Wednesday, February 28, 2024

Hit Me One More Time!

After the Roman debacle last Monday (see Fourth Battle of Trasimene), four Postie's Rejects regrouped to give the battle another go.  This time, players would swap sides.  Ray (Right Wing) and Lee (Flaminius, Left Wing) would command the Romans.  Richard (Hannibal, Left Wing) and Steve (Marharbal, Right Wing) would command the Carthaginians.

Would Richard's dice rolling turnaround from last week?  Could the Romans pull off an upset?  Read on to find out.

As a refresher, the battlefield and army deployments are,
Battlefield and Army dispositions
With Hannibal holding initiative on Turn 1, Marharbal strikes with his cavalry against the Roman Left in an attempt to seal off any chance of Roman escape to the west.  Working in tandem, two Numidian light cavalry drive off Roman velites bringing up the rear of Flaminius' march column.  Cautiously, the Gauls move up through the woods but do not attack.  Flaminius, seeing his escape to the west cut, forms up his legions and moves inland. 
Numidians attack!
Flaminius draws up his battle line.
As the range closes between the two battle lines, light infantry from both armies exchange javelin volleys.   In Richard's first roll of the session, we see three sixes on three dice.  Three hits!  Lee's light infantry wavers under the barrage of missiles.   
Devastating javelin volley disrupts Roman light infantry.
Roman light infantry returns the favor but not as effectively.
In the defile, Carthaginian heavy infantry move up to plug the exit.  The heavy infantry on the right engages auxilia but is driven off.  Quickly following up, a second Carthaginian heavy infantry attacks.  The auxilia are scattered.   
Carthaginians attack into the defile.
One attack fails but the second succeeds.
Back at the lake, the Numidian cavalry continue harassing the Roman left flank.  All of the velites are either driven into the lake or are dispersed.
Velites dispersed!
Having brought all of his infantry up into the woods and within charge range, Marharbal sends the Gauls screaming down from the hills.

The warband farthest east attacks, preceded by a hail of javelins from the light infantry to its left.  The warband strikes the already wavering auxilia.  Despite being supported upon its left by hastati, auxilia break and run into the lake.  This rout carries the hastati along with them.  The hastati remain poised and give ground slowly.  A gaping hole opens in the Roman line.  In hot pursuit, the Gauls contact a body of skirmishers but with the support of the resolute hastati, the Gauls are repulsed.  Ready to pursue, the hastati are held in check. 
Gauls rush out of the woods!
In combat, auxilia are destroyed but
the hastati make a controlled retrograde.
Pursuit fails and the warband is driven away.
Making its move down from the heights, the middle warband of three attacks.  The Gauls target the now exposed principes on the end of Flaminius' line.  With Flaminius, himself, offering encouragement, the principes stand firm.  The enemy is driven away!
Warband #2 attacks!
Flaminius and his principes stand ready for the charge.
The Gauls are repulsed!
Now time for the third Gallic warband to attack.  Flaminius and his principes are again the target of the assault.  With support to his left, Flaminius sees the charging warband off.  The enemy comes on in the same way, they are sent off in the same way.  Flaminius' line holds!   
Warband #3 attacks...
The Gauls are repulsed!
Back in the defile, heavy infantry from both armies continue to battle it out for control of the vital pathway.  First, in one clash, the Carthaginian numbers are halved.  Then the Roman numbers are halved and the Romans are forced back.  Nearing exhaustion, the Carthaginians choose not to pursue.  Quickly moving up in support, a second block of legionaries plow into the enemy.  Shocked by this sudden attack, the Carthaginian heavies fall back taking their supporting Spanish light infantry along.  The legionaries wheel to bring the retreating enemy into sight.  The pathway out of the defile is clear!
Clash of the titans!
Losses mount to both...
forcing the Romans to break off the attack.
Quickly bringing up more infantry,
 the enemy is driven back!
The way out of the defile looks clear.
While the Romans see success in the fight out of the defile, trouble continues to brew for Flaminius.

Seeing his Gauls repulsed, Hannibal quietly brings up his two bodies of Spanish scutarii through the woods.  Sensing that the enemy below has been sufficiently weakened, the Spanish go in.
Spanish scutarii take up the front line.
Charging down the hill, the scutarii strike Flaminius and his already weakened principes.  The force of impact is too much and the principes recoil taking Flaminius with them.  Flaminius rallies his troops at the lake's edge.  With its flank now uncovered from Flaminius' retreat, a body of hastati is targeted by the second band of Spanish.  Seeing Flaminius and the principes withdraw, the Roman heavies do not hold their ground.  They fall back to form up alongside Flaminius.  This time the Spanish pursue.  Overwhelmed, the hastati rout into the lake and perish.  Caught up in the exhilaration of victory, the Spanish cannot be controlled.  They plunge into the lake in pursuit.      
Flaminius attacked!
The shock of impact is too much...
Flaminius is driven back to the water's edge.
Hastati rout into the lake with the Spanish in hot pursuit.
Pushed up against the lake with his wing in tatters, Flaminius realizes that he is truly down to the triarii for salvation.  Without concern for preserving themselves, the triarii advance inland toward the awaiting Carthaginian heavy infantry.  The two bodies clash but with Hannibal's leadership, the Romans are driven off.  Following up, Hannibal dispatches the triarii as the Romans scatter into the lake.  Returning from the action in the defile, the only Roman cavalry is attacked by Hannibal's heavies.  No match for the Carthaginian's long spears and dense formation, the Roman horsemen turn and rout away.
Down to the triarii!
Hannibal makes short work of the Roman remnants.
On this day, Flaminius and his Roman legions are done for.  While a portion of the Roman army makes its way out of the defile, isolated, as in history, they will be hunted down and killed.

Victory to Hannibal and Carthage!

Congratulations to Richard and Steve for a battle well-played.  While Flaminius made a valiant stand and the outcome was close, Lee and Ray suffer a hard-fought defeat.  There were times in the battle where it looked like the Romans had the upper hand.  A Roman victory looked possible.  Alas, it was not to be.

At least this time, Flaminius was not killed in battle.  

Great game, guys!  For me, a very entertaining contest with much tension, decision-making, and even some laughter.

With that, I close the book on Lake Trasimene although with six games stuffed into the annals, I may return to reflect upon my overall impressions of this particular battle and these half-dozen games.

To read Richard's account of the battle, please visit Trasimene - The Return Match.

By the way, Richard's die rolling was much improved from last week!

Monday, February 26, 2024

Painting Interlude

Having a seemingly, unending stream of Lake Trasimene battles monopolizing blog content, I figured it time to slip in a painting post to break any monotony.  Trasimene sees action at least one more time late today with a Postie's Reject rematch.  Seeing the Romans bludgeoned last week, the tables turn and sides are swapped.  Will Carthage find victory again with a pair of different players at the helm?  Stay tuned.
Getting back to the painting desk, off the table today are twelve French dragoons from AB Miniatures.  The troopers muster out as the 8th Dragoons.  These dragoons are from AB's 1796-1806 range of figures for use in planned FRW battles.  With these figures in the Ready-to-Paint box for quite a while, I checked on the Eureka website to confirm that these are actually dragoons from the early period.  They are.  I also noticed that Eureka has raised prices on AB figures.  Given the state of the economy, a price rise is not that surprising.  I am somewhat surprised that the prices were held steady for so long.  
After the gaming table is cleared of Punic Wars figures, what is next?  The answer to this question is still undecided.  I am considering a return to the WAS with a look at the battle of Kesselsdorf.  Chris (Horse and Musket Gaming) and I are collaborating on scenario design and development to bring the battle to my hexes and Fields of Honor.  Also under consideration is a return to a collection that has not seen action in years.  That collection?  Great Italian Wars.

Having the recently released book, Wargame Scenarios: The Italian Wars Battles 1494-1559, drop onto my doorstep on Saturday, I may find something, therein, of interest to bring to the table. 
Time to make final arrangements for today's Lake Trasimene game.

Friday, February 23, 2024

Too Much Trasimene?

Perhaps, but I forge on anyway...

Game #5 in this series features a remote game with Peter from Grid based wargaming.  You can read Peter's account of this battle at Battle of Lake Trasimene

Last fall, Peter and I discussed choosing a Punic Wars battle and then refighting the action in a Home and Away series.  Each would use his table, armies, and rules of choice.  The Battle of Lake Trasimene was chosen and Peter was up first.  Using OHW and his D3 adaptation, the battle was fought.  He commanded the Romans while I took the Carthaginians.  My recap of that action can be found at Thoughts on Lake Trasimene.

In Thursday's game (Friday for Peter in Australia), roles were reversed.  Peter played Carthage while I played Rome.  The Rules of Engagement were my adaptation of Basic Impetvs.

Did I manage any better than Peter when he took charge of the Roman Army at Lake Trasimene in his game?  Please read on to find out.

The battle begins as usual with Hannibal holding the initiative on Turn 1.  Rather than the now, familiar charging down from the heights in the first impulse with Marharbal's Gauls and cavalry on the Carthaginian Right, Peter did something quite unexpected.

In the first impulse, Marharbal activates his wing.  Rather than charging ahead toward the Romans strung out along the road below, Marharbal advances up to the tree line and halts.  What?  Surely this gives the advantage to Flaminius.

When Flaminius activates, he moves his legion inland to face the enemy.  What I failed to grasp in the previous games is that reaching the Roman line on T1 is a 50/50 proposition.  While the Gauls may reach the enemy, there is half a chance to stop short, isolated, in disorder.  Ah, Peter is a cagey adversary!   
Marharbal advances to tree line and halts.
Flaminius orders his legion and they march inland.
Thinking this a tactical blunder against Flaminius, Flaminius prepares himself to take the fight to the seemingly, reluctant enemy.

Now, the beauty of Peter's plan begins to unfold.

With the Carthaginians hugging the tree line, Flaminius advances to within charge range.  There is no need for the waiting Gauls to take the 50/50 chance of failing to contact.  The warband on the far left of Marharbal's line screams down from the woods.  The Gauls strike light infantry.  The hastati to the light infantry's left choose not to offer support since defeat might send both units routing into the lake.  The light infantry suffers heavily and is driven back to the lake's edge.  The Gauls pursue.  The lights break and rout into the lake.   
First warband attacks!
Caught in pursuit...
the light infantry perishes into the lake.
The second warband, launches its charge down the hill and into the enemy.  The target is a body of principes to which Flaminius has attached himself.  This time, I opt to support the principes with the hastati to its right.  Letting loose two volleys of pila to no effect, the warband comes on.  In the melee, the warband throws eight dice to Flaminius' nine. Flaminius' dice register no hits.  The warband's dice show five!  In the Cohesion Test, the principes fail and take two hits.  Flaminius has lost the melee and must retreat.  Flaminius and the principes retreat one hex.  Compelled to retreat as well, the hastati retreat two hexes and perish into the lake.  Flush with success, the warband continues to pursue Flaminius.  Flaminius is caught and driven into the lake.  The Roman heavy infantry drown taking Flaminius with them.  The Roman Left Wing has been hollowed out.      
Flaminius attacked!
Roman heavy infantry driven back
 with the hastati going for a swim.
Pursuit continues and Flaminius falls.
Big hole where Flaminius' legions once stood.
Still one more Gallic warband to emerge from the woods.

Out from the cover, the third warband charges down from the hill.   With enemy now on its flank, the hastati has no room to maneuver.  In a protracted clash, the hastati are finally driven back to the lake's edge with the Gauls in hot pursuit.  Making a last stand at the water's edge, the Gauls are repulsed.  Whew! 

By now, a few units from the defile have shifted to return back to the lake.  One of the early arriving units is a body of Roman cavalry.  Struck from behind, the Gauls are ridden down and dispatched.
The Gauls keep coming!
The hastati are driven back to the lake...
and make a defiant Last Stand.
Gauls cut down from behind.
What about the fighting in the defile?  Are the Romans having better luck on that front?

With Carthaginian heavy infantry moving up to seal off the defile, the Romans push forward in an attempt to toss the enemy aside.  In mass clashes of heavy infantry, the fight hangs in the balance.  Finally, one unit of Carthaginian heavy infantry breaks for the rear.  A breach in the line!  Is success here too little too late?  
Clash in the defile...
finally leads to Roman success!
Back at the lake, the Romans continue braving the storm.  

The Gauls at the lakefront attack the retiring hastati.  Like those before, these heavies are driven into the lake.  Now, Marhabal brings his medium cavalry into action.  The lone principes is attacked and driven back.  The cavalry come on in pursuit overrunning a band of velites.  The retreat turns into rout as the principes are driven off the table with the cavalry in hot pursuit.  The Roman Left is no more!
Hastati driven into the lake!
Principes retreat from enemy cavalry.
Velites are overrun...
and principes rout off table.
With the Roman Left in tatters and army morale wavering, it comes down to the triarii to hold on until the defile can be secured.
Fighting continues in defile.
Standing alone, the triarii look on as Hannibal comes forward with his heavy infantry.  The heavy block attacks with Hannibal at the lead.  Hannibal is repulsed but casualties are high.  As Hannibal draws away, his place is filled by Spanish scutarii.  Weakened from their earlier exertions, the triarii's resolve gives away.  Rome's last hope routs into the lake.

This battle is over.   
Battle comes down to the triarii.
Hannibal attacks but is repulsed!
Scutarii attack...
and the triarii rout!

I really got my headed handed to me on a platter in this contest.  How bad was it?  Take a look at the Dead Pile below.  It was not even close.  Peter took me apart at every opportunity leaving the battlefield denuded of Romans.  The Gallic warbands tore open the Roman line and never let up.  In two turns (we played three complete turns), the Roman Left and Flaminius were no more.

Impressive victory, Peter, and very well played.  I thought your hesitancy at the start was an opportunity for Flaminius but it turned into a slaughter.  Great job!
Dead Pile
We completed three turns in under two hours.  The result was another outcome that mirrored the historical account.

One more replay coming up on Monday in a rematch with Postie's Rejects.  Thank God I am umpiring only.  My heart cannot take much more of this stress.

Again, great job, Peter, in what was a very enjoyable beat down.