|Crassus' Romans deployed in a hollow square|
|Right flank of the Parthian army|
|Left flank with camel train and an endless supply of arrows|
|Parthian horse archers advance|
|Cataphracts and camel train watch the horse archers|
Last Sunday Garry and I met at the Vikings Club to play a Hail Caesar refight of the Battle of Carrhae (53 BC). Garry was Surena, the Parthian commander, while I was Crassus, about to lead seven legions into one of the worst Roman military disasters of all time! Here are some photos of the game which mainly consisted, of shooting for the Parthian horse archers and, taking break tests for ranged fire, for the Romans…
The Romans attempted to advance and engage the cataphracts but were hampered by poor leadership and repeatedly failed to move. Crassus was rated only 7 compared to the normal 8, while Surena was rated 9. Meanwhile the Parthian cataphracts carefully manoeuvred around the table, avoiding contact with the frustrated legions. We didn't realise until later in the game that shaken troops deduct excess casualties from shooting from their dice score for break tests which means that it tends to get ugly, very quickly once you are shaken. In the actual battle Surena ensured the Parthian horse archers had a massive resupply of arrows from the camel train. In game terms this meant all fourteen units of horse archers were marksmen and had a single reroll for failed shooting each turn.
We played many turns and in the end, neither side was broken but things were starting to unravel rapidly for the Romans. It was definitely a victory for the Parthians, the Romans had lost a legionary unit, the Gallic cavalry, Syrian light cavalry and nearly all of their light infantry. The only Parthian losses were two units of horse archers. The cataphracts had spent the entire game polishing the dust of their armour and reapplying their eye liner along the edges of the table! Although it was a frustrating game from the Roman perspective, it was good to fight the battle, get an historical result and give my Parthians a run, while gaining a better understanding of the ranged fire rules. Thanks to Garry for the game.
|Action on the Roman left flank|
|Roman right flank|
|View of Parthian army from the Roman left flank|
|Surena exhorts his troops|
|Parthian catphracts who never saw action the entire game|
|More cataphracts skulking in a corner & polishing their armour|
|Crassus' legions face the storm of arrows|