Thursday 3 May 2018

Significant Battles, 550 – 559 AD (turn 5):

Battle near Lyon, 552. Austrasian victory over Burgundy.
Austrasia fight the Visigoths, 552 giving Frankia her first victory over the Visigoths.
Battle of Poitiers, 553.

Battle near Lyon in Burgundy, 552 AD
Pursuing his ambition to annex Burgundy Theudebert and the king of Burgundy agreed the question should be resolved by a force of arms. The deployed armies revealed that both Austrasian and Burgundian forces to have equal number of foot and mounted. Both infantry compliment formed the first line which was supported by cavalry. The blaring of horns marked the signal for both lines to move forward.

The Austrasian line marked a slower pace to allow the militia to extend the right flank. During this phase, Frankish skirmishers moved out to harass their Bavarian counterpart.

Within 40 paces both sides charged crashing shield against shield with the Austrasian proving more resilient in the combat that followed. This forced the Bavarian line back 40 paces. On the Austrasian left, Frankish infantry opened their ranks to allow the reserve cavalry to engage their opposite number.

The casualties inflicted by the Bavarian infantry created a gap in the Frankish shieldwall. Without hesitation Theudebert and his guard charged the enemy pouring through and with the help of his militia these sealed the fate of the warband column. More casualties fell on the Bavarian side sending their army into full flight handing Theudebert a decisive victory and a kingdom (5 – 1).

 Theudebert engages the Visigoths, 552 AD.
Continuing his campaign in the south, Theudebert received news of a Visigothic invasion of Lower Austrasia. Gathering his forces he reached Albi, just north of Toulouse and there met the Visigoths. Frankish cavalry were augmented by Gothic allies and the battlefield provided good ground for mounted troops. A single hill and small village offered the only possible defensive locations and here Theudebert used the hill to anchor his right flank.  

Wheeling to meet the Visigothic line provided Theudebert an opportunity to clear the village of any enemy. From there, Frankish infantry could attack the Visigothic flank. The Visigoths were of like mind as they sent their skirmishers to seize the hill and from there support the general attack of their cavalry.

Switching tempo, the Visigoths pushed forward their infantry against the Frankish militia. This move offered the Franks time to reposition their troops. Nonetheless, in the ensuing fight the Visigothic infantry crushed the Frankish militia break leaving Theudebert’s right flank seriously exposed. The sudden loss of the entire militia forced Theudebert to commit all his cavalry (3 – 0).

The situation was very desperate, but seeing their leader fighting in the front line raised the spirits of the Frankish troops to retake the initiative and slowly turn a nearly lost battle to gain a narrow victory  over the Visigoths (4 – 3).   

Battle of Poitiers, 553 AD.
The battle actually was near Poitiers took place on an open plain. The field was sparse and notable for a small village, a lake and a few gentle hills. The Visigothic position formed in front of the village and here the infantry deployed in deep columns with the majority of the Visigothic mounted positioned on their right. Across the field, Theudebert placed his own infantry facing the enemy foot and all his cavalry to face their mounted with his Gothic allies forming the left flank.

The Visigothic cavalry walked slowly forward giving the infantry time to close the distance to the Frankish position on the hill.  

Formations quickly degenerated into a disjointed series of small combats with the Franks inflicting more casualties (2 – 1).

The Visigoths however, redoubled their effort killing more Frankish infantry to add to a quickly increasing death toll. Then disaster struck when the Visigothic king and bucellarii wheeled and struck down Theudebert sending the Franks into a panic, fleeing the battlefield (5g – 1).

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