Yesterday was my first day back at work after two weeks' leave, so I was a bit mindless by the time we went to the club. All of which means that I didn't pack the camera, which was a shame because the game saw the first use of my newly painted North Africans (Numidian foot by Companion Miniatures). This was the opening battle of the 3rd Punic War, as the dastardly Romans invaded, heading straight for Carthage itself (you can probably already tell which side was mine). On they came with a consular army, supplemented by some Iberians in the form of Caetrati.
The brave defenders had a mostly medium army of all round average quality - I'll post the list to the campaign page later. I took advice from a short discussion on the Society of Ancients forum and came up with what seemed an appropriate mix of troop types. Deployment map, with Romans at the top:
Gordon ran the left of our army and I took the right. He had a command of three units of light horse at the extreme left. Our centre comprised all of the infantry, with the heavies at the left of the line. Our right had all of the heavier horse: a small unit of Punic aristocrats and a larger one of Spanish mercenaries, eager to face the hated enemy.
There was some rough stuff to our front left, along with a hill, and another hill to our front right. The rough would cramp the style of the legions, but we would have to cede it to the Caetrati. I had intended to lead with the right, but the presence of all of those Equites would make this difficult. The opening phases:
And possibly the bloodiest draw we have ever seen. Both sides fought well, with lots of damage being dished out, but the Romans suffered really badly when it came to morale and control dice. In terms of army values, the Roman army was in fact almost entirely destroyed. This is due to the way that the legions count towards army breakpoint - Hastati don't count until the Principes are also destroyed (and the Triarii, although there weren't any of those in this particular battle). This makes them incredibly tough, but it also means that if and when they lose, they do so big time. The Carthaginian army isn't in any condition to pursue, so the Roman remnants are deemed to have broken through and escaped.
As far as the campaign is concerned, this means that the Roman expeditionary force won't be doing any expediting any more, even with some reinforcements coming in from Sicily. The war in Africa therefore settles down into a sullen stalemate. However, word has reached both sides that the people of Rome are incensed at the senate's seeming inability to force a military resolution. In order to contain the rage of the plebeians, the senate has decreed that a certain Scipio Aemilianus should be given extraordinary propraetorial powers, even though he isn't old enough. He has already taken command of the army in Spain that defeated the Celtiberians a year ago, and is marching it southwards with the intention of moving across to Africa and attacking Carthage from the west. The combination of that force plus the local remnants make it extremely unlikely that Carthage will survive. But first it needs to be invested and then taken.
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