Tumultu ad Molendinum or “Trouble at t’Mill” 468 AD
The Battle Field
The Barbarians are deployed on the Northern edge around the Mill and Granary complex.
The buildings complex constitutes rough ground. This means that formed units can cross only 1 move at a time. To the south of the building runs a road crossing west to east which is open ground but south of this lie irrigated fields, orchards and shallow ponds used for fish and fowl hunting. These also count as rough ground.
Running west to east in the centre of the battlefield is a shallow river. Again this counts as rough ground except at the two fords and the bridge where a single formed unit can cross without restriction. There is another irrigated field across the river opposite the Mill. To the far west of the map is a walled field bordering the river bank. The southern wall counts as a linear obstacle and as cover.
The Southern edge of the map represents a Forest and there is a gentle hill just North of this in centre. Some terrain pieces representing more dense areas of Woods are placed near the edge. The scattered trees, hedges and rocks are purely decorative.
The Romans are to enter, marching out of the forested Southern edge. Formed units are assumed to have entered in march column. On a failed first turn order they can still enter the map and deploy into battle line for free. They are advised not to remain in march column. The Romans take the first turn.
The Barbarian Cavalry are not deployed at set up. They are out hunting and scouting for the Romans who have in fact come via a little known route through the Forest. Hearing the War Horns and the clash of battle they will return. On the roll of a 4+ they can enter the map on the barbarian turn 2, 3+ on turn 3 and automatically on turn 4. They should be deployed entering from the Northern edge to the east. A single unit of marauding Huns could be placed entering along the road to the west of the buildings complex.
The side which forces its opponents to break is considered the victor. Failing that the side deemed most in control of the Mill will be awarded victory.
Individual victory for the leaders can be gained as follows:
Childeric wins if the barbarians win and his division loses less than Hengest’s.
Hengest wins if the barbarians win and Riothamus dies or is wounded.
Riothamus wins if the Romans win and Hengest dies or Riothamus’ division loses less than 1/4 formed units.
Arvandus wins if the Romans win and Riothamus dies or his division loses less formed units than Riothamus’.
What happened next
The Romans (Mike; Riothamus, Andy; Arvandus and Fortunatus) entered from the southern edge and the Saxons (Phil; Hengest)and Franks (Darryl; Childeric) advanced rapidly from the North to meet them. Hengest and the Saxons formed up on the Northern river bank of the eastern edge and the Franks crossed the bridge and the river on the western edge. In the centre the Saxon warband stalled in the face of the Roman Spearmen led by Fortunatus and deployed in Swine Array.
The Roman cavalry advanced to cross the river’s eastern end but were driven back by the Saxons. To the west the Franks drove the Romans back towards the forest but soon became involved in a long drawn out bloody affair in which the Roman commander Arvandus was slain. However the Romans refused to break until they had inflicted heavy casualties and tied up Childeric’s force for the entire battle. In fact it was only through the Valiant determination of his Comitatus Bodyguard that Childeric was able to survive and claim superiority on the eastern end of the field (re-rolling a failed break test successfully).
To the centre both Warbands stalled in the face of the sharp Roman spears and were pushed back into the river and destroyed utterly. This opened up a gap in the centre of the field.
To the east the Roman cavalry rallied, regrouped and charged yet again across the river and ford towards the Saxon shieldwall where Hengest stood bravely in the front rank. By now the Frankish barbarian cavalry had arrived. Waiting for a gap in the shieldwall to open up they watched from the ridge. Unfortunately the cavalry had to separate their units in an attempt to hold off the Roman spearmen threatening the shieldwall’s western flank leaving the heavy cavalry unsupported.
With night falling however, the Franks had successfully defended the granary up until this point.
Under pressure from the cataphracts and the British cavalry, the two unsupported flanks of the shieldwall broke and were destroyed. Leaving only Hengest and his Saxons in the centre. Hengest was wounded in the fight but did manage to drive off the cataphracts and light cavalry opposing. To the west and east however the Roman cavalry swept past thundering into the unsupported Frankish cavalry led by the Prince to the far Eastern edge and into the retreating Saxon shieldwall. The Frankish cavalry were unable to defeat the victorious Britons. In the ensuing melee the Frankish Prince Arnulf slew Riothamus in personal combat. However he found himself surrounded and was captured by the British cavalry. His own men fled the field after just one round of combat despite being fresh whereas the British had sustained many losses against the Saxon infantry. In the centre the Barbarian cavalry were also destroyed by the Roman infantry being unable to make headway against the Roman Long spears advancing in numbers, supported by archers.
With two commands lost therefore the barbarians were defeated. Riothamus and Arvandus were both dead however so this was somewhat a Pyrrhic victory. Hengest was heavily wounded after the two battles and was forced to return to Saxony to recuperate. This left Childeric alone unharmed and without a close pursuit he was able to retire safely to Tournai in Salian Frankish lands to plan the next campaigning season.