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Sunday
Nov202016

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)

 

Saturday
Nov122016

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)


Saturday
Nov052016

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.


Saturday
Sep032016

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.

Sunday
Aug282016

1914: Germany at War

On 28 June 1914, Archduke Franz Ferdinand of Austria and his wife were shot dead in Sarajevo, by Gavrilo Princip, member of the Black Hand, a political organization seeking for a merging of the Balkan area into a Greater Serbia or a Yugoslavia.

Austria-Hungary subsequently issued an ultimatum against Serbia. As the ultimatum was rejected, Austria-Hungary then declared war, marking the outbreak of the war.

While France and Russia immediately sided with Serbia, Germany joined Austria-Hungary and started a surprise offensive in the west with the objective of quickly defeating the French, to then turn east and knock the Tzarist Russia out of the war.

August 1914, the attack on France is about to begin...

The Schliffen plan is put into action, an all out attack through Belgium and a hard push to Paris. Almost immediately the Germans storm through the fortresses of Liege and Namur in Belgium and are poised to strike at Brussels. Meanwhile, the French make an attack of their own in southern Alsace-Lorraine, with some success against very weak German opposition.

The German attack on Brussels has begun and it is only a matter of time before the capital of Belgium falls. The British Expeditionary Force (BEF) has arrived in France and spearheads a successful counter attack in Belgium, but the Germans circle around this strong force to take two lightly defended French fortresses. Meanwhile, in Alsace-Lorraine, the Germans have brought up more forces to counter the French push and now both forces are deadlocked.

September arrives and with it, the fall of Brussels. Lille and Mauberge, which had previously fallen to a German push are now contested by the British with some French support.

The Germans are whittled by the British in the battles for Lille and Mauberge, before being forced to withdraw. Antwerp and Ypres fall to the German onslaught, finishing the occupation of Belgium. In Alsace-Lorraine, the French make another push, this time directly towards Strassburg, but are checked. The German exploit this opening of the French lines to quickly take the fortress of Nancy. 

The Germans then storm the fortresses of Calais to the north and Tous to the south. With so many fortresses taken by the Germans, their valour wins them the day.