Heretical Gaming is my blog about my gaming life, featuring small skirmishes and big battles from many historical periods (and some in the mythic past or the far future too). The focus is on battle reports using a wide variety of rules, with the occasional rules review, book review and odd musing about the gaming and history. Most of the battles use 6mm-sized figures and vehicles, but occasionally 15mm and 28mm figures appear too.

Thursday, 21 December 2017

Wargaming: An Introduction - Battle of the Sambre

And now the Wargaming: An Introduction take on the Lost Battles' scenario for the Battle of the Sambre: see details of the Polemos refights here and here.

The scenario is the same as last time.

Orders of Battle

The Roman Army:

General: Julius Caesar

1 unit of Light Infantry (Average, Javelins, Light Armour)
1 unit of Cavalry (Average, Medium Armour)
5 units of Veteran Legionaries (Elite, Heavy Armour)
2 units of Legionaries (Average, Heavy Armour)

The legionaries enter at a rate of 2 units per turn, on every turn after the first.

Belgae Forces:

General: Boduognatus 
8 units of Tribal Warriors (Warband, Average, Light Armour)
1 unit of Cavalry (Average, Medium Armour)

The Battle:
From behind the Belgae, facing the Roman screening forces across the stream

A closer look at the plucky Romans on the hill

The Belgae warriors about to advance to exploit their suprise

The Belgae advance!  The warriors reach the stream, but have taken some light losses from javelins

The cavalry clashes - and the Belgae gain the initial advantage!

Whilst the cavalry fight continues, the Belgae warriors get across the stream with no fuss: no crocodiles here...

Some Belgae warriors pile in onto the right flank of the Roman cavalry (left) to help their mounted comrades; meanwhile, the first Roman legionaries are arriving just as the Belgae are about to reach the crest of the hill

The Roman cavalry are fighting hard, but it will be hard to recover from the initial loss and the unfavourable tactical situation

The first Roman legion ploughs into the Belgae, thinning its ranks appreciably

Can the Roman Cavalry get out of this one?!  A reinforcing Roman legionary unit hits the warband in its flank...

The Romans are having to fight hard but it looks like they have stabilized the situation

Losses mount on all sides, but the Legionaries are quickly making mincemeat out of that Warband...

More and more Belgae fall.  The Romans are taking casualties too, but at a much slower rate

The Roman reserves come into play - it is difficult to see how the Belgae win this one...

Even in the 2:1 match-up on the right, the Roman legionaries are still just about holding their own...

The lines are heavily engaged, but a Belgae flank attack is about to go in (extreme right), whilst the Romans still have some uncommitted reserves in the centre

Same position, slightly closer in

The Roman cavalry has managed to fight its way out of the vice (left), destroying the Belgae cavalry facing them and the Legionaries who came to the rescue destroyed the warband in front of them; the Belgae ranks in the centre are also looking decidedly thin, since another warband has been destroyed there too

The deployment of the Roman reserves to the right-wing has led to the destruction of another warband

The Romans make the last push against the desperate remnants of the Belgae tribal warriors...

It is just a matter of time now the Belgae's right flank (left) has been turned

The majority of the Belgae's warriors have been destroyed or dispersed now and so the Belgae's morale collapses.  Veni, vidi, vici!
Game Notes:
Another good game obtained from this scenario.  The poor old Belgae have been in for a thin time though!  Legionaries are just too strong in Wargaming: An Introduction compared to warbands for a stand-up fight in the open, unless the warbands have about a 2:1 superiority in units/numbers.

There are two points of comparison that I'd like to bring out here.  The first is to re-iterate that in the W:AI rules, it is troop types that make the difference.  One could argue that DBA is similar, but a 1 or even 2 pip advantage is much less valuable than the minimum of 100% more effective in W:AI.  So, the battles ended up having much the same result as of the Polemos Sambre battles, but appearances are deceptive: the mechanical reason for the Roman victories in SPQR is, when one strips away everything else, a function of the terrain (the stream and its 'crocodiles'(!)) and the disorganization of the attacker which accompanies it - the "tribal" command issues are important, but distinctly secondary; the mechanical reason for the Roman victory here is their infantry being slightly more than 100% more effective in close combat.  Put it this way: if the stream is taken out of the battle, the Belgae have a 50:50-ish chance in the Sambre battle - in the W:AI battle, it was pretty irrelevant to the outcome anyway.

The second point of comparison is with the other W:AI rules set in this period.  The Belgae (or similar) do need some skirmishers to harass the Romans - light infantry is quite useful, light cavalry (or chariots) are game-changers.  It is really the only way they can win battles using these rules, I think, unless the terrain is heavily wooded or they seriously outnumber the Romans.

Figures by Baccus 6mm.

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