I am quite lucky that there is a dedicated group of Mortem et Gloriam players in Canberra so finding the opponent for a game is not a problem at all. If only I had more time to play! :)
We also knew that another event is coming in a couple of months, MOAB (Mother Of All Battles) so it was good to keep playing. Some tried new armies, I simply needed continuous practice with my trusty Seleucids.
Stephen was toying with his Early Imperial Romans as his dreaded Mamluks were not yet ready. I was very happy with such match up because games where Phalanx is fighting Legion are always interesting.
Stephen decided to take the following:
Early Imperial Roman - Army List
I like these games because the armies are usually similar in size but very different in how one should use them against the other. Romans have very good quality and more flexible units but need to engineer some flank attacks in order to overwhelm the Phalanx. Seleucids Phlangites have better odds of going through the enemy infantry in one-on-one fights but pinning the Legions may not be easy task.
My initial plan was to advance with the Phalanx as fast as I can and keep the cavalry in the second line in order to protect the flanks. That would, of course, depend on the terrain but that was the general approach to begin with.
Here is my army list for reference:
Early Seleucids - Army List
This time I was defending so at least I had an opportunity to have fortified camp. We also got mountains on the secure flank. I did not attempt to change the density of the terrain much as I thought it would help me to protect the flanks better. I thus saved the cards for scouting but it did not result in much of an advantage.
|Phalanx vs Legion|
Looking at the terrain I decided to press with the attack on the right flank first. Keep the skirmishers in the centre to perhaps soften up the Legions (even though they are quite well protected) and use the centre formation with Thracians to hit second. Thracians were to engage Auxilia so that Phalanx would advance without units hitting the flank.
Cavalry on the left was to advance as well but only to occupy their counterparts and again, protect the flank of the infantry formation.
Stephen formed his army in an interesting way, with gaps between infantry TuGs. I assumed it was to prevent Phalanx from attacking more than one unit at the time in a single combat. In this way any shove effects do not carry to the fight against another unit.
|Deployment of the Armies|
Romans - Turn 1
|Turn 1 - Sequence of Actions|
|Phalanx begins its march towards the enemy.|
The Romans sent their Auxilia forward through the terrain while the Legionaries remained motionless. On the other hand, the cavalry units begun their manoeuvres right from the start!
|The beginning of the battle.|
Seleucids - Turn 2
|Turn 2 - Sequence of Actions|
|Meanwhile on the left flank.|
The Phalanx continued the march but had to slow down due to proximity of Auxilia on both flanks. Seleucids' skirmishers also added to the confusion and the advance did not proceed smoothly.
Cavalry faced its own problem as Tarentines engaged with their enemies only to find out they are to fight against Roman charging lancers too.
|The Phalanx is slowed down.|
Romans - Turn 3
|Turn 3 - Sequence of Actions|
|Auxilia vs Thracians|
Romans kept slowing down the advance of the Phalanx, especially on the right flank where both Legionaries and Auxilia engaged in evading manoeuvres.
In the centre, Thracians charged the Auxilia but quickly started losing the fight. One of the Charging Lancers units diverted towards that fight but the difficult terrain prevented them from joining the fight early.
Seleucids - Turn 4
|Turn 4 - Sequence of Actions|
Slowing down of the Phalanx worked as other Roman units were gaining upper hand. Thracians held but were losing clearly and nearby cavalry was now threatened by their Roman counterparts as well.
|The long march continues.|
Romans - Turn 5
|Turn 5 - Sequence of Actions|
|Phalanx finally clashes with the Legion|
Phalangites charged the Legionaries at last. A lot of one-on-one fight begun and damage was inflicted on both sides.
However, Romans gained upper hand thanks to break through of Auxilia and cavalry that manoeuvred into a good position to flank charge the Phalangites.
|Seleucids in trouble.|
Seleucids - Turn 6
|Turn 6 - Sequence of Actions.|
|Phalanx in trouble|
Timely charge of the Roman cavalry routed first Phalanx and that freed the Legion to further exploit the staggered formation of the Seleucid pikemen. At the same time, the Phalangites were not able to break through the ranks of the legionaries fast enough to avoid being hit in the side.
Romans - Turn 7
|Turn 7 - Sequence of Actions|
Seleucids were in an even bigger trouble when another unit of Phalangites broke due to flank attack of the Legion that barely survived the earlier fight.
When the Roman cavalry and Auxilian won the fight against the Charging Lancers on the left flank it was enough to break entire army. Seleucids had to concede the defeat.
|The end of the Phalanx.|
|Turn-by-turn animation summary.|
Many thanks to Stephen for a great game, lots of important lessons and congratulations on the well deserved victory!
I was outmanoeuvred in this game, both on the level of plan and on the battle field. It was a very good idea to keep waiting with the Legions, allow my Phalangites to advance and expose their vulnerable flanks.
In addition, I made mistakes in engaging too early (Thracians), slowing down my own units (skirmishers on the right), reacting to the enemy moves and making quite desperate decisions (such as sending Charging Lancers into the woods).
It also seems to me I may need less terrain against Legions because they are generally more flexible and can use it better. While I do not have spare units to at least hold any flanking elements moving through rough terrain.
It all resulted in quite uncoordinated fight and no wonder I lost in the end. Still, great game and valuable lessons!
Thanks for reading!