Battles of Nola 216-214 BC

Catching up with the two month backlog of WR gaming activities. At the end of YR 2017, on the last gaming saturday of December, WR drove south to join several friends for a Clash of Arms (COE) 28mm ancients game. David our host had designed a Roman-Carthaginian 214-216 BC battle based from the Hannibal campaigns around the roman city of Nola.

First a little background before the COE game scenario report posted below. Digging about on the internet we found Nola was one of the oldest cities of Campania, its coinage bearing the name Nuvlana. Generally thought as been founded by the Ausones, who were certainly occupying the city by c. 560 BC. During the Roman invasion of Naples in 328 BC, Nola was probably occupied by the Oscans in alliance with the Samnite allies, from which the Romans took the city in 311 BC, during the Samnite War. Later, Nola and nearby Capua rivaled each other as “cities of luxury” south of Rome during the years of peace before the arrival of Hannibal and his army.

The historical city of Nola was the site of the 1st, 2nd, and 3rd Battles of Nola during Hannibal‘s invasion of Italy amid the Second Punic War. On two occasions (215 and 214 BC), it was defended by Consul Marcellus and his roman army. After the departure of Hannibal from Italy, the city returned to their business trade pursuits. Falling to treason, the Samnites controlled the city during the Social War. They held it until their ally Gaius Marius was defeated by Lucius Cornelius Sulla, who subjugated it with the rest of Samnium in 80 BC. It was stormed by Spartacus and his army of slaves during his failed slave revolt to worsen their lot a decade later. Though a relative backwater city by now in history, Nola retained its status as a municipium, its own institutions, and the use of the Oscan language during this period of Roman history. It was divided into pagi, the names of some of which are still preserved to this present day: Pagus Agrifanus, Capriculanus, Lanitanus for examples.

Campaign map for 216 – 214 BC (.doc):  Nola map

Many people think Hannibal’s won all his battles and suffered his only defeat at the battle of Zama near Carthage. That is false. Hannibal himself was held in 3 inconclusive battles outside the city walls of Nola during the 2nd Punic War Italian campaign. All were tactical stalemates, somewhat uncommon for the Punic warfare period, but allowed Republican Rome to regain its momentum against the recent Carthaginian victory on the bloody battlefield of Cannae. Continue reading


Battle of Mantineia 362 B.C.

This past weekend WR traveled south to Long Beach CA and joined in a 28mm Clash of Empires (COE) ancients game. The Battle of Mantineia 362 BC scenario was enlarged and based upon the same battle mentioned in “The Rise and Fall of Persia” (pg. 124) COE supplement.

Greek phalanx marches forward, keeping that classical line look.

First some quick background material. The Battle of Mantineia was fought on July 4, 362 BC between the Thebans (links in blue), led by Epaminondas and supported by the Arcadians and the Boeotian league against the Spartans, led by King Agesilaus II and supported by the EleansAthenians, and Mantineans. The battle was to decide the hegemony over Greece, but the death of Epaminondas and the defeat of the Spartans paved the way for Macedonian conquest by Phillip II of Macedon. Wikipedia link: Battle of Mantineia for more background material on the actual battle in 362 BC.

Historical battle of Mantinea 362 BC.

Greek hoplites fighting in their lines…

Continue reading

COE Battle of Granicus 334 BC

Last month WR traveled south to enjoy a Clash of Empires Battle of the Granicus 334 BC free setup game. David K. pre-rostered the army of Alexander and the local Satraps of Asia Minor but gave the players the abilities to have some different starting disposition on the tabletop.

Alexander saved by Cleitus.

Battle of the Granicus map with historical dispositions. We played with a free set up arrangement but a historically based army for each side.

Rosters used for our COE game:

Persian Satrap army: Persian Foot at Granicus,  Persian Horse at Granicus.

Alexander’s army: Macedonian Foot at Granicus,  Macedonian Horse at Granicus.

With the ability to change from the historical starting positions, both player teams elected their captains and set about positioning the units. Tim and David as Macedonians vs. Doug and WR as Persians. All the Persian and mercenary Greek close order infantry starts off table and arrive on the Persian table edge on turn one. Game has six scheduled turns plus a 50% chance for additional turns after the first six are completed (dice roll).

Persian deployment (see pictures below). The Persians elected to deploy their skirmishing infantry and some small open order unit along the riverbed position. The skirmishing bow armed cavalry formed the right flank (foreground in first picture), leaving the Persian massed cavalry formations on their left flank away from the river line. Macedonians weighted their left flank with 4 phalanx formations, three cavalry wedges and some light troops. Their center was weakly held leaving the remainder of Alexander’s army on the far right flank. So, right off the start we have a different set up for each army. Tabletop starting zone was the right half of the 16 foot table (8 feet). Once the battle started both sides could march into the table void to seek flanking opportunities. Riverbed was 50mm across with two fording points (brown sections). Later on we determined the river terrain should have been only 40mm across after re-reading J. Jonas’ scenario notes below. WR feels the locals feed Alexander some poor river depth intel.

Terrain notes: Riverbed and tall hills are rough terrain under COE rules. The low hills and river shrubs were just for show (break up the “flat table look”) and had no effect on movement or combat.

Grand view of starting positions. Persian on left, Macedonians on right. Alexander with second wedge unit on low hill.

Starting with the Persian left flank we have the massed cavalry formed up. From right foreground around the corner and into the distance. Facing the flank are the Colonist cavalry Hyrkanians (16), backed by the Colonist cavalry Paphlagonians (20). Facing the riverbed on left end are the Greek mercenary cavalry (16), then the Persian Medes massed cavalry (20), the massed Satrapal guard cavalry Cilicians (20), Bactrian noble Bactrians (20) and ending with the Bactrian noble Kappadokians (20). A Kyrtian slinger (10) unit out front. Continue reading

COE Action: The Batavian Revolt 70 AD

This past weekend WR travelled south for David K’s monthly Long Beach 28mm Clash of Empires game. The scenario this month was the Batavian Revolt of 70 A.D. Roman Early Imperial army under Quintus Petillius Cerialis vs. the revolting Batavian tribes and some romanized auxiliary defectors under Gaius Julis Civilis.

Rosters for each side: Roman Foot (Batavian Revolt)Roman Horse (Batavian Revolt)Batavian Foot (Batavian Revolt), and Batavian Horse (Batavian Revolt)

OOB game set up: Roman line (l to r) had elite cavalry, cohort cavalry, allied veteran WB, a Numeri unit, three veteran legionaries with Consul Quintus, 2 regular legionaries and then the untrained legionaries. Finishing the Roman right was deployed the allied Germanic cavalry and a small unit of Numidians. Some skirmishers before the legionaries and Numeri plus the scorpio bolt thrower between the regular legionaries.

The Batavi line (l to r) had auxiliary cavalry (defectors), the two Auxiliary infantry (defectors again), a group of warbands in right center extending out to right with Gaius, another auxiliary cavalry (defectors) and on the far right the light Germanic cavalry. Various skirmishers along the front lines. YouTube video on starting dispositions at: Link

Terrain notes: Woods and central hill are rough terrain. The hill blocked LOS till the unit was more than half way across the feature. 16’x6′ table is otherwise open fields with scattered ground shrubs. Romans move first after winning the dice off.

Game set up: Roman side on left. Deployment zones marked out and Consul Quintus in the center.

Game set up: Batavi revolt warbands and roman auxiliary defectors. Again deployment zones marked out. The unit markers behind some units help identify to the roster.

Turn I : Cunning Batavi hid their massive warband (WB) bodies behind the central hill. The roman scorpio unit must have caused great fear in their ranks (hold the laughter please). Opening movements on both sides had the armies approaching each other with cavalry seeking out their cavalry opponents. Consul Quintus rode over towards the left flank for a better view of the onrushing Batavi. Continue reading

Clash of Empires Megalopolis 331 B.C. game

WR is back from the recent HMGS-PSW 2012 Winter convention. WR had three different games, of three different time periods, on the convention schedule. Starting with the last game, this is WR’s after action report on the Clash of Empires Megalopolis 331 B.C.; Sparta and Greek City States vs. Macedonians game. Other soon to be posted AAR’s will cover my Breaking the San Fratello Line: Sicily 1943 and Battle of Sacile; 1809 games.

Megalopolis 331 B.C. HMGS-PSW Sunday game:

Macedonian army: General (Strategos) Antipater. Foot roster had 2×24 Veteran Phalangites, 4×24 Phalangites, 2×24 Mercenary Hoplites, 2×24 Allied Hoplites, 1×10 Peltasts, 1×10 Thracian Peltasts, 1×8 Cretan archers, 1×10 Macedonian skirmishers, 1×10 Illyrian javelinmen. Cavalry roster: 2×8 Companions, 2×8 Pannonian cavalry. Totals: 289 foot, 32 cavalry.

Sparta & City State Greeks (CSG): Spartan King Agis III. Foot roster had 1×19 King;s bodyguard, 1×20 Spartan hoplites, 2×24 Mercenary hoplites, 2×24 Elian hoplites, 2×24 Achaean hoplites, 2×24 Arcadian hoplites, 1×12 peltasts, 1×6 Cretan archers, 2×10 Javelinmen. Cavalry roster: 1×8 Spartan medium cavalry, 1×8 Allied medium cavalry, 2×8 Greek light cavalry. Totals: 270 foot, 32 cavalry. Greeks had 7 oracle-omen “goats” for use during game. Oracle rules taken directly from Warhammer Ancient battles game (WAB) under the Ancient Greek list.

Starting views with both armies deployed in the mountain pass region (24″ apart). Only skirmisher type units could ascend the heights or chase the goats. Both commanders attached themselves to their right flank units. We elected to use only one commander per side. Normally for armies this size there would be sub-commanders but David’s scenario design was for a fast convention game.

Macedonian left center line with Greek mercenaries at foreground, then Macedonian phalanx extending to their right ending with veterans at foot of hill.

Macedonians deployed with their best formations on right flank (veteran phalangites), then across the front leftward with phalangites, then Allied hoplites, ending with Mercenary hoplites on left flank. Skirmishers across the frontage and companion cavalry on rear flank support. Deployment shown above. Roster lists below.

Spartans and Greeks deployment below. Spartans anchored the right flank, then the Mercenary hoplites, Elian hoplites, Achaean hoplites…and the line ends with the Arcadian hoplites. Like the Macedonians, skirmishers to front and the formed Greek medium cavalry was held on each flank. Roster lists below.

Greek States with Spartan anchoring the right flank, then the mercenary hoplites, the various greek city-state hoplites towards the left.

Before the action starts, the local spartan commander requires an oracle report from the  temple. Omens look good for a greek victory…. Continue reading