Monday, 3 May 2010

Germanic/Gallic tribe attack on Roman marching camp

Imperial  Legion awaits relief column

"Following a successful campaign on which the barbarian hordes of the lower Rhine had melted away in front of the Emperor's finest, all had seemed restored to the Peace of Rome.

How wrong could they have been as at first routine patrols were harassed, then foraging parties had to increase their numbers to keep bands of marauding natives at bay?

The Roman Legion was eventually forced to depend upon its baggage supplies, stores that were not to be used unless in dire emergency. Well, besieged in it's own marching camp certainly fitted that scenario!

Did the party of cavalry that had been dispatched from camp manage to reach the Legions to the south? Their only hope was that a forced march would bring a break in the enemy lines. Combined they could crush the foe."

This game was played last night Sunday 2nd May with Paul and John commanding their own Legions.

Graham was in command of a large contingent of warrior bands who had been shadowing the relief force northwards and was joined by Chris (who had really travelled north for the bank holiday weekend) who commanded masses of Suebi and Lemovii warriors (nine warbands and cavalry), aiming to assault the camp and prevent Paul's Legion from a sally out and linking with the relief column led by John.

The terrain had the camp at the far north of the table (10' by 6') on a bluff overlooking
a river. A dense screen of trees obscured the
view south over an open plain, the direction
the relief column would come from.

The masses of Suebi and Lemovii warriors are gathered  opposite the Roman camp. The foraging Romans hadn't have time to destroy the bridge over the river, a mistake that may have consequences  later.

John marched his Legion (ten cohorts) in column northwards,
with a screen of cavalry (three) and light auxiliary troops consisting of archers and slingers protecting his exposed left flank.

As he approached the plain, a line of hills
and a river covered his left on the approach with more hills beyond.

All is quiet ...........but for how long?

And what of the war bands gathering to annihilate their sworn enemies?

Graham commanded nine war bands led by noble warriors of high morale. Backed up by light archer and slinger units and light cavalry.

They have been awaiting this opportunity to bring these invaders to battle in favourable terrain and are not going to miss the chance to massacre another two legions!

Remember arrogant Varrus? Those following will suffer his fate!

Despite great efforts to reach the battlefield two chariot units and three noble cavalry units were delayed in their journey and arrived on the western edge of the plain. The battle had already been joined.

 The storm was unleashed and opposite the camp the Suebi rushed onwards. Paulus had marched out to oppose the attack, his auxiliary archers having time for only a hasty volley before they moved back through the lines and entered the camp.

The gates being firmly secured behind them the five cohorts on the hill top had a stark choice, defeat the barbarian or perish under the palisade!

Machine bolt throwers unleashed death at the massed war bands and added to the confusion as the Suebi struggled to keep impetus crossing the river. Ahead of them stood the cohorts at the crest of the hill. Waiting to charge downhill and begin the life or death struggle.

The bridge allowed easy passage though and one unit reached the crest of the hill first............  only to be met with a volley of pila and a cohort crashing into them.
But these warriors are of high morale and possessed their
own heavy iron throwing spear..... the clash is brutal and
the cohort, despite charging downhill is recoiled! 

This is a huge shock to the Commander watching
from the ramparts...

This is not going to be easy! Paulus has to act and the remaining five cohorts held in reserve debouch from the rear gates and march to envelope the enemy who are gaining the upper hand over their comrades.  All is cast into the lap of the gods!
Despite the support being sent, several cohorts suffer considerable casualties.

But what of the relief column?

Graham has the progress of the rear of the legion halted, they must face the threat of these noble led war bands who glide over the steep hills and cross the river with ease. Skirmishing ahead of the sword armed infantry archers and slingers sting the opposing screen and force them away. The heavily armoured legionnaires stoically await the onrush. A crash and the titanic struggle ensues...  no quarter given as the battle sways in the balance. As both the rear of the column and the camp legion is embroiled in melee what of the plain?.

John has had to deploy three cohorts to bar a foray by Chris's Lemovii tribes south over the river and his advance guard of cavalry and two cohorts are transfixed by Graham's four war bands and the
late arriving chariots and noble cavalry.

How can this be vital gap be held?

Oh divine intervention!!

Paulus had long ago in the early hours of the day
sent his remaining cavalry units into the forest
south of his camp. Those enemy arriving late
upon the plain had by their delay ignored
the tree lines.

Why should they feel threatened in their own territory?

Patiently waiting until they had passed by the Roman
 commander unleashed with horse into the rear of
the enemy cavalry and chariots.

Confusion reigned !

The battle hung in the balance.

Despite setbacks on all positions the legion cohorts pushed back their foes.....

On the plain the Roman cavalry held on just enough to take the impulse out of the assault.
At the rear of the column John was able to repulse
Graham's valiant assault then march north to assist
the central melee.

The Lemovii were tumbled back over the river and
Paulus unleashed his reserve cohorts,
carefully husbanded for this moment and marched onto the plain.

Sensing the reverse in fortunes the Germanic and Gallic warriors gradually relinquished ground, battered but not routed.

Some other pic s of the game for close ups..

Our game was fought over 3 hours which included posh biscuits (thanks Chris) and coffee when we discussed the game and put the world to rights! Oh we are diverse!

The game featured in excess of 800 figures and the moves were fast and well coordinated.

Hope everyone enjoys the write up and please give us your views.

A big thanks to Chris who had to
drive over 100 miles home following
the game and yes Dave you do
need a note from your Mam
for missing out again!


  1. Sounds like a lot of fun, and an exciting game to boot!!!

  2. Thanks for the kind comments Kevin, hopefully we will keep the excitment going! Dave.

  3. Olde Germanic saying...

    "Blinkin' Romans"