ad Sipylum (2)
The Roman Times
The ides of march 190 BC
Rome defeated decisively!
From our correspondent in
A few days ago 4 Roman
legions were completely annihilated in Magnesia. Complete Roman command
captured. This might mean the end of the Roman influence in the east.
Largest loss of soldiers
The Romans were confident they
could win this war based on earlier experiences with the Seleucids, but
it turned out a disaster.
The Seleucid left wing,
commanded by Antiochus himself, was slow to start. This wing was mainly
made out of cavalry units, most of them clad in heavy armour, called
cataphracts. But once this heavy force got started, they were
unstoppable, and the enveloped the Romans easily. The camp reserve that
had reinforced this weak Roman wing were no match for the Seleucids. Our
African elephants feared the much larger Indian elephants and fled the
At first it looked as if
Eumenus was able to outsmart the Seleucids. He quickly scared the
scythed chariots away. The son of Antiochus commanded the Seleucid
right. Many thought of him a lesser general. But he managed to hold the
Pergamese advance by missile fire only. And he stroke at the right
moment, overrunning the fear stricken cavalry of Eumenes, leaving him
without an army running of the battlefield.
At first the Romans
thought they had the advantage, and the vanguard of the Seleucid army,
mostly made up out of light troops and skirmishers, were driven back
fast enough. But out of the dust clouds the fleeing skirmishers left
behind them, the elephants appeared. And there were many. They hindered
the movement of the Romans, and when they finally had dealt with the
Elephants (our very well drilled boys opened lanes to let them through),
another danger appeared. Behind the elephants thousands upon thousands
of phalangites advanced. They alone outnumbered the Romans, but it was
said that these phalanx were made out of hastily gathered levy troops.
Antiochus had lost about 10,000 phalanx troops last year in Greece. But
then disaster struck. The Seleucid cataphracts and cavalry in wedge
formations had surrounded the Roman army.
A striking detail were
the hesitating Galatians, that made part of the Seleucid war effect. It
seemed that they were the only ones that feared the Romans, and they
refused to take part in the earlier stages of the battle, lingering
behind the lines. Only in the end they took part in the battle. It is
said that the Romans have tried to bride them into not fighting.
Antiochus is planning a punitive expedition into the land of the
Galatians, telling the media that he was not pleased at all with their
Only a few of the Romans
managed to escape to tell the tale. Military experts had predicted that
the Romans would be able to turn the elephants back into the Seleucid
phalanx, and that the experienced Eumenes would be able to deal with the
Seleucids. They had also thought Antiochus would not be able to keep his
army together this well. These eastern potentates are notorious for
pursuing small enemy units of the battlefield, loosing eye for the main
battle. One military advisor told us that there were just too many of
them, how badly trained, not even Scipio Africanus would have been able
to win this war for the Romans.
handled an ultimatum to the Roman senate today, demanding the complete
evacuation of Greece, Illyria and Macedon, disallowing elephants in the
Roman army as of now, and seriously restricting the amount of foot
soldiers the Romans may train. Eumenes was killed by the Pergamese
aristocracy, and his successor has opened the gates for the Seleucids.
An in-depth story on page 5
after the Olympian sports page.
the scenario by Jeff Jonas WAB supplement "successors".
this battle on the 9th of august 2006 at a
Société de La Grande Armée
game day in Hoek van Holland, Netherlands. With us were Karel van den Arend, Rik
Mol, Richard Hopman and Dennis Klinkenberg.
Quite an impressive view of the battlefield
(620 Seleucids on the left, 330 Romans on the right)
Indian Elephants with calf from Rik
were taken from the HatPW supplement and Pergamum from the Successor supplement
Seleucid army was taken from the Successor supplement.
The armies were designed on a 1:50 scale, so we ended up with 950 models on the
table. The Seleucids were outnumbering the Romans by 2:1. Some special rules
were introduced by Jeff Jonas for this scenario to balance the forces, like
rules for the fog of war, indecisive units, and easily panicked troops.
A Battle report
We played this
scenario here is the result.
Birdview of the battlefield
Richard (seleucids left), Karel (Pergamon), Dennis, (Romans)
|The Seleucids were counting on their majority, and possibility to
outflank the Romans with heavy cavalry and elephants.
The Seleucids had a great diversity of troops to mention a few:
- Arab dromedaries
- Scythed chariots
- Pisidians, Pamphylians & Lykians, Trallians, Cretans
- Anatolian Hillmen, Carians & Cilicians, Mysians
- Tarentine cavalry
- Hetairoi Cavalry
- Indian elephants
- Seleucid phalanx (Katoikoi)
- Dahae horse archers
|The Romans knew they had to crush the phalanx before the flanks were
able to get into their flanks. Hurry!
4 Roman legions (velites, Hastati, Principes and Triarii) were joined
by thureophoroi and Greek cavalry from Pergamum. Also Macedonian
volunteers and African elephants were present.
|The Seleucid skirmish screen was very large, and had a lot of
missile power. The scenario from Jeff cuts down the effectiveness of the
missile arms, but the Pergamese cavalry suffered a lot from the
firepower. It was a nice view, seeing all those different nations in the
skirmish line of the Seleucid army.
|The Roman velites were mean a ever. They made mincemeat out of the
The Seleucid staff is arguing about the next move.
|The Pergamese on the right could not get through alive the very
large Seleucid flank. But they managed to hold up this flank for much
longer than experted.
|The Seleucids had trouble moving because everyone was hindering
everyone. There were just too many soldiers on the table. But wehn the
skirmish troops had fled the table, the real power of this flank
emerged. Cataphracts, a wedge, scythed chariots and camels were able to
finally end the Pergamese advance. But could they envelop the Roman
flank in time?
Cataphracts from Rik
|In the centre the Seleucid levy phalanx held back. They
were too afraid to face the professional Roman soldiers, and they had
orders to wait for the flank to win.
Due to scenario rules all of the Galatians did not want to move at all
for quite a long time. Luckily for the Seleucids, they wanted to stay
were they were anyway.
|The Romans advanced as quick as possible.
|The Seleucids let go of their elephants, both because they are
unreliable and to slow the Roman advance.
|When the Romans were finally in place to crush the Seleucid centre,
all was depending on the flanks. The one that would win would win the
battle. It seemed that the Pergamese had held back the Seleucids on the
Roman right long enough. It was up to the Roman left flank.
Most of the 950 models (=over a thousand hours of painting!)
|But there was no Roman left flank. The 3 turmea the
Romans had to guard this flank was reinforced by the camp guard,
Macedonians and African elephants. But these troops were not too
enthusiastic to fight and die for the glory of Rome...
|Though the Seleucids had trouble getting on the move here (because
of scenario rules), when they finally went for the kill, they did to "en
masse". And they ran over the Roman left flank with ease.
Anatolians sack a Roman settlement after the battle
|Even before the centre battle could commence if was
clear that the Romans were to be overrun. They handed in the towel.
|When we played the scenario previously, things went
quite like it went historically with scythed chariots taking the whole
Seleucid left with them in a mad flight. This time the Seleucids were
able to win here.
|The previous time the Romans were also able to turn the
cataphracts on their left with a combined combat with hastati and an
elephant. This time the elephant ran instead of the cataphracts.
|But all players agreed that it was a very nice battle
and much fun to play.
Many thanks to
the players of the club
Société de La Grande Armée.
To the battles page
To the Scenario page