| Harmata Drepanephora|
(Hellenistic Scythed Chariotry)
|Unit type||Super shock chariot|
|Base cost||X Food, Y Wealth, Z Metal|
|Ramping cost||x Wealth|
|Creation time||? seconds|
|Line of sight||?|
|Population cost||? Population|
|Created at||Meeting House|
The Harmata Drepanephora will be added in future versions of Kings and Conquerors: The Hellenistic Era.
Unlike the lighter chariots of Celtic and Afro-Arabian armies which try to stay out of harm's way, the Harma Drepanephore or Scythed Chariot is a heavy war machine with one sole goal — to plow into enemy formations and to plow under anyone who stands in its path. With nothing to stop them save missile attacks, Harmata Drepanephora are capable of mowing down enemies that they catch up with, thanks to their being able to deal trample damage.
Nevertheless the Harma Drepanephore is a double-edged sword. On one hand, it is a very strong and powerful unit, yet at the same time, it is very easy to defeat. The first issue is that they are very costly and slow to build — so only a couple are ever ready for use. The second is that while they are powerful, they are not very fast — they might be expected to outrun a group of angry Cohors or Pezhetairoi, but against units armed with javelins, they are very vulnerable. Equally, their lack of a ranged attack also means that a mass of pike can easily stop them dead in their tracks, especially if surrounded. The best weapon system to use against Scythed Chariots is to use javelin cavalry, or fortifications. Even a horde of Hippakontistai or Gaisoz Ridanz, although lightly armed and not as fearsome. can be used to counter them, or good pike or javelin units, such as Greek Agema or Roman Cohors Iaculatores can deal serious damage to Scythed Chariots en masse: a mass of sarrisae or a volley of pilae can easily down them. Against war elephants, even the cheaper and lightly armed Elephantes Liboukoi, Harmata hosts are history.
As a Pontic or Seleucid player, your best use for the Harmata is as a game-finisher against the more lightly armoured units of the Iberian, barbarian, or Desert factions, or to bulldoze unsuspecting lighter units and siege machines from the flanks. Use the Harmata Drepanephora in squads of 4 or 5 to run circles around your foes, being careful to avoid javelins, while running down the odd slinger or spearman down. Never let a chariot unit stop in the middle of the battlefield — a stationary charioteer is one soon locked tight in Charon's grasp.
By the Classical Age, the weaknesses of the chariot as a weapon system was becoming more apparent. It was poorly armoured and worthless against the massed infantry formations of the period. To counter these problems, chariots had to evolve. One method was to increase the size of a chariot as well as provide armoured barding for man and horse alike, resulting in a heavier chariot capable of being used as a shock weapon. Instead, this new and nastier chariot attacked not by driving around an enemy, but by plowing directly into the men themselves.
Although this would mean that chariots now would be harder to move around and slower, this issue could be addressed if more horses were assigned to it. Blades were also installed on the hubs to deter infantry from getting in too close to harm either horse or driver alike; such weapons have been excavated in China while the Greek historian and soldier Xenophon claimed that the practice was first introduced by the Achaemenid Persians to counter the hoplite formations of the Greeks.
Even so, these new heavy chariots, designed to plow into enemies, did not prove to be effective enough. On one hand they proved their worth against Greek forces in the Persian Wars and also served the Hellenistic Pontids, especially if deployed against men not trained to stand against them. On the other hand, they were easily countered — if attacked, the Macedonians simply avoided them, while the Romans were known to use stakes and caltrops, already effective enough against horsemen, to impede the use of heavy chariots. Eventually, the emergence of better tools for cavalrymen (the spur and stirrup) and the use of war elephants also meant that there were more cost-effective ways of inflicting woe and panic, thus signalling the demise of the chariot as a weapon of war, although its use would continue in many relatively isolated parts of the world.