Saturday, 13 November 2010

Sacking Syracuse

This week I managed to give my Carthaginians their first run out and they didn't disappoint. The battle was against Early Imperial Romans as part of the club's current ancient campaign. The battle was one of two simultaneous encounters for control of Sicily.

The armies deployed across the Sicilian plain with rough terrain and woods down the Carthaginian left. The Carthaginian's were on the attack and deployed their infantry opposite the Roman Legions who were intermingled with German mercenaries. Both armies had their cavalry far out on the Carthaginian right.

The Carthaginians opened the battle with a general advance headed by their elephants. The Romans countered by advancing their Auxiliaries to bring the elephants down. However the Numidian skirmishers got the better of their Romans counterparts and the Roman line began to fracture as the elephants charged home. The Germans allies were refusing to cooperate making it difficult for the Roman's to support the Auxiliaries.

On the right, the outnumbered Roman cavalry held their ground drawing on the advancing Carthaginian cavalry while some Roman Legions move against their flank. Spotting the manoeuvre some Numidian cavalry peel off to hold up the advancing Legions. This opens a gap and the Roman cavalry charges in an attempt to break through. The Carthaginian cavalry resist the charge while the remaining Numidian cavalry swarmed around the Roman cavalry putting them to flight.

On seeing the Roman cavalry in flight the Germans, unreliable throughout the battle, take flight leaving the Roman infantry outnumbered in the centre. The Legions launch a final charge into the Carthaginian line. However the Gods were not with them and bad luck turned worse with the capture of the Roman General routing the remainder of the army.

With the Romans in flight the Carthaginian army were free to move on and capture Syracuse. The news just gets better for Carthage as they have won the other encounter giving them full control of Sicily.

While the battle went to plan, I grouping the cavalry together on one flank in order to overrun it and surround the enemy, JP had such bad luck with the dice so the army wasn't really tested.

Grouping all the cavalry together on one flank should mean that on most occasion I will be able to take that flank, but it also means the other flank needs to be secured. If necessary that could probably be done with the elephants. They were effective in the centre but not devastating. Historically, it seems that while the Carthaginians preferred to place their elephants in front of their line a number of the Successors started placing elephants on their flanks to ward off enemy cavalry.

This would however weaken the centre where the multiple troops types were able to hit in succession, skirmishers followed by elephants followed by spanish and gallic light infantry followed by libyan heavy infantry. In the Carthaginian army list, only the Libyan troops troops count significantly towards towards the armies break points, so unlike most armies the Carthaginians can deploy in depth effectively. This maybe useful for refighting Zama where Hannibal deployed his army in three lines.

The 50 per cent command break limit again proved a potential weakness. The Roman cavalry consisted of two bases of light cavalry and two bases of heavy cavalry so by taking out one of each the whole command went.

All in all though I fully enjoyable game and a successful start to the campaign, i'm itching to get them back on the table.

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