Thursday, 12 June 2014

Another battle in Epirus

The Romans and Macedonians are at it yet again in the campaign.  I work out the Roman army composition and command it, while Simon does the same for the opposition.  The Roman army is slightly larger because of reinforcements from the victorious troops in Carthage. This is my first club game for about six weeks now, and I usually have very good luck after a hiatus.  Most of the photos are taken from my Roman perspective, with a few long table shots, almost all taken from my left wing, thrown in for good measure.  First up we have the Macedonians facing my left:
Their extreme flank is covered by a couple of light cavalry units of eight figures each, and then there are two large blocks of 48 Thureophoroi each.  The standard Late Macedonian list doesn't have these guys, but Simon has been painting them and wanted them on the table.  Just at the right of the photo, you can see some of the central Macedonian pikes.  
And here they are in all their glory.  A unit of 32 elite pikemen is stationed next to the Thureophoroi, and then come three units of 48 heavy pikemen.
Their cavalry weight is on their left this time: a unit of 14 elite heavy cavalry, then 16 line heavy cavalry and then 8 Light Cavalry.  The usual skirmishers are spread across the front of the army.
A long table shot of both deployments taken from my right, just off the edge of the previous shot - Romans on the left as you look at it, Macedonians to the right.  I didn't know what to do, so I set up the Romans in their usual boring symmetrical patterns.  You can probably make out the second line of legionary Principes.  No third line, though, because I wanted to extend my frontage a bit by brigading the Triarii together and setting them up as part of the front lines.  
I attack with my left, where the Latins are stationed, because I think I have superiority here.  The Macedonians think the same, and hold back at this point, angling a little to face the threat.
The opposite is true of the situation on my centre and right, where the Romans are stationed.  They are facing the mass of the phalanx proper, while the Latins have it relatively easy against Thureophoroi.
My right wing is really going to struggle, I think, because this is where all of the Macedonian heavy horse is concentrated.  I do have some Aetolian peltasts to help out, but it won't be enough.  I hold back as long as I can over here.
A long shot of the situation after the first turn's movement, taken from my left (Latin) flank.  On the left, the Thureophoporoi can clearly be seen holding back.  In the centre right of the photo my Latins are advancing.  At the top you can hopefully see the surging Macedonian cavalry and the cowering Romans.
A view of the infantry centres at the same moment.  The little lumps represent some low hills, which both sides are more or less ignoring.
My Latin legionaries go in; the ones fighting the Macedonian elites have a particularly bad time of it.
On my right, I do something rash and attack with my cavalry, instead of simply waiting for the inevitable.  The reason for this is that the Macedonian cavalry have angled a bit to facilitate their intended breakthough onto the flanks of the legions.  This does break up their frontage a little bit, though, and I decide to commit before they can get all of their cavalry into me at exactly the same time.  There is a brief moment where I can put two units onto the enemy's line cavalry, and it counts - my dice are indeed rather good.  Basically, I am hoping to break up the momentum of the enemy advance here while hoping for the best in the centre.
A long shot of the whole field at this point, from the Latin left again.  In the immediate left forefront of the photo you can see my wing pressing forward.  Basically, both armies are leading with their left.  I have no idea how it will go.
A closer shot of my extreme left.  Graham has arrived and is now running this part of the battle for Macedon.  He tries to slow me down as much as he can, but he is up against it, not helped by the fact that here at least my slingers have done a lot of damage to his light cavalry.
The Latin Triarii have gone into the Thureophoroi, and the Hastati are fighting the other unit of Thureophoroi and the Macedonian elites.  The Velites and the enemy skirmishers have pretty much exhausted one another and are nowhere to be seen.
The Hastati of the Roman legions go into the pikes, while the Triarii hold back; they are at the right of the photo as you look at it.  My pila are rubbish, but the gladius makes short work of the pikemen.  This is important, because the Romans rely on the Hastati to make some inroads, and once they are gone, the idea is for the Principes to finish the job.  In several previous battles, it didn't work.  It looks as though it might this time, though, so long as I can keep the enemy Heavy Cavalry off my legions' right flank.
Fortunately for me, the Roman Equites are putting up one hell of a fight.
The same cannot be said of the Latin Hastati facing the elite pikemen.  The gap shows where the Hastati used to be.
The unit of light cavalry at my extreme right has been destroyed, but unfortunately for Simon, his own lights go haring off in pursuit instead of turning onto my stubborn Equites.  This relieves the pressure on me here a little.
Back on the other side of the field, my cavalry is beginning to threaten the extreme flank of the Thureophoroi.  Unlike the Roman light cavalry, the Latins have easily seen off their opponents.
I now have a problem in my centre, as the Macedonian elites follow up their victory and crash into the Latin Principes.  Fortunately for me, they do very well indeed.  The heavy infantry fight is now going well in my favour.
The final phalanx now goes into my Roman Triarii, who are temporarily helped out by the Peltasts.  They very quickly cease to exist.
This is how my right looks at this point: very vulnerable indeed.
Back to my left, with a quick photo of my infantry in action against the Thureophoroi.  My one unit of Peltasts here lasts longer than it should.
Back at the extreme right, disaster strikes the Macedonian heavy cavalry.  The line unit suddenly crumbles, and the elites fail their morale test, plunging into disorder.  That insane charge I made has paid off in real style.  I thought my Equites would buy me some time, but instead it looks as though they are going to destroy everything in front of them.  
At exactly the same moment, the Latin Equites break though on the other flank.
In they go.
Simon finally manages to reign in his mad pursuing light cavalry and gets ready to throw them in against the Roman Triarii.  I hope it will be a case of too little, too late.
The phalanxes are now seriously up against it.  Although they have finally pushed aside the Hastati, the Principes punish them mercilessly.  Things are not looking good for the courageous Macedonians.  Even the light cavalry attack fizzles.
A gratuitous shot of Latins ganging up on what's left of the brave Thureophoroi.

The Macedonians collapse and their army is almost entirely destroyed.  The Latins crush the Thureophoroi and the elite pikemen, while the Romans destroy one of the pike blocks and the enemy cavalry.  The only bright spot for Macedon is that my heroic Equites don't make it into the centre, as they are wiped out to a man by the remnants of the enemy skirmishers.  A very comprehensive Roman victory.


  1. Nice-looking mass of figures on the table.


  2. Thanks guys - I don't the Macedonians were impressed...

  3. Great report. I liked your tactics. I think being aggressive in Tactica works more often than not. "Use em or loose em", I always say.

    1. Thanks. Mitch. I knew that throwing in the Equites was a bit of a risk, but you're right - being aggressive did pay off.

  4. Not sure why I missed this earlier - amazing and spectacular battle with innumerable figures! Dean

    1. Hi Dean, I did something unusual for me and made three posts in one day - this was the longest, but it was pushed to the bottom of the page by the other two. I must admit that I don't like winning with Romans!