Conventional Wisdom: In early July, Pompey consolidated his army and struck with as many as 6 legions on the vulnerable position (one revealed by two Gaulish princely traitors/turncoat/thieving types). Caesar’s Ninth legion, terribly overpowered, was forced to flee from the onslaught and Pompey established a new camp on the outside of the wall. Caesar attempted to reinforce the breach with 12 cohorts under Antony, and was initially successful in stemming the retreat. Caesar then drove back the Pompeians towards the sea, re-securing part of his wall in the process. – There is some dispute here as in Goldswothy’s “Caesar” he goes to lengths to explain that Pompey broke the siege line and secured forage for his horses (perhaps after Lesnikia that follow on battle(?) ) that and lack of water the two big issues for Pompey. Whilst a success for Pompey initially, it was the follow up attack by Caesar (seeking to regain some face no doubt) after Dyrrhachium that caused Caesars woes, and clealry broke the siege for Pompey, as Caesar packed up and moved off. Comments: For me this battle was bothersome. I could not see how Pompey could / should win. If Caesar elects to be aggressive he can wipe the field. Well almost! With Pompey having to ‘move into position’ this exposes him to errors and weakness. As you recall (see videos @ http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dxNI-4PoyXM)we found to use an alternate setup with advances the game to the 6th turn or there abouts assuming the forces are arrayed.
I then went back however and thought that through and decided to move the units into place, as you can see above and below. Part of me expected Pompey to be able to steal a march and hit the Caesarians on the march our with overwhelming force. This does not seem possible unless one forgoes any form, any control and any resultant command coherence with units well strung out. Certainly momentum and consecutive moves could have helped advance one or perhaps two legions, but they would then have been very isolated. This would have seen Pompey way out on a limb. Not something I saw him doing at his age or under his style of command. Nor are there any references to such in any of the Commentaries or writings I read about this battle and Pompey in general.
If he (Pompey) approaches too closely he loses the element of first mover advantage. Critical if he is to storm those berms. Plus we have the Marine problem, a good flanking force, but ineffective fighting. I did not use these guys effectively.
In the trenches the battle looks one sided from a straight numbers game. Massive force brought to bear. Here is the problem then. Rather than attempting a wide sweeping attack Pompey is best served having one of two approaches at one critical area of his choice. We can see a little of the dispersed nature of the situation per the reading of the histories – this turns into a set piece defensive battle with superior legions benefiting from the ramparts against inferior units. To me we are not reflecting the situation as it happened historically with either the approach per the original scenario or the ‘pre-moved’ set up I found. There is none of the brave cohorts versus the masses happening here. What could Pompey have done differently?A. Use a weaker legion first to soften up a frontal assault on ONE legion. Then retire that formation with some grace and push the 2nd Legion in as a strong Veteran force. In the mean time keep a presence(s) near other units even with a weaker Legion (Mac A or B) and preserve the 2nd Veteran Legion for the inevitable counter attack.
The Marines a nuisance distraction, as you attempt to get them into good locations. I found myself pushing legions into fray for the hook up between them and the Marines. Stupid. B. Attack in one location but use the best Legions up front and pummel the forces. Then push in 2 legions (non Veteran) into the hole and expand or hold. You cannot afford to spread to thin, but you must make the Caesarians do so. Back to the battle:So Caesar said screw history lets butt heads. He drives the veteran units out into the fray.
So it is not long before Pompey has accrued 30 odd points and is a 1/3 of the way to failure. WTH!
Over on the other side of the map the IX engage with the 1st one of Pompeys better Legions. Its touch and go for both sides. I actually conducted attacks here using both methods – GBoH and SGBoH. The Results are remarkable close. You can see those results in some of the videos post here for this battle.
I think we can all see that hole at Turn 12……
I am positive given how things have transpired that Caesar would have ordered his last Legion holding the ramparts to do something innovative! Especially given that while he has inflicted heavy losses his own X is starting to feel the weight of holding 3 legions at bay. They are all watching him warily attempting to position for an attack. The Alduae reinforce the Xths flank.
The 1st digs in, and climbs the dirt walls.
The first does an admirable job, but the leadership of the IX cycle units out and there always seems to be a fresh cohort waiting. Losses mount on both sides. The IX becomes brittle
Caesar wants to ensure that the IX holds:
The move that should of could of happened a little earlier is bold, Caesarian and needed to take pressure of each flank. The VIII dives into action rather than moving down range.
The Macedonian forces dont exactly hold their ground, but they do give enough to make Pompeys immediate right look very very weak.
Its game over. Pompeys forces have taken their best shot. I am not sure they have much of anything left.
Each flank in detail:
- Dyrrhachium: X Legion and Caesar (meshtime.com)
- Dyrrhachium setup and Optional start positions. (meshtime.com)
- This Day in Ancient History: ante diem x kalendas junias (rogueclassicism.com)