The Dumnorix revolt continues: the battle for Provence

15 April, 2010

Last night I caught up with Joel again. As I’ve still not got any other army ready we had a rematch of the Gauls and Romans. It naturally followed on from the battle last month. In that battle, the battle of Agedincum, Caesar lost legions and cavalry as Dumnorix triumphed. It took all of his skill as a general for Caesar to extract his battered and demoralized troops from their predicament. With difficulty he withdrew his forces to the Province (Southern Gaul) to regroup, resupply and gather reinforcements.

He was aided in his efforts in that the Gauls were somewhat dilatory in pursuing their victory. Firstly, they had to have a number of big feast (picture innumerable scenes from Asterix!), and then Dumnorix had to persuade his allies and his own people that they should not assume that they had seen the last of Caesar, but rather should pursue him into the Province. They could, he argued, liberate their compatriots there from the burdensome yoke of Roman rule. At length, when the Gauls were sufficiently well fed and had finished preserving their new-won severed heads, Dumnorix was able to get them into the field and marching on the Province. He advanced down the Rhone, and Caesar, hearing of his approach, and fearing the defection of the Allobroges, marched out to meet him. The two armies clashed near Vienne. The battlefield had a pair of woods and a gentle hill. The Gauls deployed first with their cavalry on the left flank, hoping to swing around the wood. Behind the central wood were two warbands and some skirmishers. Dumnorix stayed with the rest of the army that rested its right flank on the second smaller wood. Caesar formed up on the hill with his cavalry in reserve.

Initial Deployment: Dumnorix on left and Caesar on the right. Unfortunately I forgot to use the flash and the lighting’s very weird.

On the first turn Dumnorix sends his cavalry off around the wood.

Turn 1: A slow start as both sides have few PIPs.

On the second turn Caesar continues to advance, while Dumnorix begins to move into the central wood.

Turn 2: The left wing advances.

Caesar begins to divide his army to meet the flanking move.

Turn 3: The attempted flanking move is met firmly.

Caesar’s advance slows, as he has only 1 PIP; meanwhile the Gauls get into position in the woods.

Turn 4: The skirmishers align themselves with the cavalry.

Caesar prepares to advance on the warbands in the woods. Dumnorix, fearing that this position  could be swamped advances his centre and right flank.

Turn 5: Dumnorix starts to move.

Again PIPs dry up on both sides (2 and 1 respectively), and the two sides continue to position themselves.

Turn 6: Dumnorix’s advance continues.

PIPs continue the same as last turn. Caesar’s left wing is finally in position, while Dumnorix chooses to do nothing.

Turn 7: Caesar extends his left flank.

Eight turns into the game the first combat occurs, as Caesar commits his right flank. It is rebuffed at every point, but nowhere critically.

Turn 8 (Caesar): First combat sees no success for the Romans.

With the legion in the woods on the  right flank exposed by the recoil of the cavalry, Dumnorix is able to attack it with his skirmishers with overlap support (unfortunately the warband to the right can’t help, as it’s ZOCed by the legion in front). This results only in a recoil and the legion being aligned with its cavalry again. Dumnorix also starts to move his rear support to the right on the right flank, hoping to overlap with rear support the outside legion.

Turn 8 (Dumnorix): Indecisive combat on the left flank.

Caesar has only one PIP and uses it to support his Bd in the woods. Dumnorix now attacks on that flank, but is driven back on all points, apart from a ‘stick’. Hopes of destroying his unsupported Bd in BGo are not achieved. The manoeuvre of the rear rank on the right continues.

Turn 9: No success for the Gauls in their attack.

Caesar has only 2 PIPs and uses them to move his psiloi across to support his left flank. He recoils the ‘stuck’ cavalry.

Turn 10 (Caesar): More Roman manoeuvring.

Dumnorix repeats his charge, but this time his warband is doubled, the skirmishers flee in alarm and the cavalry are forced back.

Turn 10 (Dumnorix): Despite good odds the Roman legion on the right proves too strong.

Now Caesar gets the PIPs he needs and charges on the left flank. this sees one of the heroes of Agedincum (the clothed headhunter, let’s call him Ambiorix) facing 7-3 odds and being routed by Caesar, although Dumnorix boldly forces back the legion opposite him and Nennius gives ground reluctantly. The warband next to him, however, is extremely truculent and nearly destroys the legion in front of them (the dice were 2-6), creating a ‘stick’. On their right the warband is forced back. On the left there is another ‘stick’ in the cavalry fight and the Gallic cavalry force their opponents back.

Turn 11 (Caesar): Caesar starts to create cracks in the Gallic line.

Dumnorix cannot do much to remedy this situation, but chooses to extend his line on the right, to retire himself and the rear rank of the stuck element (thanks, guys!) and to attack on the left flank. Here he manages to rout an element of Roman cavalry. On the right, his bold warband, despite odds of 1-6 is only forced to recoil.

Turn 11 (Dumnorix): Some success to Dumnorix on the left flank.

Fortunately Caesar has only 1 PIP. He attacks the cavalry from the flank. If they lose they won’t be able to recoil. However, they stand firm. Dumnorix in his turn, equally bereft of PIPs, can only attack the legion with his skirmishers. They, however, are put to flight (dice = 1-6!).

Turn 12: Neither side makes any progress in this turn.

The brief respite is soon  over, when Caesar has 6 PIPs. He attacks at all points. The cavalry continue to shrug off the attacks of the legion. But Nennius cannot resist the legion opposite him, and his warband is routed. It all looks hopeless. The two headhunters are gone and the remaining warband is facing 6-3 odd. If they lose the Gauls will break. However, these men had already shown their mettle, and overcome the odds with yet another 6. The legion opposite them quails at their ferocity and rolling a 2 is put to flight, sweeping the psiloi support away with them too. Now the tables are turned and the leftmost legion is now overlapped on both sides and, facing 3-3 odds, does not stick around. Against all expectations, the Gauls triumph! Winning the game in the eleventh hour 4-3.

Turn 13: An incredible reversal sees the Gauls sweep to victory on their right flank (in the excitement, Nennius’ death counter was not laid out).

  • Aftermath:

After the glorious victory of Vienne all of the Province rose against the oppressors. Caesar, in a panic, retreated to Cisalpine Gaul with whatever forces he could salvage. One can well picture the consternation in Rome. Would the Gauls yet get to sack it, something not done in over 300 year? Doubtless the name of Brennus is on the lips of everyone in the Gallic camp as they prepare to continue their advance. Someone else on their lips is the bold leader who turned the tide, the Cadurcan Lucterius. It may have helped that Caesar had had to commit his freshly raised legions to the left flank, but one wonders if even more seasoned troops could have withstood the Cadurcan bull! He was ferocious in three rounds of combat.

  • Review

Doubtless the Romans deserved to lose; they’re Romans after all! But I’d have to admit that Joel deserved to win last night. He had the sounder plan, and it was only luck that carried me to victory (thought that’s warbands for you!). I might have been better to anchor my line on the wood and bring my cavalry around the right flank, though Joel would have met them with his cavalry. As it was, his placement in the centre of the field prevented Dumnorix from intervening. I might have had more success in the woods, but I had no decisive advantage there. I might also have wheeled on the small woods, bringing me closer to the centre, without abandoning advantage of BGo.

4 Responses to “The Dumnorix revolt continues: the battle for Provence”

  1. Stephen Says:

    I bet the Romans didn’t see that one coming! Dumnorix looks like he is in a fairly good position to stop the Romans from being too enterprising with their Psiloi though, in the centre.

    • Mark Davies Says:

      True, neither did I to be honest. It seems Wb need to be up against it before they perform!

      I guess Dumnorix was in a good central position, but he ended up being fairly ineffectual, as I didn’t want to weaken the right flank and he couldn’t go into the BGo. Perhaps I should have continued to hang back on the right, but feed in some more Wb into the woods.

  2. TWR Says:

    I’ve just noted on the DBA forum that the Gauls are considering advancing on Rome. This will mean they will need a couple of games as invader. Correct me if I’m wrong but to date they have been defending and placing terrain. Perhaps some Gallic propaganda is at work, or worse scare mongering by Pompeii.

    • Mark Davies Says:

      Up until now we’ve just been playing regular battles, which for the sake of interest I’ve strung together on the blog. Until recently in our games being the defender has not been an advantage, but if we continue to just dice for aggressor, it reflects the Roman doctrine of aggressive defence. No doubt the failure of this doctrine could be turned to the advantage of the Pompeians, but they may not be too keen to deal with the Gallic problem themselves, so may be keeping a little muted!

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