Friday, 13 August 2021

The 5th Century in Britannia Part 6; Arthur The Warlord.

 As before, this is my interpretation of events in this era as a wargamer

484AD ; Ambrosius has been buried in the old amphitheatre at Caerleon. At the Winter Solstice, all the Nobles are gathered in the former headquarters building of the Legionary fortress. They are there to decide who will be the next Pendragon. Some of the Kings have been lost by feud or by natural death. The current leaders are;

Dumnonia ; Geraint Llyngesic [ 480 to 514AD ] " The Fleet Owner",his son Cadwy.

Gwynedd ; Einon [ 500AD ] with his sons Cadwallon and Owain.

Powys ; Cadell [ 500AD ] with his son Cyngen.

Alclud ; Cinuit  [480 to 485AD ] who will be succeeded by his son Tutagual.

Gwent ; Iddon Ap Ynyr [480 to 490AD] with his son Caradog.

Note; Although Carleon is in Gwent, King Iddon has his own stronghold at Carwent. Carleon is regarded as an army base, as it was when the Legions were present.

As before, the asssembled Nobility cannot agree as to whom is to lead them. The one person who has any influence, Merlin Aurelianus is bought before the assembly. He is neither Druid or of the Church. However the 59 year old has deep knowledge. He was given his cognomen by Ambrosius. The question is put to Merlin. Who will be Pendragon?. After a moment of thought, he gives his answer;


The chamber explodes in a babble of angry voices. Merlin raises his hand and all goes quiet. Merlin reminds them that Arthur Ap Uthyr Ap Constantine was born out of Wedlock. He is not related by bloodline to any Royal House. If Arthur prevails against the Seaxons, the Dal and the Picts, all will share in his glory. If Arthur fails, no Royal House will be condemned.

The next question is of the Army. All Merlin will say is that the Army will be ready. In his mind Merlin knows the outcome of the battle between the Red and the White Dragon.

485AD; As this year progresses to April, a number of incidents happen which although not connected, will have a major influence on the future.

* In Gallaecia, Riothamus has a major problem. Hermeric, the elected High King is Aryan. He issues an Edict that all Catholics must convert or face exile. By April, 9,500 Suebians are crammed aboard 80 ships heading North to Totnes in Dumnonia.

*Hispania is almost a Visigothic Kingdom. Euric has died and has been succeeded by his son Alaric the 2nd.

* At the same time Clovis who has succeeded his father Childric the 1st, as King of the Franks moves to Paris ready to invade Soissons.

* At the end of March 485AD, at Caerleon, in front of the Army veterans the 18 year old Arthur is raised on a shield and proclaimed as Pendragon.

* In Amorica [ Brittany ] Budig the 2nd [ also known as Emyr Llydaw] is not only King of Cornouaille but also High King of Amorica. His son Riwal Mawr becomes one of Arthurs officers.

By the end of April 485, the ships carrying the Suebians reach Dumnonia. Geraint assembles his troops but the men are stood down when sprigs of leaves are seen tied to the prows of the approaching armada.

Soon Riothamus meets with Arthur, Merlin and King Iddon. The Suebians are allowed to settle around Glevum and along the River Severn with their families. The language of the Suebians is close to the Brythonic-Celtic spoken by the Britons. These new settlers become known as the "Hwicce" or "the friendly ones".

By May of 485AD, frontier raiding has been resumed between the Britons and Seaxons. Arthur wants to lead a major expedition into eastern Britannia to disrupt the continuing arrival of Seaxon settlers. However Merlin urges caution. The army is not confident in its new leader and the loyalty of the Kings is suspect.

From May to December 485AD, there are no major battles. The Navy of sixty ships commanded by Geraint patrol the West coast preventing raids by the Dal. There are still Briton communties in the south-east but they must survive on their own.

During this time,  the army is trained up with recruits from the Suebians. Riothamus is now to elderly to lead his people. He elects Rogatainus as a new leader. The Army that Arthur is to lead is of 5,000 men.

1,200 Veteran infantry in 4 cohorts of 300 men.

400 Light Archers in 2 cohorts of 200 men.

500 Elite Cavalry in one cohort.

400 Regular light Cavalry in one Cohort.

2,000 Hwicce infantry in 10 cohorts.

200 Hwicce light archers in one cohort.

300 Hwicce Light cavalry in one cohort.

The five Commanders are; Arthur [  The Pendragon], Medreut, Owain, Cadwy and Rogatainus.

note; 300 Suebians are given to Merlin as his Hearthguard.

March 486AD; The senior leaders of the Seaxons hold their Witan in Londene [London]. In the previous two years another 20,000 Jutes, Angles and Saxons have landed at points along the eastern and southern shoreline of Britannia. Food, shelter and donatives to pay their hearth troops were a priority for these leaders.

For Aelle,Bardulf, Colgrin and Osla there was only one option. Take the fight to the Wallisch. This time the Seaxons decide on different targets. Bardulf and Colgrin are taking their warbands North-west across the river Trent. Aelle and Osla want to attack westward along the Tamesis using the Akeman Street route.

Aelle has 3,800 warriors amongst the Jutes.

Bardulf and Colgrin can call upon 6,000 Saxons.

Osla has 4,800 Angles.

some of these warriors will be left to guard settlements.

April 486AD; A messenger gallops into Caerleon. The South Seaxons are on the move once more toward the Glyme. The horns are sounded. The army is assembled.

This time Aelle and Osla lead their Warbands further South from the site of the previous battle.

2nd Battle of the River Glyme, May 486AD.

The Seaxon Army; 6,500.

Aelle; 2,800 Jutes = 2.8 x 10 = 28 points.

1 General [Aelle] @ 2 points.

12 stands of Warriors @ 2 points = 24 points.

2 stands of Light Archers @ 1 point = 2 points.

Osla; 3,700 Angles = 3.7 x 10 = 37 points.

1 General [Osla ]  @ 1 point.

17 stands of Warriors  @ 2 points = 34 points.

2 stands of Light Archers @ 1 point = 2 points.

The Briton Army; 5,000 = 5.0 pts X 10 = 50 points.

1,200 Regular Infantry = 1.2 pts x 10 = 4 stands @ 3 points each = 12 points.

400 Light Archer Infantry = 0.4 pts x 10 = 4 stands @ 1 point each = 4 points.

500 Elite Clibanarii Cavalry = 0.5pts  x 10 = 1 stand @ 3 points + 2 Generals [ Arthur and Medreut] @ 1 point = 2 points.

400 Regular Light Cavalry = 0.4 pts x 10 = 1 stand @ 2 points + 2  Generals [ Owain and Cadwy ]@ 1 point = 2 points.

2,000 Hwicce Infantry = 2.0 pts x 10 = 10 stands @ 2 points = 20 points.

200 Hwicce Light Archer Infantry = 0.2 pts x 10 = 2 stands @ 1 point = 2 points.

300 Light Tribal Cavalry = 0.3 pts x 10 = 1 stand @ 2 points + 1 General  [ Rogatainus ]@ 1 point.


* The Britons retain the Iniative Point for the entire battle.

* The battle will last for eight Game-Turns.

* The Seaxons move first on the first two Game-Turns.

* From Game-Turn Three until Game-Turn eight, the Britons move first

* The Briton Army fires first on each Game-Turn.

* The Glyme is not very deep, so stands can move through with no penalty.

Once again both armies face each other  across the River Glyme. Aelle is contemptuous of the Britons, having been responsible for the death of Ambrosius. Confident that his warriors will easily beat the Britons again, he leads his men across the river.

Osla, seeing Aelle advancing, does not want the Jutes taking all the credit for this victory so he also leads his warriors forward.

This time , as the Jutes and Angles  attack,  they are stunned to hear Germanic voices within the Briton army.  The Wallisch are also putting up a stern resistance. As the battle went on the Seaxons start to tire. 

Arthur seeing the Seaxon line falter gives the signal. As the horns are sounded the Briton line parts and Owain brings the cavalry forward into the enemy. This is enough to break the Seaxons.

The cavalry are reformed as the infantry go forward to pursue the enemy through the trees. Nightfall brings an end to the slaughter. Three days later, Arthur leads his victorious army into Caerleon amid great rejoicing.

They do not have time to rest before another urgent message arrives at Arthur,s headquarters. More Seaxons are west of the Trent!

*Most of the figures are Hat Industries with some of the figures being Newline Designs.

*Arthurs horse is from Ceaser Miniatures.

* The hills were made by Brian at Essex Miniatures.

* Some of the tree bases are from S and A Scenics.

* The trees are from various manufacturers.

* The square 40mm stands are made of picture framing cardboard.

* The round 40mm bases are from Minibits.

Historical Note;

Nennius wrote that Arthurs first battle "was at the mouth of the River GLEIN".  I think he got the spelling wrong. I think it was GLEIM from the Anglo-Saxon GLOEM,which means "sparkle' or "glitter".

The current River Glyme gets its name from Old Brythonic, meaning " bright water", so thats  why I put the battle there.  I inadvertantly stumbled on this when I was trying to work out logically where Ambrosius would face the Seaxons.

The  mouth of the River GLYME joins the river EVENLODE near the village of Bladdon. The village got its name from the old name for the EVENLODE, which was the BLADE.

The River Glyme also marks the frontier of what I think ,was Briton territory at that time.

Finally, the river Glyme runs through the Blenheim estate at WOODSTOCK. It was partially dammed by the famous landscape gardener, Capability Brown to form shallow lakes.