SOA Battle Day 2010 – The Roman Forces

So, time to think about how many figures I need for this game of Zama for next year.

covhomeThis may seem strange, but since I’m recently new to massed battle games (being a skirmish game junkie) I’ve never actually put an army together before based on the historical forces – it’s all a but of a new experience.

First things first – basing conventions.

I’m using the Impetus rules, plus 6mm figures (Baccus) and so I will be using the ‘standard’ Polemos 60mm x 30mm basing, which seems to work well for Impetus.

In order to differentiate troop types, I’ve come up with the following convention when it comes to the amount of troops that I put on a base:

  • FP (Heavy Infantry) – 4 ranks (usually 12 strips of 6mm figures – 48 troops)
  • FL (Mediuym/Light Infantry) – 3 Ranks (Usually 9 strips of 6mm figures – 36 troops)
  • S (Skirmishers) – Randomly placed troops on the base  (Usually 12 troops)
  • CM (Medium Cavalry) – 1 Rank, 9 figures in line.
  • CL (Light Cavalry) – Randomly placed, 6 figures.

But what does a base represent in Impetus? Well, according to the rules…

  • Heavy Infantry – 1 base = 600 – 1200 men
  • Light Infantry or Medium/Heavy Cavalry – 1 base = 400 – 800 men
  • Skirmishers or Light Cavalry – 1 base = 200 – 300 men

So, now that’s sorted out my basing convention and approximate figure ratios, how many figures do I actually need?

Making life easy for myself, I’ll start with the Romans.

According to most sources, the Romans had approximately 24,000 infantry at Zama, plus 1,500 Cavalry. They were complemented by an allied force of 10,000 Numidians (6,000 Infantry and 4,000 Cavalry)

Taking the Roman contingent – according to the Impetus army list, a Republican Roman legion consists of 1 unit each of Velites, Hastati, Princeps and Triarii, or 3 x FP + 1 x S = approx.  3,900 men…except that wasn’t a Republican legion supposed to number about 5,000?

A (very) rough piece of arthimetic means that, allowing for a little margin of error, the Roman Infantry contingent consists of 6 Impetus ‘Legions’.

However, this doesn’t take into account the fact that Triarii units were smaller that the Princeps & Hastati, so maybe I should up the count to 7 ‘Legions’ instead? And for that matter, were all the Roman troops in legions, or did they have accompanying Italian allies, for example? Just how many Legions were with Scipio at Zama?

I’m not sure, and I think I should remember throughout this project to ‘keep it simple’.

So, 6 legions of Roman infantry it is.

The Cavalry, by comparison, is relatively easy. 1,500 Italian Cavalry can be represented by 3 units of Medium Cavalry (1 base = 500 men)

Now, Baccuas do not produce seperate figures for Hastati or Princeps, so they can be bought together.

  • 6 Units of Triarii = 6 x 48 = 288 figures (72 strips)
  • 12 Units of Hastati/Princeps = 12 x 48 =  576 figures (144 strips)
  • 6 Units of Velites = 6 x 12 = 72 figures (18 strips)
  • 3 Units of Cavalry = 3 x 9 = 27 Figures (9 strips)

Onto the Numidian allies. Whilst the Cavalry don’t really cause an issue (though there are going to be a lot of them!) the only Numidian infantry in the Impetus army list are Skirmishers. However, I can’t believe that the Numidians fielded an army of 6,000 skirmishers, so I’m going to take some licence and treat 2/3 of this allied contigent as Light Infantry (FL) with the rest as Skirmishers.

This means that the Numidian Infantry can be represented 9 bases of Infantry – 6 Light Infanty and 3 Skirmishers.

As I said, the cavalry are much more straight forward. Assuming that Light Cavalry use a base size of 1 base = 250 men, this gives us 16 bases of Cavalry – certainly a rather large horde for one flank!

So, my Numidian allied contigent:

  • 6 Units of Light Infanty -6 x 27 = 162 figures (54 strips)
  • 3 Units of Skirmishers – 3 x 12 = 36 figures (9 strips)
  • 16 units of Light Cavalry – 16 x 6 = 96 figures (32 strips)

So, that gives us a grand total of 52 bases for the Roman army, 33 of Infantry and 19 of Cavalry, with a total of 1134 Infantry figures and 123 Cavalry.

That’s quite a few, and I haven’t even started on the Cartheginians yet!

1 Comment on SOA Battle Day 2010 – The Roman Forces

  1. Paul Caspall // August 4, 2009 at 04:53 // Reply

    Err, how big a table are you planning on using? That’s a LOT of Impetus bases…



Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: