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Ancient Warfare: Chronicles of Lucius III  -by Paul Bruffell


Moving through varied Terrain

Lucius became aware he was the only remaining Centurion in the tent. He followed his patron’s stare and looked at the parchment Scipio was unfolding on the table. Looking intently Lucius recognised the military symbols of the Roman army and followed the arrows representing troop movement.

Scipio turned to his Centurion with an expression of exasperation.

"As you can see, Lucius, chaos, utter chaos! This diagram shows what happened this morning when I sent two maniples (four centuries) into the rough terrain for manoeuvres."

(Before)

(After)

"I watched it all unfold from this hill top’ Scipio said stabbing at a mound pencilled on to the parchment. ‘I need you to sort this rabble out" he declared.

Lucius took up the order. ‘It will be done" and gave the Roman sign of honour.

Quickly leaving the tent before he was given further tasks, Lucius sought out the smaller tents of the four new Centurions.

15 minutes later they were crowded into Lucius’s small tent, each looking apprehensive and wishing the punishment would be on another. They all knew the shambles that had taken place that morning and knew why they had been instructed to meet here. So, it came as some surprise when Lucius began:

"Your Tribune, Scipio, has asked me to explain the finer points of co-ordinating your men". Relief immediately showed on all their faces.

"Do not expect to be given another chance, fail in battle tomorrow and the enemy will spill your blood as effectively as Paltanius, here, spills his wine". The tension broke and all laughed. Now that Lucius had their attention and their concentration he went over the technique of a co-ordinated front.

"You see here (pointing at the diagram below) when you are given a group command, all centuries will attempt to move forward in the same direction".

"But, if one of the units encounters rough terrain they would be slowed down. In an attempt to keep up with the rest, they tend to go round the rocks. This can defeat the tactics intended by our Tribune. If your unit looks as if it will encounter different terrain before the move is finished …."

Lucius scribbled on the parchment and explained as the four newly promoted Centurions listened carefully.

Latin is not my native tongue, dear reader, so let me use the game terminology to go over Lucius’ explanation –

If your unit looks as if it will encounter different terrain before the move is finished …. then click on the unit and look where the red arrows run. If they do not meet the desired direction or likely to cross the path of another unit and get held up due to possible over-stacking, go to the toolbar and erase the command for that specific unit. Now issue a separate (non-group) command to the unit, if necessary specifying every specific hex you want the unit to go over. The rest of the group can be left with the original group order. The result could be as below.

If you discover that the unit can not move the required number of hexes to keep in line with the rest, you may accept the position below or do a ‘Group Command Erase’ and re-assign the group to do fewer hexes, say two instead of the three shown. The problem unit would then move over the rough terrain (again only if specified as a hex the unit must move in to) and keep up with the Line.

The temperature had already dropped outside and a cold breeze blew in when the Centurions left. Lucius mumbled a quick prayer to Mars, god of war, and thought of the coming battle. He knew tomorrow would turn boys in to men or leave them dead on the field of battle. Lucius spoke the words his Legion had recited for many decades ‘Mars favours the brave’ and turned in for the night. His dreams went over the frustrations expressed by these new Centurions:

"Why do my men never do what I want them too ?!"

He only hoped that today’s explanation helped them appreciate that in the heat of battle little goes according to plan and clear precise instructions are sometimes required even for the best army the world has ever seen.

 


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TJD's Gladius Blog

Ancient Warfare Series

 

 

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