The Battle of Longanus
(circa 265 BC)

By Bill Sumruld

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This battle (which is variously dated between 269-265 BC) was part of the chain of events that led to the 1st Punic War between Rome and Carthage, though neither of those powers was directly involved in it. 

At the river Longanus on the plain of Mylae on the north coast of Sicily a few miles west of Messana, Hiero of Syracuse decisively defeated the Mamertines.  The Mamertines were a band of Campanian mercenaries named after their war god who had seized Messana some years before.  After their defeat at Longanus, the Mamertines would be on the defensive. Their pleas for help along with the intervention of the Carthaginians (they seized Messana’s citadel not long after the battle) would lead to Roman interest in Sicily. 

In the battle, a concealed ambush, made up of some of Messana’s original inhabitants and a picked unit from Syracuse, managed to take the Mamertines by surprise.

Syracusans ( II/9):  1 x Cv or 4 Sp (Gen),  6 x 4 Sp, 1 x 4 Sp or 3 Wb, 1
x 4 Ax or 3 Cv, 1 x 3/4 Ax or Art, 1 x 2 Lh, 1 x 2 Ps.

Mamertines (Campanians, II/8b):  1 x 3 Cv (Gen), 1 x 3 Cv, 4 x 4 Sp,
 4 x 4 Ax, 2 x 2 Ps.

Deployment:  The  Mamertines are on the defensive.  To simulate the historical ambush, anytime after turn two, from 2 to 4 elements of the Syracusan force (reserved for this purpose) can enter any board edge (including the littoral edge as a littoral landing) as long as they are at least 600 paces away from the Mamertines’ camp.  The normal Syracusans littoral option is replaced by this Ambush force.

TerrainLittoral with a river (the River Longanus) as one of the options.  Steep hill and BUA must be excluded as an option.

Victory Conditions:  Standard DBA

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Last Update:  1 April 2006

Thanks to Bill Sumruld for contributing this scenario.
Comments and feedback welcome and can be sent to Chris Brantley.