Sunday, September 9, 2012

Pics of the start of my Roman, "Hail Caesar" Project

Nothing much to Report at the moment.
Dug my Romans out and took some pics of the boxes for my Early Empire Romans.
Photobucket Photobucket Photobucket Photobucket
So I will just start working on them until Hail Caesar arrives in the mail.

Friday, August 31, 2012

Roman Auxiliaries

I stole this form the Warlord games site, its a quick write up by Dr Phil Hendry, about the importance of the Roman Auxiliaries.
And here is the link if any one wants to check it out them self's, there is a section I omitted showing unit structure and strength.
The aim of this article is to show that Auxilia are much better troops than most wargamers believe them to be. We will examine the reasons wargamers have for believing that they are so inferior, and examine the reality, as far as we know it, of the Auxilia – their nature, the structure of their units, and why wargamers need them.
There are a number of misconceptions regarding the nature and employment of the Auxilia. These include:
(i) the inferiority of the auxilia, in both training and equipment, when compared to the legions;
(ii) that the legions were heavy infantry, whilst the auxilia provided only light troops;
(iii) that the main battle-line was the preserve, exclusively, of the legions, being supported on the flanks by the light troops of the auxilia (this would make sense if (ii) above were true – however, as we shall see, it is not);
(iv) auxilia were only support troops, incapable of mounting independent operations themselves, only ever helping the legions;
(v) the auxilia were border troops, manning frontier forts, whilst the legions provided a ‘strategic reserve’, being based well back from the frontier, and only intervening in the event of a major invasion which the auxilia could not repel unaided.
Most of these misconceptions stem from a too-literal reading of ‘De Re Militari’ (also known as ‘Epitoma rei militaris’) by Publius Flavius Vegetius Renatus (hereafter referred to as ‘Vegetius’). The author of this work wrote sometime after the death of the Emperor Gratian (383AD). It seems likely to have been written in the reign of the Emperor Theodosius I, who reigned from 379 to 395.
Vegetius is the only ‘manual’ of the Roman military to have survived ‘intact’. However, we should note that, firstly, Vegetius himself had no military experience whatsoever, and secondly, that his work is a carelessly constructed compilation of material from a vast range of sources and periods, all jumbled together. As such, it is very hard to ‘unscramble’ it enough to make sense of it, and to decide which parts are relevant to which era.
Let us take each of the misconceptions in turn, and see what we make of them.
(i) The only evidence we have for the auxilia being inferior, stems from: (a) comments in Vegetius – (written much later than our period, and containing all sorts of concepts, from all sorts of periods, all mixed up, making it frustratingly difficult to interpret), in which he says that young men preferred to join the auxilia in order to escape the harsher discipline and training of the legions; (b) from the reliefs of Trajan’s column, which was erected to extol the glory of Trajan and his legions in the wake of the hard-fought, but ultimately successful, campaigns in Dacia. To me it is pure recruiting poster: bung up a darned great monument to the legions, showing their triumphant victory, so as to say to the citizens: ‘join the army and kick barbarian butt’. The auxilia very much play second fiddle to the legions on the column but, I contend, this has nothing to do with reality, and everything to do with propaganda. There’s very little, if any, evidence from the archaeology that the auxilia were trained or equipped in an inferior fashion. If they really were so inferior, why were they paid as much as 4/5 of legionary pay, despite not being Roman citizens? The Romans weren’t stupid!
(ii) This again stems largely from Trajan’s column, and is down to the ‘convention’ that legionaries are shown in lorica segmentata, whilst auxiliaries aren’t, and that legionaries are shown with the large rectangular scutum (most suitable for fighting in close formation), whilst auxilia are shown with oval shields. Vegetius also does his best to mislead us: “auxilia are always joined as light troops with the legions in the line”. It is true that some specialist units in the auxilia, such as Syrian archers and Numidian cavalry, wore light armour (or none). But they were a small minority of the auxilia. Most auxiliary cohorts contained heavy infantry similar to legionaries – wearing mail and helmets, carrying spears and large shields (though, possibly, oval as opposed to rectangular).
(iii) This is plainly not true – there were a number of battles, Mons Graupius (somewhere in Northern Scotland, where the Romans defeated the Caledones) being a case in point, where the legions stood back and let the auxilia get on with it – most of them were, after all, equipped as heavy infantry, so why not use them in the role for which they were equipped? And for them to form part of the main battle line would be a continuation of the practice during the Republic, when the Citizen legions formed up in the centre, flanked by the ‘Socii’ (allies), who were essentially armed and equipped in the same manner as the Citizens – and are the precursors of the auxilia.
(iv) See (iii) above. Roughly twenty major battle scenes are shown on Trajan’s column. Despite the column’s seeming bias against the auxilia, they take part in nineteen of these, and in twelve they are unaccompanied by legionaries.
(v) There is no shortage of evidence for the presence of legionaries on or near the frontiers. It has to be said that in Britannia the legionary bases were well back from the frontier (unlike, for example, Germany), but vexillations (detachments) often seem to have been on or near the frontier. And if you insist that only the legionaries wore lorica segmentata, well, bits of the stuff turn up very frequently in digs on auxiliary forts where it clearly shouldn’t be found. Of course, this latter point could be taken the other way too – perhaps auxilia did wear lorica segmentata after all!
n conclusion, there were few significant differences in training, fighting capability or tactical role between legionary infantry and their auxiliary counterparts – it seems as though either could fight in the main battle- line or act as light infantry. I suspect that the auxiliaries were often given the ‘dirty jobs’ where taking a few casualties wouldn’t matter (it was probably bad form to get citizens killed unnecessarily). The legions on the other hand, were more or less guaranteed to be reliable, and would be used where success was imperative, regardless of casualties.
In cavalry, auxiliaries were superior, as they were combat-capable, whereas it seems that the small contingent of legionary cavalry were not (they seem mostly to have served as messengers). In archery, legions seemingly had no capability at all.
When it comes to rates of pay, it seems that the auxilia weren’t all that much different to the legions – in mid First Century AD, an auxiliary infantryman was paid 180 denarii per annum, whilst legionary infantryman received 225. The Romans weren’t stupid and I can’t see them paying 4/5 of a legionary salary to a soldier who is markedly inferior to his legionary counterpart.
In view of this, it seems clear to me that the auxilia are worthy of further study, and worthy of a more prominent place in our armies of little men.
The Auxilia in Britannia
Britannia was perhaps the most ‘militarised’ of any province – at any given time it had a garrison of about 10% of the entire Roman army. The ‘Brittunculi’ must have been really horrid!
In addition to either three, or (sometimes) four, legions (the number varied a bit over the years, but was never less than three) there were up to about fifty units of auxilia in the province – for instance, in 130 AD, we think that there were 11 cavalry alae (one of which was a milliary ala), and 45 cohorts (of which 11 were milliary) – of course, some of the latter were infantry, and some were mixed units. Numbers-wise then, any army in Britain is likely to consist mostly of auxilia.
A minor point on ethnicity and the naming of units – it doesn’t necessarily follow that a unit entitled ‘The Fourth Dacian Wing’ actually had any connections with Dacia whatsoever. Dio Cassius describes how a cavalry unit was formed with the title ‘Batavians’, simply on the basis that Batavians had a reputation for superb horsemanship – there isn’t a shred of evidence that any Batavians ever actually belonged to it.
Specialised Units
In addition to the regular auxiliary units, there were a number of units which had particular functions. In the days of the Roman Republic, there were just three types: Balearic slingers, Cretan archers and Numidian light cavalry.
During the Principate, this increased to include other specialised types:
Sagittarii (archers) – alae sagittariiorum (mounted archers), cohors sagittariiorum and cohors sagittariiorum equitatae (mixed mounted and foot archers) – just one unit is listed for Britannia, The First Cohort of Hamian Bowmen;
Equites Maurorum (Moorish horsemen), though how many units of these fought in their traditional ‘barbaric’ fashion, and how many fought, and dressed, as ‘regular’ auxiliary cavalry is unknown;
Funditores (slingers) – oddly, no record of any units is known from the Principate, though slingers are depicted on Trajan’s Column;
Dromedarii - camel-mounted units: just one of these is attested from the 2nd century, ala I Ulpia dromedariorum milliaria in Syria, but surely there must have been more to patrol the deserts of Arabia and North Africa;
Exploratores - reconnaissance units (from explorare – to scout) – examples include two numeri exploratorum attested in the 3rd century in Britain: Habitanco and Bremenio (both names of forts).
Irregular Units
Throughout the Principate period, there is evidence of ethnic units of barbari outside the normal auxilia organisation fighting alongside Roman troops. The gradual inclusion of greater numbers of this sort of troops into the military was taken a further step by the creation under Hadrian (who reigned 117-138 AD) of a new type of force in addition to the legions and auxilia, known as numerii. Formed in bodies of around 300 irregular troops, the numerii were drawn largely from the peoples of client-states – i.e. ‘allied’ states from beyond the borders of the empire, as well as more ‘barbaric’ peoples from within the empire. They were both less regimented and less Romanised than normal auxiliary troops, with a “pronounced national character”, including native dress, native war cries, and being led by their own leaders. The introduction of the numeri was a response to the need for cheap troops, who were nevertheless fierce and provided a force balance of light infantry and cavalry. In wargames terms, using a unit or two of troops who would normally be seen as ‘enemies’ would fit the bill admirably.
Get yourself some auxilia (or numerii!) – it’s the perfect excuse to relieve the (elite) monotony of wall- to-wall legionaries! Variety is the spice of life and all that. Seriously though, the Romans used auxilia, and if we want to be true to the period, so should we. In my view, they don’t just add colour, they also make your army more capable – without them you’re not going to have much in the way of cavalry, light infantry or missile-armed troops.
Finally, a throw-away remark someone made about the First Cohort of Hamian Bowmen made me think for a moment. It’s not clear quite why the garrison of Hadrian’s Wall should include a unit of archers. Someone suggested that perhaps they were stationed there to provide a source of fresh meat for the rest of the garrison by hunting. If this was the case, then presumably a few would be stationed at each fort – maybe this is why an archer’s tombstone was found at Vercovicium (Housesteads) on Hadrian’s Wall, when they were actually based at Magnis (Carvoran) on the Stanegate.

Tuesday, August 28, 2012


After having watched the HBO serous ROME, I am inspired to restart my long stalled Early Imperial Rome Legion Project. So last weekend I made my way down to the storage shed. Were I fought manfully threw the dust and the heat to retrieve my hobby truck to save my long forgotten army.
In it we find. "Warlord Games" 15 western archers 16 eastern archers 72 Imperial Roman Auxiliaries 120 Imperial Roman Legionaries 40 Imperial Roman Vets 20 Praetorian Guard And a whole mess of Celt skirmishers, along with a few boxes full of a mixed bag of War games Factory plastics.
Rules I currently have are the Old WAB rules set, and "Augustus to Aurelian" from Too Fat Lardies. I am thinking of picking up Hail Cesar rules when I get paid. Wish me luck.

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Learning about the Franks.

I have taken an interest in the German invaders of Rome. So I have ordered a few books on the subject and have been watching You tube videos on it them also. Links This is to a history channel production from there show, "Barbarians". The Next link is to what is an older Doc, but who made it is a mystery to me.

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Happy International beer day!

Happy International beer day! If your not doing any thing, get with your friends and have a drink or four!

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

In responce to Arlequín's World posting.

This is a link to his post. I really like all the ideas he posted up. They might actually inspire me to paint up my bolt-action now warlord game French. But I am think that it might make me actually go along with an idea I have had ever since I saw the movie. "It happend here". I know the idea of doing an after Sea lion resistance is nothing new, but I am talking a year two after. With the UK government relocated to Canada. With what's left of Northern Ireland and the north sea islands being staging points for raids against the german occupiers. If I did that, I am thinking of using the BUF as the anti-resistance government forces under a subdued puppet Mosley. But I don't know if I would use regular tommys for any thing other then the defense of N. Ireland, and maybe just use commando's, and para's. Or maybe use US Airborne to represent the new UK army supplied and with US kit. Might even do up a few BUF Storm Squads in German or Waffen-SS uniforms with the lighting bolt on arm bands and union jacks. These will be the hardcore anti- subersversive elements. they of course are also the training cadre for the "Anglo" or "Saxon" or the English corp. being trained up to go fight on the still on going war on the eastern front. Do you think that they would use them for anti-partisan warfare in the UK? Or do you think that this would most likely be left up to Military police, and the other such unit the germans had?

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Last 2 weeks. Oh and Quick Mass Effect 3 review.

Howdy all.
Been vary busy the past 2 weeks. Went to sacrament last week, and worked a gun and cat show. Vary strange mix.
And when I got back I picked up Mass Effect 3.
So60 hours later, I have beat Mass Effect 3.....but there are still few diffrant endings, so I will be hiting up the last few hours of game play agine later.
Over all I will say that I loved the game up until the vary end. Vary underwhelmed. But it was still a great expreance over all.

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Aliens: Colonial Marines Contact Trailer

The trailer speaks for itself.


In an attempt to keep my blog alive and keep posting thing here is a You-tube video of a cute German girl that made a TARDIS.

I will post some pics of my Privateer Press MERC force up, once I get, my cam to work.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

IRON SKY! Dun! Dun! Dun! and other updates.

For the win! Nazis in space! With Sarah Palin as the president! :P
Campy Sci-fi at its best!

On a Side note, for the folks that might still be looking into my blog, I am no longer in Las Vegas. I moved up to Concord, Ca. That is pretty much a suburb or San Fransisco, for job opportunity's. Sad to leave my friends and the city of sin, but I have actually got more painting done in the past 3 weeks then I did all last year. :P
Are the to related? I think so.

I should be posting some pics of some Privateer Press "Steel Head" Mercs in the next few days.

Saturday, February 4, 2012

Thursday, February 2, 2012

The Dictator

Check it out folks it looks like it will be pretty funny, The way I would imagen I would be if I was a dictator.