Monday, February 21, 2022

Battle Report: Men of Bronze- Etruscans vs. Greeks


Today's battle report is a simple "What If" scenario.  This will take place on the island of Corsica as the Etruscans try to evict Greek settlers from the Island.  There is no indication that the Etruscan take over of the island in the 5th Century BCE was very bloody or violent.  However, after a few sea battles, the Greeks withdrew from the area and let the Etruscans take over.  You can find out more about this Corsican situation and the Etruscans in Hercules Abroad on the Wargame Vault.   

Today I am going to be using my Corinthian Greeks to represent the Ionian Greek settlers in Corsica.  This is a list straight from the Sample Armies section of the Men of Bronze rulebook.   

2 Drilled Hoplites- 1 with General
1 Militia Hoplite
1 Archers
1 Psiloi
1 Peltast

The Etruscans will also be straight from the Sample Armies section of the Hercules Abroad supplement. 

1 Elite Hoplite- Disruption and General
1 Drilled Infantry- Disruption
2 Militia Hoplites
1 Psiloi

The Greeks generate 7 Arete Points, to the Etruscan 6.  

Today, the attackers are the Etruscans in a Desecrate the Sacred mission from the Men of Bronze rulebook.  The Greeks will put their Militia Hoplites in the Shrine, while the remaining army tries to come save them.  This represents the local farmers retreating to the shrine, and waiting for the city-state of Alalia to send back-up!  The Etruscans meanwhile have landed and are pressing inland, with this shrine between them and their destination.  Therefore, they have sent some troops forward to claim it. 

Per the rules, a shrine is set-up in the center of the board, and it is manned by the Greek Militia Hoplites.  This battle is taking place on a 4ft x 4ft board.  Besides the shrine we will have a road leading by the shrine, and a nearby set of fields.  The Fields will be difficult terrain and the walls of he Shrine will be too.  Once inside, it is normal open terrain. 

We randomly rolled for Complications and got No Complications!   

The Greeks have one of their Drilled Hoplites moving up towards the shrine, with the other approaching on the other side of the shrine.  The Peltasts are anchoring their right flank, with the archers in the center, and the Psiloi on the left flank.  

The Etruscans are leaving the main assault in the center to their Militia Hoplites, supported with their Elite Hoplites to the place of honor on the right.  The Psiloi are covering the advance, with the Axeman on the left flank.  

Turn 1:
Both sides collect their Arete Points and decide how to spend them.  The Etruscans feel they have further to go, and bid 5.  The Greeks bid 4.  The Etruscans move out first.  

The Two generals largely seem willing to advance, and not try to interrupt each other as they press in.  The Corinthians seem willing to let the Shrine fill the center of their battle line.  

Turn 2: 
The Etruscans bid 0, the the Greek 3.  Greeks move first this time.  

The Greek Drilled Hoplites move up, while the Archers get to the base of the Shrine all ready.  The Etruscans interrupt and begin moving their Militia Hoplite attack force forward.  

The Greeks then take control back over.  The Psiloi on the far flank move up to support the Hoplites there, but stay in the field.  The Etruscans try to win back initiative, but fail.  The last Greek Peltasts move up the road.  

The Etruscans start to reshuffle their battle lines.  The second Militia Hoplite breaks into open order and heads for the road.  The Axemen shuffle to behind the main assault column, while the Elite Phalanx uses their Drilled ability to also shuffle to the side.  The Psiloi move up and toss Javelins at the defending Militia Holpites in the Shrine. There Javelin barrage fails to cause any Courage loss. 

Turn 3: 
The Greeks bid 3, to the Etruscan 2.  

The Greeks start by having their Peltasts charge up the road at the enemy Psiloi.  The Etruscan lights try to evade.  Which they do successfully!  These leaves the Peltasts wavering.  The Etruscans then try to interrupt, but fail!  

The Greek archers move into the shrine to support their countrymen there.  The Drilled Hoplites on the right flank break into open order and get on the road.  Meanwhile, the Drilled Hoplites on the left move up, with their Psiloi moving out of the fields in support of them.  

The Etruscans can move freely.  The Psiloi flow away from the oncoming Peltasts, while the Militia Hoplites snap into phalanx and charge into the Greek light troops.  There is no point trying to Evade, so they save their Arete Points for Re-rolls.  Despite the Re-rolls, the Militia Hoplites scatter the Peltasts with ease!  First Blood to the Etruscans!  

The Elite Phalanx move up tentatively, while the Axemen move up behind them to support, or drive off the enemy Psiloi.  The main Militia Hoplite attack waits patiently for the Etruscan maneuvers to unfold and holds steady. 

In the End Phase, the Greek Peltasts are removed, but the Militia Hoplites, Archers, and Drilled Hoplites on the road all watch them flee.  They make Discipline tests.  The Hoplites pass easily, but the archers begin to Waver! 

Turn 4: 
The Greeks have lost a unit, so they are down to 5 Arete points, to  match the Etrsucans.  The Greeks bid 2, to the Etruscan 3.  

The Etruscans start by charging down the road in phalanx, into the Drilled Hoplites in open order.  The Etruscans manage to push them back 1 MU, and cause 1 courage loss.   

After this charge, the Greeks try to take over, but fail.  The Etruscan Psiloi and Axemen move up to support their hoplites.  The Etruscans cede control to the Greeks.  

The Greeks start by Rallying their archers with an Arete point.  They then use their last Arete point to skirmish their Psiloi into the field to flank the Elite Hoplites.  The rest of the army holds its position in the temple or at the edge.  

Turn 5: 
The Etruscans bid 2 and the Greeks bid 0.  

The Etruscans begin by launching their attack on the temple!  The Militia Hoplites charge in and barely make contact over the rough terrain.  They are supported by their Psiloi, while the Greeks are supported by their archers.  The fighting is inconclusive as both sides lose a Courage point. 

The Axemen try to charge through the fields to get to grips with the Psiloi, but the terrain is difficult and they fall short.  They are disordered!  

The Elite Hoplites move up towards the Drilled Hoplites, enough to protect the flank of the Militia trying to storm the temple.  With no more Etruscan movement available, the Drilled Hoplites charge the Elite Hoplites, but the Etruscans use their last Arete Point and counter-charge.  The Greeks are met with a hail of javelins as they close the distance due to the Etruscan "Disruption" rules.  The Etruscan Elite unit does its job and smashes the Greeks back with 3 courage loss, to losing 1 of their own! 

The Militia and Drilled Hoplites on the opposite flank of the board continue to grind on each other, the Etruscan farmers pushing the Hoplites back 2 MU and grinding up another point of Courage.  

Turn 6- Final Turn
Both sides have 5 Arete points.  The Greeks bid 1 to the Etruscan 0.  The Greeks go first.

After baiting the Axemen into the fields, the Psiloi use their improved maneuverability to charge into the flank of the Etruscan Elite vs. Drilled Hoplite battle.  The Axemen are too far out of position to catch up to them!  

The Greeks decide to start the melee on that flank.  Despite the clever Psiloi flank attack, it is not enough.  The Etruscans are reduce to 2 Courage, and pass their wavering test.  The Greeks are pushed back and begin to waver.  They have 1 Courage left! 

On the opposite side of the temple, the Etruscan Militia continues to push back the Greek hoplites.  However, they stay firm, with no sign of fleeing.  They are down to 2 Courage.  

The final battle is in the temple itself between the Greek Militia unit and the Etruscan Militia unit, both supported by other troops.  The Etruscans push their way into the temple and the fighting gets more intense.  The Militia Hoplites lose 1 Courage and are pushed back 3 MU, but it is not enough to rout them! 

Once in the temple, the Etruscan commanders is spooked by a sign from the gods!  He sees an owl wrestling with and killing a snake at the peak of the temple.  Such portents can only bode ill!  He orders his men to withdraw or risk facing the wrath of the gods!  

As the Etruscan troops fall back, the struggling Greeks give a ragged cheer!  The Etruscan advance on Aila has been checked.  There might still be hope to save their homes and farms after all!  

Well, as the Etruscan commander, I spent far too much time setting up my attack and not enough time executing it!  Another one or two turns and I would have been hosting a victory feast in the temple!  The Greeks were on the back foot.  However, time was of the essence and I let it slip away. 

I got the match-ups I wanted, but my opponent cleverly used their Psiloi to distract and hinder my advance.  They were a potential flanking force in being that could have scattered by best troops.  By the time I re-shuffled my battle line I had wasted 2 turns when I should have been attacking the temple itself.   

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