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


COE Spartans vs. Persians

WR has been busy either tossing dice, painting miniatures, or ballroom dancing this last quarter so his written AAR effort has taken a back seat. Time to correct my poor literary efforts with three AAR for the blog sphere gaming world. First up, the classic ancient clash of Spartans with Greek city states vs. their eternal foe, the Persian hordes.

With the linear Persians horde overlapping and positioned before the smaller Spartan-Greek city-state army, the classical ancient scenario of two battle lines crashing, shield to wicker shield, spear to spear, was about to commence. The Spartan plan was simple. Advance quickly, shoulder to shoulder with the Greek city-state hoplites, crush the Persian center infantry, and hope the Persian flanking cavalry is held briefly by the weaker Greek flanking cavalry. Cunning Persian plan…. hold the center to allow the Persian wing cavalry (3:1) to engage and roll up the Spartan and Greek flanks. Nothing very original here and truly reflective of the poor COE generalship ratings rolled for.

YouTube video link of the starting line up: Spartan and Persian set up

Starting positions for Spartan and Greek army in foreground, Persians in distance.

Starting positions for Spartan and Greek army in foreground, Persians in distance.

Another view of Spartans vs the Persians starting positions.

Another view of Spartans vs the Persians starting positions. Flat, open spaces with fields in foreground. Low, line of sight hills in the distant background.

Opening movements per carefully designed plans….. quick march forward for the Spartan-Greeks. Try and flank the Spartan line while giving the Greeks a taste of Persian arrows. Simple and so ancient. Add in a little skirmisher on skirmisher action to clear the center sums up the opening game movements.  Continue reading

COE Etruscan State vs. Early Republican Rome

Late in December 2012 or 400 B.C. local year, the Etruscan state of King Mic met the Early Republican Romans (of Consul Tim) on the field of battle. History will record some notion of a border dispute, a kidnapped-captive lady, some “lost cattle”, or that the Romans were late with their field dispatches, but these armies were spoiling for a fight.

The clouds parted to give a sunny day on the Italian peninsular. The armies had marched into their starting deployments with a line of small hillocks separating the shield pounding infantry. Some scattered grain fields near a ruined temple (to an old relative of Mic?) completed the scene as King Mic joined his bodyguard near the rock of Mic. With a hatred of Rome, a late arriving Samnite force joined the Etruscans on their distant right flank.

Armies deployed for battle separated by the low hills. Etruscan in foreground, Rome in distance.

Armies deployed for battle separated by the low hills. Etruscan in foreground, Rome in distance.

View towards the right Etruscan right and in the distance the Samnite allies.

View towards the right Etruscan right and in the distance the Samnite allies facing the Roman allies.

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 North (WR) vs. South (DK) Ancient Indian battle

Ok, this is simply a 28mm Ancient Indian Clash of Empires (COE) grudge battle to determine who will control the greater Los Angeles ancient Indian bragging rights. The northern Indians, from tribe WR, tossed the challenge to the southern Indian tribe led by David K. Only Indians could be used and the classical Indian list from COE Rise and Fall of Persia book. Since both David and WR have large 28mm ancient collections, this feud may extend into other periods. I think it was 3500 COE points plus elephants for each Indian army but the Indian beer has dulled accuracy of the abacus field returns.

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