Our correspondent reports that an invasion force of elite Spartiates has been totally crushed just outside the city of Pompei in Campania. On a slightly undulating plain with two small groves of trees the Spartan force deployed. The Spartans had 5 phalanx equipped with heavy armour and large shield for a defence value of 3. Three of these phalanx were superior fighters. There was a unit of Peltasts and some Cretans and a unit of skirmishers.
The local defence forces which deployed first had 6 phalanx (D4) and two .units of open order warriors with two units of skirmishers and some Oscan cavalry armed with javelins (D3).
The Spartans knowing that the leadership of the local lads was suspect (5) the Spartans split their deployment to try and prevent all of the Italian phalanxes from benefiting from the generals leadership. This proved to be a mistake as it meant that there was a big gap between the phalanxes that the Southern Italians were able to eventually exploit.
The Southern Italians had deployed in a single line with the open order troops at the end of the line and the cavalry at the right end of the line. Some skirmishers skulked around the edges.
The lines advanced towards each other and the Sothern Italian line did indeed split to meet the two separate wings of the Spartan army. Peltasts and two phalanx on one wing and three on the other. The first combat was when the Spartan peltasts charged a unit of warriors. The peltasts got lucky and pushed back the Warrior units, but that was their high water. Two turns later it was their turn to fall back and having to flee as the skirmishers in their rear blocked them falling back.
The two lines of phalanx came together and Spartans gained a small advantage in casualties but the line of battle kept them in the fight allowing unengaged units to move up to the flanks spelling their fate.
To stand any chance the Spartans needed to maintain a single line of battle and try and get one huge super combat where their martial and material superiority would allow them to gain an advantage and allow them to protect their flanks more easily. The spartan skirmishers should also have concentrated on the Southern Italian skirmishers and this could have been another area where they could have obtained superiority and an advantage.