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    Real Strategy Requires Cunning

blklizard

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Chapter 114

The casualties for the Etruscan were rising as the Roman leves were doing a good job picking off enemy hoplites on the walls. The main problem they were facing was ammunition as they simply didn't have enough to keep up the hails of spears forever. Luckily, Emperor Galba had anticipated this so he ordered craftsmen to work close to the walls as they made new spears to supply the Roman leves.

Resources were stockpiled as soon as there were activities between Roman and Etruscan borders. Selected few young men were to get the spears and deliver them atop the walls so the Roman leves could focus on the battle at hand. However, the leves were still firing their spears faster than the rate at which the craftsmen could make them so the Roman hastati atop the walls would eventually see action.
 

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Chapter 115

Some Etruscan hoplites were finally reaching atop the walls but they were brutally cut down by the eager Roman hastati. Another two waves of enemy hoplites were sent to scale the walls while the spears thrown by Roman leves had diminished dramatically. The Roman hastati felt they were ready to take on the enemy and they were determined to not budge an inch unless they bled to death.

Soon, the battle transitioned to the walls where the hoplites were fighting to gain control. While heavily armored, the hoplites were more defensive in nature so they struggled to kill the hastati. In a way, a stalemate was taking place where the Etruscan couldn't advance forward while the Romans couldn't kill the enemy hoplites fast enough to effectively repel them. A long grueling fight awaited those on the walls.
 

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The battle isn't over yet and the enemy is slowly making progress. The question is who will run out of men first.
 

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The battle isn't over yet and the enemy is slowly making progress. The question is who will run out of men first.
The numerical disadvantage for the Romans isn't going to help them much in that department.

Still waiting on that vassal arm. They're so unreliable these days. :rolleyes:
I gave up on trusting vassals to get the job done. :p

Chapter 116

The fight lasted for hours atop the walls and, while the Etruscan hoplites made little progress, the Roman hastati were losing men steadily. At the rate they were losing men, they would be stretched very thin in a few days. By then, the Etruscan could easily overwhelm the defenders atop the walls. Emperor Galba was aware of all of this but he remained where he stood as he watched the battle unfold.

The Roman leves could do little against those atop the walls fearing that they might injure or kill one of their own. Therefore, they continued to focus on the Etruscan hoplites who were climbing the ladders as these were the most vulnerable. A lot of the leves were running out of spears for hours at a time so their contributions were minimal. Still, their presence at least gave the hastati some hope and support.
 

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Chapter 117

Atop the walls, corpses of soldiers from both sides were growing steadily in numbers. While the losses for the Etruscan seemed insignificant, the Romans were feeling the effects of their casualties as their enemies gained more ground due to fewer Roman hastati standing in their way. Emperor Galba was asked to head to his palace but the man refused to budge from his location.

As extra precaution, the few Samnite Warriors in the capital were ordered to protect the emperor. These were the most elites soldiers in the capital and they were to give their life if they had to so the emperor could live. Yet, Emperor Galba seemed content on sharing the same fate as the capital. He even requested a weapon so he could at least go down fighting. He wasn't going to be taken prisoner.
 

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Its not looking good for the Romans I think.
 

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Its not looking good for the Romans I think.
I have to agree with you.

Chapter 118

The Roman hastati were steadily losing ground on the walls allowing more Etruscan hoplites to join the fight atop them. A fresh batch of spears were just delivered and the Roman leves were doing what they could to control the situation. Their aims were true and many Etruscan hoplites were killed where they stood. Yet, they were doing little to stem the flow of enemy infantry.

Emperor Galba could see that their time was up and left the safety of the gatehouse. He had his weapon raised and the Samnite warriors flanked his side so they could engage the enemy first. The emperor was almost in the midst of the battle when war cries caught their attention. They turned to see the Etruscan forces outside the city fighting Roman soldiers in the rear.
 

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Chapter 119

The rumored reinforcements had finally arrived but their numbers were far fewer than what either side had expected. Their attack into the enemy rear had achieved the goal of disrupting the enemy lines but no one in the capital expected the tide of the battle to turn with this surprise attack. Still, the attack did give those atop the walls some breathing room for the time being.

The Etruscan infantry were temporarily distracted by the battle outside the city and they were definitely worried about losing the battle. This gave the Romans a chance to really pressure them and retaking a large portion of the walls. This gave the Romans some confidence but no one held the illusion that they had won the battle. Then, the emperor was informed about forces scaling the capital in the rear.
 

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Reinforcements of all sides pouring into the fight, excellent.
 

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Reinforcements of all sides pouring into the fight, excellent.
Better to receive reinforcements late than never. :D
Indeed, some reinforcements is exactly what the defenders needed.

Chapter 120

The Romans were already stretched thin atop the walls where the Etruscan forces were making their assault. Emperor Galba didn't have enough to deploy more to the rear but he couldn't let the unknown forces get inside the city with no resistance. He decided to personally lead the Samnite warriors to the rear so they could fend off what enemy soldiers managed to get atop the walls.

He cursed himself for letting the enemy sneak to the rear of the city. Rome itself had grown rapidly over the years with the projects started by the emperor. The size of Rome made the defense of the city much more difficult than other Roman settlements given the garrison the city had. Emperor Galba was ready to stand his final ground against the unknown forces who were probably taking the walls.
 

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Chapter 121

Emperor Galba and his bodyguards arrived at the rear of the city where they finally got a good look at the soldiers scaling their walls unopposed. The armor they were wearing give the emperor a pleasant surprise as he recognized them to be Roman soldiers. Still, he had doubts since this could easily be a deception by the enemy. His Etruscan counterpart was a crafty one, after all.

The emperor and his men approached the unknown forces and, when he was close enough, a smile appeared on his face. He recognized the man to be the leader of the Samnites and the two of them greeted each other briefly. They shared little words knowing they needed time to deal with the Etruscan threat outside the capital. The forces sent to distract the enemy couldn't hold out for long.
 

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Chapter 122

The leader of the Samnites had rallied as many men as he could. The Samnites might have been defeated by the Romans but the people there only accepted the strong. The fact that they were defeated convinced the Samnite people that the Roman emperor was actually worthy of being their overlord. The surprise attack by the Etruscan was also frowned upon by the Samnite people.

Amongst those who joined, a contingent were willing to sacrifice themselves for the Roman capital. The Samnite leader recognized that, as soon as his men were discovered, they could be isolated by the enemy before they could even reach the capital. If they did manage to reach the capital, they couldn't exactly have the gates open for them fearing the Etruscan might use this chance to breach the walls.
 

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Chapter 123

The Samnite reinforcements helped bolster both the numbers of the men atop the walls and the morale of the soldiers who had been fighting unfavorable odds. Their arrival didn't exactly turn the tide almost instantly but their presence were already doing wonders against the Etruscan forces who were scaling the walls. The sight of more defenders helped discourage the enemies giving the defenders a slight edge.

The Etruscan hoplites thought they were winning the battle with the end finally within reach. The delay wasn't what they hoped for and it certainly didn't help that they weren't sure what was happening behind their lines. A contingent of the Samnite reinforcements was sent but these men were fearless making them very difficult to take down. The disruption helped plant doubt in the Etruscan soldiers.
 

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Rome needs a vassal army worthy of Ulm. :p
Rome needs a vassal army greater than Ulm! :p

Chapter 124

The Etruscan infantry who managed to scale the walls were repelled with the walls once again under the control of the Romans and their Samnite allies. The battle outside the city lasted another hour before the Etruscan army got everything under control. Emperor Galba used the moment to thank the brave warriors who sacrificed their lives for the greater good of the empire. He vowed to give them a proper burial once they won the day.

The arrival of reinforcements saw a significant positive change to the morale of the Roman soldiers atop the walls. The Etruscan infantry were also more hesitant as they hadn't expected to be repelled by the enemy. Most of them had expected a direct victory so, with them outside the city again, they were waiting for the orders from their ruler who had just participated in the small skirmish. For the time being, there was an intermission to the battle.
 

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Chapter 125

Using the precious moments, Emperor Galba reorganized his forces so they were better deployed atop the walls. The defenders were still outnumbered but they were in a better position than earlier. They had around equal numbers as they started but the Etruscan forces outside the wall had sustained noticeable casualties. The odds were shifting but not quite enough to turn the tide completely for the Romans.

The Etruscan soldiers were also reorganizing their formation as they slowly recovered from the sneak attack in the rear. Their numbers were still formidable but they revealed that they could be killed. The Roman capital could have fallen much earlier but the hard work of the garrison and civilians in the city saw it stand strong. Emperor Galba waited for the enemy to send another wave to test his defenses and, this time, he had more confidence.
 

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Chapter 126

For the next few days, the Etruscan forces merely surrounded the Roman capital. This was clearly the precaution if there were more reinforcements incoming but Emperor Galba doubted they had anymore help until their forces who fought against Illyria returned. Even with forced marched, those men weren't expected to return for at least another month which seemed like years to those trapped in the capital.

The Roman emperor was puzzled by the inaction of the enemy but he wasn't about to do anything foolish. They were at a numerical disadvantage so exiting the capital was suicidal. He just wondered what his Etruscan counterpart was hatching. Two days later, the Etruscan army suddenly pulled away from the capital leaving the defenders very puzzled as to what developed. They couldn't help but wonder what ploy the enemy was using.
 

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Chapter 127

Emperor Galba would learn later the death of his Etruscan counterpart. When the contingent of Samnite warriors attacked the rear of enemy forces, the Etruscan ruler met them head on. While he was experienced in combat, the man hadn't expected the incoming soldiers to be so fierce. Before one of the Samnite warriors collapsed in his own pool of blood, he was able to gravely wound the Etruscan ruler.

During the days of inaction, the Etruscan medics were doing their best for their ruler whose condition was deteriorating with each passing day. The Etruscan ruler eventually succumbed to his injuries and the Etruscan army, suddenly without a leader, had to withdraw back to friendly territory to decide on the next ruler. This was a lucky break for the Romans who still had an uphill battle to fight.