Bronze Age DBA Part 5 – The Fifth Column

So here I am again, with the fifth of my four planned DBA armies. Yes, that’s right, there’s some mission creep going on, and it’s an exciting tale of head transplants and Biblical controversy! It starts with most of a box of the Caesar Arab Camel Riders and Bedouin I had left over after finishing my Syro-Canaanites. At some point I realized I could just squeeze out a I/6a Early Bedouin or I/6c Early Aramaean army from the remainder and a few other figures I had on hand. These lists represent a variety of early desert nomadic peoples who inhabited the area during the Late Bronze Age, and should be appropriate opponents for my existing armies. 

Both army lists have an option for either a fast auxilia or fast warband general. The Aramaean list has the alternative of a light chariot general instead. The auxilia/warband general was simple enough – these are taken directly from the Caesar Bedouin set, with a standard put together out of bits and pieces. The chariot is one of the trusty Caesar Mitannian Mariyannu chariots. The chariot driver is from the Bedouin set; the archer is the first of our head transplant patients. He’s one of the archers from the Mariyannu set, but with his head replaced by one of the archers from the Bedouin set. One of the accompanying chariot runners is another – the man with the shield is from the Caesar Sea Peoples set, but with a replacement sword and a head taken from the Airfix Robin Hood set.

Wb or 3Ax general

LCh general option for I/6c

A second view of the chariot

The core of both armies is mass of fast auxilia armed with javelins: six in the I/6a list, or five in the I/6c list. These are mostly Caesar Bedouin, bulked out with a few Sea Peoples given replacement weapons.

Light infantry as 3Ax

Both lists have a couple of stands of archers – the I/6a list can deploy these either as psiloi or as fast bow; the I/6c list only as psiloi. However, the Bedouin set contained only four archers, and to cover all the options I needed ten! (Not to mention, I had already borrowed one of their heads to give to the man in the chariot – fortunately another Robin Hood figure supplied a replacement.) Scrounging around, I turned up two Hebrews and four Hittite archers in kilts who could blend in well enough.

Archers as Ps or 3Bw

Possibly the toughest units to fill out were the slingers – I needed six (enough for three psiloi units), but the Bedouin set does not actually contain any. I had one spare swordsman who I could convert to be whirling a sling instead of raising his sword. For the rest, I turned to some HaT Punic War Spanish slingers, doing my best to carve their tunics down to bare skin or the chest-wrap thing that the Bedouin figures seemed to have. In the end, they came out a little rough, but I think they’ll do fine on the table. (My biggest problem with them is their proportions – I’m pretty sure their arms would go down to their knees if measured out. Possibly they are part orangutan?)

Slingers as Ps

And finally we come to the most controversial element: the camelry! The I/6c Early Aramaean list gets to deploy a single stand of camelry or light camelry. The Caesar set contains a pair of dromedary camels, each with two bow-armed riders. Simple enough, right? Except:

1. The figures in the Caesar set are clearly based on Assyrian wall reliefs that are at least 500 years too late for the period I’m working on.

2. Current archaeological evidence suggests camels had not really been domesticated yet, as of the Late Bronze Age (~1200 BC). To make matters worse, the earliest camels used in Mesopotamia may have been two-humped Bactrian camels rather than one-humped dromedaries.

3. Certain religious organizations are nonetheless insistent that camels must have been present, because Abraham is said to have owned camels, and Gideon from the Book of Judges is said to have faced an army of Midianites and Amalekites, “whose camels were as numberless as the grains of sand.*” (This cleared up something I had been wondering about in the DBA army lists. You may have noted I have not mentioned a I/6b army list – and that’s because it represents these Midianites, Amalekites, and early Arabs, with a whopping five units of camelry!)

But despite being anachronistic at best and erroneous at worst, I had the camels and figured I might as well paint them. (And to be honest, it’s hard to resist the opportunity to paint animals that aren’t horses.) I did swap one of the riders’ heads with an infantryman for a little more variety.

Wait a second, who’s steering these things?

And that covers my unexpected fifth DBA army! My plan now is to work on some fantasy figures for a while, but we’ll see.

A final view of the whole army together.

*Judges 7:12

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Author: Norman Dean

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