Field of Glory at Ascot 2008
After an unexpected success - and an even more unexpectedly straightforward-seeming success, I was overflowing with confidence. Maybe my 4 elephants were good enough to take a medieval army out of the game on their own? Maybe a line of spears was pretty neat? Maybe my newly painted Spanish (who were the only reason to take the whole army to be honest) would actually manage to do some fighting and perhaps even win ?
Game 2 saw me facing an traditional Carthaginian enemy - The Romans (that's their list)
The white-balance on my camera was already struggling, but would I?
I had assumed that the Romans would have a stack of legionaries and not much else :
My plan was that I would be able to use my 20 bases of LMI to dominate the rough terrain and do a bit of a Hannibal - lose slowly in the middle, cave in the flanks and sweep to victory before being sent into exile in Greece, working for a tyrant and dying in ignominy and poverty.
Well, maybe not the last bit. In fact, may not much of it at all after the "win" section really.
In the middle the Romans had surprisingly few legionaries - 2 blocks of 8, and 4 Triarii - but they had a whole load of Gauls, some more rubbish skirmishers, and 2 elephants - so it was going to be alot more even in the RGo that I had hoped.
The only advantage I had was that my Gauls & Spanish were more brightly coloured, and so psychologically we held the edge over the rather anemic enemy Gauls. My Numidians were also bottling up some psiloi in a plantation and threatened to take on the Romans flanks if they dared lurch forwards
All in all it was looking like an Ancient Battle as the two lines moved slowly toward each other. None of this mucking about with skirmishers here - two proper armies ready to go toe to toe.
My Numidians had undertaken a rather diversionary charge on the flank of the Gauls, forcing their formation to turn just and present their flank to my advancing Celts. After my Numidians were forced to break off, the Romans quickly despatched a sub-commander to whip the Gauls into shape and make them turn around ....
...which unfortunately he succeeded in doing!
2 of my elephants had been maneuvering desperately to try and get at the Romanized Gauls as well, but had been faced off by the Romans own Pachyderms. However, it was a very even fight, in which I hope the presence of a lone elephant ploughing into the Romanized warband would give me an advantage (the "hill" wasn't actually a hill, it was a vineyard or something).
The whole battle line clashed - nearly 4 feet of combat with 7 or 8 units engaged on each side. I knoew my spearmen would be looking to try and hold on in the middle, but I could accept their demise as long as it was slow and I won on the flanks. And looking along the line I did appear to have the slight curve in my favour - it might be Cannae yet !!!
But the Romans were not playing the game! Maybe they had been cheating and had read one of these six excellent (all "clickable" so you can find out more yourself) books which they no doubt bought at an excellent price from Madaxeman.com's Amazon-powered UK bookstore to see what happened in the real battle and learnt from it ?
or if you are in the US you can follow this link (did you notice what I did there?)
My Gauls and Spaniards were soon in complete disarray, collapsing at impact against identical troops and then breaking and fleeing before I had any chance of getting a general to reassure them. Even the elephants were losing ! The only bit that was going according to plan was that I was losing in the middle as well....
At least I was getting to use a load of my cohesion markers
With my left flank totally swept away, the game was only going to end up one way, and soon there was a massive hole in my center as well, as the brave spearmen exploded under the hammer blows of the legionaries.
Soon my army was a mere fragment of its former self, and the game was wrapped up with a crushing defeat for the Hannibalic hordes.
Post Game Analysis from me
This was one of my "learning experiences" from Ascot. I had thought combination of Elephants and Gaus would be much better than the Romans troops, but even with my elephant hitting the Romanized Gauls, my own Impact Foot were still just as likely to lose as they were to win at impact. This is because each unit wins or loses based only on the damage its opponents do to it, never mind what happens its opponents against other units they are also fighting.
To lose so spectacularly and so quickly on the flank was rather a sobering experience which rather killed off any chance I had in the game almost at the first impact, but hey, sometimes bad stuff does happen and I'd had the rub of the green in Game 1.
Post Game Analysis from Hannibal
Well, with Commanders like this, who needs an enemy? You clearly messed up what was - in the hands of a master like, ahem, myself - one of the truly great plans of all military history (although at the time there wasn't quite as much military history as there is today you understand).
The big mistake, other than not growing a beard of course, was to get the balance totally wrong. If you are to stove in the enemy flanks and give ground slowly in the middle, make damn well sure you DO have enough force to stove in the flanks - don't fritter it all away with a marginal and risky attack where you have almost no advantage. And if you are planning to give ground slowly in the middle, hang back - don't rush your troops into combat with enemy forces who are far, far better than them, or you won't have time for your flank attacks to work - especially if you have the competence level of a blind deaf half-wit and fail to set them up correctly!
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