Monday, 10 July 2017

Lost Battles: Cannae

This weekend I have been trying to get to grips with Philip Sabin's Lost Battles. The book has a walk through of the battle so gave it a go. I first came across Philip Sabin's work whilst at uni a few years back now, on JSTOR I downloaded and read The Face of Roman Battle. It is a fascinating article and was eager to get hold and read Lost Battles. If you are interested in ancient warfare I highly recommend the book even if you have no interest in the model itself, there is a wealth of information in there.

I took to the internet looking for guidance and inspiration on gaming it with miniatures. The yahoo group is a great help and Board Game Geek site have some great resources. I was mostly helped and inspired by Aaron on 'Here's no great matter' and his great youtube videos, Lost Battles: Trebia with miniatures. These have helped me greatly to get going with the rules!

The pictures below of the battle leave a lot to be desired but hopefully do the job. The battle needed wrapped up so some of the events did not get a picture. In the future I should have more time for pics as I get used to the rules. 

In Lost Battles expending commands is the main driver of a players turn and I knew I would (and did) lose track of commands. I knocked up some chits using 20mm square bases I had lying around. I left them blank but for the commanders' exceptions I marked them with E and attack exceptions with AB. I think overall I played the rules correct with only a couple of things missed, forgot to give flanked squares an extra attack sometimes. Also the river is missing but I observed the limitation it caused to the attack limit in those zones.   

I tried to follow the deployment as described in the book as close as possible although Hannibal had received less command than in the book but only meant that the all three Carthaginian heavy infantry were left in the centre rear section. 

The Battle of Cannae

The battle opened with ineffective skirmishing between the opposing lines, whilst on the Roman right flank by the river the Equites rode hard to inflict an early blow to Mago's Gallic cavalry. The Gauls were unmoved and Mago countered with his Iberian horsemen, veterans of the Barcids campaigns, sent the Equites reeling off the field though Mago's horsemen had pressed the initial attack and casualties had been taken. The Roman battleline continued on expecting the Equites to quit the field early on. On the left the Italian Allied cavalry lead by Varro held back protecting the flank and inviting the Numidians to attack.


The main battle lines closed the skirmishers, worn from their duties, were recalled on both sides to take shelter behind the heavy foot. The Roman Legions then proceeded to press on and pressure the Carthaginian line comprising primarily of Gauls and some Iberians. The Roman formation was deep much deeper than the Carthaginian line but the Romans struggled to make head way, though the Legions on the left exerted themselves inflicting losses on the Carthaginians significantly weakening the Punic right so much so even the African veterans were becoming concerned. 

The Carthaginian centre was slowly being ground down, but their left was resolute and even inflicted reverses against the Legions. Mago lead his heavy horsemen around the Roman right flank hoping to inflict losses to the Roman right to sap the morale of the Legionaries in the centre. The Numidians after giving and receiving blows eventually drove Varro and the allied cavalry from the field and gave chase. Hannibal's beleaguered centre saw some Gauls take flight unable to with stand the Roman onslaught despite Hannibal's personal example of bravery in the face of the Romans. The rest of the Carthaginians stood firmly confident in their commanders plan.

The Roman left because of their previous efforts were winded and could not quite prevail over the Punic line and now the Numidians threatening their rear scattering the sheltering skirmishers. The Legionaries, still holding on, were then confronted by a column of African veterans in their captured Roman arms. The hardened veterans broke through the Legionaries and their comrades broke with them. The rest of the Roman troops held on in the centre though the skirmishers panicked. The Roman right held also probably unaware of their comrades' rout as they were contending with infantry in front and cavalry behind. They withstood several waves but then broke.

The Roman centre being lead by Paullus were fighting to break out and the Punic centre had retreated to prevent collapse. The Carthaginians then went on to surround the Roman centre sending the still fresh Celts and Iberians to intercept the Roman inevitable advance whilst a detachment of Gallic cavalry and veterans assembled on their flank. The Numidians and veterans to the other flank. Mago and the bulk of the cavalry to their rear.

The Romans resisted still inflicting blows to the fresh troops to their front some running away in terror, Hannibal brought up the regrouped centre to prevent the Romans breaking out. The remaining Romans had attacked with great ferocity sending another unit running and then another only a few remained to fight on owing to Hannibal's continued personal example. The Carthaginians despite the last throws of Roman resistance stood their ground, proceeded to break the trapped Romans and begin their cruel work.


It was an interesting and tense game. Enjoyable as a solo game also and I am looking forward to another game at some point. The Roman Legionaries are tough to beat they took some hammering to break, if they had not been surrounded they would have continued the fight on the wings. Overall the Carthaginians had higher command rolls and were able to give out more attack bonuses whilst the Romans suffered a few low rolls but still managed to beat back the Gallic and Spanish infantry. Hannibal's morale bonus really helped keep the rest fighting. If the Romans had higher command rolls and Hannibal lower the Romans might have just won it. The last few rounds the Romans got some good rolls and the attack bonuses posed a big threat to the Punic army, the last Roman attacks inflicted a hit and then a double hit Hannibal negated only one.

The battle lasted longer than in the book's play through and I don't think I used the 'flipflop' of the turn order that Hannibal could use efficiently enough. I only pulled back the centre and swept round with the heavy cavalry. At the time it was the best thing to do the centre was on the brink and Hannibal needed some results from his cavalry in the next couple of turns. He got those and still the Roman centre held until it took a shatter in that zone. I am sorry I didn't work out the VP results I lost track and status of the units in the rush to get it finished.

I would of liked to have used more of my collection but I need to finish more light infantry and cavalry units.

Friday, 30 June 2017

Slingers of the Mediterranean

A couple more re-highlighted and re-based units. Top picture is my unit of Newline Designs 20mm Balearic Slingers. Just a bit of clean up after close inspection revealed I was too heavy handed with the Delvan Mud wash and the varnishing wasn't too smooth either. My later works have not been varnished because I have found varnishing a bit of a nightmare.

The bottom picture are the updated Greek Slingers. These didn't need too much work just brightened them up a bit. 

Thursday, 22 June 2017

It's Down to the Triarii part 2

Following from part 1 here are the 20mm Newline Designs Republican Roman Triarii standing. As I discovered with the Samnite heavy infantry standing they are very practical when it comes to basing and more practical as gaming pieces as there is no parts extending over the bases. Also in the case of the Triarii it represents their role better as the last line of defence and reserve line of veteran citizens of the Roman legion of the Mid-Republic.

However, I am mainly into the painting and modelling side of things and I usually prefer "advancing" or "attacking" poses, the wargaming side of it is to just give the collection a "function". I will hopefully soon set up a Punic wars battle and try a few sets of rules out and get some photos of the Romans and Carthaginians in action. Also a way to see how things play solo.

It's Down to the Triarii part 1

I am dong the Triarii as a 2 part post. Newline Designs offer 20mm Triarii kneeling and standing, which will be featured in part 2. I painted both sets at the same time in a batch it can be a grind but it is also very productive especially when they were temporarily stuck to a strip of thick cardboard (8 to a strip). Whilst preparing these I noticed that there was the odd Triarius that had a plumed helm rather than the feathers which introduced a bit of variety. Part 2 to follow shortly. 

Tuesday, 20 June 2017

Numidian Javlinmen

I haven't been spending as much time on the hobby as I would like. A little bit of painting here and there but not much of a sustained effort. Even keeping up to date with hobby sites or historical sites where I get inspired to keep working on my miniatures. Recently however I have had a bit of a spurt and a catch up of taking pictures so will post a few updates over the next few days.

First off an update of these Numidians. Just a re-highlight of their face and tunics. I also tried to introduce a bit of variety in with the shields with a few shades of browns mottled on to give an impression of texture.

These were a fairly quick to update but its sometimes good to do a simpler task to get back into painting. The biggest hurdle for me is the prep and cleaning of the miniatures but these things need to be done!

Thursday, 16 February 2017

Libyan Skirmishers

An update of another old unit. I just applied some highlights and introduced some variety in the shields as well as basing them on a 60mm x 40mm base.

Painting new units is still on hold as I organise and put away my collection following a renovation project upstairs. A fair chunk of my collection will be put in the loft to relieve the pressure of storing them around the house.

I still have updated Numidian cavalry and infantry to post but the original pictures were lost when my laptop broke down. So when I get a chance to redo then I'll post them.

Wednesday, 8 February 2017

Iberian Cavalry Redux

Just a quick update with some fresh pics of rebased and highlighted Iberian Cavalry both heavies and lights. I swapped the shields for the heavy cav from the Caetra to the Scuta and generally tried to highlight and tone down some of the more bright cloaks and tunics. For more info on these very 20mm Newline Designs see my earlier post of light cavalry and earlier post of heavy cavalry.

The project in the house is done however I am still sorting out my collection of miniatures, trying to find a new place for them all around the house. Until they are all sorted and put away the painting is on hold. I have some pics of Libyan skirmishers rebased to post and hopefully I will get a chance to get some pics of my refreshed Numidian light infantry. By then the painting should be ready to commence again (fingers crossed).