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Parthians Vs Late Imperial Romans – Impetus

Last Sunday Myself, Terry Moran, David Hancox and Dave Lowe played a great little game of Basis Impetvs. I had based the game around a small but highly mobile Parthian raiding party had penetrated   deep into Roman territory and were now on their way back. However the Roman field commander had finally caught up and was blocking their route home.

The Roman field army consisted of nine units of foot infantry, including three untis of supporting archers (attached to the Legionaries), three units of light cavalry with javelin, one unit of light cavalry with bow, two units of Hun light cavalry, two units of medium cavalry and finally two units of heavy cavalry.

The Parthian Army consisted of a central core of six units of heavy cavalry and eleven units of light cavalry. A small raiding party but highly mobile and was to prove very effective in the up coming battle.

For most of the game the Parthians seemed to gain the initiative and in the opening moves they were able to challenge the Roman light cavalry effectively on both wings. The Allied Hun cavalry on the Roman right flank were first to be defeated and were quickly driven from the field. On the other flank however, Roman superior training (dice rolling) enabled the Roman cavalry to prevent the Parthian cavalry from gaining their flank.

With the Parthian light cavalry striking hard and fast on the Roman flanks the Parthian heavy cavalry in the centre of their line slowly advanced and were soon in contact with the mass of Roman Auxiliary Infantry to their front. The Auxiliaries put up a tough fight but were soon driven back or found an early grave. The day looked lost for the Roman Commander, both his flanks were under pressure from a mass of Parthian light horse archers and his first line of infantry had crumbled.

However the Roman Commanders last line of defence were three tough units of Legionaries with supporting archers and he also still had is heavy cavalry in reserve. These professional troops soon stopped the forward movement of the Parthians and even though attacks were coming in on both flanks and they were almost surrounded the Romans managed to hold the line. The Roman heavy cavalry on the right flank soon defeated the number of light Parthian cavalry but pursued to far and were not able to support the infantry. However on the Roman left flank their cavalry destroyed the Parthian light cavalry and were now posed in a good position to hit the remaining Parthians in the flank.

With the Parthian Army right flank now destroyed and mounting casualties in the centre from the determined Roman Legionaries the Parthian commander ceded victory to the Romans. It was a hard but well fought battle for the Roman commander with many loses on both sides but some good lessons were learnt for the next encounter against the highly mobile Parthians.


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