Saturday, January 19, 2013

1st Century, 2nd Cohort Forming Up!

The 1st Century, 2nd Cohort starts to take shape.  To the side is Centurion Titus Pullus and his junior officer Cornicen.  In the back is the Optio and the Signifer.  I am basing 4 minis per Litko 30mmx60mm square base.  This allows the Shield Wall to form and look more appropriate in my opinion (vice the way it oddly looked with individual 30mm plastic round bases).
I finished my battlefield area.  I used 3/4" MDF boards cut and sanded and primed with flat black.  Topped them with Loctite spray adhesive and then Woodland Scenic's new vinyl-backed Spring Grass mat that I placed down and cut.  I really like the look of grass mat.  The wheat field is a cut outdoor doormat.  The wheat field also helps me with making sure no minis fall backward as that is the stairwell directly down behind the area.  The area should be large enough to hold the entire 2nd Cohort w/cavalry and auxiliaries; roughly 500 minis.  Then opposing them is a Gallic Celts force from Warlord games that is on the way via UPS mail.  Not sure what the eventual size of the enemy will be, but it will be huge I hope as I want the 2nd Cohort to be in dire straights.

Of Note:  During the post-Augustus Roman Empire period that I am modeling, the estimated overall strength of the SPQR was around 175,000-190,000 soldiers; organized into around 25-28 Legions.  The Legions themselves contained around 5,200-5,400 troops, plus an equal number in auxiliaries.  Each Legion had 10 cohorts, 9 of which were made up of 480-550 men and one made up of about 800.  When in battle, the Legions would be separated into their Cohorts.  Four of the Cohorts would typically line up on the battle line and lead the fight.  The other six would follow behind the first four as reserves (hence why "greener" soldiers where placed in the higher numbered Cohorts).  If cavalry is involved, they would be most often placed on the sides of the main Cohorts.  

The initial formation of soldiers was dictated by the enemy’s formation, the terrain of the battlefield, and the quality of the troops of each Legion.  To soften up the enemy before the main infantry clashed, the soldiers would throw a Pilum volley (or 2) on command.  On occasion, a Legion would have Ballista, or a piece of field artillery that threw large arrows.  To instill fear into their enemy, the soldiers of a legion would march onto an enemy completely silent until they were close enough to attack.  At that point, the entire army would utter a loud battle cry to frighten their enemy.

Later as the Empire grew, Legions would oftentimes split into smaller operational detachments, called Vexillations (named that because of the unit flag they carried), that would conduct semi-autonomous activities.  These units of men were constantly battle ready and trained to fight in their surrounding climate; becoming very familiar with the enemy in the area and alert to threats.

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