A report from one of the Brothers: Paulus on the Po!
It was a cold winter’s dawn but what the Carthaginians thought would be a token Roman force turned out to be a “table bending” tonnage of lethal metal. Carthage called up all the Allies and all the Barbarians they could lay their hands on.
The Roman Van was certainly impressive. Cohorts in depth always mean business and they ranged across the central battle field of the Po River Valley as far as the eye could see. Hannibal and Hasdrubal both vied for command but in the end controlled the wings as Lachlanabal took command while they quibbled.
Took command he did, as he flung the Barbarian horde forward! Those impetuous Warbands advanced with impunity, but they are not known for their work as Seers, as events would unfold. None the less they performed their bloody work and inflicted two impetuous victories giving a couple of bloody red noses to the Pax Romana. The pickled-anchovy eater Romans are nothing if not stoic and ‘batted’ on regardless with their in-depth formations taking toll on the Barbarians draining away their strength.
The Romans were masterfully commanded by Oblivious Maximus, an up and coming Tribune, who was hell bent on bringing the Carthaginians to their knees. After a moment’s hesitation he too threw his Legions into the fray while refusing his left flank. The boys from Africa thought there was something amiss in Dacia as Oblivious was famed for his quick actions in battle as well as at the Venatus Domus!
The Roman left flank held some Cavalry and troops of various types. On the right flank there seemed a trap was being set. Oblivious’ second, Odious, was in command of the right wing and waiting atop the hill was some Romani Equitatus which proved mainly to be light supported by skirmishers. Cleverly Odious ordered a full Tumae forward in an attempt to outflank the Carthaginian line and Hannibal was forced to keep his flanking light cavalry back to harry the Romans with missile fire.
Hannibal finally ordered his Barrus Africanus and supporting Gallic heavy cavalry forward to see what lay over the hills. Nothing! To the Carthaginian surprise! Hannibal sent his second wave of Elephants and horse forward to engage the lone Roman Pachyderm. This advance provided room for the famous Carthaginian African Veterans to advance swiftly around the Roman flank. Lachlanabal had sprung his own trap! The next few bounds saw the Veterans hammer the Roman right, cohort after cohort, but none of the cool Romans ran away. They showed courage to the end or maybe they didn’t wish to show their posteriors to the warband?
Things looked grim for Rome so Oblivious, true to name, joined the fray and had several close calls with death as his cohorts cut the last of the Barbarians to pieces. Courage was strong but faced with the second echelon of fresh Spanish heavy infantry the tired legionaries succumbed as the Veterans rampaged down the line. Over on Hasdrubal’s flank the last of the Romani Equities perished leaving the Roman Van clipped of both its wings!
The Roman Velites harried the Gallic Cavalry and slowly wore down a heavy cavalry unit but meanwhile the Carthaginians surrounded the Romani right for some Elephant on Elephant action. Being hit in the rear by cavalry, even if panicked, still causes instant death as the Barrus Africanus out of Carthage, with javelin support for the extra point, gave it to the Roman ‘Pigs’!!!! A new Ivory tooth pick for Hannibal and lots of Elephant stew for the troops.
In the end it was a close score board result. But as any Carthaginian will tell you, the death of a Barbarian, while regrettable, is certainly not unacceptable. Allied cavalry is also a shame but you can always buy another army! The Vets are now a bit more Veteran and Oblivious and Odious will live to make mistakes again but the Carthaginians can take another step closer to Rome. Well? Perhaps we could sack Ostia instead.
As always a great time was had! Thanks to our Thespians on the night:
Nick Malanos as “Oblivious Maximus” Tribune, Protector of the Po ; ‘mine host’
Chris Blaxland-Walker as “Odious Improbus ” Lesser Tribune; Partime Pontiff of Rome.
Ross “Roscoe” Cotsios as Hasdrubal Minor Carthaginian God
Lochie Gillian as Lachlanabal Victor !
Paul Gillian as Hannibal Left wing-commander