February 28th & March 6th – Debrief

The last couple of weeks saw us put on 2x Commands & Colours: Ancients scenarios using the “Epic” Expansion Pack details below…….

Bagradas Plain 253 BC (Tunisia) – Carthage vs Roman Republic – 1st Punic War

Romans: 15,000 infantry & 500 cavalry under Marcus Atilius Regulus

Carthaginians: 12,000 infantry, 4,000 cavalry & 100 elephants under Greek Mercenary General Xanthippus

Carthaginians on the left – Romans on the right (Mike Umpiring)

Historically the battle unfolded as follows:

The Carthaginians started the battle with an attack by the elephants. This tied up the main force of Roman infantry. The Roman cavalry, outnumbered eight to one, was quickly defeated. Only on their left did the Romans have any success, when 2,000 troops, possibly allied troops, defeated the mercenaries facing them, and chased them back past their camp. Meanwhile, in the centre the elephant attack had been withstood, but only a few isolated units of Roman infantry managed to get past them to attempt to attack the Carthaginian phalanx, and those were quickly defeated. Finally, the Carthaginian cavalry charged the already shaken Romans from both sides, destroying what cohesion was left. Only the 2,000 troops successful earlier in the battle escaped to be rescued by the Roman fleet. Regulus himself was taken prisoner. The defeat, and serious disasters in storms at sea, ended any chance that Rome would defeat Carthage in Africa, and ensured that the rest of the war was fought in Sicily and at sea.

February 28th refight unfolded as follows:

Romans: Alistair & Andy (Red & Light Grey blocks)

Carthaginians: Mike, Rob & Ross (Brown and Blue blocks)

The Carthaginians opened up the battle by launching attacks on both flanks with their light cavalry – with little immediate impact. The Romans, although outnumbered, countered these outflanking manoeuvres with attacks of their own by their combined medium and light cavalry, causing light casualties on the Carthaginian light cavalry. The Carthaginians then moved up their medium cavalry where their weight in numbers started to tell. The Roman light infantry probed along the whole front line trying to find a weakness in the Carthaginian centre (including some interesting encounters with the Carthaginian elephants!!); however some of these units over-extended themselves and were over-run by a swift charge by the Carthaginian warriors on the centre-right which then broke into the Roman main line causing casualties on their main line. The Roman Centre was bearing up under this pressure; however with the defeat of their cavalry on both flanks they were eventually overwhelmed.

Conclusion: Victory for Carthage

Carthaginians on the left, Romans on the right (Mike Umpiring)
Carthaginians on the left, Romans on the right (Mike Umpiring)

March 6th refight unfolded as follows:

Romans: Rob & Ross (Red & Light Grey blocks)

Carthaginians: Alistair & Roger (Brown and Blue blocks)

Again the Carthaginians opened the battle by sending forward their cavalry on both flanks and again the Roman cavalry came out to meet them. This time however, the attacks were not pressed home with the same force and thus left the Roman flanks threatened but secure. The Roman legions on the centre-left then began their slow advance forward supported by their light troops and Auxilia. Over the next few turns the battle centred around this area with continued pressure by the Carthaginian cavalry on the Roman right flank. With a stroke of good fortune (the right command cards came up!) the Romans were able to make a general advance in the centre to bolster the engagement on their centre-right. With the added weight of the Roman mainline the Carthaginians were thinned out enough to defeat them.

Conclusion: Victory for Rome

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