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"Mutina 72 BC (Spartacus v. Longinus)" Topic

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MichaelCollinsHimself26 Apr 2017 9:21 a.m. PST

Today I`ve been setting up my solo Spartacus game. I had already diced for Longinus to set the terrain up – the Romans are defending.
I`m using my new ancient rules Bella Contra Barbaros.

Here`s the introduction to the battle of Mutina from the scenario booklet…

"Marching into the Po valley, Spartacus` slave army had grown to about 40-70,000. At the start of the Revolt several thousand runaway slaves led by about 70 gladiators had defeated the hastily raised militias of the praetorians.
Now, and even more surprising to the Romans, was the defeat of the two consular armies in quick succession; these being the armies of Cnaeus Cornelius Lentulus Clodianus and Lucius Gellius Publicola whose plan it had been to trap and destroy Spartacus and his rebel slave army.
Spartacus and his army were on a high; they were elated by his recent victories. Barry Strauss in his book Spartacus War likens their mood to the Japanese notion of "victory disease"; they now faced the Governor of Cisalpine Gaul, Gaius Cassius Longinus and his legions…
Plutarch says:
"Just as Spartacus was driving for the Alps, however Cassius [Longinus], the governor of Cisalpine Gaul, who had many thousands of soldiers under his command, blocked his way."

I'm assuming that the battle took place on the Via Aemilia outside Mutina (modern Modena).
Longinus might possibly have formed up behind the Panaro River (then called the Scultenna). But this obstacle may have been easy for the rebels to ford and Longinus's army would have been over-powered if assaulted by Spartacus` greater numbers.
In this position Longinus's army may have been easily outflanked, but it seems that he was quite unafraid of meeting the slaves in open battle; perhaps a little too confident?"
The rules are at:

Terrain placement and deployment of Roman forces completed…
Optimistic about the outcome of battle with mere slaves, yet conscious of the ground he needs to cover and of exposing his flanks, Longinus has opted for a simplex acies battle array. The army is deployed astride the Via Aemilia blocking Spartacus` march north-west. The Roman commander`s flanks are supported by 3,000 Ligurian allies plus 500 cavalry placed on his right.

The Roman deployemnt…


Spartacus has a larger cavalry force and out-scouting his opponent therefore, he gets to see the Roman deployment first. The river Scultenna is fordable at the road, but is crossable everywhere else at a half-move deduction.

Spartacus` reconnaissance of the battlefield shows that Longinus had chosen a good point to block his way; the Govenor of Cisalpine Gaul has very carefully protected both flanks of his army; his allied warbands are positioned behind disordering terrain – woods and scrub lining the River Scultenna.

The Roman left flank (and the garage door) as viewed from the light infantry`s positions…


The Roman right flank…


Between these points however his army is arrayed in simplex acies – a thin line without reserves.

On the opposite side of the river, on Spartacus` left, his cavalry mass to attack the Roman allied horse.


Two large rebel infantry commands wait to attack the Roman line and on the opposite wing, light missile infantry will pin the Roman left. The weight of the rebels assault will be on the Roman right/centre.

The Roman left where Spartacus intends to annoy the Romans with long-range missile fire…


Swampking27 Apr 2017 10:53 a.m. PST

Looks like a really fun game!

Keep us informed as to how it plays out.

MichaelCollinsHimself27 Apr 2017 11:52 a.m. PST

My pleasure JJ…

Thanks John, I`ll recommence on Saturday – stay tuned !

MichaelCollinsHimself29 Apr 2017 3:30 a.m. PST

Battle of Mutina (72 BC).

Spartacus gives the signal and the whole rebel slave army advances as one to cross the river.
The Ligurian Roman allies seem nervous.


Longinus looks puzzled: "Primus Pilus, is that Spartacus on his horse riding out ahead of his men?… Well, the impertinence of this slave!"


"Look, he`s joined the infantry now… and the enemy cavalry approaching!"


Spartacus` selected missile troops (slingers and bows) advance to the River Scultenna`s edge to engage the Roman left…


And the shooting: a hit on the legion`s artillery and a disordered cohort!


There `s some disorder on Spartacus`s warbands and hordes as they cross hedges, scrub and wade across the river.


On the right of Spartacus`s army, Longinus` defensive deployment seems to be working; as they advance more of the slaves are disordered by the river crossing.


Spartacus needs the assault on the Roman right to win the battle for him! The rebel cavalry advance across the stream in good order and charge the Roman allied horse… and the fight begins!


MichaelCollinsHimself29 Apr 2017 6:11 a.m. PST

Battle of Mutina (72 BC) Part 2.

This battle is very much in the balance. Longinus` deployment was a very good one indeed. Posting his battleline a little way back from the River Scultenna he has used the natural terrain to good effect. He has also secured his flanks behind some more potentially disordering terrain of woodlands and the scrub-lined banks of the river.

But, to the cavalry fight on the Roman right. Achieving impetus after crossing the river, Spartacus`s horsemen are finding it difficult to gain a significant advantage against the Ligurian cavalry.


Dice rolls are show in the photo above: The blue dice to the left of the rebel cavalry; a six, is a successful impetus die roll, immediately to the right of the bases are the combat die rolls giving a net score of points shown on the dice to the far right 2:1 to the rebels = one disorder…

The Ligurians are disordered in the fight, maybe it`s a matter of time before they are beaten and the Roman flank is exposed, but then maybe these Ligurians could rally to become the unsung heroes in Longinus`s victory?


Spartacus` division charges the Romans but after wading across the river there`s still disorder amongst the warbands and supporting hordes..


The disorder is worse on the slave rebel right as they charge in….


Meanwhile on the Roman left, the missile troops are causing problems to the scorpion artillery crewmen casualties have been taken to the rear and are being treated!


The first turn of fighting between the warbands and legionaries: Most of the Roman cohorts have successfully adopted close order to receive the rebel charges (shield markers), but some are caught and more than half of the warbands have gained impetus in charging them.


Two points in the Roman battleline look vulnerable; Spartacus` own troops have inflicted two disorders on the legion`s second cohort and the third is disordered too…


Also the interval between the first and second legions looks unsteady with cohorts disordered…


MichaelCollinsHimself30 Apr 2017 4:03 a.m. PST

Battle of Mutina (72 BC) Part 3.

Ligurian cavalry holding on desperately on Longinus` right wing. Part of Spartacus` infantry break, but the command`s morale holds…


On Spartacus` right the fight is also quite desperate; still in close order, unable to open up and under heavy pressure, the 10th Cohort of Longinus` 1st legion are shaken…


The view from the other side of the River Scultenna shows large numbers of Spartacus`s rebels fleeing across the river and over the scub-line banks…


Finally the Ligurians give way to the constant pressure and superior numbers of Spartacus` cavalry!


There is a pursuit and the supporting cavalry attack the nearest enemy troops…


…and with almost predictable results the Ligurian infantry are routed…


At last, the break-through – the 10th cohort is broken (yellow marker)!
But two infantry bodies in Spartacus` right division are routed… Their morale still holds and the fight continues,…


…but Spartacus needs some better results in his part of the battlefield. Unfortunately for him, his cavalry will take some time to rally from their pursuit of the Ligurians…

MichaelCollinsHimself30 Apr 2017 6:20 a.m. PST

The Battle of Mutina Part 4 (Or, "I`m not Spartacus!")

A disaster !
Just as his cavalry break the Roman allied cavalry, Spartacus` infantry are routed!


On the Roman centre/left however, the 10th cohort is routed and pursued and supporting warbands swing in to flank the 1st cohort of the second legion.


The rebel right continues to fight, destroying the 1st legion`s 10th cohort, but broken up, the morale of the command crumbles and…. they too rout – Longinus has held his position!


At least there are no pursuing cavalry to exploit the rout, and Spartacus has the chance to rally his army and try again!


For Gaius Cassius Longinus Varus: A triumph! (against slaves)…

Bella Contra Barbaros Rules:

MichaelCollinsHimself01 May 2017 4:26 a.m. PST

Longinus` deployment turned out to be a very good one indeed, using the advantages of the terrain.

So, what`s next?

Surely Spartacus would not allow his army to become disordered before charging again?
Maybe he`ll try something sneaky this time; perhaps a flank march to gain the initiative.
I`ll be using the game`s stratagem rules as a basis for this.
So, there will be another roll of the dice well, maybe several rolls will be necessary.
I may change the rebel army base scale so that their forces may be divided between pinning and flanking commands.

If this stratagem fails then the assault will have to be made frontally again, but there may be some variation in the battle plan.

MichaelCollinsHimself05 May 2017 11:25 a.m. PST

The second Battle of Mutina (72 BC).

In yesterday`s battle, the rebel army had failed against the Roman`s two legions commanded by Longinus.
Somewhat surprised by the defensive cautiousness of the Roman Govenor of Cisalpine Gaul, Spartacus retired to his tent but found it difficult to concentrate; he considered a strategic manoeuvre around his opponent`s left flank always a good move against a Roman army, but perhaps he got distracted by Mrs. Spartacus? Well, the die roll to allow him a stratagem (a flank march) failed, but even Spartacus will fail on a die roll of "1" !
Not so encouraging for rebels everywhere, but the earliest reports from his scouts told him that Longinus` allies (the Ligurians) had fled during the night. Longinus`s flanks were going to be left bare. This good news was welcome, but on inspecting the Roman deployment this morning, Sparatcus noted that although Longinus had pulled back and established his line another 180 paces further back from the river, he had anchored his flanks on a villa in the north and a farmstead in the south and on these flanks were Roman troops in light order; with their pila but no shields. This will take some careful planning. Longinus had used terrain features available to his advantage. Now though, with an even greater cavalry superiority, surely a mounted flank attack was called for and perhaps this should supported by some infantry?
Two photos show the Roman battle line from the flanks….



The battle will be played this weekend.

MichaelCollinsHimself07 May 2017 4:47 a.m. PST

The Second Battle of Mutina (72 BC).
Spartacus` battle plan…

On the given signal the rebel`s missile troops will advance to engage the Roman left. Behind the slingers and archers will follow the right wing of the army to attack the Roman line; the left wing will remain in position and only advance once the right wing has engaged.


Meanwhile, Spartacus with the cavalry will advance on the flank through the woods, over the river Scultenna with its scrub-lined banks and manoeuvre around the farmstead to fall upon the Roman rear.


MichaelCollinsHimself09 May 2017 6:52 a.m. PST

The Second Battle of Mutina (72 BC).

The signal given and the rebel skirmishers lead the main assault, crossing the river they shoot upon the Roman lines and their light flank guards.
Early on in the advance, the Roman Scorpion artillery causes some casualties, but the enemy`s light troops move forward.


Approaching to within close range their fire becomes more effective, but the Roman heavy infantry maintain their discipline and rally from the effects of the rebel missile fire.


Meantime, Spartacus leads his cavalry around the left flank of the Roman army. Seen emerging from the woodlands in the photo above

Advancing slowly and with some menace, the right wing of the slave army manages to cross the river in fairly good order.


They crash into contact with Longinius` second legion with some impetus as the Romans attempt to close up to receive their charge.
(The blue dice in the photo below show their impetus die rolls)


Grand Manoeuvre Ancients Rules, Bella Contra Barbaros are at:

MichaelCollinsHimself10 May 2017 3:18 a.m. PST

The Second Battle of Mutina (72 BC)…

The rebel right assaults and disorders parts of Longinus` second legion – not all of the Roman cohorts attacked have managed to go to close order to repel the charge!


Following their instructions, Spartacus` left division now moves forward.


The displaced missile infantry move across to harass the unengaged Romans and to cover the rebel`s advance. Casualties are taken on the skirmishers but the Roman artilliery is put out of action and will need to be re-crewed.

Spartacus at the head of his cavalry, charge in to the rear of the Roman line and on the Roman`s extreme left, slave warbands charge the villa held by the Roman skirmishers.


Longinus now reacts to the sudden appearance of enemy cavalry by ordering the second legion`s first cohort out of the line to and attack the cavalry… he also sends a messenger to the 1st legion`s 6th cohort to order that the gap in the line is closed to the left in order to face the rebels advancing across the river.


Victory is within the rebel`s grasp now.

MichaelCollinsHimself10 May 2017 7:45 a.m. PST

Second Battle of Mutina (72BC)

The Romans break!

Longinus tries to reform his battleline as the rebel left wing advances…


The 8th cohort of the second legion is routed and is then destroyed.


Spartacus` cavalry and warbands start to roll the Roman`s left flank.


More cohorts of the second legion become shaken by fighting on two fronts. This forces a morale test; a "2" is rolled. Around half the legion routs away, but many are trapped and have no escape.


Some of the warbands pursue the routing legionaries in disorder.


Changing his position, the tribune in command of the right wing of the first legion has resolved to support his comrades and attack the rebels to his left who have just crossed the river.


But will the second legion rally?

MichaelCollinsHimself13 May 2017 5:41 a.m. PST

The Battle of Mutina (72 BC)
Playing to the bitter end. Well, Spartacus` victory conditions for this scenario are to rout both Roman legions.

Longinus hopes that the remnants of second legion will rally; only hope is left, all initiative is with Spartacus and the rebel slaves now.


After routing the second legion and destroying two cohorts that were surrounded, the rebel right wing reforms to renew it`s attack on the Roman centre:


The first legion is holding still in the centre and a spirited flank counter-attack has been made by the legate of the 1st legion. The initiative may have been quite a success if there had not been any missile troops on his unshielded, right flank and had the rebel warbands not passed their morale check and chosen to retire!


Meantime Longinus` centre is being rolled up by the masses of rebels attacking flank and rear; the Roman line does not last long before the pressure causes it to rout.


Longinus decides this is time to leave the battlefield, chased from the field of battle by Spartacus` cavalry, the last of the trapped Legionaries are cut down.


Seeing Longinus` flight from danger, 3 cohorts of the first legion also turn and run at this point; the battle is lost!

The rules used are Bella Contra Barbaros at:

MichaelCollinsHimself13 May 2017 8:34 a.m. PST

So, there it is; the Battle of Mutina, a victory for Sparatcus.

Who knows it may well have gone something like this. I added some Ligurian allies for the first game to even things up a bit in terms of numbers, but the Roman deployment was something masterly (it must have been caused by a combined sugar and caffeine rush it took me by surprise anyhow!).

The losses in the battle were catastrophic for the Romans, of 18 cohorts only 5 escaped; the rest were either pursued or destroyed. And Longinus saved himself before being completely surrounded by the angry mobs of slave rebels – as it turns out a nice little historical result.

I`ll leave you with Plutarch`s description of the battle in: "The Life of Crassus"

"Then as he [Spartacus] was forcing his way towards the Alps, he was met by Cassius, the governor of Cisalpine Gaul, with an army of ten thousand men, and in the battle that ensued, Cassius was defeated, lost many men, and escaped himself with difficulty."

Photo shows the big picture; Longinus escaping across the Scultenna River with Spartacus in pursuit!


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