"We could later learn that the Saxon invader was named Garmund who presumed to call himself 'the Bold'. His men had quite the head start in approaching the farmstead. He was far closer to the farm than we were. By the time we saw the invader, they had reached the farm."
"Our forces quickly became one long slow line of men. Our archers led the way. I followed with my small group of Comanipulares. Next Artbranan's crossbowmen (4), his group of spearmen (8) and my cousin followed. Next, Senyllt and our two groups of Milites followed. Lastly was Gwalchafed and our three groups of Numeri."
"We approached the farm where we were told the invader was moving too from behind a large outcropping of rock. This narrowed number of men that could move through to the open fields near the farm. Indeed, this slowed our movements considerably so that we feared that we would not arrive in time. The Saxon had already gathered up the sheep and cows from the farm and had started to move them back to their ships.
"The Saxons began to loot the houses of the farm. The first building was abandoned rapidly as was the third. The second seemed to entice them that something was there. Our canny peasants have so long hidden valuables from our own tax collectors that what chance did illiterate barbarians have?"
"Interestingly enough, one of their groups of warriors that was accompanied by an enormously hairy man, was herding sheep. We never caught up with this group. The farmer lost six sheep to these men. Two were carried by the hairy man, one under each arm. We later learned that this was Wulhere, the Saxon champion.
Senyllt and our Milites quickly formed a shieldwall and faced off against the closest Saxons. They moved into a line with two groups of their elite hearth guard facing the Milites and a group of warriors slinking behind a wall.
"The cavalry threatened and caused the Pict crossbowmen to flee to the safety of a nearby wood. My cousin moved his spearmen forward to challenge the cavalry and prevent them from attacking the rear of our infantry. This halted their advance. The crossbowmen moved to the edge of the wood and gave the cavalry a volley and ran them off."
"I must compliment the courage of my cousin at this point. His men charged the retreating cavalry. In a bounding rush they ran after the Saxons and chased them back to the farm."
"The Saxons began to fall back in order to consolidate their winnings thus far. They had taken another casualty from the Pict Crossbowmen at some point. They fell back to the well in the center of the farm. I saw an opportunity and charged my Comanipulares directly into the Saxon Hearth Guard. Our men slammed into the rough Saxon line and fought with great fury. We lost two men but threw the invader into great confusion. Many more Saxon lay dead at our feet but the charge and heavy fight left my men exhausted and unable to pursue. They withdrew to recover"
"The Saxon now only had a thought for escaping with their ill gotten gains. They began to fall back further and further. Our men had fought bravely and done very well. Gwalchafed and our three groups of Numeri finally had arrived. The levy proved decisive. As they were still fresh troops, they charged forward and drove off the remaining Saxon hearth guard. The remnants of their hearth guard fled from the field in terror of our martial excellence."
"Unexpectedly, the cavalry made another appearance within the farm. The Saxons threatened to charge our warriors that were regrouping after fighting off the infantry. I rushed to their side. Senyllt, Cadfan (my champion) and myself led our renewed warriors in a neck or nothing charge against the Saxon Cavalry and defeated them to a man."
Editor's note: The four cavalry were outmatched on the big men's dice alone in the fight. Only three cavalrymen were killed but we failed to check if it was horses or riders that died. Either way, the unit broke and ran causing the Saxon force morale to reach 0. This was enough to give the Briton's the game.
"The remaining Saxons fled the field. The two cows were recovered for the farmer. We looted the bodies of the dead. We won a great victory. We killed no less than 8 of the Saxon hearth guard. Another 7 of their warriors fell as well. We found three bodies of their cavalry and recovered several horses. Also we should not forget the first Saxon claimed by Pict Crossbows. Our losses were six of our warriors, two of my Comanipulares and another 2 of levy. I offer you this shirt of Saxon mail as evidence of our great victory."
"Your obedient servant,
Donyarth, Lord of Habitancum"
Editor's Note: The mail shirt offered was slashed open and nearly useless. The rest of the booty that was useful, he kept to himself and for his men.
The king shook his head. The arrogance of Donyarth worried him. Two attacks this month. Yes, both Aethelfrith and Donyarth had been successful. But this was only the beginning. His spies have told him that the numbers of Saxons hungry for plunder and land are limitless. Only time will tell if his kingdom will survive.
On Saturday March 9th, we had another game of Dux Britannarium. This was the Farm Raid scenario from the main rules. Doug had decided to go with a Saxon force and I tried my hands at some Britons.
Having extra players we added some additional forces to the base troops each command would have. Mark had painted up 8 Pict Spearmen and 4 crossbowmen. He commanded these and the Briton Warriors. I had based my Saxon Cavalry. So these were added to the Saxon forces. Doug and Steve shared the Saxon Command. We should have given additional skirmishers to the Saxons. The Saxons nearly had the game won before the British could reach the farm. Just bad luck kept this game from going their way. They were close to their friendly edge. They did make off with some of the sheep.
The results of the battle gave the Britons a Thief's Horde in plunder. In addition, we gained two additional warriors and are able to replenish our dead immediately. Doug's Saxons will replenish their troops in 2 months.
Thus far, the campaign is going well. We have only played out April of 500AD in two games. Thus far it is going well. Hopefully we can get Brian's troops on the table shortly to get him involved. It looks like we now have 5 solid players in the campaign. Stay tuned for the next installment.
Mark's pictures can be found here.