Caesars Revenge!

By Philippe Thibaut 23 Oct 2013 0

This scenario is a hypothetical situation which simulates the campaign that Caesar had planned against the Parthians before his assassination during the Ides of March 44 BC. Roman forces are positioned or arriving in the East, Caesar himself at Byzantium (he has just completed his planned campaign against the Dacians). 

Intro

Caesar's strategy to crush the Parthian is based on a long study of his future opponent's art of war. He learnt a lot from Crassus' defeat and has decided to focus on getting Rome the tools required for fighting this enemy, in particular archers and cavalry. Similarly, the importance of logistics and local diplomacy has not escaped to the master of Rome, arts that he excels in.

I know Rome will be receiving events in the coming months that will give more reinforcements in archers, cavalry and allies, as well as more of those units to build. I am planning to develop my war machine to match my opponents? while still building up on the power of the Legions to give the decisive blow.

 

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Where to go is thus critical. My strategy is to follow the ideas of Caesar: move the main army and its legions through the north-eastern part of Mesopotamia, where hills and mountains can handicap the mounted forces of my opponent, and supply is easier than in the steppes. I can also receive support from Armenia when they enter the war.

But at the same time I need to threaten and fix the Parthians along the main rivers, especially the southern one. So I plan to capture Apamea quickly, which will give me the possibility to build a river fleet to support a Mesopotamian campaign with a force where I can put most of my cavalry to match the Parthians.

 

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We are also aware (and regularly informed) that there are poor weather conditions (or sometimes epidemics or mosquitoes) striking southern Mesopotamia: we had better be prudent, those heat waves and similar issues may cripple forces down there.

 

Turn 1

I first start to put all my allies at Samosata, Melitene and Jerusalem inside cities, as I know the Parthians can make swift raids and take them out in the open. Better keep them alive till Caesar arrives.

I shall play some subversion at Nisibis to upset the Parthians. Caesar will move all the way down to Zeugma where he is expected in 2 months time. Prince Bogud will move to Antioch with his Numidian horsemen. Let?s use the time to build a few troops locally.

 

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The turn execution shows that my fears were justified as a huge Parthian force has jumped onto Samosata: if my allies had stayed outside the city they would have been wiped out. Parthian allies are also besieging Zeugma, Caesar?s current destination.

 

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Turn 2

I make sure Caesar?s forces rushe to relieve Zeugma and catch the Adiabeneans there by surprise. I shall order Dolabella?s forces (my second Roman main force) down from Antioch to Laodicea to collect reinforcements (the forces that have sailed from Smyrna are supposed to land there safely) and start moving south toward the Euphrates

 

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The Gods of War are with Rome: the battles are all victorious, and the Adiabeneans at Zeugma were all but annihilated by Caesar?s surprise appearance on the battlefield. However, the subversion of Nisibis failed. Let?s keep political warfare for later, during the bad season. Our building strategy will continue, focusing on archers, as they take longer to train.

 

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In the meantime it?s politics as usual back in Rome (the game has some positive events, but there might be also intrigues, which impact negatively the Roman morale).

 

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Turn 3

Dolabella?s move caught the Rhambae Arab allies of the Parthians in the open, and they were crushed. Their village is seized and we shall soon garrison and reinforce it (e.g. by building of walls via a decision card).

 

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The fleet at Laodicea is sent to Byzantium, as I expect some reinforcements from the rest of the Roman world to reach at the start of next month. Caesar will cross the Euphrates to Apamea which should be seized, and turn into a shipyard for our future river fleet.

Good news, Caesar?s wealth is active and more funds are available!

 

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Turn 4

I shall use the opportunity to sell some of the prisoners taken last turn, which will also help our finances and building strategy.

 

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The main fleet has been delayed, so the Byzantium forces will have to wait one more month. No need to have them travelling through dangerous lands in the winter.

I have kept on the Syrian coastline all those units which are ?Amphibious? trained: my plan is to send them to Apamea later (if the assault I just ordered with Caesar is successful), to board the river fleet once built, and be able to support the land forces (blockade of cities) or do raids.

My allied Arabic horsemen and mounted archers will move towards Palmyra ready to create the cavalry reaction force that I intend to build in the centre of theatre in order to counter or catch future Parthian raids.

Some leaders (Vetus, Turius) are sent back from the main forces to pick up the reinforcements expected to land as well as the new builds.

 

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My last (but not least) important decision is to offer concessions to my ?mistress? Cleopatra: Roman politicians will be upset and agitated (NM et VP loss) but the gains for the campaign (legions release) are worth it.

 

Turn 5

Cleopatra now feels confident in my future, and the Roman legions in Egypt have been released. The Pelusium force will move to Gaza (to watch the Nabateans that could become Parthian allies) and the Alexandria legions will go to Pelusium to be met by the Antioch fleet later for further transportation to Syria (I try to make use of naval transport as much as possible as it is faster and less exhausting than land moves). The reinforcements in Byzantium are loaded upon the fleet that has just arrived, and ordered to Antioch.

The Parthians seem to be wary of all my moves and raise the siege of Samosata, falling back to Edessa. To disturb them, I shall play 4 subversion decisions in their region of Osroene ?

The siege of Dura Europos is just going nowhere. Dolabella being constantly unactivated and failing to take the opportunity of the breach made in the walls: as a consequence I order a special column led by Patisius, with one legion and auxiliaries, to detach from the main force and assault (red orders) the city.

 

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Our Praetor in Jerusalem also informs us that our allies there are now ready to support us ? but let?s wait a moment before calling on them; there is no pressing need now.

 

Turn 6

Patisius succeeded in Dura: the city fell, but the walls were destroyed in the process: we are playing a Walls decision to have them rebuilt. I am playing more decisions to improve my loyalties and development (Public Works in Zeugma) or pacify the just conquered Rhambae Arabs near Dura.

Lucius Conficius and his ?amphibious? units arrive in Apamea from Laodicea, and I will order one more river fleet there (but not now, loyalty is not high enough and thus construction is not allowed). Caesar decides to try to go after the main Parthian force at Edessa, and orders all Roman armies to gather there with him ?

 

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It is also time to put pressure on the Armenians: I don?t plan to go through them quickly, but the move will probably upset Parthian strategy.

 

Turn 7

Armenia can now be entered. The Parthians stay quiet there, but I noticed they called on their vassals near the area just in case. Their main force moves from Edessa to Zenodotia, escaping Caesar.

Seeing that, siege is laid, but the city is string (walls level 2) and it could take ages, while our supplies dwindle: Caesar informs the defenders that if they open the gates, the city will be spared (in game terms we decide to play one ?Surrender? decision there). At the same time orders are given to reorganize the local government at Apamea (?Reforms? decision played): the idea is that with increased loyalty, we can finally make some river fleet and garrison constructions there.

 

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As our treasury is full, we lavishly supply our allies with Roman gold and order them to raise more troops, especially in Judea and Armenia.

 

Turn 8

Caesar?s magnanimity is renowned: Edessa surrenders to us! We will use the respite to reorganize our forces: Consul Vatia will leave the main forces with 2 legions plus the Galatian contingent of Prince Kastor and move towards Tigranocerta in the East.

The Melitene contingent of prince Antiochos will keep a watchful eye inside Edessa (but we command the mountain-capable foot archers to stay with us), and the rest of the army will rush down to Carrhae, then Zenodotia, in an attempt to catch the King of Kings before he evades us once more with his main body ?

Similarly, Dolabella will be ordered north across the Euphrates, to assault in a surprise attack the enemy at Phaliga.

Heavy cavalry mercenaries ordered some time ago by Caesar are arriving in the Pontus Euxinus ports (Byzantium and Trapezus): let?s order them down south (they will ride faster than waiting for boats this time). A Cappadocian phalanx levied early on is now ready and ordered south for future garrison duty in the conquered provinces (and some more garrisons are also ordered locally).

 

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Orders are then issued ?

 

Turn 9

The Parthians surprised us by launching a raid along the Euphrates towards the coast: all regions there are pillaged which will not help our supply situation, especially with the summer months approaching. We shall probably now avoid attacking our operations till fall ?

Caesar?s strategic gambit paid off: on its way down to catch the Parthian king, a small force at Carrhae is crushed and the city captured in the ensuing assault. Crassus? fateful battlefield is Roman again, and Caesar will make surely good use of it (in game terms, another major propaganda campaign option is now available, plus the immediate gain in morale).

 

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Continuing on these success the main enemy force is caught nearby Zenodotia, and Caesar?s mix of troops (cavalry and archers) prevents the opponents withdrawing and quite a few Parthians are butchered by Legionaries eager to avenge Crassus? memory. Roman honour is restored again, the Parthians flee in disorder ?and to add insult to injury Zenodotia falls in the rush assault that follows. Caesar?s speed and talent has struck again?

 

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The great field victory at Zenodotia?           

 

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 ? is followed by the fall of the city!

And for once Dolabella took Fortuna in his hands (he was activated this turn). His assault on Phaliga is a great victory too. Our enemies now have no cities to shelter and resupply them in the north, and will be forced to retreat to the south-centre of Mesopotamia surely suffering from the upcoming August heat.

 

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A vexillatio from Africa also arrived in Laodicea; I order them northwest to meet with Caesar later, while the Legions of Alexandria, fresh from landing there, will try to catch the Parthians raiding nearby. As a precaution Arab allied horsemen from Emesus will attempt interception too.

I am also ordering back the main bodies from Dura as the desert region is pillaged and supply there catastrophic. For similar reasons I?ll ask Dolabella to shelter in Phaliga and rebuild his supplies, while Caesar himself will rush northeast to the succour of the hills and countryside around Nisibis?

More garrisons are constructed to ensure all cities will be properly defended until the next offensive.

To be continued on the following page ?

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