mercoledì 30 luglio 2014

A "small Cannae", but with a different outcome!

Some days ago Gianni and me have fought a classical "Romans vs Carthaginians" battle, this time with my 20mm little soldiers.

Roman Army (15.500 men):
10.000 Roman and Italic Legions - Heavy infantry (10 bases in 3 divisions)
3.000 Skirmishers (6 bases, attached to the heavy infantry divisions)
2.500 Italic and Roman Medium cavalry (5 bases in 2 divisions)

Carthaginian Army (19.500 men):
4.000 African Phalanx (4 bases in 1 division)
4.000 Iberian Medium Infantry (4 bases in 1 division)
4.000 Celtic Warbands (4 bases in 1 division)
3.000 Skirmishers (6 bases, attached to Iberian and Celtic divisions)
3.000 Celtic, Iberian and African Medium cavalry (6 bases in 2 divisions)
1.500 Numidian Light Cavalry (3 bases in 1 division)

While the Roman "consul" choosed a very conventional deployment, with hastati and principes in the common central two lines and the cavarly at the wings, the dodgy Carthaginian choosed a different scheme, with Celts and Iberians in the centre and the phalanx at the rear.
I suppose that this remembers to me a certain battle fought in 216 BC ... Do you remember the same???? 

The battle starts with the predominant Celtic and Iberian cavalry charging the Italic allied cavalry at the right of the picture.
So, let's go, with the Carthaginians at the top of the picture and the Romans at the bottom:

The Celtic warbands charge the Roman infantry at the right wing, while the Carthaginian phalanx follows and the Iberians hold the ground at the left of the picture:

At the very right side of the Roman army, the Iberian and Celtic cavalry clashes against the outnumbered Italic allied cavalry: 

At the very left side of the Roman army, the Numidian light cavalry begins to shoot against the side of the Roman cavalry ...

... while the Carthaginian an Celtic cavalry waits until Roman cavalry has taken enough losses before charging:

At the centre, Celtic and Iberian infantry are approaching the Roman legions; skirmishers will start to shoot very soon for both sides:

At the rear of the Carthaginian army, the phalanx begins its move to storm the side of the legions:

After the shooting of the skirmishers, the melee begins: Roman and Italic legions against Iberians and Celts: 

At the very right, the Italic cavalry begins to take heavy losses from the enemy cavalry and retreats:

The situation after few game turns: Iberian and Celtic infantry retrats under the pressure of the legions, while the Carthaginian phalanx moves toward the right side of the Roman infantry; the Roman cavalry at the wings retreats or takes shoots:

This is an important stage of the battle: Iberian infantry routs and collapse under the strike of the Roman and Italic legions:

At the very right, the Italic cavalry takes the flight, while the Celtic and Iberian cavalry follows up until the end of the battlefield:

The situation: the Roman infantry is winning, while the Roman cavalry is loosing (as usual...):

Having defeated the Iberians, the central Roman legions are free to pivot and to strike the side of the surviving Celts, who are fighting against another legion on the front:

This is the right time: at the very left of the battlefield, African and Celtic cavalry charges against the Roman cavalry, which has taken many casualties from the shooting of the Numidians. 
Roman cavalry flees, but the winners are under the shooting of the Roman skirmishers of the legion which is coming back after the victory against the Iberians:

The phalanx follows its side move ... 

... and then pivots, facing the side of the Italic legion which is fighting against the Celts:

The last stage of the battle: the Celts are pressed from two sides by the legions, but now the phalanx is ready to fight after its long march:

The Celts collapse, and so do the Italic legion crushed by the phalanx; but for the Carthaginians it's too late: they have lost 4000 Iberians, 4000 Celts, 3000 Skirmishers, 500 Celtic cavalrymen; so 11.500 losses, more than half of the army (19.500 men).
The Romans have lost 3000 Italic legionaries, 1000 Skirmishers and 2500 cavalrymen, so 6.500 losses out of an army of 15.500. 

So, different to Cannae, the Roman is the winner.
Probably mainly because, different to Cannae, the phalanx was just one, while at Cannae it was splitted in two halves on both sides, and because the move of the phalanx has been too slow.
The Iberian infantry (4000 medium infantry and 2000 skirmishers) has had to face 7000 Roman legionaries and 2000 skirmishers, so the task has been a bit too challenging for them ...
The screen of Iberians and Celts was quite weak, so the phalanx should have been a bit faster.
This is the reason why some scholars say that, at Cannae, Hannibal acted like "a clock"!
Thank you for your interest!

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