The Winter in 261 was mild. The two forces vying for control of the Western Mediterranean now have a sense for each others determination. One side has inexhaustible manpower the other unstoppable thirst for commercial control.
Rome elects a new crop of leaders and prorogues the Rome and Field Consuls. Consular Army I and II are battered, shambolic shadows of their former selves. Both have 5 or fewer SP. It would seem that they should be disbanded and more troops raised so that CA III situation in Rhegium can join the fray. Proconsuls Valerus and Lutatius are elected and Fundulus rises to Rome Consul while Crassus is allocated the Field Consul role.
Rome now wise to the forced surrender (Auto Victory of naval conquest), elects to build ships, in fact she max’s out the ship count.
Whereas Carthage in its wisdom build 10 squadrons. Commissioning a new fleet in Carthage and another in Lilybaeum.
In the opening moves of the year, Consular Army #1, leaves the hotly disputed hex where Messana is situated, tempting an interception. Carthage lets the battered army go, thinking that surely not much can be done with them, as well as not wanting to knock out the Army and allow a fresh double Legion on the isle just yet (remember only 4 Legions at time on the Island of Sicily).
Leaving Massana they travel to Drapernum via Panormus, seek continuance and then lay siege.
Siege Attrition comes next forcing losses in both Drapernum and Massana for Carthage of 1 /0 respectively. No losses for Rome.
A Roman Admiral picks up and consolidates squadrons moving from Ostia. The Carthaginians drop ships off in Caralis and set sail for Drapernum, co-ordinating with Hannibal Gisgo his four ships sail to Massana to bolster the sea lanes.
Cn. Cornelius, fancying himself an ancient Horatio Hornblower brings all of his ships to bear on Massana seeking battle. Sadlly they scatter, roll continuation and make it. They then attack!
11 v 4, Rome has the Corvus bonus, tactical bonus but still ends up with a net 0 DRM. While Carthage has a net 2 due to crew skill bonus. Rome loses 25% of its fleet and Carthage also takes 25% losses or 1 squadron. Romes leader is wounded in the fray.
The early summer heat ways on the besieged townships. Rome loses 3 from its total of 8 in Massana and just one for its straggler army sieging Drapernum. Carthage loses none!
Fabius the brave leave Tarentum with his fleet and collects up more ships. Survives a disaster roll and makes land fall at Rhegium.
Hanno Hamilcar, elects to assault Massana to finish the siege and remove the Roman benefit for Siege Attrition of its navy now off the coast. They attack in disrupted mode, @ 6:1. they need to roll just a 1 or actually a 3 (-2 DRM) , they roll ZERO! Reeling the Carthaginian and Syracuse force loses 50% of its number! Rome loses none…but the valiant stand by the leader sees him wounded.
Word reaches the navy. Inspired they attack the remaining Carthage fleet and wipe it out. Massana may hold for another turn!
However even with the -3 row shifts for sole naval forces in the harbor/sea hex, the last Roman strength point dies due to attrition in the very next chit pull. CAII is eliminated! Massana falls and Carthage is now relieved of its ‘siege restriction/requirement.’
Rome sends a contingent to the Coast of Carthage for shits and giggles to raid and SUCCEEDS!!!
Consular Army III (CAIII) is now free to enter the province of Eastern Sicilia.
Romes Senate has other ideas and denies departure. The very next chit pulled is another Proconsul and this time they make the landing safely. The Carthage and Syracusan armies intercept and press home a savage attack. Outnumbered 1:3, Carthage will rely on Leadership ratings, and its army efficiency +3 to compensate for the lack of numbers.
The tactical DRM is just -1, the odds are -3, the Straits crossing is treated as a amphibious landing +3 to the attacker, +3 for Carthage martial prowess, -2 as the attacker is disrupted and finally +1 for Elite Cav. Neither side earns a benefit from cavalry superiority.
Carthage rolls a natural 9 earning a net 10. Another Major victory!! Rome drops 8 SP of Infantry and 2 of cav. Then the Butchery and Pursuit kills another step. The size of the loss forces Rome to retreat, and be rendered useless.
Rome is thoroughly pissed at this point have watched Carthage roll 0 to intercept and 9 to attack it is all too much. Thus they sail 3 ships to Drapernum attack a scattered fleet of 1…and promptly sink it killing Hasdrubal the hapless admiral. To add insult to injury the Siege of Drapurnam is called off due to forces not being significant enough to surround the city [siege attrition losses]
A lot of scuttling about in the tail end of the turn, as ships move here and there.
The year ends on a sour note as winter approaches, Cn Cornelius heads for home. Unaware of the recent augury that foretold terrible weather he misses any opportunity for glory after his magnificently executed dispatching of Carthage’s fleet and ignominiously sinks off the coast of Ostia. He and all 5 squadrons are lost at sea.
Why did Carthage Siege Assault? they feared what ended up transpiring, where the net benefit of Roman ships in port and no Carthage fleet in hex negated the column shifts on Siege Attrition. Better to finish the battle with just a simple roll! that failed. This could end up being a cost error as it gutted the Carthage Army. Fortunately with the fall of Massana reinforcements can be brought to bear in hex at the start of 261.
The Roman player was savvy this turn. Foregoing the unlikely chance to build more Legions he went for Naval supremacy and wiped out a lot of single ships and a group of 4 + killed 2 leaders! All easily replaced by Carthage but they now face the choice of Ships or men next turn and cannot see their way to a Naval Auto win [which is not the goal in any case this time around]. Carthage kept the two weakened Consular Armies (CA) around , which although it put a town under threat the forces are so weak that a response was not necessary by years end as they had to call off the siege due to losses.