Thu Apr 27, 2017 9:29 am by Cyrus The Adequate
Thu Jan 26, 2017 10:08 am by RogerC
Mon Oct 03, 2016 8:44 am by Cyrus The Adequate
Sat Dec 17, 2016 11:19 am by PAPERO
Mon Nov 07, 2016 2:15 am by Tarty
Thu Apr 14, 2016 2:16 pm by dadiepiombo
An Ancient Campaign using Sabin's Empire as a basis and Basic Impetus (augmented) to fight the battles
Re: An Ancient Campaign using Sabin's Empire as a basis and Basic Impetus (augmented) to fight the battles
The Opponents in the Centre. (mainly Immortal Plastics - now Warlord - with Foundry Horse)
The Greeks were the defenders and sought to cover both flanks with impassable lakes but the Macedonian king removed one to give him an open flank. using our staggered placement rules the Greeks deployed their 5 hoplite units between the lakes, four in front (including the 3 of VB=6) and one in reserve with two javelin armed skirmisher units in front. Facing them the Macedonians deployed three large units of pikes with upgraded front units and, on their left flank by the lake, a unit of light horse, hoping to inflict missile casualties on the outflanking hoplite unit. Fearing a reverse on their flank both sides sought victory in the centre and the two bodies of foot entered a prolonged and bloody contest. The Macedonian light horse did no damage and eventually sidled to their left to aid the flank combat (for which, see below). After a long struggle all three of the best hoplite units had been destroyed but the Greek commander here was anything but despondent as his two remaining units were intact (apart from a single disorder marker on one unit). The pike phalanx had lost all three of its rear units and the remaining three front units were pretty damaged.
But the battle was lost on the flank. Here the Greeks had two units of cavalry and a light horse unit facing the Macedonian Companions and two, then three light horse units. Realising the damage the latter could do to his cavalry with their javelins the Greek commander focussed on getting into combat with and defeating the Companions. To this end he pulled his unit of peltasts to the edge of the lake and charged the Companions.
The Greek Right Moves Forward
After a brief combat the peltasts were scattered but by this time one unit of Greek horse were up to them and charged into the pursuing Companions. The struggle between these two was prolonged – too prolonged for the Greeks. Beyond this combat the Macedonians quickly eliminated the enemy horse and evaded the Greek cavalry until they had done so much damage that they, at last, stood to be attacked, and defeated the Greek cavalry unit which had chased them almost right across the battlefield.
Thessalian Light Horse Skirmish with the Greek Peltasts as The Latter Advance on the Companions
This tipped the Greek Army into defeat despite finally destroying the Companions. Though in strength points losses were about equal the destroyed Greek units had a higher VD and thus were adjudged losers. The Macedonians now control all of the Greek homeland.
Despite the Loss of his Companions the Macedonian King Triumphed
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
First to move were the Carthaginians and they sought to persuade the Cisalpine Gauls of the benefits of Punic rule by sending an army there. Needless to say the Gauls demurred, gathered their forces, and sought battle.
The two armies met on a flat plain with hills to one side and only a small patch of difficult ground on the other flank. The Gauls set up with their heavy infantry in their centre with lighter warriors on either side and a unit of Gallic cavalry on each flank. The Carthaginians placed Libyan and Greek hoplites in the centre with mercenary Gauls on either side and on each flank a unit of cavalry with a unit of Numidians.
The Two Armies Face Up
The Punic plan was to defeat the enemy horse on both flanks while holding their foot back and then swinging in while charging in the centre. The Gauls just wanted to advance on the enemy as quickly as possible and crush them.
Gallic Cavalry on their Right Wing (WF Plastics)
Things went badly for the Carthaginians from the off. On their right flank the Numidians there were caught by the Gallic horse before their own Spanish cavalry could get up (they had hoped to get in a volley or two of javelins in first) and were speedily destroyed. When the two cavalry units clashed the Punics were immediately beaten back but the melee here raged until the very last turn of the battle due to the Punic commander here managing to roll a 1 for morale after every single melee. On the other flank the Numidians got round the flank of the Gallic cavalry only to see their Carthaginian cavalry compatriots defeat in short order. This allowed the Gallic cavalry to join their foot (in effect running away forward from the enveloping Numidians) in the attack on the Carthaginian infantry.
WF and GB Dark Ages figures Masquerading as Gauls
Results were decidedly mixed here. On the right the Gauls, helped(?) by their cavalry, made heavy weather of defeating the Punic mercenaries. On the left though they comprehensively smashed their opponents, though at the expense of taking heavy casualties. In the centre though the Greeks (and Libyans) defeated the Soldurii heavy foot. But then the Spanish cavalry finally broke and ran and, with the loss of both cavalry, one unit of Numidians and almost all their Gauls, their break point was reached and they streamed from the battlefield in retreat. Cisalpina was free of foreign domination – for the moment at least.
Next up are the Parthians who, seeking to dominate the entire Iranian plateau, have launched their horsemen at the independent Successor statelet in Persia.
(1st Corps Elephants, one unit with Belly Bow Escort)
The Greeks set out their foot on their right, anchored on some marshes with a unit of cavalry in reserve behind them and their only light horse out to the flank, intending to sweep the enemy archers ahead of them away and get round the rear of the enemy line. Opposite this wing was a mass of horse archers, some Saka Nobles at the back and the Indian archers who performed admirably, destroying the Greek light horse as they struggled through the bad terrain and then turning on the enemy infantry and destroying the unprotected hoplite unit on the end for no loss. The horse archers didn’t have it so easy but they eventually shot up the enemy skirmishers and then inflicted severe loss on the pikes and hoplites. This forced the Greek commander to bring forward his reserve cavalry unit who fought it out with the Saka, the latter finally coming out on top after several rounds of melee.
Having destroyed the Enemy Light Horse the Indian Archers turn on the Hoplites
(1st Corps Indians, Horse Archers and Saka versus Immoirtal Greeks)
But it was on the other wing that the real action took place. They set out with their elephants in front flanked by two cavalry units. Their opponents likewise had their elephants opposite with cavalry on each flanks but with horse archers in front of everything, hoping to damage the enemy before they clashed. However little actual losses were inflicted before the two lines clashed. On the extreme flank the cavalry bodyguards of both generals slugged it out, turn after turn, with the Greeks unable to cause any damage to the Parthians but passing their morale each turn and thus losing a bare single permanent each turn. They were still fighting on the last turn.
The Greek General faces the Parthian Commander with elephants fighting in the Background
(1st Corps Parthians/Saka and Elephants versius unknown Greeks)(anyone recognise these figures?)
On the other side of the elephants the Saka defeated their Greek opponents and surged forward into the middle of the enemy line.
The Battle at a Critical Moment
Between the elephants honours were even with one victory and one defeat each. But it was here that the horse archers proved their worth. As the victorious Greek elephant moved forward in pursuit it was shot at by two horse archer units and a group of skirmishers and fell victim to their missiles. With both elephants and two cavalry units lost plus damage to their foot now cowering under withering fire from the horse archers, the Greeks were defeated and fled west into Mesopotamia. The Iranian plateau now belonged to the Nomads. (as is only right and proper, he said)
Saka Noble Cavalry
We allowed countercharges in this game and I think we will keep this. We may also return to the original -2 for moving shooters and -2 for shooting at open order units as we found the horse archers a little too effective en masse.
Without any infantry worth the mention the Attalids decided to ignore their centre altogether and concentrate of destroying the enemy cavalry which was all grouped on their left flank. With four noble units against three backed with a unit of light javelin horse their King felt sure he could defeat his opponents before the pikes got into action. On his other flank he placed the Galatian cavalry, the other light horse and some skirmishers. The thureos infantry he placed roughly facing the pikes – but with strict instructions to keep as far away from them as possible, for as long as possible.
The Cavalry Action - 1st Corps, Aventine plus Foundry Light Horse
But things didn’t quite turn out the way he wanted. While both wings of cavalry charged each other, as expected, the Seleucid Galatians, having no opponents in front of them, cunningly swept round behind the enemy horse and crashed into their rear and flank. This immediately destroyed the King’s Companions. They then carried on into the next engaged unit of Attalid cavalry who managed to hold out for three round of melee against attacks to both front and flank.
The Galatians start to Swing Round the Flank of the Attalid Horse
This seemed to save the day and, further to the flank the remaining two Attalid cavalry comprehensively beat their opponents and also saw the enemy horse archers flee from the field. The doughty defence of their neighbour allowed these two units to likewise turn in and attack the two remaining Seleucid cavalry and destroy them. On this flank the Seleucids had only the Galatians left, with their rear threatened by the victorious Attalid cavalry.
But things were not so rosy elsewhere. Over on the other flank the horse archers had likewise been dispersed but in the centre the two great pike blocks had by now reached close to the thureos infantry who couldn’t escape them.
As the Galatians Turn the pikes asdvance on the enemy thureos - Immortal and WF plastics
They were forced into combat and, unsurprisingly, were both defeated in short order. This left the Attalids on 10VD with 11 meaning defeat. The Seleucids for their part were on 11 needing 13 to lose. The Attalids however had their Galatian horse in the rear of a pike block – one which had sustained discernable losses from the Cretan archers who had retired before them throughout the battle. A rear/flank attack was possible – indeed desperately necessary. The Galatians charged and rolled – NOT A SAUSAGE. Not a single hit. Meanwhile the pikes scored a single hit, forced the cavalry to retreat, followed them up, hit them again and destroyed them. O Me Miserum.
The Attalid King fled the field while the Seleucids claimed the new province in their empire. But a storm is brewing in the East as the Parthians look to the west and already the Attalid kings await their Iranian brothers arrival in Anatolia.
The Romans deployed their cohorts in front with acavalry unit at each end. On the right this was supported by a body of light horse and on the left by a unit of skirmishing javelinmen. But, fearing the charge of the Gauls (and rightly) they deployed two units in reserve – a body of Italian allied light infantry on the right and a cohort in the middle.
The Roman Left - Renegade Figures
For their part the Gauls, deploying mainly after the Romans (using our staggered deployment rules), opposed the enemy cavalry with horse of their own and grouped all their foot in large units in the centre, heavy to the left and light to the right. Skirmishers were placed on each wing.
The battle, despite the intentions of both sides, was quite straightforward. On one flank, the Roman right, their cavalry and light horse comprehensively defeated the Celtic cavalry despite suffering the attentions of the enemy skirmishers, but by the time this happened events elsewhere were determining who won the battle.
Roman Allied light Horse
Over on the other flank the Gallic cavalry advanced against their opposite numbers but one large unit of light infantry went with them. This forced the leftmost cohort to advance to support the cavalry and in the resultant clash the tremendous elan of the Gauls broke through the cohort and in chasing their defeated enemy they crashed into the already engaged Roman horse. The vital support this gave their own cavalry disposed of the enemy cavalry and, suddenly, the Roman left flank was gone. Both reserve units immediately turned left to prevent the envelopment of their centre but by the time they were in position their own centre was gone.
The Roman Centre and Left - Renegade Figures
For the Gauls charged into the Romans here, (the Roman General decided to forgo the countercharge in order to get his 3 pila attack per cohort which netted only one casualty from three units) and after a fierce battle two of the cohorts were eliminated for only one Gallic unit – and a rear one at that. Breakpoint having been reached, the Roman conceded.
Pila are useless against large units as, no matter how many permanent casualties are inflicted, the front unit remains fresh (though in disorder) and thus gets its impetus bonus. Thus in a charge the strength 5 front unit gets impetus 4 and rear rank bonus 2 = 11 dice (minus 1 if disordered) against the Roman 6 (or 8 if no pila and they countercharged) Far better to forgo the 3 pila and get your countercharge in.
Apologies for so few photos this turn especially of the victorious Gauls. I forgot my camera and the only photos are from the veryu start of the battle.
First to move were the Carthaginians who, having had their nose bloodied attacking Cisalpine Gaul last turn (and having seen the same thing happen to the Romans) , decided rather to advance across the Straits of Messina and attack Magna Graecia (Southern Italy). Led by the Consul Sholto Architecturus a new, improved Roman army marched south to oppose them. The two armies met in an open plain bounded on the south by a large area of very difficult ground. The Romans anchored their line of five cohorts (all value 6, a mix of spears and pila) on this with some Italian allied light infantry in the rough. On their right flank they placed two units of cavalry and some light horse.
Despite our new rules for deployment the Punics saw every element of the Roman army deploy before they had to deploy their own so they too placed their hoplite ()and Libyan) phalanx of four infantry opposite the Roman foot and placed a unit of light infantry opposite the Italians. They intended no advance with any of these in the hope that their superior cavalry would win on their left flank and come in on the Roman foot before these superior cohorts hit the Punic line. For the Carthaginians had three units of Punic and Spanish cavalry on this wing plus two units of Numidian light horse. While one of the latter would skirmish against the extra cohort the three cavalry would surely be sufficient to break the Roman cavalry.
Alas it was not to be. The Roman light horse worked wonders shooting up the Numidians opposite to such effect that one Punic cavalry unit was forced to try to bring them to contact and could take no part in the main cavalry melee. This the Punics lost spectacularly, throwing a six four times in a row when dicing for permanent losses (o me miserum), though one Roman cavalry unit did succumb in the process.
The Victorious Roman Cavalry advance while, in the distance, the Punic Cavalry and Numidian Horse chase the Roman Light Horse
As a result the Roman infantry line marched almost unopposed into the Punic line and absolutely thrashed it. The Italians and peltasts fought an inconclusive action in the rough and the remaining Numidians very successfully shot up the victorious Roman cavalry but successes elsewhere could not save the Greeks and Libyans who formed the Punic line. Tthough the battle twisted here and there for a while, soon three of the four Punic units were destroyed while the Roman cohorts, though bloodied, all were still there.
The Roman Line Smashes into the Punic Phalanx
The Punic invasion of Italy had failed and the remains of the army hurried back to their ships and returned to Sicily licking their wounds.
Next to move will be Macedon. Will they seek to take advantage of the Persian revolt to once more intervene in the East or, seeing the strife in Italy, will they decide to intervene here themselves?
The Parthian reconquest of rebellious Persia produced the most one-sided battle we have seen to date in this campaign. The Successor state lined up their pikes and hoplites in the centre with peltasts to their left backed by heavy cavalry and a unit of light horse stretching into the hills while on the other flank they had another unit of peltasts, their elephants and more heavy cavalry. The Parthians, having seen their enemy deploy, placed their elephants and two of their noble cavalry on their left fronted by 3 horse archer units while over on the right they stood their remaining noble cavalry unit and a further 2 units of horse archers. Light javelins fronted both sides’ elephants.
On their left the massed Noble Cavalry and elephants immediately charged the enemy and completely defeated them (it didn’t help that the Successor General rolled a 6 for both cavalry and elephant losses) The light horse similarly was forced back.
The Parthian Right Flank has destroyed their opponents but not yet turned into the centre - those elephants take some stopping. Horse arfchers are holding off the enemy centre but the likely collapse of their compatriots on their right mean they are sidestepoing over the battlefield to help.
On the other wing the Greeks destroyed both facing enemy horse archer units but by the time their horse and foot got near the enemy Noble Cavalry their right flank was being threatened by the enemy on their flank. With a break point of only 10 it only needed their skirmishers to be scattered and a hoplite unit destroyed for them to collapse into defeat.
The Parthian Right just as the horse archers arrive.
Pursued after the battle relentlessly by nomad archers the nascent state completely collapsed and the cities rendered their submission once again to the Parthian King. He ordered their city walls destroyed and was barely prevented from ordering their cultivated lands to revert to steppe.
Whatever happens in Pontus (to be fought in a fortnight) it is difficult to believe the Macedonians will leave the East alone any further.
King Seleucus review his army before the start of the battlle
Seleucus marched north against Pontus. Fearing their heavy cavalry he took all his own Companions and two other heavies with him, two large units of Pikes and some Galatian mercenaries in a large unit. Usually he had lots of Thracian light horse in his army but this time he restricted himself to a single unit of horse archers. The Pontic King too sought the help of the Galatians, enrolling six units into his army. With only his own Noble Cavalry unit and two javelin armed horse units, his army seemed even more imbalanced with five skirmisher units with a mix of javelins, slings and bows (what a terrible army list this is!)
The two armies met on a plain with a lake on one flank near some poor terrain and with another patch of poor terrain over on the other flank. Seleucus placed his pikes on the open plain with two units of cavalry supported by the horse archers on his right and the Galatians and a third unit of heavy cavalry on his left with some skirmishers. Opposite him the Pontics placed – nothing. They left the plain completely empty. Over on their right facing the Seleucid Galatians they placed two units of the same and some light javelins as cover and some slingers.
The Pontic Right - the Galatians are swinging round while Seleucus Himself Charges Through the Centre
On their left between the lake and poor terrain they placed their only unit of Heavy Cavalry with both light horse units ready to thrust through the gap. The remaining skirmishers and Galatians charged forward into the rough terrain, three in front and one in reserve, trusting that their enemy would be loath to place either their cavalry or pikes in such dangerous ground for them.
Behind the Pontic Centre - the Galations in the Rough
Seleucus was puzzled as to what to do so he kept his two large pike units and a cavalry unit in open ground facing the Galatians. On his right a cavalry unit and the horse archers manoeuvred against the enemy horse while over on the far wing he sought to contest the rough terrain there with his Galatians. This left his own Horse Companions. These he boldly thrust into the empty plain, hoping to find no opponents at all and allowing him to get behind the enemy line completely.
On the far wing things went well for the Pontics. Despite losing a Galatian unit to the enemy they finally swung round with their other unit and eliminated the enemy Celts. But on the other wing there was disaster for them. The light horse suffered attacking the horse archers but keeping his own Nobles at the rear the Pontic King sought to tempt the enemy cavalry to attack the light horse in front of the rough terrain so as to let a unit of Galatians surge out onto their flank. This went well but despite causing more hits on the enemy cavalry the Galatians rolled 6 for cohesion while their enemy rolled 1.
The Pontic Trap is Sprung but the Dice say Otherwise
Meanwhile Seleucus himself was racing through the centre. The Pontic King turned his own Companions into the centre to face this threat and the reserve unit of Galatians in the rough likewise tried to turn to catch the Companions in flank. All that was needed, the King declared, was for his cavalry to either neat or hold the enemy Companions for one turn so as to allow the Galatians to join in. but it was not to be. The Companions won, pursued and won again, and again and the Pontic king died alongside his Noble horse.
The Two Kings Meet in Combat
With all three of their heavy cavalry extant – albeit bloodied and both units of pikes untouched Seleucus was declared the winner. Asia Minor had been cleared of troublesome independents - until the next rebellion, anyway.
The Consul looks over his battle line
Placing his seasoned legionaries in the centre, Sholtos placed his cavalry supported by light horse and skirmishers on the right and advanced his foot as speedily as possible against the Celts who had placed their heavy infantry centrally in a gap between two patches of broken ground with lighter warbands on either side in the broken ground itself. The Celtic chief relied most however on his two units of heavy cavalry which he placed opposite the Roman cavalry on his left. He hoped the enemy there could be thrashed and then his cavalry could come in on the flank of the cohorts before these crashed into his infantry.
The Celtic Line (with standards bizarrely like later Christian ones)
Things went well for the Gauls to begin with. The cavalry action was won, but not as quickly as they would have liked and not without one unit suffering severe damage from the Romans in dfoing so. And the lighter Celts on that flank unexpectedly rushed out of the broken ground and meleed with the Roman velites and light horse, defeating both of them in short order. (No one knows why the horse did not choose to evade)
The Celtic Cavalry defeat the Romans - but not without considerable loss while the infantry rush out of the rough into the enemy
But the cohorts advanced speedily on the enemy, leaving one one unit to turn and face the victorious Celtic left.
Their onset was terrible. For a change the pila did considerable damage before the melees were almost universally won. The Soldurii held on for a melee or two but the Celts took infantry losses along this front and the battle was soon won for the Romans.
The Cohorts Crash into the Advancing Celts and comprehensively defeat them
Once again the Celtic people are under the heel of the Romans. But only until the next rebellion.
Mayhem in Mesopotamia
Mesopotamia had revolted and Seleucus knew that if he did not crush it immediately the Parthians would take the opportunity to penetrate into the area from the Iranian plateau. He could not afford to linger. Taking only his best troops with him he raced south along the Euphrates. He had two large units of pikes, one his guards and the other the best of his mercenaries. He took his own Companian cavalry and the best of his heavy lancers. An elephant, some thureophai and a single unit of horse archers completed his force and he picked up a couple of units of skirmishers en route.
The rebels fought with what they had. Their putative king, recently the military governor, had his own Agema cavalry and the local Greek nobility raised their own cavalry unit.
The Rebel Horse
He had one large body of pikes and two units of hoplites (all obligatory from the Minor Successor army lists, alas). He engaged two units of Thracian light horse and two units of Cretan archers, some peltasts and some javelin skirmishers and moved north to face the invaders.
The Rebel Foot
That Seleucus had elephant(s) with him became known early on to the rebels (updated placement sequence) so they placed almost all their skirmishers, archers and javelins opposite with a unit of light horse on their flank. Opposite them was the elephant unit, their skirmisher cover and the enemy horse archers. This constituted the Seleucid left wing. In the centre Seleucus placed both his large pike phalanxes and the thureophai to their right, facing the enemy phalanx of pikes, hoplltes and peltasts.
Seleucus' Left and Centre
On the right his two heavy cavalry faced the rebel cavalry. Beyond these Seleucus placed his last skirmishers where they faced uncertainly a unit of Thracian horse.
Seleucus' Cavalry - on the right
The rebels knew they had to neutralise the elephant, beat the enemy cavalry and at least hold off the superior infantry phalanx until they could come at it from the flanks. Alas, almost everything in this undoubtedly reasonable plan went wrong. On the left the Thracian horse chased after and destroyed the enemy skirmishers but to their right the Seleuciud cavalry trounced the rebel Agema and Greeks, though they took severe losses achieving this. On the other flank the Thracians were eventually defeated by the horse archers and, try as they might, the Cretans failed to inflict sufficient damage on the elephant and its skirmisher cover to force them back. Eventually the elephant crashed into the rightmost hoplites while the Cretans turned to face the advancing victorious horse archers. Here the Greek spears proved their worth and thrust back the elephants. But they could not follow up this success for they were needed to their left where a right ding-dong battle had been going on between the two infantry lines. Both Seleucid pike units lost their rear units but the Thureophai defeated their peltast opponents and both the rear rebel pikes and a hoplite unit were destroyed in the melee. The rebels had now reached their break point and conceded. The loss of their cavalry, VD 3 each, had, in effect doomed them (army breakpoint only 10) despite things going relatively well elsewhere on the battlefield.
The two armies from the hill overlooking tghe rough terrain. The Roman cavalry is about to attack the Punic horse in echelon
The Romans, knowing the Punic superiority in cavalry, decided to concentrate all their horse on one wing, their left, leaving their open right wing to the infantry. The Carthaginians placed their Greek and Libyan foot in the centre with cavalry facing the legionaries on their left and further horse on their right with some light troops and skirmishers near the rough terrain. Their plan was clearly to hold off the slower Roman foot with their left wing cavalry while they dealt with the enemy horse on the other flank.
The Punic mercenary Greek Cavalry advance on the Roman infantry
Their left cavalry performed wonders, charging the legions who, despite winning every melee here, never gained enough of an advantage to throw the cavalry back – at least not for some time.
The Roman foot fronted by Velites await the cavalry attack
On the other wing the two bodies of cavalry fought a long melee until both Roman units (and the Consul leading them) were destroyed. Punic losses were considerable, however and their General and his bodyguards were forced to retire to the rear of his army, badly damaged. But the other Punic cavalry unit was relatively unscathed. In desperation the remaining Consul thrust his light horse forward against the victorious enemy cavalry in the hope of a quick turnaround. But it was not to be. The light horse bounced and were taken themselves in flank by the enemy light infantry and destroyed. The successful Punic right then proceeded to roll up the Roman line defeating the Italian allies and the leftmost cohort. Even as the rest of the cohorts finally defeated their cavalry opponents, the losses of the Roman army reached their breakpoint. The Carthaginians had conquered Cisalpina. Italia is obviously next on the Punic agenda. The Punic foot hardly got a look-in
The Greek Mercenaries were hardly involved in the battle
But when the news of the defeat reached Rome, nothing daunted, the Senate immediately raised a new army. Even as I write the Senate is discussing whether to send this force north to regain the Alps or to switch the attack to Punic Sicilia, capture it and threaten Carthage by landing in Africa itself. (the loss of North Africa would in this campaign mean all Carthaginian controlled areas would immediately rebel)
Once again Consul Sholtus was given command and led his legions and allies against Carthage. On landing he quickly overawed the Greek cities and marched south to the Punic areas of the island. The local Carthaginian commander, newly appointed and with no experience of Roman tactics, nevertheless gathered his forces on the island and marched to meet the legions.
The two armies met on a large plain with no terrain to interfere with their dispositions. The Romans set out their infantry in the centre, pila to the centre and spears to the flanks with the Italian allies as a reserve – Sholtus hoped their speed would aid in going to any flank in danger.
The Roman line
On each flank he placed a unit of cavalry and he placed his sole unit of light horse beyond the cavalry on his left. The Carthaginans once more placed their hopes on their superior cavalry with two units on each wing with some light horse opposite the like enemy horse on the wing. Their infantry, Greek hoplites in the main, in the centre faced the legions with the weaker Libyans on the left of the line and the light infantry on the right.
The Carthaginian plan was simple – hold back the phalanx, defeat the enemy cavalry and swing into the centre to take the legions in flank and rear before they could engage the infantry. And it very nearly worked, for this was a battle that really went to the wire (or closing time at the bar upstairs). On the Punic right the cavalry vanquished their opponents though they lost one cavalry unit in the process. The Roman light horse held this wing up for a few melees but eventually they were cleared away.
Both sides's light horse face up to one another
Both the victorious cavalry and light horse then retraced their steps in order to join in the infantry melee in the middle. Over on the other wing things weren’t so simple. The Roman cavalry was certainly defeated quickly enough but the two victorious cavalry units swung round to the centre so slowly that they allowed both the rightmost cohort and the reserve Italian foot to form a defensive line, protecting the army’s flank.
The Victorious Punic Cavalry now faced by the Roman right wing cohort. Their infantry line to the rear.
Meanwhile the legions had burst upon the hoplites. This was a long, desperate melee all along the line. On the Punic right the light infantry was quickly defeated but the rightmost hoplite unit defeated the winning cohort and then, miraculously held off attacks in rear from the Punic cavalry and then in flank from the enemy light horse before finally succumbing after many melees.
On the other wing the Italians held off one unit of cavalry for melee after melee until the cohorts smashed their way through the enemy foot. At one point both sides were only 1 VD away from defeat. At last the hoplites in the very centre collapsed and the Romans claimed victory. A close run thing indeed.
The Punic commander rode off swearing vengeance while Sholtus was accorded a triumph and a week’s holiday in Malaga.
This left the last player turn in this, the tenth Game Turn of the campaign. The Parthians determined to sweep down from the Iranian plateau and bring the benefits of nomad life to Mesopotamia. Seleucus must respond.
(Aplogies for scarcity of photos this time round - the battle itself was so exciting we simply forgot!)
ps. I've been asked a couple of times what the dogleg card shapes on the battlefield are. They are MDF turning angles for each rate of movement, 5, 6, 8, 10 and 12 They are placed on the side of a unit and determine where the unit can turn to. Made by the firm Warbases they are, in my opinion, an indispensible aid for Impetus. We use the 15mm ones because our rate of movement in 28mm mirrors the increase in base size between the two scales but they also produce these for double rate/28mm scale. The long straight card pieces on the table are movement rules, home made in card. The blue dice denote disorder for the unit they lie behind, the red dice, prermanent losses.
Seleucus set himself up in a fairly narrow valley with impenetrable rocks on either flank - no way was he going to be outflanked by all those horse archers, he thought. He placed his usual two excellent large pike blocks in the centre with each pike flank covered by peltasts. To the right of his infantry he placed his single elephant with a unit of heavy cavalry and horse archers beyond. On the other flank he himself rode with the left wing cavalry, his own Companions.
Desperate to avoid contact with the pikes the Parthian King, Ingrama, placed his elephants opposite the enemy pachyderm and peltasts with two of his three cavalry units on their left facing the enemy right wing. He left only one unit of cavalry and some Indian archers facing the enemy centre and left and flooded the whole of his front with five units of horse archers. His plan was simple, hold off the enemy foot with massed archery while his superior (in numbers) cavalry and elephants defeated the enemy left, swung in on the infantry and hit them from all sides. And for once it went to plan - almost!
The enemy horse were quickly defeated for no loss (some terriible die rolls from Seleucus here - a sequence of 6, 6 and 5 for his first three cohesion rolls) but the two elephants had a harder task facing the enemy and, though their opponents were eventually defeated the elephant corps was so depleted doing that they could not be risked in combat further.
Meanwhile the pikes had swung into the centre and despite taking a toll from archer fire were advancing on the one enemy cavalry unit left in the centre in reserve. This was finally caught carrying out a risky manoeuvre in a flip flop move in flank and destroyed. But this solitary success was not enough to save Seleuicus. Even as his Companions crossed the entire battlefield from left to right he saw himself faced by two intact enemy cavalry units with only a unit of peltasts nearby to help him and his remaining pikes were completely surrounded now by horse archers. Defeat was inevitable and with the closure of the bar looming, he conceded.
Thus ended Turn Ten when victory points are totted up and (we think, but the rules are unclear here) carried forward for the next ten turns.
Turn Eleven commenced with a revolt in Magna Graecia (up to this point controlled by Rome).
Carthage moves first and decided to take advantage of the isolation of the Roman army in Sicily (and to clear the threat from them to Carthage itself) by crossing (successfully) to Sicily and attacking the Romans legions there.
The armies met on an open area before the city with the sea on one flank and a large area of very rough ground on the other.
The two commanders with yours truly with unpire set up their forces
The Carthaginians deployed with a unit of Spanish cavalry on their right flank, then their infantry phalanx of Greek and Libyan foot with Peltasts and a unit of Gallic mercenaries beyond that. Their main force, however was on their left, three units of Spanish and Punic cavalry and a body of Numidian light horse next to the bad terrain.
The Punic Left Wing Cavalry
Clearly their plan was to defeat any enemy cavalry on that flank while withholding their own foot, then turning into the legions in flank before they could contact the Punic phalanx.
For their part the Romans fell in with this plan (albeit unknowingly) They massed their foot on the right with the intention of advancing on the enemy foot as quickly as possible while two units of cavalry some Italian light infantry and a unit of light horse held off the enemy cavalry. But they were not unaware of the turning threat – they left an elite body of legionaries in reserve behind their line to face any such threat.
Celtibertian Cavalry of the Punic Army
Things went well for the Punic army early in the battle when they destroyed a unit of Roman horse almost immediately but then their light horse was so shot up by javelins that they had to retire to reform and then the two personal bodyguard cavalry units met in cataclysmic combat – one which resulted in the defeat of the Punic unit and the death of the army commander. (Critics later commented that at least this saved him from the inevitable crucifixion if he had returned home anyway). The defeat of the Roman light horse did not really compensate for this and this wing found all three remaining units desperately trying to reform as the Roman reserve cohort and Italians on one side and the Punic Peltasts and Gauls came up to enter the fight here.
An overall view as the Roman foot advance
The Roman cavalry abandoned trying to reform and plunged into combat with the Gauls, defeating them, though at some loss to themselves. Meanwhile the reserve cohort and Italians were attacked by the peltasts and the victorious cavalry – and held.
But crucial events were now taking precedence elsewhere on the battlefield. Over on the other wing The Punic cavalry there had attacked the leftmost spear armed cohort in an effort to delay the Roman infantry advance. They succeeded in halting it in a long lasting melee but the Roman commander here was most unwilling to halt in line with this combat and moved the rest of the cohorts forward against the Punic line. The two lines crashing each other and after a couple of melees the Punic line was broken and their forces ran from the battlefield. These Roman value 6 infantry units are tough cookies! Victory for Rome.
The Seleucids advanced down the Euphrates and defied the Parthian occupiers (as they termed them) to attack them. Warned of the enemy approach by the swarms of horse archers dogging their footsteps Seleucus took up a position between the great river on his right (table edge) and a large lake which had an expanse of bad terrain beside it. He wanted to force the enemy to attack him on this reduced frontage, expecting that he could win the frontal encounter before any outflanking move round the lake and rough would take effect. But even though, when he formed his line, he left a unit of horse archers and some peltasts as a reserve in his rear . . . just in case.
On his right, next to the river, he placed his two cavalry units including his own Companions led by himself.
The Seleucid Cavalry
Next he had some elephants supported by very good light infantry and then his phalanx next to the lake, with the elephants and pikes fronted by skirmishers. With their great superiority in mounted troops, the Parthians responded by placing two units of their own cavalry on their left fronted by horse archers, then put their own allied elephants opposite the enemy pachyderms and then a unit of Indian archers against the lake with another unit of horse archers in general reserve, ready to exploit any gap. Two further units of horse archers were placed away out on the right beyond the rough ground in precisely the kind of flanking manoeuvre Seleucid though unlikely.
Both sides hoped their cavalry and/or elephants would win a straight fight while the Parthians hoped that the Indian archers would hobble the enemy phalanx so that when and if it got into action it would be sufficiently damaged beforehand. This last was a forlorn hope as the skirmishers in front of the pikes screened them so effectively that the archers made no impression whatsoever on the phalanx before it moved forward, turned at an angle and attacked the right hand Indian elephant.
The Elephants Face Each Other
But there it stalled and for 3 or 4 rounds of melee the elephant held the pikes off, even destroying the rear unit, even though the strength of the phalanx was almost double that of the elephants. (pike=6 plus large unit addition versus elephant at 6).
The Pikes Swing in to the Centre as the Elephants Advance
Worse, on the other flank each general destroyed the enemy cavalry in front of them but while the Parthian general was able to ride forward in pursuit and then rally from disorder, Seleucus himself on advancing, found himself surrounded by horse archers who, while not causing any permanent damage kept his Agema disordered and thus unable to turn quickly to face the enemy in the centre.
Behind the Parthian Cavalry Line
The Cavalry On Both Sides Advance
The Parthian victory was, however, ensured by the action in the centre. After sustaining losses from Elephant archery the spear armed light infantry (value 6!) were charged by the left hand elephant, and when they retreated the latter charged forward into the adjacent stationary Seleucid elephant, defeated it, pursued once again into the light infantry which it destroyed and then again into the retreated elephant which, though it did not destroy it, so weakened it that it could not realistically take any further part in the battle. In the other elephant versus elephant battle the Parthians were again victorious, destroying their enemy in short order. (it has to be said that Seleucus threw some terrible dice in these last two actions, both for attack and cohesion).
By this time the Seleucids were perilously close to collapse and the flanking attack was soon to take effect. The Seleucid horse archers were destroyed by concentrated shooting and though the peltasts here did a fair amount on damage to the enemy horse when they finally were charged by them it only needed the badly weakened elephant in the centre to finally be destroyed by horse archer fire to push Seleucus over the edge. The attempt to reconquer Mesopotamia had failed.
Next week the Roman attack on the Punic homeland.
There will now be a six week hiatus until I return from an extended trip to Malaga to get away from the damp and the arthritis at which point the Partians will have decided whether to continue their assault on the Seleucids or succumb to the temptation of conquering India.
I've really enjoyed following this campaign and I'm thinking of using 'Empire' for my own campaign using Impetus. Can you tell me, does each battle that you fight as a wargame start with each army having the same points value?
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So all armies have the same 50 strength points. But if you reach 49 you are allowed to add a 2 strength skirmisher to go to 51. You must abide by the minimums divided by 3 (at least 1) where they appear in your army list and you can have up to the whole maximum allowed for those unit types. We puzzled for a while how tto replicate the Alexander (and Hannibal and Scipio) effect and after trying out a few different things we agreed that these special generals break an enemy army on the army break point minus 3. So if his opponent breaks on losing 12 vdu normally then against him on his special turn they break on 9 vd.
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For their part the Parthians, once they had seen the initial placement of the pikes, were sure the enemy would, once again try to hold the flank while moving both Companions and pikes diagonally across the battlefield. The Parthian King decided to leave only the Indian spears and horse archers on that flank, place his two elephants opposite the enemy light infantry and elephant and, as usual (yawn) throw two units of cavalry against the enemy left supported by massed horse archers. But he also now kept his third unit of cavalry, his own comitatus, in reserve to deal with any approach by the enemy Companions or to retrieve any failure.
The Parthian Centre
On the Parthian left all went well. The cavalry, realising there was no need to go right round the flank bore to their right early, depending on their own horse archers to chase the enemy horse archers from the field. In this they were successful, though they took a fair amount of damage doing so. The cavalry were thus able to attack the enemy light infantry in conjunction with an elephant and, after a mammoth struggle they broke through and defeated them, carrying on into an enemy cavalry unit which was likewise defeated, though it cost an elephant to do so. The other elephant met its like and, again after a long struggle, was defeated. But the victorious elephants on both sides were deeply damaged in doing so. The remaining Seleucid cavalry on the flank had turned to face the remaining Parthian cavalry here and the two waged an unsuccessful melee against each other until the victorious Parthian horse archers came up to help – though they continued to be hindered by the attacks of the very potent Cretan archers.
The Seleucid Centre
On the other flank the pikes moved forward against the archers and, more quickly than the Parthians thought possible, they attacked and routed them in short order.
The Indian Archers on the Parthian Right
Meanwhile the Companions had crossed the battlefield very quickly (back to back moves helped here) and destroyed one horse archer unit who could not evade, forced a second to evade well away from the action and attacked the Parthian King and his reserve cavalry. This action too was indecisive for some time, but eventually, weakened by previous horse archer fire, the Companions melted away. Breakpoint for the Seleucids had been reached and victory won for Parthia.
Parthian Noble Cavalry
This ended Turn 11.
Turn 12 commenced with the news that Bactria had rebelled (curses, quoth the Parthian King!) and Parthia was first top move. The King must now decide whether to turn back to quell the rebellion in his Eastern Province or continue against the Seleucids. Some of his advisors, worried at the mountainous terrain if ghey enter Anatolia have suggested instead an attack on Egypt – a 2 point province. The King is tempted by the notion of watering his horses in the Mediterranean. Mmmm.
Thanks for the latest report. Just wondered if you use the rules as written to set up the battlefield terrain or your own 'house rules'? And are you going to use Basic Impetus II in the future?
Thanks again, Paul
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1. There are four separate sequential segments of unit placement.
2. In each segment each side rolls 2 dice and adds the number of cavalry and chariot (not elephant) units to their total. The side with the lowest resultant total places first.
First Segment: Heavy Infantry
Second Segment: Elephants and Light Infantry
Third Segment: Heavy and Medium Cavalry
Fourth Segment: Light Horse and Skirmishers
This would retain the advantage the side with more horse has, but allow the possibility that both sides might be able to place some elements of their army first. It also stops the "attacker" knowing exactly where his opponent has placed, especially, his horse and elephants, and placing his own troops accordingly EVERY TIME.
We will stick with this for the moment. As for rules I don't see us changing to Basic Impetus II. For one thing we are happy with the version 1.5 (2014) brought out by the player in Spain a couple of years ago which pulled together all the relevant rules from the full set that needed amending in BI and we have added a countercharge rule as per Baroque. For another I think BI2 is a very different set of rules. The addition of more pre melee weaponry and the ability of archers to fire and THEN melee, changes the values of different armaments significantly. And I prefer the simpler certainties of BI - at least the version we use. We know these rules by heart now and are loth to learn another set after this far into the campaign.
Its a bit like the old WRG rules where many clubs stopped at Third Edition and didn't bother following the various changes up to Sixth Edition that took place.