Thursday, 1 May 2008

Drepana Re-fought.

Before the outset, victory conditions for both sides were decided. For the Carthaginian player to win he had to perform at least as well as his fleet did historically by sinking or capturing 11 Roman ships. For the Romans the player was given two choices. Firstly to be equipped with corvus (historically unlikely but not impossible) and take 8 Carthaginian ships and escape with 6 of their own, or, be without corvus and take 6 ships and escape with 6 ships of their own. The Romans decided to go in with corvus. Anything else would be a draw, and this would probably be the most likely outcome.
At the start the gods were with the Carthaginians. The leading Roman ships entered the bay whilst the rest of their fleet struggled along as best it could behind. Cut off from their supports the fresh crews on the Carthaginian ships first surrounded then rammed them from every angle. Believing their fate of these leading Roman ships to be sealed (two were sunk and the others sinking) most of the Carthaginian vessels in the bay proceeded towards the rest of the Roman fleet. However, two Carthaginian vessels, were so elated by their initial success that they proceeded back into the harbour to receive the laurels of the populace for their victory (both rolled a 1 on d10 seamanship rolls).

Outside the bay the Carthaginians under Adherbal drew up for their attack on the disorganised Romans. But the Romans, showing seamanship beyond anything that could be expected of their crews, managed to form a reasonably solid line by retreating some ships and advancing others with a speed that astounded the Carthaginians. Meanwhile in the bay, the two remaining Roman ships, now only held afloat by them grappling onto two of their attackers launched their marines. In two swift boarding actions the Carthaginian vessels were taken. The Roman ships managed to plug their holes, and with their prizes limped out to sea and safety whilst the major action unfolded further down the coast.

Here the Roman line, though well formed, was somewhat outflanked by vessels approaching down the coast from the bay whilst Adherbal and his squadron pinned the Roman line in place. It was the flanking vessels which opened the action. Initially their success was brilliant, sinking Roman ships with ease. Then things began to unravel. For some reason the Carthaginians could not ram cleanly and became locked with their adversaries who threw more ships into the fray. It now came down to marines and corvus.

Everywhere, except on the Romans left flank, the Roman soldiers proved their worth. In many cases the Carthaginians put up pityful resistance, surrendering at the first drop of corvus and immediate rush of the Romans. On the left flank, however the Carthaginian mercenaries were made of sterner stuff. Against the odds they managed to take two Roman ships, including that of Claudius who, after a long and furious fight, joined his chickens in an early bath. The Carthaginian success was shortlived. The victorious Roman ships soon reinforced that position and settled the battle outright.

Result:Roman Victory.Roman Losses: 7 ships sunk 1 captured.Carthaginian losses: 8 ships captured 2 sunk.


tradgardmastare said...

most impressive!

Donogh McCarthy said...

Very good - now I've got the galley-wargaming bug (all I have to do is decide on Ancient vs Renaissance)