Mantinea 362 BC (C&C: Ancients)

Thebes’ shocking victory at Leuctra in (371) had ended the Spartan hegemony over Greece. Epaminondas then organized the Arcadian League of cities in the Peloponnesus, in order to counter-balance Sparta and ensure Theban supremacy. A division in the Arcadian league led Mantinea to ally with Sparta. Sparta’s hereditary enemy, Athens, even joined in the alliance against Thebes. Epaminondas invaded in 362 to reassert Theban dominance. In a plain near Mantinea he encountered the enemy force of 20,000 foot and 2,000 horse with the Mantineans on the right, Spartans in the center, and Athenians on the left. Epaminondas’ force of 30,000 foot and 3,000 horse was deployed with massive depth on his left, the same tactic he had used successfully at Leuctra. The Thebans closed in on the Mantinean wing and then grounded arms as if not to battle this day. Once the Mantineans relaxed their guard, Epaminondas suddenly ordered the attack. The onslaught broke the Mantinean right flank, leading to the defeat of the entire Spartan army. Disastrously for Thebes, Epaminondas was killed in the closing moments of the battle. Sparta had been humbled again, but without her brilliant leader, Thebes was unable to maintain her hegemony over Greece. The ultimate result was a weakening of Greece that paved the way for the Macedonian conquest.

The Thebans make a general advance to form a full line against the Spartan coalition. The Mantineans on their right flank boldly advance to meet the Thebans. (Thebes 0, Spartan Coalition 0)

The Theban left, led by Epaminondas, smashes through the elite Mantineans, killing one of their commanders. (Thebes 2, Spartan Coalition 0)

On the Theban left, the onslaught continues, annihilating most Mantinean resistance as king Agesilaus looks on, helpless to render aid. (Thebes 5, Spartan Coalition 0)

As the Thebans dispatch the last Mantineans from the field, the rest of the coalition army withdraws in defeat. The battle ends with a crushing victory for Thebes. (Thebes 7, Spartan Coalition 0)


River Sabis, 57 BC (C&C Ancients)

Gaius Julius Caesar formed a political alliance with Gnaeus Pompey and Licinius Crassus that became known as the “First Triumvirate.” Caesar obtained the governorship of Gaul as a proconsul, and immediately set about expanding his province from the Mediterranean coast inland. In 58 BC, after many Belgic tribes had surrendered to Caesar, he marched north against the Nervii, the most powerful of these tribes. Joined by other lesser tribes, including the Atrebates and Viromandui, the Nervii horde massed on the north side of the river Sabis. Poor scouting by the Romans only detected some cavalry acting as a decoy, while the Nervii king Boduognatus concealed his main body in the woods, not far from their main camp. Only when the Romans had dispersed from their tactical formation and started to build their camp did the Belgic tribesmen charge from the woods. The surprise was complete. Caesar was caught off guard, but in true form, he set about immediately to rally his troops. The Romans quickly reformed—a testimony to his personal magnetism and to their training. This hurriedly assembled line held until the two legions that were marching with the baggage could come forward. These reinforcements, along with the famous Tenth Legion’s bold actions, and the vigor of his deputy Labienus, enabled the Romans to annihilate the Nervii army.

The Tenth legion, with some support, are the first to attack Nervii, in an attempt to breakthrough to the enemy's camp. The first clashes are violent and the Tenth is battered, but prevails. (Romans 1, Nervii 0)

The Tenth pushes on with fresh support and scatter the Nervii before them, again taking some losses. With the enemy camp in reach and most of the opposition scattered, the Romans begin to feel confident of victory. ( Romans 3, Nervii 0)

The Nervii counterattack with devasting results. The Tenth, in poor shape after several encounters, is annihilated and the nearby auxiliaries suffer the same fate. Though not without losses for the Nervii, this action results in an uncertain battle once again. (Romans 4, Nervii 4)

The Romans, undeterred, make another attack on the left, hoping to smash through the remaining Nervii and burn their camp. Labienus, who had led the Tenth on its ill-fated assault on the Nervii camp, now leads the second attack with the cavalry. In a disastrous turn of fate, the opening clash of Roman and Nervii cavalry results in his death and the advance stalls to a standstill, giving the Nervii a much needed reprieve. (Romans 4, Nervii 5)

The Nervii send some of their warriors in reinforcement and as before, their riposte is devastating. Little remains of the Roman left flank. (Romans 4, Nervii 7)

Julius Caesar moves up to the River Sabis to support the last attack of his left flank and the remaining troops do breakthrough and burn the Nervii camp, but are left in a precarious position. The Nervii easily dispatch the remaining Roman infantry on the left and isolate the cavalry that burned their camp, giving them a hard fought victory. (Romans 6, Nervii 8)



French Stand Near Arras (Memoir 44)

During the fall of the Dunkirk pocket, several French and British units launched desperate attacks to slow the German advance, allowing the B.E.F. to evacuate by sea. On May 20, near Arras, the French 3rd DLM (Light Motorized Division), placed under the British command of General Franklyn and following heavy losses against the 10th Panzer, regrouped. Promised reinforcements, General Franklyn chose to establish defensive positions around Arras. Rommel's 7th Panzer Division rolled toward them; would the reinforcements arrive in time to save the beleaguered French forces?

The germans push hard on the left with their infantry, crushing the meagre french resistance in their way. Luckily for the french, some british tanks arrive to support them. (Germany 1, Allies 0)

The germans continue their attack on the left, while also mounting a second big push on the right. The british bring in more tanks in support of their ally. (Germany 2, Allies 1)

The french and british counter attack on the left, but the french find themselves hard pressed by the germans on the right. (Germany 3, Allies 3)

The germans get their panzers rolling and make a dash against the french center, while german infantry on the right continue to press their attack. On the left, the allies have the overextended german infantry on the ropes. (Germany 5, Allies 4)

The germans finish off the french tanks in the center, forcing a breach. The Allies are forced to withdraw. (Germany 6, Allies 4)


Fontenoy en Puisaye - June 25, 841 (A la charge!)

After the death of Louis the Pious, the successor to Charlemagne, and despite the treaty of Worms on May 30, 839 with its sharing arrangement, his sons turned on each other. On July 24, 840 in Strasbourg, the new emperor Lothaire I declares that everything must be under his control. According to the ties of loyalty, each lord sets himself under a banner; the emperor's or that of his brothers, Charles the Bald and Louis the Germanic. 

In June 841, the two armies face off near Fontenoy en Puisaye. Lothaire and Pépin II are about to claim a victory when suddenly, the arrival of Guérin, duke of Provence at the head of an army tips the balance. While most have chosen a side, it is not the case of Bernard of Septimany, who awaits the result before aligning himself with the victor. Finally, the battle ends with a stunning victory of Charles the Bald and his half brother, Louis the Germanic.

The death toll is particularly high amongst the Frankish nobility. Nevertheless, the conflict lasts two more years before a sharing agreement is signed at Verdun in early August 843. The imperial unity is by then over.

Charles anchors his flank in and around Fontenoy, while he takes position on his side of the stream. Lothaire sends his southern forces to face off with Charles, also sending a detachment to contest Fontenoy.

Charles is pushed back from the stream, while Lothaire orders more troops in to take Fontenoy.

All along the stream, men from both sides clash around the stream, hoping to gain an advantage.

The battle shifts decisively in Charles the Bald's favor when Bernard of Septimany, in Solmey, joins him and duke Guérin of Provence arrives with his men from the south.

Lothaire leads a desperate charge to break through Charles' forces, but is checked at Fontenoy.

Charles' forces begin a general envelopement, while he personally leads the attack against his beleaguered brother. Lothaire and his picked knights are eradicated and with this act of fraticide, Charles the Bald claims victory.


Hannibal: Rome vs Carthage

The Second Punic War was fought between Carthage and Rome and was ignited by the dispute over the hegemony of Saguntum, a Hellenized Iberian coastal city with diplomatic contacts with Rome. After great tension within the city government, culminating in the assassination of the supporters of Carthage, Hannibal laid siege to the city of Saguntum in 219 BC. The city called for Roman aid, but the pleas fell on deaf ears. Following a prolonged siege and a bloody struggle, in which Hannibal himself was wounded and the army practically destroyed, the Carthaginians finally took control of the city. Many of the Saguntians chose to commit suicide rather than face subjugation by the Carthaginians.

Hannibal then prepared a daring land attack on Italy itself, to bring the war to the Romans.

(218 BC) Hannibal leaves Hasdrubal to siege Massilia and marches through the alps into the north of Italy, where he finds himself blocked by the counsular armies of Tiberius Longus and Publius Scipio.

(217 BC) Hasdrubal abandons the siege of Massilia and returns to Iberia. The Roman counsular armies, now under Fabius Maximus and Lucius Aemilius, still block Hannibal from going further south in Italy.

(216 BC) Hannibal finally attacks a counsular army, under Gaius Flaminius, while Tiberius Longus is too slow to intervene.  Flaminius is forced to withdraw to Rome which leaves Etruria wide open to Hannibal.

(215 - 214 BC) In Sicily, Mago arrives in Syracuse after a daring sea voyage. Tiberius Longus takes command of a nearby army which was sent to bring the city to heel and iniates a siege despite the Carthaginian reinforcements. Hannibal, now with free reign over Italy while the Romans are licking their wounds, heads south to stir up more trouble.

(213 - 212 BC) Syracuse falls back to the Romans. The Carthaginian general Gisco lands in southern Italy with a small force to support Hannibal's dwindling army, but is soon crushed by Fabius Maximus' army. Hannibal retreats toward northern Italy.

(211 - 210 BC) Multiple Roman armies converge on Hannibal and with is army depleted by attrition they are finally able to destroy his army and kill him. Meanwhile, Mago lands in southern Italy and Scipio Africanus leads an expedition into Iberia.

(209 - 208 BC) Mago is defeated by the Romans but not before wreaking more havoc upon Italy. Finally free of any Carthaginian armies on their soil, the Romans attempt to formulate a strategy to contain the turmoil in Italy. Meanwhile, Scipio Africanus is reinforced in Iberia. 

(207 - 206 BC) Hanno leaves Carthage with most of its army and lands in southern Italy, quickly defeating one of the Consuls for the year. The Romans realize that the situation in Italy is untenable and decide to strike upon a vulnerable Carthage. All Roman armies converge upon the enemy capital and while Hanno returns to defend the city, he is forced to leave the bulk of his army behind in Italy. Soon after, Carthage falls to the Romans, ending the Second Punic War.