Author Topic: Late Romans and African Vandals  (Read 522 times)

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Barritus

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Late Romans and African Vandals
« on: August 28, 2020, 03:04:37 PM »
I've just finished reading Michael Kulikowski's "Imperial Tragedy". It's not only given me some fascinating new insights into the final century of the Western Roman Empire, but suggested some changes to Late Roman and African Vandal lists for next time someone is inspired to update the lists.

Patrician Roman (Western): The steady disintegration of the Western Empire suggests that by around the middle of the 5th century (say, after the death of Aetius) that Western Patrician Roman armies should have a limit placed on the number of regular elements, perhaps no more than 20 regular elements. That way the player is forced to use either a lot of foederate foot or allies. The problem at the moment is that, even though the list notes talk about the need for Patricians to use allies, even an army of Odoacer can be fielded at 400AP with an entirely regular army of three generals, Kn, Cv, LH, Bd, Ax, Art and Ps.

African Vandal: Kulikowski points out that after the death of Gaiseric the Vandals suffered a series of defeats at the hands of both Goths and Moors, which suggests that from about 480AD all Vandal Kn (F) should be downgraded to Irr Kn (I). Frankly that's still fairly formidable, and will give Cv opponents plenty to sweat about, but they'll also be considerably more fragile. It would also make Gelimer's Inertness all the more of a problem, as he's going to have to pay PIPs to move those great lumps of Kn anywhere.

Orcoteuthis

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Re: Late Romans and African Vandals
« Reply #1 on: November 29, 2020, 10:16:23 AM »
At Ad Decimum, the Vandal cavalry performs well, but are let down by their commander.
Andreas Johansson

Barritus

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Re: Late Romans and African Vandals
« Reply #2 on: February 09, 2021, 10:14:57 AM »
At Ad Decimum, the Vandal cavalry performs well, but are let down by their commander.

Fair point.

But my concern is that the combination of rules and troop classifications as they exist at the moment don't re-create those Byzantine-Vandal battles as we understand them.

In particular, with an Inert general leading Irr Kn (F) if the generals get few or no PIPs then the Irr Kn (F) simply go charging towards the enemy.

What I'm reading of the battles against Belisarius is that when the generals (in particular Gelimer) failed to actively lead their cavalry, what the cavalry did was to stand around scratching their backsides, rather than charging wildly at the enemy.

In other words, if we want to re-create the behaviour of the African Vandal army when led by Gelimer, then either the rules for the behaviour of impetuous troops led by inert generals need to change, or the classification of those troops needs to change.

I'm open to either change - as I've pointed out in another thread the inert classification might be usefully replaced by two classifications: one for generals who make normally non-impetuous troops impetuous, and one for generals who make normally impetuous troops non-impetuous. And Gelimer could easily be placed in that second category while still leaving the Vandal cavalry as Irr Kn (F). Alternatively, it might be argued that massed Irr Kn (I) led by an inert general is still a scary fight for an Early Byzantine army as the Kn have a quick kill against all the Cv and Bd in the army.