Alexander's (the great) Italian Holiday.

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Alexander's (the great) Italian Holiday.

Post by Midshipman Easy » Sun Jan 22, 2017 11:44 pm

My mate Tyberius has this fascination with Alexander the Great. For a while now he has been thinking about what might have happened if Alex had returned to Greece rather than dying in Persia. The thought is that sooner or later (mostly sooner) he would have taken his army West to 1) deal with any rising powers there, 2) support any Greeks there, 3) unite his army/nation(s)/generals with yet another common enemy, 4) try and reach the end of the world by going the other way.

So the senario is that Alex lands at Tarantum, recurits some allies and marches on Rome. At this stage we have the Samnites being too far away to help much (and probably not liking any Greeks much more than Romans) and the Eutruscans sitting things out (not liking Greeks much and hope that both sides will maul each other). So a Roman army is sent out to stop Alex.

The game was played at my house. Ty brought his Macedonian army and I supplied the Romans, each commanding their respective figures. All were 15mm except one unit of Tarantine mercenaries that were 1/72 plastics on the same base sizes. The rules are a revised version of the Australian Tactica from the 90's and 00's. 9000 points of troops per side.

Now Roman armies at this time are plain, unsophisticated and, frankly, rubbish compared to any civilised nation (which Macedon was at this time even if Greeks then and now say otherwise). The Roman army would essentially be a hoplite army with the Camillan structure of Hastati, Princeps and Triarii. They would not stand up for long against phalangites in a standup fight and would need to find oppotunities to attack the flanks of the pikemen. Also the Roman cavalry is rubbish. Not strong enough to win a fair fight against the Companions and too slow to run away. But it was cavalry that would be key to this battle. I needed to limit the Macedonain chance for manuver and some how negate their cavalry. I took a risk ....

Deployment.

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I put down 3 woods and a swamp which all ended up moving the the left side of the field. With the enemy cavalry now restricted to opperating on my right I deployed. Sub general's division on the left (2 units of Hastati, 2 of Princeps, Triarii and Velites) CIC in the centre (same units break down) and another sub general on the right (all cavalry led by a RASH commander). Ty deployed only 2 divisions (sneaky, where is the other one?) of infantry ( 3 units of skirmishers, 3 phalanx and the Hypaspists) from the woods with Alex and the cavalry ( 3 small units of Companions, 2 units of Thracians) on my right.

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Roman Right
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Roman Centre
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Roman Left

On the first turn everyone advanced. Alex and all the Companions held back a bit and let the Thracians get out in front to shoot at the Roman horse. On turn 2 the Roman cavalry charged forward. The Thracians easily eveaded away but worked into a frenzy (Overconfident) by their General (did I say he was RASH) the Romans kept coming. One unit pulled up just short of a unit of Companions, giving them a nasty scare, but the Generals unit went all the way and crashed into Alex's personal guard before he could mount Bucephelus.

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The two other Companion units chase some of the Roman cavalry off table, catching them and destroying them, but Alex's men are pushed back and isolated, though this will be a good thing soon.

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On turn 4, just after Alex is pushed back again, the flank march arrives. Led by some Tarantines, it is a bit late. The Roman right rear looks a little shaky.

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Around the same time, two units of Hastati have taken on 3 units of phlangites, including the Hypaspists, and whilst they are being slowly ground down, they manage to hold the line steady.

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With most of their infantry unengaged the Romans turn to face the treacherous Macedonians.

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As for Alex ...

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... he is lost in the melee and falls.

The Roman infantry sees off the Macedonian cavalry that appeared in their rear whilst around Alex's body a huge and confusing cavalry melee continues.

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With Alex so far away from his main line few of his troops can see that he has fallen and continue fighting whilst those that know the truth withdraw. The Roman infantry line is about to buckle, and probably break, but more experienced Princeps stood by the plug the gaps whilst the Triarii saw off the enemy to the rear with two untis of Hastati working their way out onto the phalanx's flanks.

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At this point we ended the game.

On points value, a clear Roman victory with Alex and his body guard being worth as much as the total Roman losses.
Situationally a tougher call. The Roman Hastati are in trouble but only 2 units are holding back the entire phalanx. The other Hastati are either bashing companions on one flank, or bashing peltasts on the other as they try to work around the flanks. The Macedonian flank march is cavalry and light troops who really don't want to engage a unit of Princeps and two of Triarii. This leaves 3 fresh units of Princeps to hold the centre should it crack. The Roman Cavalry is done for. Once the remaining Companions regroup and get back into combat they will pretty much slaughter the Romans. However the Companions are in small units of 6 figures so only a few casualties will force them to test morale. Without Alex ...? The Romans would have to get lucky again.

After the battle a dice roll determined that Alexander is alive and in Roman captivity. Stay tuned.
The Roman cavalry general is now a national hero. It was a "trick" that could bring spectacular results or an absolute disaster. I got lucky.

A great game that I really enjoyed, particularly when my cavalry went haring off into Alexander's personal Companions. The look on Ty's face was memorable. Many thanks mate.Also thanks the Wes who came along to watch.
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Re: Alexander's (the great) Italian Holiday.

Post by Tyberius » Mon Jan 23, 2017 10:01 pm

The variable extra distance is a charge certainty reduces certainty and made the game more interesting. Although watching the roman armoured cavalry finish their charge at 360 paces instead of the normal 240 paces certainly turned the game and surprised me.

Although the Romans were actually finding it hard to turn my flanks, the Peltast won their combat against the Romans and the Companion cavalry would have held you with charges and break offs.

You certainly deserved to win the game however. Very enjoyable, Ty
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Re: Alexander's (the great) Italian Holiday.

Post by Captain Darling » Tue Jan 24, 2017 1:58 pm

Thanks for posting this, love a bit of ancients action. Nice hyperthetical idea.

Great armies...not sure about the blue playing surface though :D ...

Not familiar with Tactica rules so can't comment on the game flow...
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Re: Alexander's (the great) Italian Holiday.

Post by Midshipman Easy » Tue Jan 24, 2017 5:04 pm

I was fairly green in real life.
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Re: Alexander's (the great) Italian Holiday.

Post by Captain Darling » Wed Jan 25, 2017 9:44 am

:D Maybe I should have said Aqua...anyway must be my bad eyes and the pics...good game anyway!
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Re: Alexander's (the great) Italian Holiday.

Post by Midshipman Easy » Wed Jan 25, 2017 3:10 pm

Your eyes aren't too bad. It came out very blue in the photos.
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Re: Alexander's (the great) Italian Holiday.

Post by Chuckie » Wed Jan 25, 2017 10:53 pm

Um not sure about this. Floating armies and horses. Kind like it in an abstract way. Boats, pah, so yesterday :)

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