Thursday, 23 November 2017

Carthage Is The New Enemy

Terrible day outside, third day of atrocious weather so it was just as well I had organised a game. It was a War and Conquest bash and instead of Greeks Kevin had brought his Carthaginians minus elephants, for now. I wasn't quite sure what I would be up against as a Carthaginian commander has a lot of choice in what to bring to the battlefield.

In the event the army was a mix of different troops, Celts, Africans, Libyans etc. there was one warband and three phalanxes along with supporting troops. I had brought what is becoming my core forces for a 3,000 point battle, two normal cohorts, two green cohorts, one auxiliary cohort, supports and a unit of Contarii as I expected at least one half decent Carthaginian cavalry unit.

Thunderbolts on the left, Carthage on the right.

The Emperor surveys the scene.

After we deployed, with Kevin again fearful of his flanks and putting terrain on both, I thought they were still vulnerable and I decided to go forward quickly with my right, my left I was not so sure about and wanted to use the hill to my advantage. I did not manage to snatch the initiative until the last two moves in the game, so my left was caught off guard as the large Celtic warband came storming forward towards my archers, they received a hail of arrows and failed their morale test spectacularly and bolted, I sighed with relief as my Lanciarii were not in position yet to harass the flank of the warband. My left was safe for the time being.

The warband flees.

Carthaginian centre advances.

Roman right races forward.

On the right my horse archers shielded the advance of my Contarii which I was sure would beat the Carthaginian cavalry given a chance, but they didn't do very much else except of course survive the enemy archery. My two green cohorts advanced swiftly and Cohors II hit the enemy to their front whil Cohors III manoeuvred for a flank charge. The enemy cavalry had decided to move to their right so things were looking very good here. Although my boys put the enemy to flight their support came through and gave me a hard time, holding up my victory here for a couple of moves.

Roman left stabilises.

In the centre I took the fight to the enemy centre rather than wait, the plan was for the flanking units to get behind the enemy while my legionaries bravely held up their opponents, I was fighting for time. I managed to win the first clash but lost the next round as numbers told against me, however I managed to stop both units from routing, it was going to be touch and go whether help would arrive in time.

Here they come!

Victory looks settled on the right.

Clash in the centre.

Meanwhile on my left the Auxiliaries had vanquished their foes and turned in to the centre, the large warband continued to suffer from missile fire but managed one last effort to take the hill, they failed in this and were swept away in the rout. I now lost both my centre units but they managed to outrun their pursuers so I might have had a chance to get them back, one at least. I smashed into the pursuers making them stop and turn back. My Contarii rode down one phalanx but I had asked too much of my Auxiliaries and they in turn were hit in the rear by the Carthaginian cavalry, it was too much and they dispersed. A look across the battlefield showed mainly Roman units closing in on what remained of the Carthaginian army, it was over.

Roman centre collapses.

Recovery and the end.
My Romans have to win the flank battles against these phalanx armies otherwise it is an uphill struggle, the Carthaginians proved a worthy foe and they can only become more dangerous, the Thunderbolts will have to be on their toes. I had a couple of turns where I could not inflict any casualties and Kevin had a few disastrous morale throws at the beginning but managed better later on, my horse archers couldn't hit a barn door but they stayed around as a shield so did their job. Cohors I had a hard time again but I cannot blame them against a phalanx, if they and the Praetorian's had held just one more turn....


  1. Ah, back to the Romans! Nice looking game as ever. Stay dry!

    1. Bit of a struggle in the centre, just one more turn. Should be some good fights coming up with these armies.

  2. Splendid little action, the Thunderbolts are starting to face some stiff opposition indeed.

    1. I was a bit unsure when looking across the battlefield this time. My new Centurions commanded their cohorts on the right well.

  3. There's no doubt George's army is a tough one to beat. The Auxilaries on the flank always seem to outclass my light troops and the Contarii armed with the kontos are a handful. The elite cohorts in the centre with CA 4 are a tough proposition but the Phalanx and Trained Phalanx rules balance this to the point where the centre slog can go either way if (very big "if") the flanks hold up long enough. The one aspect that I always find difficult to overcome is the extra missile capacity of the Romans. George's horse archers but more particularly his infantry archer unit with its capacity for massed fire allow a tactical flexibilty and present an opponent (me, anyway) with little choice but to charge this unit or get shot to pieces. By the time my warband could get to grips it had suffered casualties from two or three massed salvoes, had to fight uphill and found that in a melee the Roman archers are no soft touch. This is a problem to which I have found no effective solution and advice will be gratefully considered!

  4. Possibly shield the warband with skirmishers as a forlorn hope to get close, while using cavalry to keep the Lanciarii occupied?

  5. Cheers, George, I will give that a try. But please don't tell my opponent!!!