Tuesday 21 August 2018

939 AD, the Battle of Trans-la- Fôret

In the year 936, the political landscape of northern France was in a state of flux. Following the death of Rudolph of France and Louis IV ascending the throne of West Francia the Bretons seized an opportunity to divest themselves of Frankish hegemony and rose in revolt. Receiving some support from Athelstan of England, the Bretons were able to expand their rebellion throughout most of the peninsula and this brought them in direct confrontation with the Northmen colonists living within the region. Through the course of three long hard fought years, the campaign against the Northmen reached a conclusion at Trans-la-Fôret. On August 1, 939,  A Breton army lead by Alan II and supported by the counts  Hugh II of Maine and Judicael Berengar of Rennes, decisively defeated the Vikings bringing an end to their occupation of the region and the establishment of the Duchy of Brittany.

The Battlefield
Travelling south from Mont Saint-Michel Bay over the Coustenon River you can beach longships along a tributary within a kilometre from Trans-la-Fôret. Where the battle actually took place remains unknown, but the region is characterised with rolling hills covered by forests. Even Gregory of Tours as describes the region as sparsely populated in addition to it being heavily forested and hilly. The presence of wood enabled the Vikings to construct a fort near the river making La Guyoult the most likely candidate for a battle site.

Our battlefield should feature woods (2), a river, a gentle hill and a fort. We recommend using an 80cm x 80cm board with the maximum dimensions of the fort being 3BW x 3BW. If using a smaller board, then omit the river and use medium size wood (2BW x 3BW or 3BW x 4BW).

The Armies
The Vikings
The Viking are taken from Book III/40b which list eleven blade (4Bd) and one element of either berserker (3Wb) or archers (Ps or 4Bw).

The Bretons
In Book III/18 we find the Bretons of this period and it is quite possible to field an all mounted force. If selecting two horde (7Hd) options in place of mounted, the disguised Saxon option is not applicable.

The Setup
The Vikings are defending, determine which quadrant the ‘fort’ is to be placed and position this adjacent to the board edge. One element must garrison the ‘fort’ with the remainder of the Viking host positioned within their deployment area.

The Breton player deploys his army opposite the Viking fort. 

Recommended Reading.
La chronique de Nantes (570 environ-1049)  


  1. Hope you play out the battle on the bigger board, so all the recommended terrain pieces are used.

  2. Christopher,
    Our standard board size is 80cm x 80cm.

  3. Great, I am looking forward to the above mentioned setup and the battle reports!