Wednesday, November 13, 2019

The Battle of Bracken Hill ~ Dux Brit game report.

The two armies met close by a hill covered in bracken, a landmark for miles around. Ebba thought he had the whole province sewed up, but Gaius Menusius stole a march on him. As the early morning mists cleared, Ebba saw his opponent was closer than expected.

A cattle pen, a shallow, swampy pond and rocky outcrops restrict the field of battle
Gaius Menusius appealed to God for favour, and his piety had an immediate effect on his men. Determined to oppose these Saxon dogs who’d come to despoil their land, the blessing added stiffness to their backbones. They gripped sword, spear and shield and moved into position directed by their leaders.

Ebba found it difficult to maneuver well in the confined space. Although he had some idea of sending a group of warriors around through the woods to hit his enemy’s right flank, in the event he lost patience and took his hearth guard to the fore. On the Romano-British side, Gaius Menusius anchors his force on the wood and the pond. Levy commander Lord Barriventus has a rush of blood to his head and decides to attempt a fancy outflanking maneuver. Leading his levy into the rocky area he soon finds the going tougher than expected.

Ebba's not unduly concerned with the antics of the levy, but he's uncharacteristically impatient. Forming up his hearth guard he charges straight into the Romano-British warriors.

Faced with difficult terrain on each left flank the Saxons and Romano-British find their plans stymied.
At first the fight went well. Romano-British warriors fell under Ebba's attack, but their accursed shield wall held firm and he was repelled. The movement of the enemy’s levy to his right flank caused him increasing concern since they appeared to be finding a path through the rocks, but he felt one more good push would break the shield wall and render the levy's attempt irrelevant.

As his men charged in for another attempt Ebba recognised a familiar face moving to the front rank of the Romano-British warriors. Cynbel the Magnificent! He’d been a sorry if defiant sight when Ebba had captured and ransomed him two months earlier. Now it seemed he was out for revenge.

Petrified by the closeness of the nasty Saxons, the Romano-British archers fail to hit anything.
And Cynbel got it. Fighting hard in the front rank he held back the Saxon hearth guard then repulsed them.

Shock and casualties accumulate, especially on the Romano-British side, but they hold firm-for now.

Again Ebba sent his men into the attack, determined to break them once and for all. More Romano-British warriors fell, but again they held firm. The despised levy charged in on Ebba's flank, and this time Ebba felt the battle beginning to slip away from him. So apparently did Oeric the Insane. Living up to his nickname the young lord frothed at the mouth and hurled himself into the fray. He met Cynbel the Magnificent head-on—and died beneath his sword. Oeglath, Ebba’s Champion stepped into the way of an attacker and he too met his death by a spear thrust under his ribs.The mighty man fell like a stricken oak.

Suddenly Ebba found himself in the front line and fighting for his life. He held off one opponent but the other found a gap in Ebba’s armour and slashed open his forearm. Ebba gritted his teeth and fell back into the safe mass of his hearth guard. Bested by a poxed levy-man, by Thunir! The embarrassment of it.

The stuffing went out of the hearth guard then. With his warriors unable to deploy effectively because of the cramped area, Ebba withdrew from the field. He calculated that his enemy had lost more men, meaning he’d be vulnerable to raiding before Autumn and the close of the campaigning season in October. Saving what men he had left became vital. He’d have time to recoup his losses, probably before his opponent could do so, which made another raid in September a possibility. At least he had a beggar’s bowl worth of loot stashed safe in his hall, so tribute to his King was taken care of. Ebba thought he might even find a lord to replace the late demented Oeric. Ebba saluted his foe then walked away. He’d return when he was good and ready.

1 comment:

Michael Awdry said...

a cracking instalment A.J.


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