Saturday, 16 June 2018

The Battle of the Ebbuna

So at last the enemy have come to grips..

Having come up with the enemy, Cotta has a decision to make. He needs to smash the Celtic insurgents, hopefully with as little cost as possible to himself. But how best to smash 'em...? 

Now, had this been the main force under the Legate (Me) I would make that decision. But here, Cotta is in charge... I draw up a range of (reasonable) options for him and dice (as usual - click on the pics to make 'em bigger).

He plumps 5-6 for hitting the enemy right with two of his cohorts, keeping one in hand, and probing the Celtic left with his cavalry & auxiliaries....

And so we come to kick-off.

Command tokens and an "event" (Weather only, as before. Had the force under Porcius been more active, or were we not in a pacified region, other possibilities - wandering roman patrols, just as restless, hostile war parties - might have been added to the options).

Things start off reasonable predictably; the Celts C.O. advances his javelin skirmishers and chariotry. These prove to be a minor nuisance to start with, but soon become more than an irritant. The chariots get behind the Roman line. The javelin bods prompt the Roman reserve to shift forward.

As the activation tokens get pulled the Roman cavalry pushes forwards.

During the next move a bunch of chariots rush to run interference with the cav. then scuttles off to get to the safety of the Celtic left skirmishers, behind the wood.

But the Roman cavalry again get activated
and catch up with them at the double and there is a running fight between the smaller cavalry regiment and the chariots.

(Note the little shield with the arrow markings near the cav. unit in image to left. This is a "What speed are we going?" token: one arrow pointing forwards = fast trot. Two arrows = gallop/charge speed.

Also, re. c
hariot casualties: I throw a dice for
each hit on a chariot. 1-3 = a hit on a horse. 4-6= a hit on a crewman.

If a horse gets a "kill result" the chariot crashes and I make saving throws for the crew.

If a passenger gets hit he suffers as normal. If a charioteer gets killed then I dice - 5-6 the passenger manages to get control of the chariot from the dying charioteer. Any other result and he is too slow and the chariot crashes.)

All of the pursued chariots go down (two crewmen survive and run off) and the triumphant cavalry rush through the gap between the woods...

....only to be severely mauled by the slingers beyond.

The horsemen pull back - this unit has lost its commander, taken casualties and been severely shocked by the skirmishers.. It will remain pretty much useless for the rest of the fight..

Over on the Roman left the 2 cohorts tasked with assaulting the settlement are VERY slow - they don't like the chariots hurtling round behind then, neither do they care for the quite heavy barrage of arrows & shot from the fields fronting the settlement. T
hese (outrageous?) slings and arrows, though causing few casualties, are seriously upsetting the leading legionaries and the shock starts piling up...

Note: Folks who have been on the rough end of even a blunt arrow-storm - as I have on  many occasions - will know that while body and head protection n' shield stops the actual pain, it does NOT stop the rather disorientating unpleasantness of being walloped, neither does it reduce the desire to keep your head down...

I have only been under very mild sling-shot "fire ", but wo
uld project that a real sling-shot storm would be far more unsettling than Celtic arrows..

Over on the Roman right the enemy skirmishers, flushed with success at their seeing off the cavalry, push though the woods and start peppering the Roman forces on the other side.

In response the Roman auxiliary foot press forwards, driving the skirmishers back the way they came...

Emerging on the other side of the wood they are charged by the Celtic close-combat unit supporting the skirmishers. Hand to hand ensues, and the Celts are driven off. .

eanwhile, front and centre, the Celtic skirmishers and remaining chariots are doing sterling work, and the shock points are piling up on the cohorts.

The leading cohort has taken a severe battering,
so, at an opportune moment (Activation & CP costs) the Romans do a "cohort switch", pushing the less affected unit to the front (in the pics. each of the spears are 1 shock point, the shields 5 a piece and the dead fellows 10 each).

After a bit of hesitation this cohort charges into the fields around the settlement. The Celtic skirmishers evade, but one of the enemy's two close combat groups soon takes advantage and slams into the flank and rear of the attacking cohort, wounding the cohort's senior centurion. There is a prolonged fight, and the Celts are forced back, but a volley of stones and arrows following their withdrawal finally shatters the cohort's morale, and they break... Cotta will NOT be impressed by THAT.......

On the Roman left we have a stalemate. The Roman centre is taking shock and the odd casualty as missiles come in from front and rear, and one cavalry unit is basically shock-happy and will not move.

Then, suddenly things go dramatically the Romans' way.

The larger cavalry regiment gets activated, and their commander decides to ignore the woodland path and rush his guys into the centre-right - scattering and running down (they get rubbish evade dice) the enemy javelin line.
Meanwhile, in the centre rear, pilae are used by the cohorts there to destroy the last of the circling chariots. Good enough as it stands....But then, as the move proceeds, the Roman player gets a build up of Command tokens - reaching the magic "4" and "YAY!" (as SP2) the cavalry C.O. gets a free new "go"....

Swinging round the side of the woods they complete the rout of the javelin men, then sweep into the flank of the recently-repulsed close-combat unit and the skirmishers of the enemy left, taking down not only a whole slew of troops, but capturing the enemy commander (wounded). These events are enough to trigger a Force Moral drop that shatters the Celt resolve....

With their leader gone, every unit having at some time either had to scuttle to safety from the enemy or withdraw after being beaten in close-combat, and with the feared enemy cavalry ranging the field, the Celtic army breaks....

Cotta's infantry are too pooped to do very much, as is the small horse regiment, but Petra's Horse (the large cavalry unit) is unleashed - to harry and kill off table.....

With their leader captured, the gung-ho charioteers now on-foot or eliminated, their close combat lads having all been bested on the field and the hue and cry of Roman cavalry behind them, the War Party breaks up.... Cotta has succeeded in his mission.......

However, this little enemy raid has caused not insignificant damage to our project. To add to previous losses we have:

Legionaries: 60 dead, 160 seriously wounded, 112 slightly wounded.

Cavalry: 22 dead, 80 slightly wounded.

Enemy dead on and off the field estimated at 1,300.

Cotta will send his seriously wounded to Isca, send a message to the Legate, and another courier to seek Porcius. He will then proceed to ensure the pacification of the point of origin of this raiding party before marching to rejoin the main force.... The boy done good,  but we have a long way to go to clinch the campaign...


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