Carthaginians vs Germans


My opponent had been posting on Facebook several weeks before the game that he was experimenting with Ilkhanid Mongul (#255), so when we later organised a game I assumed that I would be facing lots of cavalry with bows. My strategy could either be to hang back and hope for a draw or move forward and try to bottle him up (more likely to lose but more interesting along the way).

My army list didn't really work last time, but everyone from Phil Barker in his 1975 Airfix Guide to others in recent Flames of War blogs talks about the importance of learning your army rather than chopping and changing. Looking at my previous list, my spearmen would be useful against cavalry, whilst my elephant/medium command would have the extra movement to help bottle up the opponent.

As such the only change from my last game was to swap out one elephant and one LI for one unit of impetuous MI Gallic Warriors and one LMI. The impetuous MI was because I thought it was about time I learnt how to use impetuous troops, though I left the Spanish MI as Impact because I thought I might need the easier control on the flanks of the command. The only other change in my list was to move some units between commands, moving the two mounted from the spearmen command to the elephant command which I would plan to use on a flank.

This gave me a central command with 6 HI Spearmen. The forums suggested using 6 of anything in a block is probably a mistake, but I didn't want to use impetuous HI swordsmen and my MI were concentrated in the elephant command.

Having learnt from my last game I though about terrain ahead of the game, though I only really considered Plain. This would allow three Fields, which being rough going would hamper his cavalry but would suit my medium/elephant command. I thus trimmed down three of my Flames of War fields to the legal size of ADLG 200 pts games. I also had a plan that I would try for a river or coastal zone to restrict the board size against the Monguls.

All prepared, I turned up at the club and found that I was facing Germans (#90). I was happy with that as I thought it would be a better game, and it was also closer to being a historical match up.

Army lists

My Carthaginian list is a minor change from my last game.

The German list

The Game

The German general won initiative and decided to defend in forests. He placed a coastal zone, two wooded hills and the compulsory wood. I placed an impassable lake and a marsh.

Initial terrain placement

When the time came to adjust terrain I was able to remove both wooded hills and moved the wood to the edge of the board. The defender moved the woods back so there was a line of terrain pieces from the marsh to the lake.

After terrain adjustment

The first German command was deployed hard against the coastal zone. I responded with my elephant/MI command opposite but with the MC and LH in front of my lines. The second German command was deployed adjacent to the first, and I deployed my spearmen adjacent to my first command. However to leave room for the cavalry between my battle line and the central lake, the left two elements were behind the main line. The Germans then placed their cavalry command and I placed my cavalry as best I could.

Initial deployment

End of deployment had seen my army crowded into less than half the board. In my first turn I tried to clean things up a bit but the cavalry was still crowded.

End of Carthaginian Turn One

In their first turn the Germans advanced straight ahead and inflicted one hit on my light horse.

End of German Turn One

Turn two I charged the enemy light units with my left flank light horse and also with a MC from the right flank command. The German light horse fled from the MC and I was left with two of my LH fighting his LI and LH. My disrupted LH destroyed his LI and my other LH injured its opponents.

End of Carthaginian Turn Two

In the German turn two he moved his MC into a column supporting his LH.

He then conformed his LI into the front of my LH and moved the impetuous heavy cavalry (seen above) into support.  My LH was destroyed.  Further along the battle field the Germans pushed up their infantry into the face of my other mounted units.

End of German Turn Two

My turn three I broke off my LH from the LI, and also moved my two mounted units from the right flank out of the enemy HI ZOC.

End of Carthaginian Turn Three

The German turn three saw him charge my cavalry and move up his infantry. Despite the numbers being in his favour the Punic horse won two combats and drew the third.

End of German Turn Three

Turn four saw the two horse units on the Carthaginian right flank do suicide charges into the German HI. I felt that I needed to get them out of between the battle lines. My infantry battle line moved up to try and engage the enemy.

End of Carthaginian Turn Four

German turn 4 saw the centre command of impetuous swordsmen slide and charge the Carthaginian spearmen. By avoiding my MI swordsmen they kept the impact granted from the impetuous charge. They also had furious charge. I lost two combats and won the third. The other German command moved to just within 3UD of my elephant/MI command.

End of German Turn Four

Turn 5 I decided to charge with the elephants and supporting MI. One elephant did 3 hits on his general's unit, the other units lost their combats. Because they received the charge the Impetuous German infantry kept their Impact. The MI on the left flank of this command stopped just short of the enemy ZOC, so was in edge to edge contact with the enemy unit facing my HI spearmen with 3 hits on it. This was a bad move because when my HI spears died in the melee phase it meant that my MI had basically put themselves in a situation where they were flanked. I also lost a cavalry unit, whose retreat disordered the HI spearmen behind them.

End of Carthaginian Turn Five

German turn 5 saw the flanked Spanish MI being charged in front and flank and destroyed. The pursuing flank charger took out the adjacent LI. My elephant finished off the German general, but the other elephant and two MI units died.  In the cavalry battle on the left flank I lost another unit of cavalry.

The Germans also revealed two units of MC in ambush.

In turn 6 the javelin men charged a German HI unit with the elephant conforming into the side of it, and one of the cavalry units moved up to replace the destroyed unit.

End of Carthaginian Turn Six

The Carthaginians broke at the end of their turn six, with the margin being 10 - 25.

Lessons learnt

I should have measured the available space for my army between the lake and the coastal zone and taken that into account when deploying my first command.

LH should only be deployed in front of cavalry rather than in front of infantry. They can escape by interpenetrating the cavalry . Cavalry have no place in front of the infantry battle line.

My first deployment should have been with the El/MI command 5 wide with the LMI and cavalry behind as reserves.

My spearmen could have deployed four or five units wide with the extra unit(s) in column with the front units rather than refused on the flank like I did.  I was planning on fixing the deployment by moving forward and sliding, but if I deployed in column I could have stayed in place and expanded via an extension when needed.

If I had done both the above I would have left more room for the cavalry command to operate.

Later on in the battle I was able to flank myself by moving my Spanish MI into side to side contact with German HI.  I should have realised that my HI Spearmen being on 3 wounds was likely to break and let the Germans through.  It would have been better to keep to a nice straight battle line.

Jason suggested that if you are going impetuous I should have made the entire command impetuous rather than just one unit because the group is made unmanoeuvrable if any are impetuous.

I need to consider what terrain I should use for all possible regions.