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Cannae Experiment 
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Joined: Fri May 30, 2014 1:53 am
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Post Cannae Experiment
CANNAE EXPERIMENT

I want to try and model the battle of Cannae. To do this, I had to think of a way that the Carthaginians could slowly give ground. So I came up with some scenario specific rules to try. I don’t think these should be universal rules by any means, but I thought there was a need for special rules to illustrate how the Carthaginians intentionally gave ground to buy time, without routing.


1. Fall Back(only Spanish/Gaulish regular infantry): prior to rolling for combat results morale tests (but after calculating other factors), the Carthaginian player may elect to withdraw 1” for 1 combat bonus, up to a maximum of three. If morale test is passed, withdraw number of inches as selected, if test fails, route as normal. SIP points may be used to reroll test as normal.
2. Break off (only Spanish/Gaulish regular infantry): The Carthaginian player may elect to break off from combat and withdraw 1 – 3” by taking a command test. If the test is failed, continue combat as normal
3. Follow up (Romans only): In the event that the Carthaginians Fall Back or Withdraw using the rules above, the Romans may attempt to follow up. Roll 1D6 and subtract the number of inches the Spanish/Gauls fell back, and move forward that number of inches. If that results in the Romans contacting the Carthaginian unit, combat will continue in the following round with all applicable bonuses (including fighting in extra ranks) as if the Carthaginian player had not moved.


Both armies are just under 4000 points, played on a 5x9 table.

Carthage:
Left Flank:
Mago
10 Spanish light cavalry
8 Spanish cavalry
8 Gaulish medium cavalry
12 Gaulish light cavalry

Center:
Hannibal & army standard
Elephant
10 Spanish skirmishers
12 Skirmishers
10 Balaeric slingers
24 Libyan veterans
24 Gauls
24 Spanish
18 Gauls
24 Libyans
Elephant
12 skirmishers

Right:
Maharbal
3 x 6 Numidian cavalry
12 skirmishers

ROMANS
Left:
Consul
3x 8 Allied cavalry

Consul
Left center: 24 allied Infantry
Center:2 legions (only one has armor) each:
12 Leves
2 x 15 Hastati
2 x 15 Princepe
1 x 15 Triarii
Right Center: 30 allied infantry

Right:
3 x 8 Roman cavalry


I will report and try and get a few pics over the next few days (assuming interest)


Wed Jul 16, 2014 12:31 am
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Post Re: Cannae Experiment
This is a good discussion point for one of the classic battles from history, easily identifiable and still used in officer training today I believe.

Within War & Conquest (the main rules) having a fall back option created a whole host of extra rule situations, and the Push and Shove bonus simulates that (as mentioned in the rules) so it was not necessary.

Cannae does offer a unique situation - and I do think it needs to be treated as a historical scenario, rather than 'general gameplay rules' - I had/have a draft of some rules for this ( called fall back and push back) but never got as far as being happy with them. So this is a welcome return to a battle I have read a lot about, but never actual refought on the table except in theory (fought Zama many times)

Looking at your ideas
I think it should be mandatory for the gauls to fall back if they lose the combat but pass the combat morale test. The Romans should be dragged forward with no choice to hold (although theres a discussion to be had regarding the Romans passing a command test to hold - however we must remember Hannibal expected the gauls to give ground and the romans to remain in the combat, so the command test to hold is very debatable!)
To represent this with out rules each time the gauls lose one or more models, the formation could be pushed back one rank depth. This would represent the Romans stepping across the Gauls that have already been slain. The erosion of the Gauls was gradual, and theres possibly a discussion to be had around allowing gauls from other formations being allowed to 'refill' the formation in combat.

To break off, failure should result in some penalty, there should be nothing for free.
Follow up seems to favour the unit breaking off which it shouldn't.

When all is said and done however, ensuring the Carthaginian centre can hold (commanders and SIPS), will be enough to allow the outflanking moves that resulted in victory - indeed that's part of the theory behind 'push and shove' that the units do not need to be moved, but we can imagine the battle rolling back and forth offering the time to move an overlap of forces to flank. It might be as simple as that, large wide formations of gauls to soak up and hold the romans lines, and then get the cavalry round the flanks and rear - indeed its one of the reasons why I never completed those extra rules off - are they actually necessary? A refight or two should tell.

I would consider combining the three units of 6 numidians into two units of 9 or similar

Let us know how it goes and further comment most welcome*

Footnote edit having reread my post, with historical scenarios, to some extent theres no point in directly recreating history because we know what happened, so, as much depends on the gauls and their morale, I would be tempted to deploy and refight the battle with no amendments first, and see if the rules as written give a reasonable result.
With other historical scenarios I have done, rather than Battle Objectives, I have created different plausible variation of deployments or victory conditions. (See Meggido in WSS magazine for example) this then encourages more 'what ifs' and reasons to refight the battle multiple times, when you are not quite sure what you will need to achieve or how you will deploy..

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Rob
http://www.scarabminiatures.com
www.warandconquest.co.uk


Wed Jul 16, 2014 11:21 am
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Post Re: Cannae Experiment
Phew - sorry :oops: that became a long post - I just got excited about the history of the battle and recreating on the table top :mrgreen:

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Wed Jul 16, 2014 11:28 am
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Post Re: Cannae Experiment
The thinking on the push back/follow up:
1) Even if the Carthos fall back the max 3" - the Romans have a 50-50 chance to contact
2) If they don't make contact - they will be in charge range anyway, so get their pilums again
3) If they do make contact - they get their shove bonus
4) Either way, with the maniples, they are starting with an advantage anyway


Re the Numidians:
I thought the smaller units would be able to dance around the formed units easier
Keep them off balance, etc.

We'll see.
It should be fun


Wed Jul 16, 2014 3:09 pm
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Post Re: Cannae Experiment
What about Strategic Advantage, if the Carthaginians win, they can charge the Romans which isn't what happened. Repeated charges may bring about a rapidly depleted formation or a sudden rapid result not whats required.
Hence the reasoning behind keeping the Romans in contact. It was a real meat grinder if I recall correctly - wheres my books!).

It would be worth considering, if the Gauls lose the combat, and pass their combat morale test, they can then 'fall back' during the end phase by passing a morale test, modified by the current push and shove against them. If a successful test is made, the push and shove is removed, but the units are slid back however many inches the push and shove bonus was.
The gauls in the Carthaginian list are not undisciplined, they clearly were up for the fight, even though Hannibal expected them to fall back - of course, the fall back may not really be very far (I can't remember off hand what the text says about that), and as I mentioned before, the actual rules may work 'as is' so long as the commanders and Hannibal are near by to stiffen the line.

Numidians - as I recall from the battle, the victorious cavalry were held from running over the Roman camp and returned to the battle, hitting the Romans in the rear, so you need those units to stay in the game, - safety in numbers! :mrgreen:

Still its fun to talk about it and I look forward to hearing about how the battle unfolds.

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Wed Jul 16, 2014 5:37 pm
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Post Re: Cannae Experiment
CANNAE EXPERIMENT
Unit strength is sometimes noted in parins

1) Roman Initiative:
Romans advance all along line, except on right flank where they face Gaulish & Spanish cavalry. Leves change course and advance towards enemy elephants.

Carthaginians send out their skirmishers and cavalry but are otherwise content to hold line. On the Cartho left, the Spanish light cav move to overlap Roman right.
Numidians move up and skirmish, but stay out of charge range. Only Balaeric slingers cause any damage, as they kill 3 Leves, which decide they did their bit and route.

2) Carthage Initiative (thanks to Hannibal – SIP not recovered)
Numidians continue to ride circles around allied cavalry – they aren’t causing too many casualties, but stay out of charge range - other skirmishing rarely effective.
On the Cartho right, one elephant charges the Italian allies (24) causing some casualties, but the nearby Consul keeps them in the fight.
Over on the Cartho left, Roman cavalry (8) unit fights the Gaulish Heavy cav (12) to a standstill. The Gauls only scored 2 hits (CA4) on six dice – the first of many bad rolls for the Gauls.
The Spanish light cav (10) pulled off a glancing attack on the Roman right unit (8) – both units suffering 2 casualties. Mago joins the lighter Gaulish cav (8).

On the Roman left, Allied cavalry tries to catch the Numidians, but they skillfully evade. The Allied infantry also manage to beat off the elephant attack, which sends him stampeding obliquely towards the Cartho center rear.
The first Roman maniple makes contact with the Spanish infantry in the center.
Hannibal has them fall back so they are now even with the Gauls on their flanks.
In the right center a unit of Leves (11) charges Spanish Skirmishers (10), the latter win handily and the Leves are routed and overrun. The exuberant Spanish now find themselves quite isolated in the middle of a Roman legion.
On the Roman right, the Gaulish heavy cav manages 3 kills, but the Romans strike back with four (Gauls 0-6 on saves); Mago doesn’t fare any better, so the stand off continues in both fights.

3) Carthage Initiative (both sides use SIP – Hannibal’s again not recovered)
The Numidians continue their skirmishing.
The Stampeding elephant chases off the slingers, meanwhile the right flank Libyans have to withdraw to avoid the elephant. This is causing a significant gap between them and the Gauls to their left.
The cavalry fight on the Cartho left continues to be inconclusive. The Heavy Gauls continue their bad luck (Romans save 6/6).
The Spanish try another glancing attack, but get the worst of it (Romans save 3/4).
Mago and the Gaulish light make some headway (Romans save 3/5). In the two fights, the Gauls score 15 hits, the Romans save 12 of them (for their part, the Gauls saved 6/11).

The Romans charge the Cartho center with 3 maniples. Casualties are light, but the Romans win all three combats. Hannibal has to hold the line, as the stampeding elephant is close to the smaller Gaulish unit on the Cartho right center.
On the Roman right, luck finally deserts the Roman cav as both units are scattered to the winds, but they have reduced the heavy cav unit from 12 to 6, and the lighter unit from 8 to 5 (the Spanish light unit is also down from 10 to 7). The heavy cav (6) unit pursues into the Roman reserve cav (8).


Thu Jul 17, 2014 5:37 am
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Joined: Fri May 30, 2014 1:53 am
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Post Re: Cannae Experiment
Re your earlier comment on Numidians:

As I understand it - the Numidians just kept the Italian cav busy with constant harassment;
The heavy cav on the left (Gauls & Spanish) defeated the Roman cav, rode behind the army to finish off the Italians.
The Numidians then handled the pursuit while the heavy cav then turned n the infantry in the center.


Thu Jul 17, 2014 5:41 am
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Post Re: Cannae Experiment
korvessa wrote:
Re your earlier comment on Numidians:

As I understand it - the Numidians just kept the Italian cav busy with constant harassment;
The heavy cav on the left (Gauls & Spanish) defeated the Roman cav, rode behind the army to finish off the Italians.
The Numidians then handled the pursuit while the heavy cav then turned n the infantry in the center.



Its a while since I read the text and the copy is 'somewhere in a storage box' so stand corrected :mrgreen:

Sounds like the next couple of turns will make or break and Hannibal needs a bit of luck on recovering SIPS

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Rob
http://www.scarabminiatures.com
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Thu Jul 17, 2014 11:01 am
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Joined: Fri May 30, 2014 1:53 am
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Post Re: Cannae Experiment
Well, it was a disaster...
For Carthage. Thanks to the almighty dice - that seemed to love Romans.

The retreat rule seemed to work well enough. The Spanish/Gauls (S&G) were saved more than once by it.
My Roman maniples were in units of 15 (two ranks of 6 and one of three - I had them 3x5 in that other game)
They were very tough- they charge in with a +5 combat result before the first casualty - very tough to overcome
(+1 charge, +2 for their own ranks, +2 for supporting maniple)

Things that went wrong for Hannibal:
1) The S&G heavy cav took far too long to defeat Roman cav - 5 turns, so they were never able to help Numidians, let alone Infantry battle.
2) Hannibal was 0-3 recovering SIP
3) I used elephants because I wanted to learn the rules. That left the Carthos without enough infantry. Am going to try it again without them.
4) A strong unit of Punic pike ran at the first opportunity. They out numbered Romans 24-15, but it didn't help and they lost 8-3, They rolled a modified 11, so off they ran. And of course were overrun.

We will try again


Fri Jul 18, 2014 3:29 am
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Post Re: Cannae Experiment
Thanks for that, the dice can be fickle sometimes

Remember to count the combat rank bonus at the end of the combat - probably didn't make much difference in round 1, but certainly in subsequent rounds, as the casualties mount up, ranks can be eroded quickly - the gauls (if Regular) should be on a +3 in round one (2 ranks and weight of numbers), if they have enough depth and the numbers!

At Cannae the Romans pushed through in the centre forcing the line to bend backwards (well that's how its described) and then the Carthaginians turned into the Roman flanks, so yes, you probably do need the infantry rather than elephants to get a good recreation of the battle

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Rob
http://www.scarabminiatures.com
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Fri Jul 18, 2014 10:41 am
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