JB17 Lesnikia (48 BC)
LESNIKIA - 48 BC
Pompeian vs Caesarian
“To re-establish his left flank (after the Battle of Dyrrachium fought that the same day), Caesar drove back the Pompeians to within a mile of the coast, and when he had regained about half of his lines…, he linked them together by a work. Next, when he learnt that Pompey was moving troops into the camp south of the Lesnikia (river)--Caesar’s old camp-he decided to seize it before it could be fully occupied. “
“He left two cohorts to hold the work he had built, then formed his remaining thirty-three cohorts into two columns, and advanced on the camp under cover, probably of woods. The left column made for its eastern face and the right for its northern. The former broke into the camp and drove its garrison towards its western gate, but the latter struck the rampart which linked the camp and the river, assumed it to be the wall of the camp, and moved down it to seek a gate, and eventually broke through it close by the Lesnikia and entered the plain between the rampart, river, sea, and camp.”
“When news of Caesar’s counter-attack (countering Pompey’s offensive in the prior Battle of Dyrrhachium) was received by Pompey, he led five legions to the relief of the camp, while his cavalry swept over the plain to the east of it. And when Caesar’s right column saw its rear threatened, it attempted to withdraw, but was impeded by the rampart it had so recently broken through. Seized by panic, the soldiers scrambled over it, and many were trampled to death. At the same time the Pompeian garrison, who had been driven back by Caesar’s left column, when they saw Pompey advancing, turned about and charged it. But when the left column descried the right column in rout, its men were also swept by panic and a general emeute (or breakdown) followed. ‘Every place’, writes Caesar, ‘was full of panic, disorder, and flight, so much so that when (he) grasped the standards of the fugitives and bade them halt, some without slackening speed fled at full gallop, others in their fear even let go their colours, nor did a single one of them halt.’”
‘Fortunately for Caesar, Pompey did not pursue. Probably his men were in great disorder; but whatever the cause it saved the routed army, and when at length Caesar restored order, he found that he had lost 32 tribunes and centurions, 960 rank and file, and 32 standards. We are told that many of these men perished without a wound, having been trampled to death in the panic and flight of their comrades. “
“The losses sustained by Pompey are not recorded. All Caesar tells us is, that Pompey was hailed Imperator (by his troops); that Labienus put the (Caesarean) captives to death; and that: ‘the Pompeians gained so much confidence and spirit that, instead of forming a plan of campaign, they regarded themselves as having already conquered’. Finally, he adds: ‘They did not reflect that the cause of their success had been the small number of our troops’; that they had not won a pitched battle; and that their victory had been due not to valour but to fortune….”
(From Major General JFC Fuller’s account in “Julius Caesar: Man, Soldier and Tyrant”)
3 Command Cards rising to 5 Cards in the course of play (see Special Rules)
5 Command Cards
To win as Caesar, you must have a unit occupying one of the Pompeian Camp hexes and have no enemy Pompeian units adjacent to that hex at the end of any Pompeian Player-turn.
Alternately, in place of the above territorial objective, Caesar can win a sudden death victory by inflicting 10 Banners of losses on the Pompeians, however eliminated War Machines only count for a ½ Banner toward victory for the Caesareans.
To win as Pompey, you must inflict 6 Banners of losses on the enemy as a regular sudden death victory—Eliminating the Caesar Leader counts as 2 Banners. If Caesar evades off-map the Pompeian Player scores 1 Banner.
The “Marian” Command Card Deck
Historical Note: Combat in the 1st Century BC between Roman Legions was somewhat different than the wars between civilized states in the 3rd Century BC. There was less room for combined arms tactics and maneuver, and battles probably tended to be more of the nature of hand to hand full bore slugfests.
This particular scenario utilizes a different Command Card Deck than the original C & C Ancients Deck. Eight (8) Cards are removed from the original deck leaving 52 Cards for scenario play. This new deck is called the “Marian Deck” and it is named after Caesar’s uncle Gaius Marius who reorganized the Roman Legions in roughly 105-103BC (several years before Caesar was born) to meet the challenges of the Germanic Tribal invasions that threatened the Roman Republic of the time.
The following eight cards are removed before play and put aside to create the Marian Deck:
X4 “Order Light troops”, x1 “I Am Spartacus”, x2 “Move-Fire-Move”, x1 “Mounted Charge”---note that one Mounted Charge” card is still retained in the deck.
Leader Command, Caesar, Pompey & Rally Special Rules:
Caesar can cancel both a retreat and a sword hit if present with the unit receiving such hits. All other Leaders may cancel a retreat or a sword hit if present with the unit.
Units on both sides involved in close combat with the support of a Leader may only count one helmet hit amongst those rolled to inflict a hit on an opposing unit, unless Caesar or Pompey is the supporting leader---then up to two helmet hits may be counted.
Caesar when moving & ordered by himself without an attached unit normally may move up to four hexes instead of the regular three hexes for Leaders in the rulebook.
Units, the Rally Card, & Line Commands: No unit can be rallied to beyond five blocks or its strength at the start of the game whichever is less. If a Player rolls “swords” when attempting to rally he may freely chose which unit gets a block back. A maximum of six units can be moved by play of a single line command card in this scenario.
Pompeian Card Hand & Labienus and the Pompeian Cavalry:: Initially the Pompeian Player has only a three-card hand. At the end of his second Player-turn he draws an additional card bringing his hand to four cards. At the end of his 5th Player-turn he draws another additional card bringing his hand to five cards for the remainder of the scenario.
Pompeian Cavalry units stacked with the Labienus Leader always receive one extra dice when involved in close-combat/battle-back.
Roman Legionary Infantry Rules:
The following types of infantry units in the game on BOTH sides are assumed to be Roman Legionaries: Heavy Infantry, and Medium Infantry. ALL of these units are considered to be Roman Legionary Infantry. The combatants in this era of civil war often recruited non-citizens from different areas of the Roman Republican Empire into their Legions and as a result the quality of such forces varied widely.
Each Roman Legionary Infantry unit starts with a Pilum Marker. The Pilum is a one-time use weapon that is generally fired right before a Roman Legionary unit attacks in close-combat or is itself attacked by the enemy in close-combat. Once the pilum is fired (or lost see below) –the Pilum marker is removed from the Roman unit to indicate that the pilum has been expended and the unit may not throw Pilum for the rest of the battle.
Just before a Roman unit with pilum is attacked or is itself attacked by the enemy for the very first time in the battle in close-combat it throws its pilum—roll one die and apply normal hits for swords, color, or a Flag/retreat hit Afterwards remove the Pilum marker. The act of throwing the pilum is not considered to be part of the Close-Combat—so any result of the pilum throw is resolved before the Close-combat. If two Roman Legionary Infantry units that have not thrown pilum yet engage the attacker resolves his pilum throw first. An attached Leader may use his special ability to cancel a “swords” hit that was inflicted via a pilum hit (see special Command rules) on the unit he is stacked with. “swords” and Flag hits from pilum can also be canceled by fortifications per the normal Rampart/Fortified Camp rules. See also the scenario-specific Hedgehog rules which operate almost like Ramparts in the game until removed.
Roman units, adjacent to the enemy, that have not expended their Pilum may also be ordered to throw Pilum if the card “Darken the Sky” is played by their commanding player. The Player picks one adjacent enemy unit and throws two dice –apply the results just as one would before close combat—and remove the Pilum Marker.
Julian Legions—Use the Julian Legions movement rules for Roman Legionary (Heavy & Medium Infantry) ordered Moves by both sides. Don’t use the Marius Legions Rules.
Entry of Pompeian initial off-map units
General Overview: The initially off-map Pompeian units/leader can start arriving on the map on the Pompeian Player-turns 3 and after. They may not utilize a hex adjacent to a Caesarean unit as the location for their starting placement on the map.
Entry of Initial off-map Pompeian units: The initial off-map Pompeian units/leaders may enter the map in any clear terrain vacant hex in hexrows F, G and H on Map 1 in lieu of the Pompeian Player issuing an order to a unit in any section via a section card. Up to two units/leader can be entered at the Pompeian option per move foregone on any section card into those three hexrows. Yep that’s right the units just in effect get tele-ported onto the map and placed by the Pompeian Player—simulating the apparent condition that Caesar had no idea where the Pompeian relief forces were coming in from that night. Units/Leader that arrive can be ordered (& move and have combat) on the Pompeian player-turn of their arrival with any remaining moves from the section card that were not used to actually enter the units/leader-- as long as they were placed in the appropriate section to be ordered by that section card. Yep that’s right the newly placed units/leader do not have to arrive in the section listed on the card used to place them onto the map.
Pompeian War Machine Special Rules:
Pompeian War Machines may never be ordered to move—they can only be ordered by the Pompeian Player to missile fire. Pompeian War Machines automatically ignore all Flag results inflicted upon them. Pompeian War Machines have a maximum range of three hexes only for missile fire, but can fire at adjacent Caesarean units, if those units are located to the ‘front’ of the Rampart hextile the Pompeian War Machine is located in. Pompeian War Machines may evade, if attacked, per the updated rulebook rules for War Machine evasion. Eliminated War Machine units only count for a ½ Banner toward victory for the Caesareans.
Night Conditions: Disorder & Confusion
Historical Note: Lesnikia was apparently a night surprise attack with great confusion, disorder, panic, and tumult happening on both sides. The rules listed below are a modest attempt to show such intangible factors.
a) Units on both sides may not support each other—unless they are Pompeian units located in Fortified Camp, Hedgehog, or Rampart hexes (regardless of facing). Pompeian units located in such hexes may support any adjacent Pompeian units.
b) All units in the game regardless of type (save Pompeian War machines—see above) retreat 2 hexes per Flag result taken or inflicted—
c) If the very first hex of a unit’s retreat or evasion is into a Rampart or Hedgehog hex—that unit loses one block.
d) Leader Support: Only the overall Leader on each side, Pompey or Caesar, can support units involved in combat in an adjacent hex. All the other Leaders may only support the unit they are stacked with in combat.
e) Roman Relief Moves & Cohort Maneuvers cannot be done in the scenario unlike some of my other scenarios due to the confusion factor mentioned above.
Outflanking---This is an easy way of introducing facing and flanks to the game with little fuss—it can be retrofitted to other scenarios where appropriate:
A unit is said to be “Outflanked” if it is surrounded in all six adjacent hexes by either enemy units, or hexes adjacent to an enemy unit. The presence of friendly units or terrain does not negate an “Outflanked” situation in any way. Units on the board edges (and not surrounded by six adjacent hexes) cannot be “Outflanked”.
Effects of being Outflanked: “Outflanked” units when battling back roll only half the normal number of dice they would be normally entitled to rounded up—to a maximum of only two dice—“Outflanked” units when battling back never hit on helmet rolls even if supported by a leader. A unit’s “Outflanked” situation is judged at the instant it battles back.
The Discard Option—A Card Option for Both Players
If a player’s Army Leader is still on the map he may, at the start of his own player-turn, choose to discard three cards from his hand and redraw three more cards in lieu of executing a regular player-turn. The Pompeian Player may not use this option until his 3rd player-turn or later.
Special Terrain Rules:
The “Hedgehogs”: The two Hedgehogs are treated almost as Ramparts for combat purposes & Pompeian support only (but it doesn’t cancel retreats for occupants of the hex)—Hedgehogs do not inhibit ordered movement. Once a Hedgehog hex is entered by a Caesarean unit the hedgehog is removed and the hex reverts to a normal clear hex (it was blocking the main gates into the camps).
Ramparts: To move onto a Rampart hex tile from outside the Rampart through the “teeth” (or the front hexsides) of the Rampart tile entered a unit or leader must start its move in the adjacent hex and must stop on the Rampart tile just entered and may move no further that turn—the unit could missile fire or close-combat attack however. All other normal rule-book Rampart rules are used.
Knocking Down the Ramparts: In lieu of moving, an ordered Legionary unit located on a Rampart hex that is not adjacent to an enemy unit may elect to knock it down—remove the Rampart tile—the hex reverts to clear terrain. A Player may only knock down a total of only one rampart hex tile per friendly player-turn in this way. Legionary units that no longer have their pilum may not knock down Ramparts (assumed to have lost their tools & organization as well by virtue of being in combat).
Stream Hextiles: Stream hextiles do not inhibit movement in any way and their only combat effect is to reduce the ‘normal’ dice of a Medium or Heavy unit close-combating or battling back from such terrain by one dice.
Fordable Stream-mouth: Treat as a normal fordable river hex. Per rulebook…
Fordable River (the Lesnikia): Treat as a normal fordable river hexes. Per rulebook…
The Pompeian Auxillia actually represent rather low quality & newly recruited legionary infantry. Treat as normal Auxillia, and do not use the Legionary infantry rules for these units, but in missile fire they only throw one dice, regardless of whether or not the Pompeian Auxillia unit has moved.
Order of Battle Notes: Each Legion is represented in the scenario by three infantry units. Pompey probably had six legions at or near the field of battle. Caesar had a bit over the equal of three legions (33 Cohorts). Likely the Caesarean total force about 10,000 to 11,000+ men.
Tags: Joe Bisio