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Calling all armchair generals! Boudica's Last Stand.
Renatus wrote:

I agree with virtually everything that Nathan has said. Dividing one's force against an eventuality that may never come and having each division separated from the others by high ground (especially with Hastoe Hill between Divisions I and 2) is a recipe for disaster. A single force with its left and right flanks anchored on Coombe Hill and Hastoe Hill respectively fits the topography and Tacitus' description exactly

In my opinion the problem with coming out of one valley into a host of this size is that the smaller force will be absorbed unless there is a thin line of opposition and patently that cannot be the case unless there is another force affecting the warriors that causes a disruption to the Brythons attack.

Nathan wrote:

Your camps still appear to be on very uneven ground! Don't see much of a water supply either (and for a camp that might be occupied for some days, that's a problem...)

If you go on to Google Earth and look at the area some of the ground is sloping but the vast majority appears to be useable for camps although I have not visited the area myself so any local knowledge would be useful.

Regarding water supply, this whole area is based on a major aquifer and there are springs to this day all around (Dancers End, Tring Park, the Crong) and there appear to be ancient reservoirs on the high grounds.

The River Bulbourne rises opposite the plateau and SP may well have collected water from here and contaminated that supply so the Brythons had to travel farther for their supplies.

In either case I don’t see this as an issue.

Regarding the Divisions, I am afraid that we are destined to differ here.

I admit that I am not a military man and certainly take your points on board and I am only having a stab at what I think might have happened and am prepared to modify my early thoughts on the advice of others.

Of course, on the day, SP would have had to react to what the Brythons did in answer to his moves so in reality anything that I say about the battle is pure deduction from the texts.

I am grateful that you acknowledge that the site is feasible however flawed my interpretation of the battle maybe.

From the texts it is obvious that the Brython’s baggage train partially blocks the exit from the battle site itself.

I think that this in itself needs some explanation apart from the statement from Tacitus about people wanting to see the battle.

I think that the Brythons camped along the routes that they travelled to the site much as we would today (Akeman Street and the Icknield Way) and around the water sources at Bulbourne and Wendover.

It would have formed in a natural way and therefore unique to the sites so far gives an idea of where the camp might have logically occurred.

This camp would have been huge if we accept only Tacitus description that 80,000 Brythons were killed which as many escaped according to Tacitus, would seem to imply that Dio may well not have been as inaccurate as it seems at the outset.

This huge camp would in effect have cut off many fleeing warriors as described but it also becomes a liability to the Brythons as you have intimated previously.

Their camp becomes a weak point because it has to be defended if the tide of battle goes against the Brythons and would cause chaos in the fighting forces.

Seutonius Paulinus probably would have seen this weakness and planned his attack accordingly.

If we keep the sequence of events simple rather than trying to second guess counter attacks etc. perhaps the following works better:

By bringing Division 1 into play down Valley 1 would have attracted the Brythons to attack and stop them. This Division could have been made up of some 4,500 men in close order across the 900 yard valley 5 rows deep with the legionaries in the centre and the auxiliaries on the wings.

By SP then releasing Division 2 down Valley 2 from the plateau at Hastoe, in the same configuration, the Brythons would be forced to confront them across a 700 yard valley (to prevent their camp from being attacked) again with the Roman Division being 5 rows deep.

Both the Divisions combined would be made up of 8,000 infantry leaving the cavalry and 2 cohorts of mounted Batavians that made up the mounted Division 3 based on the heights at Wiggington possibly with 2,000 horse held out of site of the Brythons.

I think that SP was used to dealing with fighting in mountainous terrain and would have been able to co-ordinate troops over a distance - after all he was reckoned to be one of, if not the, greatest general of his time.

The main thrust of the Brythons at this time of the attack would be focussed on Disions 1 and 2.

I think that it is possible that a relevant time (when the Brythons were totally engaged) the order fto charge was given to Division 3 whose 2,000 horse charged down the hill at Wiggington surprising the loosely packed Brythons on the edge of Valley 2 and on the sides of Wiggington Hill.

This unstoppable force crosses Akeman Street and is in heart of the baggage train within minutes causing the Brythons attacking Divisions 1 and 2 to panic and turn to defend their camps and wagons.

This is the time that SP gives the command for Divisions 1 and 2 to charge, chasing down the Brythons racing to saving their baggage train and the Brythons are routed but many cannot escape and are slaughtered as are many in the baggage train.

Some do escape as there are only so many that can be killed in the time scale......

This is just another scenario but I don't think that it takes away the validity of the site.

Kind Regards - Deryk
Deryk
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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 Deryk - 09-07-2013, 07:45 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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