Thursday, 28 August 2014

138 BC: Somewhere in Illyria

A Roman consular army attempts to subdue the brave Illyrian tribes:
Simon constructed the Illyrian list and Gordon deployed them.  This is what the Romans see facing their own left: a range of hills with a large marsh protecting the extreme right of the enemy forces, and an area of dead ground behind the hills.  There's actually a wood there, but the Romans don't know that yet.  Infesting this part of the field are some cavalry, peltasts and thureophoroi types, ably screened with large numbers of skirmishers.  Malcolm in command here.
There is a large gap in the Illyrian deployment, and the main forces is concentrated on their left (our right).  Many infantry on a large hill (Keith in command), with peltasts ready to go into a large wood beyond that.  The cream of the nobility leads the way at the far flank, all mounted, with even more warbands following (Gordon in command here). I had thought that the Illyrians might want to sit on the (very) favourable terrain and wear down the legions, but instead it looks as though they are going to gamble on an all-out assault on our right.
Our left: Numidian auxiliaries, Latin Equites, and two large units of mercenary peltasts, with skirmish archers out front.  I am in charge of this lot.
The central legionary deployment: two Latin legions on the left (Graham) and Billy in command as consul of the day leading the two Roman legions on the right.  No Triarii in this transitional period.  As consul, Billy has decided to go for a double-line of Hastati supported by Principes to give maximum power in the centre, as opposed to a semi-sort of cohortal deployment.
Our right: Willy in command of a mirror image of my lot on the far left flank, except that he has some more skirmishers.  He is going to be well up against it here; lurking off to the top of the photo is most of the enemy army.
The opening moves on my flank: I spread my cavalry wide to try to take advantage of my superior weight here.  Malcolm wisely holds position and advances his skirmishers to try to soften me up a bit.
A view across the entirety of the rest of the field from my position.
Back on my wing.  My forces have straightened up to face the enemy.
To my immediate right, Graham's Latin legions advance remorselessly, while you can just see some manoeuvres to the right by the Roman legions, shifting to face the impending threat from that direction.
Another side-shot of the rest of the field as the Illyrians thunder forward in the distance.  My role as Prefect of the Latin Equites makes me quite happy at this point.
My forces close on Malcom's.  He hasn't inflicted as many missile hits as he would have liked.
Billy's legions trying to face the threat. Melee is already taking place as the enemy chieftain leads in the warbands.
A rare shot of the action at the other end of the field.  Willie's command is about to be swamped. If it goes, the right flank of the Roman legions will be wide open.
Initial contact on my flank as the Numidians gang up on sone enemy light horse - the Numidians have already inflicted a couple of javelin hits.  Malcolm and I are having a nice civilised little combat over here -m not like all that noise emanating from the far side of the field.
The left most of the Latin legions prepares to assault the hills just to my right, while the second start to move into position to go to their right.
Confused fighting at our army's right.
I am efficiently and rather boringly grinding down my opponents - the enemy light horse has been vanquished.
Meanwhile, on our extreme right, howls of anguish erupt from the Illyrians. Against all reason (not to mention the odds), Willy's outnumbered cavalry has crushed the enemy's noble horse.  It looks as though this will be Rome's day after all.
Gaps begin to appear in the centre too. One Roman legion has had its Hastati removed, but one of the main warbands has been destroyed too.
I grind on relentlessly as well, destroying the rest of the cavalry facing me.

Another central warband goes down, taking the enemy general with it, and it is game over, a major victory for Rome. This kind of deployment is always a gamble for a tribal army - if something minor goes wrong, it could spell disaster, and indeed this is what happened here, although it wasn't so minor. Rome marches omwards...


  1. Another interesting battle and great looking game. When I am chronicling a battle, a fall to the same tendency. My side of the table gets the most attention and sometimes, I rarely see the detail of what is transpiring on the other side of the table.

    1. Hi Jonathan, I know what you mean. In fact, I actually quite like it, because it means that the game is large enough that I can't interfere elsewhere even if I wanted. I also find that it gives my report a unified point of view, which really helps make sense of such a large game.

  2. Another fantastic report, love your Numidians...

    1. Cheers, Phil, I had a lot of fun painting those!