Legio Wargames

The Legio Blog

By smacdowall, Nov 17 2016 05:24PM



The 6mm Pharsallus game at the Society of Ancients Battle day last spring inspired a couple of us to work on a version of my Legio VI rules to cover the late Roman period. We decided that the Catalaunian Fields (AD 451) would be a good test game — large armies, lots of cavalry and a good variety of troop types.


New Hun recruits emerging from the painting table
New Hun recruits emerging from the painting table

Legio VI Julia Augusta (covering the late Roman republic and early empire) were tweaked, merging some of the Comitatus mechanisms. Masses of Huns were painted — in the end we had over 100 of them — and various substitutions were made with Normans, Saxons and even Persians being drafted in to make up some missing figures for other units.


The Gepid contingent with Roman auxiliary cavalry filling out the ranks
The Gepid contingent with Roman auxiliary cavalry filling out the ranks

This is one of the advantages with 6mm. In larger scales, substitutions of inappropriate miniatures stand out like a sore thumb. With the smaller scale you have a bit more leeway.



Overview of the battlefield from the Montgueux ridge looking north
Overview of the battlefield from the Montgueux ridge looking north

Fighting on an 8 x 6 foot table with small figures allowed us to represent the entire battlefield with the dominating Montgueux ridge and the flat plains beyond, stretching out to the Seine river where Attila probably had his camp.


The Huns advance in wedge-shaped masses
The Huns advance in wedge-shaped masses

Advancing in three divisions — Gepids on the right, Huns in the centre and Ostrogoths on the left, Attila advanced his army to close with the Romans and Visigoths.


Initial deployment from the Roman lines looking east towards the Seine
Initial deployment from the Roman lines looking east towards the Seine

We decided to start the game after Thorismund’s Visigoths had seized the Montgueux ridge and were hidden on the high ground ready to charge down at the opportune moment (dice willing).


The battle lines close
The battle lines close

When they came into range, the Hun horse archers circled around, pouring arrows into the ranks of Romans, Alans and Visigoths opposing them. With foot archers supporting the heavy infantry, Aetius’s men were able to respond but inevitably they were out-shot by the Huns and some of the Roman and allied units began to feel the strain.


The Ostrogoths (on the right)  prepare to charge
The Ostrogoths (on the right) prepare to charge

Closing in on their Visigothic cousins, the Ostrogoths had little missile support so they did what they did best and that was to charge into close combat. The Visigoth foot and dismounted cavalry held their ground. The Ostrogoths were repulsed, wheeled around and tried again with the same result.


The Huns drive back Sangiban's Alans
The Huns drive back Sangiban's Alans

In the centre the Huns drove back the Alans, creating a hole in the allied line, separating the Roman and Visigoth contingents — just as happened historically. On Attila’s right the Gepids made some headway against the first line of Romans but were stalemated by a second line of reserves.


Thorismund's men charge down the ridge
Thorismund's men charge down the ridge

Just as the Ostrogoths were gearing up for a third charge against the Visigoths, Thorismund’s contingent came charging down the Montgueux ridge into their flank. Thanks to some brilliant dice rolling the Ostrogoths held out, even their archers managing to stand their ground despite heavy casualties. This stopped an immediate rolling up of the flank, giving just enough time for Attila to switch some Hun units from the second line of his centre to swing around to meet the new threat.


The Ostrogoths hold out despite being shaken
The Ostrogoths hold out despite being shaken

The lefthand units of the Ostrogothic command were pretty shaken even if they had been able wit withstand the initial Visigothic charge. They could not hold out much longer. The Huns had broken through in the centre and managed to force back a number of Visigothic units after weakening them with archery and then following up with a timely charge.


Despite this success, as dusk fell, it was clear to Attila that he could not break the enemy and there was a great danger if battle continued advantage would shift to the enemy. Therefore he ordered a controlled withdrawal back to his camp, knowing that the Romans and Visigoths were in no condition to pursue.


So it was a draw, with advantage to the Huns. Aetius’s army had suffered far higher casualties and although the Romans/Visigoths had managed to hold their line they would not have been able to prevent Attila from achieving a clean break.


Legio VI Constantiani - rules for 6mm miniatures, are available as a free download from my website here.





By smacdowall, Apr 4 2016 02:45PM


Mark Anthony makes his move
Mark Anthony makes his move

The thirteenth annual Society of Ancients Battle Day held last Saturday (2 April) featured the Battle of Pharsalus. So I packed up my collection of 6mm late Republican Romans and made my way down to Bletchley. It was certainly easier transporting the 6mm figures than it was taking Alexander the Great's 28mm army last year.


Pompey's Legions in their Battle Array
Pompey's Legions in their Battle Array

I deployed the troops historically but then allowed the players to fight out the battle as they wished.


The view from Pompey's Camp
The view from Pompey's Camp

Pompey’s cavalry initially took off at a gallop but when their lines began to become disordered they slowed down and advanced more cautiously.


The cavalry action unfolds
The cavalry action unfolds

Caesar decided to move up his reserve cohorts to join his outnumbered cavalry right from the start rather than waiting for Pompey’s men to break through and then hit them in the flank. This further slowed down the Pompeians as they suddenly found themselves confronted by a mixed cavalry and infantry force. Caesar threw himself into the fight, joining the front rank of his Gallic cavalry and urging them forward. With Caesar’s personally intervention the Pompeians began to get the worst of it and had to give ground.


Mark Anthony reviews his legions
Mark Anthony reviews his legions

Mark Anthony had a rough time of it on Caesar's left flank. His opponent, Afrianus, a newcomer to the game, managed some spectacular dice rolling, drove off the Caesarian light troops, forced back the VIII Legion and made Mark Anthony commit his reserves to shore up the flank.


The clash of Legions
The clash of Legions

In the end it all came down to the clash of legions in the centre. Here, Caesar’s higher quality held their own against Pompey’s numbers. Even though Pompey’s men were deployed in three lines which allowed them to conduct two line reliefs to Caesar’s one, gradually the Pompeians were forced back. Their only success was on the two flanks. Even the vaunted Xth Legion had to give ground but as they stepped back the other Caesarian legions punched through in the centre.



Endgame
Endgame

Once one Pompeian Legion broke the panic spread and Pompey’s line fell apart like a stack of Dominoes.

It was all over for the Republican cause.



The moment Caesar's legions break through
The moment Caesar's legions break through

My thanks Dan Faulconbridge of Wargames Illustrated who took most of these photos. There will be a full report on this year’s Battleday as part of the Julius Caesar theme in WI345 coming out in July, much of which is being penned by yours truly. In the meantime there are some more pics on the WI website.





By smacdowall, Mar 23 2016 07:45PM

With the Society of Ancients Battle Day soon upon us Dave Allen and I decided it would be a good idea to give the game a test run.


So for the first time in many years I dusted off my very little Romans and 6mm rules.


I must say I enjoyed seeing the 6mm figures out on the table again. It reminded me of why I went for them in the first place. You can really get a sense of the whole battle unfolding and there are less distortions of scale that there are with lager miniatures


Pompey's battle line with his larger but lower quality legions and his cavalry massed on the left flank which vastly outnumbered Caesar's.


Caesar leads forward his legionaries, detaching the second line 10th legion to reinforce his cavarly on the right wing.


Pompey dirves off the light troops on Caesar's left with ease and brings his Spanish Auxiliaries in on the flank of Caesar's righthand legion. On the other flank Caesar's cavalry reinforced by several cohorts of legionaries hold their own against Pompey's larger numbers.


Caesar's XIth Legion breaks through the Pompeian line, driving off one of Pompey's Syrian legions.


A tough fight develops in the cnetre with the Caesarian Legions getting the best of it


But although they were doing well in the centre, the Caesarians could not hold the flanks. It took Pompey's personal intervention but eventually he drove off the Caesarian cavalry. Now, facing encirclement it was all over for Caesar. Pompey had scraped through to victory although it was a narrow one.


Caesar has his work cut out to win. We shall see how he does when I replay the game at Bletchley






RSS Feed

Web feed