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An Ancient Campaign using Sabin's Empire as a basis and Basic Impetus (augmented) to fight the battles
An Ancient Campaign using Sabin's Empire as a basis and Basic Impetus (augmented) to fight the battles
Aberdeen Wargames Club Ancient Campaign
For the past three years we had been playing a multi player campaign using Philip Sabin’s Society of Ancients game Empire but fighting each battle using Basic Impetus. We stopped after the tenth turn and the majority of the four players decided to do it all again using the lessons we had learned from the first attempt. We added a player to play the Independents when they are attacked, added vital rules for evasion to BI (maybe we should call them ABI now – Augmented Basic Impetus) and tried to replicate the various different die rolls in the original game (see below) by altering VDU for Alexander etc. We also upped the armies to 50 VBU points and started using the Impetus army lists, one third of minimums rounded up and maximums as they are. This provides more units on the table (handy if two players a side want to take part) and a longer, better game.
The campaign turns represent ten year periods with the first being 350BC-340BC. In each turn there is a roll for rebellion somewhere then each player moves in turn, the sequence being decided each move by secret, random chit selection. The game essentially runs from the death of Philip, through Alexander’s campaign to the Second Punic War and beyond, ending, if we have the stamina, in 150BC. The first time we stopped at Turn 10 when interim victory points are assessed. This time we want to go the whole way.
Turn One 350BC-340BC
1.Numidia rebelled from the Carthaginians
2. Carthage subdued the Numidian rebels. This was a very close fought battle which went to the wire. The Punic army was chosen from an army list cobbled together from existing ones thus:
Proposed Carthaginian/Punic Army list for period post Crimissos(340BC) and pre Wars with Rome
Nr Type Move VBU I VD notes
0-6 FP Sacred Band(*) in Africa or Sicily 5 5 2 3long spear
or Greek Hoplites anywhere 5 5 2 2 long spear
0-16 FPOther Citizen Infantry Africa only 5 4 2 2 long spear
1-2 CM Punic Cavalry(*) 10 4 2 2/3
0-2 CM Spanish Cavalry 10 5 2 3
0-1 CL Spanish light Horse 12 3 1 1
0-3 CL Numidian Light Horse 12 4 1 2 javelin
2-8 CP Libyan Spearmen(*) 5 4 2 1/3 long spear
0-8 FL Spanish Infantry 8 4 2 2 javelin
0-2 S Spanish Caetrati 8 3 0 1 javelin
1-4 S African Javelinmen 8 2 0 1 javelin
0-2 S Slingers 8 2 0 1 sling
0-2 S Sardinian Archers 8 2 0 1 short bow B
If your General is with a unit of Punic Cavalry it may be upgraded to VBU=5, VD=3
If your General is with a unit of Libyan Spears it may be upgraded to VBU=5, VD=3
For the campaign maximums must be adhered to. Our minimums will be one third of minimums in the list rounded up.
The Numidian one came from Extra Impetus but, obviously, no Roman allies. In fact we are trying to avoid anachronisms in every army list – no elephants anywhere, until someone has at least attacked India, for instance. There were complaints (from the Punic Player, naturally) that the Punics should be able to field Celts in this period.
3. In order to be activated the Romans must roll a die lower than the turn number. Thus they cannot move Turn One.
4. The Persian Empire chose not to attack anyone – they only had borders with Independents and, nervously awaiting the Alexandrian onslaught, they preferred these fought Alexander, not themselves.
5. King Philip died, some say after getting drunk one time too many, others after what was supposed to be a reconciliation supper with his estranged wife. Whatever, his son Alexander was crowned King and, eschewing his father’s intended punishment of the Greek cities, he plunged into Thrace and brought their chieftains to heel. His army consisted of:
Alexander Versus the Thracians
Nr Unit Type M VBU I VD Notes
1 Agema CP 10 7 3 3
1 Hetairoi CP 10 6 3 3
1 Thracian LC CL 12 4 1 2 Javelin
1 Hypaspists (F) FP 5 6 2 3 Long spear
1 Hypaspists (R) FP 5 5 2 3 Long spear
2 Astetairoi (F) FP 5 4 1 2 Pike
2 Pezetairoi(R) FP 5 4 1 2 Pike
1 Thracian Peltast FL 8 4 2 1 Javelin
1 Thracian Skirms S 8 2 0 1 Javelin
Total VB = 50 Total VDT – 24/12
Re: An Ancient Campaign using Sabin's Empire as a basis and Basic Impetus (augmented) to fight the battles
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Re: An Ancient Campaign using Sabin's Empire as a basis and Basic Impetus (augmented) to fight the battles
1. Rebellion in Persis.
2. Carthage decided to deal with the Greeks in Sicily and sent a large fleet (successfully) there with its army under Hughmilcar. In a desperate battle outside Himera the Carthaginians were narrowly defeated by the Syracusans and their allies. The Punics deployed their three CM units on their right, their phalanx of Greek and Libyan spears in the centre and a solitary unit of Numidian horse on their left. The Syracusans replied by putting their two units of horse on their left opposite the enemy horse, their greek hoplites in the centre with the two bodyguard units on the left of the phalanx and a unit of peltasts and a unit of light horse on their right.
The Greeks were defeated quite quickly on both flanks. On their left their two cavalry units were defeated completely with the loss of only one Punic unit and, worse, the Numidians destroyed both light horse and peltasts opposite them. It was a different story in the centre. While the bodyguard units made heavy weather against the hoplites the right of the Greek line smashed through the Libyans and routed them. The battle hung in the balance as the victorious Punic horse swung round and destroyed the leftmost bodyguards just as the rest of the Punic infantry line collapsed. Both sides had been only 1VDU away from collapse but by the end of the turn the Syracusans were adjudged the winners – but only just.
3. In the Empire game Alexander gets two turns of five moves each to replicate his destruction of the Persian Empire. He also gets a significant advantage in each battle which we sought to replicate by having him require to destroy 3 less VD than his opponents for these two turns. Thus a Persian army VDT21/11 would lose a battle when they lost 8VD not 11. We will monitor how much of an advantage this gives him and if it isn’t working right we have alternative options we can try.
Alexander now invaded Asia and fought the army of the Persian Western Satraps. Their army:
CP Guard Cavalry 6 3 3
CM Colonist Cavalry 5 2 2
CM Persian Cavalry 5 2 2
CL Saka Horse Archers 3 1 1 composite bow B
CL Arachosian Horse 3 1 1 javelin
FP Greek Hoplites 5 2 2 long spear
FP Greek Hoplites 5 2 2 long spear
FP Greek Hoplites 5 2 2 long spear
FP Greek Hoplites 5 2 2 long spear
FL Thracian Peltasts 4 2 1 javelin
FL Thracian Peltasts 4 2 1 javelin
Thus in this battle Alexander need only kill 7VD for victory.
The Persians set up first with their horse all on their left, partly in some broken ground (moved there by Alexander), their hoplites in line to the right of the horse and two units of peltasts in more broken ground on their right. Alexander set up his two large units of pikes opposite the enemy horse with a unit of heavy cavalry on each side of them. The rest of his line consisted of only two units of spear armed Hypaspists, some peltasts and, away on the left flank, some skirmishers. He depended on his Hypaspists to hold off the enemy hoplites while his battering ram of pikes and heavy horse destroyed the enemy cavalry and this achieve his victory conditions. He achieved victory but it was a much closer contest than both sides anticipated.
Over on his right the cavalry action in the broken ground swung first this way and then that until right at the end of the battle the Macedonians emerged victorious to win the game. The Pikes, as anticipated, broke their opponents but took so long to get into action that it was touch and go whether they would ever make contact. On the other wing however the Greeks destroyed both units of Hypaspists and their supporting peltasts and chased away the skirmishers for the loss of only one peltast unit. In the centre the Saka horse archers kept scoring hits on Alexander’s Companions and forcing them to halt to reorder so that when they finally were attacked by a Persian cavalry unit they were held long enough for a victorious hoplite unit to come up on their flank. While that attack did not break them it so weakened them that the next round of combat with the Persian horse, now supported by the hoplites defeated them completely. Alexander was last seen routing with his bodyguard. But this victory came too late to help the Persians as that same move their other horse fell before the enemy cavalry and their VD collapse point was reached.
Though they lost, the Persians took great comfort in how close a call it had been and they claim to be looking forward to fighting again when Alexander invades Syria.
Alexander now moved south into Syria and began besieging the coastal cities. Having gathered up his army Darius sought to outmanoeuvre the Macedonians and took up a chosen position on a large open plain, cutting Alexander off from home (Darius rolled low and was the defender and so chose open plain without any terrain). But the result was the same, in fact a relatively straightforward victory for the Greeks. On his right Darius quickly defeated the mixed light foot and horse pit against his similar troops and in the centre he held back his hoplites, faced as they were by superior value Hypaspists and pike block. Both sides had massed their cavalry on the same flank and the fighting here was fierce and drawn out. Each had three units of horse, (Agema, Hetairoi and Greek cavalry versus Guards, Persians and Colonist horse) though the Persians also had a unit of horse archers, the Macedonians being flanked by a (very annoying) unit of javelin skirmishers. The Greek horse were beaten but the Hetairoi and Agema, after a long struggle, beat their opponents. At one point the Persians looked to be winning but a fortuitous shower of javelins from the flanking skirmishers fatally weakened them on one flank and on the other the phalanx intervened against the victorious Colonists so that while Alexander’s horse were very weak by this point, Darius was even weaker and all three of his cavalry units collapsed in the same turn. The horse archers were (curses!) worse than useless.
Re: An Ancient Campaign using Sabin's Empire as a basis and Basic Impetus (augmented) to fight the battles
For his part Darius, no longer with his faithful hoplites available, called in help from the Eastern Satrapies. To augment his three Persian cavalry units and two Anatolian light javelin horse he had a unit of Bactrian cavalry and four units of strong (VBU4) horse archers. Taking also two units of light infantry with him he marched north along the Euphrates to meet the Macedonians.
The two armies met alongside the Agis lake which lay on the Macedonian right flank. Here Alexander placed his own bodyguard cavalry supported by light horse. In the centre he had the pikes flanked on each side by peltasts and on his left he placed the rest of his cavalry (two units) with the remaining light horse on their outer flank with a solitary unit of skirmishers away beyond them. Darius, seeing the Macedonian dispositions, placed only horse archers and a unit of javelin horse opposite Alexander himself and concentrated all his other mounted troops against the enemy’s left wing, with the remaining horse archers out in front and the remaining light horse unit on the extreme wing. His light foot were placed in the centre, against the pikes, with strict orders to delay contact as long as possible.
On their right the horse archers were barely able to shoot at the enemy before the Macedonians crashed into the Persian line. But, to everyone’s surprise, the morale of the Greeks was shown to be very poor on the day. Almost every melee was lost and, once their momentum was stopped they soon were forced back in retreat. Worse, on the other flank, the horse archers caused continuing problems to Alexander, and he too fled the field. (Alexander had the dubious privilege of rolling five sixes in row for morale !!!!! Not even the mighty Macedonian army could cope with that sort of bad luck.) And so to the amazement of all, Darius defeated Alexander and retired to his camp ecstatic at his unexpected victory.
Saka horse in the Persian attack
There was much wailing and heartsearching in the Macedonian camp, with their defeat generally being blamed on the recent Hogmanay celebrations, though some argued that they had lost the favour of the Gods through Hubris. But Alexander himself was not downhearted and, having reorganised his forces and executed a few malcontents whom he blamed for the debacle, he thrust forward once more towards his goal. For his part Darius knew that he was unlikely to be so lucky with the die rolls next time. Meeting again by the lake he set his army up in roughly the same way save that he sent one cavalry unit over to his left to face Alexander with two horse archer units while once again concentrating all his remaining mounted units against the Macedonian left. Convinced that only bad luck had prevented victory Alexander set up much as before save that he protected his own unit with a line of skirmishers to reduce the effect of the horse archers fire against his person.
This was a very closely fought battle. This time the horse archers on the right were very effective against the Macedonians and the Persian cavalry were able to follow up with an attack on their weakened line. The Bactrians in particular singlehandedly destroyed two enemy units in a kind of leapfrogging attack as they successively pushed them back. The only setback here was the destruction of the Persian light horse (both units) by the powerful Prodromoi horse and the loss of a Colonist Cavalry unit to enemy skirmish fire (!). On the other flank the story was much the same as in the first battle. Despite having skirmisher support the horse arc hers here cleared them away and their fire on Alexander was sufficient to weaken him so that when the Persian horse on this flank charged him, his bodyguards, after a couple of rounds of melee, were driven from the field. At this point things hung in the balance for both sides. Alexander, with a VD of 11 had lost 10 while Darius with a break point of only 8 had lost 7. The Persian had yet to move to complete the turn and decided to go for broke. The pikes had suffered one hit to date and he massed both horse archer units against it in the hope of getting three more hits and destroying the rear rank. If this was successful he would win. If not both archer units could be attacked in flank of Alexander won the initiative next move (though with -2 as a result of their general’s rout). But he needn’t have worried. The archers shot up the pikes and the Macedonians were once again defeated.
There was much discussion in the various camps (the bar) that evening. Three things stood out:
1. The (over) effectiveness of the horse archers at VBU=4. Firing at horse in particular with Composite bow B, if they haven’t moved they get 5 dice, practically guaranteeing a hit; even if they moved they get 3 dice with a 50% chance and they can evade if charged subsequently. We resolved to restrict them to a maximum of VBU=3 which still leaves them powerful, but less so, especially against light horse or skirmishers shielding the better quality troops behind. And of course this emphasizes the need to cover your better troops with lights/skirmishers to protect them – something Alexander didn’t do in the first battle and did, but insufficiently, in the second.
2. Separating Alexander himself from the rest of the Macedonian horse was a dangerous thing to do allowing the Persians to reach near parity on the other flank against them and isolating Alexander who could be contained by horse archers until the other flank was defeated (though this was lucky for the Persians in both battles – poor morale dice in the first and a combination of archery and charge in the second – All Hail the Mighty Bactrians!). It certainly couldn’t be put down to poor generalship as this Alexander had fought and won the previous umpteen battles against the Persians in the first campaign.
3. The inability of the Macedonians to get the pikes into action in both battles before the very end of the battle. Alexander needs to rethink the balance of his army, given that the pikes are mandatory to the army
Last edited by 1ngram on Thu Feb 26, 2015 9:43 pm; edited 1 time in total
4. The Romans rolled a 5 so no activation by them (they must roll a number on their turn less than the Turn number so needed a 1 to be activated this turn.
5. Darius, with the loss of Persis to independents cannot attack the Macedonians (he needs 4 continuous provinces under his control to atfack from or from his capital, Parthia - and Persis lies between this and them)., His only possible targets are India and Persis itself so he decided to leave them alone.
1. Rebellion in Magna Graecia - already independent.
2. The Macedonians juggernaut gets another five campaigns with a +3 VD bonus.
Alexander attacked Persis. the independents player in the campaign is not a great fan of the Impetus system, preferring FOG, so he approached the problem of beating Alexander differently. He maximised his melee cavalry adding 2 Bactrian units to his compulsory 3 Persians, adding 6 units of horse archers and a few of skirmishers but no peltast types. As before Alexander set up with very bad terrain on both flanks but chose to leave them completely empty, putting as before, his heavier horse in the centre with his very good light horse (mainly javelin armed apart from the unbelievably strong Prodromoi) in front and leaving the wings to the pikes and peltasts.
Alexander's light horse advanced against the rebel line
Unable to get round the Macedonian flanks because of the bad terrain the Persians sent the two Bactrians, without horse archer support, against the right flank and had mixed fortunes. They defeated the peltasts there but were beaten by the Greek horse . On the other wing the skirmishers "amused" the peltasts and pikes there destroying the former and holding off the latter long enough for the action in the centre to develop. Here the horse archers were a complete disaster, either being forced behind their heavier horse before they could even fire or electing to stand and fight - and mainly being beaten. Their one success was to destroy the Prodromoi unit. Even before the main Persian body of horse got involved, therefore, they were already almost at army break point (-3 against Alexander, remember). The clash of horse in the centre, therefore, saw their rapid defeat despite causing the destruction of the Thessalian horse. Alexander's Companions defeated the rebel leaders men and the battle was over.
Alexander now proceeded to invade Parthia without delay. This was a very short and decisive battle and does not merit a lengthy description. Depressed at the failure of his armies against the superior Macedonians and especially at the inability of his horse archers to get round the back of a defender who resolutely placed bad terrain on both flanks, Darius decided to go for broke in defending his home base. This time his horse archers would not evade but would take on the enemy light horse, hope to win and then shoot the enemy while the heavier horse surged forward against the Macedonian cavalry.
Well, this is precisely what didn't happen. The horse archers were, to a man, thrashed by the Macedonian light horse, so much so, that it needed only one more unit to be destroyed to break through the VD barrier and mean defeat for Darius. He fldd the field and either took his own life somewhere on the steppes or was murdered by the Satrap of Bactria. The Satrap then sent a messenger telling Alexander he was dead and asking for peace. However we hear that Alexander professed anger at the death of his Persian rival and has vowed to pursue into Parthia and then into India (he has three campaigns left this turn) while he still lives.
Last edited by 1ngram on Thu Feb 26, 2015 9:35 pm; edited 1 time in total
Hey it worked at the fourth attempt!
Here you can see the Persian rebels mulling over their position as the Bactrian Cavalry move forward, the Persian horse in the background fronted by horse archers.
And before you ask, no, we're not usually this cheerful ! ! !
5 units of Heavy Cavalry 10 6 3 3 impetuouscost 30 VDT 15
5 units of Horse Archers 12 3 1 1 cost 15 VDT 5
1 unit FL subject foot 8 4 1 1 cost 4 VDT 1
1 unit Sk archers 8 2 0 1 short bow B cost 2 VDT 1
TOTAL 51 VDT 22/11 (-3= Why does a smiley keep appearing here instead of the number eight?)
This was a bitterly contested and close battle. Once again Alexander won the defence placing very impassable and bad terrain on each flank to prevent outflanking by the enemy horse archers. He massed his heavy horse in the centre with light horse to the front and infantry on either flank while the Saka placed their heavy cavalry on their left flank obliquely with horse archers to the front and their few infantry over on the right. These were soon dispersed by the best quality Greek light horse but on the other flank the Saka cavalry routed the infantry opposing them, brushed aside the light horse and crashed into the right side units of Macedonian heavy cavalry. Having beaten their opponents the impetuous Saka cavalry pursued their opponents. One unit even was forced to pursue off table. This led to a dispute as top whether this meant they were now lost to the Saka or whether they could be considered as halting at the edge of the table. We could not find anything in the BUI rules on this and ended rolling a dice to determine which would happen. To the nomads’ chagrin they were deemed to be lost in pursuit. (did we miss a rule here somewhere?)
This was a grave setback for the Saka who were thus unable to surround Alexander’s Hetairoi. By this time the Macedonian light horse had made short work of the Saka horse archers and the defeat of a single Saka noble horse unit signalled victory. If the VDTs had been equal the Saka would, it was agreed, have been victors, but Alexander, almost for the last time, thank the heavens, pulled it off once more.
Alexander quickly moved on India. This army was a novelty for the Indian player and he had great difficulty in organising his elephants against a defending Macedonian who massed light infantry against the elephants themselves while throwing his heavy cavalry forward against the rest of the Indian army. Porus (for it must have been he) managed to get one of his elephant units killed while they were in front of another elephant unit and a couple of skirmishers. It was argued that even though the unit was routing (destroyed) rather than retreating) it should be considered to be stampeding into its friend behind (again we couldn’t find a ruling in the rules for this – is it only retreating elephants who cause damage or so routed ones as well?) The upshot was that despite the resT of the elephants carrying out their role well the break point for Porus was soon reached as a result and Alexander was deemed to have taken India. Much gnashing of teeth in the bar that night – and not just at the new alcohol levels imposed by the Scottish Government.
In fact Alexander clearly celebrated too well that night for he fell down dead drunk – and then just dead. The Macedonian player in subsequent turns will not have the +3 VDT advantage Alexander had - to the great relief of all the other players - though we all await, with trepidation, the arrival of Hannibal in turns to come with a similar advantage. In fact some of us are beginning to think a +3 advantage is too much. In 10 battles against the Macedonians Persia managed only 2 wins.
Next to take a turn were the Romans who had to roll a number less than the turn number to be activated. Since this is turn 3 they had to roll a 1 or a 2 and promptly rolled a 1. Great rejoicings in Rome as they determined to move swiftly out of Rome against the surrounding Samnites. We are all looking forward to seeing how they fare with their pilae against the Samnites with their heavy javelins. (latest revision of Samnite Army list)
No photos this time as the battles were fought with very aged 15mm figures (none of us has a 28mm Indian army) and the photos of these figures show their imperfections only too well.
Ptolemy, en route to the Med with Alexander's body had a vision from his former leader that he should be buried there. And so the Macedonian army, led by Alexander's ghost attacked the Saites. (We used some very old 15mm figures for this battle) These latter formed up on the edge of the desert with sand dunes on their left flank and open plain on the right. Their army consisted of:
1 Light Chariot 10 5 1 3 various
4 Greek Hoplites 5 5 2 3 long spear
2 Egyptian Spears 5 4 2 2 long spear
4 Egyptian Archers 6 4 0 1 short bow B
1 Libyan skirmisher 8 2 0 1 javelin
The Macedonians reverted to an Alexandrian Imperial army but eschewed the exotic and focused on two large units of pikes, two units of Hypaspists flanked by two units of Macedonian horse. They added a couple of units of horse archers, one of peltasts and a couple of skirmishing javelins.
The Egyptians were defenders and placed oodles of broken ground on their left and placed all their archers there with their phalanx of both Greek and native spears to the right, extending out onto the plain with the light chariots on the extreme right.
The right of the Egyptian line had their native spears with the Greeks in the centre.
The Hoplite line
The Macedonians placed skirmishers and horse archers against the enemy archers and depended on a frontal attack on the Greeks and Egyptians by their pikes and Hypaspists with each flank covered by a unit of heavy cavalry.
The Egyptian archers did very well based in the relatively safe haven of the broken ground and soon swept their opponents from their front but then took the long haul out of the broken round and round the flank of the Macedonians, but too late to intervene in the crucial battle in the centre. The pikes and Hypaspists charged forward with the cavalry to each flank and crashed into the enemy phalanx . . . which held. For four turns the battle swung to and from with first one side then the other being forced back. Each time the victors in a particular combat were unable to catch the retreating enemy and eventually the combats were totally dispersed. The first to collapse was the unit of light chariots but their victors, the left flank cavalry, were so weakened they could not realistically intervene further.
Both sides were soon down to very low VB for almost every unit and it was difficult to say who was winning. But on the fourth round of combat the Egyptian spears both broke and since Alexander still had his +3 VD bonus this, plus the loss of a Greek unit, was enough for victory.
This was the first time the Macedonian player had used horse archers (though he has fought them often enough in 28mm) They performed well for him against the enemy archers and he promises to field more of them.
And now back to the Romans V Samnite action in the West
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Two Legions with associated cavalry with some additional allies and a larger than usual group of skirmishers moved into Samnite territory. Fearful of getting entangled in bad terrain where the Samnites would have the advantage the two Consuls had requested four units of skirmishers to accompany their army. But they were fortunate to encounter the Samnites on largely open terrain with only a small lake to one flank. The Consuls massed their pila on their left near the lake, then four units of spears extended their line to the right where they placed their two cavalry units. Two units of skirmishers were placed beyond the horse while the other two were placed in front of the infantry line.
The Samnites had the following army (from the Beta lists) all armed with heavy javelins (like pilum but 2 in attack and 2 in defence) and they had some Gaulish mercenaries with them.
1 unit Samnite Medium Cavalry 4 2 2
2 units Elite Light Foot 6 2 3 heavy javelin
4 units Light Foot 5 1` 2 heavy javelin
2 units Gallic Warband 4 4 2 javelins
1 unit Gallic Cavalry 5 2 3
1 units Gallic skirmishers 2 0 1 javelins
Total strength 51 VD=24/12
The Samnite chief was very unhappy at losing the terrain roll (clearly the entrails were bad) as he wanted to litter the battlefield with bad terrain which suited his light infantry but still considered that once he saw the Roman deployment he would be able to best determine how to break their line. He set his elite foot on his right facing the pilae, then the rest of his tribesmen with the large unit of Gauls on the left facing the enemy spears. He put one unit of lights on the Gallic flank and beyond them both units of horse, Samnite and Gallic. His skirmishers he placed in front of his elite troops.
With skirmishers nullifying each other on one flank and too far away from the Samnites on the other, the main lines of infantry advanced rapidly towards each other and the Samnites crashed into the Romans all along the line. The pilum and heavy javelin shower proved singularly ineffective for both sides with only two disorders apiece resulting. The resultant melees lasted a long time and they were characterised by good die rolling by the Samnites who out hit their opponents almost everywhere but the Roman cohesion roiling was unbelievably good throughout the battle. Whatever the number of hits they took they seemed to roll only ones and twos for cohesion. As a result after four turns of melee both side’s line was sadly depleted without any unit actually having broken. The Romans decided to commit their horse since they now had their skirmishers on that flank, “round” the enemy horse in support. This was the one disaster for the Consuls. Both horse units, despite charging in, were defeated and, after a second melee, destroyed. But the Samnite and Gallic Horse were reduced in winning to only 1 and 2 VB respectively and sought to run as far from the skirmishing javelins as possible and were thus unable to intervene effectively in the central infantry battle. (In retrospect it might have been better to attack the skirmishers and drive them off the table even at the risk of losing that last VB and being eliminated themselves).
In the centre things were now looking bad for the Samnites. The Gauls has lost their rear unit and hardly any unit remaining had more than 2 VB left. The Romans weren’t in much better shape but they had finally destroyed the enemy centre leaving the Samnites only one VD away from defeat. They turned their victorious units towards the flanks of two enemy units. The Samnite leader realised that he had two viable units only left, the Gauls and his own elites, both on VB3. Both were faced by two units of Romans barely surviving on 1VB each. If he could destroy all four units in a last melee before the flanking attacks fed in, then he could take the Romans up and over their VD limit and claim victory. But, once again, the attacks failed to score any hits (the same was true for the defenders) and, realising now that the entrails had not lied, he conceded.
Thus the Romans cleared hostile units from Italia. As the Consuls returned home victorious to the City they heard news that The Punics had invaded Gaul. Victory there would place them on the borders of Roman territory.
Club photographer was absent so no photos. A pity since these were 28mm armies we had not used before, a mixture of Renegade Romans (bring back the days when they were very cheap and offered 3 units for the price of 2!) and recently painted Victrix plastics.
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Pre- Hannibal Carthaginian List
1-2 CM Carthaginian Cavalry 10 4 2 2
0–4 CGL 4H Heavy Chariots 10 5 2 2 Various
0-4 EL Elephants 8 5 4 1
0–3 CL Numidian Light Cavalry 12 4 1 2 Javelin
0 -6 FP Carthaginian Sacred Band 5 5 2 3 Long Spear
0-10 FP Other Citizen infantry 5 4 2 2 Long Spear
0-10 FP Greek Mercenary Hoplites 5 5 2 2 Long Spear
2–8 FP Libyan Spearmen 5 4 2 1 Long Spear
1-4 S African Javelinmen 8 2 0 1 Javelin
0-2 S Balearic Slingers 8 2 0 1 Sling
0-6 FP Gallic Warriors FL 5 4 4 1 Impetuous.
0-6 FL Gallic Warriors FL 8 4 4 1 Impetuous
0-2 CM Spanish Cavalry 10 5 2 2
0-1 CL Spanish Light Cavalry 12 3 1 1 Javelin
0–8 FL Spanish, Ligurian or Oscan 8 4 2 2 Javelin
0–6 FL Sardinian, Corsican or Sicel 8 4 1 1 Javelin
0–2 S Spanish Caetrati 8 3 0 1 Javelin
0-2 CM Etruscan and Oscan Cavalry10 4 2 1
0- 2 FP Etruscan and Oscan Hoplites 5 5 2 1 Long Spear
0-2 S Sardinian or Cretan Archers 8 2 0 1 Short bow B
Only 2 Sacred Band, Heavy Chariots or Elephants may be used outside Africa or Numidia.
Citizen Infantry may only be used in Africa or Numidia
Heavy Chariots may only be used up to Turn 8, Elephants only from Turn 9
Gallic FP and FL may form large units with similar troops
Up to one half of Gallic FP may be upgraded to VBU=5
Up to one third of Gallic FL may be upgraded to VBU=5
Spanish Caetrati may only be used if other Spanish infantry are used
One third of minimums rounded up, to maximums shown may be fielded – 50 VBU points
Facing the Carthaginians was a fairly standard mob of Celts, with 2 Elite FP units, 2 horse, a solitary skirmisher (a mistake as it transpired – more, really, were needed) and the rest of the army was composed of the usual warriors.
To the Celts’ surprise, however, the Punic army which appeared had, (count ‘em) 8 mounted units, 2 chariots, 3 CM horse and 3 Numidian light horse. They also had a couple of infantry units and 3 skirmishers.
Somewhat nonplussed the Celtic player placed impassable ponds on each flank and large areas of difficult terrain in the centre, one of which the Punic player removed. They set up obliquely, hoping to break whatever enemy they found in the one remaining difficult ground and swing round onto the enemy flank while the heavy infantry and cavalry held back on the other flank. Needless to say it all went wrong from the very start. The Carthaginians placed their foot and skirmishers in the bad terrain and massed all their mounted units in the large gap between rough and lake. They took a long time to get through here but eventually swept the Numidians round the flank where the Celtic horse waited for them. The main Gallic line advanced on the chariots and horse but the main attack, through the difficult terrain, fell apart almost at once. Out of 8 dice in the principal attack not a single hit was achieved and worse was to follow, the attacker rolled 5 for damage, had to retreat, was followed up and eliminated. The other attacker here soon swept aside the skirmishers in front of them and turned into the enemy centre but before they could get stuck in the rest of the Gallic line was in trouble. In almost every combat the Gauls outhit their opposition only to see the Punics roll a 1 or 2 for morale while they almost unanimously rolled high numbers for themselves. Apart from one unit of warriors who defeated a chariot unit every single Celtic unit was forced to retreat and, being pursued, were soon destroyed. More dice smashing will take place very soon.
That ended the third Turn.
Turn Four : 320-310BC
1.Rebellion in Asia. It seems that Alexander’s infant child, en route to Macedonia has been kidnapped by the Satrap here who declared himself the child’s protector. Needless to say no one else has agreed to this.
2.Carthage moved first and, worried about the possibility of the Macedonians moving West in the Mediterranean, sought to take Sicily. But a storm sank their fleet (a roll of 2 here) and the invasion failed.
3. The Parthians tried to “liberate” their new homeland (they need to roll a 6 to get back into the game as replacements for the eliminated Persians) but failed with a measly 2. Rats!
4. The Romans now moved south to conquer Magna Graecia. Battle at the club next week.
Keep the updates coming and good luck to all for the next stage of the campaign.
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For their part the Greeks waited for the Romans to advance but brought their horse forward on their left wing, seeking to take advantage of the sequence of moves to attack if possible before the infantry lines met. Their line was weaker and on the other flank only consisted of light infantry.
Looking along the two lines as the skirmishers go forward
Seeing the second Roman horse in the rear the Greek commander ordered his horse units to charge the enemy, one on the Roman horse at the front and the other on the rightward Roman cohort. The hamippoi performed wonderfully, causing casualties to both enemy units before contact was made and the Roman horse were sent reeling backwards, gravely wounded. The Greeks pursued and smashed into the second Roman horse unit and defeated it likewise, the hamippoi once again scoring a hit on the enemy as the charge went in. The attack on the cohort was also successful, though the struggle here was of far longer duration.
Meanwhile the two infantry lines advanced and clashed all along the line except on the extreme Greek right where the light infantry held back. The Roman pila must have been warped that day, however, as, unlike the enemy hamippoi, they scored not a single hit out of 9 dice. Fortunes were, however, mixed in the infantry melee and when the flank cohort finally got to grips with the Greek peltasts they made short work of them. Two further Greek hoplite units also perished in the centre of the line but the Greek General's bodyguards defeated their immediate foes just as the cavalry finally scattered the enemy cohort and light infantry to the flank and allowed the light horse to get round behind the Roman line. Both infantry lines were sadly depleted by this point and when a further cohort fell it was all over. The independence of the Greek cities in Italia had been saved from Roman oppression. Well, for the time being, anyway.
The Greeks horse (on the right of the photo) charge against the Roman right wing.
Lots of discussion in the bar afterwards about the efficacy of Pila and hamippoi. In part about whether their effect was too randomised and when successful whether too powerful. We only allow hamippoi to be used for payment of an additional VB point. Some of us would have them forbidden, citing the fact they fell out of use at an early stage in history. Certainly it cannot be argued that it is too easy to succeed with them as in this battle the pila were useless if you don't get the right dice. Swings and roundabouts.
Keep it up guys
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Antipater marched east with a fairly standard army but including two units of elephants. Given the terrain he expected to fight on he took no light horse with him but trusted to his Agema, his other heavy cavalry, pikes, his mercenary hoplites and two units of Thracian peltasts. He also took many Agrianian skirmishers. Eumenes had only one unit of Kappadocian heavy cavalry but three elephant units. He hired two units of light horse, paid his two units of upgraded pikemen their long overdue wages and levied a unit of peltasts and as many skirmishers as he could afford.
The two armies met in a wide valley between two large areas of swamp. Antipater arrived first and eschewing any involvement in the bad terrain arrayed his army with his pikes and hoplites in front, flanked by peltasts with two elephant units on the right, screened by skirmishers and the other behind his peltasts in the left centre. His two cavalry units he held in the left rear behind a mass of skirmishers. Clearly he feared the enemy elephants. For his part Eumenes massed his elephants on his right facing the enemy lights and horse, placed his Kappadocian cavalry in the centre and arrayed his pikes to their lfet with light horse beyond them facing an enemy elephant unit. His peltasts he placed in the rough terrain on the right, hoping to hold off the enemy elephants with skirmishing light horse on one flank and outflank the enemy horse with the peltasts on the other. Meanwhile, he hoped, his 3 elephant units would crush those opposite.
The Phalanxes meet
But, as the philosophers say, Man may propose but it is the Gods who dispose. The elephants certainly made quick work of the enemy skirmishers and peltasts and even destroyed one of the enemy cavalry units, but in the centre the Kappadocian horse were soundly beaten when caught by the central elephant unit who then charged into the leftmost opposing elephant and destroyed it. This caused panic in Eumenes’ rear and other of his units in this area were scattered easily by the rampaging enemy elephants as they pursued. Worse was to follow on his left where one unit of light horse were destroyed immediately by enemy skirmishers and in the great infantry duel the late intervention of the victorious elephants here turned what had been a relatively equal contest into victory for Antipater.
Eumenes only success was when one elephant destroyed the lights in front of it and then charged the enemy horse, killing one unit and almost destroying Antipater and his Agema. But the Gods determined otherwise.
Rumour has it that Eumenes has been treacherously handed over to his foe by mutinous mercenaries and executed. This was the first time elephants had been used by the Successors and they certainly made a great impact. Clearly all will be seeking sources of these massive beasts in the wars that will now follow the death of Alexander.
Eumenes' elephants attack Antipater's left flank
This ended Turn Four
Turn Five – 310-300BC
1. Rebellion in Aegyptus. Clearly Ptolemy has been emboldened by the example of Eumenes to declare himself Pharaoh.
2. Rome moves first. They have the independent Celts to their north and the cities of Magna Graecia to their south. Which way will they direct their legions?
(see photo) below).
The Greeks were first to the battlefield and deployed their horse in the very centre of their line with some hoplites and two units of light horse to their right opposite the broken ground and a large unit of hoplites plus two more foot on their left. Both sides had skirmishers scattered along their line.
The Romans had their legionaries in a line of mixed pila and spear armed units. On their left they deployed two units of Italian allies in the broken ground with their sole unit of horse beyond them – out of shot. They kept one unit of Triarii in reserve. The photograph shows the position at the point the Greeks drove in on the Romans in three concerted attacks. On their left the hoplites attacked and after a long see saw melee the large unit eliminated their opponents but beyond them the Romans destroyed the hoplites they opposed while between them both units survived but too weak to be of any consequence. On the other flank the Italians chased away the skirmishers but were then attacked by the enemy light horse. This melee too went on for some time but from the very start it was obvious that the light cavalry were outmatched and should have evaded, only better die rolls keeping them from collapsing completely.
Spartan and other Greek mercenaries advance on the Roman line
In the centre though, the Greek horse had mixed fortunes. One unit was very quickly pushed back but the General’s own horse pushed into the enemy very deeply and were joined by the victorious large hoplite unit. At this point, despite losing units on both wings, it looked like there could be another Greek victory, but three successive and dreadful cohesion rolls wiped out the large hoplite unit (three sixes in a row) and the battle was over and the Greeks in full retreat.
The cities soon after accepted the “verdict of heaven” and Roman suzerainty (until the next rebellion could be organised, obviously). A very tough and close battle indeed with the Roman Consul at one point preparing to concede to the umpire only to see the situation change dramatically as the battle raged.
The Carthaginians, fearful that Roman rule could extend to Sicily and thus threaten Carthage itself, decided to invade Sicily. This time their fleet crossed the narrow seas without difficulty and marched on Syracuse where the Greeks of the island are assembling.
The Punic Lineup from the left. Their left wing cavalry and horse are beyond the photo on the right
To oppose this the Syracusans had six units of hoplites and placed them in a single phalanx x with the Tyrant’s two bodyguard units in the centre. On the left they placed all their mounted troops, one unit of cavalry and two of light horse flanking it. The phalanx extended on the right in front of the enemy cavalry but the Punic Numidians on this flank had, at first, no opponents.
The Syracusan lineup
The Punic plan was to refuse their left but to advance on their right with both their superior cavalry and their Gauls – though the latter had not in this instance formed large units. The Greeks just intended to charge forward all along the line.
There were problems for the Carthaginians from the start. As their right wing horse turned to take on the outflanked enemy cavalry they were charged by the latter who quickly defeated one unit and, pursuing them to destruction, crash into a unit of Gauls. These two then stood fighting for most of the day thereafter, each unable to do any damage to the other until almost the end of the battle when the Gauls were finally destroyed.
The Greek left wing cavalry advance on the enemy
The other cavalry unit charged the enemy light who, at first evaded but, pushed back to their baseline, finally charged and were, as expected beaten in their turn. Out on the wing the two remaining light horse units jousted with one another until the Syracusan horse were chased off the table. But by the time these two victories occurred events in the centre and right had turned the battle decisively in favour of the Greeks. On their extreme right the Punic horse (unaccountably) held itself back from combat, depending on the Numidians to get round the back of the enemy formation before taking the end unit of hoplites from both front and back. But the Greeks cunningly shifted this end unit to the right blocking the Numidians and forcing them to evade perilously close to the table edge. This forced the cavalry forward against the hoplites and left the Numidians to scatter a unit of skirmishers on the Greek right wing. The battle between the hoplites and thus cavalry unit went on for some time and finally decided the issue, with, as we shall see much singing and dancing as well as loud cursing.
But first the action in the centre. Here the hoplites absolutely trounced the Gauls but the rest of the phalanx made heavy weather of the Punic line losing three units in the course of what must have felt like a long afternoon to the citizen soldiers. But eventually the bodyguards beat both their opponents and the battle was on the very cusp of victory and defeat. The Punics had lost 9VD out of 10 and the Syracusans 8 out of 11. The Punic right wing cavalry and horse were striving to get in behind the remains of the phalanx which itself was standing reordering with substantial losses, their one victorious left wing cavalry unit unable to intervene, so great had been their own losses. On the other flank the Numidians were likewise seeking to turn in towards the victorious bodyguards. All depended on the outcome of the fight between the right hoplites and the Punic cavalry. (see photo)
The foot had already defeated the cavalry once and sent them running but were unable to make contact in pursuit. This allowed the (weakened) cavalry to once more charge the hoplites. They rolled 2 dice and scored a hit! The hoplites then roiled 4 dice and scored 4 sixes!!! Great was the ju8bilation in the Greek lines and a local artist was immediately commissioned to record the scene for posterity. But they rejoiced too soon. Rolling for morale they failed and took a permanent hit while the cavalry, reduced to rolling for a 1, scored a 1 and took no casualties. Great was the gnashing of teeth now in the Greek lines, to roll 4 sixes and STILL lose the melee ! ! !
The (in)famous four sixes!
However sanity was quickly restored and the cavalry, flushed with success, pursued, kept in contact and were duly slaughtered to a man in the next round of melee. The battle was over, the Syracusans victorious, and the threat to Greek civilisation on Sicily averted once more.
Next to move are the Macedonians and Antigonus and Seleucus have agreed that Ptolemy’s rebellion must be quashed and are currently deciding which of them will carry out the task.
It was a very bloody battle with great losses on each side but victory eventually went to Ptolemy – and so his hold on Egypt was strengthened.
Antigonas set up with his elephants in the very middle of his array and light infantry to either side, with his phalanx further to his left and he himself with his cavalry Agema beyond them on the left flank. On his other flank he placed his Thessalian cavalry flanked by light horse archers.
To oppose this Ptolemy placed all his elephants on his right, then his phalanx opposite his enemy’s, light infantry opposite the enemy elephants and both his cavalry units on his left fronted by a unit of light horse.
Greek Light Horse
Depending on his elephants Antigonas advanced in the centre, hoping to crush the enemy foot and burst a hole in their phalanx. And this they did – but only after several rounds of melee. Meanwhile on his right his horse archers shot the enemy horse to pieces but then were charged by both Ptolemy’s cavalry units. The melees raged for quite a time here as further Antigonid units were fed into the fray until both sides were much depleted. Over on the other wing Ptolemy advanced his elephants and pikes. The latter were much savaged by the enemy phalanx and the Elephants took a long time to defeat the Antigonid heavy cavalry and force him to flee the battlefield. At this point each were on CD lost =9 out of 11 so victory hung in the balance. Neither side had any real melee strength left in any of their units but finally on the other wing the Antigonid horse were destroyed and Ptolemy claimed victory.
In the various camps (the bar) that night there was much discussion about why the battle had seen so many heavy losses. Units were to be seen stumbling round the battlefield on 1 or 2 strength points, victorious over their immediate opponents, but unable to contribute anything thereafter to nearby melees without running the risk of annihilation themselves. Essentially there were many high value units on the table – Agema cavalry on 7, Thessalians on 6, Elephants also on 6, upgraded pikes, even some of the skirmishers (Cretan archers, for instance) were on 3. As a result both sides had been able to sustain losses, often reversing the result of a melee turn after turn, until both units involved were down to practically their last strength point before one or other collapsed completely.
Cretan Archers advance in front of the Pikes
The Persian/Parthians then rolled a die for their appearance as the last act of the turn – and failed yet again (they need to roll a 6). This ended the turn.
1. Rebellion in Parthia. The Successors now have two rebellions, Egypt and Parthia.
2. Macedonians to move. The suspicion is that they weill once again try to crush Ptolemy and leave Parthia to its own devices for the moment.
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As predicted the Macedonians decided to try, once again, to retake Egypt.
Seleucus crossed the desert towards Egypt but, mindful of the lack of water, took only one unit of elephants with him. On arrival at the Nile he found Ptolemy’s army waiting for him. The latter was already in battle order (defender) with two units of cavalry on his right flank, peltasts to their left and a single large unit of pikes beyond them. To their left were two units of elephants with a further unit of peltasts flanking them then some Tarentine horse and Cretan archers beyond them facing some broken ground. He also had a couple of units of skirmishing javelins fronting the elephants.
Ptolemy's Indian Elephants (First Corps)
Having the considerable advantage of seeing how Ptolemy’s forces were organised (for more on this see below) Seleucus set up with his two large units of pikes in the centre facing the enemy elephants. To their right was Seleucus with his own Agema cavalry and a unit of horse archers beyond them facing the broken ground. To the left of the pikes he placed two units of peltasts, then a second unit of Macedonian heavy cavalry and his solitary elephant unit fronted by skirmishers. More skirmishers covered the pikes.
Ptolemy initially traded space for time, moving his entire army to the left, even though he knew his elephants could never completely escape the pikes, but hoping his own cavalry could attack the enemy’s as well as the dreaded elephants on his extreme right.
Ptolemy's Heavy Cavalry (1st Corps)
Seleucus advanced all across the front but it was Ptolemy, by dint of a convenient double move, who attacked first. On his right his own Agema charged the enemy horse and supporting peltasts and was immediately successful. He pushed both back, pursued into the retreating peltasts, beat them once and pursued into them again and eliminated them. The third pursuit pushed him onto the heavy cavalry once more and in two bruising melees, he destroyed them, punching a hole in Seleucus’s array at the very beginning of the battle. The next turn he had a major decision to make and, probably he chose unwisely. He could have turned right to assist his other cavalry against the advancing enemy elephants, hitting them, hopefully, in front and rear at the same time but he considered the advantages of getting in behind the enemy pikes too tempting and turned left instead.
Seleucus' Elephant Unit (1st Corps)
Alas, the elephants, when they finally met up with the other cavalry unit, made short work of them, defeating them in one round of melee and then, themselves, seeking to turn in to the centre. As it was neither the Egyptian cavalry or the Macedonian elephants were able to get themselves into the fray again before the battle ended.
On Ptolemy’s left meanwhile the Cretan archers had shot at and significantly wounded the enemy horse archers forcing them to retire behind their leader’s Agema. These then, rather incautiously advanced beyond the line of the pikes and, utilising his double move wisely, Ptolemy threw his leftward elephant unit at them causing severe casualties and forcing them likewise to retreat. The victorious elephants did not pursue, however, preferring to stay in line with the other elephant unit and the single Ptolemaic pike unit on their right. This was also a wise move as the two enemy pike units took on all three in a tremendous set of melees which over the next couple of turns reduced both pike blocks to single units, all with casualties, though they caused significant losses to one enemy elephant unit and destroyed the Ptolemaic pike block.
The Pike Block (Warlord Plastics)
Meanwhile the Cretans were shooting up Seleucus’ Agema and they now saw the Tarentines move towards the Agema as well. Unable to stand still under the rain of arrows Seleucus charged forward, destroyed the Tarentines but then came up against the enemy peltasts on this flank who had, hitherto, been skulking in the background. These fired on the Agema, causing even more casualties and then charged them.
Te crux of the batttle had now been reached. Both sides were only a couple of morale points away from defeat. Seleucu’s Agema was down to only one strength point, as was the leftward elephant of his opponent. Whichever of these fell in the next round of melee would lose the battle. The Agema, miraculously, held on and the elephants were destroyed. Victory to Seleucus! !
Now that we have elephants involved in the campaign the general dissatisfaction with the defender/attacker army placement rules has come to a head. Its seems now too easy for the attacker to place his troops to negate any advantage the defender has in terrain placement (if indeed he ever had any). The availability of elephants makes a big difference. The attacker can ensure his cavalry are placed well away from these devastating (against any horse) beasts and he can ensure his pikes are placed so as to ensure they have enemy elephants to fight. Other rule systems have developed (sometimes quite elaborate) rules for placement that work better. Once upon a time players had to draw a map on paper showing their deployment before placing their troops. I even remember sets of rules thirty or more years ago where curtains were erected across the tabletop while both sides deployed. There must be a better way than the one we use now.
Now Egypt has been rergained it is the Roman Turn. Sicily or Gaul?
The Roman army of 7 cohorts, a couple of allied Italian light infantry, a single cavalry unit and some skirmishers set out their battle array between two Helevetian lakes with some broken ground. We used the recently posted placement rules – but given the composition of both armies it made little difference that the Celts lost almost all the die rolls after the first. The Romans set up with their heavy infantry in the centre in two lines, 5 cohorts in front and two in reserve, with the two Italians on the left opposite the rough ground and the solitary cavalry unit beyond that. One skirmisher fronted the infantry and the second, which was to cause considerable damage to the enemy horse was placed beyond the horse.
Their opponents fielded 4 large warbands, two of Soldurii and warriors and two of light infantry with only one unit of skirmishers and two of good cavalry. The Celtic plan was to ignore the Roman right, place all their troops opposite the left and sweep the enemy horse and Italians from the field with the cavalry and light warbands before the cohorts could cross swords with the slower Soldurii.
But things started to go wrong for the tribesmen from the very start. Charging with their horse they rolled a one leaving them disordered and just short of the enemy who promptly charged them. Only the arrival next turn of the light infantry saved the cavalry though one unit was destroyed and a rear light infantry unit went too. But both the Roman cavalry and allies were defeated. The second light infantry unit now charged the cohort opposite and, after a long struggle, were destroyed. This left the roman left pretty empty though a reserve cohort quickly moved over to cover the wing. But the successful Celts were in no shape to reap any benefit from their victory. The cavalry were flanked by the skirmishers who managed to hit them every single turn – and they just couldn’t get away from these pests. The victorious light infantry had also suffered and were really in no shape to face the approaching Romans reserves.
This left the Soldurii facing all the rest of the Roman army. They had mixed fortunes. They had delayed their attack so now five cohorts were approaching, albeit in a rather disorganised fashion. The Celtic leader decided to try to hit each cohort individually before they could reorganise into a single line. On the right, they charged, lost to very effective pila fire and were dreadfully thrashed by the cohort. The other unit, led by their commander did much better. He defeated one cohort and pushed it back, Pursuing he defeated another, pushed it back and found himself facing the first one again, defeated it, pushed it back, hit the second one again and ended up destroying both cohorts. He had punched a hole right through the enemy line. But this late, late success was not enough. At the end of the turn both sides had lost 13VD, break point for the Celts but not the Romans who, with their higher value troops, would only break on 14.
Victory for the Romans. They now control provinces up to the Carthaginian border in Gaul.
Parthian Turn. They rolled a SIX ! Whoop-dee-doo!. They are back in the game controlling Parthia.
Last to play this turn are the Carthaginians who decided to cross once more to Sicily. Alas, they rolled a 2 (once again) so their fleet was wrecked on the coast and their invasion failed.
On to the next (7th) Turn!
The Sicilian cavalry chgarge the enemy right flank
Overconfident in the prowess of his cavalry the Consul in charge that day, Architeuros Sholtus charged the enemy with his horse and at first things seemed to go well, the enemy light horse were destroyed but the cavalry were now attacked by a unit of peltasts and fled back carrying the dead body of the Consul with them. Over on the other flank the Syracusan cavalry charged the hastati opposite them and a deadly prolonged struggle ensued.
With the destruction of the Roman Cavalry the Legions advance on the enemy line
Then the two main bodies of heavy foot met. The Roman pila did minimal damage and the Syracusan bodyguard foot, in particular, smashed their opponents and within a short period of time the entire Roman line was in ruins and running for the ships. Once again Sicily had survived attack from those seeking to enrich themselves with its conquest. The remaining Consul, terrified of the fate which many said lay in wait for him back in Rome, fled to the hills of Apulia and refused to come down. (in truth the Roman commander had a most appalling set of die rolls in the main melees, losing every single melee and scarcely rolling a single 6. Rumours abound about the ceremonial crushing of dice after the battle or them being hurled from the top window of the bar at passing chariots )
Next to move were the Parthians. They had independents on both sides of them in Persia and Bactria and decided to delay any possible combat against the Seleucids by attacking Bactria first. This also has the benefit of opening up a route to India for either conquest there or merely enabling them to purchase elephants to move west with.
Given the long period of celebrations(?) now facing us it is unlikely the invasion of Bactria will be resolved until the New Year.
Gallic Mercenaries from Wargames Factory
So it was something of a heavy heart that we gathered this past Tuesday to fight the Parthian invasion of Bactria. The Graeco-Bactrians (hence forward called the Greeks) based their army on two large units of pikes in their centre with a unit of peltasts on each pike flank. On their right the placed only a unit of skirmishers to contest a salt marsh and on their left the placed two elite bands of Greek-Iranian cavalry supported by a horse archer unit and a band of Greek light javelin horse.
The Bactrian Heavy Lancers Move Forward (1st Corps)
Facing them on their left were three units of Saka Noble cavalry fronted by three bands of horse archers. Facing the pikes (but as far away bas he could manage) the Parthian king had placed two units of Parthian cataphracts with one horse archer band in front of them and a second off to his left, hoping to speed round the salt marsh and take the enemy in the rear. Between the two horse archers were a unit of native peltasts and a skirmisher group.
Parthian Noble Cavalry(Aventine)
Such was the disparity in mounted units that even using the staggered deployment rules, the Parthians were able to place most of their army knowing where the Greeks would deploy. As a result the Greek general realised he would have to march the pikes right across the battlefield before making contact while his outnumbered cavalry faced the enemy alone. A rethink was needed. He moved both peltast units to the right flank immediately and his horse archers soon followed when they saw the enemy move a similar unit round the marsh. This left two Iranian cavalry facing three similar enemy units with only the Greek horse to assist them. The combat on this flank swung first this way them that. One horse archer unit was destroyed almost immediately by the Greek light horse and the other two evaded as soon as the heavier Greek cavalry advanced. Both heavy lines men in a thunderous crash and after two rounds of melee the were but one unit left on each side.
Saka Nobles (1st Corps)
But while the Parthian unit was relatively intact the last Greek lancers were very badly depleted. The victorious Parthians here moved forward as quickly as they could, both to avoid being attacked by light horse in the rear and to get behind the piker blocks which were, by this time advancing closely on the Parthian centre. Over on the other flank one Greek peltast unit was destroyed in the marsh but the arrival of the second and the horse archers produced a stalemate here as they faced off similar troops of the Parthian left.
Saka Horse Archers (Scheltrum)
The centre would be decisive. The Parthian horse archers here quickly drove the enemy skirmishers from the field and in a flurry of arrows destroyed the rear unit of one of the pike blocks. The Parthian general realised it was now or never. He must charge the depleted block before he found himself with no room to manoeuvre.
The Pikes advance (Immortal)
In they went, forced them back, followed up and destroyed them. The Parthians needed two more VD points to claim victory. Their general was mortally afraid to attack the remaining, untouched pike block and pinned all his hopes on surrounding the depleted enemy cavalry unit with horse archers and hope for a lucky couple of hits before the Greek light horse destroyed them or forced them to evade off the table. Luck was with him; a six was rolled and the heavies failed their reaction taking the army over the break point.
Greek Light Horse (Foundry)
This was one of the most enjoyable games we have had for a while with very different armies (not the two Greek/Roman lines crashing into each other we have seen so often to date). Already the Parthian king is thinking of Elephants
Syracusan Hoplites in deep formation (Immortal)
On their left facing a mix of open and broken ground they placed the two bodyguard units of the tyrant Kreisos with Gauls flanking them on both sides. Behind their hoplites they placed their one unit of cavalry while a band of light horse were placed behind the left flank.
But when the mist cleared they found that the Punic army were not directly in front of them. These had set up mostly facing the broken ground with a centre facing the bodyguard and Gauls. This consisted of three units of heavy foot, one Libyan and two Greek hoplites. On either side were two units of Gauls and on each flank they had a unit of cavalry and a unit of Numidian horse.
Punic Cavalry on the Right Flank (Renegade)
Thus the Syracusan right, with all their citizen hoplites faced on two units of horse and on the other flank two units of Punic Gauls and two horse units faced nothing at all. (the staggered set up we use allowed the Punics to concentrate on their right and thus avoid facing the hoplite phalanx – whether this was a clever move or not is a moot point) Top reach the enemy the Punic right would have to march a long way thru broken ground. Would they get there before the enemy broke their right flank?
But it was in the centre that the battle began. As both wings surged forward the four Syracusan units in the centre both hoplite bodyguards and two Gallic mercenary units launched a fierce attack on the phalanx opposite. The Libyans broke at once as did both units of Gauls after a sharp struggle. But the Greek hoplites refused to die. They defeated both Gallic units which attacked them and then took on the Bodyguards. The struggles here were prolonged, but while one resulted in the simultaneous destruction of both units the other descended into an impotent face-off. But help for the Punics was at hand. The two flanking Gallic hordes were approaching the Bodyguard rear and charged them – only to bounce off.
The Gauls arrive in the rear of the Bodyguards with some skirmishers in front. Off in the distance the Punic right wing cavalry and horse traverse trhe broken ground. (mainly plastics)
Another attack, supported by the remaining Hoplites finally destroyed the bodyguard unity and killed the tyrant himself.
Elsewhere on that flank the Numidians drove off the enemy light horse and after a very long sojourn the Carthaginian cavalry emerged from the rough ground in the rear of the enemy right wing which, in the interim, had moved completely across the battlefield and destroyed the enemy mounted units there for the loss of its own cavalry unit and a hoplite rear unit. They had however turned one unit of hoplites to the rear to face the anticipated attack by the enemy horse, now behind them. This was the climacteric end to the battle as the cavalry charged the hoplites while the Numidians cunningly set themselves behind the enemy foot to prevent retreat.
The Sandwich The Hoplites face the Punic cavalry while the Numidians cover their rear
But, once more the Punic charge failed and was driven back. Three times the Punic horse charged and only at the last attempt did they force the infantry back into the Numidians. This ended the battle. A Punic success which decided the Sicilian cites to accept Carthaginian supremacy. In Syracuse itself the news of the tyrant’s death prompted a revolution. Now the new regime is calling for aid from Greece itself, even Macedon, and the rumour is that the latter has now decided to subdue the Greek cities and then sail to save Sicily. The Romans too will obviously be concerned.