Somewhere in Syria – Part II

During a last Basic Impetus fight between Seleucids and Romans, it proved to be solid defeat for Roman legions. However, as usual, brave republican Romans are not to be put down by single defeat, and they will try again as long as they are successful.

Deployment of forces

Impetus AAR Syria II deploymentSeleucids (blue) elected to deploy Scythed chariots, screen of archer and Argyraspides on the left, and in the place of honor, deep block of regular pikes on the right. Right flank also held the heavy cavalry, elephants and was protected by peltasts that have proven to be the most reliable minor unit at all times.

As usual, Romans (red) deployed legions in line, screened by velites and protected at both flanks by the most useless unit of all times, Roman equites.

And how did it turn out?

It is perhaps easier to see how the game flows when using diagrams instead of photos of the battlefield. Just as an experiment.

Impetus AAR Syria II turn 3

Initial maneuvering has already occurred.

Impetus AAR Syria II turn 4

Scythed chariots meet their end.

Impetus AAR Syria II turn 5

Elephants ram the legion and to their own doom.

Impetus AAR Syria II turn 6

Cataphracts gallop from reserve and charge full 5cm extra.

Impetus AAR Syria II turn 8

Equites fight their way through archers.

Impetus AAR Syria II turn 9

Legions hit the centre phalanx.

Impetus AAR Syria II turn 10

Fight in the centre was expensive for both. Equites meet their end in hands of peltasts.

This time Seleucids were to use their new not so secret weapon – the scythed chariots. Intent was to aim them straight on the Roman lines, especially those legions that would be meeting the weaker left wing of the pikes. It all started brilliantly, albeit Seleucids deployed their forces first and Romans had good javelin screen waiting the elephants and the Scythed chariots, both got through without impediment.

However, ancient weapon of terror as the scythed chariots were, the Roman legionnaires were not to be amused. Scythed chariots in all their color and splendor were wiped from existence at their straight line charge against the hail of pila. So, for their debut their overall effect to the enemy morale was close to none.

Elephants fared much better but they needed to turn a bit to find good target. Romans, as they deployed last, left neat gap filled with velites to meet the beasts – strategy that has been found quite useful.

Heavily armed and armored elephants finally  rammed on to a legion with full force, but unfortunately failed to finish them off and standstill developed. Eventually Romans gained upper hand and elephants were dispatched. Fight cost the legion nearly all of it’s fighting ability and legion did very little for the rest of the game.

Meanwhile, Cataphracts that were until now held in reserve mounted charge over the field straight into – and through the Roman legions. Not a simple feat since 5cm extra was needed from charge bonus to make it home. They smashed thorough the line, but were on a verge of being destroyed in the process. Once through the line, they continued way past the Roman line and did not participate the rest of the battle.

Romans made attempt from the right flank with the equites, only to be met by Cretan archers who caused abrupt halt. Similar fate waited the equites in the left at the hands of peltasts. Once these clever maneuvers failed and both equites distanced themselves from the front line, remaining three legions were to march straight into the waiting phalanx.

An interesting fight evolved in the centre where, first by Romans having upper hand and dispatching Argyraspides and regular pike, then Seleucid pikes gaining upper hand and dispatching one of the legions and eventually one velite.

Loss of velite eventually caused the game to end, since Roman break point was set to 10. Loss of one equites, two legions were too much.

It is apparent that if the damaged and therefore vulnerable units are pulled away to relative safety, game can last much longer. High value units such as cataphracts have good change to survive several turns without anyone able to catch them. For Romans, keeping the velites out of the harms way could have turned the table, but due to good Seluicid initiative roll it was not possible. That, however, would have gone into cat and mouse game where both parties would have attempted to get an easy kill – with neither having strong and fast units on table.

Seleucid elephant kill

Seleucid elephants about to meet their end.

I do like Seleucid variety quite lot. However, it would probably be good idea to have the mounted archers and extra foot archer instead of the elephants if the scythed chariots are in use. Game took about an hour to conclusion, including setup of forces.

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2 Responses to Somewhere in Syria – Part II

  1. Jon Freitag says:

    Good BatRep! Maps are useful but I do enjoy seeing the painted troops on the table. Do the red blocks denote disorder?

    • Tichy says:

      I have to found some balance between the two ways. This went a bit over the top. I think that photos it is and only few overall diagrams in future like starting positions. Disorders are not indicated at all, only accumulated hits. Red blocks indicate Romans, blues Seleucids.

      Edit: Silly me, yes, red cube in photo with actual unit indicates disorder and I use small dice to indicate hits (since very seldom in the period I am interested in, there is VBU greater than 6).

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