Thursday, 13 January 2022

Battle of Soissons, Northern Gaul 486AD.

 This article is my personal interpretation of historical events based on the limited information available. Any mistakes are my own.

As Arthur struggled against the invading Seaxons in the north of Britannia, the political landscape was changing in Gaul. Childeric, the King of the Franks had died leaving his son Clovis to rule the *Kingdom.

*Note; Childeric may have been a Roman appointed Dux or Comes but by this time these Officials were being regarded as a Rex or King.

When Aetius died there was no single person in the West with enough influence or the military strength, to keep the tribal groups from breaking out of their  settled areas. Therefore Clovis decided to expand the Frankish Kingdom by first using a combination of force and diplomacy to unite all the Frankish tribes under his rule.

Secondly, having suceeded his father, Clovis had no compunction in continuing the alliance with the Kingdom of Soissons which he saw as the last vestige of the failed Roman Empire in the west. Soissons itself was also an armoury.

In June 486 AD, Clovis led an army of 5,000 warriors south across  the river Aigne, to the east of Soissons. Syagrius, being told of the approach of the Franks realised that he would have to meet this army head on. There was no help coming from the Empire because the   " Roman Army" in the west was Visigothic and they held all the ground between the river Loire and Italy.

Therefore, Syagrius could not sit behind the walls of his Capital. He was not to know that this would be the " Last Hurrah" of the Old Empire,-------


ARMY OF SOISSONS;

6,000 Infantry = 6pts x 5 = 30 points.

1,000 Cavalry = 1 pt x 5 = 5 points. (No armour, shield, helmet, sword, javelins, )

1 General [ Syagrius ] @ 1 point.

1 Tribune [ Arbelius ]fictional @ 1 point.

2 stands of Regular Infantry @ 3 points = 6 points.

8 stands of Auxilliary nfantry @ 2 points = 16 points.

7 stands of Light Archers @ 1 point = 7 points.


THE FRANKISH ARMY;

5,000 Infantry = 5pts x 5 = 25 points.

Clovis @ 2 points.

Ragnachar @ 1 point.

Chararic @ 1 point.

3 stands of Archers @ 1 point = 3 points.

9 stands of Warriors @ 2 points = 18 points.


Battle Notes;

* The Franks retain the Initiative Point for the entire battle.

* The Frank's move first and fire first on the first Game-Turn.

* The river Aigne can only be crossed at the bridges.

* If the Franks retreat, they can only exit the board over the bridge at Venizels.

* If the Romans retreat ,it will be southward  at Berzy-le-Sec.

*Chararic  and his group of three stands cannot move for the first two Game-Turns. On the third Game-Turn his group can be moved as part of the Frankish army.

* The battle is played for 8 Game-Turns. The Winner is the side that inflicts the greater number of casualties and/or manages to push the enemy to their respective exit points.

* The game board is  3 feet x 2 feet ( 90cm x 60cm).

Here is the map;

Historical Notes;

Nearly everything written above is pure conjecture. The only information known, is that there was a battle, the combatants, the place and thats all. I went on to the British Battles website as , during World War 1, Soissons was part of the battle of Arras. I could also be wrong because in referring to Soissons the old writers could have been referring to any place within the entire Province rather than the City itself.

 However I reasoned that if this was going to be a decisive battle, it would be at the City. The map on the British Battles website gave me some detail about the terrain. Soissons is at the head of a valley which stretches south. I have represented the eastern side of the valley, known these days as the Noyant Plateau.


  In regard to the armies I referred to the Internet. On paper the army of Soissons should have been 25,000 strong but having seen a list of units, I worked on minimum numbers. With the Franks, I used the numbers given on Wikipedia.

The positioning of the opposing armies is my best guess. At the end of the battle, Syagrius, having lost, took off south in order to gain the safety of the Court of Alaric the 2nd, who had succeeded his father Euric as King of the Visigoths. Therefore, my conclusion was, that the  army of Soissons must have been positioned south of the town


Clovis had to cross the Aigne to attack. By all accounts the river itself is difficult to cross and without boats or any major engineering capability, the Franks must have used a bridge. The closest bridge to Soissons is at Venizels if the bridge existed at that time.


I wondered why if this was the case, that the bridge had not been guarded. I came to the conclusion that Syagrius would want the Franks to attack confident that he could wipe out the army and in the process eliminate Clovis. Syagrius didnt know that initially, Chararic, one of the Frankish chiefs hung back at the start of the battle hoping to join whichever side gained the upper hand. In the event, he stayed with Clovis.

I leave to you, the reader, to draw your own conclusions. In regard to Syagrius, well, he arrived at Alarics Court hoping he could claim sanctuary but it was not to be. Clovis threatened Alaric with military action if he did not give up Syagrius.

Syagrius was sent back and executed by Clovis.. The last of the " Roman Provinces" in the West had fallen.

CREDITS;

The figures are mostly Hat Miniatures, mainly the Gothic and Roman Medium Infantry sets. 

The Roman Cavalry are modified Hat Light Cavalry Archers.The Roman archers on the ground are Newline Designs as are the Roman Regulars. A few of the Frankish warriors are by Miliart. 

The hills are made by Brian of Essex Miniatures. The trees are from various manufacturers. The wood outline stands are from S and A Scenics. The dark age buildings are from either Hovels or Peter Pig ?. The town walls and buildings within are scratchbuilt.

The square stands are 40mm and made from picture framing cardboard. The round stands are 40mm circular mdf made by Minibits. The road and river are made from thin card. One of the bridges is from Kallistra and been modified. The standards are made from sticky labels and hand painted. The poles are from Northstars pack of Javelins.










Friday, 24 December 2021

Battle of Mill Springs, Kentucky, January 19th 1862.

 This is my own interpretation of the battle as a wargamer. Any mistakes are my own. The numbers given below for each formation is my own best guess. This battle was also titled Logan's Crossroads.

As the war progressed the Union Administration did not want Kentucky going over to the Confederate Government. Having been repulsed at the Wilderness Road, the Confederate General  Felix  Zollicoffer moved further West in another attempt to disrupt Union activity.

In late 1861, a Confederate force of 6,000 men and 16 guns was camped at Mill Springs, on the South bank of the Cumberland River. Zollicoffer realised that if he could establish a camp on the north side of the river, he would be better placed to interdict Union activity between Somerset and Lebanon.

Zollicoffer,s force was also part of the Confederate Defense Line which was to prevent Union forces from interrupting rail shipments of supplies from southern and western Virginia.

Zollicoffer managed to gather up some rivercraft enough to transport 5000 men and 12 guns across the Cumberland to Beech Grove, leaving 1,000 men and 4 guns at Mill Springs. Both camps were entrenched.

Having been told of the Confederate movement, Union General George H. Thomas moved his 4,500 troops to Logan,s Crossroads [ modern day Nancy ]. about 10 miles north of the Confederate position. In the meantime Major General George B. Crittenden arrived to take control of Confederate forces.

Crittenden wanted to attack Thomas,s force before it could link up with Union General Albin F. Schoepes Division to attack the Confederate base.

The early hours of January 19th found the Confederate force from Beech Grove marching north in the rain and fog to suprise and attack Thomas,s Union force.

Unfortunately for the Confederates, the Union 10th Indiana Infantry and 1st Kentucky Cavalry, on piquet duty were wide awake!. as battle was joined, elements of Albin Schoepe,s Union formation were force marching to reinforce Thomas,-----


UNION ARMY; 4,500 = 4.5 X 8 =36 points.

( This total includes The reinforcements from Schoepe commanded by McCook ).

1 General, George H. Thomas.  @ 1 point.

1 General Robert L. McCook @   1 point.

12th New York Line Infantry ( 300 ) = 0.300 x 8 = 2 stands @ 1 point = 2 points. (R/d)

2nd Minnesota Line Infantry (500 ) = 0.500 x 8 = 2 stands @ 2 points = 4 points.

9th Ohio Line Infantry (800 ) = 0.800 x 8 = 2  stands @ 3 points = 6 points.

7th Ohio Line Infantry ( 500 ) = 0.500 x 8 = 2 stands @ 2 points = 4 points.

4th New York Line Infantry (500 ) = 0.500 x 8 = 2 stands @  2 points = 4 points.

2nd Tennessee Line Infantry ( 500) = 0.500 x 8 = 2 stands @ 2 points = 4 points.

7th Tennessee Line Infantry ( 500 ) = 0.500 x 8 = 2 stand @ 2 points = 4 points.

10th Indiana Line Infantry ( 500) = 0.500 x 8 = 4 stands @ 1 point = 4 points.

1st Kentucky Cavalry ( 300 ) = 0.300 x 8 =  2 stands @ 1 point = 2 points.

Whitmores Battery : 8 guns x 30 men = 240 men = 0.240 x 8 = 2pts r/u = 2 stands of Light Artillery @ 1 point = 2points.


CONFEDERATE ARMY; 5,000 = 5pts x 8 = 40 points.

1 General. George B. Crittenden  @ 1 point.

1 General. Felix Zollicoffer  @ 1 point.

15th Mississippi Line Infantry [ 800 ] = 0.800 pts x 8 = 6 pts [r/d]. 3 stands of Line Inf @ 2 pts.

16th Alabama Line Infantry [ 500] = 0.500 x 8 pts = 4 pts. 2 stands of Line Infantry @ 2 pts.

17th Tennessee Line Infantry [ 500] = 0.500 x 8 pts= 4 points. 2 stands of Line Inf @ 2 pts.

19th Tennessee Line Infantry [ 800 ] = 0.800 pts x 8 = 6 points. 3 stands of  Line Inf @ 2 pts.

20th Tennessee Line Infantry [ 500 ] = 0.500 pts x 8 = 4 points. 2 stands of Line Inf @ 2 pts.

25th Tennessee Line Infantry [ 500 ] = 0.500 pts x 8 = 4 points. 2 stands of Line Inf @ 2 pts.

28th Tennessee Line Infantry [ 500 ] = 0.500 pts x 8 = 4 points. 2 stands of Line Inf @ 2 pts.

29th Tennessee Line Infantry [ 500 ] = 0.500 pts x 8 = 4 points. 2 stands of Line Inf @ 2 pts.

Saunders Cavalry Battalion [ 300 ] = 0. 300 pts x 8 = 2 points. 2 stands of Cavalry @ 1 pt.

Bledsoe,s Battery, 12 guns x 30 men = 360 = 0.360 x 8 = 3 points [r/u ] = 1 stand of Heavy Artillery @ 2 points  and 1 stand of Light Artillery @ 1 point.

Here is the map;

The Battle;

* The Union Army has the  Initiative Point for the entire battle.

* The Confederates move first, and fire first on the 1st Game-Turn.

*From Game-Turn 2 until Game-Turn 8, both sides will roll a die to decide who moves and fires first. It also determines which side wins any tied results during the Game-Turn.

Ordered Movement:

This battle was something of a “ meeting” engagement.

For the Confederates, on the First Game-Turn only the 19th and 15th Infantry can move.

On the second Game-Turn, the 17th, 25th, 28, 16th and 20th can move.

On the third Game-Turn, Saunders Cavalry, the Field Guns and the 29th can move.

The Confederate army was strung out on the road which was muddy and it took time for the units to come into action.

Any stands entering the river section cannot fire.


The Generals:

CRITTENDEN,

It has been written that Crittenden wasn’t quite himself at this battle and didn’t have a clear idea of what was happening. Therefore. If a player wishes to move Crittenden, a 6 sided die is rolled. On a roll of a 5 or 6, Crittenden can be moved.

ZOLLICOFFER;

During the battle, Zollicoffer was in the front line. In the bad light he confused a Senior Union Officer as one of his own. As Zollicoffer rode off, another Union Officer saw what was happening and shot General Zollicoffer as he was riding away. Therefore, if Zollicoffer comes within range of a Union stand roll a 6 sided die. If a 5 or 6 is rolled, Zollicoffer is removed.

THE UNION ARMY;

The Union Army cannot move until the 10th Indiana and 1st Kentucky retreat to the snake fence.

The 7th and 9th Ohio with General McCook cannot move until Game-Turn 4. These Regiments were of German Immigrants who were veterans of the wars in Europe.


The Weather;

The weather on the morning of the battle was foggy with rain. This had an adverse effect on the weapons especially amongst the Confederate Infantry.  A number of them had old flintlock smoothbore rifles which some of the men were seen smashing against trees in their frustration.

Therefore, 2 points will be deducted from every firing die rolled in the game. this will result in more combats than usual.

FIRING RANGE; All rifle fire will be at two squares range. Field Gun range is four squares.

The hedgerow or"scrub" and the snakefencing do not provide any cover and only hinder movement to artillery and cavalry.

As before in previous scenarios, I don’t know if there was any true horse artillery so all artillery is moved at two squares.


CREDITS;

The figures are a mixture of Peter Pig and Miniature Figurines. The flags are from Peter Pig.

The hills are made from garden kneeling mats from Wilkinsons. The trees are from various manufacturers, one being Guagemaster.

The wood outline bases are from S and A Scenics , some from picture framing cardboard. The river and road sections are from thin cardboard.

The square figure stands are cut from picture framing cardboard. The round 40mm mdf bases are from Minibits.

The snake fencing and hedgerow [ 6mm woodland ? ] is from Northumberland Painting Service and MBM Scenery.

The tentline hidden in the top left of the board is from Peter Pig.

As before, the board is 3 feet x 2 feet, [ 90cm x 60cm ].