Sunday, April 21, 2013

Battle of Asculum, South Bay Game Club April 20th

Pyrrhus of Epirus and allies vs the Roman Republic using Scutarii.  The battle was fought at the South Bay Game Club meeting in Saratoga.

 The rules used were Scutarii.  Game scale 1mm = 2 paces (one inch = 50 paces), Each base = 250 men in four ranks(there is an alternative game scale where each base represents 500 men in eight ranks) or 5 elephants, each turn is about 15 minutes.  Figures are a mixture of Baccus, Rapier, Heroics and Ros, and Irregular 6mm ranges.     

The opposing forces:
Four Roman legions and four allied legions under the command of Publius Decius Mus.
20 units of Hastati, 20 units of Princepes, 10 units of Triarii, 20 units of light infantry, 2 units of Roman cavalry. 6 units of allied cavalry.
About 35,000 infantry and 4000 cavalry.   2000 figures.
 4 units of lance armed cavalry, 1 unit of Greek heavy cavalry, 1 unit of Greek light cavalry, 2 units of Tarantine and Italian heavy cavalry, 1 unit of Tarantine and Italian light cavalry.   2 units of Macedonian phalangites (2000 men each), 2 units of poor quality Tarantine phalangites, 6 units of other phalangites, 4 units of light archers, 1 unit of light slingers, 4 units of elephants, 25 units of mercenary and Italian infantry.
35,000 infantry, 4500 cavalry, 19 elephants.   2400 figures.

The Romans used their standard deployment with the legions in the center, the allied cavalry on the left and the Roman cavalry on the right.

 The Roman Army

The Greeks and Italians formed up with the half the elephants, the Greek cavalry, and the lance armed cavalry on the right, then starting with a unit of mercenary infantry they alternated pike and mercenary/Italian infantry in the center.  Starting on the right were the two Macedonian phalanx units then a regular phalanx unit, the two poor quality Tarantine phalanx units, and five more phalanx units.  The remaining Italian infantry formed up in three lines on the left with the Italian cavalry on the left flank.

The Greek and Italian army.
The two Roman cosuls.  James Sullivan on left, Kirk Bollinger on right.   James was Publius Decius Mus, Kirk was Publius Sulpicius Saverrio
Alan Sissenwen Alan commanded the Roman left flank
The Greek and Italian commanders.  From left Christopher, Robert Packard, and Dan Rygasewicz.   Robert was Pyrrhus, Dan commanded the Italians,   and Christopher the center
 Another view of the Roman Army
 The Greek and Italian army
 Other end of the Greek and Italian army

The battle would begin with an advance by both armies.  The light troops started skirmishing with each other by the second turn.   On the Greek right their cavalry and elephants engaged the opposing cavalry and after a couple of turns routed them.   In the center the Greeks charged with their phalanx and supporting infantry and drove off the Roman skirmishers, suffering a few casualties from their javelins.   The two armies would engage in combat for several turns.  The Roman second line would relieve the first after a couple of turns.   Eventually the two poor quality Tarantine phalanx units would break creating a hole in the battle line that the Romans started to exploit.   The Romans sent part of their light infantry  and Triarii to the flanks to try and stop the opposing cavalry from sweeping around around their flanks.   The two battle lines continued to engage in combat and eventually broke several Roman units.  This caused a massive series of routs as other units so exhausted from combat fled with them.   Though the Greeks had won the battle the damage to their army had been extensive with several of their units having broken also.    Pyrrhus was heard to mutter "We cannot afford another victory like this."

We started the game about 11:00 and finished by 3:00 with a half hour or so break for lunch.  The tables were in a five foot across by 8 1/2 foot wide arrangement or about 3000 paces by 5200 paces ( a bit less than 4km wide by 2.25km, 2.5 miles x 1.3 miles).  The opposing armies started out about 2 feet apart.  There were no significant terrain features per the account of the battle used for this re-fight.   There are a number of conflicting ancient sources describing the battle.  According to one source the Romans were able to punch through the Greek line at the same place they did during the game.  
 The Roman army begins it s first turn.
 End of the Roman first move
 End of the Greek and Italian first move.
Greek cavalry engages allied cavalry.
 End of turn 2.  The light infantry of both sides had engaged in a brief skirmish prior to the Greek battle line closing with the Hastati
 Other end of the battle 2nd turn
2nd turn.  White dice are used to keep track of damage to units
The Roman second line has relieved the first line.   Instead of moving bases we shifted damage to the second rank stands.  Note the Italians adjusted their battle line to mimic the Romans.
The Greek cavalry starts to sweep around the Roman left flank.
Turn 4.  The Romans have punched a hole through the center of the Greek line
Italian cavalry starts to move around the Roman right flank.   One unit of Roman cavalry fought valiantly to the last man trying to hold the line.
Final turn of the game.  Roman right flank.  Roman morale has failed with only a few units not fleeing.

The center
 Roman left flank


Prufrock said...

Impressive number of a figures, and a fine looking game. Are these your own rules?

William Butler said...

the rules are ones I wrote years ago. I am re-typing them into a micorsoft word document.

Ed the THW Guy said...

Very impressive display of painted lead Bill. looks like a fun game.