The Capua region in Southern Italy had revolted from Rome. Trained under Hannibal they added nearly 20,000 foot soldiers to Hannibals army of Bruttian, Samnite and Lucanians.
The Senate has decided it was time to bring Capua back to the fold and break the Rebellion and wrest control from Hannibal.
Despite having 8 Legions in the area, Hannibal and Mago prevented the siege from beginning, and continued to conduct lightening raids and attacks on the armies of Rome, however whilst on one of these raids the romans actually managed to attack Capua and lay siege.
the praetor Flaccus and his legions were plundering a nearby city called Herdonia, which supported Carthages cause. Gnaeus Fulvius Flaccus (gotta love that name) had the X and V double legions at his command. Tough Legions, blooded and experienced from Sicily & (see here in Sardinia ), upon their transfer they were veterans of 5 years of campaigning. These 17,000 men and 1,000 horse were to face Hannibals 13 foot and Magos 4,000 Cavalry and 20 elephants.
This would be a evenly matched battle but for the leadership of Gnaeus, the brother of Quintus a strong field general and consul for Rome.
Hannibal arrived at dusk and laid Mago’s men in ambush on the right flank of Flaccus. 2,000 Numidians would descend on the rear of the Roman Army, and block escape.
Here is the initial outline of the Carthage troops.
Similar to other battles Hannibal had his Heavy infantry on the flanks, but this time the field was much narrower, causing concern for him about the mobility of his Phalanxes. Flaccus, although a inexperienced general knew of Hannibals deceitful tactics. He was more prepared to fight a rear guard action.
The Battle and some logistics.
C: 100 Rout points
R: 135 RP’s +5 from the pool of points in the campaign. =140.
In order to keep the solo play honest, I randomized the entry point and timing of the arrival of Mago.
Carthage moves first. and activates LN (Lancer cavalry), threading thru the woods on the right flank.
Rome immediately presses its VE (Velites ) into the gap between the two wooded flanks. Carthage moves their Balearic SK’s (skirmishers) up to interfere with and soften up the VE. The Roman Cavalry (RC) move to block the EL (Elephants) and LN from flanking the Roman left. The EL attack the VE and kill two units. Following this up the Balearic SK’s fire 8 times and all miss…..nice.
The HA (Hastati ) and PR (Principies) move forward to engage the center where MI (Medium Infantry) from Carthage comprise the line. Mago appears. 2,000 LC (Light Cavalry) and 2-3 thousand LI (Light Infantry) pour from the woods in an early attack upon the Roman right, inflicting heavy casualties, mago seizes and continues to punish the Roman Cavalry and race towards the rear of the TR (Triarii).
The Legions press forward, Flaccus also seizes and about faces the TR. Mago attacks again, and fails to kill any units and fails a seize. The Romans are upon the Carthage line. The MI take a beating and one unit breaks away in fear of the seasoned ferocity of the XXXXX Legion
Hannibal conducts seven shock attacks across his line with little effect, his MI struggling and his Heavy Infantry and Phalanxes (HI & PH) grinding against he highly cohesive high troop quality (TQ) of the Roman Legions.
Mago continues to persecute his offense from the rear but finds the TR and the PR Extraordinaire are slowing his efforts and inflicting punishing losses on the nimble experienced Numidians. Hasdrubal finishes breaking down the RC on the Carthage right and swings out of the woods to engage a line of Legionnaires strung out to protect the center of Romes efforts.
mid game the Carthage line is bending not breaking.
Rome frantically attacks twice, 11 shock combats in all see the beginnings of Hannibals line failing. Flaccus succeeds in seizing after Hannibals counter attack and his lines reform, attack and the PR hit Hannibal hard, but roll 3 ZEROS…..ugh…. Meanwhile in the rear the TR maneuver to prevent breakthrough of Mago and his now stalling cavalry.
Hannibal follows Magos attacks and finally do some real damage killing 12 RP’s for the loss of 5 RPs, and reducing 4 additional legions to in essence combat ineffectiveness.
Rome has 66 Rout points
The TR, tired from the harassment from the Numdians go on the offensive and the TR attack! killing one LC and the rest retreat in disorder. Hasdrubal surges forward on the right desperate to find a crack in the line of VE and HA with his EL and manage to inflict 7 more RP’s on Rome.
Mago kills more isolated units with a combination of LI and LC.
Romes vaunted PR surge past the HA and crunch the HI, PH and MI in front of them. Despite Flaccus’s inexperience he is doing a fabulous job of keeping his men in command as the center begins to fail for Hannibal and his own command lines are now stretched. the PR take down 10 RP’s.
The HA attack, Hannibal responds with 12 shock attacks and a seize and Romes rout point total rockets to a dangerous 98. Carthage is 51. Flaccus and Hannibal and Hasdrubal trade blows.
This battle is bloody.
The men continue to hack at each other, surging back and forth neither side giving an inch. Hannibal senses he is once again with in victories reach, but is concerned that his center has a large gap of nearly 200 meters, and his Phalanxes are tied up by Hastati and unable to deftly engage and drive in on the Romans. The trees, and the experience of the V & X Legion are taking their toll.
Finally one of the Phalanxes fails on Hannibals left, and his HI start to waver, several less cohesive units retreat up the slope in search a better position to fight from against he relentless onslaught from the Romans.
Seeing, sensing the momentum shifting Mago urges his tired cavalry forward, taking risky attacks. Flaccus and his men are somewhat stunned but realize that Hannibal has significantly less men on the field now that they see the true dispositions. The Hastati attack, another Bruttian heavy infantry unit crumbles.
Again Mago attacks this time the compound effect of his LI and LC kill two more units. Eeek. Rome is within 7 RPs of losing, but Hannibal and Mago have no
In the last turn of the battle, Rome rolls 5 dice, for 5 shock combats. The first 3 in order put Carthage over their RP limit to 101. Notably tho the 4th attack had a tribune who would have died if the order was different taking Rome to 148 RPs.
Flaccus wins. Rome wins its first major battle on Italian soil. Hannibal retires from the field. Having nearly died 3 times, leading his men agains the X legion, he knows it is time to yield. Capua will have to fend for itself.
Analysis, What Rome did right:
1. Had stronger units to fight Carthage’s PH and HI.
TQ 6,7,8 v 7.
2. Used stacks and single LG units effectively.
3. Managed In Command Out of Command units well without losing momentum in the battle
Protected the flanks without depleting the ability to attack
4. Took advantage of the terrain situation with the woods
5. Carthage failed to flank and crush the TR / LG early enough
Now the Battle of Siga awaits and Syphax the Lion of the Desert prepares to take on the might of Carthage and it Elephants in a desert battle for survival.