Saturday, 3 April 2021

Britannia Campaign: 16th Legion v Trinovantes Part 3 of 4 - Turns 6 to 9

Turn 6

The Roman Legate is anxious to press forward and deal with the warbands in front of him given the concerning messages he is receiving from his left wing. He has been frustratingly delayed by the activities of Trinovantes skirmishers, chariots and light horse. Here the 9th Cohort has been charged by the chariots (middle of photo). They defeated them in the subsequent melee and have pushed them back.

In response to bad news from the Tribune in command of the Roman left, the large 1st Cohort has been ordered to that flank (middle left).
Continued -
To the rear of the Legate's position, one of the Roman cavalry cohorts is being put to the sword by the pursuing Trinovantes cavalry. With no prospect of rallying they can only hope to outdistance their pursuers or the latter tire of their slaughter. 

The Roman reserve commander has joined the other cavalry cohort who are making heavy weather of defeating the Trinovantes light horse. Another inconclusive round of melee passed although they did inflict 3 casualties on the Britons for the loss of only 1.

To add to their woes, the cohorts of the Roman left flank are now peppered by javelins thrown from an adjacent wood. (I classed the woods as dense and therefore only skirmishers can traverse them. The only exception being the wood from which the Trinovantes warbands emerged - local knowledge!). 

The surging warbands who were attacking the rear of the Roman left flank scented victory. In the middle of the photo the Auxiliaries of the Equitata put up a sterling defence (rolling a double '6'!) but it was not enough to avoid them being pushed back and losing more casualties.

To the left a veteran warband struck the faltering veteran 7th Cohort who had been joined by the Tribune. A brutal melee ensued with the Romans losing 7 to the warbands 6 but they were held - for the time being! The Tribune though received a light wound and would be out of action for the next turn while his injury was seen to.

The warband engaging with the Auxiliary bowmen steadily pushed them back. As all cohesion broke down in the auxiliary ranks the tribesmen too maximum advantage butchering 14 of them for the loss of just 2. The bowmen avoided a rout but will be retreating the next turn.

An overview of the Roman right at the end of the turn.

A view of the entire battlefield at the end of the turn. The only saving grace for the Roman left is the unusually slow approach of the Trinovantes main body giving them some breathing space.
Turn 7

The veteran 9th cohort finally deals with the chariots decisively beating them. They will retreat next turn having lost 6 (3 chariots) of their number.

The routing Roman cavalry cohort outdistances the Trinovantes pursuit and leaves the board. The Legate has brought up the Batavian cavalry to counter the tribal threat.

The remaining Roman medium cavalry cohort gradually win the melee forcing the tribal light horse back with heavy loss. To the left the Equitata light horse has rallied which is ominous for the Trinovantes horse. 

The Legate rolls a double activation for the 1st cohort enabling it to move at twice the speed to reinforce the left flank.

The heroic efforts of 2 Roman cohorts improve the prospects for the left flank. Here the 8th Cohort advance to reinforce the Auxiliary cohort in melee with a warband. The well-drilled troops catch the warband unawares. Such is the shock the warband routs losing 7 to the Roman 3. The Romans in their elation will pursue them.

The veteran 7th Cohort are unformed and in danger of being destroyed by a veteran warband. They fight a desperate action forcing the warband back. Each side loses 5 casualties reflecting the vulnerability of the Legions when unformed.

Unformed by the retreating Batavians, the Auxiliary Gallorum cohort had no time to react as the pursuing warband piled into their rear. The tribal warriors slaughtered 10 of their number for the loss of 2 causing the Auxiliary to retreat.

The Batavian cavalry now drove off the unit of slingers.

An overview of the Roman right flank at the end of the turn.

The Roman left now looked a little better but still in a serious situation with more warbands descending on them from the front. The javelinmen in the woods continued to harass the nearest Roman cohorts but to little effect.
Turn 8

The Trinovantes medium cavalry on the Roman right were themselves now caught by the Batavian cavalry. Taking the opportunity before the Britons could reform the Batavians ploughed into their rear. Although heavily outnumbered the Batavians inflicted enough damage to cause the Trinovantes cavalry into an uncontrolled retreat which would see them depart the battlefield.

Elsewhere on the Roman left, the lead Legionary cohorts were now heavily engaged with Trinovantes warbands.

On the left the veteran 10th Cohort launched their pilums into the mass of warriors prior to charging home. Although the warband fought well the disciplined Roman troops forced them back losing a total of 14 including those who succumbed to thrown pilums compared to 4 Romans.

On the right, the veteran 9th Cohort aslo launched their pilums inflicting 6 casualties before contact. The warband was already unformed so stood little chance against the Legionaries. They were forced to retreat having lost 6 more to the Roman's 4.

The end came for the Trinovantes light horse who had fought ferociously to hold the Roman medium cavalry. As the light horse were steadily pushed back with mounting casualties, the rallied Equitata light horse charged into their rear. The Trinovantes were wiped out to a man.

On the Roman left, the combined 8th Cohort and the surviving Equitata auxiliaries pursued the routing warband cutting down 12 more of their number. The presence of the Trinovantes commander failed to prevent the warband from fleeing the field.

The veteran 7th Cohort now fought a desperate melee with a veteran warband. The Romans being unformed lost 6 to the warband 4 but held for another round.

The Roman left was further stabilised when the 6th Cohort charged a large warband. Having launched their pilums inflicting 6 casualties they won the ensuing melee inflicting 7 more for the loss of 5. The warband had seen enough and now routed.

Disaster though for the Batavian cavalry on this flank. They were caught between 2 warbands and slaughtered on the spot.

An overview of the Roman left at the end of the turn.

The Roman right flank.

An overview at the end of turn 8.
Turn 9

The Roman right flank under the command of the Legate now made good progress. The lead Roman cohort on the right clashed with a group of slingers routing them for no loss.

The lead cohort on the left, the 10th, having pushed back their opposing warband, now forced them to retreat inflicting 7 casualties for the loss of just 1.

The view of the Trinovantes left flank from the village was a cause of concern!

The unformed 7th Cohort continued to struggle against a veteran warband and were now pushed back for the loss 6 inflicting only 1 casualty on the warriors. Help is at hand though as a reformed cohort on the right prepared to intervene. 

The 2 triumphant warbands, elated having despatched the Batavians, failed to notice the veteran 5th Cohort (middle left) as they charged toward their exposed flank. Morale collapsed with one warband routing (bottom left) and the other retreating (middle left) leaving the ground open for the Romans to occupy.

The victorious 6th Cohort, having routed one warband (upper middle) continued their advance straight into a large disordered warband. The Trinovantes chieftain, seeing the danger of collapse, joined the warband for the melee. Once again the 6th Cohort proved the quality of their training (although only rated average) overcoming the warriors forcing them to retreat with the loss of 5 for 2 on the Romans.

An overview of the Roman left flank now stabilised. The arrival of the 1st Cohort (middle left) may not now be needed!

An overview at the end of turn 9. The Trinovantes, so confident of success having surprised the Roman left, are now looking rather more anxious! Time for the villagers to panic?


  1. Wow, I didn't expect the Romans to turn things round so effectively in a few Turns! Their training and drill seem to be paying handsome dividends, but it's not over until the fat lady sings as they say. As always the lovely and clear photos make it very easy to follow the action. Also having bite sized chunks of AAR are much more easy to digest.

    1. A few lucky dice throws helped the Romans too but yes it was their 'drilled' status that saw them through it. Becoming unformed could be fatal!

      Many thanks for your comments about having AAR's broken down into several parts. It is very useful to have feedback as to what is working and what is not. I was conscious of some of my AAR's becoming overly long which can be a turn-off. Unless I hear otherwise I will continue with this style which also makes for more frequent postings.

  2. Jon,
    I've been following your blog for some time now. I was getting into the Napoleon campaign, and then you switched to the Britannia campaign, which I am enjoying too. I looked back and now understand why you switch. I sort of do the same thing too, but with somewhat limited room, I conclude one era's campaign more quickly and move on to the next. At any rate, picking up at any point in any of your campaigns is always entertaining, and the AAR's are about the best I've read in my limited experience.

    You refer to the Hail Caesar book and the Britannia supplement which you are basing this campaign on and adapting it's rules. One of my favorite aspects of this hobby is taking rules, "making them your own" so to speak, until you are satisfied (if you ever can get to that point). And, I love to know how others do this, how their rules look in the end, and so on. So if you have the adapted campaign and battle rules documented, and they are available to be viewed, I'd be grateful.
    Thanks, Jon.

    1. Many thanks for your comments Dale and pleased you are enjoying the blog. The modifications to the General de Brigade rules are quite substantial to make them suitable for ancients. They are very much a work in progress and changes have been made during this game where I have found anomalies. The changes to the campaign book are relatively modest.

      I can by all means send you copies but please bear in mind they are more in note form for me rather than for public viewing. The rules themselves are mostly in QRS format and a copy of the General de Brigade rules, or at least a good working knowledge of those rules is advisable to put flesh on them.

      If you let me have your email address I will send you copies - they are in Open Office format.
      All the best

  3. Good morning Jon, very interesting outcome, as you say just a few throws of the dice and everything turned around. Allowing for the Roman ability to stay formed whenever possible I think all would agree the Trinovantes put up a really good show.
    As far as your mods to GdB I would also be interested in a copy even in rough format.
    Again thanks for all your work on this it is always welcome when I sit down of an evening to find one of your posts to occupy my thoughts...

    Regards Peter

    1. Many thanks Peter and pleased you continue to enjoy the blog. As with Dale, if you could let me have your email I will send them out. I have a few more tweaks to do today before I do so.
      All the best,

  4. Roman training and discipline. It looked as though they'd be toasted, but they appear to have won through?
    Regards, James

    1. Training aside they were damn lucky. I had mentally written off that Roman flank!

  5. An epic clash, with a seeming dramatic turn around for the Romans!