Our Draw in the first round put us slap in the middle of the pack, 14 VPs ranking us 2nd Equal with 2 other teams (so effectively just in the top half of the table), and resulting in Philip Abela & Andrew Hunter (who were similarly ranked 2nd equal) being our afternoon opponents. (If I recall correctly) Caesennius found himself defending Rome’s Eastern environs’ from encroaching invaders this battle! And the dastardly fiends had decided to attack along a River, no less! However this soon suited Caesennius, who found the edge of a suitable plain to encamp on, forcing the Egyptians to deploy in an area thick with Marshes and an Orchard, with the River running through their deployment area, and Vineyard on their flank next to the River.
It was a clear Spring morning, around 0600, although there was a Strong Wind blowing from the South (although I think we completely mucked it up and thought it was South-West, but then used the North-West i.e. from the Kushite’s left-Rear who were facing East, instead of their right-Rear or right) – the wind would obviously would impair both the Roman Artillery (less effective) and Kushite Bows (reduced range) equally unless shooting ‘with the wind’.
The Romans deployed Caesennius’ command on the left, planning to advance straddling a road between the Marshes and the Orchard, with the second heavy foot command to the right covering the balance of the main Marsh and the open area along the River to the right, up to the Vineyard. The Armenians were on the right end of the line but in reserve staggered behind the Legionaries. In the centre the Cavalry & Artillery command was in reserve behind the C-in-C’s Legionaries. The Kushites deployed with most of their troops close to their baseline – starting opposite the Roman left there were some Chariots Kn(O) & Cv(S), and horsed Cavalry Cv(O) support by Light Troops in the Marsh and Orchard. In the Central Marsh and behind it considerable Light Troops were deployed, and a body of Chariots with some LH(I) Scouts that were seemingly trapped behind the Marsh. Further to the Roman right near the River were some Egyptian Spear(I), Blade(I), and Bow(I), and then across the River swarms of Kushite Auxilia(O) and Psiloi(O).
The battle commenced with the Kushite’s (yes, Caesennius was in no rush to do anything as always), using a ‘Guides’ Stratagem, and getting some disloyal Roman Citizen to show them a hidden path through the Marsh! The apparently ‘trapped’ LH(I) Scouts and Kn(O) Chariots now had a speedy route through the Marsh. However the Roman forces were able to advance rapidly on the Kushite lines, attempting to keep them trapped in or against the Marsh. The whole Roman battle line soon got up to within around 160p of the Marsh (and the Orchard on the left), just as the Scouts emerged from the secret path through the Marsh, thereby containing the column of Chariots behind them. On the Roman left Kushite Cavalry and Chariots were moving up to face the Roman Heavy Foot, with a force of Chariots moving around the Orchard and intent on opening up the Roman left flank – forcing the Roman Cavalry reserve to deploy to the left to contain them.
A tussle soon began on the Roman left, with a couple of elements of Auxilia doing battle with several Chariots, in the centre the Legionaries engaged the Kushite Cavalry (see above), and by the Central Marsh the Legionaries attempted to contain the Knights and force them back into the Marsh (see below).
On the Roman right the Romans and Armenians advanced, endeavouring to push back the 2 elements of LH(I) and engage the large numbers of Kushite & Egyptian foot, and as fate would have it around this time the Wind swung around, nicely settling in directly behind the Kushites!
Things went well for the Romans – a lone Auxilia was lost on the left but it’s partner retaliated by destroying a Kn(O) Chariot in the open! In the centre a Bd(S) Legionary element was lost but then a Kn(O) Chariot, and another, were destroyed, as well as the 2 elements of Scouts. The Armenians and Legionaries on the right advanced past the Marsh and began looking to engage the Egyptian Sp(I), Bd(I), and Bw(I). While the Armenian Cataphracts were endeavouring to ‘run down’ the Bow on their side of the River, the Legionaries closed in on the Sp(I) column, and it’s flanking Bd(I), that had advanced forward to engage them next to the Marsh in support of their Chariot force Egyptian General who would otherwise be isolated (see the photo below).
On the left things slow up, partially due to it being low priority for PIPs for both sides, and just a minor tussle ensued with 2-3 Auxiliaries engaging Knight & Cavalry Chariots in the open and from the Orchard (and doing a good job of keeping them reasonably occupied). Although the Cavalry Reserve had deployed in line to cover the Roman left and faced off the Chariots from a distance, they never needed to advance as the Auxilia prevented the Kushite’s from progressing much beyond the Orchard, a sterling performance by the 2-4 Ax(S) elements involved.
In the centre the Kushite Cavalry was seemingly also seen off, but not decisively defeated. On the right however action came quickly, with the destruction of the remaining Chariots already completed, the Egyptian General’s Chariot, along with several Sp(I) and Bd(I) were chewed up by the Legionaries, and some Bw(I) were run over by the Armenian Cataphracts. An attempt to turn the Roman right flank by a large body of Auxilia was defeated by an element of Equites Sagittarii posted to cover the River at the extreme right flank who successfully fought off the column of Auxilia crossing the River, despite the latter dragging the fight into the DGo of the adjacent Vineyard – great defence by the lone Roman Horse Archers. The Roman LH(F) promptly retiring away from the river after it’s successful action in the Vineyard! No further activity was to eventuate in that area from the Kushites.
And then suddenly, somewhat unexpectedly, it was over. Two Kushite commands had broken (including the Egyptians) and they collapsed, the Roman’s proving victorious. The Roman forces had had so few casualties that they were still under 10% (just), and so were able to claim a 25-0 victory. It was no doubt helped by the Egyptian Sp(I) Infantry deciding to rush forward to engage the Bd(S) Legionaries – which at least 3 of the 4 players involved in the game couldn’t fully comprehend the logic, the fourth player sure seemed to though…?!