Saturday 24 April 2010

Zama: The Struggle Intensifies

Although we didn't know it at the time, the action in the photo above was crucial to how the battle turned out. The last of the Roman heavy cavalry has been destroyed, but the Carthaginian horse has got itself into a muddle in pursuit. This has given the leftmost legion time to move out some Triarii and deploy them into line. This is a risky thing to do because the main infantry fight is not over; indeed, Hannibal's veterans have still to enter the fray. It removes the important third line from this portion of the Roman army. The Romans decide to take this action because otherwise the Carthaginian cavalry will get time to recover its formation, and flank the entire Roman left. Which would be a disaster. The Carthaginians are well aware of this, so they have started shooting up the Triarii with the remnants of their skirmish infantry, the Velites having been chased off. Meanwhile the Hastati on the other side of the field are handily disposing of the Celtiberians. This shot shows gaps appearing; it is taken from behind the Carthaginian lines:
Next up is a picture of the same area, slightly more to the left. Some of the City Militia have moved out to counter the Roman Triarii we saw going wide earlier. This is not something I intended to happen, but I was at the other end of the table and it was too late to do anything about it. Sub-commanders not doing what you expect! The figures in this unit are some of my old Italians, pressed into service as militia:
The next photo returns to the intense action on the Roman left. The Triarii are doing their best to press the Carthaginian horse, but one unit has nevertheless managed to ride wide around the Roman left flank:
The Romans again counter by moving the rest of this legion's Triarii to the left. This legion now has no third line at all:

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