The QQ25 Assault
[Neutral Commentator alter ego]: “The Roman was able to accomplish all 3 of his goals. He took the NC convincingly. Mines gave him an avenue into the NC, but that avenue became untenable when the Judaean Artillery shifted to cover the Breaches. Mine damage to the Antonia Fortress and Temple outer Wall was severe, but the Roman could not follow up on it. The Ramp was no cause for concern, as the LC Reserves would have stuffed any attack by only one half of a Legion.
“Losses for the Roman were relatively high. 50 VP’s came from units that had no business being lost. Rams were used extremely well to open a huge Breach that was away from the Judaean Artillery. Flanking maneuvers were necessary to exploit it, but the net effect was to capture Redoubts and destroy Judaean units as they defended them. The FrankenLegion worked well to reduce positions, and in conjunction with Titus on the Tower, resulted in two Forts being captured.
“Losses for the Judaean were extraordinarily high, as they chose a very aggressive defense with numerous counterattacks and Sorties outside the City Walls. With 24 Reserve units generated and 90% of all dead units coming back for Phase II, the Judaean will actually start stronger than he did in Phase I. A more conservative defense, however, may have been able to deny the Roman control of the NC. Units in the Clear outside of the City were easily destroyed. Those units in Built-ups would have been a lot tougher deal with.
“Damage to the Walls, Forts and Bastions was considerable. Initial Mining was successful enough to preclude the need for Rams on damaged hexes. Rubbling the Fort in the middle of the LC Wall will make any assault there much less expensive as the assault force approaches. Good follow up Mining and a major commitment to take the LC will be necessary if the Roman wants those 15 Levy Capacity Points ! It is probably too early for the Roman to assault the Temple. More damage is needed there. As well, the front needs to be expanded. The TC would be the logical choice for Phase II attention, as it grabs enough Levy Capacity to continue into Phase III and allows the Roman to protect the NC against re-capture from the Redoubts.
“Roman assault tactics were both conventional and extreme. Rams concentrated on Forts and Rubbled them. Towers moved forward, but were used more for protection than attack. The FrankenLegion worked well to destroy Judaean units on the Walls (and then moving away), but fell short when it came to moving, Escalading, and capturing flank positions. Command Control was not available to allow Escalades to be formed at Night. Had Lepidus or Ceriallus been able to move west and given their Velitae some help, the potential for a breakout into the City and against Redoubts would have been considerably better. All in all, the experiment was instructive, as it pointed out the value of convention (belly to belly fighting when the Roman can dominate) and the potential for movement (when significant Missile fire can shift 8-10 hexes in one turn). Better unit allocation would have put more of Cestius’s units with Titus. Roman usage of Testudine looked … uncertain.
“Judaean defensive tactics were very aggressive. Units were spent to kill Romans without regard to their own survival. Massed Artillery, even at long range, turned out to be a killing force. Zealots and Leaders/benYair stonewalled the Roman assault through the PP17 Breach. Holding the last NC Reserves as long as possible had merit. Sharp counterattacks took their toll and denied territory. Better reserve management in more defensible positions might have made the Roman’s job tougher. Denying the Roman an attempt to Rubble MM31 was huge, even though QQ25 fell.
“The Roman wins Phase I without crippling losses and has enough potential to make Phase II something other than a straight TC attack. The Judaean will defend in Phase II with shorter lines, more units and against weakened Legions. It will be interesting to see how this affects the Roman approach to Phase II and the Judaean response.
Best to all –
[Neutral Commentator alter ego] - Alan
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The QQ25 Assault
[Judaean alter ego]: Sure gave Titus and his boys a bloody nose, eh ?
“I thoroughly enjoyed playing this with no holds barred. It takes a lot of moxie to throw so many men to their death. While fun, I do not think this is the best way to play the Judaean.
“The XV Legion (Phrygius) was really hung out to dry. Long range Artillery fire and imaginative LOF’s resulted in some great shots. Augmenting them with Regulars resulted in high VP casualties. The Roman need to protect Siege Engines and Artillery forced them to protect … and pay the price. Breaches allowed me to move units into threatening positions while keeping them out of LOS.
“The PP17 Fort and the Walls near it were toast as soon as the Rams moved up. It took some time for the Roman to make his Breaches. I took advantage of this by using Regulars to man the Walls and kill Archers. Losses were high, but the Roman Archer strength next Phase will be severely depleted. Meanwhile, two whole Legions were idle and Phrygius was being mauled. Ben Giora and ben Yair created the necessary “3-stack in the Built-ups” to deny any ground attack of consequence.
“The FrankenLegion seemed to be everywhere and anywhere. I lucked out in the end by getting a Militia to Rally and block movement into the Psephinus Tower … and a great counterattack in Turn 9 took back a Fort. With 8 Redoubts facing the NC (instead of 4), the Roman must commit his units in Phase II very differently if he wants to avoid a NC re-capture.
“My boys in the LC made a stand … it was not a very good one. One or two Archers over there may have slowed things down a bit, but the ultimate result was not to be denied.
“Daylight turns went as expected. I think I could have used Night turns better. This would have required more units … which could have possibly come from that last Reserve levy … but probably not. If the Roman Breach exploitation was going to be stopped, the units used to make Sorties were the ones to do it. Much as I enjoyed giving Phrygius a hard time, those 10 lost Regulars would probably have been better used defending and shooting out of Built-ups.
“Losses were high (ben Shimon, Cauldron x 7, Cat x 2, Onager, Ballista, 7-7 x 11, 5-7 x 46, 2-6 x 46). That is 114 units, less ben Shimon, who will come back automatically. 103 will return. More importantly, my Reserve pool is exactly 58 units, which allows me to raise the full compliment in both the LC and TC next Phase. The Roman challenge has just begun !
[Judaean alter ego] Alan
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The QQ25 Assault
[Roman alter ego]: When will I learn to not do stupid things ?
“Ok, ok … I put too many units with Cestius. I moved Phrygius up and left him open to Sorties. I gave myself no chance to Rubble MM31. I took … and lost … a critical Redoubt. I had units move along the north Wall without anyone to tell them how to build ladders. I left a Tower undefended, exposed units in the Clear at Night and fell one Missile Factor short at least 10 times. 299 VP’s lost … good Lord, how could I be so inept ???
XII Legion: 7-8 x 3; 6-8 x 3; 5-8 x 2; 3-9 x 5; 2-10 x 1; 1-9 x 1 = 67 VP’s (15 Units)
V Legion: 7-8 x 1; 6-8 x 1; 5-8 x 3; 3-9 x 5; Tower x 1 = 63 VP’s (11 Units)
X Legion: 5-8 x 1; 3-9 x 4; 2-10 x 3; 1-9 x 2; Tower x 1 = 45 VP’s (11 Units)
XV Legion: 7-8 x 4; 6-8 x 5; 5-8 x 5; 3-9 x 7; 2-10 x 4; 1-9 x 2; Cat x 1 = 124 VP’s (28 Units)
TOTAL: 7-8 x 8; 6-8 x 9; 5-8 x 11; 3-9 x 7; 2-10 x 8; 1-9 x 5; Tower x 2; Cat x 1 = 299 VP’s (65 Units)
FHI – Start with 120 Units (720 VP’s). End with 92 Units (77%) and 555 VP’s (77% of Combat Strength). Replacements should bring Phase II at start OoB up to about 85% of total FHI strength. .Leppy and Ceriallus are fairly intact. Phrygius is going to be depleted.
Archers – Start with 72 units (156 Missile Factors). End with 38 Units (53%) and 83 Missile Factors (53%). Replacements should bring Phase II at start OoB up to about 75% of unit strength and 75% of Missile Factor strength.
The FrankenLegion works. There is a cost, but applied correctly, it is a devastating battering ram that ensures the capture of any single hex. Not only that, it can shift its focus 8-10 hexes, left or right, in any given turn. This lateral movement and the threat it poses for exploitation is something that deserves greater study and application.
Too many Testudine do not work. There will always be vulnerable Romans that are not in Testudo formation. Keeping too many units in Testudo only reduces mobility and sacrifices punch. Keeping a couple is enough.
Rams work. Three of them do the job against any Fort. Once the Fort is Rubbled, combined arms can take territory.
Moving up in the face of massed Judaean Artillery, even in secondary or tertiary range, does not work. It pays to know the LOS Table.
Attrition works. It is possible to kill enough Judaeans to flank the NC.
Command Control does not work … at Night. The only drawback at Night is the +1 during Rally for loss of it. This gives the Roman a whole new opportunity for Night attacks, since he can move adjacent to units in the Built-ups and still make his attack.
Titus works. Especially doubled on a Tower and with a Cohort adjacent. The +1,+1 means that Continuous Combat is possible 50% of the time.
Forts defended by a single Archer do not work. If a counterattack is possible at Night, when such an attack is most likely to occur, a bad result (17 – 50% of the time) loses both the Archer and the hex.
Escalades work. Especially against undefended Walls when units can Advance during the Melee Phase.
Un-manned Towers do not work. They get Wrecked !
Continuous combat works. And works … and works … and works …
Counting every factor does not work. It takes too much time and will drive you crazy. Move everyone up and go from there. If you fall one factor short, then roll a 6.
Leaders work. Use them to Rally and provide CC rather than attack … unless you really need them to attack.
I knew most of this before I started and still screwed up. But I learned … and re-learned … a LOT !
The overall flow of the Roman assault was something of a surprise. I never thought Phrygius would take such a beating. On the other hand, I had no idea that the FrankenLegion would be so successful stretching the Judaean line. Had Phrygius been a little more conservative and Command Control a little better around Titus, I think losses would have been less and the north Wall more seriously threatened. I had the units to build the Escalades, but not enough Command Control to allow them to do so.
Holding the Towers back rather than moving them up to the east Wall as soon as possible kept FHI casualties down. Once a Tower gets pinned against the Wall, it becomes a magnet for the double Cauldron attack. At that point, it means feeding units into a bad situation to save the Tower. It also allowed the FL to move as a concentrated force without worrying about Towers being in the way. One of the things Fred Schachter (Game designer) advises is to know when to back off of the Wall … I made an effort to enable my Legionnaires to do that and I think it is something that works … but can be done better.
How about those Rams, eh ? Four Rammers made short work of a Fort and opened up a 5 hex Breach for the Legions to pour through. With the QQ25 Breaches unassailable, it was critical to open a hole they could exploit. Once the time came, they just walked through.
I tried to use Titus (and his +1 for melee) to better effect than I normally do. He seemed to roll right down the line, taking Redoubts and allowing the FL to support his efforts. I am happy with the results and look forward to improving upon them.
I found some weird LOF’s out there. The Judaean Artillery around the Temple and Antonia Fortress were taking shots over Walls, through Breaches and at any Tower within range. My Roman Artillery found some nice shots at the Judaeans moving outside the City though. I had to clear the LOF in the Movement Phase to make sure they were not shooting through more than one unit, but even with Indirect Fire and long range, they were devastating. And a good thing, as there were precious few Archers around !
Cestius did a great job knocking down the Fort in the LC. Now what ? Gotta leave one Legion to defend the NC, so a 3 Legion assault on the LC is going to be a bit testy. Hmmm …
Can you believe how many Roman units died after the Judaean had “lost” the Phase ? This puts incredible pressure on the Roman. The fact that Judaean men and equipment can be spent so casually and to such good effect means that the Roman is forced to balance a mindset of exploitation against one of force conservation. I lost a Tower because I wanted to take Built-ups. I lost two 7-8’s in the final Judaean Melee Phase. I lost a Redoubt in Turn 9. That is a 44 point swing ! So much effort to gain and hold … gone for naught to desperation attacks.
As far as taking a City Area on the fly … forget it. Count hexes, apply MP’s, and you will see it is darn near impossible. It would take at least 3 Turns to get 10FHI into an Area and occupy 15 Built-up hexes … even with 3 entry points. It is a trap that only a foolish Roman would fall into.
One last point. Solitaire games are nothing like playing against a real opponent. Too many decisions are biased. I had the benefit of Aaron looking over my shoulder, and it is he who pays me a great compliment with his brutal criticism. While I do not agree with all of what he has said, it has kept my own bias for Roman success within reasonable limits. In fact, I believe that both of us want to establish a viable Roman strategy for Victory. Neither of us is willing to do so if it means a wimpy Judaean defense. I take great pleasure in his comment about the Redoubt re-capture … “convincingly done”.
So … the Roman wins Phase I. The direction of Phase II has, at least, good options. Perhaps too many options. I will be thinking about them, but I might ask, which would you choose ?
Steve ? Gwen ? Pete ? Mikko ? June ? Enrico ? Fraser ? Peter ? Chad ? Ken ? Aaron ? Greg ? Ricardo ? Jeff ? Erin ? My Aaron ?
If you hit the thumbs up, you must have some thoughts.
Best to all –
[Roman alter ego] Alan
PS My alter egos may convince me to go back and comment on each Turn. That is, after all, why I posted them as individual Sessions. I tried to keep comments short at the time to make them readable. A last round of reflection may point out significant insight into strategy, tactics and ... mistakes.
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