Upon the Spanish plains

Once more I continue delving into the World of Ancients Wargaming, taking my Carthaginians to the field once more against Al’s Romans using “To the Strongest.”  Unfortunately, I haven’t had that much time to paint since the last game, and so I am using more or less the same army as last time, but with a few alterations.

The Elephants got left behind this time, it was a shame, but they all died in the last battle and I used the points elsewhere, and the Thureophoroi were pretending to be African Hoplites so that I could actually field an army within the limits laid out within the army lists (always nice when that happens).  Unlike last time, where I decided to attack on both flanks at once whilst refusing the centre, in the manner of Hannibal’s Double Envelopment strategy, I went for something a little more Old School in a classic refused flank.

Even their Javelins had javelins.

White Chits here are Ammunition. I had a lot of Javelins to throw

I had a strong cavalry force on my right, and a weaker one on my left, termed the “Sacrificial lambs” their job was simply to buy time.  Never have I been so wrong with my pre-battle naming schemes.  The Centre however, was the usual fare of African Hoplites with Iberian Scutarii screened by Balearic Slingers.  All in all, fairly standard stuff for the Carthaginians.

The Romans however, seemed to concentrate all of their cavalry on their right, making my sacrificial lambs curse somewhat, whilst a line of Legionaries faced down my centre and right.  The Final twist however, was the presence of a large stream down the centre of the battlefield, which would certainly make it a hard fought affair.

My Central Senior general, stuttered a little bit with his initial advance to the streams edge, aiming to claim what little advantage the stream gave against the advancing Roman legions, his Spanish allies lagging behind somewhat as they daudled at the rear.  My Right however, boldly got their horses through the water and were onto the other side in no time.  For me, the Right was to be the focus of the battle, as I needed my cavalry to break their opposition there and then flank the Roman Centre.

This they managed to accomplish, although in Hindsight, a few mistakes were made on the roman side of the table.  The Initial situation can be seen below, with three Roman units (One cunningly hidden by my opponents hand) of Legionaries, and a Unit of light infantry in rough terrain.  What he did, is as I crossed the river, he moved the light infantry out of the scrub to block my advance, and then advanced a Legionary unit up behind them whilst the other two stayed at the back line.  This allowed my Two Units of Heavy Cavalry to pick on that one unit and destroy it. Before facing down the remaining two.

Here is what I think I would have done with the Roman infantry. Using the Table-edge to prevent flank moves is perhaps a little cheesy, but it works in wargames.

If, however… he had formed a line with the Legionaries, leaving the light infantry in the scrub (As Light infantry in rough terrain are very difficult to shift, esspiecially by mounted), He would have forced me to take on Roman Legionaries head on, on a one to one basis.  Whilst this degree of manuvering would be more difficult for most infantry, the Romans have easy activations when it comes to moving about, so I think they could have managed it nicely. A Matchup I think I would have lost, esspiecially as with my back to the stream it may have cut down evade options.  This would also of allowed him to concentrate on putting pressure on my centre with no concern that his left flank was about to crumple.

As it happened, being able to pick on that one Legion with two units, and to outflank others, made it much easier on my part.  Also… I think the Consul needs to have a word with the Legionaries hidden by the hand.  Later in the game, when they were attacked in the flank, they managed to form up sufficiently to mean they didn’t take any damage, however they left their general out in the open apparently, allowing him to be hacked down by Spaniards.

Here we can see what happened…. with Roman Cohorts being outflanked and defeated in detail.

The Left flank turned out very well for me.  Through a mixture of canny manuvering and good luck on my part, the general of the “Sacrificial lambs” lead his unit of heavy cavalry to victory over his roman counterparts.  Believe it or not… he wasn’t my “Heroic” General, but he damn well should have been!

My Centre… was looking decidely shaky by the end of the game, and I think that if I hadn’t of done as much damage on the flanks as I did, the Romans would have been able to push through the Africans and the Spanish.  I learnt a few things about shenanigans, swapping units about to let the disordered ones rally, buying time for the cavalry to win the battle.

A Final view of the Centre. The Black markers show my guys are near breaking point, whilst the Roman infantry are still healthy. If the Roman left had held… it would have been a completely different game.

Things I have learnt from this game:

1.) Generals are very important… Bring more of them

2.) Light Infantry in difficult terrain are hard to shift, I will have to investigate the possibility of using them to anchor flanks.

3.) Having a slight reserve in the centre was good.  It allowed me to funnel some troops where needed.

And the Man of the Match is….

These guys surpassed all expectations. These guys will actually get paid… … Maybe.

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2 Responses to Upon the Spanish plains

  1. Simon Miller says:

    Looks like a fun game! I’ve never fought across a stream like that, makes an interesting challenge.

    • Mike_Lisle says:

      Indeed, it did lead to some interesting decisions, but didn’t impact the game too much apart from dragging out the infantry battle in the middle a little. The handy save bonus was nice. I enjoyed the game immensely, although I did feel for my opponent at times, he had some rotten luck at some crucial points in the game.

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