Wednesday, 18 October 2017

Re fighting the Battle of Toletum, 193 BC

Regarding the battlefield we made the assumption that Fulvius approached Toletum from the south and therefore limited the terrain selection to the following; the compulsory BUA, one difficult hill, two gentle hills and one scrub. 

Despite the lack of information one could also argue that the approach march was made along the River Taag (Tagus). If one chooses this option, then the terrain selection could be limited to a compulsory BUA and two difficult hills and two scrub. See the terrain overview from the previous post.

Roman force (attacker)
1 x Praetor Fulvius (Cv)
Roman legion: 1 x triarii (Sp), 4 x hastati/principes (4Bd), 3 x allied (4Ax), 3 x velites (Ps)
1 x subordinate commander (Cv)
Allied legion: 1 x triarii (Sp), 2 x principes (4Bd), 2 x hastati (4Ax), 2 x allied (4Ax), 2 x (Ps), 2 x cavalry (Cv).

The Confederation (defender)
1 x King Hilernus (Cv), 6 x warriors (3Bd), 4 x caetrati (Ps), 1 x light horse (LH).
1 x general (Cv), 6 x warriors (4Ax), 4 x caetrati (Ps), 1 x light horse (LH).
1 x general (Cv), 6 x warriors (3Ax), 4 x caetrati (Ps), 1 x light horse (LH).

The opening moves
Both Roman and allied legion were divided evenly between Fulvius and his subordinate. The latter formed the left wing which secured the village and Fulvius commanded the right wing facing enemy lining the crest of a difficult hill.

The Celtiberians formed on the right of the battle line with the Vaccæans in the centre and Vectonians on the left. The combined tribal force outnumbered the Roman force but their deployment did not stretch further than that of the legions.

Anticipating the impetuous nature of the Celtiberians Fulvius would lead the main attack while his left wing would move in support leaving a skirmishing force to occupy the Celtiberians.

The attacked move accordingly to plan as Fulvius drove the Vectonians back on their heels and eventually breaking them. Unfortunately, his subordinate was severely mauled by holding off the combined effort of the remaining two tribes. The situation for Rome became critical as Fulvius had to decide how best to deal with the remaining two tribes.  

A Critical turn
Despite the collapse of his left, his subordinate managed to hold his ground and slow the pace set by the enemy. Oblivious to the situation around them, a unit of principes continually beat off attempts even while surrounded for a number of turns.

Reforming his scattered units, Fulvius could see the Vectonians were no longer a threat and moved his units to attack the nearest tribe, the Vaccæans.  

After a brisk clash, the Vaccæans finally succumbed to the full weight to the legion and broke. King Hilernus faced with the loss of two tribes called for a general retreat, much to the dismay of the Celtiberians.


The Roman left wing took the brunt of the Iberian attack and suffered the greatest number of casualties, nine elements including the general. His heroic loss came at the end of the battle. The right wing under Fulvius was relatively unscathed suffering only one casualty. 

Tuesday, 17 October 2017

Battle of Toletum, 193 BC. (Ulterior Hispania)

 “Caius Flaminius took Ilucia of the Oretanians, while Marcus Fulvius fought a pitched battle and gained victory against the Vaccæans, Vectonians, and Celtiberians near the town of Toletum.
– Livy, Book XXXV, VII.”

After completion of the Consular Army (Polybian), I began a series of historical matches between it and a host of enemies of the post-Punic War period. Although these were the standard 12 element size armies I did make a list of larger battles that I would to do as these presented a number of challenging situations. Toletum was one such battle. Both Livy and Appian cover the War in Spain, but the latter omits any mention of Toletum. Appian does write about other conflicts involving the Celtiberians,  so we can draw some useful insight from those brief references. 

The Armies
 In 193 BC, Marcus Fulvius (Nobilior) served as praetor in Hispania rose to fame as consul four years later. According to Livy, 193 BC is a particular busy season as all four commanders (2 consuls, 2 praetors) were on campaign in various parts of Hispania. In practice, this would give each commander a legion and an equal number of auxiliaries under their command or approximately 10 – 12,000 men. Using the historical ratio in the rule book, we can calculate the number of elements required for the battle. 

Opposing Rome is a confederation of Vaccæans, Vectonians, and Celtiberians led by King Hilernus. Whether the Vectonians are Hispano-Celtic or Celtiberian is up to debate, but the Vaccæans are related to the Celtiberians. Regarding the strength of their force, Appian does mention the Celtiberians raising 20 – 40,000 warriors for later campaigns. Even with a lower figure of 20,000 the Celtiberians will still outnumbering the Roman column by half.

The Battlefield
Livy mentions Toletum as being fortified and served as the nominal capital of the Carpetani, therefore a likely objective to be taken by Fulvius for the upcoming campaign. Using a number of online map utilities, we have a general idea of the topography within a day's march of Toletum. Resting on the River Taag (Tagus); the countryside near the city is relatively flat marked undulating hills with a few rising to a significant height not unlike the Arapiles of Salamanca fame (1812); in DBA terms this would be arable terrain. Tomorrow, the re-fight will be posted.

Of interest
Prior to the start of the 2nd Punic War (219 BC), Hannibal fought in the same region against a similar confederation (Vaccaei, Olcades and Carpetani) before marching on Saguntum. So I may be dusting off the elephants and Numidian cavalry following this battle. 

Map Toletum, Important resources, Wiki Common
Los Celiberos: Etnia y Cultura, Alberto J. Lorrio

Tuesday, 10 October 2017

Cimbri and Teutones vs. Celtiberian

Following their victory over Rome at the Battle of Arausio, the Cimbri and Teutones crossed into Hispania.

From Livy, Book LXVII, fragment.
"The Cimbrians, having ravaged all the country between the Rhine and the Pyrenees, pass into Spain; where they continue like depredations. The Cimbrians are put to flight by the Celtiberians: and returning into Gaul, they join the Teutons."

The Historical Match up.
Re fighting the confrontation between the Celtiberians and the Barbarian coalition is challenging as so much remains unknown. Both combatants have diverse home terrain (hilly and forest) so I opted for a compromise and placed the three matches in arable terrain; this still offers both sides the use of difficult hills and forest. More importantly however, this would give me an opportunity to use my newly constructed Celtic village.

Game 1
The Cimbri had sufficient room to deploy their army between the village and wood. Facing them were the Celtiberians in a line which easily extended beyond Cimbri line.

The Celtiberians right flank moved ahead of the main body as they were eager for battle. The supporting caetrati had outstripped them to make first contact. 

The Celtiberians on the right encountered stiff resistance with one dense column driving the scutarii back. The Celtiberian left were driving their opposition back and rapid slaughter of one warband left a gaping hole in their line.

Regaining their composure, the Celtiberians on the right counter attacked the exposed flanks of one dense formation of the Cimbri to quickly roll up the Cimbri left flank which prompted a general retreat. Score 4 -1 for the Celtiberians.

Game 2
This time, the Cimbri deployed closer to their camp leaving the Celtiberians no choice but leave their position near the village. Due to the constricted nature of the terrain, the Celtiberian formed in deeper ranks.

The Cimbri shuffled forward giving time for the scutarii and caetrati to deploy into a line.

The battle became general up and down the line with neither side giving much ground. During this and the previous bound, there were a high number combats with even scores. Here, the denser formations of warband repelled the looser formation (‘fast’) Celtiberians. Both sides experienced light casualties (1 – 1).

The battle now took a fiercer turn as both sides were taking advantage of exposed flanks and isolated units to bring the number of casualties to a critical level (3 – 3).

The situation favoured the nimble Celtiberians as they inflicted a few more casualties to save the day. Score 5 – 3 for the Celtiberians.

Game 3
For the final match, the Cimbri rested their flanks on the two dense wood. It was hoped the cover would work to their advantage.

The rapid approach of the Celtiberians gave the Cimbri just enough time to set up position in time to see caetrati closing the distance.

The edge of the wood on the left were easily held by the Cimbri warband. The wood on the right was in question as scutarii were supporting the caetrati. To counter this, the Cimbri sent a unit of warband to even the battle.

The Celtiberian effort in both woods now stalled it was time to move the majority of the army into battle.

In the ensuing conflict the Celtiberians lost most of their caetrati, but Cimbri casualties were not far behind (3 – 2).

The battle turned as Celtiberians were streaming out of the wood followed by victorious Cimbri warband. This heralded a general retreat and first loss for the Celtiberians. Score 4 – 2 for the Cimbri and Teutones.

Monday, 9 October 2017

The Witcher Project - Skellige Confederation

The Skellige Islands are located off the western shores of Temeria and the Nilfgaard Empire. The six major islands are inhabited by Nordic-like clans each ruled by an elected monarch or Jarl. 

Seafaring and raiding are their principle pastimes and they were keen to fight on board their long ships or on land as foot soldiers primarily armed with axe and a minority with bow. The islands are mountainous and are not ideal horse-breeding areas and as their number would be limited to agrarian requirements, there are no mounted units. Their army composition would not be dissimilar to Leidang Vikings.

Each island is home to a clan and  at the Witcher Wikia you can read background information for each clan as well as their
colour preferences which make them distinct from other clans.

The Skellige Islands becomes the final battleground in the third game, the Witcher - Wild Hunt. 

Clans of Skellige (Wither Wikia)

Skellige Confederation
1– 3 Household (4Bd)
3 - 6 Raiders (3Bd) or (3Wb)
1 - 3 Archers (3Bw)
1 - 2 Scouts (Ps)

Update (09-10-2017)
The seafaring clans of Skellige raided both sides during the four wars covered by this project; the Southern Conquest and the 1st, 2nd, and 3rd Northern Wars. These raids are mentioned in passing conversations in the books but no detail is given as to which clans were the more enterprising. On a side note, as the empire annexed kingdoms bordering the coast, raiders confronted with frequency the fleets of Nilfgaard protecting their supply and troop convoys. 

Plans are under way to adapt the DBA naval variant, De Bellis Navalibus, for use with this project. This may take some time as ships and suitable terrain must be scratch-built.  

Saturday, 7 October 2017

Cimbri and Teutones vs. Consular Rome

The Cimbri and Teutones crossed the Alps to invade the Roman Province of Gallia Narbonensis in 109 BC. In 107 BC, their forces defeated a Roman army and later that year a second army sent against them at the Battle of Burdigala, killing its commander.

Two new Roman armies, each led by a consul and totalling 80,000 troops marched to meet the barbarians near the Rhone River. The battle that followed was a disaster (Arausio) for Rome with losses matching the defeat suffered at Cannae, but like Hannibal, instead of pressing on Rome, the Cimbri and Teutones moved elsewhere and crossed into Hispania.

The Historical Match up.
The composition of the Roman army followed list number II/33 (Polybian) and the Cimbri coalition (II/47a).  In keeping with some semblance of historical accuracy, a Roman army comprised of a citizen legion and an equal number of ‘allied’ troops forming a second legion; these can be seen carrying white shields. The troop types follow the DBA army list to the letter, but are deployed in the game as two separate groups.

Terrain, although arable, was kept to a minimum, one BUA and two woods. 

Game 1
Rome has deployed its force in two wings, the allied are on the right and the Roman legion on the left nearest the wood. The Cimbri have positioned three dense columns with smaller units of warriors filling in the gaps and deployed thus, their army would match the Roman line in length.

As the battle commences, Rome moves forward as one massive group with skirmishers thrown forward on the wings. The Cimbri have moved two of their dense columns toward the Roman legion holding the third back as support.

The ensuing clashes Rome drives both dense columns back, but somehow missed the barbarian breakthrough that now endangers their exposed flank.

The situation becomes desperate as the supporting Cimbri column charge the allied wing, Cimbri warriors assault the rear of the Roman hastati and the Cimbrian chieftain delivers a personal message to the Roman Consul.

The battle was in question as the allied legion had collapsed the Cimbri left, but elsewhere, the Cimbri spurred on by their general brought the decisive blow to the conflict. Score 4 – 3 for the Cimbri.   

Game 2
The Roman force caught in the open deployed in their standard formation, but held all the cavalry in a second line as a reserve. The Cimbri, positioned between the village and wood arranged their troops in the same manner as the previous battle.

The battle took an encouraging turn as the allied legion repulsed every assault by the Cimbri. On the left, the Roman legion had a harder time dealing with the two columns losing a unit of hastati for their efforts.

On the Roman right, the allied wing now supported by the cavalry were ready to roll up the Cimbrian left when the horns and drums signaled a general retreat; resulting from the quick collapse of the Roman legion. Score 4 – 0 for the Cimbri.

Game 3
Rome deployed first but kept the citizen legion in the centre with the allied troops split evenly and positioned on both flank. The consul taking a centre position placed the allied cavalry on the left flank. Although inconvenienced by the village and wood, the Cimbri kept to their battle winning deployment but positioned their cavalry on the left flank.

Through mixed signals only the Cimbri left started the battle and this was easily countered by the Roman right. Fearing an ambush, the Roman centre moved cautiously forward.

The battle quickly escalated with the Roman right heavily engaged with the warband and cavalry. The Roman centre was under pressure by the dense columns sent against them, but they held their ground.

The drill and discipline of Rome was beginning to whittle down Cimbrian resistance as they slowly caused more casualties than the Cimbri could inflict. Score 4 – 1 for Rome.

Tuesday, 3 October 2017

Building a Generic Celtic Village – BUA

I have a number of villages for use with our DBA games in differing architectural styles, but none are truly suited for my Early Germans, Gauls or Iberians. Therefore, between painting projects, I decided to rectify that deficiency and build a small hamlet. 

A quick search of Celtic housing did find differences between Iberian, Gallic and structures east of the Rhine. Much of the Celtic buildings found in Northern Spain made use of stone. whereas timber walls would be prevalent east of the Rhine. Rather than building a set of huts for each style, I opted for the general ‘look’ – a circular structure, walls covered in wattle and daub with a roof of thatch. 

My plan was to construct six buildings so I could select any of the BUA templates to vary the size of my Celtic hamlet. 

Pink Foam – roughly cut into 40mm cubes.
Modeling knife
Dish with water; tacky fingers will pull completed work off the foam core.
Sewing needle (long), useful to score doorways, posts and thatching.

I used standard pink foam and cut six cubes that would eventually shaped into Celtic huts. Starting with the walls, these are roughly 10mm high and trimmed back to leave a few millimetres of roof protruding beyond the wall.

Shaping the roof as a pyramid, round the corners by gradually shaving excess to form a circular cone. Each cube is 40mm high, so you will have some room to experiment with; the completed huts are 30 – 35mm in height. The photo shows an interim step; sharp edges were trimmed further with another blade. 

The walls are applied first and with a sewing needle (or modeling knife) score a doorway and wooden supports (5x) around the structure. Using an old toothbrush, I gave the walls some texture that will be picked out during painting.

Before covering the roof, I based each of the huts on 1.2mm triplex wood as scoring the thatch would be easier if holding a base between fingers than smearing tacky Milliput over the completed walls.

Some bases were cut larger that others; these would have wattle fencing added around the base.  I used 1mm brass rod for the support and brown string following a similar method used for my vineyard. 

The entire structure was given an undercoat of white paint. The hut and fencing were painted next. After drying, the base was covered with a white glue and sand mix. After painting the ground, where necessary, items were highlighted or dry-brushed and finally electrostatic grass was added to complete the base. 

Wednesday, 27 September 2017

Historical Matches – Abbasid vs. Arab Indian

Following the Abbasid overthrow of the Umayyad Caliphate in 750 AD, the Sindh became independent. The Sindh foiled two invasions by the Abbasid in 769 and 785 AD. Between the invasions, the Abbasid launched a number of naval sorties along the coast of Sindh.

At its core, the Sindh army retained something of its former organization with auxiliaries supplied by Hindu troops. The Arab Indian has ‘tropical’ as their home terrain and it is in this terrain that all three battles will take place.

Game 1
Wood flanking their left, the Arab Indian deploy in two lines with their cavalry formed in the second. Light troops have secured the wood and from this position they will harass the Abbasid right. The Abbasid have formed an extended line with their cavalry taking a position on the open left flank.

The Abbasid bring their cavalry into action on the left forcing the Arab Indian to contract their line. Abbasid spear advance steadily while the light troops of both sides are now actively engaged on the right. Casualties are light on both sides (1 – 1) as the battle progresses in earnest.  

The Abbasid advance now becomes fragmented as Arab resistance stiffens and isolated battles now take the place of formed lines. Fighting from interior lines, the Arab Indian rapidly set reserve cavalry into action; these shift the battle in their favour. Score 4 – 2 for the Arab Indian.

Game 2
Using a wood and river to protect their left flank, the Abbasid deploy in a standard formation with all their heavy cavalry in reserve behind the infantry spear and archers. The Arab Indian adapts a similar formation with their heavy cavalry supporting their left and right wing.

With archers deployed in each battle line, the advance becomes slow and steady.

Arab Indian archery has a devastating effect as they bring down the entire Abbasid bow. This sets a critical moment for the Abbasid as casualties mount faster than they can develop their battle.

Desperate charges by the Abbasid had little effect than deliver more opportunity for the Arab Indian. Calling for a general retreat the Abbasid left the field. Score 5 – 1 for the Arab Indian.

Game 3
The open ground between river and wood offered minimal room to deploy effectively and so the Abbasid deployed a light skirmishing force on the right bank to harass the Arab Indian approach.

The wood, situated on the Abbasid left become hotly contested with the Mutatawwiá fighting at 1 to 2 odds. The main battle lines approach slowly as both sides archers were trying to find their mark. The Abbasid troops on the opposite bank were having their intended effect as Arab Indian troops were sent to cover any intended crossing.

With their attention diverted the activity across the river, the Abbasid launched a coordinated attack by their spear and heavy cavalry. Arab Indian resistance crumbled as their archers were struck down leaving gaping holes and exposed flanks, ending the battle in a decisive victory for the Abbasid. Score 6 – 3 for the Abbasid.

III/38 Arab Indian 751 – 1206 AD

1 x 1 x General (Cv), 3 x Arab cavalry (Cv), 2 x Arab spearmen (Sp), 2 x Arab archers (3/4Bw), 2 x Hindu archers (3Bw), 1 x Hindu javelinmen (Ps), 1 x Hindu swordsmen (3Bd).