Game 3 – Early Carthaginian – Glenn and Terry
Sunday morning and we were on 35pts out of a possible 50. It could only get worse now J I was more afraid of playing a fully mounted outfit that would run rings around our undrilled foot. We had avoided the 9 Greco Bactrians so far and it surely our luck would run out soon. Looking at the draw we were playing Early Carthaginians being played by Glenn and Terry. Glenn was a member of the first wargames club I attended so I knew him of old. It must have been a good 15-20 years since we had played a game against one another, and then it must have been DBM. Terry is one of the rule writers. So, I guessed it would be a tough game, but pleasant given the participants.
Their PBI was +1 also, but we still lost the initiative roll. They selected Agricultural, and opted for a small open field and 2 open spaces. Setting their stall out for an open field for their heavy spearmen and heavy chariots. We tried to maximize the terrain and got a big open field on our left flank – in the far quarter of the table and also a Vineyard to our right of centre.
There seemed to be a natural 4’ between the 2 fields and our plan was to play it simple and refuse the flank closest to the Vineyard with Nestor’s spearmen and then fill the gap with the best infantry we could muster, and hope to fight it out.
The Carthaginian army didn’t really hold any surprises.
- 3 BG of Heavy Chariots
- 2 BG of Citizen Spear (drilled prot off spear)
- 1 BG of Sacred Band (drilled sup armoured spear)
- 1 BG of undrilled Citizen MF foot (undrilled with LS, I’m guessing these be mandatory)
- A couple of BG LF slingers and Javelinmen
- A Numidian ally , which was 3 or 4 LH Bgs and 1 BG of LF (all Javelin and Light spear armed)
The Carthaginian deployment was pretty neutral. On our left in the open field was the Numidians, they wouldn’t be impeded by the terrain. In the centre was the spears backed up by the Chariots. Then on our right was a reasonably floating flank, with a couple of LF units and some ‘non-allied’ Numidians
We ambled forward. Then their plan came to light. Have played Renaissance for such a long time I have forgotten how manoeuvrable drilled foot are. With ease the spears contracted and advanced the Chariots advanced and expanded. In a matter of 2 turns the centre of the Carthaginian army had exchanged ranks. When I was comfortable with fighting protected HF spearmen. I was a bit more cautious of their light spear armed Hvy Chariots.
On the left our LF bowmen started to exchange shots with the Numidian light cavalry, for little effect. It was difficult as we had to send our lights to the rear as the light horse had advanced as far as they could.
We have a choice to exchange arrows until someone cracked, or send the light foot bow back and use the spears to drive off the light horse. We chose this option as we needs to start enveloping this end of the line.
The right flank was reasonable static. One BG of Spearmen occupied the Vineyard, happy in the cover they would receive. Faced by 6 LF javelinmen and 4 Numidians they shouldn’t be threatened by shooting. Our defensive spearmen guarded the open area.
In the centre was where it was all happening. The lines closed, we didn’t have many options with such un-manoeuvrable troops, the drilled north Africans could expand a move to where the matchups suited them the best. They also closed with some LF trying to tempt us out line. This time it was our time to fail to the test! A single unit of dismounted Charioteers, right in the middle of the line, decided enough was enough and charged uncontrollably. The LF evaded with ease. Jon then threw a 6 for pursuit and charged a whopping 6” forward smashing into a BG of chariots. It wasn’t good, charging shock mounted we wouldn’t get our spear POA, we also were medium foot in the open. The superior Chariots would be on a ++ POA , so needing 3’s and re-rolling 1’s L Our brave boys would need 5’s. The general with them joined in the front rank ( we needed all the help we could get). In my mind I had already written this unit off. However, much to mine (and everyone else’s I suspect) Terry threw a fistful of 2’s , and Jon a few 5’s. We actually won the fight. With skill that only a veteran wargamer can muster Terry then threw his morale dice and dropped a level and lost a base (much wailing and gnashing of teeth). Because we had charged so far the Carthaginians were really deployed as they would like and their Citizen spearmen were mightily close the rear of the chariots. After the Melee, our Spear were still steady and the chariots disrupted. At this point the Chariots are obliged the break off, however, with the spear so close behind they couldn’t go the required minimum 1”… therefore they fragmented – who would have thought it. In the subsequent Carthaginian turn the spearmen could only contract as best they could to find space for the Chariots who were teetering on the edge. In the melee the Chariots broke, and the spearmen behind faltered from the seeing the break, just in time for the Greek Charioteers to charge into them. 2 turns later and they broke. Our Greeks were motoring behind them … this BG kept going and going and eventually captured the camp. 1 BG accounting for 6 attrition points from the enemy army, they would be on double rations!
Elsewhere the picture wasn’t quite so rosy. A second heavy chariot BG has smashed into some more dismounted charioteers and the Myrmidons and had disrupted them – we were losing here. The final Heavy Chariot BG had fallen into a Mexican standoff as we found out that the Chariots doesn’t get its POA against steady spear – which we may have got wrong earlier. They paused opposite some more of our protected spear and dismounted Charioteers. The chariots were not failing their uncontrolled charge tests… with a general in tow they needed only a 5. We had some cheeky Javelinmen men throwing their Javelins but to no avail. To the right we had some defensive spearmen fighting some Citizen spears. It was in the balance here. In a rash move we charged our spearmen out of the vineyard to help out against the Citizen spear. It almost worked. Our charge distance was perfect. However, they held, and Carthaginian MF passed their CMT and wheeled menacingly onto the flank. Plucking defeat from the air of success our MF spears failed to hold against some taunting LF in front of them. The Carthaginian MF intercepted hitting them in the flank, disrupting them. The Greek spears then lost big and double dropped – to broken. Nestor’s spearmen wobbled and fragmented, as luck would have it the depths of Nestor’s spear units , 2 HVY foot and 1 LF base (depth 50mm), was more that the 40mm that the Greek spears could moved to sidestep their friends in their rout. Therefore they burst through Nestor’s Spear , breaking them…. 4 attrition points lost in 1 phase.
Our army was punch drunk and on the ropes. Aside from the single unit of dismounted Chariots that had punched their way through the whole of the Carthaginian army , and was now looting the baggage, the rest of the battle had been a unilateral disaster. On our left the Numidians were holding up any attempt we might be having of trying to envelope that flank.
The centre was crumbing, held up solely by 2 BGs that were in the standoff with the remaining uncommitted Carthaginian Chariot BG. Our right flanks was gone. 1 Bg of Nestor’s spear was marching off trying not to be noticed by the rest of the Carthaginian army.
The final coup de grace to the Achaeans was actually initiated by our troops. The Javelinmen that have been happy sitting throwing their Javelins at the Chariots in front of them with little result finally inflicted 2 hits, causing a test. The Chariots then reciprocated by dropping a cohesion level to disrupted. The subsequent turn they then failed their uncontrolled advance (because of the -1 for disruption), they then charged – the javelinmen evaded safely and the Chariots slammed into our waiting spearmen BGs. Not a bad prognosis I thought, steady spear being charged by disrupted mounted. However, despite being a POA down they won the impact and disrupted our spear. In the subsequent melee, with overlaps on both side we are still equal on dice . The factors were now level, and we still have more dice. However, being superior and a general fighting the front rank meant the north African chariots seldom missed any hits (needing 4’s , re-rolling 1’s and 2’s). The brave Greeks gave up the ghost and ran.
This combined with a MF unit that had got a bit too close the Carthaginian sacred band and come off definite second best the Greek morale waivered and fell…. the army broke. The final tally was 22-3 to the Carthaginians
Well what can I say, all started out reasonable well, and we were never particularly out gunned. The Carthaginian plan was pretty straight forward, skirmishing the wings while getting a hefty charge in with their Chariots. With enough generals for each units their hit rate (re-rolling 1 &2) would be high. Our problem was our penny packet units couldn’t all benefit from the direct control of our generals. We had to many covering the flanks while we tried our envelopment.
Good game though – plenty of fighting, what we all came for.