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Calling all armchair generals! Boudica's Last Stand.
A number of points arise from these latest comments.  I agree that a governor should be expected to know his province but I doubt that this needs to have extended to an intimate knowledge of potential battle sites, especially within the parts of the province that were supposed to be pacified.  However, what he would have done, having been forced into withdrawing before an advancing enemy, is to have kept a constant eye open for any site which would have been advantageous to him, should he be compelled to give battle.  It is evident that the site of the final battle was one of his choosing.

I think it unlikely that he would have destroyed Verulamium, if that is what is being suggested.  He would, I am sure, have removed or destroyed any weapons and also, perhaps, stocks of food.  I am in two minds over the food question in both London and in Verulamium.  Would he have left the food warehouses untouched in the hope that collecting the food would delay the rebels' advance and buy him more time to gather his forces or would he have destroyed the stocks, knowing that the rebels would then have to rely on foraging to get their supplies and thus be delayed further?  The latter is perhaps more likely but I remain uncertain.  Whatever his choice, the sources seem to indicate that the rebels moved more quickly than he anticipated.

I am not sure that he was much concerned with gathering refugees.  It seems clear that he was not prepared to be held up by the civilians who chose to accompany his army.  The choice that he gave the inhabitants of London was that they could accompany him as long as they were able to keep up.  He may have given the same choice to the inhabitants of Verulamium or he may have left his London civilians there to fend for themselves, having removed them from the immediate danger.

I believe that, having left Verulamium, he chose to pause in the vicinity of Tring because it offered a number of strategic advantages, lying at the junction of Akeman Street with the Icknield Way.  His reinforcements could join Akeman Street from the north, west or south and then proceed along it until they could rendezvous with him.  Until then, from that position he could observe the movements of the rebels and react accordingly.  If they went up Watling Street with the intention of joining the Icknield Way and then going east, he could go up the more southerly part of the Icknield Way and cut them off at Dunstable or, if he did not feel strong enough to do that, he could shadow them until his reinforcements caught up with him.  The rebels could only travel as fast as their wagon train would let them and the relatively unencumbered Romans could outpace them at any time.  Alternatively, if the rebels approached along Akeman Street, he could withdraw further west and see what they did on reaching Tring.  If they continued on that route towards the territory of the Dobunni, he could withdraw ahead of them until he met his reinforcements or, if they turned on to the Icknield Way and proceeded south towards the territory of the Atrebates, again he could shadow them until his reinforcements caught up.

We know, of course, that none of these things happened.  Paulinus probably realised that his reinforcements were simply not going to reach him in time, at least not in significant numbers, and that he was unlikely to find a better site to give battle with the limited numbers that he had.  Accordingly, he decided to make his stand there with the results that we know.
Michael King Macdona

And do as adversaries do in law, -
Strive mightily, but eat and drink as friends.
(The Taming of the Shrew: Act 1, Scene 2)
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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
RE: Calling all armchair generals! Boudica's Last Stand. - by Renatus - 11-20-2015, 10:42 PM

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