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745-609BC 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.
Tiglath-Pileser III attacked the army-list-less Babylonian Empire. After subjecting Babylon to tribute, severely punishing the Urartians, and defeating the Median and Neo-Hittite and Aramean? polities, Tiglath-Pileser III directed his armies into Syro-Canaanite? Syria and their Mediterranean Phoenician Allies?. His successors took on the Philistines?. The foremost successor, Sargon II waged war against the Neo-Elamites?s, the Urartians and Syro-Canaanite?s and the the Median Empire. In 705 BC, Sargon was slain while fighting the Cimmerian or Early Skythian tribes, and was succeeded by his son Sennacherib who moved the capital to Nineveh. In 701 BC, Hezekiah of Judah formed an alliance with the New Kingdom Egyptians against Assyria, so Sennacherib accordingly marched toward Jerusalem, but failed to take it. He also fought the Neo-Elamite?s again.
This general pattern continued for ages, but the end result was the long struggles with Babylonia and Elam left Assyria maimed and exhausted. It had been drained of wealth and fighting population; the devastated provinces could yield nothing to supply the needs of the imperial exchequer, and it was difficult to find sufficient troops to garrison the conquered populations. Assyria, therefore, was ill-prepared to face the hordes of Scythians and Medes who now began to harass the frontiers to the east and ipon he death of the last decent ruler Ashurbanipal in 627 BC, the empire began to disintegrate rapidly. In 609 BC at the Battle of Megiddo, an Egyptian force defeated a Judean force and managed to reach the last remnants of the Assyrian army. In a final battle the newly formed Neo-Babylonian Empire? forces crushed the Assyrian-Egyptian alliance, after which Assyria ceased to exist as an independent nation, poetically in much the same way that FoG had treated the Babylonians for the best part of the preceding thousand years.
User-contributed links about this army:
Put information on allied contingents here - including recommendations on which to use, and why.
Sample army lists for this army Richard Bodley-Scott's army that won Warfare 2009
Another 800 AP list
Q1:Skirmish start. Bow are intended to fight in aid of other shooters so go where there are likely targets. Slingers can skirmish non-shooty foot - advance in center to delay briefly and then fall back. The LH on the open wing most likely, or in the center if in doubt. Q2: The large shields deploy together with a view to having rear support behind them later. Guards can do this in the rear, or on a flank. The first light BG goes to deal with obvious terrain - it can be supplemented later or not. Q3: The Chariots and Cav can be brigaded all together for shock action, or Chariots split and the Cav with one or deployed as a feint and adjust later with one TC assigned. Q4: Second Guard infantry deploys to reinforce the HF or support other troops. The other small shields deploy to join the first to sweep terrain or in rear support of the large shields or some other role favoring their mobility. The Delta Force is put either as rear support where it can deploy through the line or on a flank, with the chariots to help them shoot, or elsewhere to add dice. Against Chariots any terrain works well for them.
Created by System Administrator.
Last Modification: Thursday 07 of January, 2010 17:34:45 GMT by System Administrator. (Version 17)
The original document is available at http://www.madaxeman.com/wiki2/tiki-index.php?page=Neo-Assyrian+Empire