In short though, the Sassanid Persians have cut off a Roman forward Garrison and have troops in the vicinity awaiting the arrival of the great king and his siege train.
The Romans don't like this idea very much so have sent a relieving force to help out said outpost. A river, impassable to all but light cavalry, splits the table with the only bridge passing through the fort.
As the Great King enters the table at one end and the Roman relief force at the other the scene is set for essentially a battle split into two distinct and very different conflicts on either side of the river.
The Romans were commanded by Chris Charlton and he was supported by Richard, Andy and Ken.
As the briefing progressed it became obvious why I needed a sense of humour. Whilst the Persians our side of the river had a lot of quality cataphract cavalry supported by hordes of nomad horse archers, our Elephants, far from the battle winning steam rollers we had imagined were something of an embarrassment. Rather than blundering on a double 6 as normal units and then throwing against a table to see what happens, the elephants would blunder on any double. Unlike other units, if a mob of elephants "moves left" in error and you happen to be in the way there is likely to be a large mess. Clearly I would need to give my own troops a fairly wide berth.
The Romans deployed their cavalry divisions on Jerry and my side of the River to slow down the siege train whilst holding all of their infantry with a very small amount of Cataphract horse on the further bank to destroy the besieging force under Simon and Dave.
With a lot of heavy fighting down my end I was only able to nip up the other end to snap a few pictures every hour or so and could only keep loosely up with play.
Below then gives you an idea of the Roman horse divisions ranged against Jerry and I. At first glance they look formidable but their medium horse were no match for our cataphracts and their small numbers of light Javelin armed cavalry unable to compete with our swarms or nomad horse archers.
The command base above is one of the most georgous bases I have ever seen, however it is so big that it does become a bit impractical, the Great King chose to rove the battlefield on his royal elephant instead.
Andy's Roman Cavalry fought gallantly charging again and again against the odds to try and stem the Sassanid advance, predictably this did little more than cause a speed bum to the heavily armoured cataphracts. The nomad horse archers were able to weaken the Romans before their charges and then further reduce badly mauled units retreating from combat. There was an inevitability about this side of the battle as the Persians ground steadily forward and the Roman cavalry was forced in ever reducing numbers into a corner of the river.
On the other side Dave was locking horns with Chris and Richard with his room to manoeuvre being steadily reduced and both sides taking steady casualties, whilst Si who amongst other things had a raft of levy infantry tried to make a dent in the defences of the fort with only limited success. Ken even had the cheek at one point to sally out of the fort and cut up a number of Persian archers.
After three blunders the Persian elephants did eventually manage to get into bow range and inflict a single casualty. Thanks Chris, yes my sense of humour is still intact!
On the opposite side of the river the main force of the Romans and the Persian besieging forces are still coming to grips, the Romans are getting the better of the exchange but the Persians remain a very potent force and the lack of any Roman cavalry leaves no counter to the hordes of tribal horse archers who can now start to sweep around the flanks.
Really it was a two day game and givn the time it seems likely that the historical outcome would have prevailed. In the real engagement the Roman relief army eventually retreated unable to stop the Persians who took the fort, the Garrison being never heard from again.
A very colourful and interesting game, different deployment could see this scenario play out in all sorts of different ways. In the end both sides were left claiming victory.
I hope you enjoyed the short write up of this game. A couple more Units of Swedes still to share and another couple of ports on our wargamers cruise of the Baltic. Keep you posted!