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Subject: Heraclea Turn #3 rss

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Dan Monette

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Turn 3
Laevinus feels confident as he surveys the Roman center. Although he has lost contact with both Drusus and Falco, last reports showed neither flank in serious danger. Drusus had been driven back across the river, but his diversion had allowed the VE and LG troops an opportunity to damage and seal off the Thessalonian HC. On the left Falco had seemingly broken the spirit of the LC opposing him, and was positioned to flank the MI that was engaged with the LG troops to their front. The center would be decisive – he was confident that his LG troops could break the phalanx line. One question remained, what was he to do about those elephants? No matter, they surely will impress the citizens of Rome as he parades them in chains during his inevitable Triumph.

Pyrrhus sensed the battles decision point had been reached. The next actions he took would decide if his expedition in Italy would continue or if he could even survive the day. On his left Megacles HC was intact but totally screened off from the LG flank. To his right Philocles meager remaining troops could only hope to prevent Falco from driving into Milons flank and rear. In the center his phalanx was bracing to receive the inevitable LG charge, and although he had never seen them break he was not sure how long they could pin Laevinus forces. The die had been cast, the battle now rested at the feet of the 20 elephants he sent forward to break the advancing LG momentum. If they could delay the impending phalanx engagement he may be able to detach Leonatus from the PH troops and have him lead the last remaining offensive troops, the HI, and hope he could break the already engaged Roman right.

(EIO) Pyrrhus elephants crash into the LG troops causing mass confusion and unfortunately for Laevinus two LG units rout before the charging tuskers and the cohesion of his line is broken. The Prefects spring into action and immediately redress the gap in the Roman line while repositioning the available VE in an attempt to distract the elephants. Both Drusus and Falco are entranced by the drama unfolding in the Roman center, even at this distance they can sense their horses unease in the presence of the lumbering giants. Sensing his opportunity Philocles charges his remaining forces into Falcos uneasy mounts, and in the swirling combat that ensues he drives the remaining RC back across the river and seemingly fleeing the battlefield in panic. Exhausted but elated, Philocles praises the small remaining group of LC around him and breaths a sigh of relief.

Pyrrhus notes Philocles victory as well, but he has no time to savor it as the desperate LG troops throw themselves at the bogged down elephant formation with unexpected results. Several elephants are wounded, but in their panic they rampage and disperse two LG cohorts and crash headlong in the spears of a defending phalanx line before falling in the space between the two opposing lines.

With the RC threat eliminated, Milon urges his MI on to try and break the LG cohorts opposing him leaving both sides exhausted and on the verge of collapse. After watching the first EL fall, a heroic Tribune leads a second charge against the huge beasts, eliminating a second unit and overrunning a hapless group of Cretan archers as well. Falco is able to rally a few troops who turn and run off a careless group of LC pursuing them. Unfortunately for Falco this is all he can do, his force is shot and he will spend the rest of the battle screening the TR at the rivers edge.

Socrates felt helpless. He was furious that he could only watch as the LI under his command was slaughtered and constantly falling back with his remaining slingers and archers did not better his mood. The phalanx to his right was under heavy pressure and he wanted to help, but how? Spotting a lone troop of HC milling about to the rear of the phalanx line, Socrates knew what he had to do. Rallying the HC to his side he lead them in a charge into the teeth of a LG unit trying to flank the leftmost phalanx unit – and the battle raged on.

Leaonatus follows Pyrrhus instructions and drives his HI into the Roman troops that had taken on the elephants, obliterating a VE unit and routing an already weakened LG cohort. A crack in the Roman line was beginning to break and expand, the Roman right was about to be cut off from the main army. At this exact moment Megacles once again spurred his HC into action, driving off several VE before engaging the deployed LG cohorts on the Roman left flank. He hadn’t broken through, but the pressure was on.

Laevinus immediately acknowledges the threat posed by Leonatus advancing HI and leads a LG strike against them. Leonatus proves to be no match for the Roman charge and falls back with a few routing HI units. The stage is set for Laevinus to stabilize the Roman right, yet the arrival of Pyrrhus and his body guard cause the Romans to pause (momentum fails). Pyrrhus rallies the dejected HI and leads the remaining MI and HI back into battle against Laevinus weary legionnaires – driving off two LG cohorts and a screening VE unit. The exhausted troops pause to regain their breath while Pyrrhus surveys the gaping hole in the Roman right line (Momentum fails again). End turn 3. Pyrrhus leads 69-46.
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