Legio Wargames

The Battle of Maserfield AD 642

Following his victory over Cadwallon ap Cadfan at Heavenfield, the 'saintly' Oswald of Northumbria is looking to extend his power southwards. The pagan Penda, King of the Mercians is an obstacle to this and Oswald supports Penda's brother Eowa's claim to the Mercian crown. He advances  south into what is now Shropshire. Penda and Cadwallon have been allies for some time in an attempt to block Northumbrian power and they join forces to meet the invading Northumbrians at Maserfield (modern location unknown).

 

Oswald is defeated and both he and Eowa are killed. Oswald's head, hands and arms were placed on stakes and later Oswald was revered as a saint and martyr. According to Bede, Cadwallon "though he bore the name and professed himself a Christian, was so barbarous in his disposition and behaviour, that he neither spared the female sex, nor the innocent age of children, but with savage cruelty put them to tormenting deaths, ravaging all their country for a long time, and resolving to cut off all the race of the English within the borders of Britain.

 

Orders of Battle below. 

Given his saintly reputation Oswald must have a holy man as one of his supernumerary choices. The allies as pagans joined forces with unsaintly Christians may not include a holy man.

 

 

Northumbrians

King Oswald's retinue:   2 Heavy Infantry A Grade

 

Eowa's Retinue:   1 Heavy Infantry A Grade

Followers    2 Heavy Infantry B Grade

Followers    2 Heavy Infantry B Grade

 

Northumbrian Retinue:     1 Heavy Infantry A Grade

Followers     2 Heavy Infantry B Grade

Followers     2 Heavy Infantry B Grade

 

Northumbrian Retinue:      1 Heavy Infantry A Grade

Followers      2 Heavy Infantry B Grade

Followers      2 Heavy Infantry B Grade

Allies

King Penda's Retinue  2 Heavy Infantry A Grade

 

Mercian Retinue     1 Heavy Infantry A Grade

Followers     3 Heavy Infantry B Grade

Followers     3 Heavy Infantry B Grade

 

Cadwallon's Retinue    1 Cavalry A Grade

Followers      2 Cavalry B Grade

Followers      2 Light Infantry C Grade

 

British Retinue     1 Medium Infantry B Grade

Followers     2 Medium Infantry B Grade

Followers     2 Medium Infantry B Grade

A Scenario for Shieldwall

Centre Ground

Deployment Area

1 bow shot from the horizontal centreline

1 bow shot from each of the table ends

Deployment Area

1 bow shot from the horizontal centreline

1 bow shot from each of the table ends

Terrain and Deployment

 

You do not need more than a 4 x 2 foot table to play this scenario in 15mm scale. The battlefield should represent rolling wooded country with a clear area in the centre where the armies will meet. The centre ground (see map) extends one bow shot each side of the horizontal centre line and one and a half bow shots from the vertical.

 

The Northumbrian player chooses and lays out the terrain. The centre ground must be kept free of difficult terrain except for up to one low hill. Any number of wooded areas and low hills may be placed in the flanking and deployment areas. There may also be a fordable stream on one of the flanks. Once the terrain is laid out the  Allied player chooses which side he wishes to deploy on. He also has to option to add or remove one terrain piece, again keeping the centre ground free.  

 

Both sides deploy simultaneously in one line with no reserves.

 

Victory Contitions

 

The Northumbrians need to drive the Mercians from the field, ideally killing Penda in the process. This would allow Oswald to place Eowa on the Mercian throne. It is less important to destory the Britons as they could probably be pursuaded to switch allegience.

 

As they are defending home territory the Allies really only need to hold their ground and prevent Oswald from achieving an outright victory

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