Alexander The Great
"I am not afraid of an army of lions led by a sheep; I am afraid of an army of sheep led by a lion."
-Alexander The Great
The Conquest of Italia
Early on in the campaign, it was decided to strike at the Italian mainland. This was a tough battle; and time was short. Just 90 minutes to conquer six enemies, although I managed to form one alliance midway through the battle. Battle fought on September 4th, 2010.
Here the 3rd (Light) Cavalry protects the flank of a force assaulting the Samnite League. Alexander himself is with the 1st Infantry as the artillery opens fire on a border fort. The force will likely have to turn to face an incoming Roman attack. Luckily, before wheeling was ordered, the Romans retreated without offering combat. It also necessary to operate on several fronts at once. Seasoned veterans of Rise of Nations will be aware of the advantage in pausing the battle to issue orders.
Meanwhile, the 4th Infantry invades Samnite territory. Heavy Cavalry guards their flank; they have their own supply wagon, so their range of operation isn't dependent on proximity to the main force. Always seek out and utilise unguarded fronts. Keep the initiative; if the enemy has to constantly shift forces from front to front, this is time they are removed from the field.
As you can see, the Roman force turned and fled, perhaps to fend off an attack elsewhere. The Samnite fort has fallen, and the force had no need to wheel and can begin bombarding the town into submission.
To strengthen the border, citizens are constructing a new fort. With the Samnite League defeated, attention turns to the northern flank and the Roman forces, caught in disarray in the river, are mercilessly cut down in retreat. Their General Staff will be lucky to escape intact - sniping enemy Generals offers a reward in gold coin and it's one extra unit they have to build now. The 2nd (Heavy) Cavalry will give chase, but will not venture deep into enemy territory with their own strength so weakened. The infantry will form up and cross in force, supported by Alexander's own regiment stationed further up the river.
1st Infantry, with Alexander at their head, begins a bombardment across the river. Light cavalry protects their left flank, but will advance ahead of the main force since troops are vulnerable when wading through water. The spears of Alexander's mighty phalanx point forward in defiance: "Onward! To Victory!"
Two infantry regiments cross in force, with light cavalry thrown out ahead to scout. Threats continue to be received, not only from the Romans but also the Etruscans (yellow). Their time will come; now that half of the Italian peninsula is conquered, all force can be directed north.
The assault on Arretium begins, with the regiments spread out to cover the perimeter as the artillery begins fire. Further reinforcements, released and replenished from the Samnite War, cross the river to extend the operation.
As the town falls and the razing of its buildings and plundering of its resources begins, the Romans send a haphazard relief force. Without a solid formation, they are easy pickings for the 5th Infantry, holding the left flank of the town.
With line of battle extended, the rear is vulnerable. Assuming the supply lines to be secure, all forces are facing north. A tactical reserve is unavailable, though a new regiment is being hastily formed and a new cavalry detachment is en route. This over-extension is dangerous; a regiment's rear is extremely vulerable
The King of Umbria (light blue) executes a remarkable surprise attack across the river, attempting to destroy the forces awaiting assignment to a formation. Totally undetected, proving how devastating the aspect of surprise is. The reserve, still forming up, turns to form a hasty line, but will be overpowered. They will hopefully buy enough time...
The reserves formed line and retreated in order, taking moderate casualites, but buying time for the 1st Infantry to about-turn and fight off the Umbrians. The ground is littered with corpses and the forces around Arretium have had to redeploy to keep the town secured without exposing their own flanks. This brief setback has indicated a need to protect the supply line, especially as it begins to extend further north.
Arretium is being repaired as the 1st Infantry receives orders to reform in the battle line. They are to head north before the Romans can organise any meaningful resistance. They continue to throw their units into battle in an adhoc fashion.
In a bold sweep, another town is taken, and though the 1st Infantry's flank is somewhat extended, the powerful might of the 2nd Cavalry is thrown out in protection and to pursue citizens fleeing from the captured town. It is important to not only maintain, but actively increase the momentum of your attack. Never give pause: utilize an efficient supply system to keep your formations at full strength, and remember that in 'Campaign' games, the clock is ticking.
The 4th and 1st now redeploy to protect Tibur as it burns. The 4th in particular is in need of replacements. With 40 minutes to go and four enemies still remaining, there can be little respite before the advance is once again ordered. The 5th is off-screen laying siege to Rhegium.
With Rhegium secured, the Roman's fort and barracks are caught between the 5th and 4th, who will close this pincer and remove the main source of enemy infantry on this sector of the front. Fresh cavalry awaits orders on the left flank.
An alliance is secured with the Picenum League (white). This influx of fresh forces allows time to pause for reinforcement. Constant combat keeps the enemy pinned down, but make sure to keep the replacements coming. Now that Rhegium and the surrounding sector is secured, the infantry forces can reform a line facing north again. Off-screen the Romans are pressuring the 1st Infantry north of Tibur.
No time is wasted, the forces head north a minute later to attack the next town. Repairs begin at Tibur.
The 4th and 1st are committed as the 5th forms up with replacements, and the Picenums are headed somewhere. The Etruscans continue to wax lyrical. Barracks and stables are already operational around Arretium to shorten the supply lines north.
The 5th Infantry is ordered to protect the right flank outside Ancona as the 1st continues to fight off Roman skirmishers. A fort is being constructed to strengthen the line and provide secure fallback if needed. As the enemy's own supply lines are shortened, their capability to field sizeable formations is increased. Never underestimate the ferocity of an enemy fighting with its back to the capital city. The Picenums are yet to make a significant contribution to the fight, yet their forces continue to march relentlessly across the rear section of the front.
Veii is protected by a steep bank and another river, which must be crossed with due care and attention, since the troops will be under fire all the time. Ancona is left for the 5th to deal with.
The 5th was unable to take Ancona without support; an unexpected defence by the King of Umbria put up a decent resistance, and the remainder of the regiment has retreated. Alexander will now rally the troops removed from the Veii operation and lead a renewed attack on Ancona. Meanwhile, fighting continues along the rest of the front, particulary the left (seaboard) flank.
The Romans have been defeated so attention turns to the Umbrians, who have proven to be a sharp thorn in the side. Only one regiment of infantry, joined by the 2nd Cavalry, can be spared to assault their capital at Terni, since contact has now been made with the Etruscan forces. The 2nd Cavalry keeps their forces busy as the assault on the fort begins.
The 5th, having finally taken Ancona, now sweeps down to support the attack on Terni, which has lost its outlying fort.
The Umbrian capital is being defiled, much to their annoyance, as a replenished 1st lines up to advance into Etruscan territory.
The Umbrians are defeated, freeing up a sizeable amount of forces for the final assault north. The 4th Infantry and supporting light cavalry rush to the battle. The most worn down units will be billeted in the fort until they are healed.
The Etruscan capital is taken. With two minutes to retake it, the assault on their remaining towns begins.
Volsinii is largely undefended as the 4th advances.
The Picenum League finally joins the fight as the Etruscans, with 15 seconds to go, fight bitterly to the last man inside Volsinii.
With 16 minutes to spare, the battle is over. 932 enemy units killed for the loss of 336. The Italian mainland is secured and absorbed into the Macedonian Empire. Alexander must now turn East, and face the vast Persian Empire under Darius III.
'On into Persia'
The 4th holds the line after seeing some fierce combat. This is the first time Alexander's forces enter Persia. Utilize hills to your advantage: forces attacking uphill and especially across water are more vulnerable to damage.
The 4th keeps the enemy pinned down as the main invasion force, with Alexander leading, waits to cross the water. No more screenshots are available for this battle. The 4th was deployed across the river, and drew the enemy's forces away from their first capital. The main force then crossed, took it, managed to hold it, thus securing a beachhead.
Sadly I don't have more screenshots from this battle, but it's a great one. You have to seize a Persian border town and destroy its fort. It's always a good idea to set up a defence line on a river - you can snipe at the enemy as they wade thigh-deep in water. However, they will seek out any errors in positioning. As you can see, the 'point' of the line was attacked by elephants. Bad positioning on my part.
Later on, the battle is coming to an end. Alexander himself directs the attack as the 2nd Heavy Cavalry rushes ahead to cut down any potential infantry formations.
Infantry and artillery en route to finish off a Persian enclave. As they march past, Alexander inspects. Cavalry takes the high road, but there is little chance of meeting any meaningful resistance.
The first time I attempted the campaign on 'Tougher' resulted in defeat. You can't really afford to skip more than one or two turns, and battle defeats are likewise going to set you back. I've conquered this campaign since of course!