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Thursday
Jan232014

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

Historical Background: After landing unopposed at Mondego Bay, Sir Arthur Wellesley led a Portuguese/British army of some 15,000 men south towards Lisbon. Opposing him was General Henri Delaborde, with a force consisting only of some 5000 infantry, 500 cavalry and 5 field pieces. Delaborde resolved to fight a delaying action against Wellesley’s advance while awaiting reinforcements from Generals Junot and Loison. 

Delaborde chose his first defensive position in the hills just northwest of the village of Rolica. Wellesley advanced in three columns against the French, ordering the Portuguese troops under Colonel Trant on the right and Fergusson’s column on the left to turn the enemy’s flanks, while the artillery and infantry in his center were to engage the enemy in the front and hold them in position.

The British attack was underway by seven o’clock in the morning on the 17th. Although the French were hotly engaged all morning, Delaborde’s outnumbered force still held onto the hill position. However, by early afternoon, the wary Delaborde could see that his position was being outflanked and quickly moved his forces back to a second defensive position to the south.

The British repel the French cavalry on their left, but on their right, the Portugese take heavy casualties from the French cavalry push. In the center, the British advance meets stiff resistance. (British 1, French 2)

The French make a push on the British right, while on the left the British move toward one of the objective hills to encircle the French. (British 3, French 2)

British cavalry take the hill on the left flank, while the British center repels the French counterattack. Victory goes to the British. (British 5, French 2)

Saturday
Nov302013

Mount Garganus 72 BC (C&C Ancients)

Historical Background: Spartacus was an able strategist, and he knew that his rag-tag army could not expect to defy Rome indefinitely. Spartacus planned to escape from Roman territory over the Alps, and headed north through Apulia. He divided his ever-growing army and placed his lieutenant, Crixus, a Gaul, in charge of a force of 30,000 German and Gallic slaves, while he maintained personal command of the remaining 40,000 fighters. Crixus was over-confident after their many victories and allowed Spartacus to march far ahead while he allowed his men to continue their raiding and plundering. The consul Lucius Gellius Publicola came upon them suddenly and forced a battle. Crixus hastily formed his available men into a line of battle, but Publicola’s legionnaires cut them to pieces. Crixus was killed, along with two-thirds of his of his men. The survivors scattered and many probably re-joined Spartacus’s main column.

Lucius Publicola steadily advances in the center with his legionaries and auxiliaries. Crixus sends his forces to attack the roman flanks, which buckle somewhat but push back their foes. (Romans 0, Crixus 0)

Part of Publicola's infantry then rushes forward to meet in battle with Crixus' warriors, who are back to a mountain and have no where to run. Crixus tries to relieves the pressure by attacking the flanks again, in vain as part for his cavalry flees the battlefield. (Romans 2, Crixus 0)


The Romans advance even more troops in the center and begin slaughtering Crixus' warriors. (Romans 5, Crixus 0)


Finally, the Romans shatter all of Crixus' warriors in the center. He barely survives himself, fleeing in the chaos, while his surviving troops on the flanks melt away. (Romans 6, Crixus 0)

Friday
Nov292013

Mount Vesuvius 73 BC (C&C Ancients)

Historical Background: The greatest slave revolt against Rome was led by a gladiator named Spartacus. He was a Thracian slave, trained as a gladiator by his owner, Lentulus Batiatus, at a gladiatorial school near Capua. Spartacus escaped from the school with 78 fellow gladiators. After some successful skirmishes with local guards, his force set about raiding the countryside, freeing more slaves to join their ranks. Spartacus set up a base on the defensible slopes of Mount Vesuvius. Remembering the earlier Slave Wars in Sicily, the Senate in Rome took this outbreak seriously. They dispatched Praetors Claudius Glaber and Publius Varinius with 3,000 men to suppress the uprising. Glaber and Varinius blockaded Spartacus at his base on Mount Vesuvius, intending to starve out the slaves since their camp was only accessible by a narrow and difficult passage. The wily Spartacus did not intend to be starved into submission, so he devised a daring plan. He ordered ladders to be made from the vines that grew on Vesuvius. Spartacus and most of his followers quietly descended the vine ladders, undetected by the Romans. Soon, a picked force of the slaves rushed the Roman camp from the mountain. Once the Romans were fully occupied by this attack, Spartacus and his force struck unexpectedly. Attacked from both sides, the Roman camp fell in short order. This victory over regular Roman forces allowed Spartacus to expand his operations and recruit a massive slave army.

Spartacus sends some warriors after Varinius alone in the middle of the camp, but he eludes them long enough for his troops to mount a defense in the rear. Meanwhile, Spartacus troops to the North crash unsuccessfully on the walls of the camp. (Spartacus 0, Romans 1)

A force of Spartacus' warriors managed to breach the walls and burn part of the camp, but are repelled at some cost to the Romans. (Spartacus 2, Romans 3)

Spartacus then attempts another push from the south, but once more the Romans stand firmly their ground and the attackers are nearly wiped out with minor casualties on the Roman side. (Spartacus 2, Romans 4)

Desperate, Spartacus charges back into the fray with some of his best men, but he is cut down by Roman legionaries in the fighting. With this Roman victory, his forces scatter. (Spartacus 2, Romans 5)

Saturday
Jun152013

Aquae Sextiae 102 BC (C&C Ancients)

Historical Background: Following the disaster at Aruasio in 105 BC, Rome elected Marius as Consul to deal with the emergency. He was granted a reprieve as the Teutones and Ambrones decided to invade Spain rather than Italy, and spent the years 104-103 reorganizing the Roman army. Then in 102 BC, the Germanic tribes once again moved toward Rome. They reportedly numbered over 110,000 men, but half that number is a more likely estimate. Marius crossed the Alps with an army of over 40,000 legionnaires and Ligurian auxiliaries and set up camp near the coastal route being followed by the Teutone and Ambrone tribes under their King Teutobodus. Marius allowed the two tribes to pass and then followed them until they came to Aquae Sextiae. He occupied the high ground in view of the enemy, after posting an ambush force under Marcellus. Hostilities began almost immediately. The tribes charged up the hill but the terrain was in the Roman favor and they forced back the barbarians. At this time Marcellus’ ambush force appeared, and charged into the enemy rear. The entire horde broke and fled. Tens of thousands of the barbarians were slain, and many captured, including Teutobodus. Hundreds of the Germanic women committed mass suicide rather than become slaves of Rome.

Teutobodus launches warriors from his center and left at the Romans, both sides take some casualties but the Romans keep their strong position. (Germanic Tribes 0, Romans 0)

Teutobodus' warriors from the right advance on the Romans, while they sally forth and push back the initial Germanic advance. (Germanic Tribes 0, Romans 1)

Teutobodus intervenes personally and creates a gap in the Roman center. Marius counter attacks on the left and puts some Germanic warriors to flight. (Germanic Tribes 1, Romans 2)

A general Roman assault finishes off all of Teutobodus' depleted warriors, leaving the Germanic chieftain isolated. Defeated, the Germanic horde takes flight. (Germanic Tribes 1, Romans 6)

Sunday
May122013

Crimissos River 341 BC (C&C Ancients)

Historical Background: The Carthaginians learned from earlier defeats in Sicily that they had to field reliable, trained heavy infantry of their own. They formed the Sacred Band, a force of about 2,500 excellently trained Carthaginians, as good or better than the best the Greeks or Syracusans could field. They formed a part of a large army under Hasdrubal, advancing eastward to subjugate Sicily. Opposing him with a much smaller army was the able tactician Timoleon. Ever aggressive, Timoleon anxiously awaited an opportunity to strike the Carthaginians a hard blow on his terms. He got that chance when, on a foggy morning, Hasdrubal carelessly ordered his army to cross the Crimissos River without bothering to send out scouts (who would have reported that Timoleon’s army was arrayed on the bluffs just beyond the river). Waiting until about half of the Carthaginian army had crossed, Timoleon unleashed his excellent heavy infantry phalanx against the surprised Carthaginians. Most who survived fled, but the Sacred Band stood their ground and were annihilated by superior numbers, (aided by a sudden rainstorm that slowed Carthaginian reinforcements crossing the river). Seeing the disaster unfolding across the river, the remainder of Hasdrubal’s army broke and fled. The loss of so many citizen soldiers had a horrific effect on Carthage. The Sacred Band was reformed, but only once was it ever dispatched from Africa again, and then only for a very short campaign.

Timoleon charges forward with some heavy Syracusan troops supported by cavalry and clashes with the Carthaginian Sacred Band. The result is disastrous for the Syracusans as they are routed and Timoleon is killed. Meanwhile, the other Syracusan commander, Marmecus, moves his heavy troops to block the river crossing. (Syracuse 0, Carthage 3)


What little remains of the Syracusan right is crushed by Hasdrubal and the Sacred Band. Even though Marmecus still holds the crossing, the surrounded Syracusans are forced to withdraw or face annihilation. (Syracuse 1, Carthage 5)