318 Thapsus (46 BC)
Following his set-back at Ruspina, Julius Caesar spent some time regrouping before making a surprise night march of 16 miles and camping near the Pompeian-held coastal town of Thapsus. Caesar immediately placed Thapsus under siege. Though numerically superior, Metellus Scipio, the Pompeian commander in the area, originally had no intention of risking a direct battle with the formidable Caesar. However, Caesar had forced the issue with this threat to Thapsus. If Scipio allowed a key city to fall without a fight, then key allies would defect to Caesar. Scipio reluctantly brought his 40,000 man army up to relieve the city. Scipio occupied a defensive position and drew up his line with elephants (provided by King Juba) on the wings. Caesar opposed the pachyderms with light archers and slingers, while taking personal command of his right wing. As the battle began, volleys of missiles sent the elephants reeling. At nearly the same time, Caesar’s infantry, eager for battle, attacked without orders. Many of the elephants stampeded into the center of Caesar’s line, where the 5th legion Alaudae ( the Larks) was advancing. The 5th was a Gallic legion, recruited in Transalpine Gaul. The Larks bravely stood firm against the elephants, and later adopted the elephant as their legionary symbol. Caesar’s horse countered a Numidian cavalry charge and forced them to flee. After the failed charge, the Pompeian line crumbled and the rout was on. Pompeian resistance in Africa had been crushed, but the civil war was not quite over. There remained one more Pompeian bastion – Spain.
The stage is set. The battle lines are drawn and you are in command. The rest is history.
• Leader: Scipio
• 5 Command Cards
• Move First
• Leader: Caesar
• 6 Command Cards
• Julian Legions rule is in effect for both armies.
• Julius Caesar Rule is in effect.