Cannae 216 BC - Different Version

Player written historical scenarios for the Field of Glory gaming system.

Moderators: rbodleyscott, Slitherine Core, Field of Glory Moderators

Post Reply
Malty666
Corporal - Strongpoint
Corporal - Strongpoint
Posts: 57
Joined: Thu Apr 02, 2009 10:12 am
Location: Malta
Contact:

Cannae 216 BC - Different Version

Post by Malty666 » Thu Apr 02, 2009 10:21 am

Hi everyone,

Yes I know that Cannae has already been done, but it also happens to be the one that I have been researching.

I have a slightly different version to the previous one. It uses 1:500 scale, has 4 commanders per side and I have altered some of the troop types in light of my research.

The file is in pdf format. You can email me on justonna@gmail.com for a copy, or alternatively, if one of the moderators is feeling generous - they can request the file and post it here.

Right then, on to Trebia :)

Malty666
Corporal - Strongpoint
Corporal - Strongpoint
Posts: 57
Joined: Thu Apr 02, 2009 10:12 am
Location: Malta
Contact:

Post by Malty666 » Sat Apr 04, 2009 8:50 am

OK, figured out this forum stuff, so I'm going to post the scenario here.

This scenario uses a scale of 1:500 for troop representation and to give a feel of the epic size of the clash.

Cannae (216BC)

A Scenario for Field of Glory

Date: 216 BC
Historical / Hypothetical: Historical
Complexity: Medium
Size: Large
Number of Players: Minimum of 2, but 4+ are recommended.
Figure Scale: 1 base = 500 men
FOG supplement needed: None – but Rise of Rome will be helpful
Objectives: The destruction of the enemy. Use standard victory conditions.

The Battle of Cannae was one of the largest battles of the Second Punic War and is considered to be a masterpiece of military genius. During the battle, Hannibal used his superior tactical ability to destroy a much larger Roman force, inflicting a massive defeat upon the empire.

Following the battle, Rome was destroyed as a fighting force and many of their allies defected to the Carthaginian cause.
However, Hannibal’s requested reinforcements never arrived and he was unable to fully exploit his hard won victory. Rome recovered and eventually rebuilt her military, finally winning the Second Punic War decisively at Zama in 202 BC.

Prelude to the Battle

Shortly after the start of the Second Punic War, the Carthaginian general Hannibal marched his army into Italy by traversing the Alps – a daring and dangerous move in itself. He then consolidated his position in Roman territory by winning two major victories at Trebbia (218 BC) and at Lake Trasimene (217 BC).

Hannibal’s ultimate goal was to strangle Rome into submission. By consistently defeating her armies, he hoped that Rome’s allies would abandon her and that her fledgling empire would thus fall apart. His first two victories had set him well along this path.

Rome’s defeats sent shockwaves through her people and they responded by giving Fabius Maximus dictatorial powers to deal with Hannibal. However, Fabius, perhaps nervous of Hannibal’s infamous trickery in warfare, responded cautiously and fought a war of attrition that focused on cutting Hannibal’s supply lines, while refusing to engage in a pitched battle. But Rome could not leave the Carthaginian menace unchecked and Hannibal’s constant plundering was testing the resolve of allied states. Instead of caution, Rome wanted direct action and a quick end to the Carthaginian problem.

Therefore, in 216 BC Rome raised an army of unprecedented size. Eight full legions, accompanied by eight allied legions, were placed under the command of two consuls, Gaius Terentius Varro and Lucius Aemilius Paullus. Their orders were to bring Hannibal to battle and destroy him. No doubt, Rome felt that such a titanic force was unbeatable.
Hannibal had recently captured a major supply dump at Cannae and was content to stop scavenging for food and await the Romans there. And so the two Roman consuls obliged by marching their behemoth army there, hoping to put an end to Rome’s nemesis.

Arriving at Cannae, the Romans made camp. Paullus was reluctant to fight at this location, knowing that the open ground gave the strong Carthaginian cavalry a distinct advantage. However, the decision did not rest solely on his shoulders.
Because the army was so large, command of it was rotated between the two consuls. Varro was the more impulsive one – something that Hannibal was likely aware of – and wanted to use the mass of troops at his disposal to destroy his enemy. Paullus and Varro argued over the correct choice of action.

As the sun rose on a hot August morning, Hannibal marched his army out offering battle. Paullus, who was in command that day, refused it. Likely he still had misgivings about the terms of the combat. In response Hannibal sent his feared cavalry out to harass the Roman water bearers and disrupted their supply. The following morning Varro assumed command and marched out to meet Hannibal.

However, things would not go according to plan…

The Battle of Cannae

On August 2, 216 BC, a massive Roman force of around 80,000 infantry and 6,000 cavalry faced off against a Carthaginian force of approximately 40,000 infantry and 10,000 cavalry.

Varro knew that his legions could crush Hannibal’s centre – just as they had done under Sempronius at Trebia – and so deployed his infantry in the centre and his cavalry on the flanks. However, the huge number of Roman troops struggled to fit into the two kilometre wide battlefield that was bordered on one side by the Aufidus River, and on the other by the hills of Cannae. These densely packed troops looked more like a Greek phalanx than a Roman legion. But Varro was sure of victory and pressed on.

As was customary, some of the triarii and velites had been detached to guard the camp. Varro’s remaining light troops stretched out in front of the advancing legions as they closed with the Carthaginian lines.

Hannibal, however, had no intention of fighting fairly. His Spanish and Celtic troops engaged the Roman legions. They fought bravely, but could not hold the steamroller of legionnaires forever. Eventually they broke and the Romans poured in after them.

In the meantime, the cavalry of both sides engaged in a fierce exchange on the flanks and the superior Carthaginian riders soon overpowered the Romans on the banks of the Aufidus. These victorious troops then rode around to the other Roman flank, where it fell upon the rear of the remaining Roman cavalry, clearing the field of the enemy. The Carthaginian cavalry now ruled both flanks.

The Roman infantry, sensing victory, had pushed after the fleeing Celts and Spanish. In doing so they allowed Hannibal’s veteran African spearmen to manoeuvre around their flanks. These fierce warriors attacked the legions from both sides and the great Roman wall of men came to a halt. This gave the Celts and Spanish time to recover and return to the fight, while the Carthaginian cavalry surged in from the rear.
Hannibal’s trap had snapped shut and the Romans were surrounded in one of the earliest known examples of the pincer movement.

With their prey secured, the Carthaginians set about the task of butchery, killing tens of thousands of soldiers. Hannibal, although a great general, was never noted for his mercy.
Around 50,000 Romans who fought at Cannae, died on Carthaginian steel, with Hannibal losing around 8,000 warriors. Amongst the Roman dead were Consul Paullus and numerous other noted citizens of Rome. Varro survived but was disgraced.

After the victory, Hannibal was urged to march on Rome. But without siege engines and reinforcements, he was unable to capitalise on his victory. Although some of her allies would switch sides as a result of the catastrophe, Rome would eventually recover and drive Hannibal from its shores. Ultimately, Hannibal was undone, not by the lack of his tactical ability, but by the refusal of his nation’s leaders to provide him with the support he needed to finish his conquest.

Forces

Carthage: (Later Carthaginian - Rise of Rome p23)

The Carthaginian army was roughly composed of 40,000 infantry and 10,000 cavalry, with troops hailing from numerous regions. Polybius mentions naked Celts, Spanish scutarii and Libyan spearmen. The sight of such a mixed force must have been both awesome and terrifying for the new Roman recruits.

Hannibal's cavalry was similarly diverse. He commanded Numidian light horse, Spanish cavalry, Gallic cavalry and Carthaginian nobles. Out in front of his army were his Balearic slingers and javelinmen from assorted nations.

The army list that follows attempts to maintain the right mix of troops – approximately 60% infantry, 16% light infantry and 24% cavalry – that a Carthaginian force usually fielded. The African spearmen are veterans and have been upgraded to reflect their captured Roman equipment – as noted in the relevant army list. The Gallic foot are all upgraded to heavy infantry and drilled – again as permitted in the army list. Given their complex manoeuvring during the battle, their ‘drilled’ status appears well deserved.

Hannibal’s veteran cavalry has been represented by a contingent of Libyphoenican horsemen – also the only drilled cavalry in the army list. The Gallic noble cavalry have been represented by one ‘armoured’ and one ‘protected’ Battle Group to represent the captured equipment from the large amount of looting the army has done, as well as to give the Carthaginian cavalry a clear edge over their Roman counterparts.

The camp has been fortified due to the presence of a strong Gallic contingent left behind, and there are four commanders to give some flexibility to the troops.

Carthage Army List [all points costs are given in brackets]
Total Points: 1,131; Initiative: +3

Commanders:
  • C-in-C – Hannibal: Inspired Commander [80]
    Sub-Commander – Hasdrubal: Field Commander [50]
    Sub commander – Mago: Field Commander [50]
    Sub-Commander – Hanno: Troop Commander [35]
Infantry:
  • 1 BG consisting of 8 bases of African Spearmen with captured Roman armour: Heavy Foot, Armoured, Superior, Drilled, Offensive spearmen [104]
    1 BG consisting of 8 bases of African Spearmen with captured Roman armour: Heavy Foot, Armoured, Superior, Drilled, Offensive spearmen [104]
    1 BG consisting of 8 bases of Iberians (Spanish mercenary Scutarii): Medium Foot, Protected, Average, Drilled, Impact foot, Swordsmen [64]
    1 BG consisting of 8 bases of Iberians (Spanish mercenary Scutarii): Medium Foot, Protected, Average, Drilled, Impact foot, Swordsmen [64]
    1 BG consisting of 8 bases of Gallic Foot: Heavy Foot, Protected, Average, Drilled, Impact foot, Swordsmen [64]
    1 BG consisting of 8 bases of Gallic Foot: Heavy Foot, Protected, Average, Drilled, Impact foot, Swordsmen [64]
    1 BG consisting of 6 bases of Gallic Foot: Heavy Foot, Protected, Average, Drilled, Impact foot, Swordsmen [48]
    1 BG consisting of 6 bases of Gallic Foot: Heavy Foot, Protected, Average, Drilled, Impact foot, Swordsmen [48]
    1 BG consisting of 4 bases of Balearic Slingers: Light Foot, Unprotected, Superior, Undrilled, Sling [20]
    1 BG consisting of 6 bases of Numidian, Libyan and Spanish Javelinmen: Light Foot, Unprotected, Average, Undrilled, Javelins, Light spear [24]
    1 BG consisting of 6 bases of Numidian, Libyan and Spanish Javelinmen: Light Foot, Unprotected, Average, Undrilled, Javelins, Light spear [24]

Cavalry:
  • 1 BG consisting of 4 bases of Libyphoenician Cavalry: Cavalry, Armoured, Superior, Drilled, Light spear, Swordsmen [68]
    1 BG consisting of 4 bases of Gallic Noble Cavalry: Cavalry, Armoured, Superior, Undrilled, Light spear, Swordsmen [64]
    1 BG consisting of 4 bases of Gallic Cavalry: Cavalry, Protected, Superior, Undrilled, Light spear, Swordsmen [48]
    1 BG consisting of 4 bases of Numidian Light Cavalry: Light Horse, Unprotected, Average, Undrilled, Javelins, Light spear [28]
    1 BG consisting of 4 bases of Numidian Light Cavalry: Light Horse, Unprotected, Average, Undrilled, Javelins, Light spear [28]
    1 BG consisting of 4 bases of Spanish Light Cavalry: Light Horse, Unprotected, Average, Undrilled, Javelins, Light spear [28]

Camp:
  • Fortified Camp [24]

Total: 17 BGs, Camp, 24 mounted bases, 76 foot bases, 4 commanders


Rome: (Mid Republican Roman - Rise of Rome p9)

The Roman consuls commanded a force that totalled over 80,000 infantry and 6,000 cavalry, the amassed might of eight Roman legions and eight allied legions.

Approximately one quarter of the army’s velites and triarii were detached to guard the fortified camp. The army list reflects this by having these troops absent from four legions – two Roman ones and two allied legions.

While previous defeats had left many Roman warriors dead, it is assumed that at least two legions of veterans could be amassed from the survivors. The remainder represent recently – and hastily – raised soldiers. Also note that, because of the representative troop scale of 1:500, the figure bases normally used for one legion instead represent two.

The army list also contains a double legion of pedites extraordinarii. These were often used as a reserve, but in this instance have been packed into the main line along with the other troops.

Varro has been placed in overall command, following the majority of sources on the battle.

For convenience sake, the following army list shows the troops by legion.

Rome Army List [all points costs are given in brackets]
Total Points: 1,300; Initiative: +1

Commanders
  • C-in-C – Consul Varro: Troop Commander [35]
    Sub-Commander – Consul Paullus: Troop Commander [35]
    Sub-Commander – Geminus: Troop Commander [35]
    Sub-Commander – Regulus: Troop Commander [35]

Infantry
Legions 1 & 2 (veteran)
  • 1 BG consisting of 4 bases of hastati: Heavy Foot, Armoured, Superior, Drilled, Impact foot, Skilled swordsmen [56]
    1 BG consisting of 4 bases of principes: Heavy Foot, Armoured, Superior, Drilled, Impact foot, Skilled swordsmen [56]
    1 BG consisting of 2 bases of triarii: Heavy Foot, Armoured, Elite, Drilled, Offensive Spearmen [32]
    1 BG consisting of 4 bases of velites: Light Foot, Protected, Average, Drilled, Javelins, Light Spear [20]
Legions 3 & 4
  • 1 BG consisting of 4 bases of hastati: Heavy Foot, Armoured, Average, Drilled, Impact foot, Swordsmen [40]
    1 BG consisting of 4 bases of principes: Heavy Foot, Armoured, Average, Drilled, Impact foot, Swordsmen [40]
    1 BG consisting of 2 bases of triarii: Heavy Foot, Armoured, Superior, Drilled, Offensive Spearmen [26]
    1 BG consisting of 4 bases of velites: Light Foot, Unprotected, Average, Drilled, Javelins, Light Spear [16]
Legions 5 & 6
  • 1 BG consisting of 4 bases of hastati: Heavy Foot, Armoured, Average, Drilled, Impact foot, Swordsmen [40]
    1 BG consisting of 4 bases of principes: Heavy Foot, Armoured, Average, Drilled, Impact foot, Swordsmen [40]
    1 BG consisting of 2 bases of triarii: Heavy Foot, Armoured, Superior, Drilled, Offensive Spearmen [26]
    1 BG consisting of 4 bases of velites: Light Foot, Unprotected, Average, Drilled, Javelins, Light Spear [16]
Legions 7 & 8 (raw)
  • 1 BG consisting of 4 bases of hastati: Heavy Foot, Protected, Poor, Drilled, Impact foot, Swordsmen [24]
    1 BG consisting of 4 bases of principes: Heavy Foot, Protected, Poor, Drilled, Impact foot, Swordsmen [24]

Allied Legion ‘Extraordinaire’
  • 1 BG consisting of 4 bases of Italian allied pedites extraordinarii: Medium Foot, Armoured, Superior, Drilled, Light Spear, Swordsmen [48]
    1 BG consisting of 4 bases of Italian allied pedites extraordinarii: Medium Foot, Armoured, Superior, Drilled, Light Spear, Swordsmen [48]

Allied Legions 1 & 2 (veteran)
  • 1 BG consisting of 4 bases of hastati: Heavy Foot, Armoured, Superior, Drilled, Impact foot, Skilled Swordsmen [56]
    1 BG consisting of 4 bases of principes: Heavy Foot, Armoured, Superior, Drilled, Impact foot, Skilled Swordsmen [56]
    1 BG consisting of 2 bases of triarii: Heavy Foot, Armoured, Elite, Drilled, Offensive Spearmen [32]
    1 BG consisting of 4 bases of velites: Light Foot, Protected, Average, Drilled, Javelins, Light Spear [20]
Allied Legions 3 & 4
  • 1 BG consisting of 4 bases of hastati: Heavy Foot, Protected, Average, Drilled, Impact foot, Swordsmen [32]
    1 BG consisting of 4 bases of principes: Heavy Foot, Protected, Average, Drilled, Impact foot, Swordsmen [32]
    1 BG consisting of 2 bases of triarii: Heavy Foot, Armoured, Superior, Drilled, Offensive Spearmen [26]
    1 BG consisting of 4 bases of velites: Light Foot, Unarmoured, Average, Drilled, Javelins, Light Spear [16]
Allied Legions 5 & 6
  • 1 BG consisting of 4 bases of hastati: Heavy Foot, Protected, Average, Drilled, Impact foot, Swordsmen [32]
    1 BG consisting of 4 bases of principes: Heavy Foot, Protected, Average, Drilled, Impact foot, Swordsmen [32]
    1 BG consisting of 2 bases of triarii: Heavy Foot, Armoured, Superior, Drilled, Offensive Spearmen [26]
    1 BG consisting of 4 bases of velites: Light Foot, Unarmoured, Average, Drilled, Javelins, Light Spear [16]
Allied Legions 7 & 8
  • 1 BG consisting of 4 bases of hastati: Heavy Foot, Protected, Average, Drilled, Impact foot, Swordsmen [32]
    1 BG consisting of 4 bases of principes: Heavy Foot, Protected, Average, Drilled, Impact foot, Swordsmen [32]

Other
  • 1 BG consisting of 4 bases of Cretan Archers: Light foot, Unprotected, Superior, Drilled, Bow [24]
Cavalry
  • 1 BG consisting of 4 bases of Roman Cavalry: Cavalry, Armoured, Average, Undrilled, Light spear, Swordsmen [48]
    1 BG consisting of 4 bases of Allied Roman Cavalry: Cavalry, Protected, Average, Undrilled, Light spear, Swordsmen [36]
    1 BG consisting of 4 bases of Allied Roman Cavalry: Cavalry, Protected, Average, Undrilled, Light spear, Swordsmen [36]
Camp
  • Fortified Camp [24]

Total: 34 BGs, Camp, 12 mounted bases, 108 foot bases, 4 commanders


Deployment

Terrain

The battle was fought in an open area, perhaps as a reluctance of the Roman commanders to fall for Hannibal’s previous deceptions and ambushes. One flank of the battlefield is secured by the Aufidus River which is 2 MU wide and counts as difficult terrain. The other flank is bordered by the hills of Cannae. These count as steep hills and rise towards the table edge. Hannibal’s fortified camp also rests on a steep hill. The remainder of the table is open terrain.

The battle is fought on a 6 foot by 4 foot table using 15mm scales and bases. If you wish to use a larger scale, you will need a bigger table.

Historical Troop Positions

The historical troop deployments are shown on the map below. Each square on the map represents 2 MU of tabletop.
Roman players will find their deployment is very cramped, with legions pressed up against each other. This is an accurate reflection of the historical situation. ‘Varro’s Formation’, as it became known, was nothing more than a massed phalanx of men. Infantry belonging to the same legion should be placed in the correct order: hastati in front and principes behind. Normally the Roman legions would occupy the centre, with the allied legions on the flanks.

The Carthaginian troops must delay the Roman advance long enough to form their crescent shaped formation, and give their cavalry enough time to drive off their Roman counterparts. Although their veteran troops are drilled, they won’t stand up for long against the mass of legionnaires that are approaching.

The Roman player deploys first.

Players are free to experiment with alternative deployments, but it is suggested to become familiar with the flow of the battle by replaying the historical version at least a few times.

Leaders

Carthage

Hannibal is positioned with the Iberian and Gaul infantry. He can begin the game either independent or attached to any Battle Group within the central deployment zone.

Mago is also positioned in the centre. He may also begin the game either independent or attached to any Battle Group within the central deployment zone.

Hasdrubal is positioned with the Heavy Cavalry and can begin the battle independent or attached to any Battle Group on that wing.

Hanno is positioned with the Light Cavalry and can begin the battle independent or with Battle Group on that wing.

Rome

Varro, strangely, begins the battle with the Allied Cavalry – no doubt aware of the importance that Hannibal gave cavalry and wanting to oversee its correct use. He can begin the game independent or attached to any Battle Group on that wing.

Paullus begins the game with the Roman Cavalry and can begin the game independent or attached to any Battle Group on that wing.

Both Geminus and Regulus begin the game with the central mass of Roman troops. They can begin the game independent or attached to any of the Battle Groups in this sector.

Deployment Map

Image

Turns

The Carthaginians start the first turn.

Victory Conditions
This is a battle of survival for Hannibal, while a war of destruction for Varro and Paullus. Simple attrition points are used to determine victory, with the following additions:
  • The Romans gain +4 Attrition Points if Hannibal is killed.


Scenario Notes

To many, Cannae represents the pinnacle of Hannibal’s military career. It is a masterpiece battle which defines him as a military artist. It is also his greatest victory over the Romans and one which he will never repeat on such a scale.

The scenario represents a very large combat and I have chose to represent this in 1:500 scale to keep the forces just about manageable on a 6x4 tabletop, while preserving the massive feel of the engagement. It is strongly recommended that four or more players are involved – simply to avoid having to buy and paint such a large number of troops.

Time is another factor and it is likely that this game will take six hours or more to play. Make sure that you have enough time, or an area where you can leave the armies set up to complete the game at a later date.

I have explained the reasons for many of my choices in the relevant sections. All that is left is for you to enjoy the game.

Any feedback or comments are welcome. You can reach me on email via justonna@gmail.com.

Post Reply

Return to “Historical Scenarios”