.

Note below also my new "wavering morale" marker, using one of the floating hulls (they are ALKEDO 10 at Irregular miniatures) painted yellow. The "crumbling morale" is the same piece but painted red. No more forgetting about morale!!

On the other side of the beach, the numbers were equal from the beginning. Here, the Athenians drunken fury simply overcame the more organized but more sober Samians. You can see below Timoteo's squadron being demolished by Aristocrates'...

After two hours of bloody struggle the Samian admiral, having lost half of its fleet and having seen most of the enemy find a safe haven at land, decided to call it a day. It has been a tough, grinding clash, fought in the old style more similar to a land battle than with sophisticated manoeuvres: ram, board and kill them all!


Campaign-wise, my assessment was that the Samians were not successful in causing enough damage to the Athenian invaders to force them to break the siege. The first battle could be considered a Samian victory: however, the Athenian fleet received only minor damage. In the second battle the Athenians’ main fleet soundly beat the Persians, no question there. In this last clash, the Athenian reserve squadrons were not annihilated: the routed crews safely escaped by land, and their ships were not reached by the Samians. Therefore, as Thucydides wrote, the Athenian siege of Samos continued until the city was forced to surrender.

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