Tuesday, 5 November 2013

The Battle of Vectis

Being an account of our lord Uffa's attack on the island of Vectis in the year the Christians call 476 by Brego the Bard. 

We returned to Britain's shores, to the lands which are rightfully ours but our peaceful overtures were rejected by their King, cursed be his name. He sent out his warband led by Constantine who we have bested before to dispute the isle. 

The lie of the land; note the centrally placed wood
We met in a field dominated by the Old Man's Wood; ground which Uffa said he liked well. Before the battle he made an attempt to rouse the troops but without success (in truth it was a woeful speech). Then our champion Hengest took up the challenge of  their Bedwyr. Both fought mightily and neither could get the better of the other; both returned to their warbands with honour (it was pretty much a draw).

On the Saxon left; warriors face off against the the British shieldwall
And so we came to the battle proper. Uffa's plan was simple, he said. He drew up his warriors on the left with Ana and Cynric while he himself went to the right of the wood with the hearthguard; our skirmishers were between them. As it turned out the British had also split their forces with two masses, one of levy and the other of warriors and companions on the left and a lighter force of warriors and levy on the right. The British did not delay and soon Ana was facing two formed shieldwalls.

While on the right, the hearthguard threaten
At this point Ana showed great guile and having drawn the British shieldwall forward, he feinted right leading his troops behind the wood. There were screams of frustration from the British, who called us cowards and questioned our manhood. Battle though is not 'fair' and it was the decisive moment breaking the Britons' plan. They broke their shieldwalls, which would never be reformed, and headed round their side of the wood; their levy quite swiftly but the companions and warriors getting caught up in the trees themselves

The hearthguard defeat their opponents while Ana's warriors feint left avoiding the shieldwall
Meanwhile on our right Ana's men had charged and they decisively defeated the Britons, who had not had a chance to form shieldwall. One group of levy were soon defeated entirely but more, it seemed, were on their way.
The hearthguard continue to rampage
Fortune favours the brave and Uffa struck again before the levy could intervene. The British were losing badly on the right. But what of the battle behind them?

Behind them Ana's warriors isolate the British companipulares on the edge of the wood
In the centre Cynric had lured the British warriors into a battle in the trees. In truth the two sides were well matched and they traded blows amid the branches. But for those vaunted comanipulares, things were less good. They emerged from the edge of the wood to find they faced Ana's two groups of warriors. Now the odds were more to Ana's liking and he charged decisively. The Romans were bested and were soon fleeing through the trees, their spears discarded... We are now masters of the Island.

In truth this was a good result for the Saxons; with hindsight the wood probably did favour them and "Ana's feint" was undoubtedly decisive causing the wheels to fall off the British plan. The British did not in fact loose that many more men but the Saxons consistently they came out with the initiative and did win all of the combat. So the onus is now on the Britons to try to dislodge the invaders from Vectis (the Isle of Wight).

My thanks to John & Derek for playing the game. Sorry it has taken me a while to write it up.

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