Sunday, 28 April 2019

ROMANES EVNT DOMVS: Tigranes and Triumvirate Romans in Mesopotamia

As Andrew has recently completed his third 6mm army for L'Art de la Guerre - Triumvirate Romans - we took the opportunity this week to get our wee chaps on the table and roll some dice in an epic 1st century BC grudge match in northern Mesopotamia, with the Romans up against the forces of the enlarged Armenian kingdom of Tigranes II, King of Kings.  Apologies for the photos - the light was not enough for my phone and I didn't think to use a flash!

As the defender, I elected to fight on a largely featureless plain. There was a wee village of locals to help supply out camp, a couple of fields and a rough looking gully, but otherwise a big open expanse of level grassland - perfect for what I expected to be my massively overwhelming cavalry superiority.

On my left flank I had two units each of pikemen, heavy swordsmen (imitation legionaries), and bowmen, supported by two units of slingers and three groups of LMI javelineers. My centre consisted of six units of cataphracts, and two units of elite cataphracts. On my right was a small division of four wee swarms of mounted archers. Andrew had three divisions each of four heavy swordsmen (seemingly imitating my imitation legionaries...), supported by an array of skirmishers: two Cretan archers on his right, three LI with javelins in the centre, and two slingers, two medium cavalry, and two light cavalry on the right.

Rolling fairly poorly early on, my line advanced slowly with the exception of the javelineers in the fields on my left, and the light horse division on my right. The Romans played it pretty straight as well.

Then, the Roman triumvir refused his left flank, but charged his light horse forward. I didn't want my horse archers pinned - there was a threat of medium cavalry in charge range - so I pulled them back.

As the Roam line advanced, Andrew through his Cretan archers into the rough around the gully. Irresistible bait to my whooping hillmen, so I let them go. And whoop they did as they first destroyed one unit of Cretans before turning on the second.

On the right, I brought my horse archers back into shooting range, trying to disorder the opposing light horsemen before they could bring their javelins to bear. I brought most of the cataphracts up in support, extending the line by bringing up the second line of elite cataphracts too.

My foot archers peppered away at the advancing legionaries, managing to disorder both units facing them, but the Romans (on the whole) continued to advance. 

He actually had the nerve to charge my cataphract division too! The impertinence of it all! The geometry of the two lines meant that the Romans sort of came in all squiffy and ended up in two blocks with a gap in the centre. The Roman light cavalry also charged in - but this time the horse archers stood their ground, happy to play the numbers game.

There was a bit of a crash and a thump, and very quickly there were piles of tiny little dead men all over the table. One cataphract unit, and one group of light horse archers were quickly destroyed thanks to some nifty rolling on Andrew's side of the table. Elsewhere, however, the Armenians had the better of the melee.
As the cavalrey clash continued, the foot on the Armenian left also found themselves in a challenging situation as they were faced with a wall of uniformly iron-clad central Italian hayseeds (so uneducated that few of them could even speak Greek!).

At that moment, the poly-lingual warcries of the 'Armenians' attracted Tyche's titillation and the goddess of fortune blessed us with a bucket load of 6s. All along the line, the Roman lines became disordered forcing many a red-faced centurion to blow his little whistle in frustration.
Even the second unit of Cretans who had managed, against the odds, to hold off the Armenian hillmen, finally crumbled and fled the field.

In the centre, the 6s continued to fall from the heavens as the Roman triumvir fell, his cavalry fled and the legions were engulfed in cataphracts.

In the all-infantry melee, the Romans were finally starting to inflict hits on the Armenian line, but it was all a bit too late. Both ends of the Roman line had broken and the centre was a bit of a mess. The Armenians were sitting at 10 breakpoints out of 23 - the Romans reached 30 breakpoints, breaching their threshold of 24, and decided that they probably didn't want Mesopotamia anyway... 

So, as the court readies itself to return to Tigranokerta and messengers ride off to prepare for the victory celebrations, I think there may be a few lessons to be learned (Andrew...):

  • Don't think that skirmishers can hide from javelineers just because there's a bit of rough ground. Those places are kind of a javelineer's playground;
  • Don't allow yourself to be outflanked by cataphracts;
  • Even legionaries don't like being hit in the flanks;
  • When Tyche thinks the other guy is better looking, you've got no chance - regardless of how sound your strategy may have looked to begin with ... 

1 comment:

  1. I liked the battle report, but "People called the Romanes they go the house"???