DBA Resource Page

Ancient Army Lists

Hittite Chariots
Hittite General by Tom Ryan

Hittites (1680-710BC)
DBA 9

By Tom Ryan

This army represents the those of Hatti during the Old and Middle Kingdoms (1680BC - 1380BC) as well as the Hittite Empire (1380BC - 1180BC). In addition, the time span covers the Neo-Hittite states formed after internal instability, the onslaught of the Sea Peoples, and pressure from the nascent Assyrian Empire combined to topple the empire.

Originally the Hittites were semi-nomadic farmers who lived north of the Black Sea and who migrated into Anatolia around 2300 BC. According to tradition, the founder of the Old Hittite kingdom was named Labarnas. He established the seas as his boundaries and made his sons governors of the conquered territories.

During the reign of Mursilis I (1620-1590 BC), the Hittites raided down the Euphrates, destroying Babylon in 1600 BC and defeating the Hurrians on the return march. Subsequent to his reign, however, the empire was plagued by internal chaos, a period marked by political insurrection, royal assassinations, and palace intrigues. During this time the Hittites lost control of much of their previously acquired territory in Anatolia and Syria. In 1525 BC, however, Telepinus seized the throne and restored order to the kingdom.

Suppiluliumas I (1380-1346 BC), an energetic and successful campaigner, restored Hittite control in Anatolia. His predecessors, Arnuwandas I, Hattusilis II, Tudhaliyas II, and Arnuwandas II, were unable to defend even the heartland and had endured attacks from every direction. He effectively extended the borders of his kingdom to the south and east. He fought successful wars with the Mitanni and conquered most of Syria, including the powerful city-state of Carchemesh. This conquest brought the Hittites into conflict with Egypt, whose armies, during the two previous centuries, had campaigned in Palestine and had conquered territory as far away as the Euphrates. By 1315 BC the new Hittite empire was firmly established and effectively governed through a widespread system of treaty relationships with allies and vassal states.

There is some disagreement as to whether Mursilis II's successor, Muwatallis, defeated the Egyptian army led by Rameses II at Qadesh on the Orontes River. Strategically, the Hittites were able to drive the Egyptians out of Syria and to retain control of Qadesh and Amurru, but tactically, the Egyptians would appear to have won the day. Flare-ups between the two ancient empires continued until 12 years later when a treaty between Hattusilis III and Rameses II insured peace between Hatti and Egypt.

In the 13th century BC, Assyria absorbed Mitannian territory as far as the Euphrates, previously within the sphere of Hittite control and influence. Meanwhile, the Assyrians were steadily gaining power and were becoming a dangerous neighbour. They caused rebellions all along the southern border and Tudhalish IV spent his the rest of his life trying to supress these rebellions. Again beset by both internal and external pressures, the Hittites were unable to resist the onslaught of the Sea Peoples, who overran Anatolia about 1200 BC and contributed to the collapse of the Hittite empire.

These invasions brought about a dark age across Asia Minor that lasted from 1200-800 BC. When they left, the lands recovered and reorganized into over a dozen small independent kingdoms, with a Hittite culture modified by Syrian-Semitic influences, known as the Neo-Hittite, or Syro-Hittite, states (referred to as the "Sons of Heth" in the Bible). These states were able to survive as long as they did by forming alliances, but eventually fell to Assyrian and Urartu aggression by 710 BC.

Enemies

Enemies in the DBA list include Early Canaanite, Ugaritic or Syrian (8b), Mycenean and Minoan (10), New Kingdom Egyptian (11), Early Assyrian (12), Sea Peoples (14a), Dark Age and Geometric Greek (17).

I am surprised not to see the Later Canaanite, Ugaritic or Syrian (15b) listed as an enemy. It covers the time period 1340 - 1100 BC and I would presume that the rulers of those states within Hittite sphere of influence would continue to require reminders of where their loyalty lay or would request aid from their overlord in times of internecine wars. Also missing is New Assyrian (23) who were a major contributor to the fall of the Neo-Hittite states.

Another historical opponent and co-contributor to the demise of the Neo-Hittite states is Urartu, a people situated around Lake Van, who were also a major threat to the Assyrians. Since this army was completely overlooked by the DBA authors, I have included a suggested Urartian list based on the DBM list at the end of this essay.

A very important enemy of the Hittites which has also been left out of the DBA lists altogether is the Kingdom of Mitanni. Some suggested army lists can be found on Chris Brantley's DBA Resource Page as well as at the end of this essay.

In addition, around 1600 BC a Hittite army under Mursilis I (1620-1590 BC) fought and defeated the Babylonians, but, again, there is no list in DBA to represent this army. A suggested list is presented at the end of this essay based on the DBM list which covers Later Amorite: Old Babylonian and Old Assyrian.

Hittite Foot
Hittite Foot by Tom Ryan

Army Composition

2xHCh or LCh These represent the chariots of Hatti and their allies. The LCh would not really be an option after 1380BC and should be compulsory before. The HCh are crewed by a driver and two spearmen or a spearman with a shield bearer. They formed the main offensive arm of a Hittite army. After 1180BC the Neo-Hittite states appear to have emulated their Syrian neighbours and used the lighter chariots with driver and archer, but after 900BC began using heavy 3 or 4 horse chariots with 3 or 4 crew in addition to the lighter ones.
4 x LCh These represent Syrian or Anatolian chariots which would have been used in a skirmishing role. The Anatolian chariots would be crewed with a driver and a long spearman and would likely not be as effective as the Syrian bow armed Maryannu. In a Neo-Hittite army these would be Hittite or Aramaean 2 man chariots
1 x 3Bd or HCh The Bd option would apply only to armies before 1380BC and represent sickle swordsmen. After that date use the extra HCh option.
3 x 4Ax or 3Ax These can represent Hittite infantry before 1180BC (4Ax), Anatolian spearmen (3Ax) or Syrian vassal spearmen (3Ax). The 3Ax option can also represent Neo-Hittite militia
2 x 2Ps These can be elements of Anatolian archers or Syrian archers or javelinmen. After 1180 BC the Neo-Hittite cities employed slingers and these elements can depict these troops

Tactics

GuardsTactics during the Imperial period (1380 - 1180 BC) depended on the theatre of operations. In the Syrian plains, the chariot ruled the battlefield and the Hittites' heavy chariot was the main offensive weapon. It's weight would be used to smash through enemy infantry lines, and would be followed up by the infantry who would be used in a supporting role, if at all.

In the mountainous regions of Anatolia, the infantry would presumably play a more important role than in the plains and deserts of Syria.

Since I have yet to use this army, I cannot comment authoritatively on table top tactics, but I will update as I gain more experience.

Painting

Osprey publishes two books which contain pictures of Hittite soldiers. They are; Men at Arms #109 Ancient Armies of the Middle East, and Campaign Series #22 Qadesh 1300BC. Since the Campaign Series book contains the same, but fewer pictures that the Men at Arms book, you can get away with the less expensive one.

Hittite infantry is described as wearing striped clothing, as well as white clothing. Colours are depicted mostly as earth tones. The stripes are often assumed to be an Egyptian representation of scale armour, so you have some choice. I used Essex figures which do not have armour, so I painted the Anatolian foot with white robes with coloured edging and the Hittite infantry in striped kilts. Essex manufactures the Anatolians in desert clothing and the Hittites in clothing more suitable for an area not subject to the same extreme sun.

Names of Hittite Rulers

The following names are not intended to be complete or free from conflict. They have been extracted from numerous sources and some dates or spelling of names may differ from one source to another. I have tried to fit them together the best I can. So, for entertainment purposes only:

  • Labarnash, founder of the Hittite Kingdom (d. 1660 BC )
  • Hattusilis I (1680-1650 BC)
  • Mursilis I (1620-1590 BC)
  • Hantilis II
  • Zidantas
  • Ammunhas
  • Telepinus (1525-1510 BC)
  • Alluwamnas
  • Tudhaliyas I
  • Huzzihas II (1460-1440 BC)
  • Arnuwandas I (1440-1420 BC)
  • Hattusilis II (1420-1400 BC)
  • Tudhaliyas II (1400-1380 BC)
  • Suppiluliumas I (1380-1345 BC)
  • Arnuwandas II (1345 BC)
  • Mursilis II (1345-1315 BC)
  • Muwatallis (1315-1275 BC)
  • Hattusilis III (1275-1250 BC)
  • Tudhaliyas IV (1250-1220 BC)
  • Arnuwandas IV(1220-1200 BC)
  • Suppiluliumas II (1200-1190 BC)

Variants

The following are variants based on DBM lists and using the conversion method found on page 22 of the DBA rulebook.

Hurri - Mitanni 1600 BC - 1274 BC

6 x LCh (4 Maryannu and 2 Vassal or Provincial chariots)
2 x 4Aux (Alik Ilki Spearmen)
2 x 4Bw or 2Ps (Alik Ilki Bowmen)
2 x 3Ax or 2Ps (Ashshabu levy).

Old Babylonian 1894 BC - 1595 BC (Based on DBM Book 1, list 15)

1 x LCh
4 x 3Bd - retinue armed with axe or sickle sword, javelin and shield
1 x 4Bw - retinue archers
2 x 4Ax or 2Ps - Sabum qallatum javelinmen
2 x 2Ps - Sabum qallatum slingers or archers
2 x 3Ax or 1 x 3Ax and 1 x 2Ps - nomadic Amorite levies

Urartian 880 BC - 585 BC (Based on DBM Book 1, list 39)

1 x LCh or HCh
2 x Cv
6 x 3Ax (Provincial infantry)
1 x 3Ax or 4Ax or 4Sp (Provincial or Guard infantry)
2 x 2Ps (archers)

Sources

Forthcoming


| Top of Page | Ancient Armies | DBA Resource Page |


Last Updated: June 8, 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.