Sunday 12 March 2017

Historical Match up – Early Byzantine vs. Burgundian Army.

During Belisarius’ last campaign, the Burgundian army invaded northern Italia. The Burgundians have few cavalry and therefore place their strength on the combination of tribesmen (4Wb) and their levies (Sp).

Game 1
The battlefield was quite compact that only the Burgundian could deploy its forces adequately. The Byzantine had to negotiate two narrow passages before reaching the Burgundians so the cavalry were split between a mobile right wing and the remainder would support the infantry effort to engage the enemy. The Hunnic light horse would utilise their speed to reach the rear of the Burgundian line and support the Byzantine attacks with an attack of their own.

The battle developed as the Strategos had planned and even the psiloi were able to contain a column of Burgundian tribesmen.

The Byzantine left were now successful in breaking the levies that the Strategos gave the signal for the cavalry of the right to attack.

The Burgundian tribesmen were able to beat back the cavalry and in an act of desperation to contain a breakthrough on the right, the Burgundian chieftain launched his bodyguard at the skutatoi. Despite a valiant effort the warlord was mortally wounded and carried back to camp. Bereft of their leader, the Burgundians fled the field. Score 4g – 1 Early Byzantine.

Game 2
The Burgundian was forced to deploy in deep columns because of the narrow frontage available. Their hope was to expand their formation as quickly as possible with tribesmen flanking both sides of the shield wall and the cavalry in reserve.

The Byzantine moved slowly forward so as to keep an even frontage. The slow approach did offer the Burgundians time to improve their formation.

The Burgundian right wing struck first leaving the tribesmen on the left to stare down the approach of the Byzantine cavalry.

The Byzantine left now degenerated into a number of individual combats and now it was time for the cavalry to attack.

At this point the initiative swung in favour of the Burgundian as they redoubled their effort and broke the Byzantine cavalry attack. Score 6 – 1 Burgundian.

Game 3
The battlefield for the final game afforded both sides ample room to deploy, however, the Burgundian positioned its troops close to camp knowing well the Byzantine frequent use of flanking attacks.

Supporting both flanks of the Byzantine infantry the cavalry of the left wing struck the Burgundian line first. Not far behind were the skutatoi and in a few minutes they would add their weight to the conflict.
This brought the score even at 2 -2.

In the next two turns the situation moved to a critical stage for both sides as the score reached 3 – 3.

On the Byzantine left both sides feeling the exhaustion fell back to catch their wind. The situation turned against the Burgundian as half the cavalry force was overpowered by the greater number of Byzantine cavalry. Score 4 -3 Early Byzantine.  

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