Wednesday, July 01, 2015

Mare Nostrum Campaign Year 8: Battle at Baetis in Spain

The Romans have attacked the last Spanish stronghold at Baetis.  The Spanish have found a ridge with steep hills on  both flanks to make a stand.  Mark commands the Spanish whose CIC is in Canberra.  Mike commands his own Roman army.  The Spanish army is bigger than the Roman army, but is significantly weaker in fighting power (478 to 403 in points).
The Spanish were inititally mostly left off the table, the location of most of the army recorded by the umpire and only put down after they came over the ridge or the Romans breasted it.  This is the situation when the main Spanish army was put down.   The Roman infantry are advancing in a solid block  in the centre.  On the far flank their cavalry is driving back the Spanish light infantry.  On the near flank the Roman cavalry has so far refused to move.
The first Roman attack on the far flank just failed to charge home.  The Spanish warbands counterattacked with light infantry pestered the Romans flank. 
 The Roman left has been pushed back.  The RH half of the LH infantry division also failed to charge home and was also counterattacked.  Poor command dice has also slowed the Roman right.
 The Roman left is engaged in a desperate struggle as the Spanish try to get around their flank.  The second infantry has finally got to grips and at last the Romans are getting some success. 
The Roman left is still holding on, but giving ground.  Their centre is pushing forward, but good break dice are keeping the Spanish in the fight there.   Right of centre bad command continues to frustrate Rome.  On the near flank the Spanish cavalry has now attacked
The Roman left continues to fall back as their centre pushes forward and the cavalry slug it out on their right.
Right of centre another failure to charge home by the Roman foot gave the Spanish a chance to counterattack and drive through the Roman centre to help break the Roman left and isolate their centre.  But the Roman cavalry has struck back and is at least holding on their left. 
The Spanish centre has now broken, but the Romans are still in big trouble as the Spanish cavalry renew their attack on this flank and the the Spanish foot attack their left flank.
The Roman cavalry on the left has now broken leaving both sides with only two divisions on the field, all of them with heavy casualties.   It's now a matter of which side throws bad break test dice first.
The troops near the beer bottle are the from the 2nd Roman foot as is the surrounded unit in the centre.  5 of 8 units remain, 4 of them shaken.  The 2nd Roman cavalry is reduced to 2 small light cav, one shaken (out of 4).  The Spanish RH division is reduced to 1 warband and 2 small Caetrati out of 6 units.  The Spanish LH division is reduced to 2 light cavalry and 2 small Caetrati out of 6 units.
The battle finally ends as the Romans finally get some freindly command dice and their cavalry ride down a Caetrati unit to break their LH division and with it the Spanish army.  The Romans have lost another unit in the centre, but their 2nd infantry is just on half strength with just 1 unit not shaken. Their cavalry is also on half strength with just one unit not shaken (divsions break if below half strength or on half and all remaining shaken).

It's been a while since we've seen a battle as bloody as this one at Camp Cromwell.  The Romans had terrible luck with command dice, continually failing to quite charge home leaving themselves open to counterattack and Mark took full advantage.  A sound plan and good luck took Mark within a dice roll of victory despite the numerical disadvantage, but the Roman plan was ok too and eventually they got some luck and just managed to save the day.  But if ever there was a Pyrhic victory this was it. The Romans have advanced from Numantia to attack the Spanish and the Carthaginians have attacked Numantia behind them.  The survivors of this battle have to march back to Numantia and fight their way past the Carthaginians to restore supply or the army may be doomed.  The heavy losses here will change the balance in that battle very much in the Carthaginian favour. 

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