“Champagne! In victory one deserves it, in defeat one needs it” - Napoleon
Timurilank's 'Storm Within The Empire'
Strange as it may seem, but this is the first time these two armies have met as the Sassanid have fought the Middle Imperial Roman and Early Byzantine in earlier battles but passed over the 4th century Roman Empire. In this series Rome is the invader and the Sassanid has marshalled their forces to include an elephant and levy. Terrain selection for both sides is arable but will have an arid look to it.
Game 1Rome selected a relatively open plain with a gentle hill and from its slight rise, the magister militum arrayed his infantry along its base and positioned the cavalry to the right flank. Facing the legion was the Persian levy and elephant and in centre was their commander flanked by Asavaran cavalry and horse archers.
Rome initiates movement and quickly moves to intercept enemy light horse threatening the right flank, while the clibanarii supported by the legion and auxiliaries advance toward the Sassanid centre.
The ensuing clash brings heavy casualties to both sides, two auxilia are destroyed as are the Sassanid horse archers bringing the score even. Elsewhere in the centre, the clibanarii hold the Asavaran cavalry and the elephant having moved beyond its support is struck in front and flank but manages to hold its ground.
Having destroyed the elephant, the legion closes the distance on the isolated unit of cataphract and destroys it sending the Sassanid in retreat. Score 4 – 2 for Eastern Rome.
Game 2Rome continued their campaign and found the Sassanid deployed in open ground with scrub to their right. The village located between the two armies would become a focal point in this contest.
The Sassanid advanced slowly allowing all its troops to maintain their alignment. The task of capturing the village was left to the levy and the elephant corps and the remainder of the army would concentrate on the Roman centre.
Ever eager to cross lances with Roman cavalry, a few units of Asavaran cavalry charged ahead. Elsewhere, the Sassanid closed the distance to the awaiting Roman line.
The Sassanid, in successive waves of cavalry attacks brought down a unit of clibanarii and half the legion.
With the loss of the legion the magister militum had no other alternative than to join the battle. His left flank kept the levy and elephant corps at bay while on the right, events took a grim turn with the further loss of the clibanarii. Up to this point Sassanid losses had been minor, 3 – 1.
Units on the Roman left were successful luring the elephant corps away from battle and some even managed to destroy the levy supporting the elephants. The Roman centre held its ground, but the cavalry on the right were overwhelmed by the tenacity of the Asavaran and horse archers. The magister militum called for a general retreat, score 4 – 3 (+2Hd) for the Sassanid.
Game 3For the final battle Rome were caught on open ground with scrub located nearby. Placing the auxilia on the right to make use of the scrub the legion was positioned in centre with the heavy cavalry and clibanarii in support on its left. A third line held a unit of light horse as a reserve.
The Sassanid deployed in open ground between a village and a low hill. Positioned on the hill were the levy flanked by the elephant corps with all the Asavaran deployed in two lines.
The Sassanid initiated the battle by moving its centre forward. Rome countered by positioning archers in the scrub and left wheeling the entire second line to link up with the bowmen.
The Sassanid centre held its position giving time for the flank units to march up; the levy made a bee line toward the archers and the horse archers on the far right advanced quickly to threaten the Roman left. Rome made good use of the time to strengthen its left flank and tidy up the centre.
With both Roman flanks now threatened, the Sassanid launched their full might against the Roman centre.
The elephant corps managed a breakthrough by destroying the legion to its front, but it found itself alone as the Asavaran on the right recoiled and those on the left were destroyed. That positioned was quickly filled by the Asavaran of the reserve line. Not wanting the elephant to run rampant along the Roman line, the magister militum attacked it.
The turns following can be described as a titanic struggle. Despite the loss of its cavalry, Rome slowly gained the upper hand to bring the score to 3 – 2. The final blow came when the Sassanid general fell under the lances of the clibanarii ending the game. Score 5g – 2 for Eastern Rome.
The Nubian army list covers the period of 3000 BC to 1480 BC which corresponds with the Old Kingdom Egyptian. From my scant research, the lands to the south known as Nubia are actually divided like Egypt in a lower and upper region. This is significant as it will influence my choice of painting schemes.
Map: The Early Kingdoms.
Source: Ancient Sudan - Kush website.
Bordering Egypt we find the nomadic tribes of Wawat, Irtjet and Setju inhabiting the scrub land to the west and east of the Nile. These people are akin to the Egyptians but having slightly darker skin. Travelling further south to the Dongola reach one encounters the darker skinned inhabitants normally associated with modern day Sudan.
The MiniaturesThese are Black Hat Miniatures and the five packs ordered were enough to build a Nubian collection. This comprises of 1 x general (3Bw), 2 x clubmen (3Wb), 6 x archers (3Bw) and 3 x skirmishers (Ps) plus a camp guard. The extra archers will join the Old Kingdom Egyptians as Medjay mercenaries.
Opting for the tribes of lower Nubia, I by painting their kilts first followed with their skin colour. The skin colour is a mix of flesh, mid-brown and a hint of red. This is later highlighted with a lighter shade to detail the muscle, hands and face. A wash, a mix of Ogryn Flesh (washes) and Rhinox Hide (base) was applied over the figure. This step was a departure from my standard ‘out of the bottle’ technique, but the result turned out well.
The Hyksos army have two sub-lists dating 1645 BC – 1591 BC and 1590 BC – 1337 BC. The difference between the two is the increase number of chariots replacing units of retainers and Bedouin auxiliaries.
Where the Hyksos came from is still a matter of debate as some modern authors regard the ‘rulers from foreign lands’ as coming from fertile crescent while others view them as migratory Amorite. Most authors will agree that their presence was a steady successive wave of migration to the eastern delta and not an invasion. Their governance of the Nile region is marked as the Fifteenth Dynasty and during this time, Upper Egypt remained an independent kingdom establishing the Abydos Dynasty.
Illustration: Hyksos tribute
Painting the miniaturesThese are Black Hat Miniatures from their Biblical range and like the Old Kingdom Egyptians are very well detailed. I have seen depictions of Hyksos in multicoloured kilts and tunics presenting tribute to a pharaoh/king, I view this as an activity done by administrative functionaries and not military types. Since the armouries and factories of the eastern nomes were taken over, I decided to paint the majority of infantry in standard white kilts with the exception of the Bedouin auxiliaries, preferring their homespun cloth.
The horses and chariot of general’s element are somewhat restrained, that is no plumage or decorations signifying a leader’s equipment. The archer figure (general) is modestly dressed with a cloak and this I embellished a bit.
Old Kingdom Egyptian
This is a second command of Old Kingdom Egyptian and was built so the internal conflicts between Upper and Lower Egypt could be fought. Also, pairing the two would permit larger battles against the Later Amorite and their Bedouin allies.
The miniaturesThe miniatures are Black Hat figures with extra figures filling out the options listed for other armies. The Hyksos for example may have an Egyptian levy (7Hd) and skirmishers (Ps) and extra Nubian will supply the Medjay (3Bw) as an option for the Egyptian force.
Future plansThis completes the project for the moment as the Sumerians to be produced by Eureka may become available in May or early June. In the meantime, there are plenty of armies to use for a few campaigns.
Rome is initially defending their provinces and therefore make use of arable terrain; BUA (hamlet) is compulsory with difficult hills and forest used as optional terrain features.
Game 1Huns are attacking and have caught Rome on an open plain with the scant protection but for a small hamlet. The Huns deployed their cavalry in two major groups, both set to work on the open left flank of Rome.
To the surprise of the Huns, Rome quickly moved forward to keep the Huns bottled in the limited area offered by the difficult hills. The Huns respond by sending their furthest column forward to threaten the Roman cavalry.
The Huns of the central group were ably contained between the hills by the legion and auxiliaries and this means the Roman equites would have to take the brunt of the Hunnic attack approaching the left flank.
Hunnic arrows were finding their targets and in quick succession the clibanarii and half the legion were broken.
Roman units were quickly sent to fill their places, but the Huns were quick to take advantage of the gaps and isolated units. Score 4 – 1 for the Hun.
Game 2Caught for the second time in an exposed position, the Roman force deployed closer to camp. As before, the Huns deployed in two groups with the majority of their cavalry positioned on the extreme right.
Taking advantage of the time needed for the flanking column to reach battle, the army moved its infantry to seize the heights and form a new battle line.
The legion and auxilia were not averse to taking the action to the Hun and those infantry on the left were able to repel the Hunnic cavalry. Meanwhile, Roman cavalry quickly dispatched two units to the ‘afterlife’.
Caught off balance, the Huns were steadily losing ground such that their chieftain made a desperate attempt to turn the battle around. Unfortunately, this was not to be as a further two units were destroyed ending the battle. Score 4 – 0 for the LIR.
Game 3Rome was now on the offensive and took advantage of the terrain offered to secure their flanks on the difficult hill and hamlet. The majority of the equites were positioned on the left flank to foil any attempt by the Huns to turn that part of the battle line.
As expected, the Huns did probe the Roman left, but the equites deployed for that event quickly moved to counter the enemy threat.
Confident that Roman light horse and auxilia could contain the Hunnic threat on the left, a unit of Roman heavy cavalry returned to the centre in time to see the Huns assail the centre and right flank.
Well aimed bow and javelin by the Huns destroyed two auxilia sending shivers down Roman spines. The gap created left the Roman general temporarily isolated.
A second gap appeared on the Roman flank and seeing his light horse fleeing on the left forced the Roman commander to call a general retreat. Score 4 – 0 for the Hun.
II/80d Hunnic 356 – 570 AD Terrain type: Steppe, Aggression 31 x general (Cv), 11 horse archers (LH).
Game 1Rome is the attacker in the first confrontation. The Goths found themselves in less than ideal terrain, but Alaric was eager to attack the Eastern Romans. Alaric with other mounted nobles formed the right wing with the rest of the warriors on foot formed the left.
Facing the Goths, Rome's battle line extended beyond that of the Goths which invited an opportunity to encircle both flanks.
The infantry on both sides were eager to cross swords but stopped forty paces to regroup their dense columns. The Gothic cavalry on their left moved forward at a walk as their charge would come soon enough.
Underestimating the determination of the auxilia all three Gothic columns were repulsed but only the legion followed up their pursuit.
Renewing their effort, the Gothic infantry created a breach in the Roman line. A heartbeat later, the legion collapsed enlarging the breach sending a note of alarm to the magister militum watching nearby.
Following up the success of their infantry, the Gothic cavalry lowered their lances and charged forward sending most of the Roman cavalry recoiling from the shock. Despite the destruction of Gothic skirmishers, this was small compensation as another unit of auxilia were destroyed sending the battle quickly out of control for Rome.
Alaric was in the thick of the fight eliminating half of the clibanarii and their loss sent the magister militum to call for a general retreat ending the battle. Score 4 – 2 for Alaric.
Game 2Rome was now the defender and found itself on open ground with one lone hill serving as flank protection. Across the field, the Gothic infantry were seen gathering at the outskirts of a village and their dreaded cavalry took a position between the wood and the infantry.
Rome’s battle line moved forward maintaining a strict alignment. Across the field, the Goths moved steadily forward keeping cadence with their swords striking their shields.
With the exception of a few mounted units held back as a reserve, all units were committed to battle. Within minutes the lines were moving to and fro with the Gothic left giving the most ground. The situation on the Gothic right broke through the line held by the legion and were pushing back the remainder of the Roman left.
As the breach in the Roman line widen, the situation became desperate for the magister militum as he was quickly surrounded by Gothic freed slaves and warriors and killed. His demise would surely mean the destruction of the Roman army (3g – 1).
Now leaderless, Roman resistance fell to the tribunes of the cavalry regiments to avenge the loss of their leader by falling on the flank of an infantry column and elsewhere the clibanarii and equites surrounded a unit of Gothic cavalry. The quick counter attack did have its effect cutting down Gothic infantry (3g – 2).
Surrounded, the Gothic nobles repulsed their adversaries back. These same nobles counter attacked the clibanarii while the Alaric attacked the equites in the rear and their loss drove the heart out of the army and sending it fleeing from the field. Score 4g – 2 for Alaric.
Game 3The final battle found the Roman army deployed in front of a line of woods and formed in their standard formation; cavalry in the centre and auxilia evenly distributed on either flank. Across the field, Alaric formed the cavalry in the defile and positioned skirmishers on either side, while the infantry would scale the hill to descend on the Roman right.
Rome took the initiative and moved forward in two wings; the right wing would deal with the infantry descending the hill while the left wing would try to contain the Gothic cavalry in the defile. Auxilia and skirmishers would seize the hill on the Gothic right to help facilitate this move.
In the eagerness to confront the Gothic cavalry, Roman mounted surged forward ahead of their infantry support.
The Gothic cavalry were more than ready for battle as they easily repulsed the Roman cavalry driving them back toward the Roman commander’s position.
The Roman infantry on the right contained the Gothic threat and even the legion was steadily driving their adversaries back toward the hill. To bring order to the maelstrom caused by the cavalry action in centre, the magister militum committed his guard to the fight.
Both commanders were in the thick of the fight, but Alaric was able to issue orders for uncommitted units to assist the cavalry action. Half the clibanarii fell as did other Roman units in quick succession bringing the battle to a close. Score 5 – 1 for Alaric.
II/65c Alaric 408 – 419 AD Terrain type: Arable, Aggression 31 x general (3Kn), 2 x noble cavalry (3Kn), 1 x cavalry (3Kn or LH), 4 x warriors (4Wb), 2 x freed slaves (4Wb or 7Hd), 2 x archers (Ps).
Home terrain for the Carpi is considered hilly which gives them two compulsory difficult hills and up to two woods and a river as a further option.
Game 1The Carpi army defend and must deploy in an open expanse devoid of any significant terrain. As the attacker, Rome chose an ideal battleground with a river covering their left flank and a wood to protecting the right. Between, in the open ground, the Roman army deployed their infantry on the right and all the cavalry to the left.
Rome advanced but did not have to wait long before the full force of the entire Carpi army was engaged. First to feel the effect of the impetuous charge was the Roman centre followed by both left and right wings.
Recoiling from the rapid charge, it took Rome nearly 30 minutes (two turns) to regain control over the battle and inflict significant casualties (2 – 1).
To prepare for a second attack, the Carpi chieftain placed himself and his guard in the front line. Seeing their chieftain’s standard move forward inspired the efforts of the Carpi infantry adding further Roman casualties to the tally (3 – 2).
The momentum generated carried forward into subsequent bounds as the Carpi infantry put an end to a unit of auxilia and half the clibanarii to end the battle. Score 5 – 3 for the Carpi.
Game 2The Carpi were now on the offensive (the attacker) and caught the Roman army with a river to their backs. Positioning their entire force directly in front, they would launch again a quick assault and hopefully win another victory.
Moving forward in their well drilled formations, Rome met the Carpi head on. Unfortunately, this fell short of the intended result sending a few units recoiling; the remainder held firm their ground.
Redoubling their efforts, the Roman right made significant headway by eliminating Carpi light horse and skirmishers. Elsewhere, the auxilia contained the warband columns, even added Carpi dead to the tally. Score 4 – 2 for the LIR.
Game 3The Carpi, now forced to defend their territory, called on their Sarmatian allies to join the final battle. Many of their nobles were eager for battle and three units of cavalry (3Kn) assembled for battle. These formed the left flank with the Carpi infantry forming their battle line at the base of a hill.
Rome took up a standard deployment with the clibanarii in the centre and infantry distributed on either flank as support.
The Carpi infantry columns and Bastarnae moved quickly forward to catch the Romans changing the direction of their approach and despite the furious attack, Rome held its ground.
The moment quickly came for the Sarmatians to earn their ‘geld’ and with lowered lances they charged the Roman right wing; mainly auxilia including a unit of sagittarii; all stood their ground eventually surrounding a unit of Sarmatians.
The resistance on the Roman right did not last long as both auxilia and archers were finally destroyed. Their destruction added to the loss of the clibanarii by the Bastarnae and other auxilia units gave the Roman general no recourse but to call a retreat. Score 5 – 1 for the Carpi.
II/52 Carpi 106 – 380 AD Terrain type: Hilly, Aggression 31 x general (Cv), 1 x horsemen (LH or Cv), 6 x warriors (3Wb), 1 x falxmen (3Bd), 2 x javelinmen (Ps), 1 x falxmen (3Bd) or Sarmatian (3Kn) or javelinmen (Ps).
The following battles take place in the hilly provinces of Armenia. Terrain pieces selected are the compulsory hills, a wood, a river and a BUA. Armenia is the defender in the first battle.
Game 1Rome as attacker, found the Armenian force deployed before their provincial town. The Sparapet (commander) deployed the spearmen on the left and light horse on the right with the nobles positioned in the centre. Rome secured the heights on the right and would expand the line of cavalry once it moved away from the narrow confines of the pass.
Both sides were plagued with poor communication (low pip scores), it took nearly an hour to close half the distance between lines.
The Sparapet took advantage of the situation to launch his attack first by bringing nearly all the cavalry into combat. The effect however, fell below expectations as half the noble cavalry were picked off by Roman archers and a unit of Armenian light horse were broken.
Calling on the levies to do their part, they advanced boldly forward following the example of their Sparapet.
Alas for Armenia, Rome countered their effort catching a number of exposed flanks and destroying nearly half the army including their general. Score 6g – 3 for the LIR.
Game 2A rival house placed one of their nobles to command and with a new leader Armenia found better ground for a subsequent battle. This time, the levy spear would secure the heights to protect the Armenian centre and light horse formed up on the left flank.
Rome concentrated its force between the river and hills leaving a small screening force on the far right.
Both sides spent the time securing the heights on both their right flank while the cavalry moved cautiously forward.
At this point, the Sparapet ordered the cavalry in the centre to withdraw back inviting the Roman cavalry to move forward. This was clearly intended as an insult. At the opposite end of the hill, the cavalry of both sides were engaged with the Armenians gaining the advantage by destroying a unit of Roman light horse.
The cavalry action on the extreme Roman right was getting desperate and coupled with the Armenian spear gaining the heights, the Roman commander readied his battle line for an all out attack.
From the position on the hill, the Armenian spear charged the Roman archers in their rear forcing them to turn. This caused confusion in the line and seeing the Armenian light horse victorious over his equites, he called for a general retreat. Score 4 – 0 for Armenia.
Game 3Rome found themselves in a difficult situation as they were deployed before a provincial town with a relief force bearing down on their position. Rather than risk an assault, the Roman commander found it prudent to eliminate the relief force first. To do this, the clibanarii were positioned in the centre with the infantry split evenly to both wings and the remaining cavalry formed at the end of the line. A small detachment of skirmishers were kept back to take care of any possible sortie by Armenians in the town.
By placing enough spearmen and archers (Ps) to occupy Roman attention, the main thrust of the Armenian attack would focus on the Roman right. The first charge by the Armenians was stopped giving the Romans time to counter attack both front and flank. The Armenians held and escalated the situation by flanking both the light horse and skirmishers.
The loss of two units in quick succession prompted a signal for a general attack by the Roman general. In the struggle that took place on the hill slopes, the Armenian spearmen were sent scurrying up the hill to return later to the fight. Each of the clibanarii had to turn about to face the Armenian light horse while Roman infantry made desperate attempts to keep other Armenian cavalry at bay.
Confident that the charge of the clibanarii would sweep the enemy light horse from the field, everyone was surprised when the light horse held their ground.
The Armenian seized the moment to quickly counter charge the clibanarii destroying half of them to bring the battle to a close. Score 5 – 1 for Armenia.
II/28c Armenian 245 – 627 AD Terrain type: Hilly, Aggression 11 x general (3Kn), 1 x lancers (3Kn), 4 x horse archers (LH), 4 x javelinmen (3Ax), 2 archers (Ps).
The first conflict takes place north of the Danube which allows the Sarmatians to fight in 'homeland' territory of the steppes. This may pose a problem for Rome as the terrain will be devoid of features to use in deploying troops.
Game 1 Rome on the offensive, caught the Sarmatian scrambling out of their village to reach open ground. As Rome advanced only half the Sarmatian cavalry could deploy to the far bank.
Taking advantage of the situation, the magister militum launched his cavalry against the Sarmatians exiting the village and placed the auxilia in a position to delay those Sarmatians crossing the river downstream.
Lacking room to manoeuvre, the Sarmatians took heavy casualties (two elements) as the clibanarii and equites fell on them in front and both flanks.
Rome also suffered casualties, but the losses on the Sarmatian were significant enough to send them fleeing. Score 4 – 2 for the LIR.
Game 2In the second battle, the Sarmatian have called on the Alani (allies) to defeat the Roman invader; these are deployed on the wings. Rome having the advantage of ground would be content to hold it.
Seeing the main effort was directed toward the centre, the Magister Militum moved his left wing to bring the sagittarii into effective bow range. On the right, the equites and skirmishers could deal with the Alani while the clibanarii and auxilia in centre, moved forward to meet the Sarmatians on the slope of a gentle hill.
In centre, the Sarmatians unleashed a fury at the Romans holding the hill and in two successive bounds their chieftain destroyed half the clibanarii. Other Sarmatian cavalry in support of their general were less than successful as they were sent back to the base of the hill. On the Sarmatian left, the Alani made up for their poor performance and destroyed a unit of light horse.
The final act came when the Sarmatian chieftain signalled his Alani and Sarmatians to finish the Romans off, then doubling back he sought out the Roman general. The last onslaught delivered the fatal blow leaving the legion and the magister militum littering the battlefield. Score 7g – 2 for the Sarmatian.
Game 3The final battle found both armies constrained by the limited open ground and so both deployments were just under 800 paces.
Rome remained steadfast on their hill position offering the Sarmatians ample time to coordinate their assault.
Noticing how easily Roman skirmishers had crossed the river (paltry), the Sarmatian chieftain dispatched light troops of his own to deal with them. Meanwhile, the Sarmatians and Alani struck the Roman line.
Sarmatian lances found their mark destroying the legion and its supporting auxilia leaving the Magister Militum dangerously exposed. Elsewhere, the Alani and the Sarmatian cavalry were being repulsed and losing ground but both sides experienced heavy casualties (3 – 3).
Following their orders, the auxilia ignored the ‘rally’ signal from their general and fell on the Alani destroying more than half their number. Seeing the Alani essential destroyed and his Sarmatian cavalry repulsed elsewhere, the Sarmatian chieftain called for a retreat. Score 5 – 3 for the LIR.
II/26 Sarmatian 310 BC – 375 AD Terrain type: Steppe, Aggression 31 x general (3Kn), 7 x noble cavalry (3Kn), 1 x scouts (LH) or noble cavalry (3Kn), 3 x archers (Ps) or noble cavalry (3Kn) or levied farmers (7Hd).