Tuesday, 21 February 2012

The Battle of Nemausus

Several people have asked, elsewhere, how we will accurately transpose board CU to the table and back. The answer, I'm afraid, is much less precise than many would imagine. Peter and I have decided to fight a 'miniatures' 2nd Punic War campaign; we are not fighting a Hannibal R Vs C board game with just the battles transposed; rather, we are just using the board game to deal with map movement, politics and other events, and to generate the battles. Consequently, an accurate mathematical equation is not required. Our approach is far more 'kriegspiel' in nature. Peter and I are competitive, but we are able to play a campaign wearing two hats - we are both a player and an umpire. We rarely argue anything other than 'cases'. We also know that a losing anecdote is often as funny as hell!

I would also like to introduce a little known contemporary author to you (see end of post). Scrotivius (origin unknown) wrote extensively on this campaign. That he lived in Rome is not doubted, but his sympathies are far less certain. From time to time I will quote his words.

 We will, of course, be using Ager Proelii rules to determine the overall outcome (win / loss) of the battles.

Army Characterisation cards for the Romans:
46 army morale chips.
Look Sir! Army Morale card.
Wild card.
Aggressive. Melee, Up 1 card.
Carthaginian Army Characterisation cards:
86 army morale chips.
By Saturn! card

Roman deployment is typical: A standard consular army deployment of legions in the centre with cavalry on the wings. Peter and I do not hold with three quarters of the cavalry being on one (left) wing. As a third of the allies were detailed off as extraordinarii, we believe it is just as likely that these formed up with the 'Romans' - as most allies had been colonised by the Romans, they may actually have been so - equalling up the deployment exactly. I have no direct evidence that this is true or was ever done; I just find it hard to believe that a comparable 25% to 75% wing deployment is not mentioned when it comes to Hannibal's deployments - he seems to have deployed roughly 50% - 50%.

The Roman centre. Comprising the meat grinder - 2 legions with their ala in triple acies formation(Ager Proelii style).

Historically, a consular army had a frontage of about one mile.
Another shot of the centre from the front. Velites, Hastati, Principes, Triarii.

P. Scipio can be seen giving encouragement from the rear.
A cavalry wing. In this case the right, comprising Roman equites and the extraordinarii.

The Carthaginians have deployed their army, comprising African and Iberian troops only (the Gauls in these parts are not too friendly!), with an infantry centre and two equal cavalry wings. Spanish infantry are deployed to take the brunt of the fighting, whilst the deployment of Libyan spearmen and elephants has the look of 'Trebbia' about it. Hannibal has chosen to put all of his Numidian cavalry on the left and his Spanish cavalry on the right.

Spanish cavalry outnumber their Roman counterparts by 2 : 1.

Elephants and Lybyan spearmen. 
The Spanish infantry. The shield markers denote 'solliferrum at the ready'. 
A mirror of the right except for Numidian instead of Spanish cavalry.

Command quality, and the disparity of morale chips, may be the key to this battle. The Romans rolled low command quality rolls and have two D10 and two D8 command group officers. The Carthaginians rolled high and have three D12 and one D10 command group commanders.

Scrotivius wrote: "On the morning of the battle Publius encouraged his troops with brave words and vows not to let the despoiler of Sagentum pass. Hannibal, for his part, stood before his troops and merely raised the skirt of his tunic, winked and smiled: The roar of the Carthaginians echoed across the Alps."


Phil Broeders said...

Can't wait for the updates. This looks superb!

Caliban said...

Me too. I like Scrotivius!

pancerni said...

Really cool looking set up. The armies seem different enough with the cards and command rolls to be an interesting match. 81 morale points, go 'not-Hannibal!'

Gunny Highway said...

'Well, well, a lift of the skirt and a wink and a smile.... Apparently Hannibal was not merely gifted militarily :)

Respectfully,(with a wink)