24 October 2015
Chronic Iohannes: Siege Of Cataractonium, A Dux Campaign comes to an End
Not withstanding we had a great campaign which went from March 550AD to October 555AD, the Britons lost provinces and gained them back, the Saxon Warlord Cuthwolf rose to become a king, while Antoninus became a Legatus. Despite this difference in status they came head to head in front of the gates of Cataractonium. As usual Adam has done a great job of documenting the battle and I will refer you to his blog The Fencing Frog for some excellent photo and commentary.
I think it only fitting to present a short summary of the action from the Briton's perspective.
It was a chilly morning in late October, somewhat like this morning in Salem, Massachussetts almost 1500 years later, frost was in the air and a few snow flakes were falling. The wretched inhabitants of Cataractonium had now held out for 7 months against the continued onslaught of Cuthwolf the Red's blood thirsty Saxons. Food was running out and winter was coming. More and more Saxons were arriving to press the siege and bring it to a conclusion before the heavy snows started to fall in the Kingdom of the Old North. By now, Cuthwolf's warband had increased from 34 men to 48 men and included a foul smelling Bard as well as a demonic looking Wicca. Cuthwulf was accompanied by his man mountain champion Wulfric, as well the Nobles Wulfgeat and Eaglmund, both wodenborn.
Suddenly horns were heard from the south, and the far sighted of the besieged Britons could soon see the red cruciate emblazoned standards of their noble lord Antoninus. Was relief at hand, was their misery finally to be lifted? The Legatus had arrived and with him, thanks to the support of his liege lord King Peredur Longspear, he had 48 hardy Britons in his force. With him was his Champion Cyneric as well as the Nobles Aefric and Morcant, who recently had been ransomed from the Saxons. The Bard Euphonius was detailing the exploits of his Lord in extremely long epic poem, while I, the Priest Iohannes was there of course to chronicle this, one of my Lord's great battles.
Both the Saxons and the Britons faced off: Songs were sang, mead was drank and champions engaged in single combat, unfortunately our Lord's exploits were drowned out by the raucous Saxons and Cuthwolf came out with twice the authority of Antoninus and Cyneric was wounded (essentially the Saxon Lord started the battle with 4CI and a command range of 12" while The Briton Lord has his CI reduced to 2 with a command range of 6", additionally the Briton champion added only 1d6 to any fight he was involved in. Starting morale was 9 for both sides with both holding 6 Fate Cards at the start of the game).
Antoninus knew that his strength lay in his shield-wall , as well as the blood thirsty nature of his Saxon adversary. He had to appear weak in order to entice the Saxon into attacking but at the same time be able to maneuver in out out of his shield-wall at opportune moments. At the same time he had to be cautious as both he and his champion were unable to fight at their usual ability as well as voice being weakened. Clearly his forces had not to be separated.
The Britons were able to slowly maneuver into two back to back formations, one of the elite and warriors and one of levy. This formation easily formed into a triangle when one of it's flanks was threatened, by breaking off the warriors on the Briton left flank to confront a threatening Saxon mob. The dice gods were on the side of the Britons and Saxon losses rapidly dropped their morale to 0, while the Britons had lost only 8 men.
Victory to the Britons, the siege was lifted and the Saxons were vanquished from our shores, the campaign was over.
Well it was a great campaign; it was our second, the previous being an ACW using the Longstreet rules, which Adam won.
So we are 1 to 1, what is next I wonder?
Many thanks to Adam, he started the campaign many months ago using borrowed figures but was able to paint and field a complete Saxon force by it's end.