Monday, 3 September 2012

Ad Castores; at the shrine of the twins

Yesterday Dr Phil Hendry, m'self, Craig Davey and others re-fought Ad Castores, 69 AD.  This is a Roman Civil War bust-up with one side consisting of "loyal" but raw legionaries, and the other experienced auxiliaries from the Rhine frontier.  All pics are "clickable".

The historical battle occurred early in the year of the four Emperors, when Vitellian auxiliary forces set up an ambush in woods near the shrine of Ad Castores, hoping to trap the Othonian cavalry.  Unfortunately for them, a deserter betrayed the plan to the enemy, and the entire Othonian army turned up for the party!  Above and below, at the outset of the game, the majority of the Vitellian auxiliaries are concealed within woods and vineyards.  The unit below is Cohors Hedlium, which I recently bought from a fellow blogger.

Below, the Vitellian cavalry initially faced the Othonian cavalry along the Postumian Way, near the epoymous shrine to the twins (Castor and Pollux).

Facing them, below, is a positive legion of Othonian foot (not all shown in the photo), with their cavalry in front of them.  The Othonian cavalry have halted to avoid the ambush.

The Othonians quickly advanced, with the Praetorians crossing the stream and deploying.  The Vitellian auxiliaries unexpectedly poured forth from the woods to the attack; their Batavian vanguard can be seen below.  The Batavians urned out to be positive lions and tore through no less than 3 units of our legionaries, in succession!

Below, I tried to be clever and move the Othonian cavalry to the flank.

However, they were almost taken in their flank by the rapid Vitellian advance and just managed to turn to face, in time.  A vast melee ensued (below).

The two lines became locked and the melee became general.  Note the gladiators in the foreground, who turned out to be quite as ineffective as their historical ancestors, despite their cataphract armour.

...and then we ran out of time.  Quite a few units had broken, especially the raw Othonian legionaries, and outnumbered Vitellian horse, so honours were mixed.  Both factions claimed a victory; I reckon we loyalist Othonians were a tad ahead, but Craigus (Davey) would no doubt beg to differ.

It was a very good natured game, ably umpired by Dr Phil Hendry who provided his "Augustus to Aurelian" rules.  Thanks to all who came by for a chat, and to the very able organisers of the event and good-natured staff, and to Craig for arriving at dawn with his lovely boards.
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