The Tribes Unite (One Mans Biased Account of a Great Roman Victory) – Author Privvy ButtoX Roman Consul
We recently ran a game at the club using Brian Goodisons Ancients Rules (Medieval Mayhem). Brian has developed the rules over 10 years to the way they are currently using his knowledge of the period coupled with the way the club likes to use lots of figures and multiple players per side.
The game setup a Roman Column advancing through the “Wilds” of northern Gaul to relieve a besieged town. The Gauls getting wind of the relief column set up a hasty ambush.
The board had a large hill on the right flank of the advancing Roman Column with a scattering of trees and a road traversing the table from the Southern Edge to the Norther via the Hill on the Left of the table.
The Romans planned an order of March with approx 15 units of Legionaries around 180 figures and 8 units of Auxiliary around 80 figures, Supported by Archers, slingers some ‘Scorpion’ light Artillery and 7 units of Cavalry in the Vanguard.
The Celts had around 300-400 warriors including approx 50 skirmishers and 8 units of Cavalry. Most of the Cavalry were deployed on the flank closest to the Roman entrance on the table and the skirmishers arranged across the battlefield.
With the Romans in column the Celts had an early advantage which they would need to press to have any chance of victory.
The battle started badly for the Romans who quickly lost a large number of Cavalry to some rash attacks on the Celtic infantry situated at the head of the Column on the Roman Left. A bad moral die caused even more concern in the Roman ranks but the quality of the Roman rank and file kept them in order for a subtle withdrawal.
On the Roman right the infantry slowly moved into position to push back the Celtic left and provide room for the Veterans in the rear of the Column to advance onto the table.
Some quick skirmishing ensued and the Celtic left commander found himself fighting alone against a whole Roman unit! Only his quick reactions and a last ditched effort from his bodyguard saved his life. He repositioned himself in another unit just in time to command the Celtic defense of the Slopes. Meanwhile the cavalry supporting him withdrew slowly in the face of concerted Roman pressure and volley after volley of Pilum.
Long range Pilum fire from some Romans did find its mark but for most of the time it failed to cause the cavalry to much concern.
In the Centre the Romans ignored the Celtic defenders who decided it was time to move from their positions to threated the Romans flooding onto the battlefield. This approach met with concentrated bow fire from massed ranks of Western and Eastern Archers whose superior ranged weapons caused large numbers of casualties and weakened the already disordered ranks Barbarians.
The Roman Cavaly Flank kept the Celtic warriors at bay but found themselves militarily out classed and decided that caution was a better approach.
Meanwhile the Roman right pushed hard on the Hill and managed to rout the Celtic command facing them and killing their brave but foolhardy leader. Unfortunatly it was unable to catch the remaining Celt cavalry as is ran following a suicidal charge into the Roman Infantry on the right flank.
The Veteran Roman Legionaries began to prepare for the assault on the disordered Celtic centre and found a wavering mass of exhausted troops, who promptly ran for the hills after seeing their left scatter into the woods on the slopes of the hill.
At this point the wise decision for the Celts was to run and so the battle ended with a well earned Roman victory