Early Indian (900 BC - 545 AD)
|2xLCh or HCh||These represent the heroic charioteers. The option to upgrade to HCh reflects the addition of two extra crewmen (totaling 6) of the pre-Mauryan armies and those of the Republican states, which lacked elephants. They would traditionally operate on the wings of the army. Note: HCh should not be used after the Brahmanic Period.|
|2x3Cv||These represent javelin armed cavalry of questionable quality whose main purpose, historically, was to protect the elephants and support the chariots.|
|3xEl, or 3x3Ax, or 3x3/4Lb||The elephants were the main offensive arm after the Vedic Age and would be crewed by 2 archers and/or javelinmen in addition to a mahout who may or may not be armed. The auxilia represent Mountain Indian spearmen armed with long spears and flimsy or no shield and are only applicable to a Mauryan army. The longbows are described below.|
|5x3/4Lb||The majority of Indian foot were armed with a large bamboo bow as well as a massive two handed sword. The option to add the fourth figure is in the event that Mauryan armies were, in fact, regular. After the fall of the Mauryan Empire, the archers do not appear to have carried the two-handed sword.|
The 4Lb option is only available during the Mauryan period.
A Republican state may use HCh and must use the 3Lb option in place of El (they presumably could not afford elephants, so chariot crews were often increased in order to compensate)
Early Indian Bowmen (Old Glory 25mm)
Historical tactics would have seen elephants, protected by the cavalry and supported by massed archery, as the main offensive arm and stationed in the centre. The chariots would protect the wings of the army and provide some mobility and offensive potential there.
On the wargames table, a similar deployment (El in the centre, flanked by Lb, then by Ch, with Cv on the wings) might work, but I have found that placing El anywhere except together on the end of the line, can cause problems on a PIP roll of one. With El in the middle, a roll of one allows you to move only units on one side of them forward, splitting your army into two small groups. With El on one flank you can move the whole army forward except the El, who can catch up later. A drawback is that your general will probably be mounted on one of the El elements and the other flank can move out of 12" range fairly effortlessly making this a very expensive army to move. (+1 PIP for El, +1 PIP for out of command range)
The ideal enemy for Early Indians would be a mounted army I have not tried Parthians vs Early Indian, but I plan to play a few games to see if there is a chance. Trouble can arise against a Bd heavy army as there are no quick-kills and the Lb won¹t stand a chance. Leaving the Lb in the rear and away from trouble and delaying with the El and Ch while the Cv goes for the camp might be an option in this circumstance.
A glaring weakness of this army is the almost complete lack of light troops.
I have yet to find a detailed reference to an Indian military camp or to camp life. I use DBM baggage elements such as mule- or ox-drawn carts. Baggage laden elephants with handlers might make an interesting alternative and a small project for figure converters. For the more risqué, a group of tents with noblemen and women a la Kama Sutra might turn some heads.
This may be one of the easiest armies to paint. All common wear only a white kilt and carry a scabbard made of hide. Shields are hide and hair is black. Generals/nobles will wear more colourful clothing and possibly armour. In addition, nobles would occasionally dye their beards bright colours, such as green or blue. One can have a lot of fun painting a general¹s elephant or chariot, using gaudy colours, some gold trim and perhaps some tiger-skins.
Here are pictures of my Early Indian army.
For early Indian history on-line, see The History of India page.
The following title is available through the De Bellis Bookstore: Ancient Indian Warfare With Special Reference to the Vedic Period, by S.D. Singh (Brill Academic Pub., Aug. 1997). Hardcover. Also available in Softcover, 1990 Edition.
The following are variants based on DBM lists, using the conversion method found on page 22 of the DBA rulebook.
Later Vedic Indian 900 BC 512 BC (21c)
These are the Aryans, who invaded Northwest India around 1500 BC. They were a warlike people who displaced the native Harappans and eventually assimilated to form the beginnings of the true Indian culture.
1xHCh or El
1x3Cv or 3Bw
Republican Indian 500 BC 321 BC (21d)
This represents the republican states of the Indus and Ganges basins until their incorporation into the Mauryan Empire. These states were too poor to afford elephants so compensated with heavy, 6 man chariots, although some states may have used lighter ones.2xHCh or LCh 3x3Cv 6x3Lb 1x3Bd or 3Lb
Mountain Indian 500 BC 170 BC (21e)
The mountain tribesmen of northwestern India were best known for their high quality cavalry. This list covers these tribes until their incorporation into Greek Bactria. Their infantry used long spears and bows with ineffective shields or none at all.
5x3Bw or 2Ps
1xEl or 2LH
Tamil Indian 175 BC AD 1336 (21f)
This list represents the Southern kingdoms of Cholas, Pandyas, Satiyaputras and Kerelaputras. These states constantly vied with each other for supremacy.
The prosperity in the southern parts of the country was based upon the long-established trade links of India with other civilizations. The Egyptians and Romans had trade relations with southern India through sea routes and later, links were also established with Southeast Asia. Other outside influences in the south included the arrival of Saint Thomas in Kerala in 52 AD, who brought Christianity to India.
2x3Bd or 3Bw
Last Updated: April 6, 1999
My thanks to Tom Ryan for contributing these notes. Comments, questions or suggested additions to this page can be sent to Chris Brantley, IamFanaticus@gmail.com.