Tuesday 5 October 2021

The Franks and the German Confederation 406

 The great German migration of 406 moved along the Danube to skirt the territories held by the Alamanni and Burgundi before reaching the Rhine. However, their search for a suitable crossing was contested by the inhabitants of the eastern bank of the Rhine, the Franks. Friction between the two great tribes escalated and in the summer of 406, several intense engagements took place leading to a final battle on August 23rd, ending with the Vandals losing 20,000 men and King Godegisl, yet the late arrival of the Alan forced the Franks to withdraw. That winter and faced with near starvation, the German confederation crossed a frozen Rhine River to enter the Gallic province of Western Rome. 

Alan arrival

One of the difficulties of creating a scenario for the final battle is the timely arrival of the Alan. The conventional method is the cast of one die each turn to determine a successful arrival. Alternatively, one’s score can denote the number of turns before arrival on the field. Another solution was devised for our test games and is not for the faint-hearted. 

In this scenario, the Vandal die cast will remain hidden (dice cup), this will be revealed after incurring the first element lost. Alan arrival is successful after one element lost (1,2), two elements (3,4) or three elements (5,6).  To compensate what may seem a disadvantage, late arrivals may enter at any board edge on the  Vandal player’s following bound.  


The forces

Using the army list from DBA3 we have the following composition of forces.

Ripuarian Franks

1 x General (Cv) or on foot (4Wb), 10 x warriors (4Wb), 1 x archers or javelinmen (Ps).

 Hasdingi Vandals (King Godegisl)

1 x General (3Kn), 1 x nobles (3Kn), 7 x warriors (4Wb), 1 x dregs (Ps), and an allied contingent 2 x Alans (LH) arriving later.


In the series of three test games, the attacker did pursue an aggressive game knowing that off table troops could enter at any board edge.

Game one, the Alani arrived on the third bound (a score of one element lost) to seal a Vandal victory, 5 – 3.

Game two
, a similar score allowed the Alani to enter on the fourth bound. Unfortunately, the Franks were on a killing spree to reach 4 – 0 by turn five.

Game three, the Franks did not move from their initial position, risking an Alani arrival reaching the Frankish rear. After an initial clash and the loss of an element each, the Vandal needed one more element to have the Alani join the battle. As if on cue with a pip score of six, the Franks dealt a killing frenzy to secure a 5 – 1 victory just before the arrival of the Alani.

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