Other
Thursday
Dec042014

Amphipolis 422 BC (C&C Ancients)

Historical Background: In 424 BC, the Spartan general Brasidas led an army toward Thrace to threaten the only accessible part of the Athenian Empire. He reached Thrace and offered generous terms to the people of Amphipolis, who surrendered without a fight. In 423 BC, Athens and Sparta signed a truce, hoping to exchange Amphipolis for the Spartan hostages of Sphacteria, but Brasidas, against the wishes of the Spartan regime, continued to support the rebellion in the area. Athens ended the truce and sent Cleon with an army to recover Amphipolis. Brasidas would not emerge from the city for battle. Frustrated by the apparent Spartan timidity, Cleon began to move his troops back to Eion. Brasidas waited till the Athenian left wing marched past the South Gate, and with his best men charged out of the city, while Clearidas, his subordinate, emerged from the Thracian Gate with the rest of the Spartan army. The Athenians on the left wing fled to Eion, while those on the right fought bravely against Clearidas. Cleon was killed during the battle, and Brasidas mortally wounded. Athens agreed to stop the war and signed the Peace of Nicias in 421 BC. Sparta recovered their hostages and Athens the towns captured by Brasidas. Both sides would have time to prepare for the final phase of the war.

(The three white flag symbols on the right show where the Athenian force can exit to gain victory banners)

Brasidas charges forward with the Spartan right, intent on destroying the Athenians before they withdraw. While he inflicts some losses, the Athenian light troops easily move away. (Athenians 0, Spartans 0)

Most of the Athenian left leaves the battle, with their leader Niclas. The Spartans attempt, unsuccessfully, to destroy the hoplite force the Athenian left behind on their left. (Athenians 4, Spartans 0)

Brasidas, intent of stopping the hoplites of the Athenian left from leaving sends his light cavalry after them, which are completely routed. At least his hoplites manage to finish off a group of Athenian light troops. Meanwhile, Cleon on the Athenian right organizes his forces in a line facing the numerically inferior Spartans under Clearidas. (Athenians 5, Spartans 1)

Brasidas, relentless, now sends his hoplites to finish off the Athenian left, which they finally accomplish. He leads another group of hoplites against the center with minimal success. At the same time, Cleon orders the Athenian right to attack. Spartan light troops are battered but luckily manage to hold on. (Athenians 5, Spartans 2)

Clearidas leads the Spartan left in a counter attack, inflicting heavy losses on the Athenians. Yet, the outnumbered Spartans cannot contain the Athenians who finish off the Spartan light troops. Clearidas withdraws to Amphipolis, forcing a disappointed Brasidas to do the same. The Spartan sally is foiled. (Athenians 6, Spartans 4)

 

 
Saturday
Jul262014

Placentia 270 AD (C&C Ancients)

Historical Background: Aurelian became emperor in 270, and is remembered as one of the “soldier-emperors” who restored the empire after its near collapse. During his five-year reign, Aurelian re-united the empire after two-thirds of the provinces had broken away from central control. But first, Aurelian had to repulse a number of barbarian invasions. The most serious threat was posed by the Alemanni, a Germanic tribe that had made frequent incursions into Roman territory. In 271 AD, after Aurelian had moved several of the western legions east to fight the Vandals and Goths, the Alemanni broke through the frontier forces and invaded Italia. The Alemanni horde first sacked the city of Placentia in northern Italia. Emperor Aurelian, who was in Pannonia (near present day Hungary) with an army to control the Vandals, had to move quickly back to Italia. The Alamanni learned of Aurelian’s approach and set an ambush for the Roman Emperor. They achieved complete surprise and defeated the Romans. The Alemanni continued their advance towards the capital, which produced great fear and panic in Rome.

The Alemanni immediately attack with their cavalry on the Roman right, but fail to achieve much. (Alemanni 0, Romans 0)

The Alemanni continue to press with their cavalry, pushing back the Romans and weaking their formations, but at the cost of one cavalry squadron. (Alemanni 0, Romans 1)

The Roman right regroups near the river, while the Alemanni attempt to skirmish while regrouping themselves. (Alemanni 0, Romans 1)


The Alemanni shift their forces to continue the attack on the weakened Roman right, while Aurelian begins slowly withdrawing troops across the river, while exploring the possibility of a counter attack with his left. (Alemanni 0, Romans 1)


Aurelian reverses his decision when the Alemanni attack the Roman right again. The barbarians are pushed back once more, but this time the Romans are perilously stretched thin. (Alemanni 0, Romans 2)


An Alemanni charge crushes the Roman right. Aurelian tries to consolidate his center, but the river hampers greatly any troop redeployment. (Alemanni 3, Romans 2)

With the Roman right annihilated, the Alemanni begin surrounding the Roman center which is struggling to withdraw across the river. (Alemanni 4, Romans 2)

The Alemanni close in on the Roman center and with their back to the river, the Romans have nowhere to flee. Many throw down their arms and armor, attempting to swim their way to freedom. Most of them drown, while many more are are trampled by the victorious barbarians. Aurelian, with most of his best men on the wrong side of the river, can do nothing more and decides to withdraw while he has an army left. (Alemanni 5, Romans 2)


Wednesday
Mar262014

Marathon 390 BC (C&C Ancients)

Historical Background: King Darius I of Persia sent an expedition against Athens in reprisal for the burning of Sardes in 498 BC during the failed Ionian Revolt. The Persian fleet under the joint command of Datis and Artaphernes landed near Marathon bay, which offered a perfect battleground for their troops. The Athenians marched out to face the enemy in the field, with 1000 allied soldiers from Plataea supplementing the Athenian force of 9000. The Persians outnumbered the Greeks, but to counter the disparity, Callimachus extended the Greek line to match the enemy, thinning the center while keeping both wings at full strength. The Persian army, with its best troops in the center, was taken by surprise when the Athenians attacked. Historians suggest that the some of the Persian cavalry was in the process of embarking back onto the ships when the attack started. In the battle the Persian center got the best of the weak Greek center and broke through, but this success was more than countered by the defeat of their two wings.

The victorious Athenians then swung inwards and the Persian force was routed back to their ships. Concerned that the defeated Persians might still sail around to threaten Athens, Pheidippides ran the 26 miles back to Athens with news of the victory, running first Marathon race. Greece was safe, for now.

The Athenians advance on the Persian position. (Athenians 0, Persians 0)

The Persian center pushes back the Athenian center with missile fire, while the Athenian right begins pushing back the Persian left. (Athenians 0, Persians 0)

The Athenians push back against both flanks. (Athenians 1, Persians 0)

Artaphernes leads a cavalry charge to strike back against the Athenian left. The centers of both side clash. (Athenians 2, Persians 1)

The Athenian left drives off the Persian cavalry, while most of the Athenian center is driven off. (Athenians 3, Persians 3)

The Athenian left continues its assault on the Persian right, killing Artaphernes. (Athenians 4, Persians 3)

The Persian center surges forward and routs what remains of the Athenian center, Miltades is separated from his troops. (Athenians 4, Persians 5)

The Athenian right desperately strikes at the Persian left with some results, while the Persians continues their mop up with the Athenian left. Demoralized by their heavy losses, the Athenians are forced to withdraw, giving the Persians a close victory. (Athenians 5, Persians 6)



Friday
Feb212014

ROLIÇA (French Second Position) - 17 August 1808 (C&C Napoleonics)

Historical Background: Delaborde expertly withdrew his force near Roliça to a second defensive position before the British flanking columns could encircle him. The new position was extremely strong and could only be reached frontally by four rugged gullies. 

Wellesley quickly repositioned his forces to repeat his double envelopment for his afternoon attack, but his plan was preempted when the Lieutenant-Colonel Lake of the 29th Worcestershire Regiment prematurely forced his way up one of the central gullies. Wellesley chose to support Lake’s effort and the entire British army surged forward. The French battalions advanced to meet the British before they could emerge from the gullies, but were repulsed. De Laborde once again drew off his troops in good order. 

Ultimately Roliça was an indecisive action. Although Delaborde did slow the British advance, Wellesley forced him to retreat before he was reinforced.

The British right under Fergusson advance and engage the French right. (British 0, French 0)

Fergesson's faltering advance is supported by Lake in the British center, but the action is inconclusive as the French hold on to their defensive position. (British 0, French 2)

French light cavalry surges in the center to disrupt British attack, with Fergusson and Lake struggle against the French right. (British 0, French 3)

The French light cavalry is repulsed by the British center, but emboldened French troops engage the British right, manned by their Portuguese allies. (British 0, French 3)

The French surge forward en masse while Fergusson pushes desperately against the French right with his heavy cavalry, attempting in vain to finish off under strength French units left in the rear. (British 0, French 3)

Despite have finally some success against the French right, Fergusson and Lake find themselves cut off from the rest of the army, which is holding off the French counterattack. (British 1, French 4)

While the rest of the army is in good shape, Wellesley is forced to pull back as Fergusson and Lake find themselves completely encircled by Delaborde. (British 1, French 5)


 

Saturday
Feb152014

Lake Trasimene 217 BC (C&C Ancients)

Historical Background: Much of Hannibal’s “genius” for warfare lay in his ability to take the measure of his opponents’ abilities and intentions. His opponent in 217 BC was Roman Consul Gaius Flaminius, a vain and incompetent patrician. Armed with this knowledge, Hannibal determined to set a trap for his opponent by ravaging the countryside to spur Flaminius to action. True to form, Flaminius rushed headlong into pursuit of Hannibal, marching his army through the narrow defile next to Lake Trasimenus where Hannibal’s army lay in wait. Hannibal posted his veteran infantry as a blocking force, hiding his light infantry and cavalry in the hills. As the day of battle dawned, a heavy mist covered the area – Flaminius further aided Hannibal’s plans by neglecting to send out scouts. The Roman vanguard stumbled into the Carthaginian blocking force, and the battle was joined. Almost immediately the ambushing Carthaginians descended from the hills and fell on the Roman column before the soldiers had enough time to deploy. Flaminius died early in the fighting; more than half of his army died along with him, either in the desperate fighting or drowning trying to escape. It was noteworthy that the only portion of Flaminius’s army to escape intact was the vanguard – those soldiers fought their way through Hannibal’s best infantry to do it. It surely was not through lack of bravery that the Roman army met disaster at Lake Trasimenus.

The Roman left repulses Hannibal's cavalry probes, while the center barely holds out against a massed Carthaginian infantry assault. (Romans 2, Carthaginians 2)

The Roman center pushes back Hannibal's troops, but meanwhile the left is annihilated by determined Carthaginian charges. (Romans 2, Carthaginians 4)

The Roman center begins to buckle as they are assailed by their now unprotected left flank. (Romans 2, Carthaginians 5)

What remains of the Roman center is encircled and Flaminius' army either surrenders or flees. (Romans 3, Carthaginians 6)