Joint Consular Briefing
The Consuls and other leaders are in the first place hereby informed that funding for a spy to be recruited at Rhegion has been released, and additionally that the Senate has adopted a compromise position that will see funding split again between military and domestic concerns. For now, all domestic funds will go to upgrading core settlement facilities to accomodate better housing and sanitation and allow growth to hopefully increase in the larger provinces. No additional military facilities, industries, temples, roads, etc. will be contemplated until this matter is addressed, which is expected to take many years.
Location: Just east of Rhegion.
** Cavalry -- 640 personal(5, Basic/Basic), 40 Etruscan equites(5, Fair/Basic), 760 Republican equites(2, Fair/Fair), 740 Campanian equites(2, Fair/Fair)
** Line Infantry -- 3760 Etruscan hoplites(1-2, Fair/Fair), 840 Oscan infantry(2, Basic/Basic), 280 Hastati(4, Basic/Basic), 2040 Principes(4, Mostly Basic/Mostly Basic), 460 Triarii(4, Fair/Basic)
** Skirmishers -- 2120 Velites(2, Basic/Basic), 860 Oscan javelinmen(2, Basic/Basic)
** Total -- 9,560 men
** Note that the new information takes the form of Unit Type(Experience, Weapons/Armor)
Army(Consul Laevinus Coffeium
** Cavalry -- 760 personal(4, Basic/Basic), 580 Oscan equites(2, Basic/Basic), 40 Campanian equites(3, Fair/Fair)
** Line Infantry -- 2420 Etruscan light spearmen(1, Basic/Basic), 2420 Etruscan hoplites(2, Basic/Basic), 1180 Campanian hoplites(1, Basic/Basic), 100 Oscan infantry(2, Basic/Basic), 2520 Hastati(1-3, Basic to Fair/Basic to Fair), 60 Principes(2, Basic/Basic)
** Skirmishers -- 160 Funditores(1, Basic/Basic), 100 Oscan javelinmen(2, Basic/Basic)
** Total -- 10,340 men
The new full-strength Etruscans have bolstered your numbers to a respectable level again, and more men will be incoming for both consuls for the next few season espescially -- the reassigned praetorian force will join before the end of the year.
It is also worth nothing that your eldest son Cassius is now next in line to be commissioned -- two years from now.
The 'Italy Toe' map shows what's going on but there's a lot of stuff in a fairly small space. Both consular armies are just east of Rhegion, and other reinforcements can be seen incoming there. If we wish to wait for further intel, this can be revisited in the summer(next season) after a new spy that will be recruited is ready. In Sicily, there are three known enemy forces within range of our local assets:
** Messana. Historically the third-largest city in Sicily at this time, it is a major province with the capability to survive a siege for a full two years. One of Cathargo's most capable leaders is in charge there, Ithobaal(age 31). He is a capable general, serviceable governor, and holds a high degree of influence in their government. The garrison is considerable, about 50% larger than the one defeated last year at Lokris Epizefiroi, 10 maniples of unknown composition. Overall, slightly smaller than either of the consular armies, most likely in the 8k range. Every known settlement in Sicily has stone walls -- war is simply a way of life of them, whether it's major powers or local tyrants. An attack would require a siege and allow for the possibility that reinforcements would be brought from elsewhere, as we've seen happen in the past.
** To the south of Messana, a field army under Shipitbaal of Carales(27, capable general). He is the man who took over the siege of Rhegion, then withdrew. His army is larger, 13 maniples, and most interestingly it involves at least one maniple each of sacred band infantry and cavalry. Historically, the Sacred Band never left Africa. They were the elite aristocracy of Cathargo, pledged to defend the homeland itself and the most skilled warriors of a nation that relied mostly on mercenaries to do their conquering. It was said that the only time you would see their back is if they were dead -- they had a reputation of fighting to the death and should be considered at least the equal of the Roman triarii, our elite republican spearmen. Once again though, we don't know the composition of most of the army. It's probably in the 11-12k range total. The one unit of sacred band cavalry is known to be only 80 strong, nearly depleted. The rest could be full-strength or a hodgepodge of weakened units for all we know at this point.
It is worth noting here that Shipitbaal is just far enough south that we could attack his army without involving the men from Messana -- divide and conquer is a possibility.
** Tauromenion. The closest Aiakid town to us on the island, this is a minor province with a 4-maniple garrison. It appears the armies that were in the vicinity have either disappeared(possibly defeated by Shipitbaal) or moved off. We just don't know right now.
If we want to cross into Sicily, there are two options. First is the 'land' option -- not really land, but using small craft to cross near Messana. There is only room for one army there though, and we cannot circumvent Messana this way, we'd have to take it before moving further into Sicily. The second involves transport on Publio's fleet, which can be seen in position just south of Rhegion ready to be called upon if needed.
Consuls Mus and Laevinus, how and where(if at all) shall the legions proceed?