Wednesday 2 June 2021

Late Romans v Goths, Huns and usurping Roman All Stars - Second Test on the River Mauris

It was a lovely warm sunny day here at The Burrow on Saturday, so it stood  to reason that we’d all be staying indoors to play another wargame! It was to be another Ancient game using Sword and Spear. Since the previous weekend I’d completed some more units, namely one of Roman heavy cavalry, and another three of Goths; an infantry warband, noble cavalry and normal Goth cavalry. Not a bad tally in a week.  We were joined this time by John the Red, so John, Paul, Nigel and myself played the good guy Romans while Richard, Conrad and Neil were the ‘Rebel Alliance’ of misguided Romans, Huns amd Goths. The objectives were simple; crush the enemy. Control of the crossing point for the Via Lunatis was also a requirement of victory. The river separated the armies but it was only a minor obstacle. A couple of olive groves, some small woods and a ruined temple completed the largely flat terrain. I always think that Ancient games look better if they’re NOT cluttered with terrain features. I hadn’t ‘pointed up’ the armies, suffice to say all my Romans and Goths were on the table, assisted by Conrad and Richard’s contingents. I’m never too keen on slavishly adhering to army lists but Sword and Spear do have a handy Excell spreadsheet set up for a whole bunch of armies which does the adding up etc for you and tells you when you can’t have any more of a certain troop type. Interestingly when I was totalling up the army strength values before calculating army break points etc both sides had 131, which was a fluke. I’d assumed the Romans would have been stronger but no. Incidentally (and I’ve probably mentioned this before) my goal for the Romans is to produce two separate and different armies to allow for some late fourth century civil warring. The Goths were only ever meant to be an allied contingent for one side or the other. Ooooops!

Our plan was based on the assumption that the Huns would deploy facing our right wing where the ground was devoid of any terrain other than the River Mauris. We deployed all our light cavalry on this flank with all our heavy cavalry on the left, ready for a massive strike against the enemy right. Our infantry occupied the centre, deployed in two lines. I kept a small reserve of three units back should the need arise. The enemy obligingly placed the Huns facing our right as expected, with the usurping Romans on the other flank. Their centre was a mass of Goth war bands  and heavy cavalry. Nasty. 

The initial setup. L to R we have Nautius Maximus, Paulinus Faceos, Comes Diligit Auditorus Iohannes Perubium, Praefectus Carceris Claudius Ciceris, and the Goth  Swarfega. 
Ishkabar of the Huns is out of shot, as am I, Maximus Parmo.
The Roman centre
Zillions of Goths can be seen in the distance. Five large warbands.
Our right wing was held by a mixture of Roman and Hun mercenary light cavalry. 
Our Hun mercenaries facing lots of enemy Huns across the river.

The Roman left wing. All our heavy cavalry and cataphracts.

Battle has been joined. We swiftly drove off the Hun light cavalry but in the centre the Goths are advancing rapidly towards our line.
Another shot of the centre as the Goths get closer.

Both sides squaring up against each other on our left.

Mayhem on the right as our cavalry smash into the rebel Romans and Goth heavy cavalry.

More action on the right.

In the centre the Goths have crossed the river and charged the Roman line.  One Roman unit  (Legio Usarienses Comitatenses) has already been defeated. Thankfully the war band facing it was also destroyed.

A wider view of the action on the right.

Meanwhile our light cavalry had been driven off by the Hun heavy cavalry allowing for the Goths to cross the river with their horsemen ad threaten the Roman right and rear. 

On our extreme left Iohannes Perubium had sent two units of heavy cavalry around the woods to try and turn the enemy flank, guarded by a couple of rebel Limitati units.

Swarfega's Goth cavalry swept round the right flank of our line and charged two of our Legios in the flank and rear. All the while pressure is mounting on the troops in the first line facing the Goths. Will they hold?

Maximus Parmo at the head of his last reserves, the Scholae Scutatorum Secundum. 

The Goth attack in the centre begins to crumble.

The pressure is off at last.

All the Goth warbands had been destroyed and although their cavalry were in our rear there were enough troops remaining to contain them....just! We did a quick tally of losses and the Roman/Goth/Hun alliance were over their army break point. We weren't far behind them but were still in the safe zone. The game could have gone any way right up till the last turn, and to say it was a tense and exciting game would be an understatement! A great game, a great set of rules and several hours of wargaming with a great group of 'The Burrowers' again.

Richard took quite a lot of photos during the course of the game, obviously hoping to chronicle his hoped for victory. These are some images captured looking at things from the other side of the table. I've not woven them into the main narrative as I often have issues uploading photos that end up in the wrong order. 

Our centre.
The Roman right wing, the two lines clearly seen.
The extreme right of the enemy line, where their Limitati  held up our cavalry for quote some time.
Goth heavy cavalry attacking the Roman line.
Goth warbands slugging it out with the Roman centre.

Maximus Parmo looking hopeful that a victory will be won.....
Goths v Cataphracts
More of our cataphracts. They didn't really get into action.
The rebel Roman legions
The Roman battle line at the start of the game.
Hun and Goth heavy cavalry about to take the fight to the rear of our infantry.


  1. Another splendid spectacle from the Burrow!

  2. All looking very good in the sunshine there Colin.

  3. What a terrific spectacle and enjoyable narrative,

  4. Splendid looking game Colin nothing beats a table creaking under the weight of ancient armies 👍