Stewart had indeed changed his army from our last encounter, he had three cavalry units this time backed up with some elite infantry along with some axemen and only two units of the lower orders, he had also brought along his first home grown unit of infantry, it would be interesting to see how they would perform. I had only tweaked my army slightly, I lost some of the skirmishers and took a Legate rather than the Emperor to save points and bring my Cataphracts to the table, the backbone of the army remained three cohorts of infantry, one being veterans.
|The Twelfth prepares.|
The Franks deployed with a heavy cavalry left flank supported by infantry behind, an infantry centre and a unit of cavalry way out on the right, he had drawn Test of Strength which meant he had to get a unit into my deployment area while having no enemy units in his. I think this is what the lone cavalry unit was for while the rest of his army held me off. I got Take and Hold, which meant I had to take the centre of the table while keeping the enemy at least six inches away for a whole turn, my plan therefore was to advance the infantry while keeping an eye on the lone cavalry unit, my horse archers hopefully would add some casualties to the enemy horse before the cavalry clashed.
|The armies face off.|
As the battle opened I advanced my skirmishers and they took a beating and fled for the rear, I managed to stop them leaving the field and when they came back they were sent to the left to destroy the annoying lone cavalry which they eventually chased away with heavy losses. My horse archers got nowhere either, were charged and also made for the rear, these too were rallied and came back to support my Auxiliary cavalry. My infantry took the centre being helped by Stewart's plan to hold, game over in two moves! That wasn't going to fly so we simply decided to continue the game as a normal battle.
|The cavalry melee.|
|The Roman infantry advance.|
How was the game from a wargaming point of view, well I am not a fan of the objective cards but have to know them for the tournaments and only occasionally do you get a daft result which ends the game without any bloodletting whatsoever. Stewart's plan to harry my flanks while holding off the better Roman infantry was sound, but this meant it would have been disaster for him to contend the centre as he wanted to have the infantry fight as late as possible. I suspect we may drop the objective cards for home games in the future. He had trouble killing the cataphracts and bad luck against the Auxiliaries which he should have beaten, their die rolling was exceptional as was the glancing attack. My skirmishers lost out big time, I should have given them light armour or shields but forgot, I won't next time. I used the Praetorians as my veteran cohort to get them on the table, and as usual I was disappointed that my elite unit ran away and my Legate was captured, but in hindsight I asked too much of them against Stewart's elite spearmen, but I will keep my eye on them.
Perhaps the Romans are a tad too much for a Dark Age army to contend with with their myriad choices of troops for every occasion, next time I shall pit my Saxons against the Franks, also Stewart should have more of his own men by then, perhaps they will fight better, I hope not.