With the Greeks numbers seemingly depleted by the reduction of their hoplites from eight 16 man units to four 32 man units - to match the width of their opponents, and to give the proper depth of the phalanx formation they 8 men wide by 4 deep – the Romans appeared to have an advantage in numbers of units and fighting power, even with (my) suggestion that the Hoplite Taxis be considered as ‘large’.
The Greeks split into two halves, with Red and Chris Fazey each taking two Taxis, a peltast light infantry unit, and a few light skirmishing units. Opposing them I took command of the legionaries – 8 cohorts, the light artillery and some slingers – while Rob controlled the auxiliaries and the general. Our plan, knowing the power of the Hoplites when attacked from the front, was to suck them into the legionary line, which would hold them while the auxiliaries flanked them and then caused them to collapse.
The auxiliaries did well, eventually driving a Hoplite taxi from the table, as well as a peltast unit and a unit of skirmishers for the loss of a slinger unit and a squadron of cavalry. However, the legionaries (my lot) forgot what it was they were supposed to be doing, and spent rather a long time standing in the middle of the battlefield looking pretty. It got silly so the Greeks came and attacked them. Chris Fazey, having firstly outflanked the legionary formation with his skirmishers, then drove in their line with his hoplites, wiping out the first cohort, then moving on to driving a second from the field (by literally pushing it off our own board edge. His peltasts got in on the act with firstly their fearsome (?) combat ability seeing them survive a legionary cohort charge, then their javelins broke the cohort in return.
The Roman general (Rob), busy having success with his auxiliaries, turned to find the legionary division was broken and rapidly retreating, leaving him alone, and he sensibly joined the strategic withdrawal – victory to the Greeks!
|Initial setup - Ghostly Greeks to the right.|
|The legionary centre.|
|The legionary centre being driven in.|
|The remains of the legionaries abandon the auxiliaries at their finest moment.|
Post game analysis:
The sides were fairly even, with the Greeks fielding more skirmishers, but fewer formed up units. However, their hoplites were large enough to counter-balance the numbers, and the legionaries – the toughest Roman troops – were caught spread out and pushed apart too quickly to reform and support each other. The Roman plan of outflanking the hoplite line eventually worked, but the Greeks had done the same to the legionaries.