Wednesday, 13 July 2016

Project Rome – historical match up – the Iberian

The next series of 12 element test games have Rome meeting each of the Spanish armies of the II/39 list; the Iberian, the Lusitanian and the Celtiberian. Among the Spanish, the Iberian is the only army to have arable terrain while the others enjoy the Spanish hills. This may mean the use of seldom seen terrain features such as fields, rivers, and enclosures in place of the usual difficult hill and wood.

During the Hispanic campaign game posted earlier here, Rome has never fought the Spanish with an even number of elements, so this will be an opportunity to demonstrate their true worth. The first games in each series Rome use the basic DBA list and subsequent games may see the use of an allied contingent.

II/33 Polybian
2 x Cv (including general), 2 x hastati (4Bd), 2 x principes (4Bd), 2 x triarii (Sp), 2 x velites (Ps), 2 x Latin auxiliaries (4Ax).
II/39a Iberian
1 x general (Cv), 1 x light horse (LH), 6 x scutarii (3Ax), 4 x caetrati (Ps).  

Test game one
With arable ground as home terrain for both sides, the Iberians positioned a BUA, a gentle hill and two scrub areas. Iberia deployed first and anchored on the BUA extended her forces in a long line holding little back in reserve. Rome deployed her heavy infantry along the crest of the gentle hill with auxilia and velites forming on the flanks; only the cavalry were held in reserve.

Determined to make short work of the battle, Roman infantry moved straight toward the Iberian line. Both flanks were covered by skirmishers and auxilia and if needed, the cavalry would support their efforts.

Despite the loss of cavalry and velites, Rome methodically ground the Iberian into submission, 4 – 3 for Rome.

Test game two
With the terrain slightly altered, the Iberian had the advantage of the hill and gave possession of the farmstead over to the Roman side. Rome made to alteration to her deployment as it served well during the previous game.

As the lines slowly closed on one another, the Iberians were hesitant to leave their hill position, Rome gambled and moved the Equites to the left side intent on helping the velites and auxilia roll up the Iberian right flank.

Roman auxilia and velites were able to take out several skirmish units and added to the slaughter the legion was creating brought the game to a quick end, 4 – 1 for Rome.

Test game three
This time scrub and gentle hill were space further apart such that Rome could take advantage of only one terrain feature; Rome deployed with her right resting on the hill leaving the scrub area as a position from which to attack from.

The main Iberian line moved slowly forward so as to give the LH and skirmishers time to position themselves on the Roman left flank. The maneuver did have the desired effect and both sides were trading deadly blows. By turn five, the game was even 3 – 3 and both sides were feeling exhausted.

Rome had deftly neutralized the Iberian flank attack but this meant the reserve troops were could not be used elsewhere. Luckily, the heavy infantry were able to beat back the Iberian assaults and managed to maintain a steady line. The score still held at even, Rome’s next pip score was 1. The general with the reserve cavalry right wheeled and charged a lone Iberian skirmisher; Iberian skirmishers have been known to send enemy cavalry recoiling back, but this was not one of those times, 4 – 3 for Rome.

In two of the three matches, Iberia performed well enough to have Rome gasping for air. Cavalry (general) attacking Roman blade can help turn the tide, so he must not be positioned too far back behind the battle line. The Iberians were 4Ax which they held their ground on even combat results unlike their lighter 3Ax cousins.
Having won all three games, Rome did not feel compelled to use an allied contingent.

Next; the Lusitanian


  1. Great looking terrain and armies, as always.

  2. Great post. It inspires me to do some more DBA and possibly move to DBA 3.0

  3. Kieth,

    Thanks for the kind words.
    The last tests against the Celtiberian will have more green.

  4. Sun of York,

    Glad you like them. I have more test games planned and all use the standard size army of 12 elements.

    The Lusitanian and Celtiberian will be posted this week, Gauls hopefully next week and to finish the series, Carthage.