Friday, 15 April 2016

Cavalry Action 52 BC

'The work having begun, a cavalry action ensues in that plain, which we have already described as broken by hills, and extending 3 miles in length. The contest is maintained on both sides with the utmost vigour; Caesar sends the Germans to aid our troops...'

Caesar, The Gallic War, VII.70

As one of the final practice games for our forthcoming Alesia mega-game, a couple of weeks ago the usual suspects met up at the Hall of Heroes, Campbelltown, to refight the Gallic cavalry raid ordered by Vercingetorix to disrupt Caesar's construction of the Alesia blockade.

Philip's scenario had 3 Gallic Cavalry brigades...

The left flanking Gallic Cavalry 'brigade'
leading 3 brigades of warbands...

The left flanking group of warbands
against the construction site, represented by 3 large wagons. These were defended by 6 cohorts of Legionnaires with associated auxies, and 2 brigades of allied Germanic Cavalry.

The plain of Laumes to the west of Alesia is bisected by the river Brenne and its tributaries the Oze and the Ozerain, and in the scenario these were represented as only costing stopping all movement on being reached, and requiring one move to cross.

The Gallic aim was to disrupt construction by reaching 2 of the wagons. If we reached one it would be a draw...if we reached all 3 our deeds of our fighting prowess would echo for all time around the rafters of feasting halls were warriors gather to drink and recount tales of glory...

According to The Gallic War, the Gallic cavalry got fatally separated from the Gallic infantry warbands, but, to my utter astonishment, not only did my cavalry go in hard and fast, wiping out the German horsemen in the first couple of moves, but my warbands also obeyed instructions, with successive triple moves! Philip in the centre had equal luck, so at the start of the game it looked as if the bards would be busy!

However the cowardly Romans, instead of rushing ahead to meet us pell-mell like real men, decided to form a coordinated defence around the wagons...

So my warriors from the left and Philip's from the centre had ample time to ford the river before hurling themselves at the cohorts standing between them and glory. Over on the right, the dice gods had exhausted themselves on us so Terry had no choice but to hang back - it looked as if he would get no share of the glory...

Whilst our cavalry chased the Germanic cavalry off the plain, our warbands fell upon the center and left of the legion...

It was hard grinding work - the Legionnaires, pusillanimous as ever, elected to lock shields, so they were saving hits on 2s!

But my brave warriors knew that Vercingetorix was watching, so continued to dash themselves at the rocks defending the wagons.

Then, just as mine and Philip's warbands were tiring, the dice gods deigned to smile upon Terry too, and his eager warriors, including fresh horse, also hurled themselves on the Roman right... 

Now the bards that sing of this epic battle were not there, and time, and the subsequent siege, has dimmed the glory of that great raid, but all we can agree on now, as old men, is that one warband, mine, Philip's or Terry's, who can know for certain, broke through the Roman wall of steel to reach the wagons, ensuring that our tremendous dash and elan had not all been for nought!


  1. Courageous and splendid Gauls under the eyes of the famous Vercingetorix ! Great report, beautiful terrain and figures and great write up!

  2. Very impressive battle. Right up my alley too, I play To the Strongest rules for battles between the Romans and Gauls.

    This result was not known in Rome I imagine as no doubt JC did not include it in his own accounts of his Gallic campaign!

  3. It looks like another fine outing in the wargaming world my dearest Sparkles. And one must congratulate the hairies on their fine victory.

    How did the Gallics react when they searched the wagons and found them to be full of construction materials and not consumables? Ah, the challenges of command.

    von Peter himself

  4. Thanks your Vonship - Yes there had been rumours of gold before the game...

  5. I've been painting up a load of Gauls recently and I'm starting to flag but your post has given me new impetus, so many thanks.

  6. Thanks Brian, good luck with your painting!