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.
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.
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