Prufrock's Wargaming Blog

Prufrock's Wargaming Blog

Monday, March 7, 2016

Sentinum - the battle


Carrying on from my previous post on the background to Sentinum, we move now to a refight of the battle itself. If you want a refresher on the course of the historical battle, Livy's short and very readable account is online here.

Turn 1. deployment.

The armies are deployed as in the picture below. I don't mark the zones on my table, but I've added some in for this picture so that readers can see the Lost Battles zone divisions.

Gallic/Samnite coalition on the left; Romans on the right.

Each side has cavalry superiority on its right wing. The coalition army has more foot units (14 vs 12), but the Gallic and Samnite foot is not as steady as the Roman legionaries and, once spent (ie, once a unit has taken a hit), fatigue will set in, meaning that the spent units will suffer a -1 to-hit penalty.

Turn 2. 

Gallic/Samnite Coalition: The command roll is just one, so Gellius uses his exemption to move the cavalry to the extreme left. The centre and centre right advance. The forward Gallic cavalry unit  attacks, scoring one hit, and the remaining command points are used to bring the rest of the Gallic mounted up in support.  The Gauls leave two units of infantry in their right rear zone to cover for other eventualities.

(1 attack, 1 hit. Romans have one unit spent out of the seventeen they have on table.)


Gallic cavalry attack.

Gauls advance; Samnites stay in place.


Romans: The command roll is two. The first priority is to advance the infantry and contest the centre. The light infantry attack, but to no effect. On the left Decius Mus's wing scores one hit on the Gallic cavalry. A second attack misses. Decius attempts to invoke the favour of the gods to secure a better outcome, but the gods are busy (laughing at Vulcan?).

(4 attacks, 1 hit. Coalition has one unit spent out of nineteen. Romans have one unit spent out of seventeen.)

Roman infantry advances into the centre.

Decius's equites attack in return.


Turn 3.

Coalition: The command roll is six. The attack is pressed on the right against Decius's wing. Two combat bonuses result in two hits and two failed rally attempts from Decius. One of the cavalry unit takes a second hit and shatters. Decius's other unit flees in panic, carrying Decius with it. The flank is now open.

In the right centre one hit is scored in an all-out attack. In the centre, one hit drives off the Roman light infantry. Gellius withholds his command, only ordering the horse to form up and face the Romans and Campanians in the distance. If the Romans wish to win on this flank they will need to make the first move.

(10 attacks, 3 hits, and 1 all-out attack. Coalition has two spent units/19. Romans have two spent units, one routed, one shattered/17, and one lost general.)


Gallic chariots attack.

Decius routs: the flank is open.

The Roman left and the Gallic horde.

Romans: The command roll is three. Fabius sees that he must move precipitately and advances in full force against the Samnites. The infantry attacks in the centre and centre left yield two hits.

(8 attacks, 2 hits. Coalition has four spent units/19. Romans have two spent units, one routed, one shattered/17 and one lost general.) 


Fabius advances on the right.

The Roman line curves forward.

Turn 4. 

Coalition: The command roll is four. The Gallic cavalry and chariots use three command points to begin getting around behind the Roman line. There are not enough command points to advance as far as desired.

The attacks on the right centre score two hits; those in the centre and left centre none. The Samnite cavalry however score a double hit against their more numerous opponents which is a blow to Roman hopes for victory.

(14 attacks, 4 hits. Coalition has four spent units/19. Romans have six spent units, one routed, one shattered/17 and one lost general.) 


Gallic cavalry and chariots get into position behind the Roman line. It's slower work than it looks.


The battle in full swing.

Romans: The command roll is one. The cavalry attacks on the right score two hits, but elsewhere there is little impact. The Romans could have all-out attacked Gellius's zone, but thought better of it. The Coalition still has the favour of the gods marker, which is making it difficult for the Romans to counter their run of ill-luck.

(15 attacks, 3 hits. Coalition has seven spent units/19. Romans have six spent units, one routed, one shattered/17 and one lost general.)


Cavalry battle between the Campanians and the Samnites.

Fabius presses the attack.

The Roman left all spent bar the triarii.


Turn 5. 

Coalition: The command roll is three. This is not quite enough to do everything that is required. The Gallic cavalry and chariots continue to envelop the Roman line and will not be able to attack until next turn. The Samnite cavalry can attack, but only one hit is scored, which is not enough to shatter a Roman unit. A shatter result here is so important that the favour of the gods is used to try again. This attack also fails, and the Romans have finally got their break.

In the infantry combats the news is again not good enough for the coalition: two hits, but as their spent units are suffering from fatigue and now hitting at a -1 it is becoming ever harder to hurt the Romans.

(15 attacks, 3 hits. Coalition has seven spent units/19. Romans have nine spent units, one routed, one shattered/17 and one lost general.) 


The Gallic cavalry and chariots now in position behind the Roman line.
Also note the number of spent units on the Gallic right.

A key attack does not go to plan: the Campanians hold off the Samnite cavalry.

Turn 5. Romans: The command roll is two. Attacks by the infantry net four hits. The cavalry launches a last charge against the Samnite left, and shatters two units. The coalition morale holds, but the flank is gone and Gellius's zone is open to attack on two fronts.

(13 attacks, 6 hits. Coalition has nine spent units and two shattered/19. Romans have nine spent units, one routed, one shattered/17 and one lost general.) 


Attack...


...and breakthrough. Gellius's flank is exposed.


Turn 6. 

Coalition: The command roll is one. There are not enough command points to both attack everywhere and shore up the line. The cavalry, charging the rear of the Roman centre, inflicts two hits, shattering the light infantry unit, but there are no other successes. Both sides are now down to an intrinsic command of five.

(8 attacks, 2 hits, 1 shatter. Coalition has nine spent units and two shattered/19. Romans have nine spent units, one routed, two shattered/17 and one lost general.) 


The Roman line attacked front and rear.

The other end of the line.

Romans: The command roll is four. With nine commands plus Fabius's exemptions available the Romans are able to give out three combat bonuses. The cavalry on the right turns to attack, but makes no immediate impression. There is success in the centre: the Samnites there take heavy casualties and any further hits on that zone will see units shatter.

(14 attacks, 2 hits. Coalition has eleven spent units and two shattered/19. Romans have nine spent units, one routed, two shattered/17 and one lost general.)


Roman and Campanian horse charge Gellius's flank.

The Samnite units in the centre are now all spent and fatigued.


Turn 7.

Coalition: The command roll is six. The extra commands are used to give the cavalry and chariots combat bonuses to attack the rear of the Roman lines. The attacks succeed: three hits are scored (one an all-out attack), one unit is shattered, and another is carried off in rout.

(14 attacks, 3 hits, 1 all-out attack, 1 shatter, 1 rout. Coalition has twelve spent units and two shattered/19. Romans have ten spent units, two routed, three shattered/17 and one lost general.)


Before...

...after.


Romans: The command roll is six. Attacks by the cavalry on Gellius's flank are thwarted by the favour of the gods. Attacks on Gellius's front are thwarted by the Samnite commander's personal bravery.

(12 attacks, 3 hits, one rallied, one saved by favour of the gods. Coalition has thirteen spent units and two shattered/19. Romans have ten spent units, two routed, three shattered/17 and one lost general.)


The battle line.

Turn 8.

Coalition: The command roll is five. Attacks all along the line fail to significantly effect the Romans. Fatigue continues to take its toll.

(14 attacks, 1 hit. Coalition has thirteen spent units and two shattered/19. Romans have eleven spent units, two routed, three shattered/17 and one lost general.)


Both sides under great pressure.


Romans: The command roll is one. The cavalry initiates a dramatic attack on Gellius. The lead unit misses and uses favour of the gods to try again. Misses. The second unit scores a double hit. Gellius uses favour of the gods to force a re-roll. The re-roll misses. The third attack is a hit. Gellius attempts to rally the hit but fails. His entire zone is now spent.

Fabius takes up the charge in turn. A miss; favour of the gods allows him to try again. A hit; Gellius cannot rally it; a unit is shattered.

Elsewhere, all but one attack fails.

Crucially, the Romans hold the favour of the gods token going into turn 9.

(12 attacks, 3 hits, one shattered. Coalition has fourteen spent units and three shattered/19. Romans have eleven spent units, two routed, three shattered/17 and one lost general.)


Four...


...then three.


Turn 9.

Coalition: The command roll is one. Attacks on the rear of the Roman formation force the Romans to use favour of the Gods immediately. Despite this, one hit is scored in the centre and a unit is shattered. Gellius also inflicts a hit. Both infantry lines are fully stretched, bar one last fresh unit of Gallic infantry on the right.

(10 attacks, 2 hits, one shattered. Coalition has fourteen spent units and three shattered/19. Romans have eleven spent units, two routed, four shattered/17 and one lost general.)


A gap is opened in the Roman line.

Romans: The command roll is five. This is the turn for things to happen, and happen they do. In the centre the Romans score two hits. One is saved by favour of the gods; the other is not. The shattered unit carries off the rest of the coalition centre and the now-jittery Gallic cavalry in the rear of the Roman line. The attacks on Gellius's wing are similarly successful: two hits, shattering two units, leaving only Gellius and his guard unit in the zone.

This should have broken the back of the coalition army, but it somehow stands its ground on the wings (for now).

(10 attacks, 3 hits, three shattered, four routed. Coalition has seven spent units, four routed and six shattered/19. Romans have eleven spent units, two routed, four shattered/17 and one lost general.)


The coalition centre gives way.

Gellius's command crumbling.

Turn 10. 

Coalition: The command roll is one. The chariots charge in one last time, hit, and are asked to roll again by the favour of the gods. They roll again, and hit again in an all-out attack. It is enough to shatter a legionary unit, which takes its two support units with it.

The Gauls have won on the right.

Gellius now beats a hasty retreat to camp to save what he can of his force.

(5 attacks, 1 hit, one shattered, two routed units. Coalition has seven spent units, four routed, one withdrawn and six shattered/19. Romans have eleven spent units, four routed, five shattered/17 and one lost general.)


Chariots attack the Roman rear, and the line breaks.

Gellius decides to make for camp, and who could blame him?


Roman: The command roll is five. The legionaries in the central zone turn for a final strike at the Gallic infantry, but cannot score a hit. There is no other way to force a result against the coalition.

(2 attacks, no hits. Coalition has seven spent units, four routed one withdrawn and six shattered/19. Romans have eight spent units, four routed, five shattered/17 and one lost general.)


Last act: the Roman centre attempts to hit the Gallic flank.
And so the great battle is over. The armes have fought each other to a standstill, and neither side is left in sole possession of the battlefield.

Points.

Rome: 
Shattered enemy - AHI/HC x 6 = 36 
Routed enemy - AHI/HC x 4 = 16
Withdrawn enemy - AHI x 1 UL x 1 = 6
spent enemy - AHI/HC/Ch x 7 = 21
TOTAL - 79.

Coalition:
Shattered enemy - ALE/HC x 4 LLI x 1 = 28
Routed enemy - ALE/HC x 3 LLI x 1 = 15
Lost generals - UL = 3
Spent enemy - AHC/LE x 7, VHC x 1 = 25
Handicap - 27
Fatigued -  10
TOTAL - 108

A points difference of 29 results in a major victory for the coalition army.

This was a superb game and this slightly rushed write up does not do the swings of fortune justice. The favour of the gods token so often mentioned (which allows a re-roll and is then passed to the other side) added a wonderful extra level of tension to the game.

It was most enjoyable to play. For my poor, long-suffering readers, if you've managed to read this far, thank you, and I salute your stamina!




14 comments:

  1. gosh! one of the best games report I've read - lots of pictures of great looking painted figures/units and turn by turn commentary - Great post!

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  2. Aaron nicely done. I like the board played on and the figs look lovely with that choice of color of the board as background. Nice write up as well.

    Cheers
    Kevin

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  3. As Phil says, lovely just lovely all those painted miniatures and the detailled write-up. Thanks for sharing

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  4. Sounds like a really gripping game Aaron - looks great!

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    1. Thanks - was certainly a fun way to spend a (mostly) free Sunday and Monday!

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  5. The Coalition rolled their fair share of ones for command. I did not think they were going to make it but in the end they prevailed. It did read like a close game all the way!

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    1. They started off brilliantly, but then the Romans came back. Was a good game.

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  6. What a superb battle with spetacular armies! Love the lines of ROmans and the impressive chariots!

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  7. Long opposing lines of well painted troops and an enjoyable BatRep; what is not too like? Many times tempted but never played Lost Battles. It is very good to see details on how the game plays. One day, I may actually give it a try myself.

    Great job!

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    Replies
    1. Thanks, Jonathan - Lost Battles is a good set but ideally you'd want someone to teach you. If you ever decide to give it a crack, there are some 'how to play' videos on boardgamgeek.

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