Monday, 11 September 2017

Lost Battle: Dertosa round 2

I wanted to get a game of Lost Battles in while I had the chance. I wanted to replay the Dertosa scenario but mix up the Carthaginian deployment from the last time I gamed it. The main thing I opted to change was to spread the LHI across the line to even out the weaker units keep the battle plan simple with the elephants deploying straight ahead to battle the legions. 

I also wanted to refresh the rules and see how quick I could set up and conclude the match. I still managed to miss the odd modifier in my rush although not the fresh lead legionary but the cavalry attacking from the rear and loss of lead bonus if enemies are in opposite adjacent squares. I'm sure I'll remember next time. It took me a while to work out unit morale I need to figure a way to streamline the morale working out. One thing I found useful was a mini white board I was able to easily update it with current FV, shatters, routs and other book keeping. I was having issues getting good pictures and I gave up in the end since it was slowing me down quite a bit.

The Battle of Dertosa

Both armies sent out their skirmish screens which the Carthaginians had shored up with elephants. The main Roman line of legionary infantry, commanded by Publius Scipio, was spread evenly flanked on their left by the Italian allied cavalry and the right by the the more numerous Roman Equites lead by Gnaeus Scipio. Opposing the Equites was a screen of Moorish light cavalry followed by Punic heavy cavalry and opposing the Italian allied cavalry Hasdrubal lead his Iberian noble cavalry hoping to smash through the allies and flank the Romans. 

Hasdrubal despite the eagerness of the Iberian levy infantry did not trust their lack of experience and spread them across his infantry battle line which was anchored on his veteran Africans in the centre and the African regulars on their right and left. Hasdrubal planned to press the Roman centre hard with his elephants and veterans whilst expecting the centre right and left to hold their own whilst the cavalry flanked the Roman wings.  

As the skirmish lines clashed the Roman light infantry made head way against the Balearic slingers in the centre and the elephants on the Carthaginian right. The Carthaginians offered nothing in return!  

The Roman Equites gave a thunderous charge and the Moors fled before expending all of their javelins. Spurred on by this, the Equites pushed their mounts to exhaustion to inflict some losses to the heavy cavalry behind the Moors. The Punic horse counter charged causing casualties and breaking half of the Equites and causing disruption to the rest. However Gnaeus and the remaining Equites prevailed eventually and broke the Punic horse who had not recovered from the initial Roman charge. The Italian allies did not fair as well facing the better Iberian cavalry with half the numbers and nobody was surprised that they did not stand long. 

The Legions on the Roman right inflicted losses upon the Africans and shattered the Iberian levies outright after they witnessed the Romans at work with their Gladii. In the centre the African veterans and elephants had a bitter contest with the Romans legions. Some legionaries were shattered in the onslaught. 

The Roman right continued to press on and broke part of the African regular line causing the rest to rout along with the light infantry and the elephants further down the line. The victorious Romans advanced to threaten the left flank of the veterans in the centre.

The rout of the elephants did little to deter the veterans but the advance of the Roman right inspired them to fight harder for survival. They had been suffering at the hands of the worn Romans but the veterans shattered more legionaries in the centre and the Roman lights fled the field not liking the way the battle was going.  

Hasdrubal and his Iberian horse then came around to attack the rear of the Roman left which had steadily been worn down by the elephants and heavy infantry. The charge from the rear broke half of the legionaries and routed the rest wiping out the Roman left. Publius then lead his legionaries to a final push to defeat the veterans opposing them their attack broke the Iberian levies and half of the veterans.The remaining veterans refused to give way and finished off the Roman centre the Romans taking Publius in their flight. 

Gnaeus eventually arrived to attack the exhausted veterans who finally had enough and broke. Hasdrubal stared across the field with his fresh Iberians and fancied his chances against Gnaeus' remaining blown cavalry, but the victorious legionaries on the Roman right, were starting to regroup and ready themselves to finish off the remaining Punic forces who themselves were at breaking point. Hasdrubal swallowed his pride and withdrew, the Romans could only watch too tired to pursue, after this Pyrrhic victory, took solace in winning the field.

Battle Results

It took roughly 3 hours to get set up and resolve the battle the Carthaginian withdrawal had a bit to do with time constraints as well as the situation on the table. The time included some interruptions, taking pics and recording a few notes (that I then struggled to read!). Not too bad, if I can streamline the morale modifiers or just get my head around them that may speed things up also. 

I again enjoyed the fact that the broad sectors of the battlefield allowed the use of a skirmish line to cover an advance or protect a battle line and also allow gradual wear of the army. The legionary infantry are really tough to rout you pretty much need to surround them or beat them to a man. This can be difficult without a decent cavalry or leadership edge. 

Carthage withdrew LHI & 2 x AHC with Hasdrubal with 2 x AHI routing. Rome won the field with 4 spent ALE & 1 x AHC remaining. 

Total losses:

Roman losses: 2 x AHC 6 x ALE shattered; 3 x ALI 2 x ALE AC routed; 4 x ALE 1 x AHC

Carthage losses: 1 x LLC 1 x AHC 2 x LHI 4 x VHI 1 x AHI shattered; 1 x LLI 3 x AHI 2 x AEL 1 x ALI routed; 2 x AHC 1 x LHI AC withdrawn. 

Rome VP before handicap: 125
Carthage VP before handicap: 113 

Monday, 28 August 2017

The Seleucid Settlers

I finally got round to completing the last 60x60mm base of Newline Designs 20mm African pikemen for my Seleucid phalanx (see this earlier post for more info). I also decided to add rear rank bases some with command figures, this had something to do with making units deeper for To The Strongest! or Basic Impetus but also I just wanted bigger units! There are quite a few pictures so I apologise for the bombardment. 

So for the "rear bases" there are four bases of 60x30mm with eight figures a piece, two of those bases have command figures included. I placed the command miniatures to the rear so I took a photo of them before basing. The pictures below show the newest painted elements. They were sprayed with Army Painter white which greatly aided me. Also again using drawing pins for the shields shaved a lot of painting time from the project. I have made a painting guide for anyone interested in a step by step account.

The Seleucid Phalanx Assembled

For my Seleucid army I still need to complete the "Silvershields" these are currently being worked on and number half as many miniatures as the phalangites below. In Lost Battles for Raphia and Magniesia, the pikemen who are not the Silvershields are simply named "the Settlers". Although I keep referring to these as "Seleucids" they are from Newline Designs 20mm Ancient Carthage range and are sold as "African Pikemen" they look Hellenistic and I have kept them generic so they may be fielded in any army needing some pike blocks. I went overboard with the picture having arranged the whole lot up and then making them into a 12cm square to take more pics. 

Sunday, 30 July 2017

Hannibal's Libyan Veterans

Just another refurbishment, expansion and rebasing of an older unit. I also wanted to add some command figures too and have a go free handing an embossed style bronze shield. These are some of my favourite 20mm miniatures from Newline Designs very useful for other 'imitation legionaries'.

Hopefully I will get some more games done soon but I will probably have a big push on painting. I plan on getting the bulk of my Seleucid pikes done. I also want to get some more Iberian Scutarii and Celtic cavalry painted up and some light infantry types. The hope is that I can get more bases for Lost Battles and get the battles looking larger... I think this will take quite a while I'm not the fastest painter!

Tuesday, 25 July 2017

Lost Battles: Dertosa

I decided to give Lost Battles another go after enjoying the last play through. I could do with working on more Iberian heavy infantry, cavalry units and light infantry for Trebia and Ilipa (I could scrape something together really) but I came across the Dertosa 215BC scenario on Here's no great matter, again an invaluable source of inspiration for giving Lost Battles a go. 

I am getting the hang of the combat resolution modifiers, its taking time to get my head around the morale roll modifiers. It'll take a few more games to get it going smooth but the morale system is very neat.   

The Battle of Dertosa

The Scipio brothers, locating the Punic army of Hasdrabul Barca, opted to challenge the Carthaginian. Hasdrubal, emboldened by the news of Cannae and learning of Hannibal's methods, accepted the challenge. The field was an open plain without any visible obstacles.  

The Velites rushed forward towards the Punic lines and the legions trailed behind, Publius Scipio commanded the legions from the centre of the line. Gnaeus Scipio commanded the Roman and allied cavalry on their right flank. Some of the allied cavalry deployed on the left flank to protect the infantry.

Hasdrubal sought to pull off another Cannae, he placed the Iberian levies in the centre of the field, knowing they would not withstand the legions for too long and hoping the Romans would be pulled in as the tribesmen fell back. To buy them more time he sent the bulk of the skirmishers forward to cover the Iberian advance. The Libyan and Carthaginian infantry were deployed either side of the Iberians. Hasdrubal took command of the Punic and Iberian horsemen on the left flank hoping to smash through Gnaeus and his cavalry. The right flank was covered by the Numidians. Both wings were to receive elephants to help sweep away the Roman cavalry but the Punic officers had trouble getting the animals mobilised and they trailed behind, much to Hasdrubal's dismay.

After a short period of indecisive skirmishing the Velites, wishing to prove themselves, drove away the Iberian Caetratii and in their boldness, the violent recoil of the Caetratii and the subsequent javlin volleys inflicted casualties too on the Scutarii. The legionaries following the skirmishers caused further concern for the Iberian levies. Elsewhere in the line the Velites effectiveness with the javlin distruped the Punic close order troops and drove away the Belaeric slingers. The Romans did not come away unscathed the legions on the left took some casualties after the retreat of their Velites following the agressive Punic advance. 

The Velites in the centre showing true Roman virtue and emboldened by their own success continued to harass and press the levies, encouraged further, by the feebleness of their attacks. The levies fell back hoping that they could regroup before renewing resistance.

The Roman infantry on the right managed to wear down the Punic foot but they were still steady, however the Roman left was being pressed and was too much for some of the Hastati. They fled through the lines and the rest of the army were unmoved by the shock of this.

All the while, there was a bitter Cavalry battle on Punic left, and both the Roman and Punic horse were blown and at breaking point. On the Punic right there had been ineffective skirmishing and charges that were easily avoided by the nimble Numidians. Eventually the Elephants were marshalled to the flanks. On the Punic left the elephants repelled a Roman charge that would have finished off some of the Punic horsemen, then repaid the Romans in kind sending both the Romans and allies off the field broken and Gnaeus, dispite his best efforts, was unable to rally either. He was then himself swept away with them. Roman morale held firm but some of the tired light infantry took flight.  

The frustrated allied cavalry of the Roman left took out their fury on the approaching elephants and the ferocity of their charge caused disruption and the Numidians were also taken aback. However the elephants proved too much for the horsemen and the allies fled the field. The legions again unmoved by the cavalry fights poor results.  

The Punic foot on the right continued the melee causing more legionnaires to flee in an un Roman like manner it looked to be Hasdrubal's day, but the Romans just kept on coming, unwilling to give in to the severity of the Carthaginian's attacks. The Punic foot on the left proved to be a different story the legionaries prevailed over some of Hasdrubal's most experienced infantry, the shock of this was too much for most of the Libyans on the left and only the most committed stayed in battle formation. Seeing the Libyans flee inspired the Iberians to rout and the worn cavalry, who could not see victory on this day, also quit the field. All this happened much to Hasdrubal's indignation, but having no choice, fled with them. The Numidians on the right also followed suit.   

In a last ditch effort the Punic right drove away yet more legionaries, it was down to the Triarii, worn though they were. The Romans knew it was their day and the Roman right broke the committed Punic veterans. The last remaining legionaries on the Roman left worn out by the hard fight they had thrust upon them, savagely smashed the Punic line. The Punic line crumbled, as half the units were cut down the other fled, in a final bitter blow. The elephants on their right fled with them, and the other elephants, seeing no other course, promptly withdrew. Publius Scipio took the field but at what cost? 


The Roman Velites earned their wolf skins in this fight although they would probably have been Leves at this point in history? Either way they caused a lot of damage to the Punic lines. The cavalry contest was neck and neck until the lumbering elephants caught up, if Hasdrubal had some better initial rolls they would have arrived to that fight earlier. 

Ultimately the Roman cavalry had bought the legions enough time to defeat the Punic and Spanish foot though the Roman left paid a heavy price for victory, the Roman centre took no hits! The battered Roman right finished the game off in style as the last spent unit shattered both a VHI and an AHI finishing off the Punic forces. But the critical hit of the battle was not the simultaneous shattering of all of Rome's cavalry, but the loss of a unit of Punic veterans, the poor morale of the spent Carthaginians was too much and 11 units around the field fled in complete rout. Rome took their punishment with much higher spirits.  

Great scenario and great game, I didn't know which way it was going to go, just as the Carthaginians were starting to make head way the Romans flipped the battle their way. Without Hannibal's quality cavalry, better infantry and much better leadership, Hasdrubal could not pull off his own double envelopment though it is not impossible. When playing Cannae Hannibal's morale bonus was critical to offset bad luck. 

Below is an attempt at working out the victory points, I used the book version rather than the board game rules, they seemed slightly easier to work out (if I have it correct in the first place).


Shattered: 3 x VHI, 1 x AHI  
Routed: 1 x VHI, 3 x AHI, 3 x LHI, 1 x LLI, 1 x ALI, 1 x AEL. 1 x LLC, 3 x AHC, 
Withdrawn: 1 x AEL
Lost: 1 x AL.

106 VP


Shattered: 3 x ALE, 3 x AHC.
Routed: 1 x ALI.
Spent: 3 x ALE 1 x ALI
Lost:  1 x UC.

73 VP
+26 handicap (double the difference in FV)
99 VP

If I have this correct the Romans may have won but it was closer than it my have appeared during the fight. The Romans may stand in the fight for longer but Carthage took flight to fight another day. Although the shattering of their best units was too much on the day the Romans probably broke the back of the Punic army. Back to Carthago Nova for fresh levies! Forget Italy, Punic Spain must be defended!

Sunday, 23 July 2017

Republics at War!

I just wanted to get as many models out line them up and get some army pics. This was the goal here, also to have some kind of very basic wargame no rules in particular just trialling various ideas from different sets. I had took these pics before the Cannae report but I hadn't got round to sorting them out and wanted to get that report written while it was fresh. All the miniatures featured are Newline Designs 20mm Ancients range. One day they might be accompanied by some Hat miniatures, which are sat upainted in a boxes somewhere, especially cavalry and light infantry. I have just expanded and refurbished a unit of African veterans just need photographed. Also I'm hoping to find time soon to give Lost Battles another go.

Monday, 10 July 2017

Lost Battles: Cannae

This weekend I have been trying to get to grips with Philip Sabin's Lost Battles. The book has a walk through of the battle so gave it a go. I first came across Philip Sabin's work whilst at uni a few years back now, on JSTOR I downloaded and read The Face of Roman Battle. It is a fascinating article and was eager to get hold and read Lost Battles. If you are interested in ancient warfare I highly recommend the book even if you have no interest in the model itself, there is a wealth of information in there.

I took to the internet looking for guidance and inspiration on gaming it with miniatures. The yahoo group is a great help and Board Game Geek site have some great resources. I was mostly helped and inspired by Aaron on 'Here's no great matter' and his great youtube videos, Lost Battles: Trebia with miniatures. These have helped me greatly to get going with the rules!

The pictures below of the battle leave a lot to be desired but hopefully do the job. The battle needed wrapped up so some of the events did not get a picture. In the future I should have more time for pics as I get used to the rules. 

In Lost Battles expending commands is the main driver of a players turn and I knew I would (and did) lose track of commands. I knocked up some chits using 20mm square bases I had lying around. I left them blank but for the commanders' exceptions I marked them with E and attack exceptions with AB. I think overall I played the rules correct with only a couple of things missed, forgot to give flanked squares an extra attack sometimes. Also the river is missing but I observed the limitation it caused to the attack limit in those zones.   

I tried to follow the deployment as described in the book as close as possible although Hannibal had received less command than in the book but only meant that the all three Carthaginian heavy infantry were left in the centre rear section. 

The Battle of Cannae

The battle opened with ineffective skirmishing between the opposing lines, whilst on the Roman right flank by the river the Equites rode hard to inflict an early blow to Mago's Gallic cavalry. The Gauls were unmoved and Mago countered with his Iberian horsemen, veterans of the Barcids campaigns, sent the Equites reeling off the field though Mago's horsemen had pressed the initial attack and casualties had been taken. The Roman battleline continued on expecting the Equites to quit the field early on. On the left the Italian Allied cavalry lead by Varro held back protecting the flank and inviting the Numidians to attack.


The main battle lines closed the skirmishers, worn from their duties, were recalled on both sides to take shelter behind the heavy foot. The Roman Legions then proceeded to press on and pressure the Carthaginian line comprising primarily of Gauls and some Iberians. The Roman formation was deep much deeper than the Carthaginian line but the Romans struggled to make head way, though the Legions on the left exerted themselves inflicting losses on the Carthaginians significantly weakening the Punic right so much so even the African veterans were becoming concerned. 

The Carthaginian centre was slowly being ground down, but their left was resolute and even inflicted reverses against the Legions. Mago lead his heavy horsemen around the Roman right flank hoping to inflict losses to the Roman right to sap the morale of the Legionaries in the centre. The Numidians after giving and receiving blows eventually drove Varro and the allied cavalry from the field and gave chase. Hannibal's beleaguered centre saw some Gauls take flight unable to with stand the Roman onslaught despite Hannibal's personal example of bravery in the face of the Romans. The rest of the Carthaginians stood firmly confident in their commanders plan.

The Roman left because of their previous efforts were winded and could not quite prevail over the Punic line and now the Numidians threatening their rear scattering the sheltering skirmishers. The Legionaries, still holding on, were then confronted by a column of African veterans in their captured Roman arms. The hardened veterans broke through the Legionaries and their comrades broke with them. The rest of the Roman troops held on in the centre though the skirmishers panicked. The Roman right held also probably unaware of their comrades' rout as they were contending with infantry in front and cavalry behind. They withstood several waves but then broke.

The Roman centre being lead by Paullus were fighting to break out and the Punic centre had retreated to prevent collapse. The Carthaginians then went on to surround the Roman centre sending the still fresh Celts and Iberians to intercept the Roman inevitable advance whilst a detachment of Gallic cavalry and veterans assembled on their flank. The Numidians and veterans to the other flank. Mago and the bulk of the cavalry to their rear.

The Romans resisted still inflicting blows to the fresh troops to their front some running away in terror, Hannibal brought up the regrouped centre to prevent the Romans breaking out. The remaining Romans had attacked with great ferocity sending another unit running and then another only a few remained to fight on owing to Hannibal's continued personal example. The Carthaginians despite the last throws of Roman resistance stood their ground, proceeded to break the trapped Romans and begin their cruel work.


It was an interesting and tense game. Enjoyable as a solo game also and I am looking forward to another game at some point. The Roman Legionaries are tough to beat they took some hammering to break, if they had not been surrounded they would have continued the fight on the wings. Overall the Carthaginians had higher command rolls and were able to give out more attack bonuses whilst the Romans suffered a few low rolls but still managed to beat back the Gallic and Spanish infantry. Hannibal's morale bonus really helped keep the rest fighting. If the Romans had higher command rolls and Hannibal lower the Romans might have just won it. The last few rounds the Romans got some good rolls and the attack bonuses posed a big threat to the Punic army, the last Roman attacks inflicted a hit and then a double hit Hannibal negated only one.

The battle lasted longer than in the book's play through and I don't think I used the 'flipflop' of the turn order that Hannibal could use efficiently enough. I only pulled back the centre and swept round with the heavy cavalry. At the time it was the best thing to do the centre was on the brink and Hannibal needed some results from his cavalry in the next couple of turns. He got those and still the Roman centre held until it took a shatter in that zone. I am sorry I didn't work out the VP results I lost track and status of the units in the rush to get it finished.

I would of liked to have used more of my collection but I need to finish more light infantry and cavalry units.