Wednesday, June 06, 2012

Tiber Anio: 437bc

This was a Hail Caesar refight of one of the last battles between Rome and Veii.  The Combined Etruscan forces of three cities came together between the two main rivers of Rome in an attempt to take the city.  The Romans, under the dictator Aemilius stood to face them.  Dictator at this time meant a commander elected to rule only during a time of war or deep crisis, and it was a point of honour to resolve the crisis and recind the title in the shortest time possible.  High ideals indeed, sadly a misguided political system in the long term.

Anyway, The Romans, on the left below, were formed of three divisions, with Mamercus Aemilius in command.

Cincinatus took the left wing with 4 Cohorts and three units of Leves, whilst Capitolinus and allied Latins took the centre.  Aulus Cossus, who historically won the honours of battle on this day, had nominative command of the cavalry on the Roman right.

The Etruscans were led by Toluminus in the centre with Veiian Hoplites, cavalry and psoiloi.  To their left and right were identical commands representing the cities of Falisci and Fidenae; of hoplites supported by peltasts.

The major feature of the battlefield was the River Anio, which was agreed was fordable along its' entire length so long as a unit could cross it in one move from its current position.  Moreover if a unit was stationed in contact with the bank, it would count as defending an uphill position.  With this in mind both forces made a  hasty advance on the river.

The Etruscans arrived first and were able to delay the Roman main line by sending light troops over the river.  Their harrassing fire did little to harm the Roman line, but it did force them to engage only to seize their own bank of the river.

This allowed enough time for Toluminus to bring up his hoplites to form a solid defence, whilst the Falisci peltasts beat the leves protecting the Roman left and threatened to turn the flank.

However on the Roman right Cossus had crossed with the Roman cavalry, whilst Toluminus - in personal command of his own horse - was blundering away from the fight.  The Romans began what they hoped would be the rolling up of the Fidenates, leaving the whole Etruscan line exposed.

And as the Roman cohorts had made it across the river in force, they naturally assumed this flank attack would be the 'coup d'grace'.  Two massed phalanxes met to turn the waters as red as the Veiian tunics,,,

But the Roman plan was frustrated.  They were held then beaten by a fresh unit of peltasts, and forced to retire.  Then the Fidenae phalanx supported by Toluminus' cavalry crashed into their flank and destroyed them.  In the centre, Roman cohorts crossed the river, but their allies were comprehensively beaten, and now the Etruscans held the flank positions.

It had been a good close battle, but the victory went to the Etruscans, who had only one broken division to the Romans two, the Romans had also lost a couple of the their generals.

For those interested, and club members were on the evening, these are both 20mm plastic armies; mainly made from Zvezda and Hat plastic figures.  Each army of 200 or so models would cost about £30-40 to purchase.

As to the rules, both sides counted their main infantry at this period as Hoplite influenced phalanx infantry with long spears.  This made the central battle a real grinding match.  as both sides counted a defeat of up to two as a draw.  In the end it came down to shaken units needing break tests in the event of a draw to decide the contest.

1 comment:

  1. Very nicely done batrep, and also very nicely done armies as well! Thanks for posting it and I hope you do some more of those :)