In an early post, I dabbled briefly in the background of my semi-historical Mede army. On the surface it may seem like a bit of a useless exercise but if I progress beyond stray scenarios the information may come in useful and in any event since I don't want to bother with points, it gives me a rationale for what units to deploy and how they should be organized.
One of the sticking points is that one of the few bits of information that comes easily to hand and to mind is the organization of Persian (and presumably earlier Mede) armies into 10's, 100's and 1,000's, (not to mention 10,000's). As mentioned in earlier posts, this caused me some grief as it does not match convenient 25mm wargame unit sizes. It also does not explain how smaller forces would be selected (for example where one finds say 300 cavalry being deployed). An advantage of semi-historical gaming, especially in a poorly documented era, is that I can use my discretion and imagination to provide solutions with a clear conscience. After a mad minute where I contemplated fielding 50 man wargame units each with 10 x 5 man subunits, I settled on the following theoretical and practical organizations.
The smallest unit, the 10 man file is too small for me to work with on table, so I will begin with the 100 man sub-unit as the basis of my organization. Without worrying about niceties of ground scale, I flatly declare that 3 wargame figures or 1 chariot or elephant and crew constitute a COMPANY of 100 men. Ten such companies constitute a REGIMENT. A full strength regiment is thus 30 figures. Three men don't look like much on the table (and aren't a legal unit under WHAB) so companies will not normally be fielded on their own, instead the regiment is divided into 5 SQUADRONS each of 2 companies or 6 men. This will be the minimum size of wargame unit. On occasion, a unit of more than squadron size but smaller than regiment size is needed. In these cases, 2 squadrons are formed into an adhoc unit called a WING.
Now, armies are rarely at full paper strength and there are two main ways to deal with this. The most common method is to maintain the number of sub-units but allow their strength to drop. This results in uneven sized subunits and so in some armies the administrative unit was not used as a tactical unit. For example, a battalion of 10 administrative companies might be fallen in and numbered off into 8 equal tactical platoons each morning, resulting in each being composed of men from several different companies.
Another, less common method, was to maintain the subdivisions as close as possible to full strength and reduce the number of sub-divisions when numbers failed. In particular, some later regiments maintained field and depot battalions or squadrons with the field ones being sent to war at, as near as possible, full strength. This is the system my Medes will adopt. Indeed, it now appears that the common practice in my army is to send 4 squadrons into the field and hold 1 squadron back as a depot.(conveniently giving me my basic 24 man units with a rationale for smaller units). The depot squadron is responsible for recruitment and training, looking after convalescent men, sending drafts to the front when needed and for rear area security.
District regiments are normally recruited in one area and armed alike. Auxiliary regiments may be composed of various contingents of mercenaries or tribal levies from the fringes of the empire. One common practice is to brigade 2 squadrons of skirmishers with a wing of light infantry equipped to either skirmish or fight hand to hand.
Skirmishers and cavalry are usually deployed by squadron, but heavier shock cavalry usually deploy in at least wing strength and occasionally as full regiments. Light infantry operating in support of the skirmishers and cavalry normally deploy by wing while massed infantry normally deploys by regiment.
For the upcoming Lydian campaign, the following troops have been earmarked and are now completing their mobilization: 1 District cavalry regiment, 1 Auxiliary light cavalry regiment, 1 chariot wing, 6 District infantry regiments, 2 Auxilliary light infantry regiments, 1 Sapper squadron. All of these will be under the command of Rosius, Satrap of West Hantsia. Pictures and details will hopefully be available for posting by next week.
Whether the Lydians conveniently adopt a similar system, as far as possible given their haphazard empire and reliance on seasonal mercenaries, or go a different route, remains to be seen.