Sunday, December 22, 2019

Roman Civil War, Old Empire vs New

A Headless Body Production
Venue: Fall In 2019
Event:  L' Art de la Guerre, Theme
Rules Set: L'Art de la Guerre
Theme: Alexander to Aetius Theme
Players: Phil Gardocki playing Middle Imperial Roman
                Kevin Hatch playing Late Imperial Roman

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The Forces:
Middle Imperial Roman
Commanded Larrylious (Say that three times fast), the Brilliant, his brother Darrylious, the Competent and his other brother Darrylious, the Competent, and somewhat unreliable.
8   Legionaries    Heavy swordsmen impact
3   30 mina catapult   Heavy artillery
3   Velities   Light infantry javelin
4   Auxilia   Medium swordsmen impact
3   Alares   Heavy cavalry
2   Illyricani   Light cavalry bow 
Breakpoint of 24

Late Imperial Roman (derived from photos and memory and subject to error)
6   Legionaries    Heavy swordsmen impact, amour, some elite
3   Velities   Light infantry javelin
4   Auxilia   Medium swordsmen impact
6   Alares   Heavy cavalry, 2 impact elite
2   Illyricani   Light Javelin
Breakpoint of 22
What is a mina?  From the Greek word mna (μνᾶ) was borrowed from Semitic; compare Hebrew māneh, Aramaic  mĕnē, Syriac manyā, Ugaritic mn, and Akkadian manū. It is equal to 70 drachmaes
Or, it could be a unit of weight, A mina was set to 1/60 talent.
So, the catapults are either 2,100 drachmaes, or throwing rocks weighing 40 pounds

The Romans win the initiative and elect to attack in the plains.

The Board:
The Middle Imperials are receiving and have two fields in their deployment area.

Behind the rough, field strewn hill are 4 units of Auxilla. 

On the Via Apulia, facing Romeward, an impressive cavalry force.

The Middle Imperial's Cavalry take up position on the left.

8 Legio's line the impromptu camp.
I had a real camp, with a pallisade, pack camels and everything.  I left it in the basement after giving it a fresh coat of flock.

On the far right, catapults and Lanciarii.

There is a debate on if it is legal to place heavy catapults in the rough.  I have posted it in the forum here.

Turn 1:
The referee blows his whistle.  "Lay On"!
Roman Alares gallop down the via. covered by the Auxillia on the hill.  That means Darrylious's Cavalry will be outnumbered 2-1.
The Late Legionnaires, move not at all.
Running interference to the far left, two units of Alares, in a gully.

Darrylious postures forward. 
Larrylious marches, shifting left.
Darrylious Auxillia leaves the field, his Velities pinning the Alares at 4UD.
Turn 2:

The Auxilla stay on the hill.  The Alares have a command point shortage and cannot deploy like they wanted.
The Legions advance, lining up with the Auxilla.

Here is the reason for the Alares problem (2 frames up)  The other 2 heavy horse decided not to contest the gully.
Darrylious holds firm with his heavy horse.
Larrylious extends his line.  The Legio on the far right however could only extend to the right flank, so instead he is taking the long march to the left.
In retrospect it was a bad idea to form up 6 wide, and then one on each end.  Thinking on how the battle would develop, it would have been better to weight both rear rank Cohorts either right or left, not both.  It's a mistake I'll repeat the next game.

The Auxilla contract and advance.  The concept will be to be in a single line then turn onto the flank of the opposing legions.
Turn 3:
Here come the opposing Alares.  At this time I forgot they were all impact cavalry, mine are not.
The Roman foot troops hold their position, out of catapult range.
The Late Imperials are willing to wait the outcome of the cavalry action.
But Darrylious never intended to fight here.  And begins his orderly withdrawal. 
Larrylious's line also advances and slides.  That crookedness is unintentional.
2 Heavy Cavalry vs 4 Medium Swordsmen.  I'll take that bet.
Turn 4:

The Alares approach, but contract around the hill.
Auxilla and legions form a unified front

Their flank covered by two remaining Alares.

Darrylious leads his cavalry back, presenting a bucket for the Alares to charge into.
It's an obvious trap that says mainly, "Don't go there."

For this is where the Middle Imperial's want to fight.  Catapult boulders start to rain in.
Larrylious, Darrylious and Darrylious can hold this position all day.
Turn 5:

Late Imperials decide to charge with their lights!  The Middle Imperials lights are ground under, and the supported heavies take a hit!

The legionaries are lined up, let the taunting begin.
 And the stones begin to fly.
Every now and then a spunky javelin chucker scores lucky.  Velites take a chance leaving the gully and score.
With the infantry about to engage, the cavalry takes it easy.
However, it did not go well for the Middle Imperials.
However the artillery has found its range and has double hits on two cohorts.

The Auxillia didn't have enough range to get all their elements in on the charge, so went for position instead.
Turn 6:
The Late Imperials charge.  And they have lances!  Two Middle Imperial Heavy Cavalry are run down, taking Darrylious with them.
Some how I missed the fact I was facing impact cavalry.  I would have handled this differently.

The Late Imperial Romans have 4 points towards their breakpoint of 22
The Middle Imperial Romans have 10 points towards their breakpoint of 24

The crush of impact was bad, and it turns worse.
The Late Imperial Romans have 5 points towards their breakpoint of 22
The Middle Imperial Romans have 12 points towards their breakpoint of 24

Once again I throw my troops in piecemeal and pay a heavy price.  But there is hope.  The Late Imperials far left Legio has two hits on it and will be overlapped.
The Middle Imperial's Auxilla were looking forward to 2-1 advantage on the Late Imperials cavalry, but the Late Imperials added a couple of cohorts to the fight.
The last cavalry cohort is just barely holding on.

Larrylious commits his last cohorts to the fray.  His left cohorts are about to collapse, but the right side has 4 straight wins.

The Middle Imperial Swordsmen commit, charging the heavy horse.

The Late Imperial Romans have 12 points towards their breakpoint of 22
The Middle Imperial Romans have 14 points towards their breakpoint of 24

Turn 7:
The Middle Imperial left has totally collapsed.
The right is holding and has turned the flank of the Late Imperials.

One Middle Imperial Swordsmen are collapsing before the combined arms of Legions and Horse.

The Late Imperial Romans have 13 points towards their breakpoint of 22
The Middle Imperial Romans have 20 points towards their breakpoint of 24
The Middle Imperials turn the right flank for the catastrophic flank charge, and wiff the die roll.  Larrylious draws his sword and advances to the front, and catches a spear in the eye.

The loss of Larrylious is enough to take the Middle Imperials over their break point.  So the loss of a swordsman is only icing on the cake for the Late's.  The destruction a Late Imperial heavy horse provides little solace to make up for it.

The Late Imperial Romans have 15 points towards their breakpoint of 22
The Middle Imperial Romans have 24 points towards their breakpoint of 24

What went wrong?
Relying on my opponent to do what was needful to win?  Richard was not going to allow more  boulders to be hurled at him than necessary before his assault.  When push came to shove, I had only damaged one of his legions.  After that, it was armored, and some elite vs unarmored Legions, with predictable results.

I can't say I lost this battle in any one spot, the fact is, I lost it every where!  There was no single spot I shined, and only one battle that worked out as planned.  I can blame dice in some places, but overall I was defeated by superior troop match-ups by my opponent.

How did the artillery fare?  To tell the truth, I overloaded on the artillery for the fun of it.  I looked at this theme as an opportunity to break out figures long languishing on the shelves, and would have brought more artillery if allowed.  I combed through the lists and no list allows more than 3. 

I brought them to watch the WTF response and got it.  Kevin Swanson, the referee didn't catch it till the second game and that was gratifying.  

Artillery is more of an environmental effect.   In this case it caused Kevin to redirect his cavalry command away from the splash zone, and into my cavalry command, which he won decisively for 11 points. So that would be classed as an epic failure.

As far as actual damage.  2 legions were disordered twice, one died when impacted, the other served as support only.  2 light foot were disordered, one of which was destroyed.

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