Tuesday 16 May 2023

Roman Tour - the Batavi

During the early campaigns of Nero Claudius Drusus on the lower Rhine, he met the Batavi and later the Frisii in 12 BC. In this series of games Rome invade the Batavi homeland bordering the Rhine filled with marsh and woods. 

Deployed at the edge of and open field, the Batavi were in a good position with the Rhine River to their left and right flank secured by marsh. At the field’s opposite end, Rome formed deeper columns to compensate for the limited space. To solve this, Rome would need to advance further to deploy adequately. Adding to Rome’s plight, Batavi warriors could be seen landing ashore beyond the marshland to their right.  

As Rome moved forward, a unit of auxilia was sent to deal with landing threatening the right flank. The Batavi easily advanced through the marsh area overrunning the auxilia. Not stopping to plunder, the landing party charged the legionary cohorts held in reserve. 

To Rome’s surprise, the assault put a number of cohorts in rout. To contain the adverse situation, Roman cavalry charged the barbarians. The Batavi proved resilient, not succumbing to the cavalry attack and this encouraged the rest of the army to come to grips with the remaining legion and auxilia. 

The battle quickly became a shambles forcing the Rome no other option but to withdraw and recover the debacle. A victory for the Batavi, 4 – 3.

Refurbishing its losses, Rome encountered the Batavi on a field allowing adequate room for deployment.  Facing them, the Batavi gathered all its forces in deep columns for the final battle. 

Half the legion advanced with the remainder forming a second line as a reserve. Auxilia troops were positioned on both flanks to support the main assault.

On the Roman right, auxilia cleared the wood of enemy skirmishers while the equites maneuvered around the enemy position to assault other units on that flank. This done, the legion made its advance toward the Batavi centre, but eager for a fight, the Batavi struck first.  

The battle in centre quickly heated up prompting its commander to join in to contain the barbarian tide. 

The battle swung in favour for the Romans when auxilia and equites destroyed the Batavian left flank exposing the Batavian centre.

Retiring to a position alongside the artillery, the bolt shooters laid down a devastating barrage sending the Batavi to rout off the field. Rome victorious, 4 – 2. 



The success of the littoral landing was helped by a generous pip score, resulting in the quick elimination of the auxilia guarding the Roman right flank. On the following bound, a low pip score by Rome enabled the Batavi to cripple further the use of its reserve. The timely assault on Rome’s forward elements sealed a Batavian victory. 

Rome did salvage its prestige in the second battle with effective use of auxilia infantry and cavalry. As expected, Roman casualties were greatest among the legion, but its second line did recover the situation. Without exception, the artillery has proven their value throughout the tour.


Early Imperial Roman

1 x General (Cv), 1 x equites (Cv), 4 x legionnaires (4Bd), 3 x auxilia infantry (4Ax), 1 x archers (Ps), 1 x light horse (LH), 1 x artillery (Art).


1 x General (Cv), 2 x heroes with long spear (4Wb), 7 x warriors (3Wb), 2 x skirmishers (Ps).


Historical note.

The II/47d list can be used for either Batavi or Cherusci. Historically, the Cherusci may use the Suevi as allies and not the Batavi.

No comments:

Post a Comment