Classical & Roman in Bournemouth 2019
Galatians vs Seleucid
A first time out for Ancients in Bournemouth for yet another new ADLG event, the South Coast Bash held at the rather nice and new Entoyment store and gaming centre.
As is almost mandatory for new events in new catchment areas, this competition was themed for the Classical and Roman period, just snipping some of the later armies of their Cataphract and Elephant-heavy versions (as in no Sassanid Death Stars with Dailami allowed).
Oh, and my mate Adam was running it so I'd kinda suggested that as a theme anyway.
Faced by the possibility of lots of Romans, Pikes and other classical goodness I toyed with the idea of wheeling out another variant of a Successor list which I hadn't yet fielded, perhaps using the rebased wall of pikemen now on 40x40 blocks that have been recently refurbished with shield transfers.
Or, on a similar "what's new?" theme, possibly an early Roman list to use the one-piece testudo models that I've had for a couple of years but never put into competition.
In the end however another "not sure it's really ever taken the field" army rose to the top of the pile - the Galatians, giving me a chance to deploy practically all of my 15mm Gallic close order warband. Having struggled against similar lists a couple of times in the past, in Samur and at Central London I wanted to see if I could make the ungainly and unsubtle (yet hellishly brutal) Wall of Warband work.
The Galatians also have a mass of Elite cavalry - very unusual in period to get more than 3 or 4 - all of whom can be Mediums, which fits with a theme I have been trying in some other lists of large numbers of supposedly squishy horsemen to overwhelm enemies by sheer numbers. The fact up to 3 of them could be fielded as Light Chariots practically sealed the deal.
A quick (well...) fiddle around with the list saw me consider and reject the Galatian option with Scythed Chariots (which would have been an interesting addition to a mounted Medium Cavalry wing to frighten and disrupt better quality enemy horsemen.
So, with that theory being tried the Galatians were to take the table for the very first time (OK, one practice game) on the edge of Englands Jurassic Coast with their first matchup against the Seleucids
The lists for the Galatians and Seleucid from this game, as well as all the other lists from the games at Bournemouth can be seen here in the L'Art de la Guerre Wiki.
The setup in the first game had worked out pretty well for the simple-minded Galatian army, with a waterway succesfully down on one flank and a fairly open terrain constrictied only by a field on the opposite side of the table. This allowed the Galatians to line up infantry from the sea edge, extending the line with the mostly-mounted command and with the nurdling Paonian ally on the extreme right of their army.
The Successors had placed their Elephant command on their far left, presumably expecting to face cavalry - but instead the javelin-rich Paonians, recently featured on this very website in a painting feature, quickly rushed forward to take advantage of the terrain in front of them.
The flank next to the waterway was however much more straightforward. A long, long line of Hairy Close Formation Warband chugged forward, keen to get to grips with pretty much everything that the Seleucid army might want to throw at them (apart from the elephants on the opposite flank). Too wide to go forward in one group the CinC's warband had become staggered a little whilst the 2 extra bases from the mostly-cavalry command were butted up neatly against the CinCs right flank.
Seleucids at War
The Seleucids - the warriors from the land of the Elephant Kings - were also pretty confident.
Armoured horsemen with Impact capability were a potentially tricky opponent for the Galatian warriors with their capability of going straight through the infantry line at first contact with the benefit of "Furious Charge".
The Seleucids own Pikemen were also a solid match, a base factor of 2 doing a lot to counteract the ferocity of the Galatian initial assault on their lines.
With the Paonians spreading themselves widely across the open space on the right flank the Seleucid elephant was almost inevitably being drawn away from the rest of his army as the Death Star sought to prevent Paonian horsemen flooding round the back of the rest of the army. The further away from anything important the elephant got however, the happier the Galatians were.
This was no game for messing about.
Pretty much in Turn 2 the two lines of infantry clashed together like a soft white bread roll forming itself around a pair of sausages in a perfect breakfast bap.
And, like the sausage sandwich there would surely be much red stuff oozing and squirting out of the sides of the conflagration before the turn was done.
The right flank pikemen were having a far less entertaining time as the Galatian chariotry whooped and holler'ed in their faces from close range. The Galatians could easily and succesfully evade away from any charge by the lumbering Successor infantry, but simply by getting in their faces they were fixing their attention and preventing them joining the real battle over to their right.
Seleucid Empire History
The first round of combat involving the two lines of heavy infantry was less successful for the Galatians than they had probably hoped, with only one almost-breakthrough into the line of Pikemen and mercenary Galatians on the Seleucid side
Perversely, the Galatians in Successor service had done much better than their wild and free independently-spirited comrades and had inflicted some telling blows and double-drop hits on the units facing them.
The subsequent turns needed to witness some real hard core resilience from the barbarians from now on, or the battle could easily start slipping away from the men without trousers from the presumably warmer climate areas of Asia Minor. The Galatian General was not a happy bunny.
With the infantry fight not exactly off to a great start the Paonian bandits decided that if their paymasters were perhaps going to end up with the unpleasant brown end of the stick in this game they had better do some killing and looting of their own to ensure they at least walked away with some purloined weapons and equipment at the end of the battle. The Javelin-armed Paonians hurled themselves into the Death Star. aided by a spare Galatian cavalryman (with embedded General) who had little else to do against the wall of pikes but cheer on his own chariotry.
The battle was now spreading down the line like gamers released early into the Bring and Buy room at Warfare, as an even wide collection of Seleucid troops were drawn into combat.
This included their (surprisingly Average grade) Companions who roared into action, dashing themselves against what turned out to be a very resilient line of Galatian pedestrians.
The injured pike block took another beating and gave up the ghost at the same time as his cavalry started to come a cropper, blowing a unit-sized hole in the heart of the Successor army - a hole the Galatians could not yet exploit as it had been created in the enemy turn thus denying them a pursuit move.
The Seleucids had tucked a couple of cowardly bowmen in the middle of their line of phalangites as well as the pair of Galatian mercenaries - but unlike the Galatians the bowmen had no will or ability to put up any sort of fight, and had turned and retreated back towards their camp in the face of the quite literally naked aggression from the Galatians.
This had in turn left a massive hole in the heart of the Seleucid army, and with their pikemen transfixed by the gyrating chariotry to their front the Seleucids found themselves the victims of a terrific flank attack as the Galatians exploited the hole the Successors bowmen had created in their own army.
Faced with a possibility to roll up the flank of the Successor infantry block, Elite in quality and with an initial 4:0 combat advantage the Galatians were almost certain of a stunning success with this attack. Only a 6:1 result in favour of the Pikemen could save them.
Followed of course by a subsequent win in the Pikemens next turn after they had conformed to face the Warband.
The Elephant Death Star was now a rather less impressive pair of injured and surrounded Thracian Peltasts - a much easier opponent for the Paonian Bandits to pick apart with their darting attacks from all sides.
Seleucid Empire History
The Galatian infantry were gradually beginning to wear down their frontal opponents as the steady effect of their superior morale and relentless aggression took its toll. The Galatians had taken some losses but the ex-Greeks were staring down the barrel of several huge holes in their army right now.
The Thracians were also on their last legs, with both units having taken a pair of losses - this would expose another flank of the second Seleucid Phalanx and allow the skirmishing chariots to fly back into the fray and envelop the stoic pikemen from all sides with the aid of the Paonian banditry.
The Seleucid Companion force was overrun by the flailing swordsmanship and countless numbers of the Galatian infantry, opening up the flank of the Phalanx in turn and opening the floodgates to a collapse of the Seleucid morale. The game was over in time for a cup of tea and a sausage sandwich (see, I don't just throw this stuff together) with a victory for Galatia against their ancient rivals and neighbours to start the weekend!
The Result is a chunky win for Galatia!
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 Galatian Commander
As a man who is most well known for not wearing a full complement of trousers, I must say that having the breezes of the Levantine coast sweeping through my undercarriage was a key factor in inspiring me to a great victory for both myself and my barbarian horde of followers.
Securing the waterway was a key starting point in my plan for victory, allowing my forces not only to have a secure flank and a narrower table, but also to have the opportunity to wash their knackers prior to battle without need to bring along a large baggage train consisting of shower units and bidets.
Once that was on table it was very much up to the opposition to try and deal with the wall of clackers sweeping towards them, and fortunately for us they had chosen to select Average rather than Elite Companions, making our task next the sea much less frightening than perhaps it could have been.
All in all a simple plan simply and vigorously executed - much like how I choose my outfits from a mostly bare wardrobe at the start of each working and fighting day.
Hannibal's Post Match Analysis
A victory of sorts, but one where you barely managed even to wheel any of your battle line of core troops is not something one should be overly proud of methinks.
The lack of skill involved in advancing straight forwards in a big long line does however feel like at last you may have reached your natural level and found an army within your capabilities to maange.
What was most notable here for me though was how vital the seemingly poxy Paonian allied command turned out to be in helping extend your line and get troops to threaten the flanks of the enemy. By doing so they drew vital forces away from the frontal combat, giving your simple minded nudists even more opportunity to execute their simple minded plan with success.
If your opponents continue to oblige you by lining up to take it on the chin I think you may even do alright here - even though the idea of taking it on the chin from such under-dressed warriors as yours fills me with horror and revulsion in equal measure. Perhaps we will see a little more movement and action in the next game?
Click here for the report of the next game in this competition