Legio Wargames

Arelate AD 458

Scenario

When the news of the deposition of the Gallic-Roman emperor Avitus arrived in Gaul, the province refused to recognise Majorian as his successor. In 458, after consolidating his power in Italy, Majorian personally led the Italian field army, bolstered with barbarian foederati, to bring Gaul back under control. He was opposed by the Visigoths under King Theodoric II who had expanded his territories in southern Gaul and into Spain.

 

The scenario assumes the Gallo-Romans gathered sufficient forces together to join with the Visigoths to oppose Majorian in battle. The Gallic Army is composed of two independent forces with no overall commander. They are holding a defensive position.

 

The Italian Army is all under Majorian's command. The various barbarian contingents are assumed to be foederati (federates - technically part of the Roman army) rather than independent allies. Majorian is on the offensive and must attack and drive back the Gallic forces to win.

 

Players are free to set up the battlefield as they wish but it should be generally open with a few gentle hills and perhaps a small stream and copses of woods. For 15mm figures the game can be fought on a 6 x 4 foot table.

 

The orders of battle for the game using Comitatus rules are below the photograph. I hope the descriptions are generic enough that a version of the game can be played with any rules.

gaul 5th C lres

We know very little about the historical campaign or the forces involved. Majorian, supported by Aegidius and Nepotianus, inflicted a crushing defeat on Theodoric's Visigoths, forcing them to abandon territories they had occupied west of the Rhone.  

 

Although the Gallo-Roman aristocracy did not support Majorian, we do not know if they actually had any forces available to join Theodoric.  Procopius, writing in the 6th C, mentions Gallo-Roman troops so it is probably not too much of a stretch to assume some Gallo-Romans may have been present. It is also possible they could have been supported by Burgundians and Alans who were settled in the region as military allies. The Baccudae - escaped slaves and tax avoiders -  who were endemic in 5th C France may also have taken part.

 

The Visigoths were the descendants of the people who had defeated the Roman army at Adrianople in AD 378. They had been settled in southern France for several generations.  Although initially mostly foot warriors, by this point in history I have assumed a fairly high proportion of the more wealthy would have been mounted.

 

Majorian's army is largely conjectural although his two subordinates Aegidius and Nepotianus were present. We do know that much of the Italian army was composed of Germanic mercenaries and allies although I have assumed a core of Roman troops still existed.

Background

Italo-Roman and Suebi infantry from Majorian's army (foreground) advance uphill against the Gallo-Romans and Burgundians.

Visogoth Allied Contingent

Contingent Commander King Theodoric II dice for Command Points

Comitatus: 4 Heavy Javelin Cavalry, B Grade. Partially Armoured, Exceptional Morale

Cavalry: 4x2 Heavy Javelin Cavalry, B Grade, High Morale

 

Visigoth Infantry Commander 3 Command Points

Comitatus: 1Shieldwall Inf, B Grade, Armoured, High Morale

Infantry: 2x4 Shieldwall Inf, B Grade, Armoured, Average Morale

Archers: 5 Foot Archers, C Grade, Average Morale

 

Gallo-Roman Allied Contingent

Contingent Commander Marcellus 3 Command Points

Comitatus: 2 Heavy Javelin Cavalry, A Grade, High Morale

 

Gallo-Roman Infantry Commander 3 Command Points

Comitatus: 1 Heavy Javelin Cavalry, A Grade, High Morale

Burgundians: 3 Shieldwall Inf, B Grade, Average Morale

Gallo-Romans: 2x3 Shieldwall Inf, C Grade, Poor Morale

Baccaudae: 3 Javelinmen, C Grade, High Morale

Archers: 3 x 2 Foot Archers, C Grade, Poor Morale

 

Gallo-Roman Cavalry Commander 3 Command Points

Comitatus: 2 Heavy Javelin Cavalry, A Grade, High Morale

Bucellarii: 2x2 Heavy Javelin Cavalry, B Grade, High Morale

Limitanei: 3 Light Javelin Cavalry, C Grade, Average Morale

Foederati: 2 Shock Cavalry, B Grade, Average Morale

Alans: 2 Lance & Bow Cavalry, B Grade, Average Morale

Alans: 4 Light Horse Archers, B Grade, Average Morale

 

Italian Army

Commander-in Chief, Majorian dice for Command Points

Comitatus: 2 Heavy Javelin Cavalry, A Grade, Exceptional  Morale

 

Roman Cavalry Commander Aegidius 3 Command Points

Comitatus: 1 Lance & Bow Cavalry, B Grade, High Morale

Roman Cavalry: 2 x 2 Heavy Horse Archers, B Grade, Average Morale

Hun Mercenaries: 2 x 4 Light Horse Archers, B Grade, Average Morale

 

Foederati Cavalry Commander 3 Command Points

Comitatus: 1 Shock Cavalry, B Grade, Exceptional  Morale

Ostrogoths: 2x4 Shock Cavalry, B Grade, Average Morale

Rugians: 2 Shock Cavalry, B Grade, Average Morale

Heruls: 2 Shock Cavalry, B Grade, High Morale

Gepids: 2x2 Shock Cavalry, B Grade, Average Morale

Gepid Archers: 4 Foot Archers, B Grade, Average Morale

 

Infantry Commander Nepotianus 3 Command Points

Comitatus: 1 Heavy Javelin Cavalry, A Grade, High Morale

Comitatenses: 5 x 2 Roman Infantry, B Grade, Armoured, Average Morale

Palatinae: 2 x 2 Roman Infantry, A Grade, Armoured, Average Morale

Suebi: 2x2 Shock Inf, B Grade, High Morale

Archers: 3 x 2 Foot Archers, B Grade, Average Morale

Note: The numbers of troops are the numbers of 'stands' or bases. Therefore '4 heavy javelin cavalry' means 4 bases of heavy cavalry with 3 figures on each base. 4x2 heavy cavalry means 4 units each of 2 bases and so on.

 

Scale: I have used a scale of 1 heavy infantry base representing about 500 men, cavalry and light infantry half that.

 

The orders of battle are for Comitatus rules which can be downloaded for free here.

The Game

The armies are reasonably balanced. Majorian has better offensive troops and generally higher quality but he will need them as the Visigoths/Gallo-Romans only need to hold their position.

When I played the game the Visogoths won and Majorian was killed in single combat.

A full write-up of the game can be found on the Big Red Batcave blog:

duel

Marcellus (right) challenges Majorian to personal combat.