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Tyrant: Battles of Carthage versus Syracuse» Forums » Sessions

Subject: Mt Ecnomus: Charging uphill is no fun rss

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Ryan Powers
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This is another session that is part of my (more or less) chronological playthrough of the GBoH series. You can check out the entire blog: GBoH: Taking it from the top.

Chandragupta is off the menu for now, so Tyrant is up again. This time the Battle of Mt. Ecnomus.

Background:

This battle sees Hamilcar Gisgo's army encamped on the southern end of Mount Ecnomus. A minor skirmish leads Agathocles to commit his army and move on the camp, gaining surprise. More Carthaginians are en route, but initially the Carthaginian is faced with issuing a bunch of individual orders or using line commands for the slingers. That's going to make command and control tough for the initial forces.

Historically the slingers held their own long enough for the reinforcements to arrive and Agathocles' army was routed. The reinforcements enter on turn two, so they don't need to hold long.

Looking at the setup, you can see the Syracusan army advancing upslope, the Carthaginian forces dispersed (thus the lack of line commands for anyone but the slingers) and the reinforcements waiting to come onto the board in turn 2.



Turn 1:

Due to the Syracuse side gets to choose a leader to activate first. As I read it, this is not an additional activation, it just allows them to go earlier. The obvious choices are Agathocles leading the Greek Mercenary Corps (the front line of purple infantry) and Eumachus leading the Barbarian Corp (the flanking infantry). I chose Agathocles, as Eumachus' leadership meant he would activate relatively early in any case.

So, up the hill Agathocles goes, along with his hoplites and peltasts. Some of his opposition uses orderly withdrawal and some does not. The goal being to force him to engage only a small # of defenders, or to disrupt his lines if he wants to contact more. In some cases, the peltasts on his right were used to pin opponents in place.

Seems like a simple enough setup, go up tghe hill, run into some light infantry, flatten them. Well let's see 1 cohesion hit for going up the hill. maybe one more for javelin hits on closing so 1-2 so far. Then Pre-shock TQ checks. I didn't roll below a 6 on these fopr Syracuse. Almost every attacking unit took at least one hit, and one of the peltast units routed outright. The hoplites have system superiority vs the light infantry though, so the light guys get predictably pasted. In doing so, the hoplites still take more cohesion hits.

First advance to contact and the front line is more or less spent. Multiple hoplite units are within a point or two of routing. I'd rather not go for momentum and risk a trump, but the whole front line is in danger of being knocked over by a stiff breeze, so momentum it is. Which succeeds, and he is them trumpde by Hamilcar G. himself.

Hamilcar's trump was more about preventing Agathocles form recovering then due to having any specific goals, but there was still prep work to be done. He started to form the heavy troops and cavalry in the rear into something resembling fighting shape, and reface some units to protect against the infantry that were already working their way around his left flank (the barbarians under Eumachus.) His second activation continued the patter set by his first, with more reorganization. he also sent off some light infantry to mop up the weakened peltasts. This was successful and helped drive a wedge between the mercenary hoplites and the barbarians.

Eumachus was up next. With Hamilcar G. having deployed against him, a headlong rush up the hillside was probably not a good idea, so a slower approach was necessitated. His forces still drove off more Carthaginian light infantry, but again, pre-shock TQs were brutal and so while somewhat successful it was more costly then it likely should have been, and much less effective that it had the potential for due to Hamilcar's trump allowing the Carthaginian forces to reposition.

Terillus sent the slingers into action next, loading up some hits on the flanking medium infantry and routing the already wavering Corinthian hoplites. The slingers closed to point blank range against two hoplite units to achieve this. Some of those slingers will likely pay for it next turn, but it was totally worth it to knock out a hoplite unit. The slingers also managed to hit Eumachus himself, but it was merely an annoyance as they only caused him to be finished for the turn, which was already the case.

Agatharcus was up next and did some rallying of the peltasts and reforming of the shaken hoplites. A momentum activation meant more of the same [NOTE: this second activation was illegal, as Hamilcar G.'s trump means that Agatharcus was a bypassed leader)

Demeratus was next, he sent four units of cavalry towards Agatharcus to be put into service against the iompending reinforcements.

Atarbas wrapped up the turn by spectaculary failing to route to light infantry units and sending a third to drive off some mercenary peltasts with javelin fire.

Here is the situation at the end of turn one:


And the turns casualties (total RP for Carthage = 30 / 100 total for Syracuse = 12 / 105):


Turn 2:

Eumachus starts off turn two by driving back two of the slingers and eliminating a third. Then Terrillus returns the favor by sending some of the Greek heavy infantry in Carthaginian service against one of the Celtic medium infantry units, routing the Celts.

Agatharcus went next, redeploying the left side of his infantry to face the incoming reinforcements and the center/right infantry to support the front line of mercenary hoplites. With momentum he sent the cavalry reinforcements Demeratus had shifted to him to cover the flank of the redeployed infantry. And with another momentum he rallied a fleeing peltast unit, and sent another forward to drive off some Carthaginian light infantry. [Couldn't decide if I should try to trump these or not as Carthage. Flipped a coin to determine not to make the attempt]

Reinforcements time. Hamilcar (the other one) brings on the reinforcing cavalry, positioning them to guard the flank of the medium infantry which will be along shortly, and to threaten some of the Syracuse cavalry as needed. A momentum attempt leads to an uneventful dieroll of doom.

Demeratus activates sending some more cavalry to assist others with his first orders, then succeeds in gaining momentum and leads the remainder of his cavalry up the right side of the battle to reinforce the barbarian corps/work the flank.

Bomilcar brings on the rest of the reinforcements in the form of a pile of medium infantry.

Then Atarbas continued the fighting for Carthage in the middle. The slingers were put to work again, this time their sling bullets bouncing harmlessly off the shields of the Greek Mercenary Guard hoplites, but scoring some hits against a unit of Celtic medium infantry. He also sent in some light infantry to tie up said hoplites and medium infantry, and with some good rolling actually routed both of them. (I had expected to rout the medium infantry, and to just tie up the hoplites) His momentum roll failed, a shame for Carthage because it was a prime opportunity to follow up success.

Hamilcal G did his best to follow up the successes of Atarbas, but being positioned with the rear line was limited. He did send his Greek mercenary heavy cavalry against two Celtic medium infantry units (one already routed) destroying one and routing the other. This also left Eumachus engaged. Guess I should have pulled him back, bu tit didn't occur to me that an after combat advance would be an issue for him until it was too late. Also more ineffective slinger action combined with a failed momentum roll.

The two previous failed momentum rolls kept things from snowballing completely out of control for Syracuse. Agathocles pushed the main line forward, driving off some slingers on the left and routing a unit of light infantry on the same flank. He also did a bit of rearranging on the rear line. A momentum roll here would be just the thing to right this ship. But no, he failed as well. Once the dust settled, a unit of peltasts routed off the map for Syracuse.

Situation at the end of turn two:


New casualties, putting the rout point score at (37/105 for Syracuse and 37/100 for Carthage)


Turn 3:

Eumachus led the remnants of his infantry against the Greek mercenary heavy cavalry that had done so much damage last turn and routed them. Since he started in a ZOC, all he could do was initiate chock. I considered waiting with him, but it looked like I could damage the HC with his MI, and then have Demeratus' cavalry finish them off. Instead, the infantry got the job done on their own with a roll of a 9 (with his charisma then putting it off the chart.)

Terillus rolled to attempt a line command and failed, so was limited to three orders. He moved himself, rallied one unit of light infantry and sent the Segasta hoplites against the Corcyra hoplites that had been pushing forward. The defenders fled upon being charged by fresh heavy infantry.

Demeratus moved the cavalry uphill some more and then used momentum to dress the lines. Without really thinking of the mechanics, I was thinking I could push the light cavalry up first and then follow up with the heavies, but for the reasons discussed on another blog post that's not how it works out. Instead the lighter units take more effort to get up the hill than the heavies.

Hamilcar led the reinforcing Carthaginian cavalry against the refaced Syracusans. Routing the Greek Mercenary Heavy Cavalry with a flanking attack by some Numidian Light Cavalry (refacing to counter would have exposed them to a similar attack from heavy cavalry instead) and did some damage to some hoplites and lancers.

Bomilcar also got his licks in sending in as many medium infantrey as he could manage. For the cost of one medium infantry unit, he wiped out a unit of Syracusan milita as well as some of their supporting peltasts.

Agatharcus went next for Syracuse, moving over to help out with the main push. That attack pushed into Atarbas, finishing him for the turn (should have withdrawn, just forgot) and routing two light infantry. Pretty good results, but the main infantry line is looking might shaky without reinforcements that have been delegated to covering the rear.

Hamilcar G. activated next and had mixed luck. He send a unit of Etruscan heavy infantry vs some Celtic medium infantry. Seemed like a good idea at the time. The Etruscans botched the charge roll, then rolled a zero in shock, and promptly broke and ran in humiliation. On the other hand, he sent some Greek heavy infantry up to continue pressing the Spartan hoplites, taking some hits, but routing the Spartans in the process. On a less exciting note, he rallied the Greek heavy cavalry and moved up two units of hoplites on his own.

It was up to Agathocles to finish off the turn, and hopefully tip the balance back. He started off by sending in some epilektoi and the Greek mercenary guard heavy cavalry to drive off as many of Hamilcar's horsemen as possible, and they succeeded in clearing out a unit of Numidian light cavalry and forcing some Libyan/Phoenician heavy cavalry to turn tail and run. Her also started reforming hte main line pressing forward.

He continued trying to put things back in order by keeeping up the rebuilding of the main line. This included driving off some slingers with his hoplites, and sent two units of peltast against two units of light infantry with mixed results. One unit of peltasts ran broke apart trying to put together the charge, and while the other drove off the opposing light infantry.

While on a roll he pressed on using his Samnite heavy infantry to rout some light infantry and another to wipe out some of the surprisingly dangerous slingers. The rest of his third and final activation was spent rallying the slingers that had routed on the charge (twice!) and clearing up some cohesion hits.

Situation at the end of turn three:


New casualties, putting the rout point score at (84/105 for Syracuse and 53/100 for Carthage) [Accidentally left a Syracuse LP out, so there are 5 points not represented in the image]


Turn 4:

Eumachus led off the turn for Syracuse, cleaning up some cohesion hits on some peltasts as well as the Samnite heavy infantry and Celtic mediums. A momentum activation would have seen those same units thrown back into the fray, but he failed his roll [I would strongly have considered trumping him as well, but it didn't become relevant].

Terillus activated on the other side of the battle, pushing back the Greek mercenary light cavalry with slingers, and then charging it with the Carthaginian sacred band cavalry, routing the light horsemen. He also kept the hoplite engagement going on that end of the line, losing his unit of hoplites while the Syracusan militia held on by its very fingertips. They may have held off the Segasta infantry, but the Carthaginian Sacred Band cavalry that just routed the light cavalry was now in a position to threaten their flank or even rear, so the Syracuse position has gone from tenuous to darn near catastrophic.

Agatharcus had a pretty good activation using some peltasts to drive off the Carthaginian heavy cavalry that threatened what was left of the left end of the main line. [That roll of zero in the combat earlier left the cavalry in rough shape, otherwise they would likely have stuck around to contest the move] He then moved down to take personal control of the refaced units to the rear, using his epilektoi to drive back Hamilcar and what was left of his heavy cavalry. While he was at it, he rallied the Greek Mercenary light cavalry.

In short with only four orders to give, he stabilized one end of the main line and one end of the rear line. A successful momentum roll opened up the possibility of stabilizing the rest of the rear line, but Hamilcar G. trumped him. Not only does this mean that Agatharcus is done, but there will be a decent number of bypassed leaders who will therefore have their activations limited.

Having trumped, Hamilcar G. was up next. The main point of trumping, was to stop the Syracusans from continuing to right the ship. But still, there was work to be done. He sent in one of his two hex Greek mercenary hoplite units against the battered Corinthian vets, and the vets broke and ran instead of facing the relatively fresh opponents. The remainder of his activation was spent in rallying the mass of troops streaming away from the battle (presumably hoping to take cover *up* Mt Ecnomus.) His rallying attempts rallied three different units of light infantry and one single hex unit of Greek heavies. While he also caused one other unit of LI to completely disintegrate, it was still very successful. His momentum roll failed, so that was it.

With Hamilcar G stopping the Syracusan recovery and resuming pressure on the main line, Bomilcar took over to keep up the pressure on the reversed line. He got the veteran medium infantry that had driven of the Syracusan militia back in some semblance of order, and sent a fresh unit up the hillside to flank the already engaged Syracusan Guard peltasts. This fresh unit struggled to reach the appropriate heights, and then promptly turned tail and ran right back down instead of charging. Luckily for Bomilcar, the already engaged medium infantry proved up to the task all on their own, and the peltasts were wiped out even without the help of the new unit.

Having recovered somewhat from climbing the hills, Demeratus and his cavalry went into action against the Carthaginian left. A unit of Syracusan Kn flanked some Greek light cavalry and failed to break them, almost falling apart in the process. Meanwhile another Syracusan Kn, charged some Greek heavy cavalry. The Greeks held and the Syracusans fled. [In both of the previous two battles, a 9 was rolled for Syracuse during the charge...] The remaining Syracusan Kn attempted to flank the Greek heavy infantry holding that side of the field, but the Greeks were able to reface to meet them. This meant that Demeratus' own Greeks (light cavalry in this case) were instead brought against the flanks of the infantry, routing the unit in concert with the heavier Syracusan cavalry.

Atarbas activated for the final Cartahginian activation of the turn. He scooted some slingers out of the way (with some ineffective firing as part of the movement) to enable him to send a unit of Greek mercenary hoplites against the already roughed up Syracusan militia on the Carthaginian left. The militia withstood the charge, but collapsed in the ensuing melee. o ensure his own flank was well protected, he reorganized the Sacred band infantry. On the other side of the main line, he softened up the Samnite heavies with some javelins and then sent in the foot sacred bad, routing the Samnites handily.

At this point Syracuse had exceeded its withdrawal number, but the turn wasn't over. Carthage was hurting too. Agathocles activated to end things one way or the other. Rallying the Samnites that had just been routed and the Syracusan Kn that had bounced off of the Greek heavy cavalry earlier. This was more for the look of things as they would be useless until a next turn that was never going to come, but Agathocles was more interested in enabling shock than in issuing orders.

He used the mercenaries peltasts on his far left to engage the Greek hoplites that had just driven off his militia. With the Greeks already banged up it would take only slightly above average rolls to eliminate them. And that is exactly how it transpired, the hoplites broke when the fresher light troops pushed hard enough.

Using peltasts against heavies along the rest of the line went less well. Two were sent in, one to flank another unit of Greek mercenaries, and another sacrificial/diversionary one to ensure that the flank of the Greeks wasn't covered. Those Greeks also had Syracusan hoplites to their front. IN the ensuing melee, a unit of Syracusan epilktoi was lost for only a final unit of the Balearic slingers. A failed momentum roll made the results official.

Situation at the end of turn four:


New casualties, putting the rout point score at (140/105 for Syracuse and 99/100 for Carthage)


Thoughts:

A different roll ore two in the final hoplite battles and it could easily have seen both sides right around 20 points over their rout totals. Probably should have thrown Agathocles into one of the fights for the bonus. Why not if you're about to lose otherwise and a bloody draw of even slight victory is possible.

This battle was a blast, and I'll need to try it again at some point against a live opponent.

Also, I have never seen the pre-shock charge rolls as brutal as this time around. Not just in number of failures, with a lot of TQ5 troops, failures are going to happen, but with so many failures being 8's or 9's. It mostly seemed to hit Syracuse, but Carthage took a decent beating on those rolls too. Looking at my notes, it was almost even overall but botching a whole string of them in the first surge put Syracuse behind tempo-wise for the rest of the fight. Losing an activation with Atarbas in the mid-game helped swing things back to almost parity though.
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Jon
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Glad you liked it. It did seem like fun.

And it is always interesting to see someone playing a favourite game of mine just to see how they go about things. I am taking notes ....

ninja
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Ryan Powers
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Capt_S wrote:
Glad you liked it. It did seem like fun.

And it is always interesting to see someone playing a favourite game of mine just to see how they go about things. I am taking notes ....

ninja


My initial play was to push harder as Syracuse to stay a bit farther ahead of the incoming Carthaginian reinforcements. But with terrible charge rolls that first turn put me essentially a turn behind schedule, leading to the divided force solution which ended badly.
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Mark Drake
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Ryan,

Excellent battle report--Carthage by one!

I also just discovered your GBoH blog.Got it bookmarked to read thru.Looking forward to reading more of your AAR's in future.

2GG to you sir!

Thx,
Mark
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Ryan Powers
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drakester wrote:
Ryan,

Excellent battle report--Carthage by one!

I also just discovered your GBoH blog.Got it bookmarked to read thru.Looking forward to reading more of your AAR's in future.

2GG to you sir!

Thx,
Mark


Thanks. I'm looking forward to update my chronological list once Hoplite hits.
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