The News in Brief
Sicily, May5: Roman forces today defeated Carthaginian marauders in a spectacular battle that lasted three hours. This victory comes as a relief to the Roman senate which had been come under heavy criticism for losing out Messana to the Carthaginians in a previous battle. the Roman Legions were commanded by General Mohanius who had been called back from a self imposed exile with the express purpose of dealing with the marauding Carthaginians. The Carthaginian commander General Manubal was slain in the last stages of the battle and his unit routed. In the general panic that followed the Carthaginians fled to the countryside, thereby forsaking the town. Reports say that the Carthaginians were aided by strong Numidian Magic evoked by the Numidian Ally, General Sharaticus rumored to be a fellow of the so called 'School of Magic' of Numidia. However General Mohanius proved himself the better of the two, and procured a victory despite the strong adverse effects caused by the magic.
A celebration has been ordered in Rome following the victory at Messana. General Mohanius has left for Rome to visit a prominent Senator(or his daughter?!). The depleted Carthaginian forces will hence forth be commanded by General Manubal Jr., son of the deceased General Manubal I.
Battle Report: A classic fight
After enjoying relative peace for several years, Sicily today witnessed a fierce battle between the Romans and the Carthaginians which involved strategy as well as magic. Strategy and tactics carried the day despite setbacks caused by magic. The Roman Army comprised of three Legions commanded by Generals Mohanius, Sriramius, and Septus Fictitious. Two of these were sent ahead of the main body in ambush behind the hill and the village.
The Carthaginians took the first step and advanced their strong cavalry towards the village. The legion under General Josephous sprung the trap and forced the surprised cavalry to a halt offering a strong challenge of way to the cavalry.There ensued a really pitched set of fights with a desperate Roman legion II holding its place in the face of repeated mounted charges aided by Niumidian Magic. General Manubal was stunned to see an ambush so close to home and yelled at his ally General Sharticus of Numidia 'to do something for your life sake'.A general though he was, Sharaticus panicked and invoked his half learnt magic(He rolled EIGHT sixes in a row, all in combat!) causing drastic severe loses to the Romans. General Fictitious countered the magic with a prayer to his 'One God', and managed to hold his Legion preciously near to breaking point. Legion II was battered, but not broken. Its soldiers could be heard yelling and waving their chipped weapons at the enemies even as a flank march arrived to their rear towards the end of the battle.
General Manubal must have lost forty pounds as sweat in those three hours. Not that it mattered afterwards for he did not live to see the end of the battle. All the years of his age(or naivete?) showed on his face as the Roman Legion I advanced to threaten the Carthaginian center. The Carthaginian artillery was ordered to advance to bring the Romans within range. The Roman cavalry advance was halted and they managed to pull out of range in a complex retreating move(purposeful?) Yelling curses, the squadron leaders managed to hold the horses still even as the artillery moved further forward and took aim. General Mohanius yelled above all to get him another bottle of beer and ordered his cavalry towards the Carthaginian artillery. Fire bolts rained and one squadron was routed as the Carthaginian artillery fought valiantly to protect themselves in the open against the advancing enemy. The lose of a squadron had infuriated General Mohanius who personally led the charge and struck down many a foe with his beer bottle. Drunk though he was, the charge ordered by General Mohanius proved successful and the Carthaginian artillery lay in ruins mere minutes later. The auxiliary troops guarding the artillery fled and some supporting heavy infantry(spears) were outflanked and cut down.
As the Carthaginian artillery were being cut down in the fields, a different kind of battle raged in the hills to the Roman left where the Roman Legion III held by General Sriramius was located in Ambush. The Carthaginians had sent mounted scouts to check out the hill before sending a detailed force. Contrary to rules of mounted scouting, these riders were ordered to advance up an unfavorable terrain to check for the presence of enemy. Unfortunately for them, the Romans were ready and waiting just behind the hill top. The Romans easily cut down the hapless Carthaginian scouts who failed to disengage and flee in the hilly terrain and were easily cut down.
Panic reigned supreme in the Carthaginian ranks as the Carthaginian center command was flanked by Roman Cavalry which had successfully exploited the gaps caused in the Carthaginian ranks when their artillery gave way. The warriors who had been held back by General Manubal for a while raged to go even as the tide clearly turned against the Carthaginians. For the first time in his life, General Manubal felt the chill of imminent defeat. He could see Sriramius advancing to the plains and Sharaticus still trapped where he was at the start of the battle.
Swallowing hard, grieving for his family, cursing his own stupidity and saluting General Mohanius, General Manubal personally led his warbands in a charge through the shaking ranks of his psiloi into the Roman spearmen. In a resonating thud, the warbands and Spearmen crashed into each other. Forced to recoil, the warbands were denied space by their own skirmishers stacked two units deep and were cut down unceremoniously along with their leader. The battle was over. A distraught General Mohanius(for he had lost all his beer bottles)was brought the head of the erstwhile Carthaginian C-in-C. 'Battles are dangerous things', said he viewing the head of his opponent, '....if you lose'.
General Mohanius: The drunken Master General Mohanius has been variously described as a Monk, Drunkard and Womanizer by his friends and aquaintances. For someone who fell out of favour of the Roman senate for his alleged liasons with the daughter of the Princeps Senatus(Head of the Senate), this man has done exceptionally well. He arrived in Sicily with his bar and harem in tow. Given his nature to do the unique, it is not surprising that the first thing he said on arrival was 'uncouth barbarians' and that he visited the Carthaginian camp in the middle of the night and had a chat with the sentry.
The General apparently advised the Carthginians not to waste their time on Rome, for there was only 'fires, plagues and senators' in Rome. Contacted before the battle, he said that he 'intended to go to Rome singing' should he win, and 'to go singing anyway' should he lose.
As it came about, he won, and his troops said that he did sing rather well.
Remembering General Manubal General Manubal was described by his seniors as a truly 'spontaneous commander', something of a rarity in the Carthaginian Army of late. The tile owes it origin to the habit of the Late General to lead the charge from the head of warband units. The general has relied on his warbands to lead him to victory in many a battle. It is ironic that the same spontaenity lead to his untimely death in today's battle.
Madh Manubal was born into a well-to-do warband family 55 years ago as the eldest son of a warband chieftain. Brought up in typical warband fashion, Manubal spend his early days fighting amongst the ranks of the upcoming poojappura tribe. With the formation of the Carthaginian state, he joined the state army as a colonel and rose steadily through the ranks to become a General. He has brought the Carthaginians several Victories, the most notable being his triumph over General Sharaticus(then a Roman, exiled to Numidia following the defeat) mere months before his death. His son Manubal Jr described his father as a man of 'courage and ability'.