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This chapter is updated by BestNovel.org
Unfortunately, they failed to stop the Greek heavy infantry from advancing. On the contrary, it just forced them to rush forward desperately while remembering the words of their officers who had reminded them before the battle, “Think of nothing but charging forward with all your strength. Your safety lies in catching up with those cowardly Caudinis and preventing them from throwing javelins!…”
With their distance too close, the Caudini army couldn't immediately fire their third wave of javelin attack. Apart from having no time for throwing, they also don't have enough time to exchange positions with the warriors who have just gone to the front to attack.
After the war commenced, the Caudini and Samnite warriors typically followed their traditional ways of fighting under the leadership of tribal chieftains. They were basically free to choose whether to attack or retreat, depending on the changing conditions of the battlefield. Thanks to the loose formations and spacious gaps between warriors, the entire Samnite formation maintained their flexibility and mobility throughout the battle.
Now, all the Caudini warriors(including their great chieftain) began to turn and run backwards without worry about the enemy's attack, convinced that the Greeks could not outrun them. But once the Greeks had no strength left after drawing away, it would be time for them to fight back.
Unlike the heavy infantry in the centre, the light-armoured infantry on both flanks sprinted much faster, forcing the Caudini warriors there to start retreating just after they threw the first round of javelins, resulting in only a few casualties. In fact, in terms of equipment from both sides, the Samnites could have gone to clash with the enemy. Unfortunately, based on their habit(using javelins to confuse the enemy and then fight in close combat) as well as the fear of being entangled and then being encircled by the enemy, these tribal chieftains weren't so selfless as to let their own tribal warriors attack the enemies for the others.
Meanwhile, the light-armoured soldiers at both rear of the military formation, without any Campanian soldiers in front of them and no enemy to stop them, ran with all their might on their stout leg and were, in fact, almost caught up with the foremost Caudini warriors. However, they continued moving forward instead of going to attack them.
The Campanian cavalries, who were on the outside of the left flank, were much faster, with their galloping horses having already reached the rear flank of the Caudini formation. However, they dared not intercept the hundreds and thousands of retreating enemies. Instead, they brandished their spears and approached them from the side, trying to force them to move towards the centre, thus blocking the passage of the enemies in other positions and slowing their retreat.
But after the Caudini warriors threw javelins, hitting more than a dozen cavalry, these Campanian cavalries no longer dared to approach the enemy.
The battle situation, which should've been fierce, had now turned into a grand chasing competition. On a line of more than one and a half kilometres long, both Theonia and their allies and the Caudini warriors run at full speed, causing the ground to rumble and dirt to fly in the sky.
After a period of running, the Theonian heavy infantries began panting as they heard the officers gasp and shout, “Dis…discard the long shield…discard the long shield!”
Without hesitation, they followed the order. Once they threw their heavy, long shields and only held a spear, their bodies felt lighter, enabling them to maintain their speed. This prevented the distance between them and the Caudini warriors from widening.
This tactic was already predetermined, and following them were Campania's heavy infantry led by strategos Aeolus, who also threw away their round shields one after another.
The Campanian heavy infantry were initially unaccustomed to running without helmets or holding round shields. However, they gradually adapted to the change as they ran non-stop.
The Caudini warriors thought the Greeks would stop as usual after their charge, so they didn't expect their opponent to continue running. Despite seeing the enemy had discarded their helmets and shields, which by all accounts was the perfect opportunity for them to attack with javelins, they didn’t do it because the two sides were so close that throwing javelins needed a bit of preparation, and those few seconds could result in the enemy to close the gap between them. And with their entire formation currently on retreat, no tribal chieftains took the initiative to have his people stop to attack, as they only thought to run faster and faster! And run a little longer until these tin cans run out of stamina!…
But first to tire were the Caudini warriors. Driven by their eagerness to rescue Nola, they marched without rest or food, arriving already fatigued. The sudden and tense running further strained their muscles, and their ability to persist was solely due to the resilience ingrained from living in the mountains. So, in their effort to keep running, they began discarding their long shields…
It was beyond Segobani's expectations that the enemies, with the Campanians as their main force, would adopt such a method of engaging in battle. In contrast, they fought back using their traditional approach against an already different enemy. While he felt his whole body start to ache and have difficulty breathing, the guards around him were already panting as loud as thunder. He realised that the enemy's odd attack might be to hit their weakness. However, even if he wanted his men to stop and counterattack at this moment, it was impossible because the battle had already begun, and the whole army was running, making him unable to convey orders.
Then, the dizziness caused by fatigue and lack of blood to the brain made it impossible for Segobani to think carefully, so he simply snapped and thought, ‘Then let's see who can continue running!’
After running for a while, the entire allied army formation transformed into a massive crescent shape, with the centre protruding backwards and the flanks extending forward. Moreover, the formation was no longer continuous as few gaps started appearing, especially in the centre. This development raised concerns among Xanticles' men, who were closely advancing together, “Strategos…if…if we continue running like this, the gaps in the formation in the centre will…open up more and more. If the enemy takes advantage of it and attacks…it could be troublesome! So should…we let the light-armoured brigade attack now?”
With Segobani unable to command the entire Caudini army anymore, Xanticles is also unable to do so. However, he can still control the Theonian army, especially the light-armoured soldiers, because he maintains contact with them using the mounted scouts.
While his men focused on the heavy infantry in front of them, Xanticles kept his eyes on the Caudini warriors in front. Their swaying back and the heaviness of their strides allowed him to feel their opponent's difficulty in running, and most importantly, the distance between them hadn't increased.
This shows that the tactics he used where both sides’ consumed their stamina have achieved results. But it was much worse for the Caudini warriors as they lost the speed that gave the Campanian soldiers the most headache.
Therefore, he confidently said, “Don't worry and just let them continue to chase.”
Xanticles didn't fear the Caudini warriors suddenly stopping to attack because a clash was precisely what they all wanted.
Even if the enemy managed to breach the allied army formation, Xanticles maintained his belief in ultimate victory. His greatest confidence lay in the four thousand Lucanian troops of the reserve legion, each personally selected by him for their strong physique, rigorous training, and familiarity with Theonia's legionary system. Moreover, the confusion of their allies wouldn't shake their morale. On the contrary, they could gain the upper hand in melee battles with the virtue of their tight group.
Moreover, Xanticles was waiting for something, one that could completely change the entire battle situation.
Xanticles' gaze searched among the densely packed Caudini warriors ahead, where he could only see a patch of red everywhere, ‘Which of them were the Nucerian warriors?!’
At this time, the five hundred tribal warriors from Alfaternum, the second largest tribe in Nuceria, are located in the middle of the centre formation. Basani didn't remain idle during the retreat as he sent his subordinates to gather their warriors to prevent them from scattering more. At the same time, it also allowed his men to convey his thoughts.
The persistent and relentless pursuit of Theonia and their allies showed Basani the determination of the Greeks to fight(something they rarely saw during their battles with the Campanians in the past). However, he feared that they would manage to get away from the Theonians and would lose this great opportunity to break free from Segobani's control if they continued to run like this.
‘Since I cannot contact the other Nucerian tribes, we might as well go alone!’ Basani decided to stop waiting anymore. After taking a deep breath, he resolutely raised his spear and shouted angrily, “For revenge!”
The guards around him also immediately shouted, “For revenge!!”
Immediately, other Nucerian warriors also responded by shouting and stabbing their spears at the warriors of neighbouring Caudini tribes.
Before the battle, the nearby tribal chieftains had also privately accepted Segobani's order for them to watch and guard against the Nucerian tribes. However, after the battle started, they became preoccupied with retreat and had no energy to care about anything else as their enemies were in hot pursuit. Thus, they gradually lost their defences against the Nucerian warriors.
Unexpectedly, a sudden and drastic change happened. The Nucerian tribal warriors began attacking in all directions, stabbing down a number of Caudini warriors immediately. But the first reaction of the other Caudini warriors who were shocked wasn't to counterattack but to try to go around these crazy Nucerians and continue retreating, for they had not forgotten that there were still enemies chasing behind them.
But with them going around them, it naturally blocked the path for the warriors retreating behind, causing this sudden chaos in this area to spread outwards.
Despite only getting blocked for a dozen seconds, the enemy soldiers chasing behind them had managed to arrive and began stabbing the Caudini warriors with their spears.