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Thursday, 27 June 2013

The Die is Cast Sassanid Persians vs Late Romans

After the Society of Ancients battle day, I had the start of a Late Roman army which I have expanded with some artillery, skirmishers and some extra-heavy cavalry. So John Holroyd (my partner in developing TDIC v5) and I decided to have a game against his Sassanid Persians when we were meeting up to see the latest proof copy of TDIC – it is shortly going to get printed by Amazon.

Both armies 1250 points, in 6mm scale.

My Late Roman army,

Four units of legionaries, two units of auxila, two units of auxila archers (upgraded to elite status), two units of foot skirmishers (one with crossbow, one with bows), two units of skirmishing cavalry with bows (upgraded to Steady), two units of skirmishing cavalry with javelins, two units of heavy cavalry and a unit of extra-heavy cavalry. Most of my units were very small, as I hoped to use manoeuvre rather than force to beat Johns army.

Sassanid Persians

Three elephants, three units of peasant levy infantry, four units skirmishing cavalry (all with bows, some with javelins as well), three units of extra-heavy cavalry (with bow and lance) and a unit of cataphracts. Although his infantry was rubbish, Johns advantage was in his cavalry, more heavily armoured and better armoured than mine.

The Late Roman plan was to shoot down the enemy skirmishing cavalry, gain the advantage in mobility (basically the advantage to force the enemy either to move first or second) and then to hit with superiority at a given point.

Initial deployment of the armies, with my Romans at the bottom and the Sassanids at the top. You can see that the Roman line is considerably longer than the Sassanid. In my army the artillery have only been undercoated (they are white) and the same with Johns peasants.

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Close up on some of the Romans. The general (a 2/2) on the right, with unit of auxila archers in front. Another unit of auxila in the foreground, with two units of heavy cavalry in front of them, the extra-heavy cavalry in front of them and a unit of horse archers in the distance.

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The Sassanids. Horse archers to the front, elephants mixed in with the infantry, two units of extra-heavy cavalry in the distance.

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The starting move on the Roman right. Both sides cavalry advance and the skirmishers exchange shots, both sides lose a base of skirmishers.

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Second move on the right. One of the Roman light cavalry units flees and the other moves onto the far right. The Sassanids advance with a reduced force of light cavalry with some extra-heavy cavalry and cataphracts coming up behind. A unit of Sassanid light cavalry is sent to deal with the Roman cavalry on the right.

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And the final scene on the right. The Sassanids broke through, destroying the Roman light cavalry, a unit of auxila, a unit of legionaries and in this picture the Sassanid cataphracts about to break through and run down a unit of archers. So a total of five Roman units lost.

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First move on the Roman left. A general advance but now the Roman light cavalry can force the Sassanid extra-heavies to move either first or second because of their greater speed.

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End on the Roman left. With superior numbers, the Romans destroyed a unit of extra-heavy cavalry and the others wisely decided to move away. One elephant has been killed and the other two wounded – another was killed when the remaining elephants changed some legionaries. One unit of the levies has been destroyed and another forced to retreat. The Romans have taken some losses but only the odd casualty here and there.

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The end view of the battlefield. In the centre another elephant dies and the levies are routed. So with the Romans winning on the left and centre, its a win for the Romans but at the cost of the entire Roman right flank.

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It was noticeable how heavily armoured cavalry really cuts down the casualties from shooting. Most of the time shooting (on both sides) needed a lucky one to hit. So lots of dice being rolled but causing few hits. On the left the combat between the Sassanid and Roman extra-heavy cavalry was an even match, but throwing in the supporting Roman heavy cavalry swung the balance and resulted in a Roman victory. The Sassanid cavalry overwhelmed the Roman infantry (acting as little more than speed bumps) but since they were in the main very small units, few actual bases were lost. The game lasted about two hours. The rules printed by Amazon are a great improvement in both appearance and layout and people who have already bought a copy of the rules will be sent a new copy free of charge.

2 comments:

  1. We ran the game again yesterday (but moved the Persians up to the Later Sassanid list with better infantry) and swapped sides.

    So this time I concentrated most of the Persian cavalry on the left (a unit of light cavalry, a unit of heavy horse archers and 3 units of fully armoured bow/lance cavalry) with the CinC and a subordinate general leading the troops.

    On the right was all my infantry and 3 elephants. On the extreme right a unit of light cavalry and a unit of heavy horse archers.

    On the left the advance went well, the Romans had also massed their cavalry and generally I did well. Unfortunately my light cavalry broke and ran early in the battle allowing the Roman light cavalry to get round their flank and in one of the cavalry combats, their flank charge swung the day and my cavalry broke and ran (not helped by having their commander, the subordinate general, killed). So in the main I did well on the left but had to spend two turns pursuing the beaten enemy to make sure that they did not rally.

    With the left flank going my way (and just played with the Romans on the extreme right, keeping them busy) I started the advance with the Persian infantry. Roman artillery was effective and stampeded one elephant (which luckily went away from my own troops) so I countered that by moving up my skirmishers and as a nearer target forced the Romans to shoot at them instead. So I was able to charge in against the Roman infantry with two elephants and 2 units of Sassanid spearmen (the spearmen with and armoured front rank).
    One of the elephants also stampeded from bow-fire during the charge but the other managed to get in. The combat of Roman legionaries vs the spearmen was an even contest but in the combat also involving the elephant, the Persians won. In that combat the Romans started to retreat and the retreat became a rout after another round of combat. That broke the other legionaries and the day was mine.

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