Tally Ho!

Sunday 13 August 2017

Punic Wars - Armati Campaign Week 7

Hannibal's Veterans
For this battle the chance cards threw-up a Carthaginian force that was heavy on fast moving (non-key), Celts but rather lighter on heavy units and cavalry than usual. So Hannibal's plan was to use these to exhaust the Roman heavy infantry before attacking with the main line of infantry to finish the job.



The Deployment

The Roman deployment was fairly conventional with massed cavalry on the left and the Triarii positioned to act as flank guards on the right. In main line was angled to refuse the right. 

Roman left - cavalry and lights

Roman centre

Roman right with classic wargames point
Hannibal's deployment was more interesting due to the decision to launch an assault with the Celts to weaken the Roman's main line.  The front rank was entirely of fast Celts with a second line of the heavy infantry. On the left flank was the main attacking force of cavalry and Hannibal's veterans. As a compromise the right flank was elephants and lights. Hannibal had considered deploying some heavy cavalry here too but was fearful this would leave the veterans exposed to enemy cavalry and so prevent them from launching a flank attack. The Punic heavies were in a separate command to the Celts so they could be advanced slowly with the aim of the main line and flank attacking Veterans arriving at the same time.  

Long shot of the Punic lines

Punic right - elephants and lights

Celts backed by heavies

Punic left - veterans and lights with the cavalry just visible

 The Battle

The deployment meant that both sides had a strong flanking force essentially facing an open field or weak force, so both pressed ahead on their own lefts. As Hannibal's plan depended on beating Roman centre before he was flanked, he also pressed forward quickly in the centre.
Roman left moves to attack the weak Punic right

The Celts surge forwards

The outnumbered Punic right tries to hold out

Due to their high movement speed the impetuous Celts soon came to grips with the Romans in the centre and managed to achieve a few advantageous combats on the flanks due to them be deployed wider (+1 in Armati). However the results were very disappointing for Hannibal as a series of "1s" saw the Celts make no impression and lose their impetus. 

Celts have limited impact
On the Punic right their light infantry and elephants were killed by a combined Roman assault but did manage to last a few precious rounds.  Celtic performance improved slightly and after a few turns they made some impressions into the Roman line or did at least exhaust them.

Triarii and Peltasts see off the Elephants 
Punic heavies ready for action against the tiring Romans

It was all a little too slow though as the Roman's flank attack was able to come to bear against the Punic line and cause the required 5 hits to win. So a 5-3 victory for Rome.

Romans ready to turn the flank 

Romans get into the Punic rear


It was good to try a different approach to using the Carthaginians, and the presence of lots of Celts favoured this anyway. In previous battles the Celts have proven to be damaging opponents to the Romans but on this occasion the very poor dice made them a disappointment. Never-the-less the basic plan of weakening the Romans was working, just too slowly to win the game.

In hindsight some things may have helped Hannibal:
1. A stronger right flank - perhaps placing a unit of heavy cavalry on that side.
2. Breaking-off the Celts after the first charge, although that would have lost the initiative.
3. A slightly different configuration of the heavy divisions with the Celts and heavies echeloned, but risking the HI being pulled forward by impetuous tribesmen.

Across the campaign games and scenarios its now 4-3 in favour of Rome.    

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