Monday, 21 March 2016

Caesar's first invasion of Britain, 55 BCE

We thought that we might be seven players again for this game as we had been for Pharsalus. Ah how the vagaries of life spoil the plans of wargamers: Biko was busy with family commitments, David was crook and Julian is still in need of that calendar that we must buy him so that he doesn't double-book himself!! :)

So, our ANF regulars from the NWS, Stephen and Mark H., joined Mark and myself for this long-anticipated game. It would be the 'away team' vs the ANF, as Stephen and Mark opted to take the Britons.

Table at game's start. The Britons have arrayed their chariots and are yelling all manner of barbarous threats at the legions, still huddled on their boats. The eagle-bearer of the Xth has jumped into the waves, to entice his countrymen to follow...

Behind the chariots the Briton's warbands were massing. Note the inspiration from Connolly's marvellous 'Armies of Greece and Rome'. More on that on another occasion.

On the other side, the cohorts of the IXth and Xth legions are in pairs on their eight transports (one half of a pair missed the photo!).

In the woods at the north-west of the field Druids perform sacred rites to bring success to the warriors.

The paparazzi were out in force.

Spurred on by the Xth's signifer, several cohorts entered the surf and began moving to shore.

The chariots came on, slowly at first.

Then rushed at the invaders slinging arrows, javelins and assorted body parts.

Some even hit the galley armed with ballistae that Caesar had positioned to cover the landing.
A far too generous decision by the umpire. The ships should have been deemed out of range and unable to be shot at.

A tentative beachhead established, but the 'welcoming committee' was out in force.
Full of pastey Poms, just like Brighton on a sunny day, blimey!

The druids called on the spirit of the woods' bear, who duly finished his sh!tting...

and brought forth: mobs of angry warbands!

The chariots seemed to be doing fine against the legionaries though,

with the occasional set-back...

but winning more than they lost!

A '1' for the cohesion tests saves that cohort of the Xth's bacon!

The warrior queen got in on the act. She and her warriors were sent packing...

but holy Jupiter, look what was coming!

Time to take stock with three photos of the overall table at this stage.

Back with the action, a Roman victory! Scratch another chariot unit.

Romans on target again; scratch a further chariot.

(Above and below) Roman's on a roll as the left-most cohort of the Xth takes the Briton's light horse in the flank.

On the right too, the IXth drive off the Briton's light horse.

In come the warbands!

With slingers in support,

followed by more warbands!

Stalemated attacks by the chariots but they ensured that the Romans remained 'beached'.

An overview of the battlefield as the game approaches the climax.

The warbands mount a massive attack!

Legionaries hold firm. It's tense!

Another chariot broken!

But so is a legionary cohort.

The pursuit blunted.

Further warbands try to make a legionary sandwich.

 Have you ever seen so many sixes?!

More still for the cohesion test and it's a legionary unit traded for a warband!
The Romans cannot afford such high losses. Visions of warriors and bears?!

In amongst the surf, Chieftain Red Cloak attacks once more.


The remaining legions must flee to the boats

Caesar can only contemplate what might have been.

Mark and I are under no illusions; we are no Caesar—but after that little effort it would seem that we are no Caesar's... nether regions!

Well done to Stephen and Mark#. When we got half of the units moving ashore on turn 1, I thought that we were in with a good chance, but they pressed relentlessly and we were forever on the back foot, never able to form up our legions.

#See Mark's top report here.

That's three games based on three of Caesar's victories and three losses for me. Time to move to another period...

Next time: Friedland re-fought.

(Can I lose another celebrated victory from history? I'm gonna begin the scenario from around 10 am, so 28 000-odd French vs 60 000-odd Russians, so you never know...!)