Monday, 14 November 2016

Trebbia using To The Strongest

The Romans advance and are met by the Carthaginians mid table

Last week we fought the battle of Trebbia using the set up described in the last post. The battle worked very well and gave a largely historical outcome but, and there is a big but, it wasn't much fun for the Roman player - I had hamstrung them to such an extent that a historic massacre was inevitable.


The battle begins, the Romans can't hit a barn door and the Carthaginians can't save the few that do.

One thing that did work much better than in previous games, is the way Roman maniples work. The new rules for Polybian Romans gave them much better staying power. I'm still not sure if its enough though. I wonder if the hastati and principes should change places automatically on a disorder result - the Romans seemed very adept at this - and just have a standard activation to rally. A few more games should tell (and I suppose it depends how pro-Republican Roman you are!). 


The Roman cavalry is vastly outnumbered and stands little chance

When I came to look at the set up in post mortem, I discovered a few things that I had set up in error. I had looked at the map, set up the figures in accordance with it, and as it looked right I decided quite arbitrarily that it would do. It was a very quickly set up game by someone not all that familiar with devising TTS scenarios.


At the first clash the hastati lead. They manage to change around with the principes a few times in the game.

I have gone back to the scenario and this time set it up using a little more mathematics. In doing so the numbers of troops has been altered, especially for the Carthaginians.


The Roman cavalry is all but finished and the Romans are soon to be surrounded, then Mago turns up in the Roman rear.

We will refight the wargame again this Wednesday. 

This time I think the Romans should fair better. I have penalised them in only two ways. The infantry and cavalry count all activations as difficult due to either fatigue (the cavalry had chased the lighter more agile Numudians around all morning) or cold and hunger (the infantry had not eaten and they had just crossed, a chest deep, freezing cold river). I have also downrated the Allied infantry to raw. In reality, the spread of training would be less ascribed to a specific element of the army but, as the centre did better on the day, this seems the easiest way to do it.

TREBBIA: A scenario for TTS



According to my Osprey, the Roman army comprised 36,000 infantry and 4000 cavalry. The Carthaginian army comprised 29,000 infantry and 10,000 cavalry.

On the table I have 576 Roman and 520 Carthaginian infantry - which comes to an infantry figure scale of 1:55 for both. I have 64 Roman cavalry and 160 Carthaginian cavalry - which comes to a figure scale of 1:62.5 for both. Given the fact that the game does not count heads, the figure scales are close enough for me.

Using TSS 'hit points' (1 for lights, 2 for standard size, and 3 for large) the scales are, for infantry and cavalry, Romans 1:1028 and 1:500 ; Carthaginians 1:1115 and 1:500. This is probably where, in game terms, the figures are more important and again they are close enough for me. Cavalry points, being twice the value of infantry looks right in game terms but, for the life of me, outside of typical wargame convention, I don't know why that's so.

The order of battle below details the scenario notes. Otherwise, definitions are taken directly off the Army List sheet. I will not repeat the history of the battle which can be easily found elsewhere.

Roman (my TTS wargame) Order of Battle

Sempronius: Senoir commander. 4 Heroes to assign. No spare ammunition chits.

Left wing: 2 units of Latini cavalry. All activations are 'difficult' due to due to fatigue.

Centre left:  Consular Army infantry: 4 units of Velites, 4 units of Hastati, 4 units of Principes, 4 units of Triarii. Half are Roman half are Allied: The two triple acies in the centre are Roman, the two outer acies are Allied. The Allied infantry have been downgraded to raw. Both Romans and Allies count all activations as 'difficult' due to cold and hunger.

Centre right:  Consular Army infantry: 4 units of Velites, 4 units of Hastati, 4 units of Principes, 4 units of Triarii. Half are Roman half are Allied: The two triple acies in the centre are Roman, the two outer acies are Allied.Allied infantry have been downgraded to raw. Both Romans and Allies count all activations as 'difficult' due to cold and hunger.

Right Wing: 1 unit of Roman cavalry, 1 unit of Extraordinarii cavalry and 1 large unit of Gauls. Commander is Heroic (because Scipio, later Africanus, was here). All activations are 'difficult' due to due to cold and hunger or fatigue.

Note: I have place the Extraordinarii on the right wing. I have done this because although it is often stated that, as a rule, Roman cavalry was on the right and the Allied cavalry was on the left, I cannot find any examples where Rome's enemies matched / countered this deployment by weighting their right. Surely, if Rome habitually put three quarters of its cavalry on their left wing it would have caused pause for thought? 

When reading about Polybian Romans I came across two pieces of information that, put together, might equalise the deployment - 50% of the cavalry on each wing. Firstly, one third of the allied cavalry formed the Extraordinarii. Secondly, when states allied themselves to Rome they attracted lots of Roman immigrants who wished to increase their social standing by taking up positions that would be thought above them in Rome proper. In essence, they rose a civil rank or two, as a reward, for going to 'the provinces'; in return the allies gained Rome's trust, approval and kind regards. 

If you put these facts together, you might find a large proportion of the Extraordinarii were actually of Roman descent - nouveau 'Roman equites'? It's funny that one third of the cavalry would equalise the wings and that such a force actually existed and might be quite 'Roman' in composition. 

This is all a guess on my part, but such an unequal deployment, as a doctrine, doesn't make sense and I can't find any supporting evidence in my sources other than the statement that Roman equites were on the right - but, were they alone there?

Carthaginian (my TTS wargame) Order of Battle

Hannibal: Senior, Heroic, Brilliant commander. 6 Heroes to assign. No spare ammunition chits.

Left Wing: 1 unit of veteran Spanish cavalry, 1 unit of Spanish light cavalry, 2 units of Gallic cavalry, 2 units of Numidian light cavalry (one extra ammunition chit). Commander attached to Spanish cavalry.

Infantry Left: 1 unit of veteran African Spearmen, 1 unit of veteran Spanish Scutarii, 1 unit of escorted elephants, 1 unit of veteran Balearic slingers, 1 unit of Spanish Catratii, 1 unit of African javelinmen.

Infantry Centre: 1 large unit of Gallic warband, 2 units of Gallic Warband. Commander attached to large unit. Although two of the units are not deep (to give width of deployment) they still count difficult activations doubly difficult.

Infantry Right: Infantry left: 1 unit of veteran African Spearmen, 1 unit of veteran Spanish Scutarii, 1 unit of escorted elephants, 1 unit of veteran Balearic slingers, 1 unit of Spanish Catratii, 2 units of African javelinmen.

Right Wing: 1 unit of veteran Spanish cavalry, 1 unit of Spanish light cavalry, 2 units of Gallic cavalry, 2 units of Numidian light cavalry (one extra ammunition chit). Commander attached to Spanish cavalry.

Mago: 1 unit of veteran Spanish Scutarii, 1 unit of veteran Numidian light cavalry, 1 unit of veteran Carthaginian cavalry. Heroic commander. May arrive on the Roman baseline, anytime from the start of move four.

Note: I have chosen to give the flanking Numidian cavalry three ammunition chits each as 'almost veteran'. I think this works better than giving them all veteran status saving on 6s. 

7 comments:

A.P. said...

Really cool. I look forward to reading the next post on this.

Adam

artourious said...

James, over the many years of fighting Rome against Carthage we have never successfully got the Romans to beat Hannibal.. he is just that good, and if you down grade him, or up grade the roman command, then its not really republican roman any more..its fantasy. Its the same as fighting Hastings, would love to fight it but we have never got the Normans any where close to even drawing against the saxon shield wall standing on a slope.

Erzherzog Friedrich Von Tizizus said...

Hello
Nice Battle. How many Hit Point for roman hastatis and princeps in your scenario. 1 as rules dictate it, or 2?
Thanks
Fred

JAMES ROACH said...

Hi Fred,

there is a new TTS army list for Polybians on their website. Hastati and Principes are now a special 'combined' 2 hit unit with differing saving throws and a special 'swap over' activation. It's on the TTS website. It works much better, I think.

James

Simon Miller said...

Hi James, looks absolutely brilliant!

If you want to increase the effectiveness of the Numidians, combine pairs of LC units to form two hit units, with 4 ammo, hitting in melee on an 8. Such units can charge and are not required to evade. Like the legionaries, they have more resilience than a pair of units.

If you end up with a scenario I'd love to see it published- you could run it in a mag or I could host on my site.

Best, Simon

Phil said...

Spectacular, love these splendid and impressive lines of troops!

Erzherzog Friedrich Von Tizizus said...

Hi James
It's after my post i've discovered this new list. It seems better and more accurate historically
The new list for carthage is also more historical, from my view
And i like very much your blog
Fred
The French Player