Tuesday, 31 May 2011

Latest work in progress

Battle of Carnuntum 170 AD (Marcomanni Wars).

Scenario design.
The Battle of Carnuntum is one of the many conflicts between the barbarians and Rome’s frontier garrisons. From the time of its construction of the Limes Germanicus and the Danube Limes, the barbarian tribes have made frequent attempts at crossing the river barrier to wreak havoc within the provinces. Most often, Roman troops were able to successfully beat back these attempts and followed up with a punitive expedition to punish the recalcitrant tribes. Carnuntum was one such battle that ended differently. {1.}

Location: Nearby Carnuntum.
Using Google {2.}, Mapper {3.} and Bing Satellite {4.} tools I was able to narrow down three possible areas where an engagement could have taken place. Mind you, the region was heavily forested then than it is today, but the location mountainous terrain have not changed.  

Carnuntum, located on the Amber Road, became the capitol for the province of Pannonia Superior. At the time of the battle, the population had reached 40,000 with a legionary garrison and gladiator school.{5.}

The size of the Civilis Carnuntum, legionary camp and suburbs can be seen in a documentary video of the Carnuntum museum and displays. {6.}

Excavations have revealed a German trade centre and settlement directly across the Danube from Carnuntum.
The crossing of the Danube by the Marcomanni and Quadi took place between Vindobona (Vienna) and Carnuntum, a distance of roughly 30 km. In between the two major cities are two auxilia forts and a host of signal and watch towers along the river bank. Records are sketchy as to when the battle took place but most agree this was during the early Spring.

Facing overwhelming numbers the auxilia would have fallen back toward Vindobona and Carnuntum bringing news of the invasion with them. Within the narrow confines of the Rohrauer Forest, the Marcomanni moved toward Carnuntum. By the second day of the invasion, enough Roman troops could be assembled to defend the city.

Troop strengths.
The Roman Player.
The Antonine Plague had dealt the Roman Army a major setback, but by 170 AD, troop strength were slowly returning to standard levels. Nonetheless, they were handicapped by a lack of training and as DBA does not make distinctions between troop classification, I have handled this differently which will be explained further below.
Carnuntum was garrisoned by the XIV Gemina and with the exception of a vexillation serving in a Parthian campaign would most likely have at least 4,000 legionnaires present. Auxilia located along the Danube and the Amber road could equal that number and further in reserve are a number of cavalry units to include the Ala I Ulpia Contariorum M.C.R.

Using the historical ratios set in the rule book this equates to two commands. Several options have been chosen to give the Roman player some local colour; from the Gladiator school (3Bd), the Contariorum (3Kn) and numeri (Ps).

The Romans.
2 x Generals (Cv), 2 x Equites (Cv), 8 x Legionaries (Bd), 6 x Auxilia (4Ax), 1 x Equites (Cv), 1 x  Urban Cohors (4Ax), 1 x Gladiators (3Bd), 1 x Slingers (Ps), 1 x Lancers (3Kn), 1 x Bolt Shooter (Art) = 24 elements.

The German Player.
Several years before, the Langobardi and Obii made an attempt to cross the Danube with 6,000 warriors but were beaten back. Balomar (King of the Marcomanni) served to negotiate a peace between the tribes and Rome. Now in 170 AD, “Friend of Rome” returns but with a better plan to deal a severe blow to Rome.

To reflect the lack of training on the Roman side, the German player will have three commands, two of Marcomanni and one of Quadi. At first glance this may seem extreme, but a cunning Roman player, but the deployment and victory conditions serve to give both sides a good game.

The Marcomanni
2 x Generals (Cv), 2 x Cavalry (Cv), 16 x Warriors (4Wb), 2 x Cavalry (Cv), 2 x Skirmisher (Ps) = 24 elements.

The Quadi allies.
1 x General (Cv), 1 x Cavalry (Cv), 8 x Warriors (4Wb),  2 x Skirmisher (Ps) = 12 elements.

The Battlefields:
Rather than select one possible location for a battlefield, I decided to offer players three possible locations to game. Below links will take you to the respective tests for each option.

Battlefield three.


{6.} Carnuntum Documentary (Video): http://www.historvius.com/carnuntum-1909/


Thursday, 26 May 2011

Battlefield one - Carnuntum scenario

Battlefield one.

There is a point within marching distance (6 km.) from Carnuntum where the Danube and the Rohrauer Forest narrow. This would offer the Roman player an advantage to offset the numerical superior barbarians. This would be considered a bold move by the governor but would take him and his legion away from the security of the city walls.

Balomar would be aware of the terrain limitations from his previous visit to broker a peace settlement between the Langobardi-Obii and Rome. Anticipating this, the German player has two deployment zones, one for the main body and a smaller one, south of the Rohrauer forest, for a flanking force.

Test game.
Rome deployed in two wings with the Governor in command of the right and the reserve formation. The legion commander on the left commanded  a mixed force of foot and the artillery.   

Placing the Quadi on the left nearest the Danube, Balomar assembled all the Marcomanni warband in a deep formation. The cavalry can be seen forming up on the southern edge of the Rohrauer forest.

Turn two, the Governor moved quickly against the Quadi and brought forward half the reserve in support of his effort. The remaining reserve moved to support the left wing as the Marcomanni cavalry were moving up on the open flank.

Turn three and four brought misfortune to the Quadi as they reeled from the rapid and fierce attack by the legion. Sustaining minor loss to themselves, the Roman demoralized the Quadi in quick order. In centre archers can be seen wreaking havoc on the warbands.  

Despite the loss of the Quadi, Balomar timed the assault of his warbands and cavalry to strike the Roman left wing simultaneously. In two bounds this wing would break.

We stopped the test here to assess if any changes were needed. At this moment, Rome would lose the game if both commands were demoralized. The left wing succumbed with the loss of 3 elements and the Governor was 2 elements away from the same fate. 

A Roman victory could be realized if two commands were broken. The Quadi were destroyed losing 10 elements, the Marcomanni main body had no losses at this point and the Marcomanni cavalry wing had lost 1 element.

Was the game within grasp for Rome? I believe so. However, the same held true for Balomar as 2 Roman elements were needed to bring the second command to breaking point. 

Monday, 23 May 2011

Barbarian Wagon Laager

Posted 26-10-2016

Between cleaning and undercoating figures to paint I constructed a simple barbarian wagon laager. 

The panels and wagon floor are constructed from thin triplex, axles are the plastic piece of cotton swabs and wheels are old Games Workshop shields. Sacks, bundles and boxes were made from self-hardening clay.

The circular form allows for the placement of a foot element on a 20 mm deep base. 

There is enough material over to create a similar camp for a barbarian opponent or ally.