perjantai 7. elokuuta 2015

Mare Nostrum Campaign started - Battle report: Macedonian - Successors vs. Gauls

Finally our long prepared campaign started (see a separate project page for backround info)!

Two games were played in the opening sessions: My Ptolemians faced an angry mob of Gauls from Riihimäki and Marko gave an introductory game for a new HC-player: Hoplite Greeks vs. EIR,

Armies & scenario

  • We played with 400 point armies + three scouting units
  • Scenario's aim was to reach the opposite table edge with the scouts to score victory points. One of the units was "chosen", carrying an important message. It was naturally more valuable in VP. You'd also score VP's for destroying opponent scouts and normal units and breaking their divisions


I placed most of my infantry in the middle, with one division covering the left flank. One cavalry section deployed in the extreme right and the other Agema & chariots left from the centre. Most of my units were deployed in column to get the +1 to the command value and to guarantee at least one move. My scouts were each attached to one of my three divisions, but they were leaning towards right, since Pekka's deployment had left an opening there. 
My simple plan was based on the classic Macedonian stratagema: pin the enemy with the phalanx and then smash them with a cavalry charge to the flank... let's see how that would work.

Rounds 1 & 2

I won the roll for start (I had started by deploying my first division and hence got +1 to the roll). 
My cavalry elements on the right started their flanking move around the rocky terrain piece. My Camel riding light cav was making good progress. Agema moved once and then changed formation. This time I played the heavy cavalry with a correct movement rate of 9", instead of  6".

I'm using wedge-formation for my Agema Cavalry for visual reasons in this game. In the campaign we're allowing cavalry to take cavalry wedge for 5 points with following effects:

  • front and sides count as front for all purposes, 
  • free move, 
  • enemy giving ground after CC are burst through, 
  • can make D3 moves through the enemy, it has burst through (minimum is to move clear of the enemy unit, which becomes disordered), 
  • cannot be supported
Most of my infantry did the same: moved forward and changed formation to battle line.
All of my scout units shifted to right.

Situation after my first round. Gauls moving.

Gauls started to push forward and first elements of their left flank division moved in quick pace reaching the middle rocks. But then Pekka proceeded to roll his first blunder:
And one of his cavalry units retreated backwards and left the field. Also a large warband retreated two moves. He then proceeded to the next division and soon rolled another blunder; this time one of his cavalry units got nuts and pushed forward three moves yelling mad insults! And leaving rest of the division far behind. I started to feel sorry for Pekka. Then he proceeded to fail (just a regular failure this time) the first command for his third division with all the chariots etc. Now I felt, that I don't really need that much help from his die rolls...

My extreme left wondering why the enemy is not moving...
Gauls position after first round,,, nice echelon, if not totally planned...

Then it was time for the second round. My central division with horse units (cav & chariots) were given a command to engage the enemy cavalry, that had so recklessly advanced into our front. Unfortunately not enough momentum was built.

On my left flank the phalanx took up positions on the hill, but the light cavalry didn't get the message through; I wanted them to move and harass / divert the Gallic chariots.

On my right my phalanxes anchored their battle line with the impassable rocks and hence covering the route my scouts were taking. In the meanwhile my Agema cavalry continued ever so slowly their flanking move. At least the camel riders were in position to shoot at the Gallic warband from behind...

 ...and combined with some other missile fire succeeded in panicking and breaking one of the large warband units! Yeah! I could already taste the sweet wine of victory in my mouth!

The Gauls advanced in their round 2, but surprisingly we didn't see any charges... were the Gauls losing their nerve?

Rounds 3 & 4

My third round started with several charges crashing home; my central division engaged the forward rushed Gallic cavalry, whom now showed the reason for their aggressiveness: they fought like madmen causing 5 wounds on my Agema cavalry. I won the fight with a margin of 1 and the Gauls weren't going anywhere... My cavalry followed up, but my chariots decided to stay put. Unfortunately my left flank phalanxes failed to move far enough to close the opening to their flank...

My elephant and it's supporting skirmishers decided to give a try to reach the remaining right  flank Gauls and beautifully proceeded to make it with 3 moves, hurrah! Inflamed by this feat my two phalanxes also charged the large warband and together they destroyed it in no time. They then made sweeping advances to the Gallic cavalry unit - naturally disordering themselves in the process. The camel riders and the flanking Agema were harassing the  remains of the now broken Gallic division.

Round 4 saw the total collapse of the Gallic left flank, where my cavalry also butchered first of their scouts. Vicious fighting also finally erupted in my left flank, where the Gauls finally found their balls and charged all around and proceeded to destroy my chariots from the flank (why did I ever leave them there!) and beat the hell out of veteran phalanx (and themselves), my phalanx converted their loss by two into a draw. 
Their chariots failed to reach my evading light cav which was very fast indeed (they ran full 3 moves (36") away)... My Guard Phalanx then charged their chariots, whom were now right in front of them and won the fight, but the Gauls wouldn't budge!

In the centre my troops turned to face the raging Gauls, whom had just trampled my chariots, it didn't look too good there...

But then the Gauls realized, that their left and central divisions really weren't there no more and they somehow lost their will to fight... (read: it was getting late and the outcome was already clear). Should we have continued, the Gauls would have crushed my already shaken Agema, but then my right flank forces would have overwhelmed them. His remaining scouts were now also exposed, while all my scouts had a clear road ahead.


Analysis of the  game

  • Pekka was true in his words: he is one of the unluckiest dice rollers, you got to believe that after 3 blunders and an almost fresh large warband lost to snake eyes after few lucky arrows. That helped my start enormously and gave me the control of the game.
  • I think Pekka played slightly too carefully after that, his charges only came on third and fourth rounds and they were too often unsupported. So even with their initial success (Celts are fearsome in their charge), they were then ground to dust by my phalanxes, whom all were supported.
  • My over all plan worked: nothing really got past the phalanxes and especially my right flank outflanking maneuver was successful, leading to the  collapse of the Gauls' left flank.
  • Pekka also used too little division commands - this with his bad luck lead to singular actions for him and piece meal fights for me.
  • I actually forgot my Thracian light infantry to my painting desk at home, but I guess I managed well enough even without those ferocious fighters!
  • I think Barbarian force could work... maybe using their chariots in open order and skirmishing - with 4 dice worth of short range javelins it sounds scary. I also wondered where their naked fanatics and bow armed skirmishers were...

The other game played was a tutorial, since it was Tuomas' first game of HC. Greeks and Romans fought over a temple. Game ended in a bloody draw ...

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