The Roman Army
We played at a 400-point level tonight. My Roman force consisted of two generals (expert & fair), Legions x 6, Auxilia x 2, Eastern Archers x 2, Balearic Slingers x 2, Equites Alares x 1, Numidian Light Horse x 2, and a re-roll, for a total of 398 points.
The Palmyran Army
Chris had finished painting some new cavalry since our last game, and his force included two generals (expert & fair), Legions x 3, Regular Archers x 3, Auxilia x 2, Equites Alares x 1, Cataphracts x 2, Skirmishing Archers x 4, and two re-rolls, for a total of 400 points.
Best Laid Plans...
In a general sense, I had hope to move my primary infantry line of legion, auxilia, and archers up to the forest. I would anchor my left flank there, and use my right flank of legion, and cavalry with skirmishers to sweep across the Palmyran flank.
I rushed to get the main line in position on the forest edge. This aggressive advance came at the cost of mass disorder.
Chris moved a mass of skirmishers ahead of the heavy cavalry. He obviously had planned to create disorder and confusion in the Roman lines in order to pave the way for the cavalry charge.
As per my initial plan, the main line anchors at the edge of the woods while the right flank swarms over the hill and gets ready to assault Chris's left flank.
An aerial view of the early advance.
Palmyran and Roman mercenary light troops prepare to engage.
Chris did a very good job of advancing his heavy cavalry behind the skirmisher screen. I had learned in the past that the Romans function better when their light troops are closely supported by legion. I kept moving legions forward, ready to counter the heavy Palmyran troops that would eventually come to grips with my lights.
After an incredible march, one legion manages to get an unexpected charge off on one of the cataphract units. This was a lucky move on my part, and pretty much kept one unit of cataphracts tied-up for the rest of the battle.
I was also aggressive with one of my auxilia units. I charged into the line of archers. The combat was a draw, but his bows would remain neutralized until my auxilia were dealt with. The photo also shows how my legions interpenetrated the eastern archers in preparation for close combat.
As for my plan of sweeping my right flank into the Palmyran force. Part A (cleaning out the skirmishers had worked), but Part B (riding down the cataphrats) didn't quite unfold as planned. In fact, Chris charged a unit towards my Alares cavalry...
...and thanks to a successful Discipline test, the counter-charged. Death wish I guess ;)
The battle in full swing. The Palmyran archers had managed to win a combat and send my auxilia fleeing. The were shot down by mass bow fire shortly after.
In the meantime, both units of Palmyran auxilia charged into the main line of legionnaires. As you can see, Chris had engaged my general in combat. (The legion with the command stand touching)
After defeating my auxilia unit, Chris's command stand (yellow marker) move ahead and prepared to take battle to the Romans.
Back on the right, I had move a legion up to help deal with the cataphracts. The swirling melee went on for most of the game, with each side getting worn down bit by bit.
My fast-marching legion was getting ganged up on in the middle of the table, and after it fled, the cataphracts were free to pursue elsewhere. Unfortunately for Chris, the game was nearing its end, and he couldn't get them rallied in time to have much effect on the outcome.
Near the end of the battle, the fighting ensues across the field, but no side is really breaking through the enemy line.
Still not able to break the heavy cavalry, the Romans send in Numidian horse to assist. By game end, this massive melee was still unresolved.
Balearic slingers cause disorder in the Palmyran ranks, but the battle has almost ended, and their efforts are without serious effect.
Chris's command legion comes storming across the field and helps out the auxilia unit in defeating a Roman legion.
And after both commands had activated, the opposing generals and their units had survived, and no commands had been routed from the table.
When the battle ended, it was not over, not in any decisive way at least. I believe Chris had lost 5 VD of troops while I lost 6 VD. In any event, no commands had been removed, and the outcome was a draw. The photo below shows the battle when the game had ended.
We had set a certain time limit on the game and more or less stuck to it. Although the rest of the guys couldn't make it tonight (and we missed our stint of late-night boardgaming), the mass absence allowed Chris and I to play my co-favourite wargame, and left enough time at the end of the evening to drink tea and prepare this post. I hope you all enjoyed the game highlights.
Thanks for reading,