Greetings! DukeCanada and I thought this forum could do with a with a nice Fate of Empires multiplayer battle report to spice it up a bit . You'll find below an account from each of us of the battle, detailing our intended tactics going into the fight, how things actually unfolded, and a little post-match analysis. So, without further ado..
Let battle commence!
Well after a brief discussion over which factions to play as, we eventually settled on the Cisalpine Gauls vs SPQR. I was fresh out of an FoE campaign playing as the jolly northern barbarians and was keen to put into practise what I'd (hopefully) learned, while Duke took the opportunity to get in some game time with the Romans. Sides chosen, we each took a reasonable-but-not-excessive budget of 20,000 shekels and got to work choosing our armies.
Knowing that the strength of the Roman legions lay firmly in the power of their heavy infantry, I decided that relying on infantry to win the battle would be false wisdom. Instead, having had great success in my campaign utilising heavy cavalry, I chose five units of Keltoi Heavy Cavalry to go along with my general's bodyguard. They're not the greatest heavy horsemen availible, but they perform very well and if Duke was to take an Equites to the field, I was confident they would outmatch the inferior Roman cavalry. For my infantry, I chose half a dozen units of Gallic heavy swordsmen - Keltoi Ambicati. These boys were toughies, and while I doubted they would triumph over the Romans by themselves, they would hopefully hold the line long enough for my cavalry to win the day. These were backed up by a similar number of regular Keltoi Swordsmen, who would act as support troops. Rounding off the selection were some skirmishers.
My deployment was nothing too fancy: my Ambacti deployed in a single line, ready to meet the Roman legions with determination and steel, with the Swordsmen waiting behind them. I placed three units of heavy cavalry on my right flank, where the ground was more open, and my remaining two cavalry units off to the side of my left flank, the other side of a small wood. The general sat behind the main line, and the skirmishers would screen the advance.
It was roughly Mid day, The sun was blazing and not a cloud was in sight, about 2 hours to pass until I was set to go out with my friends. A nice day of soccer was ahead of me, but for the time being I suppose I had thought that the best activity would be to beta test.
So, like any good best tester I decided to log into msn after a while and check up on my fellows, To my joy I found Switch; my fellow beta testers and a great guy. I decided that today I would pay my due and grant him the rematch he so rightfully deserved, after all, before our last battle we were as green as the morning grass.
So with a little guilt, and a pit of excitement I called Switch to battle. Switch agreed, and from that point on we were no longer beta testers, but enemies. So we loaded the battle, and were on our way.
Switch hosted the battle, and decided to use the Cisalpine Gauls. From the second I saw the banner of the Gauls I knew there would be trouble. Switch is an expert when it comes to the Gauls, having led a glorious campaign against the Romans (which was no easy task, by anyone’s standards) , and having fought our last battle with the Gauls, I knew my enemy was well familiarised with his army.
So I had to make a careful decision here. The last time I fought against Switch I has used the Massayli. Their heavy infantry had stood well against the hordes of barbarians crashing against their shields, and my cavalry had been able to neutralise the Keltoi’s famed heavy cavalry. This led to a victory, and I was loath to forget it.
Each faction has its own strengths and weaknesses. Carthage might be able to fight the Gauls, but Carthage is quite similar to the Numidian roster in aspects, The Celtiberians might hold well but I have precious little experience fighting as Barbarians, and against a seasoned veteran such Switch it would be unwise. The epirotes would just be unfair to use, so by process of elimination I was left with Rome. My experiences with Rome were few, but I had won and lost a few battles with them, and after my last experience against PoM I thought that I finally had devised a tactic with Rome that would lead to victory.
A - Rome has some excellent heavy infantry
B - They are relatively cheap so I may have a couple thousand left in the end to purchase some upgrades or a special unit
C - Funditores are a life saver and excellent marksmen, they could making the difference between winning a losing a battle, on top of that I wont require to field as many skirmishes as my enemy. A valuable advantage.
The one downside is that Roman cavalry may not be able to hold their own against the Keltoi elite. This I would have to test in combat though. And so my Army was selected .
Four Hastasti with 2 experience upgrades each, Five Principes, Three Funditores, Four Equites, Three Triarii and one general.
The battle began and I arranged my men in the standard Formation. Skirmishers in front, Hastati in second rank, Principles in third and Trairii in fourth. Followed by my general. All this was flanked by two Equites units in each flank
Deciding to take the initiative right off the bat, I began advancing my army immediately. The Romans had deployed upon a small hill a few hundred yards in front of the Gauls in the standard three-line maniple formation, with light missile units screening the front and cavalry in support. Closing the distance in good time, hostilities opened with our skirmishers and missile units exchanging shots. The Romans definitely got the better of the Gauls here, the shot of the Roman slingers pouring mercilessly down the gentle slope at the Gallic skirmishers.
Setting my plan in motion, I trotted the cavalry on my right flank forward in advance of my main line, though far enough to the side of the Roman infantry so as not to be immediately threatened. Duke responded immediately by pulling a couple of units of Equites from his rear to meet this threat, and wisely sending a unit of spear-wielding Triarii along too. In return, I peeled off the unit of Ambacti on my extreme right to add their weight to the fray, brought over my general and looped round one of the three heavy cavalry units to get behind the Equites and Triarii. This proved enough to swiftly break the Roman units protecting this flank
On the other flank, my remaining two units took the opportunity to charge their opposite numbers - two units of stationary Equites.
In the centre, my Ambacti surged forward to engage the Roman main line, managing to catch those pesky Funditores before they could safely retreat behind the Hastati.
Initially Switch took the offensive and brought his force forward. A powerful line of Keltoi Ambacati followed by a line of Keloi swordmen. Perhaps my infantry would have a challenge after all. Well I guess that’s why the purpose of three lines is, isn’t it.
The skirmishing went well as my funditores managed to lay waste to the keltoi skirmishers, though the numbers were even it was clear that my funditores had managed to start the battle off to a good start. However it was not long after that the main Gaul infantry line rushed forward. However the ranks of the Keltoi were thin and mine not so much. Perhaps I might break the center before the battle progresses to far
On the left Flank Switch brought his superior Keltoi Heavy Cavalry forward, A wise decision as he had the clear advantage, something not wise to be wasted. In retaliation I brought My cavalry back to my main line, backed the Cavalry force with a Triarii unit and re-engaged the flank before they
had a chance to strike my main line
I hate to admit this, but it seems that Switch was quickly outthinking me on many levels.
It was not long before the enemy Gaul’s cavalry on the right side engaged my own, catching me completely off guard. After what seemed like the blink of an eye my left flank broke. Not even the veteran Triarii Could stand the combined assault of 3 Heavy and a heavy infantry unit, to my luck the enemy cavalry chased my runaway cavalry off the field, but how long this chase would last I had no idea.. The situation was quickly becoming dire, and so I has to utilise my next advantage.
While I let my victorious cavalry pursue and rundown the routing Roman cavalry and Triarii for a short time, the infantry conflict in the centre quickly escalated. My Ambacti quickly became engaged with his front-line Hastati, who were then further supported by a few units of Principes joining the rear of the Roman battle line, as well as exploiting a kink in the left of my line to isolate the Ambacti unit on my left flank. Not wishing to be outdone, I promptly brought my Keltoi Swordsmen into battle in support of the Ambacti.
I regrouped the over-running cavalry and Ambacti on my right flank just in time for them to be charged by Duke's remaining reserves. This included his general, whose charge routed one of my engaged Keltoi cavaly units. My own general plowed into the fray in response, and a desperate melee ensued behind the Roman's main battle line. Another unengaged Ambacti unit took the opportunity to hit the flank of the engaged Roman infantry, safe in the knowledge that the final Roman reserves were tied up for the time being. And at last Keltoi Heavy Cavalry on my left flank managed to break the Roman horse on this side of the battle.
Back over in the scrum behind the engaged infantry, my general and an assisting cavalry unit managed to surround the Roman general, and before long they managed to rout him. In the ensuing confusion I am unsure whether he escaped with his life or not, but the damage was done: any unengaged and by now rather breathless cavalry of my right flank battle group careered down the slope and into the backs of the Roman Hastati and Principes who were still duking it out inconclusively with my Ambacti and Swordsmen. The majority of the Roman battle line routed, as did the few remaining reserves who had attempted to prevent this flanking maneouvere.
Having 3 lines gives me a unique advantage over Switch. He cant use traditional Hammer and Anvil tactics without first breaking my reserves first, which are fresh and eager for combat. However, my first line could slowly wear the enemy out. All this time I can slowly feed my reserves in as needed.
So I rushed my Hastasti line into the fray
The fighting was fierce as both sides quickly used most of their reserves. Having been engaged on both sides nearly all my tactical options were lost, nut none the less my infantry managed to slowly but surely cut through the Keltoi line.
After my Cavalry was completely wasted the general of my enemies brought them behind my line. Where my gallant general and my one remaining reserve unit heroically tried to hold off the impending strike behind my line, but alas it was to no avail. My general was forced to route, and with him all hopes of victory
Blood on the Hills
As my exhausted infantry surged after the fleeing Romans, the day, it seemed, was almost mine. The only Roman units still left on the field were the ones slowly grinding down my left flank. They were mainly comprised of tough veteran Triarii and Principes, and had already succeeded in enveloping one Gallic unit and were busily making short work of another.
Tough as they may have been however, they now had almost the entire Gallic army to contend with, including six units of heavy cavalry high on bloodlust. As soon as they were in position for a charge, the Gallic general unleashed the full weight of his cavalry upon the remaining Romans. The strain was simply too much, and the final Roman units broke, fleeing the field. And with that, victory was mine!
After my general was routed a hammer and anvil strike broke my center. Unfortunately meant only my staggering flanks now held out.
Slowly all pockets of roman resistance caved, and a gruelling defeat plagued the Romans.
Now the reason it says victory is because I forgot to save the battle and had to get the save game from Switch (Thank you!), but I lost, without a doubt.
A terrible defeat for the Romans, but inspiration for another battle.
Well, that went about as well as I could've hoped! Things went generally to plan and every unit played their part. My cavalry were able to overwhelm the opposition they faced, despite some canny maneouvering by Duke - my heart caught in my mouth when I saw those Triarii coming up to deny my flank attack! Fortunately an infantry unit of my own was at hand to assist, and as it was they proved as instrumental in the victory as the cavalry. Without that unit of Ambacti to provide a bit of staying power in the tustles with Duke's flanking and reserve forces, my cavalry might well have been beaten off. I'll remember to actively support cavalry actions with dedicated infantry units in future.
If I were to to anything differently, I think I'd keep a tighter reign on my infantry units. My left flank lost its cohesion somewhat, and this really allowed Duke to capitalise on his superiority in a pure infantry battle. If it hadn't been for the timely shattering of the rest of his army, this flank could well have disolved.
Overall Duke put up a very good fight, but I think next time he takes to the field with the Romans he should play to their strengths more. He commited his Principes to the main battle very early, while his Hastati still had a lot of fight left in them. I think he'd have been better served by utilising his second and third lines to try and outflank my own infantry (as well as to see off my flank attack). A great assest of the Romans is the flexibility that the manipular deployment affords them.
Oh and I should mention that this is our second battle. In the first, Duke quite resoundingly defeated a similar Gallic army of mine with his Massyli .
Overall despite the horrendous defeat It was a very fun battle a great time. I think that overall I could have preformed much better. My selection of Cavalry was poor, as was my micro management if the cavalry battle. This was the greatest factor leading to my defeat. However some underlying causes were:
A - Picking a faction I was not very familiar with
B - Knowingly choosing weaker cavalry
C - Assuming my infantry was better, and henceforth not learning from past battles.
D - Switch had experience fighting the Romans, I had little experience fighting Gauls.
But in the end it was great match.
Good game switch, and I look forward to our next battle
1 for DukeCanada
1 for Switch
That's all, folks. I hope you enjoyed it .