Wednesday, May 23, 2018

Sassanian Bow infantry

    The bow was highly regarded and used by the Sassanian military. Both their Savaran
cavalry and much of their infantry were thus armed. My foot archers will be made up
with a combination of both A&A and Aventine miniatures and will probably number wise
be about equal to their spear armed compatriots. I have also decided to base most of
them in a close order formation intended to represent mass barrage fire that I feel the
Sassanians would of delivered. My understanding is they would of used their bow fire
at the beginning of a battle to help soften up the opposition before the Savaran would
initiate their charges. No doubt the flanks of these units would of been protected by
the cavalry while delivering their barrage and once their ammunition became expended or
if threatened by a concerted attack by the enemy they would retire behind the heavy battle infantry who were deployed to their rear.

Sassanian heavy battle Infantry

    The Sassanians made a concerted effort to utilize a heavier infantry component that
would round out their fighting force. We know that from the early days of the Sassanian Spah well armed armored infantry were in service, especially during the campaigns of Shapur I against Rome in the mid-third century. Many of these infantry would of worn
a T-shirt style mail garment extending to the hips along with a two-piece riveted ridge
helmet. Even more interesting some ancient contemporaries like Ammianus Marcellinus
noted that some of these infantry were well trained and highly disciplined. I mention this
because generally the impression of the Sassanian infantry is rather poor (and indeed
some of the contemporary accounts speak poorly of the infantry) so a contradiction
seems to occur. My own opinion is that the Sassanians did employ heavier infantry
that received a greater degree of training and seemed to be able to hold their own
in combat (obviously never the equal of their roman counterparts) for a while against
the roman heavy infantry. I suspect these infantry were recruited from the Medes
who had a history of infantry combat much like Carthage made use of the libyans
for their heavier infantry units. The Sassanians also recruited (or levied) peasant infantry probably intended for the more laborious tasks of siege works, baggage handling etc...
I'm also generally certain if needed these same levied forces could be thrown into battle
but being mostly peasants with little military training their performance would be
of little value also accounted for in the roman records. With all the above in mind I've
decided to build the Sassanian heavy infantry in two components. For their trained and
capable infantry I will go with Aventine sculpts which has them in mail and ridged helmets
and for the levied infantry I would use a combination of Gripping Beast and A&A sculpts.
The figures below are some of the Gripping Beast and A&A miniatures. Initially I was going
to with 2 blocks of 16 figures but now thinking one block of 40 might be better to portray
how levied forces would be deployed (high numbers too install courage and confidence).
Hopefully soon i will post additional pics along with pics of the Aventine miniatures.

Bulgar/Avar light cavalry unit 5

      This unit brings my Steppe light cavalry to 60 figures total and finally to a close.
One possibility I have flirted with is to paint another 60-80 figures that could be utilised
as a Hun army I'm just not how certain that would be something I would enjoy. To
recreate the battle of Chalons is certainly worth entertaining and to double the light
horse would not be too difficult to do as these figures paint up rather quickly in comparison
to their heavier counterparts (not to mention the many Sassanian Cav I have painted)
so better to state finished for now but not truly closed. All these figures are a mix of
Foundry, Gripping Beast, and Aventine.