Saturday, 11 February 2017

Germans and Gauls: 106 BC

Gordon has sent me a report of the encounter between migrating Germans and local Gallic tribesmen in our Dies Martis campaign (summer 105 BC). Here it is, edited a little:

The Gauls have fought the Germans. There are no pictures as the Germans look very Anglo-Saxon including the two handed axes and the kite shields but it is done. [Proxy figures!]

The Gaulish army was

5 x 48 V 4-6 WB(I)
1 x 24 E 4-6 WB(I)
2 x 12 V 4-6 HC
2 x 8 V 3-6 LC deployed in skirmish
various skirmishers

The German Army

7 x 32 V 4-6 WB(I)
1 x 24 E 4-6 Soldurii WB(I)
2 x 18 V 4-6 HC
1 x 12 V 3-6 LI
various skirmishers.

The terrain was a number of gentle rises none of which had any effect on events. The German left overlapped the Gaulish right. [The armies were very similar. The Gauls had five very large warbands, while the Germans had a larger number of smaller units and cavalry superiority. The 'I' denotes possible initial charge impetus.]

From their left the Germans had their HC then the LI then the 7 WB and the soldurii on the right. 

From their right  the Gauls had the LC in skirmish facing the German HC, their own HC facing the LI and one German WB. Then a gap and the 24 fig WB then the 5 x 48s. They ovelapped the German line by 1.5 WBs.

The Germans attacked on the left and refused their right. The Gauls attacked all along the line. Although they were eventually destroyed, the Gallic HC tied up the German HC for the whole battle. Although the game was abnormally affected by the dice, the Germans won because apart from the LI every unit fought. The Gauls had one 48-fig WB that never got into action and one that barely did.

The number of units that failed to get impetus or pass the fates (more in this one game than in all the other of the games we have played since they were re-introduced) or went haring off after winning a melee was a feature of the battle. [Explanation: there is a small chance that when a unit should break according to losses accrued, it might stick about regardless because somebody does something heroic enough to stave off its demise for a time. This is called a 'fates' roll. Also, when a Warband breaks its enemies in melee, there is a chance that it will pursue recklessly rather than remain under control.]

The Gauls lost all of their cavalry; the soldurii; and two of their large warbands. The Germans lost their soldurii and two Warbands.

Subsequent campaign events unfolded as follows:

Autumn 106
Jugurtha arrives in Mauretania to persuade his father-n-law Bocchus to join him in his war against Rome. Marius bolsters his legions with more anti-Jugurtha locals to help counter the expected enemy superiority in light troops. The Teutones march back eastwards to join the Cimbri for a massed assault on Transalpine Gaul.

Spring 105
Alarmed by the threat from the north, Rome raises six raw legions from the capite censi and sends them to join the consular army already present in Transalpine Gaul. Bocchus and Jugurtha attack Marius and Sulla in Numidia.

Saturday, 4 February 2017

On the Painting Desk: February 2017

Numidians: 36 Light Infantry by Crusader and 24 Light Cavalry (Navigator) - 6 of these will have standard of various kinds. That is all.

Sunday, 29 January 2017

Some more Numidians

Not the best of photos this time, mainly because it is so dull in this country at the end of January. Better than nothing, though. So above we have some Crusader Miniatures Numidian cavalry. These are quite large, so definitely 28mm then, and some of them come with corslets. They would be great for later, say Caesarean period, North African auxiliary horse, but I thought I would paint them as more open formation light types to represent superior quality light cavalry. This is the only shot of them that came out okay, in an attempt to use a daylight bulb; shields are LBMS transfers. There are 36 of them in total. Just finished a couple of infantry command bases as well:
Also by Crusader, these will do duty in charge of the large numbers of light infantry in the army.
I wanted them to appear a little bit grubby in places.
A nice mix of poses, I think. Next up will be another 36 light infantry to go with these guys; no white for those.

Saturday, 21 January 2017

Octavius against Brutus

The second of our Philippi battles from the Society of Ancients conference. Historically, this took place as an almost completely separate engagement from that between Antonius and Cassius, at exactly the same time.
The first photo is taken from behind the Republican lines, with some of Octavius' legions at the top of the picture. The Via Egnatia is on the left; beyond that is the struggle between Cassius and Antonius.
Still behind Brutus' troops, we move more to the right of the first photo. At the bottom of the shot you can see a little of the palisaded walkway that runs off to the left to link the camp of Cassius with that of Brutus.
In the immediate foreground of the third picture is Brutus in his hilltop camp. Just at the top right can be seen the lavish camp fortified camp of his adversary.
You can see a bit more of it in this picture. I differentiated between the two sides by making the Caesarean camps much more imposing; besides, I didn't quite have the time to construct two of them!
Still moving towards the right behind the Republicans, there is more of the same - loads of legionaries.
This is the far right of Brutus' deployment, facing off against the Caesareans. According to all of the sources I've found, both sides had large cavalry contingents, perhaps even as many as 15,000 on each side. There are also some hints in the secondary literature at least that there were some light troops present in the Republican forces, perhaps to make up for their relative shortfall in legionaries (many of their formations were apparently understrength). I therefore made this battle different from that on the other side of the Via Egnatia; the area furthest along is relatively open, so I assumed that this is where there would have been a cavalry action. To make it more interesting, I made the two sides different. The Caesareans have three large units of horse facing you at the top of the photo: two Spanish and one Roman. Brutus has small units, two of which are Gallic or Galatian, and one of Parthians, with some light infantry in support.
We now move to behind Octavius' army. Above you can see the open wing from his perspective.
Moving to his right are some legionaries...
...then some more in front of the camp...
...more of the same...
...more legionaries...
...did I mention there were a few legionaries?
A view of the whole field from the Via Egnatia; Octavius is on the left, and Brutus on the right as you look at it.
The view from the other wing, with cavalry forces in the foreground.
I ruled that the Republican legions were understrength by saying that each of their cohorts had seven figures instead of eight. However, they are in fine fettle; the hamster bedding denotes dust clouds throw up by their impetuous charge. In other words, they have a charge bonus to compensate for their numerical inferiority.
More of the same as the lines close.
And again!
Cavalry action. The larger Caesarean units performed really badly. The Parthians are hanging back a bit to use their bows.
A slightly elevated shot shows more of the action from this perspective.
After the initial crunch, the legionary grinding machines soon both sides start to do their work.
It's all getting rather nasty; these legions really don't like one another at all. The silver dish is one of a load of cheap foil I bought to use as dice trays.
The casualty markers are seeing a lot of use.
A breakthrough by Brutus' cavalry.
Even his light infantry are about to get in on the act.
Another elevated shot.

Just as the Republican cavalry were victorious, three of Octavius' legions started to waver. He tried to shore up the centre by intervening personally, and was carried off into the distance as his legions gave way completely. Just as with the other side of the Via Egnatia, this was a historical result - the initial impetus gave Brutus' legions the edge over the hated Octavius.

Next up: the grand finale. Brutus meets Antonius, when I get around to posting it.