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Late, late Romans

There’s a special feeling to be had when you finally complete a wargames army. You have done the research, smuggled the books past the wife, poured over the websites and finally prepared the miniature army. After a few false starts, like ordering far too many cataphracts through not looking at the L’art de la Guerre erratum, it was finished, an army complete. Only six months past my deadline but it was to have its first proper test, Richard B.S.. Only the barbarian infantry was missing, struggling to get out of the basing stage. But, only a purist would be able to spot the difference between a fourth century barbarian and a Greek hoplite?

Richard brought his unmistakeable 1950s Early Persians. Two commands of bow armed cavalry with a third command of elite and regular mixed formation archers. I went for a command of auxilia and cataphracts, a barbarian infantry command ( impetuous heavy swordsmen) and a third command of bow armed cavalry. Sassanids are not top of the “must have” army for competition players for no reason. The ability to move quickly, shoot and evade means that bow armed cavalry is a necessity.

Richard only had one terrain piece in the centre. It was an obvious spot for his archer/spear infantry. My auxilia were tasked with securing the rough ground. My heavy horse were more than a match for Richard’s right wing, or so I thought. My barbarian foot would have to skulk around, looking menacing on the baseline to avoid being rolled up. But they did have archer and cataphracts supports.


The assault in the centre went quite well. The Persian foot gave way but trouble was looming on their flanks. The deeper my auxilia went in, the more archery they received from Persian horsemen on either flank. On my left it was time for my brave Equites to eliminate this threat.

L’art de la Guerre is great at recreating cavalry battles. You really can imagine the swirling melee. Due to the constricted nature of the area, the fighting would ultimately be inconclusive. It was on my right that the wily Persian was beavering away…..

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The barbarians had no response to the fast moving bowmen. The impetuous foot should have charged but to my shame I held them together like so many pincushions. My light horse were surrounded and even my cataphracts,  the pride of my army, were caught up in the log jam.


Yet another victory to Richard! I was pleased with my choice of army though. I intend to increase the number of auxilia, if you are going to fight for terrain, I think you need overwhelming odds. The cataphracts need to be elite or else you are in danger of spoiling the ship………….should I replace the barbarian foot with legionaries? Your ideas are most welcome?

Victory to the curse of the battlefield, “shooty cavalry!”If you would like to see the whole army, go to the Pages on the left hand menu,  L’art de la Guerre Late Roman army.

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