After a minor setback at our last meeting it was time to put the Romans through their paces in preparation for our next game. This time the Carpi would be invading and to make the games interesting I would increase both commands with six additional elements (18 a side). Space would pose no problem as our boards are 80cm x 80cm.
The Carpi warband have falxmen interspersed between the columns; the left flank is covered by skirmishers and the right are the Sarmatae allies.
Rome deployed in depth with auxilia forming a screen ahead of the legions. The Praetorian guard and cavalry formed a central reserve.
Roman strategy would have the auxilia to take up positions in the BUA and wood while the legions of the second line form a contiguous line, This would funnel the Carpi approach forcing them to halt their advance to deal with auxilia or risk its flanks being turned.
In this case, an average pip score decided the latter option was selected as can be seen in the photo. The battle for the BUA and wood resulted in heavy casualties for both sides but to win, the Carpi must force a decision in the center. Keeping the pressure on both flanks and advancing the warband left no pips over, so the Sarmatian allies remained inert for two turns. A final desperate charge did result in one dead clibanarii, but the legions sealed the victory with a score, 7 – 4.
Too much time and pips were needed to move the screening troops to each flank (auxilia) and for the Roman heavy infantry to deploy into line. The placement of troops for this game would address those issues in addition to relocating the cavalry to positions were they would be better employed.
Changes were also made to the Carpi battle line; warband were grouped together, the falxmen were placed to clear the wood while the Sarmatae remained on the right flank.
The Carpi advance maintained a uniform front slowing their tempo to allow both wings to clear the wood and BUA of enemy.
The Bastarnae were successful in clearing the wood of auxilia while the BUA still remained in Roman possession,
Sensing the time was right, the Carpi and their allies attacked the Roman center. Roman legions on the right not only held their ground but forced the Carpi back, but disaster fell to the Sarmatae as they were cut down to a man
At this point, Roman signals became confused (low pip scores) letting many a golden opportunity slip through their fingers. The Carpi recovered quickly and dispatched two more elements to bring the score to 5 – 3. On the subsequent bound, Rome responded with a vengeance to even the score at 5 -5.
The center now became maelstrom of elements flanking enemy elements with the Carpi capturing a narrow victory with a score of 7 – 6.
The last test eliminated a wood exposing an open flank for both armies. The change would hopefully give the cavalry sufficient room to use.
A classic head on collision of both front lines; Rome had half its force held back in either a reserve position or ready to move on the Carpi flanks.
Rome did strike at both flanks forcing the Carpi to deal with the threat on both flanks before launching a general assault. Sarmatian cavalry charged and destroyed the Roman light horse while on the Carpi right warband were able to contain the threat by the auxiliaries. Fortune turned for Rome as the Carpi center crashed into the Roman battle line destroying two blade but losing a warband to the Roman general and his bodyguard.
The Praetorian were next in line for the barbarians and they succeeded in eliminating half their number. Elsewhere, in a desperate struggle, the Sarmatian cavalry were holding off twice their number. Every Carpi unit had been committed in the fight, but Rome still had uncommitted reserves
Rome regained advantage to close on a number of exposed flanks to destroy a unit of Sarmatians. The Praetorians and General assisted by the timely arrival of auxilia destroyed their opposition leaving the Carpi no alternative to exit the battlefield. Score 6 – 5 for Rome.