The Wars of the Republic rulebook has some army lists for the Late Republican Romans to take on various slave revolts. Of course, the most famous is the 3rd Servile War against Spartacus. The book has a scenario for the Battle of Vesuvius. Today, we are going to continue the theme of Romans vs. Slaves but we are going to be playing a different scenario then the one in the book. The Battle of Vesuvius has some strange circumstances that made the scenario a bit unique. Instead, we are going to play a much more straight forward, ahistorical battle.
In the winter of 72-71 BC Crassus had assembled his army. He marched out to face Spartacus and his army. It is not entirely clear, but some scholars believe that the two armies met. In the ensuing skirmish, Crassus won and this was what caused Spartacus to turn Southward.
This turn is often seen as the beginning of the end for Spartacus and his army. It led to the failed attempt to leave Italy to Sicily. Then, the Slave army was hemmed in at Bruttium and only managed to escape after breaking out of a costly siege.
There is no clear, definitive record of this battle. In fact, it may just be local myth. This will give us as wargamers some space to play a game where the outcome is unclear. We only know that this "skirmish" took place after Crassus had ordered a "Decimation" of his own men to "boost morale" of his troops. Spartacus had opted not to cross the Alps and leave Italy earlier in 72BCE.
If you have further interest in playing out this conflict beyond what is in the Wars of the Republic rulebook, my first supplement for the game is available on the Wargame Vault. This supplement is called Revolt! and details the Spartacus' campaign including 15 new scenarios, more historical details, and appropriate army Lines of Battle for different phases of the campaign.
We know a bit about how a Late Republican Roman force was outfitted. We also know that Crassus recruited veteran troops back to the Eagles for this campaign. Velites and Cavalry had been phased out of the legion and instead replaced mostly with auxiliary troops. The main body was made up of cohorts instead of maniples now.
|Romans on the left of the photo
|Slaves to the right
|Spartacus leads the way, a Thracian style Gladiator
The Slave Archers use Gaze re-rolls and fire into the oncoming Light Infantry and reduce them 2 Courage, but not enough to cause them to waver.