Classical & Roman in Bournemouth 2019
Galatians vs Seleucid
With a remarkably unbeaten record the somewhat comedy-choice (with teeth) Galatians stumble towards the finish line of this 5-battle campaign on the borders of England's Jurassic Coast. So far they have roamed far and wide across Europe and North Africa, but for their final hurdle they face their historical nemesis, the Seleucids in a battle of dominance for the freedom of Galatia or the subjugation to the regional powerhouse that is Selucaria.
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.
Seleucids are the textbook Swiss Army Knife of classical armies, with at least one of every type of troop imaginable, often with the ability to upgrade them to Elite as well. Allies round out the options but are rarely taken in an army that will typically try to pin with its Pikemen, and punch with both Elephants and Lancer cavalry.
The terrain generatuion mechanics yet again churned out something reasonable, with the sort of open plain which classical generals typically sought out for their battles edged by fields and plantations on each flank.
The Galatian army, courtesy of the Paonian pirates, spread some way wider than the Bactrians facing them
In order to try and respond the Greek Successors had cast a handful of bowmen and javelineers out on the wing in the expectation of finding a typical pair of LH to face off against.
The Paonians were however deployed there and were nominated to play the part of their opponents, making this much more a game of cat and mouse-shaped pirate than the Bactrians were expecting or indeed used to.
The opposite flank contained the Galatian mounted wing, nestled tightly up against the main line of Galatian infantry who stretched across the full width of the open space in their densely packed ranks. Whatever the Bactrians placed in their complex prismatic army the opponent would be Elite Heavy Foot Impetuous Warriors.
As the battle commenced the Galatians and Bactrian mounted wing both drifted frantically towards the edge of the table.
The opposing forces could not be more different, with Seleukos' Companions and accompanying Light Horse supported by a pair of Elephants in a Fat Death Star opposed by a uniform force of cheap but high quality Medium cavalry and chariots. The Galatians needed to ensure the Elephants blunted their tusks on their infantry, which in turn would give their numerous Cavalry an opportunity to overwhelm the Xystophori arrayed against them.
The Paonians were using all of their command and control to outmanoeuvre the static lumps of enemy infantry before them.
Ordering his men to pepper the enemy with javelins from all 6 shooting elements in the command, the Pirate general looked to launch a quick assault as soon as the resolve of his opponents started to waver.
In the centre the diverse mix of Bactrian troop types were unsure as how best to take on their monochromatic enemy.
The Galatians however had a plan - a simple one, but still a plan.
They pushed forward a semi-sacrificial block of units to seek to absorb the Elephant charge some way ahead of their main line allowing the rest of their Heavy Infantry the opportunity to overrun the much narrower and now seriously worried main body of Pike and Cataphracts in the Bactrian opposition.
The Galatian cavalry knew that numbers were on their side, and time probably was as well. With these two key allies they continued to press forward where they could, driving back the Bactrians light horse or simply toughing it out against their hail of javelins as they sought to establish a position in which the enemy cavalry would be quickly outflanked were they to dare to charge home
The Paonians were already engaged - taking the lead, unusually, in an army where they were paid allied and their paymasters were insane barely-clad lunatic attach-minded warriors who's chances of surviving any given battle were barely 50/50
Shooting had eroded the morale of the opposing javelineers (who appear to be exactly the same Xyston figures as the Paonians) and so the Pirates were in!
Keen not to be outdone, the Galatians themselves also lurched forwards on the opposite flank to engage with the enemy elephantry and supporting spearmen. This looked like a tough matchup, but by pinning one of the elephants in place there was a possibility the rest of the line could now slide to their right and avoid actually fighting the other one of the powerful beasts and their numerous crew.
Everywhere the Bactrians sought to attack they found themselves outnumbered and overlapped - and the elite status resilience of the fearless Galatian warriors was yet another hurdle for the Successors to try to overcome. Even a cataphract charge had little effect in these circumstances - especially when only 2 units wide.
The Bactrian noble cavalry could see the writing on the wall, and quickly charged home seeking to smash through the Galatian line before they were swamped and overrun. Key to their strategy was engaging the Galatian general, even though this did mean entering into a combat with multiple overlaps, the theory being that the Successor armour and the Galatian erosion of command and control would be worth the risk.
Things didn't go to plan for the Xystophori though - they started to absorb hits as the overlaps and numbers of the Galatians counted
One win out of 3 is not great odds for a set of three facing five opponents, and soon the Successors were crumbling allowing rampant chariotry to flood through the gaps opening in their lines at will
Plagued by double overlaps the decidedly Average Cataphracts were also finding life very tough going against the slashing swords of the Galatian warriors. The cataphracts fenced with their lances but were unable to stop the breechless barbarians from threatening to overrun them in short order.
At this point it started to become hard to work out if the battle would turn out to be a cakewalk or a slog - the Paonians had despatched one of the two Indian mercenary bowmen but were making heavy going of finishing off their dopplegangers - whilst the other Indian unit had driven off the Paonian commander and his mate with some fierce shooting which threatened to unhorse the pair of them in a most ungentlemanly fashion.
At least one part of the Bactrian army was performing according to plan. The elephants triumphantly smashed through the densely packed ranks of the Galatian infantry to emerge blinking and trunk-waving on the other side, seemingly now unopposed by anything worthy of the name of an opponent.
But whilst the elephants were convinced they had recorded a significant victory, in the Galatian battle plan the feeding of one unit of infantry to the pachyderms was all part of a not particularl well disguised plan to occupy the nellies whilst the rest of the Galatian army steamed towards, into and hopefully then straight over the Bactrian Phalanx.
The Phalanx in Action
The Bactrian Cataphracts had by now fallen back and broken off a number of times, but still the relentless tide of Galatian barely-clothed humanity continued to press forward to engulf them in a veritable tide of todgers.
The Paonians were also stepping up their assault on the remnants of the flank-guarding command as well.
Suddenly the Bactrian left flank practically evaporated under the repeated probing raids of the Paonians, leaving a vast swathe of the table free of Successor forces and the property of the pirates
Galatian cavalry were experiencing similar levels of success on the opposite flank as the Successor Companions also collapsed into incoherence, giving free reign (see what I did there?) to Medium Chariots and Medium horse to mop up the stragglers and rack up the break points against the men of Seleuciaria.
The Bactrian right flank had now totally disintegrated into a swirling mass of individual unit on unit melees, and bore no visible resemblance to the two neat lines of opposing troops from the start of the game. This suited the more mobile Galatian cavalry down to the ground, and even the Galatian foot were not too distraught as the enemy elephants were nowhere near mounting a coherent attack on the flank of the main body of Galatian foot assaulting the Phalanx
The Cataphracts had finally inflicted some damage on the Galatian pedestrians, but in turn were sliding dangerously close themselves to being wiped out. Falling back yet again they just about hung on, but now the Paonian Pirates were lurking ominously to their left, and were just on the point of finally removing the vestiges of the Bactrian flank guards from play
And that removal was now complete, as the returning Paonian general and his borrowed because I left one base at home LH friend helped decisively close the door on the Bactrian bowmen's day out - taking with them the entire Bactrian army which now slipped to defeat!
The Result is another crushing win, giving the Galatians 4 complete wins and a winning draw out of 5 rounds to claim the trophy!
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
Yet another victory for me and my well ventilated bacon bazooka, thoroughly vindicating my very clever strategic approach of having a load of hairy and mostly trouser-free violent geezers charge forward in a big long line and leave the clever stuff to my opponents seem like a stroke of genius of the first order.
In this game it was fully appparent that the inherent superiority of having a lot more cavalry than most opponents can pull together at short notice was pretty cool as well, whereas this has been important but often not so noticable in previous battles.
Overwhelming the enemy Light Horse by shoving Proper Cavalry down their gullets at some speed has unhorsed many a complacent opponent expecting a symmetrical battle, yet asymmetry is a beautiful thing in combat, if not exactly beautifying when it comes to the public arrangement of ones own plums.
Even so, 4 wins, 1 almost-win and a big fat trophy to take home and parade around The Balkans. What more could a man ask for in a weekend eh?
Hannibal's Post Match Analysis
You lucky, lucky dog! Whilst your lack of clothing in a combat situation makes staring you in the face a rather more challenging activity than might be the case for more normally attired officers of high rank, I feel vindicated in pointing out that yet again an opponent attempted to try and take you on on the ground of your choosing, and was transfixed by the enormity of the weapon being thrust in his face leaving him unable to react in any meaningful way.
It was only in the 4th battle that an opponent tried to split his forces and position them so as to outflank you and roll up your command and control-conflicted line, but even then you were fortunate in the Arabians lack of willingness to actually rush forward and try and take advantage of their deplyment success before you were able to react to it.
This victory has at least proved yet again how pretty much every army can be viable in ADLG if you apply yourself to it's sttengths - fortunately for you none of your opponents managed to apply themselves properly to expose its weaknesses either.
This is now starting to be a rather lengthy run of undefeated games which I am being forced to comment on stretching back several competitions. I hope next outing you fight some opponents with more guile, or bring an army that actually requires a modicum of skill to use so I can resume my usual splenetic harangings!
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