Baetis River p3/3

The not so surprising conclusion to Sertorius’s fight v the Sullan forces.

What we learn here is that Sertorus used what he had to his best advantage. I felt like I robbed the Sullan Romans of chance at victory so a quick replay is order.

This time we will reverse the locations of the Sullan forces, and stack the frontline cohorts. Lets see if Sertorius with his own adjustments based upon this will manage to muster a 2nd victory? ¬†Opps spoiler < ūüôā

A Bridge To Near ‚Äúiacta alea est‚ÄĚ [PVC] part2

Following on from our mini political discourse we see that  Caesar had rapidly marched thru Northern Italy, securing city after city,mostly bloodlessly against the Senatorial forces. This enhanced his popularity and opened levy raising opportunities. Pompey and much of the Senate abandoned Rome, caught flat footed as it was, with Legions dispersed around Italy, Pompey had little choice. Rome could easily be recaptured once Pompey had drawn Caesar to another theatre for battle due to his naval capabilities. Once in Asculum, forces deserted  from the Pompeian army and fled ahead of Caesar.  It was to be at Corfinium that a stand by Domitius Ahenorbarbus  and Vibullius Rufus could be made with 30+ cohorts between them.

2 Pompeian cohorts flee. Bridge secured.

The battle commentary:

Caesar was marching to Corfinium with 2 Legions.  He dispatched his advanced guard to deal with the forces of Pompey (5 cohorts) who were attempting to destroy the bridge 3 miles out of town on the River Aternus.

The Veteran Cohorts really had no trouble dispatching the Recruit level Pompeian cohorts. It was unfortunate for the XVI that the strongest unit was in the center. As he and the units across the river were in command dire straits from the get go.  Forces that are so similar really have the potential to become batles of attrition without some sort of ability to gain a flank. This is not to be the case today.

T3, Pompeian forces attempt to counter. 0 - ruins that.

As the XVI attempt to counter their already high level of cohesion hits mitigates any benefits of flank or size advantage. They literally bounce off of the tough 8 Troop Quality rated cohort from the XIII Cohort #1.

The XIII consolidates its hold on the bridge

At this point the Tribune for the XIII has dispatched his men back the bridge and seeks to ensure that no wayward last minute attack foils his complete victory.  Caesars troops by using their ZOCS adroitly, are able to lock up the situation tightly.

end T3 Pompeys Legion resigns, the Aternus River bridge is secured

What happened at Corfinium? The leadership sent word that they  needed support as they were being laid to siege. Pompey advised a hasty retreat.

Meanwhile the Pompeian troops smelt a rat and negotiated themselves to surrender to Caesar. Who promptly recruited them to his cause.  Prominent citizens and the Legions leaders were released.

This small conflict driven by Empire shaking actions was a key example of Caesar willingness to take on calculated risk and demonstrated the ability to inflict harm on the enemy by using time and surprise to his advantage.

By driving into Italy with one Legion, stymieing his opponents ability to raise troops and seizing political and economic benefit via the near bloodless capture of Rome was stunning.  It was also a stroke that could not be countered by Pompey easily, not anticipated. Pompey reacted quickly but could not and would not risk a battle loss to Caesar on Roman soil.

The resultant actions lead us to the first battle of the 2nd Civil War.

Now we must of course first return to our chronological look at the development of our two fine leaders.

Next,  the conclusion to Baetis River, the ambush at Langobritae and The Battle of Lauron 76.B.C, where Pompey receives his first lesson.

Baetis River 80 B.C. [PvC Greatness Evolved]

One of the first challenges we face with this battle is hard data.  Whilst Plutarch wrote briefly about the conflict, little detail other than losses was shared.  So we need to rely on what the topograpghy tells us and how cohorts of Legions fought in this time.

A Cohort is comprised of men with ¬†individual frontages, 3′ per man seems to be the default figure for¬†most armies and situations, and looks reliable enough for Roman armies.¬†A useful rule of thumb for legionary frontages is 200 yards per legion.

The Post Marian Era still used troops in three lines, so each legion’s cohorts were ¬†probably arranged 3-3-4, with the 4 in the third line, or conceivably¬†4-4-2, with 2 in the third line. If the leader stuck with about 200 yards for¬†his legionary frontages, then each 480-man cohort would have covered¬†either 50 or 67 yards, giving a depth (at full strength) of 9-7men, which would provide us with a¬†depth of 8 men and hence a frontage of 60 yards per 480-man cohort. A¬†3-cohort frontage would thus give a legionary frontage of 3×60 = 180¬†yards; a 4-cohort frontage would give 4×60 = 240 yards.

Assuming that Roman armies in 80-73 BC operated more or less similarly to those in 60-45 BC, we can provisionally assume that

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