2nd Punic War, Hannibals Revenge : The 2nd Battle of Herdonia, 210 B.C. AAR 1.19
Despite the recent ahistorical result at 1st Herdonia in Italy Hannibal was determined to fight on. Hannibal was however now sure that he was now fighting for a lost cause given the loss of the Sicilian Campaign. The African and Italian campaigns were still up for grabs but time was not on his side in this war of attrition. With the fall of Capua, and 25 Legions to fight things looked grim indeed. Rome was replacing losses, the Punic army was not able to do so as effectively. Each city they lost limited recruitment and made allies question the tides of war.
The Campaign Issues
Both sides in this battle have Rout Point’s they can bid to impact the net totals for army routing levels that they have accumulated via past battles. Rome bid their maximum, as did Carthage. The battle totals ended up @ 90 for Carthage and 130 for Rome. The net result is a reduction of 5 RPs for Carthage. That puts the Punic army at a dangerously low level against a strong III & V Legions.
(I am curious to know if other players prefer to add points to their total or subtract from the enemy?)
The Battle site:
Carthage and allies on the left, Romes 2 Legions on the right. Carthage has a great mix of Phalanxes on the LW and Bruttian Infantry on the right.
There are limited Elephants but great cavalry for the Carthaginians on each flank.
With Elite activation Hannibal moves his much feared Numidian Cavalry out to engage and neutralize the Rome LW Cavalry and begin harassing the flanks of the III Legion.
The Cretan and Balearic skirmishers then move up to engage the Velites of Rome. The Velites close rapidly and missile volleys are exchanged.
2 Cretan archers bite the dust
Play moves to the rest of Rome’s army, Hastati and Principies move up. Rome’s RW cav advance. Left wing Cav fail activation.
Hasdrubal now moves his Lucian, Celtic and Iberian Lancers forward
Hannibal moves his line forward attempting to get to the left of the Roman line.
Hannibal, moves the Phalanx and Iberians forward along with the Medium Celts
Rome uses a multiple command activation and moves the Legions forward into the gap created by the skirmishers routing.
Hasdrubal counter moves his Lancers forward, and fails a momentum attempt, even when using a chit to aid the momentum roll! Now in a tricky position for next turn he will need to move away to avoid losses.
Hannibal continues moving his line forward attempting to get to the left of the Roman line.
Centamalus goes for Momentum, but is Trumped by Hannibal.
Feeling confident Hannibal moves himself and his Phalanxes forward attacking and routing a Velite.
Using momentum he carries the battle forward with his Iberian’s and Phalanx units adding another 6 rout points.
R: 11 C:12
The Numidians also get a double move and position for rear attack upon the hapless RW Roman Cav. The Numdians roll two 1’s….. still great impact upon the units but I have expecting to get a multiplier effect for the Romans inability to retreat.
Hannibal uses Elite initiative and moves his cavalry units.
Rome has now closed to range and covers the intervening distance to engage in shock combat.
The V Legion and III Legion Hastati do their job effectively routng one unit and forcing serious hurt on another.
Unfortunately Centamalus fails his momentum attempt. However his Triarii move since they were activated by the proximity of the Numidian Cavlary and move to block the rear devastation that will occur if the Numdiians break through.
Mago S. attacks the Roman Cavalry again killing all three units in a slaughter of 18 RPs. They all pass their Pursuit checks…….The shock combat has a shocking result! Mago dies in the combat. Ouch.
R: 29 C: 48
Surveying the scene Hannibal now elects to activate Hamilcars men. Those men not holding against the advancing Romans move forward.
The Bruttians and Lucian infantry on the far right advance to engage the III, Hamilcar realizes he needs to tie up the Legion if Hannibal is to have the time to flank with his slower Phalanxes. With Mago off the field and a replacement leader in play, time is now against the Carthage army. Already at 50% of RP’s for this battle Carthage is in danger of giving up 10 valuable RP’s in the Italian campaign if they lose here.
R:41 C: 48
Hamilcar orders his men carefully forward using a weight of men to bring force to bear on 4 cohorts. 2 rout from some solid rolling, and flanking and 2 are damaged enough to render them ineffective. Hamilcar immediately follow up with a momentum attack and destroys 3 more cohorts,
The HA/d, and 2 AS units are eaten by the combined arms of the Lucian Light Infantry and Bruttian heavies.
Hannibal smiles. His generals are so reliable, so brave and ready to die for Carthage. How can he ever lose!
Roaring to his attendants he charges with them and the Phalanxes into the lightly armored Velites and one cohort, routing all. (+8/5/8/5DRMS) and (6/5/7/7 rolls!)
R:80 C: 48
The tide is turning
Hannibal seeks momentum. Gaining it he surges his blood smeared PH’s into the enemy Legion. 3 more AS cohorts rout from the fierce onslaught.
Victory is within reach.
Surveying the field Hannibal senses that the Romans are ready to break. (109/130), meanwhile the training and discipline of his troops has kept them under control despite the loss of Mago.
Hannibal elects to use his own line to crush the wavering line of resistance in front of him, before the Triarii can get close enough to make a difference.
Attacking 2 Velites, a cohort and a Principies they steam roll all them. The Principies is reduced and retreats and the rest flee the field, creating a general rout.
125/130 , Roman resigns.
In the end it was better play as the Punic Army that won the battle. With the loss of Mago, this battle should have gone to Rome. But command issues reared their head again and activations did not go Romes way. Nor did some of the die rolling. Once Hannibal was able to start stretching left, Rome had to respond by spreading out, this dilutes the one two punch of HA/PR.
Centamlus was unable to counter Hannibals superior leadership team, and was relying on breaking the center. When in fact he should have gone after the heavy RP Phalanxes. Killing just one would have put the Punic side at 62 RP’s, then they could potential have had the battle with 4-5 LI or HI routs.
It was not to be.
Overall a good battle to play, its a cramped field and Hannibal has his least maneuverable Infantry on the open flank. 1st Herdonia seemed to be a more evenly matched effort.