Tuesday, November 05, 2013

Second Battle of Blue Sky

 Our group decided to give this Battle another try using the same forces as last time. Tom Condon and Ron Berry played the Romans. Brad Philpot and I played the Armenians. We rolled for terrain according to the rules(3 rolls each) and the Romans received a flank Steep Hill and a regular Hill. The Armenians could only manage one Steep Hill. ( It's possible to get "clear terrain" when rolling). No woods came up. I divided up the Armenian Horse Archers into two units of eight instead of one unit of sixteen used in the previous battle. We're using the playtest version of the Tactica II rules by Arty Conliffe. Following is the roster of troops used. All are Veteran troops. Total points value is 1076 points for each side.

No.     Size      Type     Name
1     14     HC     Roman Javelins
1     12     LC     Allies   Javelins              
9      8     FT     Legion I Cohort Pila/Swords
1     16     FT     Legion I Cohort Pila/Swords 
1     12     LI     Tribal Javelins
1     16     LI     Auxilia  Javelins               
1     14     SI     Skirmishers Bows
1     12     SI     Skirmishers  Javelins 
      Army Breakpoint=     71   
      Size      Type     Name
2     8      LC     Armenian LC Bows
1     18     CAT(I)     Katoikoi  Lance               
1     48     PH     Phalanx Pikes
1     32     PH     Phalanx Pikes
1     24     COH     Imitation Legion  Pila/Swords               
1     16     LI       Iberians Javelins
1     12     LI     Armenians  Javelins                
1     12     SI     Armenian Bows
1     12     SI     Armenians Javelins
      Army Break Point=83 

 Here is the set up from the Armenian Side. LI and Horse Archers on the Wings. Pikes on Right, Cataphracts and imitation Legionaries on the Left. Had to use my phone camera for these first two photos. Almost fifty percent of the Armenian Army is tied up in the Pike Units. This means if the Romans can't Break at least one of the Pike units they must break every Armenian non-Pike unit in order to win.

This is a view of the Roman set-up.  They had all their cavalry on the Right flank plus one LI unit. Only one LI unit on their Left flank. All but one Cohort is "reinforced" ( i.e doubled up). Romans have ten "Massed" units to fight with. Armenians have eight.

Deployment and Opening Moves

In map above and photo below, Armenian LI is overwhelmed by the Roman LI and HC and soon routed. Armenian horse archers decide discretion is the better part of valor, do an about face and evade away from the more numerous and better fighting javelin armed Roman light cavalry. In the middle, the skirmishers launch missiles at each other and the Armenian javelinmen melee the Roman Archers in an attempt to take them out.

Opening Moves on Armenian Left

Mid-Point of Battle, Roman Left Collapses

At mid-point of the battle, the Imitation Legionnaires are no match for the regular Roman Cohorts and are soon defeated. The Armenian Horse Archers are still evading away from the roman light cavalry staying just ahead of them. The Roman Heavy Cavalry swings around and catches the Cataphracts in rear leading to their demise. Over on the other side its the Roman Cohorts that aren't doing so well. One Cohort breaks which causes morale checks by the others. Gods are against the Romans this day as the cohorts fail their morale tests and find themselves fighting disorderd against the Armenian Phalanxes. They are soon overwhelmed by the Pikes and sent packing. Right most Phalanx swings over to hit the Roman Light Infantry in flank quickly routing it. With loss of six Cohorts and the LI unit, the Roman are getting close to their Breaking Point (71).

Roman HC Breaks giving Victory to the Armenians

 Both sides, now having defeated the enemy's left flanks, attempt to wheel around to engage the remaining enemy units. The Roman Heavy Cavalry manages to catch the large Armenian Phalanxe in the side, but it is a wing attack, not a flank attack (See Photo diagram below for more info). One Armenian Horse Archer unit boldly charges into the Roman Heavy Cavalry to assist the Pike unit. They are in turn caught on the side by the Roman Light Cavalry. The Armenian Horse Archers are soon routed, but not before putting a few kills on the Roman Heavy Cavalry. The Roman HC is now at eight Kills and they break at nine. In the last melee, the Roman HC unit rolls badly not doing enough damage to the large Armenian Phalanxe. They in turn however receive several kills from the Phalanxe and they Rout away giving Victory to the Armenians.

It was a hard fought battle by both sides which could have gone either way depending on the die rolls.

Last Melee of the Battle

Critical Moment of Battle
 Roman HC attempts to make a Flank Attack on the Armenian Phalanx. This Photo has been modified to show the initial and ending position of the Roman HC. For a Flank attack to occur the attacking units whole Front edge must begin behind the target unit's Front line and the attacking unit's whole unit must end up behind the target unit's Front line. Neither of these two requirements occurred so the attack is deemed a "wing" attack which does not Dis-Order the target unit. In a "wing" attack the attacking unit gets Double Dice. The Roman HC started out with 6 figures in the Front rank and must divide their melee dice against all opponents. So they get three dice against the horse archers and get six dice(3 doubled ) against the Phalanx. With the Roman HC being one figure short of Break Point, there was no way for them to win. If they could have made a Flank Attack, then things might have been different. The Phalanx would have been disordered ( getting half dice) and if out scoured, would have had to make a morale test.