Sunday, 31 March 2013

Late Roman Light Cavalry

Two units of these guys finished off over for some skirmish foot archers and this army is pretty much ready for the table. Lots of optional add ons still to do but I'll work through those later at my leisure.
28mm A & A.... for Impetus.

Thursday, 21 March 2013

Heraclea: 280BC (The Main Battle)

Epirotes vs Romans

Played out this just recently at the club in Goulburn, with the help of a few others. Stayed over night again as usual and enjoyed some local Thai cuisine on the Saturday night with a few of the guys..... a good bit of nosh the night before battle is a must.

Historical Background:
“While his colleague…, was engaged in Etruria, the consul Publius Laevinus had in the Spring of 280BC again invaded Lucania with the usual consular army of twenty thousand men, and devastated it. Pyrrhus advanced to meet him. On the rolling plain between Heraclea and Pandosia, on the Siris, the Roman Legion first measured its strength against the Grecian Phalanx. Pyrrhus had the slightly superior force. “
“When the king came in sight of the Roman camp, and from across the Siris observed its orderliness…he could not conceal his surprise. He saw that they were not barbarians but a disciplined army to fight, one indeed whose organization was superior to his own. Nor was his surprise quickly lessened; for no sooner did the Romans perceive the approach of the enemy than they filed from their camp with their usual promptness and perfect order, pushed some light troops, sustained by a column of horse through the river ford, smartly attacked the van of Pyrrhus’ army, which was holding the ford, and drove it in on the main body. Startled at this audacious advance and sudden check, Pyrrhus galloped to the front with his three thousand cavalry, and although thrown from his horse, at which for a moment his army was somewhat abashed, soon reestablished the matter along his own front. The Roman van held the fords and enabled the legions to cross, when they deployed into line….”
“The two lines of heavy foot met; the ponderous Phalanx struck its fearful blow, but failed to pierce the legion; it met a foe as it had never encountered. In vain did the sarissa of the Epirots force back the Roman line; as often did the legionaries arrest its onset with their own fierce charge and greater front. The fall, in the fray of Megacles, one of Pyrrhus’ general officers, with whom the king is stated by Plutarch to have exchanged armor-for what purpose is not clear-for the second time threatened the destruction of the phalanx from sheer demoralization at the supposed death of its leader, while the Romans were correspondingly cheered, and Laevinus felt sure of victory; but Pyrrhus, with bared face, rode through the ranks, and to see him revived their courage. The phalanx recovered and once more moved to the attack. The lines clashed again and again. Seven times the Roman charge broke on the phalangial masses…The one could not break the other, nor could this tear its foe asunder…”
“Finally Pyrrhus, unable to make headway, brought to the front his elephants, until now held in reserve. The Roman horse was at this time, seriously, and as Laevinus imagined successfully, threatening Pyrrhus’ flank. Appalled by the aspect of these huge creatures, which none had yet beheld, and which now suddenly appeared behind a roll of ground…the horse fell back in confusion and broke through the line of the legion in its panic. Pyrrhus launched his Thessalian cavalry upon the cohorts, which completed the defeat. The Roman forces fled across the river, but managed to hold the fords against the king’s pursuit, According to Dionysius fifteen thousand Roman legionaries lay dead or wounded upon the field; Hieronymus says seven thousand; two thousand were captured.
Pyrrhus had suffered equally. Dionysius gives thirteen thousand as his casualties; Hieronymus only four thousand killed. But the smaller figure was a terrible loss….Pyrrhus visited the field thus won. He saw that all the dead Romans lay with faces to the foe. “One more such victory and I am lost” quoth he, according to Roman legend.”
(The above was from T.A. Dodge’s 1891 masterwork Hannibal p.110-113)

 The Romans and their "orderly" camp

Cavalry Engagement on the Roman left is finely won by them, after first blood going to Pyrrhus.
Pyrrhic phalanx closes in

Some of the elephants manage to get in.......but Pyrrhus and his centre looses momentum falling back and giving way. Pyrrhic centre collapses and it's all over.
This is the map we used for the set up and deployment, once more courtesy of Command and Colours Ancients.

Sunday, 3 March 2013

Isara River - 121BC

It was a wet ol day here yesterday, and a great day for a game..... so my friend Ralph and I re fought ISARA RIVER - 121 BC Gallic vs Roman  Middle republican up in the Rhone valley of Germania.

A little background..
 The Romans had been campaigning on behalf of their Massiliote allies against the Saluvii tribe of Gauls in the Rhone Valley. When the Saluvii King fled to the Allobroges tribe, the Romans sent an army against them commanded by Gnaeus Domitius. Domitius achieved a stunning victory against the Allobroges at Vindalium in early 121BC. The remains of the Allobroges were then reinforced by the Averni tribe led by their King Bituitus, and the combined army reportedly totalled 180,000 warriors, but looking at similar figures for other Gallic armies a fighting force of 40-50,000 is probably more realistic.
The Romans now sent out a new army of approximately 30,000 men commanded by the Consul Quintus Fabius Maximus.The Gauls and Romans met next to the Rhone river where it is joined by the Isara river from the east. Bituitus, scornful of the Roman numbers, suffered a massive defeat which became even more catastrophic when one of only two bridges he had thrown across the Rhone collapsed under the weight of his routing army.

The Rhone sits at the back of the Gallic army, the river on their left is the Isara.

Looking from the river

Early initial approaches

The centre makes contact first.....crash and the Gauls are getting the better of it.

Romans struggle in the centre having to commit the reserve ( the elephants ). This doesn't go much better for them, and they also get thumped by a war band getting pushed back and looking rather fragile.

Roman right also not going so well.

The Romans kill King Bituitus who is attached to one of the centre war bands. Quintus Fabius Maximus's centre however is done for.

Roman left also breaks in the same turn, leaving what's left of the centre wide open for the Gallic cavalry to sweep around and clean up.
A Gallic victory, but they lost the bulk of their army also routed.....a very bloody affair. Damn good game !!

This is the map we used for initial deployment, from Command & Colours.