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.

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