Impetus Battle Report – The Relief of Qatna

After Palmyra and the surrounding Syrian countryside declared independance from the Roman motherland, General Jasius Maximus sent a sizeable army to the fields surrounding Qatna, a substantial trading center to the west of the city-state. In a short time, the relatively undefended town gave way to Roman occupancy, and the invaders wasted no time erecting make-shift fortifications. Before the accompanying field army had left the area, scouts reported that a Palmyran force lead by the traitorous Syrian general Hurl-Q-Tahr was approaching rapidly. Open battle was imminent.

Chris H. and I have decided to start playing Impetus more regularly. After a learning game with Marc, we threw down 400 points of Roman and Palmyran forces. This time, we tried the rules for occupying and attacking a BUA (built-up area).

The aerial shot below shows the three primary conflict areas during the battle:

#1: Battle for Qatna
#2: Roman Cavalry Assault
#3: Guerilla Warfare in the Forest


This time, I’ve decided to review the left, centre, and flank individually, instead of discussing the battle as a whole chronologically.

#1: Battle for Qatna

The Romans opened the game by successfully occuping the town of Qatna. The Roman infantry advanced through the outlying fields towards the main Palmyran force. Throughout the game, the centre of the field was dominiated by a two-phase battle. Phase one saw Palmyran archers and skirmishers clashing with Roman archers. The Romans came out on top in this engagement, and started a very successful run with their legions. However, when the dust settled, Jasius Maxiumus couldn’t seem to coordinate his legions effectively, and his centre forces were routed as a result.

The Roman Auxilia fortified the town and prepared for the coming assault.


Meanwhile, the Roman infantry line advanced outside the town walls and prepared to unleash an assault of arrows.


Syrian skirmishers advanced under bow fire.


Palmyran troops attempted to use hooks and ladders to scale the walls, but the quickly-erected Roman defenses kept them at bay.


Although they were hard to pin down, the veteran Roman archers dispersed the Syrians and sent them from the field with concentrated bow fire.


The legions took advantage of the cleared field and advanced through the Roman archers. The legions successfully assaulted the Palmyran infantry line.


As the combat wore on, the Roman legions became bogged down, allowing a particularly skilled Palmyran legion to deal with one of the Roman legions…


…and then to wheel and engage the Roman commander. Unfortunately, the worn Roman legion wasn’t up to the challenge. The Roman general and his men fled.

#2: Roman Cavalry Assault

The Romans deployed four units of cavalry on their left flank (Numidians x 2, Equites Alares x 1, Equites Contariorum x 1), with the intention of galloping hard past the forest and launching a surprise assault on the Palmyran flank. As with the main conflict in the centre, this went very well for the Romans early on. However, as the engagement wore on, the Equites Alares and the attached general were routed from the field by a Palmyran legion.

The Roman cavalry raced up the flank.


The Numidians dispersed one unit of Auxilia before the Palmyran flank had a chance to react and redress the ranks.


Concentrated javelin fire kept damaging the Palmyran infantry, and more importantly, kept them disordered.


Roman heavy horse took out the light infantry but was worn-down in the process.


When the light infantry was dealt with, the heavy cavalry charged into the Palmyran legion.


The Palmyrans were taking hits, but kept repelling the Roman cavalry. The Equites Alares (with the general) charged the top-most legion. Unfortunately, the unit lost and failed it’s cohesion test so badly, that it was routed. The left flank was now without a leader.

#3: Guerilla Warfare in the Forest

The Romans stationed a legion near the forests along with mercenary skirmishers. Scouts saw cavalry approaching so the Romans prepared a defensive position alongside the town. The Palmyran cavalry arm swept into the gaps between the woods, and although they sent the legion from the field, the balearic slingers assaulted the heavy cavalry all the way through their forest advance. By the battle’s end, the skirmishers had succeeded in inflicting serious casualties on the Palmyran cavalry and had effectively took them out of the battle.

Roman troops awaited the arrival of the traitors.


The cataphracts soon found themselves at a disadvantage in the difficult terrain.


The other two units of Palmyran cavalry started taking hits and were disordered by slingers.


This unit unsuccessfully tried to run down the slingers.


As the battle wore on, the slingers exacted horrible damage on the cataphracts, and eventually annihilated them. Chris attempted to get the other two cavalry units around behind the Roman forces. He kept getting closer, but the slingers continually wore the units down. In terms of final outcome, this was my most successful engagement during the battle.


Aftermath

The Romans had inflicted heavy casualties, however, both Roman generals and their accompanying units were routed from the field. The battle was called in in favour of the Palmyrans, and although Chris never succeeded in re-taking the town, it was assumed that the Roman occupiers fled the town along with the rest of the Roman army.

It was another great game of Impetus, but as Marc pointed out, it went on a tad long. I can only assume that because we aren’t playing regularly, there are certain small and exceptional rules that have to be consulted as the game progresses, and this intermittent referencing of the rules slowed things down. Throw in the laxy-daisy chit chat, and I’m sure we increased the game length by close to an hour.

In any event, Chris H. and I have committed to playing Impetus more regularly. As one of my favourite games, this suits me fine, and I look forward to progressing with our 10mm and 15mm Impetus projects.

Thanks for reading,
JET

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