Classical & Roman in Bournemouth 2019
Galatians vs Late Imperial Roman
After a meaningful browse around the well-stocked Entoyment store (mail order also available), carefully avoiding buying anything more expensive than flock at this early stage of the weekend the Galatians took to the table yet again for a matchup against another historical foe - the (Late) Romans.
The lists for the Galatians and Late Imperial Roman 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 Late Roman army was unusual in having a significant number of mobile artillery pieces mounted on carts - one of the wonder weapons of the DBx era of wargaming but no doubt not seen much since. The rest of the army was pretty textbook, with legions, Auxilia and a Gothic block of Standard-class Impetuous swordsmen
The terrain fell almost identically to the first game, with the Galatians defending and putting down a waterway to narrow the table a little. Fields and hills dotted the opposite flank, and the Galatian army stretched all the way across the open space with Heavy Foot by the water's edge, Cavalry and Chariots next and the Paonian bandits aiming to make a dash for the fields.
The Romans were narrower than the 18-combat-unit wide Galatians, with only Light Horse extending their line at the fare end away from the water.
The opportunity to not have to fight the block of Roman Auxilia that they had half-expected to come across was like manna from heaven for the Paonians who scampered forward like giddy rabbits into the fields, looking for Roman flanks and juicy carrots in equal measure as they advanced.
The Roman Ballistae crew were firing furiously at the advancing wall of semi-clad barbarian warriors, but the initial rounds of shooting seemed to demonstrate that the sight of bare torso's was off-putting in some as yet unspecified way to the scientific torsion experts of the Legionary artillery train as few if any of their bolts hit home, the rest sailing harmlessly overhead.
The end of the Roman line was a mix of Cataphracts, Cavalry and light horse. Man for Man they were all pretty much better than the Galatians facing them, but that didn't take into account the advantage of numbers and width that the Galatians and their Paonian Pirate buddies were now able to bring to bear.
The Galatian army was drifting out to the right with every move, sneaking fairly obviously and blatantly round the Roman flank as the Italians struggled to see how best to respond without exposing themselves to attack from the ominously rumbling chariot wheels to their front
The other two main battle lines were closing fast - no sausage metaphors this time, just two freight trains moving at speed towards a lifetime of appearances on lucrative disaster-clip shows on cable TV.
The Roman shoot and wait tactics were not really paying off, as the Galatians shrugged off the slings, arrows and now ballista bolts of standard deviation to roll forward pretty much unscathed ready to ssssteam into the Roman line at speed.
Being Elite does help in a zero-zero dice-off though.
The Romans had a bit of everything packed together in their lines, Cataphracts, Legionaries, Cavalry, even the Gothic mercenaries. Far from puzzling the Galatians into immobility this hodge-podge collection of opponents merely spurred the barbarian infantry forwards on the assumption that the less time you gave such a carefully curated army to organise itself the better things might well turn out.
Romans vs Celts
The Paonian initiative to bring banditry and brigandism to every corner of the Mediterranean basin was stepping up the pace dramatically in this second game as, largely free from opposition as the Romans gazed at the chariots, the Paonian foot and horsemen swept around into a position to hurl javelins into the light horse at the end of the Roman line.
The Romans had presumably expected to find themselves facing the standard issue pair of LH bow who make up the extremities of most armies, so 6 Paonian bandits hurling long pointy sticks was a very unwelcome development.
The Romans were also keen to attack - possibly driven by the imperative to keep their Gothic mercenaries moving forwards - and suddenly the two lines were in combat rather earlier than even the Galatians would have liked. The Aiia Minorese warband steamed forward in a less than coherent manner and careened into anything in front of them, seemingly heedless of the possibility of overlaps or first-round unit losses. This was a shocking development - the more technologically advanced Goths had broken throught against the better quality Galatians!
Breaking through the centre of the enemy army was of course the manly and heroic thing to do - but those sorts of considerations are not even passing thoughts to your average silk-clad Paonian.
The Adriatic's sartorially finest assemblage of men and material was even as we speak starting to attempt some rather bold and potentially tricky roll-ups of the end of the Roma line.
Javelinmen into Cataphracts is usually to be avoided, but in the flank and supported by two overlaps is an entirely different and more appealing prospect.
The Paonians attacked with glee and enthusiasm at the soft side-belly of the Italian force
Yeah... now, about that 4:0 flank charge which can't fail to win and which will allow you to easily roll up the enemy flank thing. I have a sneaking suspicion I remember a similar situation in the previous game. And that didn't go according to plan either.
The main Roman batttle line was standing up surprisingly well to the attacks of the Galatian infantry, as their village-forged swords bounced painlessly off the craniums of the Italian lorica segmentata clad soldiers forming an impenetrable wall in front of them. The Galatians were starting to pick up hits almost all along the line, but at least the hits were spread out among the whole Galatian force. The Romans were much more erratic - some were impervious to the enemy attacks whilst others soaked up multiple levels of hits, attracting brighly coloured markers in the process.
But even with the stoic resistance being offered by the Roman metal-clad cataphracts the inexorable mathematics of a whole spare command of Paonian pirates sweeping round the end of the Roman line was still starting to tell. The Romans were not yet collapsing from this flank, but they were starting to sag like cardboard cutouts of soldiers standing to attention in the cold March south coast rain which way by now pouring down outside the shop.
Command and Control was all - the Roman Generals were busy attempting to patch holes in their lines as the Paonians girded their Mediterranean loins for another decisive push against the disparate and fragmented collection of mounted troops littering the Italian left. One feint charge and the Roman horsemen were left skittering away like leaves blown in a strong southern Mediterranean wind of the type which provides cooling respite to the South of France but little succour to the cavalry of Rome.
Battle was truly joined in the centre, as the two lines of closely packed soldiery hacked and stabbed at each other with longswords and gladiuses. The Romans were the more well trained and efficient, but the sheer ferocity and natural athleticism of the Galatians had already helped them blast a whole in the 10-unit-wide Roman battle line and now the barbarians were pressing home the advantage wherever they could.
With Roman cavalry driven off the Paonians stepped out of the terrain to finish off the Roman flank guards, ably assisted by Galatian noble cavalry who were now roaming freely seeking out flanks and overlaps wherever they could in an increasingly fast-unravelling Roman army.
Suddenly the levee broke and a wide patch of Roman resistance evaporated at a stroke allowing the Galatians to rush forward into the gaping chasm in Roman military fortitude. Roman cart-mounted artillery quaked in fear as a wall of semi-clad sweaty flesh hammered towards them at some speed and with spectacularly above-French-standard bad breath.
L'Art de la Guerre hint - the Galatians have stepped forward here as a 3-wide block after breaking 2 enemy units in their own turn, with the central Galatian unit having functioned as an overlap to its two comrades. Even though it dodn't actually fight a proper combat itself it is too able to step forward as overlaps are allowed to join in the pursuit along with freidly units who destroy their opponents.
The Roman cataphract flank guard had also finally fallen at practically the exact same moment, leaving the now-coherent Paonian command with a perfect vista of open space into which they could move in a piratey fashion (once they had overrun a lone artillery piece blocking their way)
L'Art de la Guerre hint - artillery are of course rubbish in combat. Their combat factor is nil, nut they graciously give everyone who fights them an additional +1 factor as well.
Surrounded by the wreckage of their employers, odd pockets of Gothic infantry had survived and some had even broken through the Galatian assault. Realising that their erstwhile paymasters may not be in a position to make an online bank transfer by nightfall they headed off to try and loot the Galatian camp - harassed by, and in turns chasing off lone Galatian chariotry in the process.
The line of scrimmage was swaying back and forth like a drunk looking for a lamp post, but in general it was the Galatians who were in the ascendancy as the Romans started to falter and crumble. With the Galatian cavalry and Paonian pirates now forming up for a proper assault on the Roman left the Italians were pinned in a corner up against the waterway awaiting their fate. Would a Dunkirk-like flotilla of little boats come to rescue them? Probably not in a ruleset with no naval elements.
Giving up on the idea of a naval rescue a whole double-unit block of Gothic mercenaries just turned tail and fled from their anchoring point in the middle of the Roman formation. With the Romans Cataphracts focused on the reserve unit of Galatian cavalry the path now law open for the victorious Galatian pedestrians to surge forward and capture the Roman artillery park in a positively Napoleonic development
But that decisive act of thievery was not to be needed. The Roman Auxilia next to the waterway also lost heart as they realised that they weren't now playing DBM and so no rescuing flotilla was on its way. They broke and ran, leaving the Galatians in sole possession of the field. The Result is a decisive 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
Another great victory, and another chance for my victorious men to wash away the sweat of success from their dangling nads in the briney deep, before resting them gently on the sand to dry
Here again the Romans obligingly attempted to stand up to the irresistable wall of blunt trauma that most of my army is made up of. At least this time they did have somewhat of a plan in the f of their cart-mounted artillery but once the aim of their artilleryists was no doubt put off by the sight of the choad-like appendages of my barbarian horde their plan started to wilt at a rate of knots
Better still, the mix of Paonians and cavalry performed well together yet again, startig to roll up the Roman line at exactly the point where it started to thin out - I must admit to being less than impressed by the lightweight skirmishy nature of Paonian warfare, and also by their unfortunate penchant for wearing a full complement of clothes but in this game it seemed to work OK for them, and for me.
Onwards and upwards I believe is the order of the day for myself and my many blatantly donkey-rigged followers.
Hannibal's Post Match Analysis
Another obliging opponent, and another waterway-blessed terrain setup have hardly tested your resolve and competence so far this tournament. Indeed one might say that the dice in frontal combat are the key factors in putting you where you now so proudly stand at or near to the top of the pile after 2 games.
One might argue however that here you did do some stuff which could, grudgingly, be counted as tactical. Going in hard on the waters edge and then holding back somewhat in the centre did seem to work - although in retrospect I suspect this may have been down to the lack of command and control baked into your rather bizzarre command of Impetuous Infantry and all of your cavalry assets which you have gifted an unreliable Ordinary General to try and control.
The real clever stuff here did of course not come from you or your men and their ostentations displays of the family jewels. No, it was the Paonian pirates, dancing around at the edge of the battle and generally looking quite useless until they got themselves by accident one presumes into a position to do some serious flank damage to the enemy line.
But still, you have played the same game twice now, and been lucky to walk away with the same result. Perhaps the next game wil present you with a different scale of tactical challenge?
Click here for the report of the next game in this competition