Wednesday, 21 February 2018

Historical Match up – Later Imperial Rome vs. the Sassanid

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 1
Rome 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 2
Rome 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 3
For 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.

1 comment:

  1. Tight results and very beautiful armies, elephant breakthrough must have been impressive!