Field of Glory Wargaming at Faenza 2010
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Earlier in the year I'd gotten a skype call from Peter in Milan, asking if I fancied being a mystery guest team member along with Lenin and himself to enter the Italian Team FoG Championship to be held in the medieval town of Faenza as Team Infamy . Given this fell slap bang in the middle of the busiest 5 week period of my entire working year, the answer was a resourding "yes" - after all, decent pizza and pasta are worth travelling for at any time.
I'd also just finished a load of Late Roman legionaries with square shields and lorica segmentata, adorned with LBMS transfers to boot and being keen to use them I decided to take a Hamstrung Dominate Roman Army, or to give it it's official title, Principate Roman.
After a late night drinking outdoors in a bar who's staff appeared to be refugees from the SATC cast list I duly pitched up playing as part of a 3-man team, with myself in the Classica period.
I tucked into a hearty European breakfast of dry bread rolls and salami of unknown provenance and teed myself up to face a Graeco Bactrian army who's list is available here
Pictures of Graeco Bactrians from my Ancients Photo Directory
The terrain was rather random, and was a scattering of blobs of rough going. This looked quite good to me as I felt that it would force the enemy pikemen into some easy to spot channels, and then I could gang up on them with my legions and also allow my auxilia to operate across the whole table.
The deployment was as above (created using the free Battle Chronicler) tool. I was playing in a "proper" Roman way and intended for force the pikemen into a decisive showdown against my fabulous legions, whilst delaying elsewhere on the table.
before starting Caesar consulted a soothsayer
The game started by the Roman auxilia racing forward to claim the rough going in the middle of the table, and the Roman light horse also pushed up to buy space for the Romans to deploy behind.
The Roma Emperor Julius Caesar (played by Kenneth Williams) directed his men forwards boldly.
The Greeks leapt through their own light infantry, but the bulk of the Greek foot were pinned back and only advancing gingerly. Would they even commit their Pikes to the battle?
I've cleaned up this city.
Have you forgotten my slogan? 'Nihil expectore in omnibus' - no spitting on the public transport.
The rough going was proving an effective motorway through which the Roman auxilia could advance with impunity, opposed only by a few skirmishers. Possibly the Greek army could be split down the middle....
On the Roman right, the Greeks were bearing down on the Red Line with a horde of lancers and cavalry, and with a huge gap between some of the terrain pieces a solitary legion tried to position itself to block the wave of Greek horsemen from turning the Roman flank.
Nothing had happened as yet really, however things were starting to get tasty.
With the pikemen still hiding, two Legions made a bee-line towards a thin line of Greek cavalry, with medium foot auxilia leading the way to try and tempt the Greeks into a confrontation with the onrushing legion.
The Romans were leading aggressively with the left wing wing, but would it be enough...?
As Greek cavalry advanced, another legion moved up to try and protect the flank - and on the Roman far right the Extraordinarii feinted to the edge of the table, trying to tempt more lancers out of the vital areas of the board.
The game was evolving quickly, with the flexibility of the Romans starting to pay dividends - the auxilia were now pushed fully forward and were keeping 2 units of pike honest by the rough going, whilst the Roman legions were split into 2 lumps, both of which were facing down cavalry.
The Greek cavalry were incredibly well painted.... Click here to hear Kenneth Williams again
On the extreme left, javelin armed light cavalry supported auxilia pushed the Greek horse archers back, and 2 elephants decided which target they would like. By now the legions were doing plenty of expansion and contraction to shuffle crabwise across the table.
In the middle three units of Auxilia had a commanding position - but territory doesn't win games, killing the enemy wins games - and having gotten there they started to wonder what to do next. Would it be possible to push the enemy skirmishers arrayed before them off the table ? Or would the Greek phalanx's then turn on a dinarii and pin the auxilia's flank?
But whilst this was happening, the Greek cavalry, strangely reticent, found themselves increasingly ganged up upon by onrushing legions, keen to engage the thin line of enemy troops.
It was a classic attack, which startled Caesar in its brilliance and simplicity
- and where both sides were fully committed with no reserves to speak of ..
The Greeks elephant unit was becalmed, and attempting to take advantage of several odd bits in the rules about not wheeling to make flank charges, a unit of Auxilia attempted to sneak past them unnoticed whilst they focused on the legions ahead of them. Click here to hear Kenneth Williams
See how the auxilia unit in the middle is tempting the enemy lancers to charge by sneaking out of the RGo? See what would happen to the enemy cavalry as they attempt to handbrake turn and confirm, presenting an easy flank to the Romans?
The Extraordinarii had about-faced and scuttled back into the RGo, as between them and some LH almost half the Greek mounted strike force was being kept occupied fruitlessly.
With the battle evolving slowly in the center, the Greeks decided to commit to combat on their right. Did they have swords - who can remember? Anyway, with overlapping auxilia ready to slide in, the Romans were confident of hanging on long enough for their colleagues to tip the scales their way.
Back to the right and an unengaged unit of Greek cavalry now were obliged to charge home against the well prepared legions. Well, against the only unit of the four to not have rear support anyway.
The unit with rear support meanwhile was busy attacking an isolated phalanx. and soon overlap support arrived from the auxilia.
The bastion of Rough ground was proving a difficult obstacle for the Greeks to maneuver around, and three auxilia units kept them at bay on all sides
Back to the left, and strange things were happening as the elephants somehow had managed to hit the front of the auxilia, and were calm in their exposure of a flank to the Roman legion, who were just short of being able to charge home...
The Cataphracs also then charged home, preventing the legions fro hitting the flank of the elephants - who were losing their combat anyway even without assistance from the legionnaires !
With both sides now starting to commit enough units to battle to create a proper fight, a huge line of troops assembled under the watchful gaze of Julius Caesar ...
Somehow the steadfast legions were not that steadfast, and as they wobbled yet another Greek cavalry unit appeared to their flank. The end of the Roman line was at risk ...
The other flank was a lot more successful for Rome as the entire Greek charge faltered and pulled back after taking a mauling in combat.
Then a miracle happened - some evading skirmishers were caught up the Garry by a charge from some Roman Auxilia! With luck the resulting pursuit could sweep towards the baggage before even the nimble-footed Phalanx coudl react and race towards them!
The Greek left wing teed itself to roll up the Roman Right - One legion was a Lost Cause, but the Romans were still carefree, secure in the knowledge that in their next turn a Greek phalanx would inevitably break, allowing the legion on the left of the photo to pursue well out of range of both a break test for their friends, and also away from any risk of being rolled up themselves. Oddly enough, a revised turn sequence as suggested here would have made this a lot more exciting !
The once solid line of battle was again reduced to a scattering of individual unit actions as the two armies faced each other piecemeal.
The Romans, fresh from pursuing - and obliterating - one phalanx, charged long to leave their own flank exposed to the second unit of stick-wielding Greeks. Ooops!
But it had happened in my turn, so the Irish had a chance to react
Look, you know what's happening here. No need to comment. ...
Caesar looked on in horror as one of his commanders was trampled underfoot as the legion he was with were run down by lancers....
Equally horrifically, the outnumbered elephants had pulled off an amazing coup, recovering from disruption and then dramatically breaking the shocked Roman auxilia, triggering a chain reaction that also disrupted their neighbouring horse!
At least some of the Legions had read the script, and were methodically chopping their way through outnumbered and overmatched Greek horse.
Well, for a short while anyway. Getting 8 hits from 9 at impact is always nice.
This time, the Greeks evaporated and in pursuit the Romans closed i on more Greek skirmishers - this lot were not getting away. In the distance auxilia began to loot the baggage....
The Greeks were desperately looking for targets as the fast moving Romans danced around them
The game moved towards the lunchtime break with all hands to the pump ...
The Romans looked on in amazement as they managed to get all their units into exactly the wrong places to maximise their effectiveness - the fleet footed Phalanx and lancers had outmaneuvered them again!
Desperate for any odd point to tip the Greeks towards defeat, even the Extraordinarii got in on the action, relying on their superiority to fight off the Greek cavalry.
The Greeks by now had no center at all, but the Romans had no targets in sight to roll up on either flank and make this advantage count
The only-recently winning comfortably Roman LH evaporated against the already fragmented Greek light horse!!!
But finally the Greeks just ran out of men and with a narrow last gasp victory, triggered by the end of the Greek cataphracts on the Roman left and the loss of the LH unit who had tried to protect their own phalanx on the right, a total victory was achieved for Rome!
(Caesars general prepares for an early bath...)
Post Match Summary
Hannibal's Post Match Analysis
That was entirely incomprehensible, both as post match analysis and also as tactics.
The good stuff was forcing a much more mobile army to come to you on only 80% of the table width, and to make good use of the terrain. The bad bits were to turn up with an army that is simply not as good as the Dominate Roman one, leaving you effectively playing with a points handicap - which is kinda hard all round really.
You also managed to split your 4 decent units - the legions - waste points on the Extraordinarii in a game where the opposition had literally no troops at all against which their superior swordsmen skills would be of use. Astonishingly you managed to not throw away the cavalry unit and achieve something usefu with it - but that was more by luck than good judgement I suspect.
Adding it all up, the army throws away 25 points for the camp. 68 for the cavalry and 20 bases of Skilled swordsmen - so that's well over 100 points junked for no real gain. Its amazing you did as well as you managed really.
Hopefully the lunch will be OK...
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