Mediterranean Hegemon of Ancient Greece - Chapter 397
“But-” Seclian touched his nose, “Because Milord is about to take the first legion that had cooperated with us to train in the ‘new tactics’ for several months, we would need to train with this new tactic again with the newly created legions’ soldiers. However, it won’t take that much time. Soon after, I can lead this new fleet south to have a decisive battle with the Syracusan navy, and I believe they will have a huge shock!”
Seclian looked eager, as he was clearly confident in the new tactics.
Davos shook his head and reminded him seriously, “Seclian, even if you defeat Syracuse’s fleet somewhere in the Ionian Sea, our warships will inevitably be damaged. We would need to rescue the soldiers that fell overboard, the damaged warships need repairing, and we need to tow back the warships we capture…there are so many things to do after the battle. But, you need to remember that Syracuse has more than one fleet, in case-” Davos then emphasised, “That you are busy dealing with those, what if the enemy’s reinforcements come?!”
Seeing that Seclian was eager to explain, Davos stopped him and continued, “Even if the enemy’s reinforcements doesn’t appear, it would not be easy for you to deal with the aftermath. We only have one fleet, so I hope it grows stronger after every battle and not weaker. Thus, I suggest for you to arrange the first naval battle in…”
After listening to Davos’ detailed plan, Seclian confidently said, “I understand, milord! I will follow your plan!…but I currently need your help, else it will affect the navy’s war preparation.”
“What is it?”
“With the arrival of our allies’ warships, our dry dock won’t be enough.”
‘This is indeed a problem!’ Davos thought for a moment and said, “I will ask Lord Kunogelata to speed up the construction of more dry docks and naval bases on both sides of the Crati River from the city of Thurii to the sea to meet your needs!”
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The third legion of Theonia arrived at a tributary of Basento river, the largest river flowing through the city of Potentia. Although the tributary is only a small river, it is enough to meet the legion’s needs of water. Moreover, the land near the river is soft, with lush water plants and steep and unclimbable mountains on both sides; an excellent place to camp. Thus Alexius chose to build a camp at the opening of the valley.
As soon as the legionaries unloaded their luggage and began digging trenches, the reconnaissance captain Kelisinus hurriedly reported, “Legatus, my brothers have found the Samnites, 5 kilometres to the north and are coming here. They have about 20,000 men!”
‘More than 20,000 men!’ Alexius was shocked. It was beyond his expectation for so many Samnites to come and so quickly. He could feel the fierceness of the Samnites and their strong desire to get their revenge.
Alexius looked at the trench that they had just started digging with regret. If they were to have another two or so hours, the third legion would be able to build a simple camp to fight the incoming Samnites.
“Retreat!” He ordered decisively.
‘What?!’ The herald thought he had heard wrong.
“Retreat now!!” Alexius shouted once more.
After the salpinx sounded for a while, Litom came.
“Legatus, why are you ordering a retreat as soon as we arrive at the camp?! Could it be that the buglers heard the wrong order?!” Asked Litom.
“The order is correct. There are currently more than 20,000 Samnites rushing here, but we cannot fight the Samnites that have twice our men without a camp and being exhausted. So we can only retreat first, then look for an opportunity.” Facing the senior centurion of the first brigade, Alexius used a few more words to explain the situation to show respect.
“Retreating before a battle would lower our morale! The soldiers and the people of Theonia would think that we are timid and afraid of death! And we won’t be able to lift our heads in front of the other legions!” Litom retorted unconvincedly and added, “Moreover, I think that whether it is 9,000 or 20,000, our legion can resist the enemy’s attack and defeat them!”
“Lord Davos said that the Samnites are fierce, so even if we can defeat them, they would cripple the third legion. Or do you not want to participate in the future battle?! More importantly, this will affect Lord Davos’ next plan!” Alexius held his anger and explained with a few more words.
“I believe that Lord Davos wants to repel the enemy’s attack and build a camp here!” Litom retorted without showing weakness.
“Carry out the order!” Alexius decided to stop arguing with him. The Theonian military law emphasised military discipline during a war. Thus the subordinates should absolutely obey their superiors.
Litom stared at Alexius angrily. In the end, he chose to obey, which also shows that Litom has left the level of a tribal warrior and had become a qualified Theonian strategos.
He gave a military salute in reluctance, but when Alexius turned back, Litom shouted angrily, “If Lord Hieronymus is still the head of the legion, he would never retreat!”
Alexius acted as if he didn’t hear his angry words, as he now had to think about how to retreat safely.
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The city of Potentia is located on the banks of the upper reaches of the Basento River, where the ground is relatively flat, but its terrain is high, which could be regarded as a small plateau, and the city is built on a vast and relatively gentle mountain. The Potentians spent decades building a big city with stones.
Presently, Pamot and the tribal chieftains became worried at the movements of the Samnites outside the city wall every day.
“Chief, look, the Samnites are heading south!” Shasid said loudly, pointing outside the city where it is dusty and noisy.
Pamot’s mind jolted, so he excitedly shouted, “Men, the reinforcements from Theonia should have arrived!”
This sentence immediately made the chieftains and warriors excited, ‘The powerful Theonians had come to rescue us!’
Everyone was immediately relieved from their worries these days after hearing the good news.
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“Shall we send troops to meet them?” One of the chieftains said excitedly.
“No!” Pamot refused without hesitation. He then said with caution, “The only thing we could do now is to defend the city desperately and wait for Theonia’s reinforcements!”
. . . . . . . . . . . . .
When the Samnites arrived at the tributary of Basento, the only thing they saw was a circular earth trench that was kilometres long and unfinished.
“The Theonians were as timid as rabbits and ran away!” Lesguk gasped heavily and plunged his spear into the soil with regret.
“Father, most of the Theonians are heavy infantry, so they should not have gone far away. We should take this opportunity to catch up and defeat them!” The vengeful Garni said eagerly to the great chieftain of Hirpini.
Naturally, Berani was not willing to come here in vain. Hence he immediately ordered his troops to continue their pursuit.
However, the Samnites had advanced rashly and were soon ambushed by the light infantry brigade of the third legion. Even after paying hundreds of casualties, they were still unable to catch these Lucanian light infantries, who were more lightly equipped and better at climbing mountains. Thus even if he is angry, Berani still had to be cautious.
In the end, the third legion was able to get rid of the pursuing Samnites and entered a military base at the junction between Grumentum and Potentia in the evening.
Alexius and the soldiers of the third legion became a bit depressed. After all, they had just departed from Grumentum yesterday and had only shown themselves in the Potentian area, and yet they were forced to return to Grumentum today.
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Poseidonia, a coastal city not far from the north of Elea*. It was a colonial city built by Sybaris and was once a Greek city-state in Italia famous for its roses and three goddess temples (two Temples of Hera and one Temple of Athena). But when the Lucanians migrated south a hundred years ago, it caused the Greek city-states to fall under years of sustained Lucanian attacks and eventually became a city of the Potentian tribes. (It is not the Poseidonia in the Aegean Sea)
For decades, Poseidonia has not suffered any aggression as Elea in the south couldn’t even protect themselves, so where can she have the strength to attack others? On the other hand, the Samnites in the north prefer the mountains and invading the more powerful and well-defended city of Potentia rather than strolling by the sea. So when the Lucanians of Poseidonia learned that the Samnites were attacking Potentia, they did not show much concern about the safety of their city and only took few precautions, as they focused more on discussing the issue of “how many warriors they should send to reinforce Potentia.”
Today, however, the guards on the lookout tower sounded the alarm.
When the chieftains and warriors climbed the city wall one after another, they were stunned to see so many Samnites outside the city that they couldn’t even see the end at a glance, not even knowing how many people there were.
. . . . . . . . . . . . .
Tolek, the great chieftain of the Pentri tribe, stood in front of the formation and stared at the small city ahead. He could see and hear the panicking cry of the Lucanians on the city wall, but he didn’t care much. Instead, he turned to look at his subordinates and said, “What’s the name of the thing that the Syracusans had sent?”
“Great chief, it’s called a ballista.” A chieftain beside him answered.
“I see. There is no need for you to say more.” Tolek stared at him and continued, “Bring out the balli…ballista. Let’s see how powerful this thing is!”
Six ballistae were then placed in front of the line. However, it was the Syracusans that were operating them.
Afterwards, a double-fist sized ball struck the walls of Poseidonia, causing some parts of the walls to crumble, making the Lucanians panic more…
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