Thursday, December 29, 2016

Editio XIII.

(Genua, Cisalpine. 260 BC Spring) The Massalia Greeks joined the Insubres in declaring war on Rome.  This left Genua as an easy target since the Massalia only had a fleet there in port, no armies in the province.

Legio II 'Antiqua' was in the very Northwest corner of Italia on the coast. The 2nd Legion under the command of Atillus Regulus marched north and attacked Genua. The Massalia fleet landed its marines and a fight broke out in several parts of the city. The weight of superior numbers for the Romans made itself felt, the Massalia were ground down and eliminated.

Rome had another city in the Cisalpine.
Greeks and Romans fighting in the city of Genua, Cisalpine.

State of the campaign as viewed towards the east from Massalia.

Sunday, December 25, 2016

Editio XII.

(Patavium, Cisalpine 261 BC Summer.) War with the Insubres, another Celt tribe had struck! A treacherous move but not a surprise really with two of their Armies in Patavium Provence had been watching the death throes of the Veneti.

Legio IV 'Herculia' had marched back to Italia to refit and recruit to fill in their losses. That left a lone legion to defend Patavium when war was declared.
Death ride of the Roman Calvary! Into the Insubres artillery
the Lancers charged.

General Lucius Cursor and Legio III 'Liberatrix' had the task of defending Patavium, that embattled town that had already seen two pitched battles in its streets. With no wall or fortifications the defense of the town against two Insubres armies would again be on the streets and alleys of Patavium, Cursor had no interest in sallying out to meet being so outnumbered.
At the eastern end of the Market the Romans and Insubres can be seen in
mortal combat! Celt casualties were very high with two Armies being all
but wiped out during the struggle.

The Roman General deployed his legionaries around a large market. At two choke-points he lined up infantry two formations deep, behind the infantry at both choke-points were a mass of missile troops; Velities (javelin throwers) and Roman archers.

Two other Roman formations of Calvary were deployed on the edge of town. From Patavium they initiated combat by charging the Insubres artillery. Across the open plain they galloped, under fire they dodged Celt Infantry and pressed home their attack. Losses were high from catapult rounds hitting them but they made it into the artillery disabling the catapults. Celtic cavalry caught up and then wiped out the Romans. But their mission had been accomplished, the Insubres artillery was out of the fight.

The Insubres merged their two armies and then charged into the city from the east, at the defensive line setup by the Roman General the foes locked in murderous combat. Javelins and arrows swarmed through the air hitting armor, shields and flesh. Masses of screaming barbarians pushed into the Roman line. The Romans used their tactic of shield and thrust, butchering the Insubres. But the great mass of Celts kept pressing and the Romans lost many infantry too.

Finally the Celt charge was spent, the Celts routed and retreated, General Cursor and the 3rd Legion had held the town.

Wednesday, December 21, 2016

Editio XI.

Legio III 'Liberatrix' Advancing to Battle!
(Patavium in the Cisalpine. BC 262 Winter) Moon light gave the snowy Cisalpine landscape an eerie glow as Legio IV 'Herculia' and Legio III 'Liberatrix were in camp on the Po River valley. Roman Generals Tiberius Pulvillus and Lucius Cursor could be found in a large tent lit by torches, deep in discussion about the goings on of moving two legions up to an expected siege of Patavium, the Veneti town the Romans meant to take.

Suddenly sounds of commotion and the voices of sentries calling out "Fire and Foe!" shattered the night air. Cursor and Pluvillus locked eyes and smiled. The raid they were expecting was taking place. the Generals strode out of the tent and looked towards the river. Light from the flames enveloping a wagon could be seen in the distance. General Cursor barked an order for an junior officer to ride down and report back.

Minutes later they got their report and the all clear was sounded. A small force of raiders on horseback as had been predicted by the Roman spy network, were attempting to raid the Roman baggage train. The Romans had a couple of casualties and lost a wagon. But the rest of the baggage train was safe! A cohort of men had been detailed with night guard for a couple of nights, on guard for this raid predicted by intelligence. The Foe paid dearly, eight of the raiders were killed, two captured and one, a woman no less got away but was thought to be severely injured. She the Generals strongly suspected was a Insubres agent that they knew was in the province. War had not broken out with the Insubres but two of their armies were in the province; waiting no doubt to see how the upcoming battle would play out with the Romans and Veneti the next day.

Dawn broke out upon the Po River valley, The Romans three thousand and seven hundred strong were a bit blurry from the nights excitement. Regardless they broke camp and marched towards Patavium. They expected to siege the Veneti town but the enemy sallied out and took up positions on the same ridge the 1st Legion had fought up and over upon a few months ago. The Romans were having none of that, unlike General Libo and the 1st they declined charging up the steep slope, rather the two legions moved to their left (West) and intended on flanking the Veneti then heading for Patavium.

The barbarians were foiled and their General issued the order for the Veneti to charge! Down the slope onto the valley floor came the Celts with about two thousand six hundred warriors. The Roman's quickly formed battle lines and received the enemy charge! The fighting was brutal and over in a few minutes. The superior sized force of Romans vanquished the foe. The Celts retreated to the east of Patavium, Legio IV pursed and wiped out that small group. Legio III marched straight in and took Patavium.

On the Roman left Legio III 'Herculia' receives the charge of the Veneti!

This view is of Legio IV 'Liberatrix' on the right flank fighting off the Celt charge!


A Campaign Overview.
Map of Patavium.

Patavium is conquered, the Veneti Tribe vanquished! Yet the inscrutable Insubres and their next moves are a mystery. They now have two armies in the Provence.  Further complicating matters is that the Carthaginians
ended their non-aggression treaty with Rome. War will come in the south, but at what time? Conflict looks near in the north. The Romans want a year to rest, refit and recruit! Will they get that year is the question.

Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Editio. X

(At the Po River in Cisalpine. 262 BC Summer)  Tiberius Caesetius Pulvillus the General of Legio IV 'Herculia' sat on his horse and gazed over the Po River at an army of Veneti (a Celt tribe). The Roman legion was in position to receive an attack, but the charge would have to be through the shallows of the River. Word of the demise of Legio I at Patavium had been a shock, yet he still had a well trained legion that was mostly consisting of fully staffed cohorts.

Pylvillus's counterpart, General Segovax of the Veneti Army had a larger force, but Pulvillus was not going to attack, rather he had decided to hold the perfect defensive position at the ford of the River Po. The action commenced with the Veneti firing arrows at the Romans, the Romans with Velities firing pilum did not have the range to effectively counter the fire of the Veneti. The Celts barrage did much damage to the Roman front lines positioned to defend the river ford.
Legionaries of Legio IV in desperate and bloody hand to hand combat!

Emboldened by his defeat of the Roman 1st Legion Segovax impetuously decided to advance his infantry across the river into the Roman line. In the shallow water the Veneti advanced in a mass of screaming warriors! The Roman Velites now had a enemy in range and opened up with a barrage of pilum (javelins). Many Veneti were hit, the river turned red with blood but the Celts marched on towards the Roman line through the low current.

General Pulvillus pulled off a quick maneuver sending up fresh infantry that had not been subjected to the arrows of the Veneti. The Romans steeled themselves and received the shock of the Celts crashing into the formations of hastari & principles. Back and forth the enemies traded blows, the Romans kept their discipline and formation while the Veneti became a mass of soldiers pushing forward but that only pressed their front into a Roman killing machine; Legionaries bracing with shields while stabbing and hacking with scuti (swords).

The Romans killed with hate the foe that had slain all of their brothers in the 1st Legion. The Celts were ground up by the Roman formations, then the Veneti's much reduced in numbers broke and ran. General Pulvillus ordered the Roman cavalry in at this crucial moment. Through the shallow ford and over to the other side of the river charged the cavalry! No quarter was given, all the Celts that the horsemen could catch-up to were hacked down with lances. General Segovax himself met this fate, very few Celts survived the day.

Pulvillus savored the victory, yet felt discomfort as he viewed all the Roman corpses strewn over the field of battle. He had a half strength Legion to campaign with now.

Viewpoint from the Veneti side of the Po River, at this point the Celts had degenerated into a unwieldy mass of warriors all trying to ford the river and get at the Romans.

A Campaign Overview.
Map of Patavium.
Here we view the region of Patavium as we move from summer to fall. The Romans appear to have the advantage. A full strength yet green Legio III which had rapidly marched up north from Rome and a half strength Legio IV facing a foe with two small depleted armies in poor condition. 

Intelligence has been problematic during this Cisalpine campaign but the Roman generals feel they now have a grasp on the dispositions of the Veneti armies, but a large Insubres force at the border is a wild card for the Roman commanders. Will the Insubres come to the aid of their Celtic brothers or are they waiting to snap up Patavium if the Romans delay their advance?  

Monday, December 19, 2016

Editio IX.

Celtic Mercenaries in the front and behind them Roman Legionaries at the north end of Patavium.

(Patavium. 262 BC) With supplies low and the legionaries exhausted, General Lucius Julius Libo felt his only move was to fortify Patavium and try to hold. Worrying intelligence continued to come in to his tent. A excited scout rode up and reported that just a few miles to the east was a force of 4,690 Veneti fresh warriors marching toward the town.

The Romans rushed to their defensive positions. Libo had only fifteen hundred Legionaries and two hundred and forty Celtic mercenaries to put against the mass of warriors rapidly approaching. The Romans were in the town's redoubt. A naturally elevated fortress with boulders and rocky ledges
with two entrances. Both were wide slopes and these two locations were where the great majority of Romans and Celtic Mercenaries placed.
No Quarter expected or given!

The Veneti approached the town and headed at Libo's forces. Combat was joined and the Romans held bravely for many minutes. The trouble spot appeared to be the south end of the bastion. The celts had slain about half the Roman force there. General Libo committed his reserve to this fight, roughly a cohort of Hastari infantry. The south held but then the north end of the redoubt was in trouble. The 240 Celtic Mercenaries fighting for the Romans were of low quality. They had been subject to relentless hot attack, they melted and the last line of Romans All gave way as a dam might burst and the Veneti were into the redoubt.

General Libo and his body guard made a last ditch attempt to charge the oncoming wave of Veneti warriors but the charge lost momentum. The general then pulled his guard back to the north entrance and this is where he and the remaining Romans died. A famous Legion the Legio I 'Italia' was no more!

Fighting at the southern entrance to the redoubt.

Legio I in their last defense. In the foreground the Veneti, up on the hill Romans.

Editio VIII

(Patavium, 262 BC)  After the battles in the forest General Lucius Julius Libo marched the two legions north on the Patavium Road. As they moved out of the steep hills and into the Po River valley the legions split. Two hosts of the armies they had fought during the ambush battles in the forest were north and the other east of the Romans.

Tiberius Pulvillus took Legio IV 'Herculia' into the hills to the east but south of the River Po. He failed to catch up to the enemy Vineti forces, a Celtic tribe who declined battle.

Legio I 'Italia' locked in combat with the Veneti Celts
in the Po River valley.
At the same time General Libo marched towards the Po River and came upon a Vineti force of about fifteen hundred warriors. The Celts had not forded the river and were in a precarious position. The Romans fell out of marching mode and deployed into a two line formation; across the valley floor the Romans advanced then charged the Veneti. In short order the Romans charged and enveloped the Vineti. All but a handful of Celts were slain and the famous 1st Legion had won yet again.

General Libo then had a bridge built across the River Po and marched over it into Patavium proper.
On a steep ridge line a garrison army of Celts had formed line of battle, rather than maneuver Libo sent Legio I up the slope into the Vineti. The Celts charged and the two armies clashed in hand to hand combat. Roman discipline and bravery won the battle, but at a heavy cost. Legio I 'Italia' was by now after three consecutive battles at about half strength.
General Libo's Body Guard of heavy cavalry pushing
up the ridge at the edge of the Po River Valley.

With the garrison army defeated Libo and the 1st Legion marched into the barbarian town of Patavium and took possession.

From the spy network that the Romans had in the region word came in of a shocking surprise. The Veneti previous only having one medium sized host to the east of Patavium actually had another very large army just east of the other. The medium sized force had screened the larger more potent Army of Celts. With Legio IV 'Herculia" leagues to the south over the River Po the General and his Legio I 'Italia' were in a very precarious position.

General Libo immediately dispatched riders with orders for his kin General Pulvillus to "bring the 4th Legion up post haste!"
Roman and Veneti clashing on the ridge in front of Patavium.
Campaign Map after Patavium had been taken. Two Roman Armies are in Cisalpine but not in distance to support each
other. To the east and a bit north are two Venti Celt armies. General Libo could be in trouble!

Sunday, December 18, 2016

Editio VII.

First of two Veneti Armies marching south on the Patavium Road.
Fireballs rolled down the hill by the Romans strike the Veneti.
(Cisalpine. BC 262 Spring) The Roman Senate had declared war upon the Veneti, a Celtic tribe in the Cisalpine region in BC 263, A year had elapsed with little word from the Legions that had marched north to meet the foe. Then a thunderbolt struck! News came in that two Veneti armies had been ambushed along the Patavium Road by the 1st and 2nd Legions! Heavy enemy casualties were the result as well as the survivors routing back into their territory. Their Generals in particular General Sauumason had been slain.

This was a tale of two actions, the first found Legio I 'Italia' deployed beside the road in the forest, along came the Celts whose lack of scouting was punctuated by Roman arrows and javelins raining of the forest into the Veneti's panicked ranks. Old hero Lucius Julius Libo, now 51 years old, then set his infantry forth. Out of the trees and brush charged the legionaries into the ranks of the startled Veneti.

The barbarians fought hard but gave way and routed. Only General Sauumason and his bodyguard of heavy cavalry remained in action. He got behind the Roman line, routed a unit of hastari, then harassed missile troops through the forest before being hit and falling on the battlefield in a noble death.

General Libo then pulled the 1st Legion back and headed south down the road to Ariminum. Lurking in the forest however still was the 4th Legion under the command of General Tiberius Caesetius Pulvillus. Like General Libo, a member of the Julii family.

A day later than the first action again came a Veneti army marching out of Cisalpine into Roman territory. Tiberius had his troops on both sides of the road. At the perfect moment Roman archers opened fire with flaming arrows and the Roman infantry charged in on the Celts. A large mass of Veneti found them surrounded and pressed from all sides. The Celts were slaughtered with only a few managing to escape into the forest. The opening battles had been a resounding victory, but the Roman commanders were impressed by the ferocity of the barbarian warriors even in a hopeless ambush.
General Sauumason's body guard hitting Roman Infantry hard! He was slain a few minutes later but caused much confusion.

Last stand of the Celts! Veneti warriors in a large mass surrounded by Legio IV 'Hercules!'
Roman flaming arrows shooting out of the trees into the Veneti. Those Romans belonged to Legio IV 'Herculia.'