How are you choosing your Forces?

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Captain Reid
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Re: How are you choosing your Forces?

Post by Captain Reid »

All formations lost men to details. Legions, auxilia cohorts and alae. I think almost always the lowest level of functioning cavalry unit was the (probably reduced in strength) turma. So in terms of differences between the cohors equitata cavalry and that of the alae, I'd expect to see that at the cohort level as it seems it was more normal for the latter to have opportunity to practise drills en masse. So, to labour the point, I see no real objection to having some troopers from equitata functioning as well as those from a ala at the Infamy scale. Much as really legionaries and auxilia were for all practical purposes the same at the cohort and century level once much past AD 40 or so - the difference being that legionary cohorts had (presumably) practise at drills on a legion scale whereas for the auxilia, the cohort was their biggest unit,
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Waterhorse
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Re: How are you choosing your Forces?

Post by Waterhorse »

Sounds fair to me.

Anyway, my regular opponent has said its OK to by him to up the equitata cavalry to alae values so that's the game issue solved! 😀

As for Legionaries, like I've said from the beginning. In historical terms, at the scale of the rules, I wouldn't expect to see them very often but I do agree with your comparison.

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Captain Reid
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Re: How are you choosing your Forces?

Post by Captain Reid »

I've played a couple of games as Britons against an Roman cavalry-based force (4 x mounted warriors, 2 x warriors, 1 x skirmish cavalry). The Romans gain huge amounts of mobility and ambush options and obviously potentially limit barbarian ambush options hugely. But they're brittle.
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Waterhorse
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Re: How are you choosing your Forces?

Post by Waterhorse »

Yeah that sounds like the sort of thing I want to try. My Barbarian is nervous, I think he somehow feels he will get cut to ribbons. I am sceptical of that idea! 😄

Did you this BBC Documentary when it was on a few years ago, BTW?

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TUWZtt8tFIw

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Captain Reid
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Re: How are you choosing your Forces?

Post by Captain Reid »

I have seen that documentary, though on YouTube sometime, not when it was released on the TV.

Britain was fairly extraordinary in that (at least by Hadrian's time) roughly one soldier in five stationed in the province was a cavalryman.

In c. AD 130 there were:
10 000+ auxiliary cavalry (getting on for a third of these in cohors equitata)
25 000+ auxiliary infantry (only a thousand of these were archers, who were in a single cohors milliaria)
15 000+ legionaries.

rough ratios of 2:5:3

whereas 50 years earlier the balance between auxilia and legionaries in terms of infantry seems to have been much more even.

In AD 130 about one auxiliary in every eight was a Roman citizen (if we, perhaps rashly, presume that only auxiliary units with the C.R. designation contained citizens). This was equally balanced between cavalrymen and infantry, suggesting that the enhanced status of a citizen was different to the enhanced status of a cavalryman (given non-citizen cavalrymen would be paid more than a legionary, but also more than an auxiliary infantryman who was a citizen). Which makes me think that some of the cavalryman's increased pay was to cover increased expenditure (presumably upkeep of horse, servants - the cavalry had more slaves per man than the infantry, and tack).
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Re: How are you choosing your Forces?

Post by Waterhorse »

Interesting that the number of archers is so low. Maybe the Brits didn't stand around to be shot at! 😀 Though I imagine its more to do with the expected amount of use by AD130.

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Re: How are you choosing your Forces?

Post by Captain Reid »

The Romans didn't really ever use very many archers, proportionally speaking, anywhere or at any time. Archers in Britain at roughly 2% of the total force isn't unusual at all, and they didn't arrive as a proper cohort untol the 2nd century. Before that any archers must have been mercenaries and presumably even fewer in number.

In the east it may have been the case that they used relatively more when allied contingents were fielded.
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Re: How are you choosing your Forces?

Post by Waterhorse »

So in general terms (that is, not just in Britain) what's the generally accepted timeframe ("date" probably being too exact a word) for the appearance of Auxiliary Archers in a formalised sense, as opposed to old school Cretan Archers of the Punic Wars etc.

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Captain Reid
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Re: How are you choosing your Forces?

Post by Captain Reid »

Having checked, I must qualify my previous comment, the Romans did use moderately high proportions of archers outside of NW Europe. Bear in mind, the percentages given below are archers as a percentage of the auxiliary foot, not the whole Roman force in the region concerned. It's pretty obvious from the below that archers were seen as most useful in eastern Europe and Asia Minor, which is of course where you'd expect the enemy to be potentially fielding high proportions of horsemen

In Hadrian's time, the auxiliary foot were disposed thus:

Britannia 45 cohorts, c.25 000 men, 1000 of whom were archers (4% of the auxiliary foot).
Germania Inferior: 18 cohorts, c.10 000 men, no archers.
Germania Superior: 22 cohorts, c.11 000 men, no archers.
Raetia/Noricum: 16 cohorts, c.10 000 men, no archers.
Pannonia: 21 cohorts, c.13 000 men, no archers
Moesia Superior: 8 cohorts, c.4 000 men, 1000 of whom were archers (25% of the auxiliary foot).
Moesia Inferior: 13 cohorts, c.7 500 men, 1500 of whom were archers (20% of the auxiliary foot)
Dacia: 36 cohorts, c.20 000 men, 1500 of whom were archers (7.5% of the total)
Asia Minor: 54 cohorts, c.32 000 men, 5 500 of whom were archers (17% of the total)
Aegyptus: 11 cohorts, c.5 000 men, 500 of whom were archers (10%)

It's hard to say when the exact switch from simple mercenaries to formal auxilia occurred, and even harder to say when any specific unit of auxilia might have been raised. However most of the units of archers that we do have dates for were raised by Trajan, around AD 100.
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DougM
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Re: How are you choosing your Forces?

Post by DougM »

Judging from that - archers were mainly considered important versus mounted opponents.
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