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By smacdowall, Nov 3 2016 03:44PM

I have found it rather enjoyable getting back into Ancients after a bit of a pike and shot interlude. I will be returning to the latter before long, however. My French and Spanish armies for the Battle of the Dunes still require a few more units.

Warlords & Rebels game at the SoA conference
Warlords & Rebels game at the SoA conference

I think it was the Society of Ancients conference that inspired me to get out my 15mil ancients and Comitatus rules again. Before long I will do a full report on the battle I staged there, set in Gaul, 5th C AD.

Roman infanty in entrenchments with Huns out in front
Roman infanty in entrenchments with Huns out in front

Earlier this week it 15mm figures again but the game was set a century later (AD 530). The Rast Roman General Belisarius was defending Daras from the more numerous Persian army commanded by Perozes.

We used the Comitatus scenario which can be downloaded from my website here. This plays out only the action on the Roman left wing. It is an enjoyable scenario if you like lots of cavaly (I do) . I have played it several times with both Persians and Romans winning on different occaisions. We used Comitatus rules with the optional ammunition supply rule.

I introduced a couple of tweaks to keep add to the fog of war. One was the addition of a unit of Arabs in the Persian army with one or two of them riding camels. This made the Roman player nervous in case his horses shied when they came close. However, I had decided in advance that there were not enough of them to scare the horses.

The same was true for the lone Persian elephant. He was untrained and therefore not fit for combat or else he would cause as much or more damage on his own side. He was there for show only.

The Roman player was allowed to keep Pharas and his Heruls hidden until the after the third move when they could appear on the Persian right flank. Belisarius and his bucellarii were off table in reserve.

Deployed in three lines, the Persians opened the battle with their first line of mostly light horse archers delivering some devastating volleys.

The lance armed Roman foederati were shot to pieces and Hermogones, the Roman commander on their left was killed. This sent his shaken bucellarii charging out to avenge his death — a noble act with resulted in the death of every man. Such heroism will be long remembered around the campfires.

As Roman archery and countercharges began to tell against the first line of Persian cavalry, some pulled back as the second line of heavier troops advances.

Amongst the second line were heavily armoured cataphracts who never actually made it into combat.

The clibanarii of the Persian second line move up against the Roman heavy horse archers who evade out of the way after shooting a volley of arrows.

Swarming around the flank of the Romans, the Persian light cavalry, inspired by their commander, swoop in for the kill.

By the time Pharas’ Heruls and Belisarius’ reserve came onto the table there were very few other Romans still standing, apart from the infantry safely behind their trenches. We decided that at this point, Pharas would have turned to find the nearest other Roman army while Belisarius would have withdrawn the infantry back into Daras and prepare for a siege.

Nov 7 2016 01:36AM by Tim O'Connor

Hi Simon
Great looking game and I like the new additions of the Arabs as it adds a bit of color. The elephant looks good and like also the other changes to the scenario were interesting. I have always wanted to do this one and thanks for the write up. I also looked at the program for the recent Society of Ancients conferences it looked good. I would welcome your write of the late Roman game that you played plus any other interesting points that you would care to share about the other topics covered in the conference.
Thanks for sharing
ps some very good shooting by the Persian light cavalry and the Persian lines of cavalry looked very impressive as did the Roman forces.

Nov 7 2016 10:44AM by smacdowall

Thanks Tim. I hope to write up the SoA game soon.

Nov 18 2016 04:05PM by Ken Takacs Jr

I agree with Tim. That looked great on the table Simon!

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