Having unloaded from their ships the Roman invasion force trudged in land, the General was under strict instructions to make haste he must be ready to attack by full moon or his life would undoubtedly be forfeit. He had pushed the men hard there had been no time to stop and cook the pigs they had brought with them...in any case these might be needed if the the Tyrant Darianus had any war elephants. He grumbled to himself that this was always the problem attacking a enemy with out proper intelligence...but apparently the Consul Martinus valued this Maximus Flatulus very highly, he must do to send such a rescue force.
As the army marched forward inland the great city walls of Phaselis came into view. As the dust settled in the morning sun he could make out an army in front of him.....he immediately ordered his troops to deploy. As he strained his eyes through the heat haze he tried to assess the position then his heart sank as the unmistakable trumpet of elephants reached his ears. Well he thought today might be the day he would meet his ancestors at last, he pulled onto his horse and ordered the army forward.
(Editorial note the objective for the battle was to capture or rescue Flatulus, he is hidden to both sides in one of three key locations, troops had to capture the objectives, the gatehouse, the oasis the bridge and then search for him once found he could be escorted away)
and so it begins......
Darianus has arrayed his Lycian army cleverly anchoring his left flank on the city walls and his right flank on a small stream the only problem with the field is the oasis in the centre which will limit the movement of his Royal Elephant Corps.
On his far right wing he has mercenary Light cavalry
A view towards the East and the city walls of Phaselis
For the first time the elephant Corps have hired mercenary archers
The Roman army with a strong cavalry force on their right wing, looking to circle around the Lycians but they may be hampered by the city walls
Massed infantry units in the Roman centre
An Eagle eye view of the battlefield.....just out of shot to the right is the Roman left wing of mercenary Gallic warriors and Numidians
The quiet before the storm, the three objectives are the bridge, the Oasis and the gatehouse marked by the token in the picture
Neither army hang about surging forward, the Romans looking to find the escaped Flatulus as quickly as possible
The Roman left wing moves forward towards the stream and both generals send out a screen of skirmish troops....the Lycians have the best of it during this early phase as they have more ranged attacks, Slingers and javelin men etc....
But. Y the city walls the Roman medium cavalry immediately charges a large unit of lighty armoured javelin men, but with supperior numbers they hold the charge
The centre advances slowly cramped in slightly by the oasis
The Battle at this stage is already starting to split into three separate fights
Both generals push troops towards the bridge, movement is hampered slightly but the newly ploughed fields but the narrow stream is narrow enough for throw javelins across
The three war elephants begin to slowly move forward
Roman discipline as they keep in good formation moving forward
There is more Roman infantry by the city walls backing up the cavalry charge
A unit of Slingers runs forward to capture the bridge and start looking for Flatulus
The centre elephant charges forward into the massed infantry
The elephant isn't going to stop !
At the other end of the field the Romans have unleashed their secret weapon, flaming pigs 🐷 these despite causing a terrible smell and terrifying the elephant do little damage as the handler keeps the elephant under control
The Battle for the bridge hots up
An the mercenary Gauls now capture the bridge
The Romans haven't quite worked out an effective tactic to counter the elephants yet
The pig handler manages to charge back into the elephant a second time
More pigs but this time in the wrong place
In the end infantry charge into the elephant flanks this causes it to stampede
...but unluckily for the romans in runs forward into a another unit
The final elephant eventually approaches elite seasoned veterans who have dealt with this kind of challenge before, charging in they swiftly hamstring the beast which crashes to the ground dead
With all three elephants dead there are still a LOT of troops on the field and the Romans continue to advance
....a panting messenger arrives at Darianus' command tent the escaped spy Maximus Flatulus has been found and captured near the oasis "bring the dog to me....if the battle goes against us we will use his life to barter our protection" .......but the battle is far from over
A huge clash of infantry under the city walls
Less in number now ...but the Romans are not beaten and they march on
Finally the battle around the bridge has gone in the favour of the Lycians, and the light cavalry cross hoping to cut off the enemy retreat, unfortunately many still throw their lives away falling to Gallic slingshot
With parched throats many men eye the enticing water of the oasis, but with the enemy closing there is no time for a drink
Previously shaken but the elephant encounter the Roman infantry surge forward, whilst the Royal HouseHold cavalry charge in...
Bloody work at close quarters by the city walls
In the centre the Roman reserves are thrown in as a last ditch effort to breakthrough
Now you see them......
Now you don't the Lycian left wing collapses suddenly ! The threat of being outflanked is real again for the Lycians.
A final unit of mercenary heavy spearmen charge in to hold the flank, in the noise and chaos Flatulus escapes his captors (we didn't make this up I rolled a 1 which allowed him to slip his captors !)
...........in the balance but the only unblooded unit of Thracian Mercenary spearmen is able to knock out the final Elite Roman unit
And the commander form the left flank is able to run across and recapture Flatulus. The Roman general at this point decided he would rather face the wrath of the Consul than die here in the Sand. Maximus would be left to his own fate and the Romans started to withdraw from the field. Once back at their boats they would look to make land and regroup the army. Too much blood had been spilt now and these Lycians needed to be taught a lesson.
Much feasting in the city of Phaselis that night as the army discovered the battlefield covered in well roasted pigs
Sorry I took far too many photos but is was a pretty big battle with a lot of colour and fun........thanks to Martin for a tremendous game it won't be long before we are fighting another Blood in the Sand battle. (We actually did have Bacon sandwiches for tea 😀)