Our big win in the previous round put us on 39 VPs, and top of the table (1st place) at the halfway mark, our next opponents were Brett Preston-Thomas & Lawrence Antill, who were on 36 VPs and currently in 2nd place. Caesennius decided to venture north and wander into the lands of the Germans (not to mention about 14 centuries into the future as well) – what was this obsession he had with invading Germany?! Anyway in true style he found a suitable area to set up camp, and then proceeded to relax, as was his want, and not be too hasty. However he rather unusually camped amongst some woods and vineyards, in front of a fairly open plain, so left his army with less than ideal terrain to deploy in.
With usual German efficiency the enemy took the advantage and initiated an attack against the Romans, a common occurrence it seemed, at least whenever Caesennius was around anyway! Luckily some incredibly bad PIP rolling by the German C-in-C saw them achieve a 2 and three 1’s! As the C-in-C scored the ‘2’ it meant the City Militia command, Feudal Ally Troops, and the Swiss Ally command all got 1’s – the later being deemed unreliable as they were the ‘second’ ally in the army!
This resulted in a bit of, well, lets say ‘pussy footing around’, by the Romans in their attempts to get at the German City Militia on their left, without enticing the Swiss to join the battle, while also cautiously advancing a short distance on the right to allow their artillery forward enough to engage the Feudal Knights, Cavalry and War Wagons on that flank (without totally exposing the end of the Legion’s deployment to those same Knights of course)…
The primary Roman focus was on the left, with a large column of Auxilia advancing into the wood on the extreme end of the German line to try and clear the light troops from there, and turn the flank of the City Militia Foot before they had chance to advance. A staunch engagement developed in the wood, while the Roman heavy foot on the left with their Armenian Allied Heavy Cavalry in support began a wheeling advance towards the Germans – who were showing a marked reluctance to come forward, instead manoeuvring their line slightly to the Roman right, to create some space between them and the contested wood. Meanwhile the German C-in-C had invested 3 PIPs twice to try and motivate the Swiss, and after taking the Swiss Commander’s second daughter hostage the later finally became acquiescent, agreeing to join the battle by rolling a 5 on his PIP die.
Out on the Roman right flank things were very quiet – the Artillery had pushed forward a short distance and were engaging German Knights at long range over the heads of the Legionaries. On the second or third attempt a magnificent 6-1 was scored on the dice and an unfortunate German Feudal Commander caught a Roman Scorpion Bolt with his chest! With that success a small punitive column of about two cohorts of Legionaries – 3 x Bd(S) – supported by some Auxiliaries – 2 x Ax(S) & 2 x Ps(O) – had set off to the extreme right with their Sub-General on a risky (and as it transpired futile and pointless) mission to try and engage the stationary German War Wagons. Needless to say the first element of Legionaries butted heads with the first War Wagon for about 4 bounds before recoiling, and the remainder milled around in general confusion, either unable to assist in the fight or caught in the TZ of the WWg and lacking PIPs to back out!
A full advance then followed by the German forces and a true ding-dong swinging grind fest developed on the Roman left and in the centre, as German Bd(O), Pk(O), and a couple of Cv(S), inspired by a dastardly Monotheistic Bge(S), toughed it out with the Roman Legionaries, Bd(S), and a couple of Auxilia. Soon in the centre the Swiss were up in support and more Legionaries were engaging, supported by the remaining Auxilia. On the Roman right an aggressive advance had ensued once the Swiss had committed to the fight, with Legionaries heading in towards the centre to try and flank the Swiss phalanx as the balance headed towards the main German cavalry force to engage the assorted Cavalry there (and hopefully avoid most of the Knights)… Meanwhile the Artillery tried to reposition as best it could with whatever PIP scraps came to hand to hopefully engage the German War wagons.
During the ensuing “Scum”, as such fights involving Bd and Pk can best be described, the Swiss General’s pike block became slightly isolated, and he was cut down by some hard working Legionaries! With other casualties inflicted on the Swiss by the right wing Roman troops the Swiss became disheartened then broke with further casualties, their men fleeing the field but for a small handful. The remaining Germans staunchly fought on however, and even local successes in other areas by the Romans could not break their resolve sufficiently…
When time was called the Romans had suffered surprising few casualties, although mostly in the left Command that bore the brunt of the fight… The Germans were still in semi reasonable fighting shape, but were not too far off (about 3 ME) from losing their C-in-C’s command (if the Roman’s could concentrate damage there) – but they still potentially could have done serious damage to the Romans before that if all went well, so the battle was very much in the balance, if somewhat ever so-slightly tilted in the Romans favour. With the broken Swiss command, dead Feudal General, and cumulative losses however the Draw went in Caesennius’ and the Roman’s favour 15-10.
This was a challenging and hard fought game with great opponents and it was in many ways a pity not to be able to fight it to the end to get a decisive conclusion!