Legio Wargames

The Legio Blog

By smacdowall, Aug 15 2016 04:49PM

Back in July I went to Toledo in search of the Goths and to finish off my draft of my next book for Pen and Sword.

Although Toledo was the Visigothic Capital they did not leave much of an architectural legacy. A few interesting items are gathered together in the Museum of Visigothic culture and there are a few traces of them in some of the older churches.

Just a short train journey from Madrid, Toledo is a wonderfully atmospheric medieval city and well worth a visit.

The alcazar, or citadel has been transformed into a military museum telling Spain’s military history from the Celtiberians and Romans through to modern Afghanistan.

Part of the museum is dedicated to telling the story of ‘toy soldiers’ from the original German flats through to modern miniatures. There are some wonderful dioramas and collections and I quite happily spent a few hours admiring them and thinking about my next projects.

A new Spanish Tercio is almost certain to be one of these.

By smacdowall, Oct 22 2012 09:23AM

While the Visigoths were driving the Huns from the hill and halting the Ostrogoth advance, on Attila’s right, King Adaric was advancing his formidable force of mounded and foot warriors against the Roman/Frankish line. The streams seen in the photo below were purely decorative, although it is highly likely there were some on the battlefield as the Gothic historian Jordanes mentions brooks running red with blood afterwards.

The Roman Bucelarii and Armorican cavalry attempted to skirmish with the German cavalry but came a cropper when they did not roll high enough on their move dice when evading. The Roman cavalry commander had to charge forward with his Palatine Cavalry to shore up the situation - a close up of which is below.

Adaric’s foot warriors came on rapidly, too rapidly for Attila’s liking as they fell into disorder as they advanced. This gave Aetius’ Franks and opening and rather than stand passively they surged forward to meet the attack by their cousins from across the Rhine. This succeeded in taking the impetus out of Adaric’s attack.

The two pictures below show firstly the view from the Roman/Saxon/Frankish line as Adaric’s wing advances and secondly the moment as Adaric’s men charge forward.

The Huns had meanwhile been subjecting the Alans in the centre, to repeated volleys of arrows. As the morale of the Alan light cavalry was beginning to waiver, Sangiban withdrew them back behind his heavy lancers and was preparing to try to advance forward in an attempt to drive the Huns horse archers away.

This would have been the time for Attila himself to lead a charge by the second line of Hun cavalry. However he was already committed, having taken some of his reserves to left flank in an attempt to stop the Visigoth breakthrough. He led his own comitatus into combat with King Theodoric, and although he was able to stop the Visigoth king from advancing further, he was unable to force him to retire. By this point Thorismund had succeeded in routing the remaining Huns on the hill and, although he sustained a serious wound in the process, he was now in a position to come to his father’s aid.

As dusk was falling, Attila decided to break off from combat and, under cover of the Thuringian, Scirian and Rugian shieldwalls, begin a withdrawal back to the wagon laager. The picture below show the overview of the field at the end of the game,

There had been a lot of personal intervention by the various leaders during the battle, as is quite appropriate for the period. Theodoric, Thorismund, Attila, Adaric, the Roman cavalry commander and Visigoth foot commander had all lead at least one charge into combat. Yet, defying the odds there were no casualties other than Thorismund who was seriously wounded at the moment he broke the Huns on the hill. But of all the leaders, it was without doubt the old King Theodoric (pictured below) who played the most decisive part and whose praises the bards will be singing for many years to come.

The scenario worked very well indeed and I am looking forward to another go with multiple players and maybe a few more troops (keeping the proportions roughly the same). For the Society of Ancients Battle Day I am thinking of offering a prize to the player whose actions are most likely to be remembered by the bards.

More pictures, including close-ups of the varous leaders can be viewed on Simon Miller's blog

By smacdowall, Oct 21 2012 07:11PM

I finally got my ancients out again last weekend for a game of Comitatus with Simon Miller.

We decided to do a dry run of the Battle of Chalons scenario which I will be hosting at the Society of Ancients Battle Day in April.

Simon took the part of Aetius while I played Attila and we deployed historically. The battlefield had a large hill on the Hun left but other than that all the other terrain features were purely for aesthetic purposes.

The view from the Hun centre. To their right are the contingents of Gepids, Heruls, Franks and other Germans under Adaric’s command.

... and here on Attila’s left are the Ostrogoths, Thuringians, Scirii and Rugians and further still another contingent of Huns who are going to race the Visigoths for command of the hill.

However the Visigothic cavalry commanded by Thorismund are not going to let the Huns have the heights without a tough fight.

...and the Visigoths get to the top of the hill first, with King Theodoric coming up behind in close support.

As Thorismund began to drive the Huns off the hill, Theodoric wheeled around to charge the Ostrogoths in the flank as they advanced on the Visigoth infantry.

To be continued,,,

By smacdowall, Oct 11 2011 02:26PM

A great game with Simon Miller as Theodoric II and Dave Allen as Majorian last weekend using Comitatus rules. Simon has written it up on his blog. As the Gallo-Roman commander my most notable feat was defeating Majorian in single combat. After that my scruffy infantry held the line long enough for the noble Theodoric to break through.

The scenario with full orders of battle are now posted in the Scenario section

The challenge to single combat
The challenge to single combat
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