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Calling all armchair generals! Boudica's Last Stand.
Nathan, That is an interesting proposition for the battle site but there are a few problems.

1) For reasons laid out in my logistics/hydrology essay (Fig.14) I don't think Suetonius marched north. We've all discussed this already so I'll not further engage on this point.

2) AS Vindex has pointed out, your Dunstable site has the Romans facing the Brits down a narrowing valley. This is a topographic feature difficult to reconcile with Tacitus' (T.) description: A) "an open plain extended" B) "..clinging to the narrow defile c).... rushed OUT in a wedge-like column". T. is describing a Roman front within a defile which
opens out into a plain, not a closing valley with a decreasing flood plain.

3) There is not enough water available to the Romans. The attached map, of naturalised rivers with sufficent flow-rates in July, shows that the River Ver (to the south of the Roman position) is in the hands of the Brits and, in anycase, is spring-fed from a nearby source (Lynch Farm) which means it probably didn't have a flow-rate suffient to satisfy many.

The river source to the north-west of Dunstable is 4ish km away, a round trip of 8ish kms - not really feasible to maintain 15,000 Roman souls and their animals. There are springs outcropping at the base of the north-west facing escarpment but they would be a meagre supply. I'm convinced that Suetonius would not choose a battle site with inadequate water because he could not guarantee an immediate attack by the Brits - he might be surrounded and besieged and that would necessitate a fighting retreat = disaster (typically).

Those are my main points against Dunstable being chosen by Suetonius.

[attachment=3814]Dunstable-nathanross_2012-04-25.jpg[/attachment]


However - as an illustration of how perverse the search for the battle site is - rotate your Roman line through 180 degrees so that it faces NW towards Dunstable town. Now the River Ver is available to the Romans (less than 1km away); the defile opens out into a broader plain, itself limited by 200 metre flanks. This matches T.'s description and makes tactical sense for Suetonius. This is the sort of prospective site you'll find all along the NW facing Chiltern scarp and, when I was being as objective as possible in selecting terrain analysied sites, had to include in my list of possible sites. But, of course, the Romans are supposedly facing the wrong way! And that is the reason why I invoke the 'marching U-turn', or retrograde battle site, as an action and term to describe this possibility. That is, he marched out of London, continued beyond the NW face of the escarpment and then turned parallel to the face and marched along it (Icknield Way) towards his pre-chosen battle site, the defile, ensconced within the NW facing escarpment. Your Dunstable site might just be one of those types which I've missed. Some would say why bother with such sites when they clearly require such convolution of manouever - I answer, because these sites (there are quite a few throughout the southern UK) match the terrain description/criteria and should not be dismissed but instead down-weighted as likely battle sites (see the logistics essay, page 20).

In short, I suspect Dunstable, as you envisage it, does not have a high probability of being the battle site but is probably a good candidate for the type of retrograde site I've outlined. In otherwords, I might have missed it when I first trawled through the original terrain analysis work and, for the sake of objectivity, should re-examine it. Thanks but strewth - more work!

regards, Steve Kaye


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Messages In This Thread
Re: Calling all armchair generals! - by Ensifer - 03-11-2010, 03:13 PM
Re: Calling all armchair generals! Boudica\'s Last Stand. - by Steve Kaye - 02-18-2012, 06:26 PM
Re: Calling all armchair generals! Boudica\'s Last Stand. - by Steve Kaye - 02-19-2012, 12:02 AM
Re: Calling all armchair generals! Boudica\'s Last Stand. - by Steve Kaye - 02-19-2012, 02:50 PM
Re: Calling all armchair generals! Boudica\'s Last Stand. - by Steve Kaye - 02-19-2012, 05:40 PM
Re: Calling all armchair generals! Boudica\'s Last Stand. - by Steve Kaye - 02-19-2012, 11:26 PM
Re: Calling all armchair generals! Boudica\'s Last Stand. - by Steve Kaye - 04-24-2012, 05:11 PM
Re: Calling all armchair generals! Boudica\'s Last Stand. - by Steve Kaye - 04-24-2012, 09:42 PM
Re: Calling all armchair generals! Boudica\'s Last Stand. - by Steve Kaye - 04-24-2012, 10:10 PM
Re: Calling all armchair generals! Boudica\'s Last Stand. - by Steve Kaye - 04-25-2012, 03:11 PM
Re: Calling all armchair generals! Boudica\'s Last Stand. - by Steve Kaye - 04-25-2012, 03:25 PM
Re: Calling all armchair generals! Boudica\'s Last Stand. - by Steve Kaye - 04-25-2012, 08:36 PM
Re: Calling all armchair generals! Boudica\'s Last Stand. - by Steve Kaye - 04-26-2012, 02:57 PM
Re: Calling all armchair generals! Boudica\'s Last Stand. - by Steve Kaye - 04-27-2012, 01:50 PM
Re: Calling all armchair generals! Boudica\'s Last Stand. - by Steve Kaye - 08-05-2012, 02:24 PM
Calling all armchair generals! Boudica\'s Last Stand. - by antiochus - 11-07-2014, 02:18 PM
Calling all armchair generals! Boudica\'s Last Stand. - by antiochus - 11-08-2014, 01:50 AM
Calling all armchair generals! Boudica\'s Last Stand. - by antiochus - 11-11-2014, 02:03 AM
Calling all armchair generals! Boudica\'s Last Stand. - by antiochus - 11-18-2014, 07:54 AM
Calling all armchair generals! Boudica\'s Last Stand. - by antiochus - 11-20-2014, 02:37 AM
Calling all armchair generals! Boudica\'s Last Stand. - by antiochus - 11-25-2014, 08:29 AM

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