Showing posts with label Battle of Soissons 486AD. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Battle of Soissons 486AD. Show all posts

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.