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Thread: The Battle of Pictavis, a Rome AAR

  1. #1

    Default The Battle of Pictavis, a Rome AAR

    The Battles of Pictavis: Part 1

    Legionnaire Decirius worried. He worried over a lot of things, his family back in Rome, the state of his Scutum, his looks, his recent promotion and keeping his feet warm were just a few of the things that worried him regularly, but today what worried his most was the 7,000 Romans the other side of the river. His Century was one of eight attached the Legio III, originally dubbed Genua as it was the first legion to be raised outside of Rome itself. He had served in his Century for more than a decade now, fighting their way across Northern Italy, Southern Gaul, all across Hispania and finally into northern Gaul. Among the men he was known as steadfast, stoic and strict.

    Their Campaigns had gone well, earning them a reputation as formidable and indomitable, at the siege of Bibract, just four years ago, Decirius himself had been first through the gates, an unequalled honour. He had more than thirty confirmed kills to his name in that battle alone, and almost a hundred over the entire Gaelic campaign, his Century earning over four hundred between them. His actions that day had Caught the attention of Publius Vibidius Varro, the legio's commander and earned him the promotion to centurion. All Decirius remembered was running forward, his shield over his head as a seemingly endless rain of javelins fell on him before finding himself running uphill, yelling indecipherably at the bearded Celts while swinging his Gladius wildly. That was the moment of his greatest victory, the Legions greatest victory and it had earned him his promotion and Publoius a grand Triumph through the streets of Rome itself.

    Decirius remember how proud he had been that day, how Publius had ordered the city looted and sacked, the legionnaires to take what they wanted of the town and its people. He had secured more than twice his annual pay in that first day of looting alone. Publius had been an inspiring figure, a proud man who believed in the glory of Rome and the army in particular. That was what worried Decirius the most as his unit took position at the bridge between Bibract and Nemosos. The planned siege of Cenabum would have been his first real engagement since his promotion and he had been drilling the troops with tried and tested anti-Celtic tactics for months now in readiness.

    And then Publius, along with many others had Forsaken the campaign and his army, marched off with his personal guard and taken up arms at Bibract with those loyal to the senate. All the politics of the various families didn't really matter to Decirius, he didn't understand and didn't particularly care if Rome was favouring the Junia over the Julia, but he did care when he had to defend against a commander who up until some months ago had been his own. Still, as much as this all worried him and all his legionnaires, the problem at hand forced him to focus and put his doubts out of his mind. The 1,200 men of the third legion would hold their ground this side of the river, as instructed. Whether it was barbarous Celts or traitorous Romans made no difference to their orders.

    Servius Sextilius Paterculus frowned as the banner of the enemies forward scouts came into view. He was a young man, new to warfare and command and he knew his troops thought little of him. It didn't matter, this battle would either make him a hero of Rome, or a shamed corpse. He steadied his horse and checked the lines were formed up properly, six centuries of some of the most experienced troops serving in the army, two elite centuries, hardened veterans of dozens of battles and various support troops from the auxiliaries. They had seemed so formidable on paper, a full strength legion at his beck and call! The making of an aspiring commander, but they seemed so disheartened by the approaching enemy, outnumbering them more than five to one.
    Last edited by Sociopsychoactive; 09-19-2013 at 01:15.
    I was trying to find some help in the ancient military journals of General Tacticus, who's intelligent campaigning had been so successful that he'd lent his very name to the detailed prosecution of martial endeavour, and had actually found a section headed "What To Do If One Army Occupies A Well-Fortified And Superior Ground And The Other Does Not", but since the first sentence read "Endeavour to be the one inside" I'd rather lost heart.

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  2. #2
    Stranger in a strange land Moderator Hooahguy's Avatar
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    The Fortress

    Default Re: The Battle of Pictavis, a Rome AAR

    Nice start, maybe add some pictures?
    On the Path to the Streets of Gold: a Suebi AAR
    A man who casts no shadow has no soul.
    Hvil i fred HoreTore

  3. #3
    Member Member Sp4's Avatar
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    Default Re: The Battle of Pictavis, a Rome AAR

    Sounds like a good start ^^ Looking forward to more. All this is making me want to do something like this too XD

  4. #4

    Default Re: The Battle of Pictavis, a Rome AAR

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    The Battle of Pictavis

    When Servius Sextilius Paterculus saw the Banner of the Senate's second Legion approaching he was almost overcome by a flood of conflicting emotions. Joy, that the wait would finally be over, pride at the way his men held steadfast, anger that the bickering old men of the senate would resort to an armed uprising but most of all, fear. Servius tried to hide the fact that he was afraid, glancing over at his loyal bodyguard, his proud roman troops and seeing nothing but hardened grimaces and hungry anticipation. Was he the only man in the army to find himself drenched in terror at the coming onslaught? Then the other banners came into view, the fourth, fifth and sixth legions of the senate, all approaching his forces in strength. It took every ounce of self control Servius had not to turn and run that moment.

    Artillery crewman, third class Antanius leant forward on his Furca. He knew from long experience that the artillery engineers would be arguing for hours before he would be needed. His job was little more than an ammo carrier and hauler, but he would one day be in charge of the unit, one day. And one day, when his Ballistae took out the walls of some barbarian settlement, or took the enemy general right off his horse he would have his reward. Until then, he took a few minutes respite while he could. They had drawn up the ballistae close to the river, closer than Antanius would normally have liked. The reason he had over-exaggerated his engineering experience before placement was because artillerymen were almost always far away from the main battle line. The chances of being killed up at the front were far too high for his liking.

    Decirius called for his men to steady, only to be drowned out immediately by the generals horn sounding. Servius, fool that he was, would address the men for the first time ever, minutes before the most dangerous fight they would ever face.
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    "Soldiers of Rome! The enemy will try to cross this river, and we cannot let them! We must hold them here!"

    And then, almost as soon as it had begun, the speech was over.

    Decirius frowned inside his helmet. Was that it? Publius' speech before the assault on Bibract had made hardened warriors cry! The speech he gave when he returned from his triumph in Rome, finding his men still weary from the sacking had been equally inspirational, against the burning city he had called upon men to hold the ideals of Rome dear to their hearts while they rested, to remember the friends lost that day and make sure they were remembered to the next Celt they saw. He had truly been an inspiring figure, and the other side of the river Decirius could almost see the commanders unit, marching before his men, obviously making some inspired pre-battle rhetoric that would cause his soldiers to fight like demons when he called them to. Not like this fool, a first time commander who seemed more interested in temples and gods than killing the enemy. Decerius spat at the thought of it, but shook himself out of his reverie, there was a battle to be fought and he would fight it, by mars he would fight it!

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    Velite Didius readied his light pila and watched them light the strip of pitch laid out before them. He and his brother glanced at each other one more time before resting the tip in the flame until it was alight. They were coming, cavalry auxilia at first it seemed and he had to stop himself from moving back. Stand your ground, the order had been. Not like the last battle, not like all the other battle where they were told to keep their distance and avoid contact with the enemy, stand and hold and let the other soldiers pass forward in good order. He shouldered the now blazing Pila and sighted his target, a big man on a black horse right at the front of the pack. The enemy horsemen broke into a run and he hefted his pila, readying his throw. Suddenly he was jostled from behind as the Auxillia infantry rushed forward, piecemeal and all out of formation. He checked his shot, seeing most of the others do the same, but his brother hadn't seen them moving and launched, just as an Auxilliaman ran in front of him! Thus the first casualty of the battle of Pictavis fell.

    Didius' training kicked in without a conscious thought and he threw forward just as the enemy passed the bridge and hit open ground. Over a hundred pila flew toward the enemy in that moment and the front rank of horsemen fell and fell hard, but the auxilia were forward then, still out of formation and ragged, taking the full brunt of the charge. More than half the cavalry broke through and started hacking away at the Velites with reckless abandon. Didius dropped his second pila and drew his sword, pitiful protection against a man on horseback, but it was all he had.

    Decirius watched the first contact with a cold, calculating eye. What was this fool doing? Holding the skirmishers in place and letting them get trampled? He almost ordered his Century forward there, but knew the punishment for acting without orders and checked himself. The cavalry were only the beginning, he knew. The real work was still to come.
    Didius stabbed up at the horse in front of him with all his strength and was overjoyed to see his Gladius sink in almost to the hilt. He shuffled forward, looking for the next target only to see the first skirmish was over, the cavalry routed quickly once the auxilia had finally found the presence to form up and spear them off their horses. He turned to his brother to offer a word of congratulations, only to see the body lying there, brutal slashing wounds still spurting blood from his chest. Didius rushed over to hold his brother, to offer some comforting words as he died, but all he could do was close his eyes. He was dead. Until that moment the battle had been an abstract thing, just another job to be done but now the senate had taken something precious to him. Now he would see that every shot flew true at the enemy, that they were paid in full and more for taking his brother from him.

    Servius swallowed again at seeing the now-depleted men re-take their positions for the next charge. In under a minute over a hundred men had died on either side. Was this what his friends had meant by 'Seeing the Elephant'? This bitter taste and anguish he felt at seeing so many dead on his orders? Regardless, there was no time for contemplation. The Second legions infantry were forming up on the opposite bank. The first clash had just been a small taste of what was to come.

    Antainius lit the mouth of the large pot and stood back, not wanting to get caught by the backlash of the Ballistae's powerful arms. He turned for another, not even looking at where the first had landed. It would make no difference to him, after all. The rest of the crew cheered as one fire-pot landed on the enemies general, only to quickly hush and start cranking again. Close, but not close enough, three of his bodyguard would be dining in Elysium tonight, but Publius himself was little more than singed.
    "New target! Infantry lines, front and centre!"
    The call went out, but it didn't make any difference to Antanius, nothing much did. He paced the next fire pot, lit the top and stepped back as the ballistae re-position for the massing infantry.

    "Legionary's, front and centre!" Came the call and Decirius started moving as he relayed the order. The men jogged forward in good order, unlike the useless Auxilia. They were Romans, the best fighting force in the whole world. They had fought Samnites, Etruscans, Hispanics, Cartheginans, Greeks and Celts. They were no strangers to battle. Decirius mentally added 'Romans' to that list as he saw the shields of the enemy come into view on the bridge.
    "Front rank, stand and hold, left and right flanks, take position!" He called out, making sure they all started moving correctly. He had thought through the manoeuvre several times, and knew it was their only real hope. Against Celts and Hispanics it was good practice to let them charge your lines and slaughter them where you stood, but against Romans it was another matter entirely. They were evenly matched, for the first time in history, and would need more than standard tactics to win this fight. Decirius hefted his Scutum into position and gripped his gladius tightly. The enemy saw the space they had left, a good twenty feet of open ground, perfect for them to get several hundred men off the bridge and into melee. The enemy broke into a jog, raising their Pila and Decirius firmed his grip on the shield.

    The ranks met with an almighty crash, only accentuated by the fire-pots landing just inches away from their own lines. At first it seemed like all would be lost to Servius as he surveyed the field, but then he saw their momentum checked, the Legionarys feet dug in and pushed back. He turned to his aid, thinking he should give him some words of encouragement to pass on to the men, just in time to see a boulder the size of a man smash into the horse beside him, rider and horse both disappearing in a red haze.
    "Artillery!" He shrieked, then got control of his voice and started again. "Ballistae! Target their Ballistae!" he yelled in a more manly tone.
    Antainius stopped at the shout and put the fire pot down, selecting a large rock instead. The other loading crew were slower to respond, so his was the first to be launched, and it piled into the enemies siege weapon with enough force to smash the siege weapon into splinters.
    "Another, and quick about it!" Called the engineer, adjusting the sights before signalling the winch crew to start pulling again.

    Decirius stabbed out, and again. He felt a sword glance of his shield, just as his glanced off the enemies. He let his gladius droop for a moment then, peeking over the Scutum to see the situation. Six ranks of Legionarys were engaged with them now, and the line was started to buckle under the strain. He looked back at the bridge and saw yet more, another six centuries at least crossing.
    "Hold!" He called out to his men, "Hold and stand, Keep them off you as long as you can!" he bellowed out, not even sure if anyone could hear him over the thunderous ringing of metal on metal that sounded up and down the line. He formed his grip again and stabbed over the top of the locked shields in front of him, being rewarded with a meaty thud and a gasp from the enemy. He thought to call out again, but saw the man next to him stagger back with blood running down his face, and all his attention went to holding off three of the enemy on his own.

    Didius threw another javelin over the head of the line. He couldn't see if they were landing, couldn't even see if they were hitting the enemy of splashing harmlessly into the water behind him, but he was determined to make every one count. He saw a gap appear in the front line as over a dozen men fell at once, and launched his last javelin into it, being rewarded by a short scream.
    "Now! Close the Jaws!"
    Came a shout from the commander, and he backed off, hands burnt in a dozen places and still covered in blood from the horse he had killed.

    Veteran Legionary Marcus shouldered his Pila as he started forward. A grizzled man approaching fifty, he knew the timing had to be perfect, they all did, so he had put the sounds of the dying out of his mind as they waited. He saw the others opposite him doing the same and picked his target, a young man, barely ready to shave, locked in combat with a worried looking soldier. Dozens of Pila clouded the sky for a moment, and most struck home, for the shields that would deflect them were all focussed forward, onto Decirius' hard-pressed line. The veterans closed from the side, smashing into the enemies flanks with as much force as the wildest Celtic berserker. Instantly the enemies lines dissolved into a hundred individual duels and shoves.

    "NOW!" Yelled Decirius as the young soldier in front of him fell to a Pila in the side, "NOW! PUSH THEM BACK!" he bellowed, making his voice heard all the way down the line and as one the soldiers sheathed their Gladius and put a shoulder to their Shield, then shoved with all their might.
    "Put some effort into it you craven dogs!" Decirius called, stepping back from the slowly moving line and drawing out his whip. "Push them back! Shove them into the river!" he shouted again, cracking the whip behind his men to spur them on further. The line jostled for a moment, then began to move solidly forward as the collective might of six hundred men put their shoulders to the wall and shoved.

    Servius smiled as he saw the reversal taking shape, then allowed himself a grin when he saw the trap fully sprung and the enemy surrounded. He edged his horse forward, coming up just behind the Velites as he called out encouragement to the front line. The whole thing reminded him of a barbaric game the Celts played, where two teams would lock shoulders together and fight for possession of an inflated pigs bladder. The circle completed, Servius grinned as he saw what would surely be a glorious victory, only for that grin to freeze in place. More troops were coming to the opposite end of the bridge, more than twice as many as they had already engaged. He had to stop himself yelling for retreat in that moment, instead looking for his aid, only to remember the rock that had flattened him.
    "Cavalry! Charge the centre!"
    He called instead, wringing his hands as the cavalry formed up in the middle. He Pulled his horse into line then, swallowing the lump in his throat and thinking of the glories that would be showered upon him back at the capitol if this worked, trying not to think of the dirt that would fall on his grave if it didn't.

    Decirius panted and huffed as he pushed a soldier who was near to fainting out of his way and joined the line again, putting his shoulder to the shield and pushing with all the strength he had left. Then a horn sounded from somewhere, though Decirius couldn't tell where.
    Marcus stabbed out again, seeing a fifth man fall to his blade and stepped forward into the gap he created, shamelessly perching on the dead man's body. He saw a glimpse of the greater battlefield in that moment, and paled. All the efforts and sacrifices would be for nothing if the enemy crossed again in force while they were still engaged. He made the decision without thinking, without hesitation then and called out to his men.
    "Forward! Cut off the rear! Surround them entirely!"

    The cavalry charged forward into the melee, smashing Romans from both sides out of the way as they pressed forward through sheer weight of man and horse. After what seemed like an eternity of shoving they broke past their own lines and the first ten men to do so fell almost instantly to the enemies thrusts. More pressed on and through though, and yet more behind them as they pushed into the enemies lines through sheer brute force. There was no fancy sword work here, no charge and counter-charge like they had drilled for hours, this was sheer weight of bodies added to the press, forcing the enemy back just as the Veterans closed the circle and surrounded the enemy completely. The first Legionary dropped his shield and turned to run moments later, only to be cut down almost instantly. Dozens more followed suit within seconds, seeing they were surrounded and outmanoeuvred. The circle closed tighter, and barely a handful of Legionary's managed to force their way out to flee.

    Marcus cut down another man as he turned away from him to run, and another, then suddenly felt the press lighten around him. There was no time to cheer though, the battle was far from over. He turned his men, barely a hundred out of two full centuries still standing, and formed them up directly at the end of the bridge.
    "Hold this point! Not a single step backwards you hear? Hold this line for all our sakes!" He called out, and men rushed to position themselves. They were veterans all, grizzled warriors of a dozen campaigns and they all knew what he was asking of them. Not a one hesitated though, not a one considered it any less than their duty.

    Decerius staggered back with his severely depleted century. Of the eighty men that had stood with him at the start of the battle, only himself and nine others remained standing, and they were barely doing so.

    More to follow
    Last edited by Sociopsychoactive; 09-19-2013 at 14:02.
    I was trying to find some help in the ancient military journals of General Tacticus, who's intelligent campaigning had been so successful that he'd lent his very name to the detailed prosecution of martial endeavour, and had actually found a section headed "What To Do If One Army Occupies A Well-Fortified And Superior Ground And The Other Does Not", but since the first sentence read "Endeavour to be the one inside" I'd rather lost heart.

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  5. #5
    Senior Member Senior Member Barkhorn1x's Avatar
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    Default Re: The Battle of Pictavis, a Rome AAR

    Good start.

    Nomenclature point:

    Legionnaire = French Foreign Legion soldier of American Legion member
    Legionary = Roman legion soldier
    "Après moi le déluge"

  6. #6

    Default Re: The Battle of Pictavis, a Rome AAR

    Thank you. Damn spell checker turning my romans french and american!
    I was trying to find some help in the ancient military journals of General Tacticus, who's intelligent campaigning had been so successful that he'd lent his very name to the detailed prosecution of martial endeavour, and had actually found a section headed "What To Do If One Army Occupies A Well-Fortified And Superior Ground And The Other Does Not", but since the first sentence read "Endeavour to be the one inside" I'd rather lost heart.

  7. #7
    Member Member Sp4's Avatar
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    Default Re: The Battle of Pictavis, a Rome AAR

    Oh you actually get a bridge defense battle! I never had one of those. Also my civil war spawned in Rome and I had to hurry everyone back to try and contain it in Italy.

  8. #8

    Default Re: The Battle of Pictavis, a Rome AAR

    The Battle of Pictavis

    Veteran Legionary Marcus stabbed out for what seemed like the thousandth time that afternoon, and was rewarded by a gurgling scream from his enemy, a blond man in his thirties with a fierce scar across one eye. The man backed away quickly, not letting Marcus finish off the attack but leaving a gap in the line he was quick to step into. The battle had gone as such for many minutes now, thrust and step up, block and hold with the remaining men of the two centuries of veterans, seasoned warriors who knew no fear, gave no quarter and asked for none fought on. They had held the bridge while the remains of the army re-formed the lines and retreated. The wounded and battle-weary men needed the few minutes respite Marcus was giving them, they dearly needed it for the flow of troops across the bridge showed no signs of slowing. Again he thrust forward, this time managing a solid hit that tore half the face away from his enemy, leaving his mangled corpse propped awkwardly on his shield. Marcus stepped forward again without thinking, and that action cost him dearly as he realised he had moved up too much. His lines were too far behind him to offer any support, and he alone faced off against no less than five of the Senates best troops. He let a grin appear on his bloodstained face and squared off against the nearest, the same blond with the scarred face.

    "New target! Mouth of the Bridge! Bring fire!" Came the order and Antainius let the rock he was hauling fall to the floor, jogging back to the store of fire-pots. He saw then how few they had left, barely enough for half a dozen shots each. It didn't matter to him though, his job was simple and unthinking. He set the fire-pot in place and lit the mouth, stepping back quickly as it was cranked into position. For the first time in the battle he looked over at the lines to see why the target had changed, just as the fire-pot launched.

    Marcus stabbed forward, his Gladius clanging off the enemies shield as three stabs came at him at once. The first he caught on his shield, the second passed behind him, but the third sank deep into his calf and caused him to stumble. He had just enough presence of mind to keep his shield up and to the front when he heard a whistling sound coming in from behind him. Veteran Legionary Marcus smiled as the fire-pot landing on the bridge, killing him instantly and engulfing all five of his attackers in flames.

    "Pull back! Re-form the lines! Auxilia to the fore!" Servius Sextilius Paterculus called out, seeing the enemies lines falter for a moment as the Ballistae barrage landed perfectly, smashing into the front rank of the senate's forces, driving them back. He winced as he saw more than one of his own troops caught in the flames, but he knew it was worth it, many more lives would be saved by pulling them back into position. The order surprised his men, for the auxilia were few in number and had already suffered many casualties in the initial stages of battle, but Servius knew they were only a stop-gap. They would cause the enemy to waste their Pila on cheap, expendable troops. He winced again at his own thought. Expendable? These were men's lives he was wilfully throwing away! People with homes and families who would never again see their loved ones. He swallowed the doubt and the guilt as he surveyed the battlefield though. The enemies first wave had been repulsed, and their nose bloodied but they were far from defeated.

    Decerius counted under his breath. Of the Eight centuries of legionary's he had started with, he had about three hundred men remaining, and most of them were still tired and dispirited from the slaughter they had fought in. He would be calling upon every last one of them, every last reserve of strength they had this day, and more. The enemy had checked it's advance for the moment, and Decerius saw why. Their own Velites were joining the fray for the first time, and just as he saw them move forward he heard the order.
    "Testudo! Testudo! Cover up men!" Servius called out moments before the first barrage fell down into his ranks. At least a dozen men fell to that first volley, most not having time to get their shields into position, but the survivors ignored the cries of the wounded and dying, reaching the front and locking their shields in place. Only then did Servius have a glimmer of hope, for the full force of the enemies re-enforcements had arrived at the bridge now, and the first assault had cost them more than half their heavy infantry. Then he looked over his own troops and that glimmer of hope seemed weak indeed, for while the enemy may have paid dearly, they had more than enough men to do so again, and Servious troops were battered, tired and running out of ammunition.
    "Cease fire! Save your last shots!" He called to the Ballistae crew, seeing how few shots remained. The enemy Ballistae had been pounded by rocks, and though one of them was still firing, it too had to be running low on ammo.
    "Units above Quarter strength, form the centre line! Units below, second line!" He called out, seeing those severely depleted troops struggling to move after so much exertion. They needed time to rest, they needed to know that victory was within reach, otherwise they would be of little use.

    The enemy missiles rained down time and again, but with Testudo's properly formed it was only the Auxilia that suffered significant casualties, and it gave Servius' troops the much needed time to rest. Finally the enemy horns blew, the Velites stepped back and the legionary's marched forward. Over eight hundred men in the heavy infantry, by Servius count, against a little over three hundred remaining of his. The odds were not good, but the enemy seemed to be more cautious this time, unwilling to fall into the same trap that had cost them so dearly before. Behind the lines he could see the four commanders of the Senates forces arguing fiercely over how to win, but with only one viable crossing there would simply be no space for fancy manoeuvres and strategy, it would come down to weight of men once more.

    Decerius held his shield in place as the last volley rattled off it, still panting but no longer struggling to do much more than walk. He looked over the rim of his Scutum to get an idea of where he and his nine remaining men would best fit into the battle, but all he could see from his position was row after row of enemy troops.
    "Retreat! Fall back to secondary positions! Ballistae, target the centre with everything you have left!" Came the order, and Decerius had to stop himself from calling Servious a coward aloud. He settled for grumbling to his remaining men,
    "Blasted fool, secondary position surrenders the bridge! Is he going to run all the way back to Rome?" he said, quietly enough that only his unit would hear and heard more than a few angry agreements. Still, an order was an order and, Romans that they were, they knew well the penalty for disobedience, even in the heat of battle. So the lines jogged back nearly forty feet.
    Antanius loaded the last fire pot, this time the winching crew had it all tensed and readied, and gingerly set light to the end. He went to step back, but the impatience of the engineer almost cost him dearly as the arms smacked back, the pot launched and Antanius was thrown to the floor by the shock of it. He didn't see the pot land just at the mouth of the bridge, or the other three land close by, but after a moment he got up, shook the feeling back into his arm and saw the rest of the crew making their slow progress back without him. It didn't matter to him though, as he jogged to keep up, they were far from fast, pushing the great siege engines.

    Velite Didius still hadn't had time to clean the horse-blood from his hands, so he almost dropped the Pila that was passed forward to him. His own ammunition spent, the surviving legionary's passed their light Pila over to the Velite, shouldering their heavy Pila themselves.
    "One shot, so make it count!" Came the order, and a fresh line of pitch was expertly laid in front of them, then lit as they formed up and readied. "One shot" He mumbled to himself, looking at the approaching enemy lines. "One shot to avenge my brother. One shot." The enemy seemed content to take it's time, forming lines this side of the river as the last of their heavy infantry crossed over. The few remaining cavalry units started across then, but it would be slow going as the enemies skirmishers were still moving back, tangling the cavalry up even more as they tried to keep out of their way, bottlenecking the bridge.
    "Dogs!" Servius called out, the only unit that had not yet seen combat moving to the centre. Servius held his arm up, waiting for the precise moment, making sure both Velite, Legionary and handler all understood the signal, then just as the enemy came close enough his hand dropped. The flaming javelins flew high, higher than the enemy expected, missing the front rank completely and slamming home into the second, who still had their shields at their sides. At almost the same moment the dogs leapt forward, catching many of the enemy with shields raised high against Javelin, and tearing into their legs. The confusion during that first moment was great indeed, but it wasn't nearly enough for Servius, and the penultimate part of his plan came into play as the remaining Legionary's all threw their heavy Pila together, over three hundred missiles in the air at once. Again, the enemies front rank were caught off guard, most had lowered their shields to fend off the half-starved dogs snapping at their heels, but even those who did have their defences in place, it only saved them for a moment. The heavy Pila struck home, many in flesh but many more in the heavy Scutum, forcing them to discard the shields or be stalled where they stood. Moments later the ranks clashed as every Legionary still standing charged forward, even the battered Auxilia joining that charge.

    Decerius ears rang from the resounding crash of impact as he slammed his shield into the enemy line, then pushed forward, swinging his Gladius wildly at anyone in front of him. This was more like it! The charge, the impact and the reckless abandon! The same emotions that had flooded through him during the Siege of Bibract came on now and he welcomed the battle-rage, ignoring the line of men that was forming beside him Decerius smashed his shield forward, stepping up and swinging like a madman, not hearing the screams of the dying, not hearing the horns sounding behind him as the rest of his unit threw down arms and fled, not hearing the calls to stand and hold steady, he heard the sweet sounds of blood, and pain and death.

    Didius saw the line begin to crumble, despite the sheer ferocity of the charge the enemies numbers were beginning to tell, so he wasn't surprised when the horns sounded for attack. He drew his sword, still stained from the horse, checked his shield was in place and joined in the charge. They would not stand for long, he knew, especially against heavy infantry, but they might plug the gaps appearing in the line for just long enough.
    "Cavalry! Now! Now! NOW!" Servius bellowed, gripping his horse tightly with his legs as he drew his own sword for the first time that day. For the first time ever outside the barracks, he thought grimly as he spurred his horse forward, his remaining bodyguard, untried warriors all, following suit. He Picked a break in the line that was fast growing, pointing his sword forward and yelling in a wordless roar of hatred. The lines met, and in an instant all became chaos as the cavalry pushed deep into the enemy lines, deeper than Servious had ever expected to go, and he was quickly surrounded. His horse took a vicious stab to the flank as he fought to control it while slashing wildly down at anyone below him, the distinct colours of the enemies armour masked by a haze of red. At that moment, just when it seemed it would all be for nothing the Cavalry Auxilia, concealed by the trees to the east and cunningly covered by the retreat of the main line smashed hard into the enemies flank, breaking deep into their lines from the last direction they expected.

    This last surprise proved too much for the enemy, and almost as one they turned to flee. The exhausted Legionary's stabbed out at them as they ran, but could do little more than shower them with insults as they ran, exhausted to a man. Publius Vibidius Varro saw the lines falter and break, thought of ordering a charge from his own and the other commanders units, but realised the futility of it. Even if they pushed on the battle had been lost already in the last moment of panic. Anything he did now would be futile. He turned his horse around and slowly led it from the field.

    All in all the battle had lasted most of the day, had cost both sides dearly, but Servius forces declared a heroic victory in his name!

    This is not over...
    I was trying to find some help in the ancient military journals of General Tacticus, who's intelligent campaigning had been so successful that he'd lent his very name to the detailed prosecution of martial endeavour, and had actually found a section headed "What To Do If One Army Occupies A Well-Fortified And Superior Ground And The Other Does Not", but since the first sentence read "Endeavour to be the one inside" I'd rather lost heart.

  9. #9

    Default Re: The Battle of Pictavis, a Rome AAR

    Sorry about the lack of screenshots. I didn't think to take any when I fought the battle, and re-playing it doesn't go the same way at all.
    I was trying to find some help in the ancient military journals of General Tacticus, who's intelligent campaigning had been so successful that he'd lent his very name to the detailed prosecution of martial endeavour, and had actually found a section headed "What To Do If One Army Occupies A Well-Fortified And Superior Ground And The Other Does Not", but since the first sentence read "Endeavour to be the one inside" I'd rather lost heart.

  10. #10
    Member Member Sp4's Avatar
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    Sep 2010

    Default Re: The Battle of Pictavis, a Rome AAR

    Just take screenshots from the replay, provided it plays out the same way, which I very much doubt >.<

  11. #11

    Default Re: The Battle of Pictavis, a Rome AAR

    The Aftermath

    Servius Sextilius Paterculus walked through the hastily-made camp, congratulating his victorious soldiers. Not a man among them hadn't lost friends that day, the general included, and not a man among them hadn't been bloodied and cleaned. The men's earlier doubts about his suitability as a commander dispelled, he strode with confidence past the Contuberniums that were often down to two or three men out of the original eight. They were bloodied and they knew it. At the siege of Bibract, the Legions bloodiest battle before the civil war, they had lost nearly half their number, but this battle had seen as many men fall in the first assault alone. Still, they had held strong and proud and every man knew the taste of victory.

    Legionary Decirius sat alone. Of his unit eight men had survived the battle, nine counting himself. He still wasn't sure how that had happened. Just like before, his memories of events stopped in the heat of battle, and it was only later, when he had been dragged unconscious from the field he had heard tales of his mad, berserker charge into enemy lines. The tales grew with every telling, as they always did, so by the time he heard it he was eight feet tall and killed a hundred men with his bare hands. That made him smirk, but truth be told he didn't much mind the exaggeration. His first battle as Centurion had almost been a complete disaster. It had from where he was sitting. Nine out of ten men dead, and they were celebrating that? Almost the entire cohort perished, and still the enemy outnumbered them more than three to one at the end. He saw the looks the other men gave him, admiration and pride mostly, but always tinged with a little fear, especially from the survivors of his unit. They knew from past experience that when he lost himself in battle there was no stopping him, and he was almost as likely to kill friend as he was foe, especially as his foe in this instance was other Romans.

    Velite Didius slung his shovel to the ground and signalled the others to throw the bodies into the hastily-dug grave. So many had died that to bury them individually would take all season, so bodies were being slung in a dozen per hole. It was better than the enemy were getting. Those that had fallen their side of the bridge had been left to the crows, an unparalleled dishonour to proud Romans, but a strong message to the senate loyalists who had taken arms against them. Servius had ordered all prisoners put to death immediately after the battle, and no-one questioned his order. When so many had died, did they deserve any less? He stopped the porters when he saw the body they were dragging unceremoniously across the sodden ground. He bowed his head one more time and wished his brother well in the afterlife, whatever it may hold. He had died a soldier of Rome, and deserved a proper burial, they all did, but they knew it was a luxury they could ill afford.

    Antanius made his way back to camp, hastily lacing his breeches. To the victor, the spoils, as the saying went, and he intended to soil himself rotten! Servius himself had applauded the professional and vital actions of the meagre twenty men of the Ballistae crew, called their actions decisive in the victory he had achieved and promised them all a bonus when the next wages cart arrived. They all knew that would be some time though. With the Senate holding Bibract, they were cut off from Rome. Though Lemonum still held loyal and they were well supplied with food and ammunition, pay had to be brought from Rome itself, and the rout around was far too long to expect the wages carts to take it, the shorter way held by the senate. In lieu of extra pay, Servius had promised the men free reign with the camp women, offering to pay out of his own pocket for the first woman each man chose. So far Antanius had managed to convince seven different women that this was his free pass, and before the night was through he hoped to make it eight.

    Servius finally made it back to his own tent, and caught himself calling for his aide for the hundredth time since the battle. Up until the aftermath he hadn't really known how much he relied on the man's speedy division of labour and attention to detail. With so many men dead and wounded there simply wasn't anyone available to replace him. Still, the outcome was what mattered. The battle had been fought, and won. His tactics and decisions had been instrumental in the victory, and no one could fail to see that now. It was only a matter of time before Rome heard of his success and commended him, only a matter of time. With that in mind he sat down at his writing desk and started to draft his account of the battle, to be sent back to Rome by speeded courier. Of course, it would still take weeks with Bibract in enemy hands, but hopefully the delay would not soften the capitols appreciation.

    Decerius finished his meal and checked over his bandages again. He had taken several wounds while in the melee, but none had proved to be devastating. The one to his shield arm stung, and still leaked a small flow of blood, but he could tense the muscles correctly, could still hold his Scutum properly. He would still be able to fight. When he had awoken in the Chirugeons tent he had been honestly surprised to find he was alive, and whole. Surely no man could fight in the centre of that deadly melee and come out with nothing more substantial that a few nicks and cuts? Admittedly those nicks and cuts would easily have killed a lesser man, but the whispers of him being 'god-touched' as the Celts put it were farfetched, even for him. Still, he was a soldier, and a damn good one at that. He lived for battle and glory. With a worthwhile commander (and Servius had shown his worth three fold on the field) he would go far, he knew. As far as any man with no family name to speak of could hope to go. Suddenly a horn sounded from the perimeter, and Decerius swore at the lack of proper fortifications. He had argued strongly for a fortified camp to be made before the battle, but Servius had argued that the river was enough of a fortification, and now there wasn't time to construct one.

    Antanius started at the horn. He recognised the signal, arm and ready, but it was the middle of the night! Half the men were asleep, the other half deep in their cups, and well deserved it was! He quickly shouldered his Furca and grabbed his cap.

    Didius started at the sound of the horn and finished his digging quickly, shouldering his shovel. With the last of the dead buried the next task was to secure and distribute arms, but that would have to wait. Didius hurried to the nearest perimeter guard, a young man in the Auxilia.
    "What is it? What's happening?" He blurted out, his face still stained with tears from the grave-side.
    "Scouts are returning, their signalling to arm and ready, I don't know why." The man responded gruffly, dismissing Didius with a wave.

    Servius was just trying to think of another term for 'glorious' when the messenger reached him, breathless and excited.
    "An Army sir! Approaching from the east!" He blurted out, forgetting proper protocol, but Servius didn't care.
    "An army? What is it? The Celts? We're in no state to fight them now!"
    "Not Celts Sir, Romans. Hundreds of them. Thousands."
    I was trying to find some help in the ancient military journals of General Tacticus, who's intelligent campaigning had been so successful that he'd lent his very name to the detailed prosecution of martial endeavour, and had actually found a section headed "What To Do If One Army Occupies A Well-Fortified And Superior Ground And The Other Does Not", but since the first sentence read "Endeavour to be the one inside" I'd rather lost heart.

  12. #12

    Default Re: The Battle of Pictavis, a Rome AAR

    Good read... Would love to see a similair AAR from a Germanic tribe. Fighting them now in my current campaign. THese Oathsworn are a force to behold!


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