314 Dyrrhachium (48 BC)
Julius Caesar crossed the Adriatic with seven depleted legions in order to confront Gnaeus Pompey’s main army and bring the civil war to an end. Antony, with the remaining five legions, was delayed (see Brindisi Raid). Caesar followed Pompey to Asparagium and boldly offered battle but Pompey refused, in spite of numerical superiority, because his troops were much inferior in training to Caesar’s veterans. Meanwhile, Antony, blown far off course, had crossed the Adriatic and landed in Pompey’s rear. Pompey, presented with the opportunity to destroy his opponents in detail, was obsessed instead about being trapped between them. Caesar moved quickly to join Antony and simultaneously threaten Dyrrhachium, Pompey’s logistical base. Pompey marched to defend it, but Caesar joined Antony and occupied Dyrrhachium first. Caesar audaciously began blockading Pompey’s larger army against the sea by constructing a line of forts. Pompey retaliated with his own line of counter-fortifications. Pompey’s larger army began running short of supplies and (more importantly) water. He was left with no choice but to attack or surrender. He finally decided to break Caesar’s line at the southern end of the fortifications, where Caesar’s ramparts were not quite complete. Pompey’s plan was excellent, as he landed a contingent of marines and light troops from the sea and at the same time stormed across the river with several of his best legions toward Caesar’s weak point in his line. The defenders held for some time against this combined force, but finally were pushed back. Anthony’s arrival stopped the advance, but Pompey’s troops threw back Caesar’s vastly outnumbered veterans as they counterattacked to retake their lines. Pompey built a new camp near the shore that secured access for his large cavalry arm to the grazing lands to the south. Caesar, desperately short of supplies himself, was forced to withdraw. His army moved into Thessaly, pillaging as they went, and regaining strength. Pompey warily pursued his rival. Caesar consoled his troops afterward, telling them it was not lack of fighting prowess, but rather fate and circumstance that defeated them. His army’s morale remained high, and they were most eager to avenge their defeat. Pompey’s troops and the host of Senators accompanying the army began to see themselves as more than a match for Caesar and his veterans. It was this fatal overconfidence that compelled them to advance and do battle later at Pharsalus.
The stage is set. The battle lines are drawn and you are in command. The rest is history.
• Leader: Pompey
• 5 Command Cards
• Move First
• Leader: Caesar
• 5 Command Cards
• Julian Legions rule is in effect for both armies.
• Julius Caesar Rule is in effect.
• A Pompeian unit that exits off the Roman left section of the battlefield counts as one Victory Banner. The unit is removed from play, and may not re-enter.
The first match was fought mainly on the Caesarian right (very much dictated by both players' hands). Caesar's troops held off Pompey's aggressive attack near the rampart while Caesar slowly maneuvered his central backline to the left and his right contingent forward. Pompey stuck to missile fire and isolated attacks - including a courageous charge by his cavalry. However, the Goddess of the Dice was not forthcoming and many of these attacks suffered at the hands of superior battle back dice from the Caesarian forces. Meanwhile, Marcellinus and Antony linked up their forces and held their ground against the main Pompeian concentration on the opposite flank. After beating back the advance on his right side, Caesar personally led his right wing forward, over the rampart and struck at the weakened Pompeian units that had withdrawn. Victory for Caesar.
The second battle was fought predominantly in the center and the Caesarian left. The Pompeian general was blessed with a useful Line Command card early in the bout and used it to push forward across the line. Caesar's troops fought valiantly and through clever maneuvering and target selection, the Caesarian general killed off some Pompeian light troops as well as the carelessly placed cavalry. Nevertheless, Pompey managed to withdraw some of his weakened units on his left and kept pushing on his right, where a rain of pila paved the way for a general advance, where Titus Puileo's leadership bonus proved decisive. The Caesarian left wing was overwhelmed and crushed. Before Caesar could rally Antony's and Marcellinus' troops and close the gap on his left, Titus Puileo led his cohorts off the field...presumably to prepare the encirclement of Caesar's forces. Pompey won the day.