Roman & Classical at the CLWC Winter Invitational 2017
Ancient British vs Seleucid
With one somewhat unexpected win under my belt, the Brits prepared to face another giant of the Classical world - The Successor Seleucids.
The Carthaginians had been lacking in Elephants, but the Seleucids surely would not be - causing a dilemma for the Chariotry, as to whether they tried to dismount, or tried to avoid the Pachyderms. Either way their chances of taking the beasts on in combat were not good. The Successors also would have better cavalry with Impact capability, and a broad mix of foot.
The main hope for the Brits was to pray that news of the odd construction of the British list had not made its way to the intelligence agencies of the men from Antioch. The lists for the Ancient British and Seleucid from this game, as well as other lists from the games at CLWC Winter Invitational can be seen here in the L'Art de la Guerre Wiki.
Fortunately the element of surprise was intact, and the Seleucids had obligingly elected not to place any meaningful terrain in expectation of facing a wall of Medium Foot warriors rushing through fields and plantations into their flanks. This left a literally open table over which the Catuvellauni tribe's Chariotry could rumble to their hearts content. The British army had again set up in the same formation, with the CinC and the largest command on the right, the micro command in the centre and the smaller Chariot force on the left. The Seleucids were rather infantry-heavy, with a Pike and Cataphract left wing, Elephants and Thracians in the centre and more Pikes and infantry on their right.
L'Art de la Guerre hint - The 'Micro command' was something I'd first seen at Derby with Mick Hood's Ostrogoths. In an army such as the Brits, with a Strategist capable of commanding a huge number of troops but then only 2 Ordinary Generals after that it makes quite a lot of sense to have a tiny command with a simple task - in this case skirmishing in front of an enemy heavy foot centre - that can undertake it's task even with poor dice rolls. Deploying 2nd as Attacker, and putting the Micro Command out first it also meant that 2 of the enemy commands would already be on table before I had even deployed any battle troops at all.
As in the first game, the left flank of the enemy army was defended by a normally-acceptable number of Light Horse with which to execute a delaying action. They now found themselves faced with a full court press from the Ancient British Panzer Division and their motorcycle outriders in the form of the 3 LH with javelins. The British Blitzkreig was on!
Just How Big Is Your Empire??
With a weakly defended gap facing my right, and the Seleucid Phalanx being nigh-on untouchable the CinC's command had enough spare Chariots to screen off much of the front of the enemy's main infantry block freeing up the Micro Command's 2 LH to try and delay the Elephants.
On the left the smaller command was puzzling what to do about a line of Heavy Foot - and and frantically flicking through the rulebook to try and work out if tha lone Scythed Chariot racing out to meet them was in fact actually dangrous or not.
L'Art de la Guerre hint - Scythed Chariots set all enemy factors to zero at Impact, and also cannot be overlapped (any overlaps don't count at first contact) - so, they are dangerous in the initial round, but survive that and you should be OK. They also don't count towards the army break point.
After a brief pause for thought, the Catuvellauni tribe's Chariotry worked out what to do. Drift to the edge of the table and go past the enemy foot's right flank - and tough it out against the Chariot.
On the right the Seleucids had no answer at all to the hordes of British hooligans on their wheeled battle platforms - with Chariotry threatening them to the front as well the few Cataphracts on this wing were unable to come to the rescue of their vastly overmatched LH. The Ancient British were already deep into outflanking territory and were closing in on the Seleucid baggage as they flooded virtually unopposed past the Hellenistic army.
Cooking with Cassivellaunus
The CinC wheeled his wheeled forces round and slammed a line of Chariotry into the flank of the Successors line, as yet more Catuvellauni Chariots swung even deeper into the rear echelons of the enemy force, cutting off their access to their baggage (which in other rules might be tricky). The Seleucid morale was in tatters as the whooping and hollering tattooed warriors encircled them completely
At the same time the dangerous parts of the Seleucid army were chasing shadows as the Britons fell back in front of them - the slow-moving infantry were unable to keep pace with the retreating Chariots and even the Elephants were wary of chasing too far ahead of their supports, mindful no doubt of the carnage taking place on their far left wing
Almost a full third of the table was now the sole domain of Cassivellaunus and his force of unopposed chariotry. The Seleucid baggage had already fallen to the fast-moving British Light Horse and with the Successor horsemen already overwhelmed the Chariot army now had pikemen in it'ts sights as they closed in for the kill from all sides.
Catuvellauni Chariots were also now round the back of the Seleucid army on the left as well, but as the smaller command fell back in front of the advancing Successor foot and elephants they started to experience command and control issues as the Ordinary General struggled to co-ordinate the retreating and harassing force to the Greeks front with the more aggressive endeavours of the Chariotry even now swinging into the Seleucid rear.
L'Art de la Guerre hint - Ordinary Generals issuing orders to battle troops beyond 4 MU's distance need to spend an additional pip to do so. For Skirmishers it's 8 MU's - Light Chariots are counted as Battle Troops (sadly)
The dominoes of the Seleucid left were now tubmbling into the centre of the army as the Phalanx found itself outnumbered and surrounded by a swirling maelstrom of fast-moving Chariotry. With +3 to his die roll, Cassivellaunus always seemed to have enough pips to keep up the pressure on all sides of the stunned Seleucid foot, who saw Chariots every way they looked.
Hello, My Name is Patrick Hunt
As the Greeks pushed forward on their right, seeking to drive back the tide of wheeled insanity facing them gaps were inevitably opening up in their lines - gaps which the Catuvellauni tribe's Chariot force were only too happy to exploit. Even the most robust and well trained Phalanx will struggle when faced by enemies on all sides, and soon the isolated units of Sucessor infantry were being overwhelmed from front, rear and sides.
The Seleucid centre had been entirely unhinged by the British tactics - even when the Phalangites managed to get into combat frontally the faster-moving Chariots simply broke off, leaving the work of harassing the pedestrian Hellenes to yet more of their number who were almost inevitably waiting eagerly to dive onto an exposed flank or rear.
The Seleucids had pushed most of their men so far forward on their right that the stragglers had no chance. The British fell on them like wolves on a flock, and cut them to pieces leaving vast swathes of the tabletop under British rule.
As the noose tightened on the Seleucid army only their Elephant Corps was still intact - it had marched virtuallly unimpeded to within sniffing distance of the British camp, studiously avoided by almost the entire Ancient British force along the way and seemingly oblivious to the carnage being wreaked by the nimble swirling mass of the Catuvellauni tribe's chariot-borne warriors on its colleagues in arms who had been left trailing in its' wake
The Pachyderms were close - even the 2 LI in the Ancient British army had veen called (unsuccesfully) into play to try and keep it from the baggage train. But time was running out for the Seleucid army as well, as the last few Pikemen stared at the reality of being surrounded.
Fittingly, it was the once-solid Phalanx who succumbed to a flurry of Chariot-borne attacks from all sides, and with their demise the Seleucid army also slipped to defeat
The Result is a second win for Cassivellaunus' Ancient British Panzer Division!
Click here for the report of the next game in this competition, or read on for the post match summaries from the Generals involved, as well as another episode of legendary expert analysis from Hannibal
Post Match Summary from the Ancient British Commander
Hoorah for Britain! Hoorah for the British! Another victory and another well deserved reward for our Great empire of several counties somewhat near Norwich!
The whole 'pretend we have a different army and hope no-one reads the rules and realises we have picked a near-insane option on this list' has worked a treat again, and I am sure that our presence at the top of the leaderboard, and the fact that everyone has to hand their results into, erm, me, will mean that no-one will spot this subterfuge in the final round and we will get away with the same trick again.
The bottom line is that Chariots do mean Chariots, and as long as our regulatory wheelbase alignment remains perfectly in step with the official width of Roman roads across the Roman Free Trade Area - through our own choice mind you - we can carry on rumbling around the world making this country as great as it was in the BC's.
I look forward to announcing deals soon to export these Chariots to new trading partners in the Middle East and China, where I am sure this ground-breaking new technology wil be much appreciated and will generate many export jobs for the whicker-weavers of Thetford and Hunstanton.
Hannibal's Post Match Analysis
In some ways this battle appears a direct copy of the last one, however here I must grudgingly give you credit for an uncharacteristically self-controlled display of tactical withdrawal worthy of a vague comparison to my own plans at Cannae, although of course you actual envelopment was more achieved through rumbling straight over the weakly defended enemy left flank rather than by your drawing in of their centre.
Yet again the expectation of a standard terrain layout and opposition army seemed to fox your opposition - they must have been as horrified to see how wide an empty table actually is as you would have been no doubt to see an open table before you.
Much does rest on the shoulders of your Strategist commander in the battle plan you adopted, and even with +3 to his command roll there are still a lot of moving pieces to control - and indeed, some of them did get left behind at the extremities of the table as the game developed. However, when faced up against the enemy Pikemen and Spears, it was illuminating to see how easily the chariots were able to avade to safety, and so the prompt removal of the limited Seleucid mounted capability on their left did leave you with almost no risk of further losses on that flank - an opportunity tiy grabbed with both hands as if the reigns of a chariot I must say.
The Chariots are battle troops, and even though they fail to stand up to scrutiny frontally their combination of speed, numbers and the high command and control of the Strategist's command meant they were always able to find tempting flank and rear targets, offsetting their limited combat capabilities in some style. Let us see how they fare in the third and final game
Click here for the report of the next game in this competition