Field of Glory Wargaming at Faenza 2010
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Opting out of a fairly generic lunch and instead finding a local cafe means the Romans were well victualled for the afternoon session. The Romans were facing another Greekey army army - Later Seleucids for the list
Pictures of Greeks from my Ancients Photo Directory
The terrain fell almost all irrelevantly, but these Greeks were the real deal - a big solid pike center for the Legions to aim at, and some cavalry all massed on one wing to skirmish against. The Greek left wing was only lightly held so there looked to be an opportunity to overwhelm them there and turn the flank of the pike phalanx too,
Oddly enough, the Romans deployed in a thin line ready to consolidate as they contracted and moved forwards. This time they saw a chance of facing an opponent who would let them play in a "proper" Roman way and so the Pikemen appeared to actually want to also set up a decisive showdown against the legions.
Before starting Caesars thoughts drifted back to his earlier days as a hospital surgeon and member of a DBM doubles team..
The initial Greek plan was indeed to delay on the lightly held Greek right (Caesar knew from personal experience that many Greeks hung back on the right), but the skirmishers were driven back by a taunting crowd of over optimistic, highly animated Donnington Miniatures auxilia pretending to hurl their javelins at the onrushing light cavalry. I say pretending as just at the last minute they remembered to hang onto the missile weapons as they realised that this was FoG, not simply a re-hash of WRG 7th and 6th (as in both of which they would have been able to launch volleys of the missiles they owned at vaguely distant targets).
The Roman light horse also raced up the table, undecided as to whether to split up like a firework display (or like a number of individual units in a game with no discernable command and control system). The Greek cavalry stood in a solid block looking bemused as the Romans cavorted in front of them!
The Roman left was a solid line of red-kilted rascally Romans! Auxilia were advancing steadily on the left, and there were considerable weight of numbers advantages emerging as the Romans moved away from the Greek cavalry wing.
Out on the Roman right, the Roman LH had cunningly circumvented the Greek cavalry - that'd teach them for wearing such short skirts!
The Seleucid Agema cataphracts appeared all desperate to get to the nearest public toilet - perhaps it was difficult to get out of all that armour once its been put on?
Brother Belcher: I've never ridden in a cart pulled by cows before.
Captain Keene: Bullocks, Mr Belcher!
Brother Belcher: No, I haven't, honestly.
As the Romans closed in, the sheer weight or legionary armour started to mesh together into a big lump as the units closed up. Even the Extraordinariii spotted an opportunity to be useful as the Greeks had redeployed their Thracians heavy weapon team to the right flank of their Phalanx, so at last there was a useful target against which Skilled Sword status would count!
The Roman Cavalry had also at last identified a useful function - skirmishing in front of better quality enemy lancers. If only they were single based they might even have formed Cantabrian Circle....
The somewhat pointless javelin armed LH were taking their lives in their hands with some short range skirmishing - luckily no-one had told them of the problems the Auxilia had had in releasing their javelins, and the Roman LH were finding it oddly possible to actually throw their weapons at their opponents - although the effect was pretty much the same as if nothing had left their hands..
This outbreak of skirmishing was starting to cause a Roman-Greek log-jam in the center where the pikes were waiting patiently as the Roman legions scrambled towards them.
On the right however things were still netting out quite nicely, with some auxilia making a strong case to be retained within the army until the Dominate era by turning tail and marching away from enemy lancers and into cover. 3 fairly rubbishy units were occupying 2 really decent ones.
Back to the casually discarded pile of small metal toys that was in theory a cleverly coordinated attack on the Greek right. The Romans were falsely optimistic that the Greek light horse might not even escape the rapidly closing jaws of their trap ...
More auxilia made a desperate bid for Dominate status - they had successfully escaped, but that did leave a unit of khazi-seeking lancers rather unoccupied. Maybe they would dismount and take a short break rather than roll up the Roman left flank?
Just bask for a moment in the glory of a proper battle between two proper opponents! The Legions tightened their girdles, their supporting archers notched their fletches, and the Greeks quivered in fear and anticipation as they grasped their impressive poles firmly in both hands and prepared for action!
The Greek cavalry had gotten bored of being jerked around by Romans on ponies, and all three units were now abandoning the firework display unfolding before them and sought to jam themselves back into the line of Romans.
The legions crept forward, but a massive mob of Auxilia and Extraordinarii thundered towards the hapless Thracians - the Greeks would have to look out for someone coming up behind them if they were not careful!
Back to the Roman Right, and one legion was delegated to test the outer limits of the "that's not technically a flank charge" rules (found on pages 34 (movement), 56 (charges), 67 (reacting to charges), 69 (dealing with your opponents reactions to your charges), 87 (movement again, yeah we know we said that before but just go with it please as we know best) 96 (other stuff we couldn't fit in where it was supposed to be but hey, what a nice picture of a 28mm Christian Nubian Archer that was on page 67 eh?) and also in the glossary on pages 113 and 117) to both take on lots of Greeks and get more than 3" away from their colleagues whilst doing so.
The Roman right was now hanging in the breeze - a not unfamiliar feeling after a 3 month campaign away from any town with a bathhouse.
How cool is this ?
Finally the lines clashed in a flurry of steel, bronze but mostly mass produced plastic dice and rectangular cardboard bases as the Pikemen charged home, unwilling to risk a half-cocked charge if they had tried to not charge
I can't resist pics like this
From yet another angle the ability of the Romans to delegate 3 of their 4 generals to this decisive combat is clearly visible.
With the game now revolving around this one combat, first blood was very much with the Romans! The phalanx on the right (red marker) went fragmented at impact, and the central phalanx also lost a base as the Romans were undamaged.
Somehow the Romans swept away a whole pike block in the first round of combat - how good is that!
Now rampaging legions piled forwards aiming to turn on the flanks of the now exposed pikes as the first phapanx fled. But the overmatched Romans on the extreme right wee also faltering - they had gone fragmented. No long drawn out push of the pike here, just wham bam and turn and run - something many of the troops on both sides had learnt whilst in barracks at ports around the Mediterranean
As the Legions fought on, the Thracians were also receiving a battering - and more highly maneuverable auxilia were struggling to find a way through their own men to attack the flanks of the pikes
The Roman Legion, beleaguered but not beaten, soon realised it might well soon receive a sound thrashing
The Thracians were evaporated, leaving an island of pikemen with a red sea lapping at all of its four shores. But the Greeks were building their own circumvallation around the increasingly mixed metaphor of the Roman bastion.
The Roman Extraordinarii finished dispatching the Thracians and found themselves in an Extraordinarii place. r
But one of the remaining Pike on Legion combats now went well for the Greeks, with another legion breaking and fleeing - but the other fight was now all but over as the right hand phalanx received a short range legion in the flank.
And, as ultimately seemed inevitable in every battle, the Roman Cavalry had managed to get themselves into a pickle and were all set to be charged by some far better lancers. The body count in units was starting to creep upwards
Look, you know what's happening here. Everyone tries to flank everyone else. No need to comment. ...
Hit in the flank and rear, the second pike block simply evaporated - allowing the Romans to swiftly mop up and turn their attentions to the onrushing Greek relief force - who now had only one, surrounded, about to be charged in the flank pike phalanx to relieve! Would it fail its test not to charge, and trigger a devastating intercept charge?
Would it heck as like. In the tedium of the IOUGO movement system the Greeks simply took their turn and marched up to threaten the Romans own flanks....
And, likewise, the high quality Romans turned to face. The battle had entered a second phase, with two whittled-down armies facing each other across the narrow width of the field of battle (off in the distance Auxilia are being irritated by LH coated in cod liver oil)
The battle joined again - a superior phalanx vs a unit of auxilia looked to be an acceptable loss for the Romans given the other matchups were in the main pretty favorable. A good chance to push the much smaller unit count Greeks over the edge to defeat
A paltry round of initial combat dice saw the tide turn marginally against the Romans. But, being superior and led by loads of generals, they looked solid enough ..
One dead general and two instant legionary & Extraordinatii unit fragmentations later things somehow didn't look quite so favorable
The reassembled Roman line was utterly disassembled as three of four units broke in the next melee phase.
The remaining legion fought on bravely, handing out markers like sweeties to its opponents
But unfortunately weight of numbers and of expectations counted in the end and the Romans collapsed to a spectacular defeat with the laurels of victory almost within their grasp !
Post Match Summary
Hannibal's Post Match Analysis
Oh dear oh dear. Yet another disaster.
Lets look at what happened then. You initially exchanged 2 legions for 2 pike units, then used 3 units to take out 6 Thracians whilst simultaneously frittering away your cavalry totally pointlessly to slower moving enemies.
Your great strategy was then to repeat this like-for-like unit exchange generating strategy with an enemy with more units than you, and with better quality troops to boot. OK, it went pretty badly wrong, but on balance it was going to need a huge slice of luck for you to win decisively from a "worse than evens" starting position.
The sad thing was that you started so well. You had a huge advantage on the left wing, and you were skirmishing quite well on the right - but you should know by now that turning a flank takes a long time for you, but only moments for your opponents. So, throw the auxilia in first, and I mean a long time before the pike battle starts. The pikes can't really react as if they do, they expose their fronts to your legions. Then, once you have cleared away the crud on the flanks, turn in and attack from two sides simultaneously.
But overall this is all about how much worse this army is compared to a proper Dominate Roman army. The non-shooting cavalry and the fortified baggage are just points wasted, which you never get back. And having the legions as skilled swordsmen is again a real waste of points. Transfer this into a real Dom Rom army and all of a sudden you have well over 100 extra usable points to spend on troops - that's 15-20% more men once you factor in commanders.
Frankly I'm glad to see the back of this particular army - the Old Glory Legions are really nice, especially with those Little Big man Shield transfers, but next time just use a lot of legions and don't expect to win, just to use all the ones you painted up to impress enemies. That's about all you can hope to achieve here.
And make sure you get a pizza tonight as well !
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