A short scenario was devised for BI. Something of a ad hoc and for sure the idea needs perhaps additional refinement but the principle works, and was remarkably close deal. A Roman expeditionary force fighting it’s way out from Seleucid controlled Syria back to the Roman fortified border towns and provinces. Fighting Seleucid main body would not be feasible, and smaller yet powerful force was set to intervene with the fast paced withdrawal.
Plan was simple, to deploy ambush along the road the Roman legions would need to pass. Strong mobile force to capture the baggage train and harass Romans and force of pikes sufficient to push back legions (added one Thureophoroi to the regular mix to give bit more flexibility).
For Romans, guard the precious wagons and to make sure they reach safety with force of four legions and unusually large cavalry contingent (three Equites instead of regular two). Each element of the baggage train containing treasure worth 2 VD, and as long as they are in Roman hands, break point is increased by the amount. When lost, they are counted as VD losses (this means, that if the baggage train is kept in safety, Romans could sustain very heavy losses and if not, they would find their resistance crumbling quickly). Baggage must move along the road every turn unless road is blocked by enemy (8U per turn (afterthought, should have been 5U, or even 3U)). Baggage train could only be attacked by unit with I>0 and each element can fight back with VBU of 2.
So, how did it turn out? Romans, those poor lads were the defenders and setting up first. Terrain was open and bit rolling but defensible positions were far between. However, open plains were something of a benefit for the Roman increased cavalry contingent. Legions were set up along both sides of the road in haste to encounter the ambushing forces, and stronger cavalry wing took left, and weaker took the right. Seleucids on their turn did set their forces to aim the crossroads and somewhat forested ridge as the choke point. all cavalry and most lights took the Seleucid right and left was protected by trusty peltasts and cretans. Impetuous scythed chariots were to target the Roman center – precisely the wagons.
So the race begun. In the opening moves, Seleucids rushed forward and Roman wagons lumbered straight into the lions den. Roman legions (and here’s the reason to slow down the wagons) were actually lumbering behind the baggage, and when they finally engaged the enemy and formed a stand, some damage to the baggage train was already done. Not a big thing really because rest of the battle was on a knife’s edge, but it would be better to have them very slow.
Roman Equites, now with 50% increase, fared only about 20% better than before. That is a bad return for investment. One of them fell victim to the Peltasts (again – how remarkable), two of them, together managed to dispatch one horse archer but not before one of them was damaged quite badly. and last one was then rammed from rear by Cataphracts with results that anyone could appreciate.
So, that leaves again the most valuable bits, the legions and the baggage. Yes, they did fare much better and two legions entered into heated non-verbal debate about the rights to the road and bought time for the baggage to slip past. Unfortunately though, 4 VD were pillaged until baggage train cooks and carpenters repulsed attacking Peltasts (incidentally, the same folks previously hacked down Equites with ease. One can appreciate the quality of Roman kitchen crews) as they had done a while before to the Chariots.
Unfortunately though, the losses mounted faster for the Romans than the Seleucids, and the end result was a loss – but very close one. Pike blocks would have been almost certainly beaten given a bit more time but that was not to happen because the pillaged baggage was enough to push Romans over the limit. Roman army had it’s retreat blocked and hence destroyed, piece by piece.