Assyrian Empire and Sargonid

Historical Overview Section

Before the military reforms of the former general / kingship-siezer Tiglath-Pileser III, the Middle or Neo-Assyrian? army was very similar to the other Mesopotamian armies of the time. Soldiers were mostly raised farmers, who had to return to their fields to collect the harvest. Professional soldiers were limited to a few bodyguards that protected the King and or other nobles and officials. However this wasn't entirely successful as once the empire attempted to expand militarily, battle after battle killed off important soldiers, whilst the change of the seasons saw soldiers returning after a short time to their fields without achieving any really decisive conquests. But the upside was that the flowerbeds at the barracks were simply superb.

By the mid-eighth century B.C., the Assyrian levy-army could not cope with the demands of an empire that often stretched from the Mediterranean Sea to the Persian Gulf, and so when Tiglath Pileser III came to the throne in 745 B.C he changed the Assyrian army by the introduction of a standing army. This included a larger number of foreign soldiers supplied by vassal states as tribute or when demanded by the Assyrian King. They were given Assyrian equipment and uniform which made them indistinguishable from one another, possibly to increase their integration. Whilst the infantry in the standing army contained a large number of foreigners (including Aramaeans and even Greeks), the Assyrian Cavalry and Charioteers continued to be dominated by Assyrians. There were exceptions however, and as casualties mounted additional troops would not be unwelcome; Sargon II reports that he managed to incorporate 60 Israelite Chariot teams into his army.

The core of the Assyrian army lay in its chariots, originally used as two-horse vehicles. However, the rise of Cavalry in the 1st Millennia B.C. meant that by the 7th Century B.C. the Chariot was upgraded under the reign of Ashurnasirpal II to heavy four horse chariots which could contain more men and went off smashing into enemy formations and dispersing enemy infantry in the process. The Assyrian Cavalry and Infantry would then be able to exploit the gap and rout the enemy thereby taking the field!

The Assyrians were amongst the first to deploy charging cavalry under Tiglath Pileser III, and by the 7th century B.C., mounted Assyrian warriors were well armed with a bow and a lance, armored with lamellar armor and their mounts equipped with fabric armor, providing limited yet useful protection in close combat and against missiles. Cavalry would form the core of the later Assyrian armies. As the Empire suffered horrendous casualties under Ashurbanipal's campaigns of conquest, the rebellions following his death may have contributed significantly to the downfall of the Empire as fewer vassals were available to pay tribute horses and other war material needed.

Assyrian Infantry were cheaper and more numerous than the cavalry. Assyrian Infantry were composed of both native Assyrians and foreigners employed as auxiliaries, spearmen, slingers, shield bearers or archers. The latter type was the most dominant in Assyrian armies and from the time of Ashurnasirpal, archers would be accompanied by a shield bearer. Many different types of bows are recorded by the Assyrians, including Akkadian, Cimmerian and their own "Assyrian" type. Armour (lamellar) amongst the melee troops was limited to the best soldiers only, whilst the rest of the army made do with shields and helmets.

Using the army in ADLG

  • Heavy Chariots are almost as good as Knights
  • The chief asset of this army is its mobility - with Elite HC bw, and an almost-all MF infantry force everything can whizz about very quickly allowing you to wrong-foot more HI-centric opponents from deployment onwards
  • the speed also comes into play at the end-phase of a battle, where almost everything in this army can move rapidly to find enemy flanks and rack up the casulaties faster than a less nimble opponent
  • Split the Chariots into 2 commands and converge them on a central point or keep them separate to support your foot.
  • Great allies too - almost evrery one is viable in some way, with the Bedouin perhaps pick of the bunch
  • Take lots of mixed shooters to nibble away at the enemy hit points, probably MF as the HF are not that much better as they lack Spears to resist mounted
  • Rear support can usefully soak up some spare points
  • Use the command and control to the max. 2 brilliant and an Ordinary is probably the opimum, especially if you have Kampfgruppe mixed type commands which will often have 3 separate groups doing differenttasks simultaneously.
  • With speed and great 3C don't be afraid to split up your commands into 3 (or even more) sub-groups to achieve tactical flexibility and local advantages, or to optimise matchups against a less nimble enemy
  • Equally, don't be afraid to just turn around and walk away if thins look hairy. You have teh speed to do so, and the abiilty to come back later when the enemy is more scattered and easier to pick off

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Army Lists

Sample army lists for this army
Patras 2019
2 HCh
2 LF Bow
2 HC Elite Bw
Competent Unreliable
2 HC Bow
2 Scythians
2 HI Mixed Bow
2 HCh
1 Guard MF Elite Armour
1 Infantry MF Rear Support
1 Infantry Mixed
1 Javelinman
1 HC Bow Ordinary
1 LF Bow

List 2
2 Horse Elite Bw
2 Elite HI Armour
1 HI Mixed
1 LI Bow
1 Javelinman
1 LH Bow
2 Chariots (included ordinary)
2 LF Sling
2 Chariots
2 Line Infantry
1 Li Bow
1 Skythian LH
2 MF Mixed
1 MCv Bw Elite
1 LF Javelin

2018 Britcon list
9 Assyrians
Competent Included
3 HORSEMEN (INC GENERAL) Heavy cavalry bow Elite
1 SCYTHIANS Light cavalry bow ------
3 LI BOW Light infantry bow ------
3 CHARIOTS Heavy chariot impact Elite
4 LINE INFANTRY ½ Heavy swordsmen ½ Bowmen ------
1 LINE INFANTRY Medium swordsmen ------
1 GUARDSMEN Medium swordsmen Elite
1 LI SLING Light infantry sling ------
1 KUSHITES Bowmen ------
1 LI JAV Light infantry javelin ------
Ordinary Included Unreliable
1 HORSEMEN (INC GENERAL) Heavy cavalry bow Elite
2 BEDOUINS Light camelry bow Mediocre
1 LI JAV Light infantry javelin ----

Ian Mackay's podium-placing list from warfare 2016
1 Guardsmen Medium swordsmen Elite
4 Line Infantry ½ Medium swordsmen ½ Bowmen ------
1 Levy Levy ------
1 Light Infantry Light infantry javelin ------
4 Chariots Heavy chariot impact Elite
4 Light Infantry Light infantry bow ------
4 Horsemen Heavy cavalry bow Elite
2 Scythians Light cavalry bow ------

Harrison's 200AP podium-placed list from Warfare 2016
4 Chariots Heavy chariot impact Elite
2 Scythians Light cavalry bow ------
4 Horsemen Heavy cavalry bow Elite
2 Horsemen Medium cavalry bow ------
1 Guardsmen Heavy swordsmen Elite
4 Line Infantry ½ Heavy swordsmen ½ Bowmen ------
2 Levy Levy ----
1 Light infantry sling Light infantry sling ----

200 Points

  • LH, Bow
  • 4 HC, Bow (included General)


  • 4 HCh
  • 4 LI
  • 2 Bw/Sw MF
  • 1 Med Swordsman

Bedouin Ally

  • 4 Camels
  • 2 LCm

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