DBMM Battle Report - Plautius in Britain Encounters Aetius

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Aetius

DBMM Battle Report - Plautius in Britain Encounters Aetius

Post by Aetius » Thu Apr 17, 2008 12:06 pm

Aulus Plautius in Britain Encounters the Army of Aetius
(or EIR vs. Patrician)
Battle Report
Yes, it was a surprise for Plautius in the midst of his AD 43 campaign to have a run in with Patrician Romans – but nevertheless here we go!
Despite being theoretically more aggressive, Plautius took on the role as defender, due to a low initial die roll, with an unhappy Aetius having to not only invade but also deploy first as it happened!
The terrain was fairly open, particularly on the EIR side, with only one feature within Plautius’ deployment area, a low gentle hill on the centre left. Aetius had a little more to work with; a large difficult hill right in the Patrician centre and a marsh on the centre left, with a road that ran laterally over the hill and across his whole deployment area. Weather played no role in the battle.
Aetius deployed first, placing his Roman command on the right, partially out on the flat and the rest on the hill. At the far end he placed a ditch and bank TF covering the frontage of five Auxilia(I) elements. Behind these were Auxilia Palatina and psiloi in column. Further towards the centre, astride the difficult hill, were 8 Legionarii, supported by Bw(O). On the Patrician centre left, between the craggy hill and the marsh, was the Foederati command under Aetius himself, consisting of a double line of Wb(S), with Irr Kn(F) directly to their rear. A strong group of Equites Illyricani, Reg LH(O), was placed on the far left, beyond the marsh. The army reserve was placed behind the marsh in line. This was the 3rd command, consisting of Clibinarii Reg Cv(S), Equites (O) and Sagitarrii (F). They were astride the road as it curved behind the marsh, and were well placed to react to any enemy move, or so it was hoped. Aetius was reasonably pleased with how the army looked, as it had scope to roll forward with open ground to its front, or sit tight and await developments.
Plautius then marched onto the field, deploying two large commands. The first, under his own aegis, faced off the ethnic Patrician Roman command on the EIR left and centre. It consisted of the Legio XXI ‘Rapax’, 6 elements of Bd(O), with Auxilia (S) to their front and psiloi to the rear. A small group of British Symmacharaii, Wb(F), were at the far left of the Roman line. In the centre, also part of Plautius’ command, were more Ax(S), three carriage ballista Art(F) and, of all things, an elephant based with a camel El(I). Three Praetorian elements Bd(S), were in reserve. The second EIR command deployed further to the right, facing the Foederati under Aetius. This force also consisted of Bd(O), the Legio VI ‘Ferrata”, with Ax(S) to the front and archers in support. On the right wing of this command were the Roman cavalry, equites and light horse. More Praetorians were in reserve. A strong fortified camp was placed at the rear centre of the EIR deployment area.
Aetius surveyed the field and looked for the third enemy command. He had been informed that Plautius had Sarmatian allies with him, but they were nowhere to be seen. A number of possibilities ran through Aetius’ mind: had the Sarmatians embarked on a risky flank march (unlikely considering their ‘no show’ in the previous game!); were they engaged on a shortened flank attack (which raised the possibility that Plautius may be a brilliant CIC); were they a delayed command; or had Plautius used a concealed command stratagem and placed them behind the hill on the EIR left?
Due to these considerations, the game opened with Aetius choosing to sit tight and see what his opponent was up to. His Ax(I) stayed behind their TF, the Legionarii waited on the hill and the Foederati were held by Aetius and told to stay calm until he could divine the enemy’s intentions!
Plautius therefore made the first move, moving both commands forward, with the intention of shooting up anything he could with his carriage ballista, protected by a line of Ax(S).
Both flanks of the EIR line presented Aetius with some interesting possibilities. The Symmacharaii were a little exposed on the far left, while the Patrician cavalry could threaten the EIR light horse on the far right, particularly with the Patrician 3rd command (all mounted) swinging around the marsh and throwing their weight into the combat. The Sarmatians were still unsighted but Aetius decided that to sit and wait to be shot at was the coward’s way and ordered the general advance! The Ax(I) left their field defences, the legionarii moved down off the difficult hill and the Foederati foot and horse all rolled forward. The Patrician 3rd command was put into column and pushed around the marsh to the left of the advance, to support the 4 elements of Equites Illyricani in driving off the enemy horse and threatening the right flank of Plautius.
A number of fascinating developments now took place virtually simultaneously. The Sarmatian allied command now revealed itself! A concealed command stratagem had been used by Plautius and they now appeared behind the hill on the EIR left, well-placed to extend the line of infantry trudging forward and threaten the mixed bag of psiloi, Ax(I) and Palatina to their front. Alarm bells were ringing for Aetius (knights quick killing Ax and all that) until the PIP roll - when Rasparagnus, the Sarmatian client king, rolled a 1!! Plautius tried, unsuccessfully, to hide his dismay and chagrin at the unreliability of his Sarmatian ally, and muttered unprintable things about Rasparagnus’ parentage! The EIR advance continued, but Plautius was clearly unsettled by the possibility that the Sarmatians might sit out the battle or, even worse, change sides!! All he could do was to move the Sarmatians to the crest of the hill and hope to activate them later.
Aetius now seized his chance and pushed all his commands forward. His Foederati warband came under fire from the carriage ballista, with a number of elements being pushed back. On the Patrician far left the cavalry melee was sharp and decisive, with the Equites Illyricani cutting down a number of enemy light horse and establishing a dominant stance on this part of the field. The 3rd Patrician command had force marched and was well placed to help drive off the remaining light horse and then threaten the exposed right flank of the enemy line. A little further towards the centre, Plautius pushed his elite auxilia forward and contacted the warband before the Foederati knights could pass through the foot and hit them instead. The carriage ballista continued to punch away at the warband to their front, and despite some exceptionally high dice rolling, could not destroy any enemy elements, only pushing them back and delaying the brutal charge of the Germanic foot. Further across to the EIR centre and left the clash of legions took place as EIR Bd, Ax and Wb slammed into the Patrician heavy foot backed by archers. The Symmacharaii had immediate success, taking out a Patrician Bd element and the supporting Bw, leaving Aetius to now, in turn, cast a nervous glance at his own exposed right flank.
Plautius, keeping his nerve, had declared his intention to activate the Sarmatians, dedicating precious PIPs to the task, and he was rewarded in the next bound when Rasparagnus threw a six and was galvanised into action! Over the hill poured the Sarmatian lancers, not yet able to smash into the Patrician light troops to their front, but clearly telegraphing that intention. Plautius was about to forgive all Sarmatian indiscretions if they could sweep away the covering force that Aetius was using to guard his right, then turn and roll up the line of Patrician legionaries now heavily engaged to their front. Aetius had no reserves on that sector of the field, except for the Cv(S) general of that command. Desperate times when the general has to be thrown into the fray!!
Aetius now realised the battle had reached a crucial point – he was in a favourable position on his left with strong mounted forces, including Clibinarii, about to smash into the right flank of the enemy. However, the situation was reversed on his right, with British warband punching gaps in his line of legionarii and the Sarmatians poised to strike. A brilliant stroke was called for, Aetius doubling the PIP score of his right wing command. The extra moves allowed the Palatina to form up in double line to meet the oncoming Sarmatians, while the inferior auxilia were moved out wider to present Rasparagnus with exposed flank problems of his own. The Legionarii redoubled their efforts against the EIR foot, and the general of that command threw himself at the warband that had penetrated the line looking to cause more damage. A psiloi element was thrown in on the flank to pin the British once the general had made contact, resulting in the destruction of the feral Symmacharaii and the stabilising of the battle line of the Patrician legions. In the centre Aetius pushed forward again, and was rewarded when virtually the whole line of elite auxilia facing the Foederati warband was wiped out by the superior Germans. Warband and Germanic knights now crashed into Ax(S) and the elephant in the centre, the carriage ballista finally having to pull back towards the Praetorian reserve.
The battle now reached a crescendo, with heavy foot engaged all along the line and both armies having problems on their right flanks. The Foederati again earned their pay when they began to take out Bd elements on the EIR right. Both the warband and the Kn(F) were now heavily engaged, including taking on the elephant in the enemy centre. The extra cavalry Aetius had thrown into the contest on his left now told, as the EIR cavalry wing collapsed under the weight of the heavier Patrician horse. Plautius looked on with consternation as his right wing became first disheartened, and then quickly broke! He desperately tried to halt as many groups of legionarii and Praetorians as he could, the remnants of the command making for the rear! Plautius was clearly banking on old Rasparagnus to make the difference on his left before the army collapsed altogether. To his credit, the unpredictable ally commander threw everything at the Patricians to his front, but despite taking out several Ax, found himself enveloped by more auxilia and psiloi, who were darting in amongst the combatants and hitting the exposed flanks of Sarmatian lancers as they battled the Palatina, courtesy of a second brilliant stroke by Aetius, doubling the PIPs for his right wing command one last time!
The final act was played out when the flanked Sarmatian elements were quickly eliminated by the Patrician light troops, the elephant fell in the centre, accompanied by a guttural roar from the Germans, Foederati horse began streaming through the disintegrating enemy line heading for those cursed carriage ballista, and the Sarmatian command snapped and broke.
Plautius, cursing warband, Kn(F) and Rasparagnus, in no particular order, admitted defeat. A really enjoyable game that pitted two brilliant generals and two strong armies together, with some interesting variations – concealed command, unreliable allies and heaps of combat. The two brilliant stokes from Aetius made a real impact on the threatened flank.
Interesting point – all regular elements in both armies were identifiable as distinct units ie. legion insignia, shield design, command elements etc. They just had much more flexibility to move as individual elements once the fighting got tough!
Looking forward to the next game – we will try two Successor armies using the new lists. Report will follow.

Captn Ewald

Pictures

Post by Captn Ewald » Thu Apr 17, 2008 10:36 pm

Did someone take any happy snaps?

Aetius

Post by Aetius » Fri Apr 18, 2008 11:15 am

Yeah - on a mobile phone unfortunately. Have yet to see the quality. If ok Ill get the good cardinal to post them.

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Pz. Ferdinand
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Post by Pz. Ferdinand » Sun Apr 20, 2008 11:08 am

Sounds very interesting although I have no idea what you were talking about regarding troop types.I know what Sarmatians are ,though, because I saw the docu-film 'Arthur'. :D

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Post by greatwhitezulu » Sun Apr 20, 2008 11:57 am

Pz,

I thought that the Cardinal also traced your ancestory back to Sarmatian auxillaries stationed on Hadrian's Wall?! :)

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Post by Pz. Ferdinand » Sun Apr 20, 2008 12:35 pm

Yes, I didn`t want to boast,though. :D

Cardinal Biggles

Post by Cardinal Biggles » Sun Apr 20, 2008 2:47 pm

there can never be enough boasting if you are a Sarmatian

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greatwhitezulu
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Post by greatwhitezulu » Sun Apr 20, 2008 10:44 pm

Whereas I trace my ancestry back through the Zulu royal family - at least that explains my big thighs and pot belly:lol:

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Pz. Ferdinand
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Post by Pz. Ferdinand » Mon Apr 21, 2008 9:27 am

Ah.you might be interested to know that you share something in common with Oprah- the claim to Zulu ancestry, I mean.

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greatwhitezulu
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Post by greatwhitezulu » Mon Apr 21, 2008 4:49 pm

Thought we had that in common. I can see her as my princess.

Cardinal Biggles

Post by Cardinal Biggles » Mon Apr 21, 2008 5:00 pm

ok too much info...

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greatwhitezulu
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Post by greatwhitezulu » Wed Apr 23, 2008 11:49 am

I think she would be great polishing my knobkerrie and greasing the assegai

Cardinal Biggles

Post by Cardinal Biggles » Wed Apr 23, 2008 12:15 pm

well that boggles the imagination!

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Re: DBMM Battle Report - Plautius in Britain Encounters Aetius

Post by Bluewillow » Sun Aug 03, 2008 10:15 pm

and sickins many of us, and perhaps embarrasses the many :mrgreen:
"if you don't stand for something, you will fall for anything"

http://stormandconquest.blogspot.fr/
http://kampfgruppewillow.blogspot.fr/

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