Mid-Republic Romans vs. Gauls (600 pt battle)

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Jason_Langlois
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Mid-Republic Romans vs. Gauls (600 pt battle)

Post by Jason_Langlois » Mon May 26, 2008 2:10 am

After weeks of maneuver through the north of Italy, Lucius Amelius Papus is forced by the Gauls to give battle rather than wait for reinforcements. In the early hours of morning, the Gauls deploy in farmlands not far from the coast. The terrain is flat and dominated by a plowed field in the center of the battlefield. To the far right of the battlefield is an enclosed field, while the far left is marked by a steep hill. The Gaul camp is next to a Roman plantation, long since sacked by the invading barbarians. Papus calls forth the Legions and prepares to give battle.

The Romans
Legion I: 4 x Velites, 4 x Hastati & Principes, 4 x Hastati & Principes, 2 x Triarii
Legion II: 4 x Velites, 4 x Hastati & Principes, 4 x Hastati & Principes, 2 x Triarii
Left Alae: 4 x Cavalry, 6 x Italian Allied Infantry
Right Alae: 4 x Cavalry, 6 x Scutarii
CinC: FC; Sub-commanders: 3 x TC

The Hastati & Principes are well equipped (Armoured), while the Equites deploy in the Right Alae (Cavalry are Armoured). Otherwise, the Romans are standard, non-veteran Mid-Republic forces. Thus, the Romans mass around 2400 light infantry, 6000 medium infantry, 6000 heavy infantry and 2000 cavalry.

Against them, the Gauls mass the hill tribes and bring a band of their lowland brothers.

The Gauls
12 x Warriors (Hill tribe medium foot)
12 x Warriors (Hill tribe medium foot)
12 x Warriors (Hill tribe medium foot)
8 x Slingers
6 x Javelinmen
4 x Cavalry
4 x Cavalry
12 x Warriors (Lowland heavy foot)
CinC: FC, Sub-commanders: 1 x TC, Allied Commander: 1 x TC

The Gauls muster 3500 light infantry, 9000 medium infantry, 3000 heavy infantry, and 2000 cavalry... the numbers are with them, but not by much.

Deployment

The Gauls deploy in depth, with cavalry on both wings and the warriors massed in depth in the center. It is clear they intend to use the open field to their advantage. In front of their line, the slingers are arranged to bring the Roman line under quick fire. Of the javelinmen, there is no sign, though Papus suspects they are deployed behind the walled fields to his right.

The Roman army deploys in the standard formation. Two Legions in the center, velites in front and the triarii in the rear. Papus marches with Legion I, while a sub-commander marches with the Legion II. The right wing is made up of the scutarii, fresh off the boats from Spain, and the Roman equites. The left is the Italian allied foot and the remaining cavalry. Each wing has a commander attached.

Early Skirmishing

Both armies move forward, with the Gaul left refusing slightly. This draws forward the Roman right, and the scutarii and cavalry are soon past the enclosed fields. It is little surprise to the Romans when the javelinmen pop up from behind the walls, but their appearance sparks a moment of overconfidence in the spanish scutarii. They charge - not the javelinmen, but rather the Gallic cavalry that has strayed too close. The resulting fight does not go well, and the scutarii are soon in flight.

In the center, the Roman velites and the Gallic slingers exchange brief fire before the velites rush forward and engage. The resulting battle initially goes against the velites, but they hold on and the battle tilts in their favor. The skirmish fight draws in a unit of Gallic warriors, but even so it is the velites that prevail and send the slingers running. Unfortunately, not all of the velites show bravery and some break and rout. The draws out the Gallic warriors from their open fields.

On the Roman left, the open fields are soon filled with the unshaven Gaul warriors who shout insults at the Italians aligned against them. At the far left, the Roman cavalry and the Gaul cavalry are soon engaged. They will battle each other for much of this early part of the battle to no decision, but slowly the Romans whittle down their Gallic enemies.

The Center Commits (Roman Attrition Pts: 4/12, Gaul Attrition Pts: 2/8)

With the skirmish battle decided, the Roman hastati & principes of the Legion I, joined by the Italian allied foot, launch forward into the now exposed Gaul warriors. The resulting fight will be decided quickly, helped along by events on the far left of the Roman line: a decision is reached in the fight of the two cavalry forces - the Gauls break and one of their commanders is slain. The effects of this ripple along the Gallic line and cause the warriors engaged with the Roman Legion I to break. The Italian allied foot pursues into the open field, while the Legion I is slower and remains in position.

On the far right, the Gallic cavalry has engaged the Roman equites in another long, hard fought engagement. The javelinmen, lacking suitable targets, move out of the enclosed fields and begin a march towards the Roman camp. Meanwhile, the Gauls attempt to rally some of their fleeing warriors, to no effect. The Romans manage to bolster their equites and the Italian allied foot, however.

The End (Roman Attrition Pts: 4/12, Gaul Attrition Pts: 6/8)

In the center, the Gauls move up their allied lowland heavy foot and contact elements of the Legion I and all of the hastati & principes of Legion II. The resulting combat does not favor the Gauls who are quickly disordered and then put to flight. With that, the whole of the Gaul army takes to its heels and flees the battlefield.

However, the long combats have left Papus' cavalry exhausted and without his velites to make a proper pursuit. He sends the Italians after the Gauls, and sets about reorganizing his forces and sending word to Rome of his great victory.
Last edited by Jason_Langlois on Wed Jul 09, 2008 4:04 pm, edited 2 times in total.

SirGarnet
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Post by SirGarnet » Mon May 26, 2008 4:35 am

The Roman infantry is tough. In a recent battle we weighted more towards mounted with chariots and focused on winning on the flanks and delaying in the center by engaging with skirmishers. The Romans realized the plan and managed to break through the center as we cleaned up and won on the flanks. It takes time to turn quickly into the center and then catch up with the Romans who advanced past the battles on the flanks. I think trying for victory on the flanks is a desirable strategy since armoured superior legionaries have it their way if they get past the initial combat.

Mike

Jason_Langlois
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Post by Jason_Langlois » Mon May 26, 2008 3:35 pm

I agree the Roman infantry is tough - while i had good luck, it was definitely helped along by the POA + for having the heavier armor than my Gallic opponents.

I very much enjoyed this first game - 600 pts, started around noon and we were done by around 3pm. Since it was my first time playing, we consulted the rules a couple times so I could clarify things (the limited mobility of troops 6MUs from opponents really threw me). Overall, everything was very easy to understand and put to use.

My biggest mistake was not reading far enough down the POA chart - I saw my scutarii were Impact Foot and had a + against non-shock mounted, then saw that light spear (mounted) only got its + if there were no other POAs... thus I charged with my scutarii, figuring I'd be up in the Impact at least. I missed the line where Mounted get + against medium foot in the open. Whoops. A bad die roll on the cohesion check, followed by a massacre in the melee lead to a rather rapid breaking of the scutarii. Lesson learned.

I also learned that the 4 stand velites aren't going to shake the foundations of the world with javelin fire, but are very important for screening the heavy shock infantry behind them and preventing uncontrolled charging. Also that Roman Cavalry, with leaders attached, is barely a match for the Gallic cavarly.

SirGarnet
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Post by SirGarnet » Tue May 27, 2008 9:18 am

Jason_Langlois wrote:I also learned that the 4 stand velites aren't going to shake the foundations of the world with javelin fire, but are very important for screening the heavy shock infantry behind them and preventing uncontrolled charging. Also that Roman Cavalry, with leaders attached, is barely a match for the Gallic cavarly.
Skirmishers in the way prevent uncontrolled charges against skirmishers, but not against heavier troops. Unless refusing on one flank, it should not mattersince the usual rule seems to be to get the legions into action chewing up the enemy as quickly as possible, so they will charge at the first opportunity anyway.

Jason_Langlois
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Post by Jason_Langlois » Tue May 27, 2008 3:36 pm

I was deploying 4 stand legion units against 12 stand gallic warriors - I was (perhaps unceccessarily, as it turned out) concerned about getting drawn out by his light foot slingers and being defeated in detail, so was happy the velites screened my heavy foot.

In hindsight, the Gaul commander realized he'd taken too defensive a mind-set and had focused on holding the uneven ground of the field rather coming out to challenge me. His plan had been to anchor himself on the open field, refuse his left flank to try and draw out my scutarii and cavalry and then spring the ambush with the javelins and defeat my right wing. He'd also deployed with depth (a 2 up, 2 back square formation with the warrior bands) that turned out to be less effective than he'd expected.

For my part, my biggest mistake was charging cavalry with medium foot. Otherwise, the battle went pretty much as I'd planned... my velites drove off his skirmish screen (the slingers), while my cavalry fought/delayed his cavalry. The fact that I was able to face one warrior BG at a time with at least three of my H&P BGs allowed me to chew him up in the center.

My next battle will likely be agaisnt some flavor of Greek forces (Syracuse or Sicilian, I expect), which will probably turn out differently. I'm a little scared of the offensive spearmen in ranks.

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