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Vapnartak York Feb 2018- format options?

Wed Oct 18, 2017 8:26 am by Cyrus The Adequate

Hi everyone

I was pondering the options for the York competition and wondered …

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Impetus Competition Derby Worlds 2017

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There will be a 28mm Impetus Competition at Derby World Wargames on 7th …

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Impetus at Derby?

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Canberra July 15th-16th

Basic Impetus 2
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BI2 tournament - 25 March 2017

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Would anyone be interested in a 28mm Basic Impetus 2 tournament on 25 March …

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28mm Impetus Competition York Sunday 5th February 2017

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The traditional start to the Impetus Competition calendar in the UK is York in …

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"Legion" versus "Legion"

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"Legion" versus "Legion"

Post by AncientWarrior on Sat Feb 07, 2015 2:47 pm

Disappointed by my apparent inability to carry a tune let lone strike the right notes in a largish battle of the warbands scenario (Gauls versus Germans, each side having 3 core armies and 255 points worth of bonus units) using modified Armati 2nd Edition rules, I thought I might scale things back a bit and even switch rules, at least for the time being. Short story even shorter: I decided to re-educate myself on the intricacies of IMPETVS with a 300-point per side Roman civil war contest.

The Blue and the Gray forces were drawn from the Early Imperial Roman list on page 9 of Extra IMPETVS 2. The Blue army contained 3 units of FP Legionarii (heavy infantry), 1 unit of veteran FP Legionarii, 4 units of FL Auxiliares (light infantry), 1 unit of CM Equites Alares (medium horse), and two units of skirmishers: 1 armed with slings and the other with short bows (type A). The total morale value of these units was calculated at 25, which meant that the army would be broken when 13 points of units were lost. These formations were led by a fair general who enjoyed a good command structure. In contrast, the Gray army had an average command structure but was commanded by an expert general. Eight units of FP Legionarii formed the nucleus of this force. These doughty rankers were accompanied by a unit of CM Equites Alares and a unit of CL Mauri (light horse). This army would quit the field if/when 14 of its 28 points were destroyed and/or routed in combat.

Neither army had baggage or a camp, and neither army had a say in the nature of the ground. My simple goal was to reintroduce myself to the rules, relearn them, and so I wanted the focus to be on the action. This is not to say that there wasn’t any terrain, however. Approximately 30 centimeters in from one short edge of my 6 by 4-foot table, I placed a small villa (6 cm by 6 cm) on a sizable gently sloping hill (18 cm by 24 cm). There was a patch of woods (12 cm x 18 cm) about 45 cm behind the villa. A dirt road (3 cm wide) ran from the villa along the center of the table until it formed a T-intersection with a proper Roman road (6 cm wide). The example of experienced engineering ran parallel to the other short edge of the tabletop and was approximately 36 cm from that border. Four fields dotted the otherwise plain landscape. Three of these were cultivated and so, categorized as broken ground. The fourth field was an enclosed parcel and so, was classed as difficult ground. All four plots were rectangular in shape and averaged a length of 12 cm by a width or depth of 8 cm. Another hill (gently sloping and similar in size and shape to the previous) completed the terrain. This hill was on the other side of the Roman road, directly across from the T-intersection.

A “thin gray line” was formed by the 8 units of FP Legionarii on the near long edge of the tabletop. To the left of this formation was the small villa on the hillside. The right of this line was covered by the cavalry component of the Gray army. The light horse were on the Roman road while the Equites Alares were to their left and slightly behind. There was not a single group in this command. As I was facing some cultivated fields (broken ground in IMPETVS), which disorder heavy infantry trying to move through them, I thought it prudent not to arrange my line of foot soldiers as a group only to have it “fall apart” once it started moving forward. As for a battle plan, I waffled a bit between sending my cavalry in a wide flanking move, then advancing with my legionaries and making a general advance, hoping to overwhelm and crush the opposition.

Being outnumbered in both cavalry and heavy infantry, as the commander of the Blue force, I placed my auxiliary formations and skirmishers across the front of my small legion as a kind of screen. (Two units of light infantry were positioned forward and left while two units were posted forward and right. The slingers and skirmishing archers were placed well forward of the main line.) The lone unit of cavalry (medium, thankfully) was placed on my far left in order to counter the expected advance of the enemy horse. As with the Gray army, my 4 units of FP Legionarii were deployed in a line but were not formed as a group. I thought an active defense was my best option. I would use the terrain as much as I could and be very careful about where and when I committed my small reserve of heavy infantry.

First blood was drawn on the left flank of the Blue army when an enemy unit of light cavalry threw more than several javelins into the loose ranks of some auxiliary infantry. The score was quickly made even when more than several sling stones found their marks in the close ranks of an advancing cohort of heavy infantry on the left side of the Gray line. The steady advance (some might remark slow) of the main line of the Gray force continued despite the bruising attention of the skirmishing slingers and the disordering nature of the fields scattered across their route of march. The Blue slingers proved fairly effective, causing their chosen target a number of casualties. In stark contrast, the Blue archers proved singularly worthless. Several volleys of arrows either landed harmlessly in the ground or stuck into or glanced off of tightly held shields. Back on the right flank of the Gray force, the medium cavalry of both sides charged each other. In a sharp, short, and rather one-sided fight, the Blue Equites Alares were driven back and then broken. The victorious “regiment” could not exploit the advantage though. This unit spent the rest of the battle trying to wheel and advance into the left flank and rear of the Blue army. The dice, however, would not permit it. On the same flank, the Gray light cavalry foolishly attacked an enemy unit of auxiliaries and was destroyed for its efforts. Meanwhile, over on the far right of the Blue position, another unit of auxiliaries had moved up to and secured the small villa. This development resulted in one unit of heavy infantry being peeled off of the Gray line of battle and tasked with watching the villa. For the rest of the action, these two units simply stared at each other. In the center of the field, the legionary infantry of the Gray army were finally able to get to grips with the waiting units of Blue auxiliaries. These light units had the advantage of the terrain (heavy infantry is disordered in broken ground) and consequently, gave the Gray rankers some trouble. In fact, the unit on the far left of the line was initially very roughly handled and then eventually routed after a melee of attrition. Two units of Gray heavy infantry made little headway against the Blue left. The enemy auxiliaries were defending an enclosed field (difficult ground) so even the presence of the Gray commander was of little help. Seeing the difficulties that the Gray force was having, the Blue commander ordered his heavy infantry forward to finish the battle. Their skirmishers withdrew behind friendly lines and contact was soon made between opposing units of legionaries. The confused melee went back and forth for a couple of turns. The end of the battle arrived rather unexpectedly. Two units of Blue heavy foot launched an uncoordinated attack against an enemy unit. Even though the Blue commander was present, one of his legionary units was routed and his supporting unit was forced back. The withdrawal was not far enough, however. Their blood lust up, the Gray soldiers pursued and hit the Blue unit hard. Rankers in the Blue formation fell like ten-pins and the general soon found himself in the thick of the fighting. The cohesion test was the worst possible result and two rolls on the commander table confirmed it: the General was dead and his small army was routed. (Early on in the short battle - it lasted just 10 turns - the Blue general had been elevated to Expert. Because of this promotion, he was able to re-roll both dice on the commander table. The first roll was a 10. The total modifier was a plus 3. (At least I think I figured this right.) Naturally, the dice were re-rolled. Of course, an 11 was the result.

I believe I handled the death of the Blue general and subsequent collapse of his small force correctly. Even so, the result came as a bit of a surprise. I was of the opinion that the Blue troops had a better plan of battle and that the terrain was on their side. Two out of three is pretty good, but unless the dice are also on your side, it is very hard to win a miniature battle.

On immediate but still considered reflection, I think that I handled the reduction in scale fairly well. As I did not have a lot of them at hand, I tried to be more careful with my troops. The sudden switch in rules was a little more challenging, to be perfectly frank. There is more dice rolling in an IMPETVS game than in an ARMATI 2nd Edition game. There is definitely more consulting of charts and calculating of modifiers in an IMPETVS battle. Then again, perhaps that is just due to my level of experience. Along that same line of thinking, the “interrupted” turn sequence certainly takes some getting used to. On a few occasions, I “fought” three or four sub-rounds of melee between a couple of units in a single turn. It seems unusual that this “pushing and shoving” or “hacking and stabbing” would take place while enemy and friendly units close by would just stand there frozen in time. But again, perhaps I did some things wrong and my inexperience interfered with running a completely satisfactory and smooth action on my tabletop?

In summary, this reintroduction to IMPETVS was a fairly enjoyable diversion. I played it solo and believe that I did a fairly good - if perhaps unoriginal and or unexciting - job of leading both forces into battle. I did think that the Blue army was going to win. They won 8 of the 10 initiative/activation rolls and they had some advantage with respect to the terrain. However, as described in the preceding narrative, a few unfortunate die rolls turned the tide decisively in favor of the Gray legion.


AncientWarrior
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