As dawns light brightened the darkness, Octha of the Saxons looked hungrily towards the farm in the distance. Gathered around him were his 30 brave warriors, ready to bring woe to the weakling Britons. He ordered Abrecan to take 12 men off to the right, while he took the remainder straight at the farm. Banan, his young cousin, followed him forward as the Saxon warband loped into the land of the Britons.
Suddenly shouts of alarm came from Abrecan's men, as several British
warriors appeared on the hill ahead of them. At least as many men faced
him, then arrows started to fall amongst the men as well. As the
Britons formed their damned shieldwall, Octha called his men back
together and lead them all straight at the farm. He had to get the raid
done and leave before more of the enemy appeared.
As the light increased, more Britons came into view ahead. These looked
more formidable than the ones on the hill, at least in the front rank
anyway. Still, British shields were no match for Saxon blades, so on
they went. Closing rapidly on the shieldwall ahead, his confidence of a
quick victory was increased by the scared looks in the faces of the
Britons. Then more enemies appeared on the left. A quick glance showed
these to be an entirely different proposition, with chainmail showing
from behind their shields. Ah well, they were a bit too far back to
make any difference, so Octha pushed on with his advance.
A shouted order sent Abrecan off to the right to block the advance of
the shieldwall on the hill. Then, with a shout to Wodan, Octha lead his
hearthguard forward to smash the British shields ahead of him. A few
moments of combat, the clash of shields, the cries of men as they were
struck down, then the Britons pulled back. Yes, several were dead, but
so were two of the hearthguard and those damn shields facing him were
stilled locked in a shieldwall. As he rallied the men to charge again
Banan cried out, causing Octha to spin around. The rest of the Britons
were charging into the rear of his men! Damn them all. As they came in
his warriors turned and did their best to stand. A valiant effort, but
no match for the charge of the Britons companions. Many men fell on
both sides, but the Saxons were defeated and broke. The remaining
hearthguard readied themselves as they faced the British counterparts.
Meanwhile, Abrecan was advancing towards the last of the British.
Suddenly a rain of arrows came in, with one findng a weak point in
Abrecans mailcoat and he staggered, sorely wounded. With a furious
shout he led his men into the shieldwall. Shields splintered and
Britons died. These were no warriors, merely peasants from the fields!
Their leader was slain and the rest were driven back and eventually
broke and ran, taking their archers with them. As they turned, Abrecan
saw Octhas units defeated, as Octha rallied the last of them and fell
back towards Abrecans men.
With all three leaders now joined together, the Britons realised they
were outmatched and fell back. The farmers had long disappeared into
the woods, but a search of the farm turned up enough valuables to make
the raid profitable. It was time to head back to his hall and rally new
men. Soon he would be back to take more wealth, though one day he would
be back to stay.
The first battle in an ongoing campaign, this was a truly bloody
battle. the Saxons lost 18 men and the Britons lost 20 plus one of
their bigmen. A valiant effort by the British Dux nearly turned the
tide, but the death of one of his bigmen and the injury to another left
him unable to hold the field, so he withdrew. It was a fun game, with
plenty of to-and-fro moments. Pride of place goes to the British
archers, who kept shooting arrows and whittling down the Saxons. 6 to
hit, 6 to wound, but he kept getting them!
Next time I will try to remember my camera!
Northern European Bronze Age Dragon Rampant in Wargames Illustrated - The October 2017 issue of WI features an article I've written about building a Northern European Bronze Age warband for Dragon Rampant. You can read a tas...
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