Prufrock's Wargaming Blog

Prufrock's Wargaming Blog

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Cannae carries on...

Turn four begins with Hasdrubal charging into the waiting triarii.  He has the advantage of momentum and numbers, but if he cannot break though now then the triarii will hit back hard, and may even shatter a unit.  He therefore decides to lead the attack himself, and puts everything into it.

... and the dice are kind.  The double hit shatters the triarii and there is nothing left to oppose Hasdrubal's advance.

Despite the great mass of the legions appearing to still be in fine fighting fettle, the Roman rear is now vulnerable.

On the right, the Numidians take their turn.

After the three hits they scored with their mightily effective skirmishing, Varro's wing is also in trouble.

It has been a decisive turn for Carthage, and as the heavy cavalry envelop the infantry line it is hard to see how Rome can come back from this.  The only thing in their favour is that - the Roman right aside - the infantry is still in pretty good shape.  The question is, if they can break through, will it be in time?

So Varro leads off with urgency and scores a hit on the Numidians, who are now all spent.  If Varro can survive the counter attack and score another hit next turn, it might be enough to put the Numidians to flight and go some way towards turning the tide.

The legionaries now get into their work, and as they grind their way forward they begin to inflict some serious damage.

Five hits by the Romans this turn have brought them back, but they will need staunch defense next turn and will require a breakthrough soon - in  Hannibal's zone if at all possible, as it is all spent bar one unit of Gauls.

Rome's success is dependent on ifs; Carthage's on whens.

Turn five sees Carthage drive in on the Roman right.  The appearance of the Carthaginian veteran infantry from behind the Gallic host incites panic.  They score a hit, and on a morale roll of one rout the remainder of the wing.

The heavy cavalry continues its advance, even going so far as to fall in behind Varro's cavalry.

But the infantry attacks are ineffective and most of the Romans still in the line are fresh.

On its own turn Rome attacks first in the centre, scoring one more hit.  It is not enough to force a shatter in Hannibal's zone, but his units there are now all spent, so he will have to make a decision next turn on whether to stand - risking heavy losses and personal injury - or to fall back and give up his key zone.

Varro makes another gallant attack, but the dice speak for themselves...

And so, at the end of turn five, the Romans have lost four units shattered and another four to rout, with Paulus among them.  Surely they cannot last much longer?

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