Thursday 8 February 2024

Rome against the Goths

From their recently established kingdom in southern Gaul, the Goths plundered nearby Roman lands and lay siege to the city of Arles in 427. The Magister Equitum assigned to defend Gaul, collected troops to relieve the city. Aside from the scant number of field army units, Germanic troops made an additional portion of the army as well as an independent tribe of Huns. The Goths, who had established themselves a decade before in Aquitania and Novempopulania, had supplanted the Roman governors and other bureaucratic officials, yet many Roman citizens opted to remain behind, among them included garrison and auxiliary units. 


Both commands, Patrician Roman and Early Visigoths, are double size and include a sub-general.


To be placed by the defender, a BUA (hamlet), a road, one gentle hill and two wood.


Game one

The Visigoths amassed their cavalry on the right, preparing to encircle the Roman flank resting on the village. At the same time, Visigothic infantry in centre and citizen auxilia would hold the legions at bay.

The encircling maneuver floundered against the wily Huns, prompting the Visigothic warlord to change his attack plans.

The lines clashed and buckled, eventually the Visigothic heavy cavalry broke the Feoderati, breaching the Roman line. 

On the Roman right, the cavalry could make no impression on the auxilia and were repulsed with each effort. The conflict changed when Gothic skirmishers emerged from the wood to seal a victory for the Visigoths, 9 – 2.


Game two

A subsequent battle found the Visigothic infantry defending a gentle hill in centre and flanked to either side, the Gothic cavalry. Auxilia infantry and skirmishers protected the rear area in anticipation of a Hunnic encirclement.

Rome closed the distance to approach the Visigothic centre. This left their left flank exposed, an opportunity the Visigoths seize upon. As the Visigothic cavalry moved to strike the exposed Roman flank, Hunnic cavalry appeared around the wood.

Committed to the attack, the Visigothic cavalry struck the Roman equites, but with fewer number. The entire battle line shuddered with the clash of sword on shields.

Roman lancers and legionnaires streamed through the gaps in the Visigothic centre effectively breaking them to continue the fight. Rome 8 – 2.


I have not used this matched pair, Patrician Roman and the Later Visigoths, and was therefore pleased with the results. Strengths and weakness were balanced for both sides, despite the high percentage of barbarian troops employed by Rome. The Huns tied down Visigothic reserves and in game two, arrived in time to reduce the enemy cavalry of their full potential.

No comments:

Post a Comment