Hannibal was kicking his heels in southern Italy, so the time had come for a Roman counter-attack in Spain. A rapid Roman offensive across the Ebro caught Hasdrubal Barca off guard and now the glorious Roman army was besieging Dertosa. Hasdrubal rushed to relieve the siege and so the opportunity avenge the deaths of the elder Scipios 4 years earlier presents itself.
Well, as expected the Romans lost the scouting contest and so deployed the centre of the Roman triple line. The Carthaginian’s responded by deploying the massed citizen spear blocks, supported by Spanish infantry. Then it was down to just seeing how much overlap the Carthaginian’s managed to achieve around the outnumbered Roman cavalry.
Battle opened with the Carthaginian left wing surging forward to try to envelop the Roman right, while their left wing had a bit of a false start and the citizen spear indulged in a half hearted shuffle forward.
The confident Roman legionaries marched forward to engage the Carthaginian centre, while the wings mounted a holding action. However, very quickly the numerous Carthaginian cavalry started to flank the hard pressed Roman cavalry.
No matter, thought the Roman commander, “we can still crush their centre, before our wings collapse”. But, no matter how hard the Roman Hastati tried, these Carthaginian citizen spear just would not die! Save after save was coming out of the bag and when hits were finally achieved, they were quickly rallied off.
Meanwhile the Roman left wing was starting to run into trouble, being out flanked by the Numibian light cavalry and the Roman right was being assailed almost in front of their own camp!
Then at the darkest hour one of the Carthaginian citizen spear blocks pushed its way through the Roman first line. Things were looking very bleak indeed!
But then the Romans found a weak spot, the Spanish infantry! They managed to break these allies. Then quickly routing a supporting elephant unit, which fled through a group of slingers, squashing them into the turf.
Finally things were looking up for the Romans, but too late. God had called time and despite being less then enamoured with the beardy wonders on the Carthaginian side, was forced to grudgingly accept this as a marginal victory for Carthage. The beardy wonders immediately claimed an overwhelming victory, desperate for any popular acclaim, while the Romans were left to ponder their tactics!
Another fun game using the ‘To The Strongest’ rules, that remained ‘in the balance’ right until the end. What more can you ask of an evening’s gaming.