Ancients (Roman Period) at Roll Call 2016
Mithraditic vs Late Roman
Game 5 (yes, 5!) and some serious terrain makes it onto the table in another Pontic vs Roman matchup
The lists for the Mithraditic and Late Roman from this game, as well as all the other lists from the games at Roll_Call can be seen here in the L'Art de la Guerre Wiki.
The Late Romans were textbook, with lots of Auxilia, lots of Legions and a rather smaller number of Cataphracts, somewhat confusingly based 3 to a base. With a big open space on one wing and a lot of rough terrain on the other the deployment was pretty much proscribed for both sides and that indeed was how we set up.
The Romans started by quickly freeing themselves from an irritatingly positioned wood in the middle of their deployment area and marched confidently straight towards the Pontic pike and Galatian line, presumably having read some of the previous reports and seen that 3 pikemen is not quite enough of a crushing anvil on which to dash the hopes of the fledgling Roman republic...
The Roman Legions
Sneakily, these Romans had also attached a couple of units of Equites to their Auxilia-heavy command, and as the two lines of terrain troops advanced towards each other the Roman Equites boldly took on some Pontic spearmen who had unwisely wandered into the open in order to test the terrain rules
L'Art de la Guerre hint - A unit can be penalised for being in terrain (i.e. Cavalry in Rough Going) if any part of it's base enters the terrain. Units do not have to conform into terrain that would penalise them. Bonuses for Impact & Furious Charge do not apply if the unit claiming them is even partly in terrain - where the unit being attacked is is irrelevant
In the far better illuminated centre of the table both sides were clearly confident enough to not mess around at all, and everyone was committed right from the get-go. Both sides had been crabbing across to stay joined up to their flank supports, and this had ended up squeezing an Imitation Legionary cohort out of the line - the scuttled across the backfield, keen to do the childhood school photo special and be in both ends of the picture at the same time... but, just out of shot, their position was in fact blocked by a Pontic cavalryman who had found a gap and had slammed into the end of the line of Legions!
The Roman Sword
The Pontic army had nothing of note with which to oppose the advancing Auxilia along the full length of their line and so they were forced to resort to skirmishing away with the (out of shot) Javelinmen and the (in shot) LI bowmen whilst the Thracians tried to hang on to protect the flanks of the Pike phalanx long enough for it to try and start winning. The Scythed Chariot had committed itself early doors too in one of the rare areas of open tabletop on this side of the field of play
On the open flank the two Sarmatians left in the Pontic mounted wing has suffered an immediate disaster, losing one of their two bases against the wall of Roman Cataphracts early on in the combat. The only saving grace was that the Romans had almost no light horse of their own, and so the Scythian and Greek LH in the Mithraditic army were starting to filter round the flanks of the Roman Cats to threaten whatever they could find in a rather unconvincing manner.
Having crushed the Sarmatians the Roman horse were now free to pile into the combat in the middle - and that is what they did, hitting the Pontic cavalry in the rear and forcing them to give up their rather less successful than perhaps it might have been assault on the end of the Roman line. This looked tricky, dicey and desperate stuff for both sides at the same time!
The right flank of the Pontic army had all but collapsed against the assault of the Auxilia, with numbers and quality against the Mithraditic forces. The Romans were however still bust reorganising from their spectacular triumph and so had a bit of a challenge on their hands to regroup and mount a serious attack on the Pontic phalanx's flank
But that challenge was soon accomplished, and as the Auxilia swept out of the fields on the right of the table they smashed into the Phalanx and swept the shocked and confused pikemen back into the box and off the table
The mopping up operation was completed when the cowardly Javelinmen, ill equipped for this high quality and brutal style of combat, found themselves too close to the edge of the table to evade once more, and were clattered by yet more Auxilia.
The Result is a crushing defeat!
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 Mithraditic Commander
Another cigar-free moment for the Pontic army this one - but here misfortune can surely be the owner of the doorstep on which this stinking pile of blame can be lain. To think, my Pikemen were in their natural home, steaming into smaller numbers of legionaries and being so strongly aided by the theoretically devastating impact of my own Noble Horse into the flank of the legions.
But somehow, through no fault of my own, this fantastic and co-ordinated attack came to naught and the ebb and flow of battle ended up ebbing away from me and my men in the cruellest way possible.
Yet again also my outnumbered but brave rough terrain forces found themselves outmatched and outnumbered by the Legions of Imperial Rome, and I think one lesson from this weekend is that I need to rethink this strategy and army composition in view of the strengths of my most likely opponents, as here things went wrong in almost every game.
The approach of having more LH than my opponent also failed to pay dividends, as I had unwisely failed to realise that Medium Cavalry are not in fact just crap Heavy Cavalry, but they are also very, very good Light cavalry too. Finally the Gaeasati, amusing as they are, proved to be somewhat of a luxury item when deployed in a frontal assault. Perhaps they too need to be considered as good Medium troops rather than as swing-y Heavies?
In any case though, with some notable exceptions, 5 enjoyable and close games in which my army moved with a centre and 2 wings, and where victory on the flanks was often achieved in time to deliver the coup de grace in the middle as the greater staying power of the heavy Infantry clash meant this carried on longer than the game on the outer fringes.
Hannibal's Post Match Analysis
You pretend you are one of the big boys, but here, in this final game, when you should by rights have started to master this complex and multi-faceted army, you came up so short that I feared that you were naught but a circus midget in a leather tunic! There appears to have been barely enough time to take a photo before your forces were swept away and restored to their box for what I hope is a long, long time.
I saw from the outset that your light horse strategy was a false hope, and that your rough terrain troops were no match for the Auxilia of Rome, yet there are scant few occasions when you recognised this fact and played to try and just lose slowly with these troops rather than hoping against fate that they would outperform their competence.
But, almost as bad as the defeats and their avoidable nature is your tedious and whining self-justifying explanation - or excuse, for that is what it really is. I have tried to listen to your weasel words, but the truth is that everything you say is so unbearably boring, by Hercules, that it's murder by monotony to have to listen - and I am sure that this is the only way you will deal death to anyone whilst you remain in command
That's the end - so why not go back to the Match Reports Index and read some more reports?