Thursday, 21 January 2016

Alexander versus Aggrippa Round 2

Tonight the old grudge was renewed as Proconsul Brooks again had the gall to face my Macedonians. This time we played a 500 pts game of Sword and Spear as I had daubed some new units (all Forged in Battle excellent 15mm range.) Swelling the ranks were a unit of thureophoroi, scythian light horse and my elephants ... i had already named them ... Polydamos and Onomastus after two famous ancient greek wrestlers/boxers ... and didn't they live up to the reputations of their glorious antecedents tonight!
 Outscouted the Macedonians deployed to one side as they only had the light troops to contest one difficult terrain area. Their companions were on the right facing the angled flank of Roman auxilia medium foot and bowmen.

Below the fight for the rough going commences ... each general would commit more troops to this struggle. Battle here dominated the early phases of the game. Alexander hoped his javelinmen could engage and drive off the roman slingers. Initially Aggrippa held back his medium foot but it was soon injected here to avoid losing this area thus enabling troops to attack the flank of his main battle line. 

More troops join the fight on this flank ... a legionary cohort advances, auxilia led by Aggrippa himself and cavalry begin to ride around the side. Hoplites hurry to gang up on the cohort while the scythians try to shoot the remaining slingers away. 

Above shows the other side ... the angled and refused Roman flank decides to come forward to the joy of Aldxander. He throws all forces forward to smash these units before the legion can support. 

With great trumpeting blasts Polydamos and Onomastus near their foe. Hails of arrows from auxilia bow were turned aside harmlessly by elephants and companion cavalry alike. This was going to hurt! 

Back to the rough stuff, peltasts fought auxilia and hoplites fought legionaries. No-one, at this point had an advantage. Aggrippa urged his men to fight but his voice was seemingly lost among the rocks and bushes of the rough ground. 

The purple pike ... unnamed as yet ... are first to charge ... these trample a medium foot unit who dares oppose them. 

Looking across the battle line ... the legion seems content to let the auxilia fight it out. This decision would cost the romans. 

With a deafening roar the romans charged the elephants who routed them almost effortlessly. The mighty giants then pursued into the lone roman cavalry unit on this flank pinning it in combat. It haplessly awaited the companions to charge with full impact. The thuerophoroi, providing the link between phalanx and flanking units, charged the now isolated auxilia bow. Not a pleasant match up for the romans. 

Above shows the moment before the two units of Macedonian companion cavalry are released. At the top left shows the phalanx about to engage the legionary centre ... pike vs pila ... what would the result be? 

The consequence of impact charges ... the red companions ran down bowmen then pursued directly into slingers who were also routed. The blue and yellow companions, under the command of the dependable and lion-hearted Ptolemy, inflicted only one hit on the roman cavalry. However the subsequent combat with Polydamos and Onomastus proved fatal ... the elephants pursued narrowly missing stomping on some light cavalry too. The roman flank was not just in tatters ... it was gone ... including the commanding legate ... whose fragmentary corpse now decorated the toes of Onomastus! 

The initial fight still dragging on ... the hoplites had taken casualties but still remained in the melee. Aggrippa's presence still failed to motivate the auxilia ... the peltasts had suffered two hits but were desperate to win. Light foot with bow had flanked one cohort. Would this be enough to turn the fight? The romans had by now lost one third and the resulting tests saw panic begin to grip Rome's warriors. 

The end of the battle ... the cohorts had been humbled and auxilia decimated. Alexander had lost but one unit of javelinmen (although his peltasts and one hoplite unit had almoost broken.) Aggrippa fled from the combat in the rough going with only the roman cavalry fighting on. The remaining cohorts woud soon be surrounded and at the point their resolve faltered and a full scale rout ensued. Rome had suffered a terrible loss this day. But, as Polybius noted, even in the 2nd century BC, Rome's reserves of manpower make her a fearsome and indomitable opponent. I'm convinced Aggrippa (alias Proconsul Brooks) would be sure to return. And hopefully by then I can finish the bases on my army ... to be continued ...

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