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Calling all armchair generals! Boudica's Last Stand.
Nathan wrote:
If Paulinus was already moving south with his army by the time the rebels attacked Colchester, much of the confusion in the chronology disappears, I think.

This is an interesting take on the situation but relies heavily on the first message from Catus being accepted by SP that the situation was very serious indeed.

This would appear to be far from the case as Catus only sent 200 poorly equipped soldiers to defend Colchester and no physical defences were raised or any of the civilian population evacuated.

When Catus realised how serious the situation was he fled to Gaul and disappears from the page of history which would indicate that he did not think that the reports and requests for support from Colchester were that serious the first time.

There is always that point that during the advance on Colchester when the forts were overrun that messages managed to get out to Cerialis or SP allowing SP to intiate a march south east earlier.

Nathan wrote:
Not really - the citizens had prior warning of the attack and sent a request to Catus, who sent 200 men as reinforcements (and almost certainly informed Paulinus). The defeat was perhaps due to bad defensive planning, expectation of relief, confusion, or just sheer Roman hubris!

It is strange that the Roman intelligence was so poor but perhaps as is indicated that there was some kind of reassurance that was acceptable and a non acceptance that there was any fight left in the local tribes...

Nathan wrote:
Very likely, if the numbers are anything like those that the sources suggest. Such a massive force would strip the land bare in all directions, and spend much of their time foraging for food, animal feed and fuel - 150,000 men use up 65-70 tons of firewood a day, apparently. Even a disciplined army of that size with an established supply train and logistics corps would struggle to make 10 miles a day. Estimating 8 miles a day or less for the Britons is reasonable, I'd say, even allowing for plundering on the way.

This statement shows how difficult it would have been for a surprise attack on Colchester but again supposes that the horde was together to begin with and did not meet up just outside Colchester prior to the "battle".

This is the area where I disagree with virtually everyone else in the composition of the Brythonic army which I do not believe was a migration but a warrior attack planned and executed ruthlessly to take back control of the Trinovantes and Iceni Homelands that had been taken by Rome, firstly by overunning the Roman forts and then by destroying Colchester and its hated inhabitants.

Renatus wrote:
We have it in the speech that Dio gives to Paulinus that the rebels burned a couple of cities, one of which was 'betrayed' and the other abandoned to them. These would be, respectively, Colchester and London. We have speculated before that this suggests that there was a 'fifth column' in Colchester that persuaded the colonists that there was no need to erect defences or to evacuate the city.

This is again reference to the raising of a large body of people that Rome was not concerned about. Can this be explained by there being some type of "entertainment" planned and that rather than Catus underestimating the threat by sending so few soldiers, he effectively sent a force purely to police an event to be held that had been agreed with local dignatories and perhaps even himself? 

Nathan wrote:
Colchester is 50 miles from London, not 70, but if we dispense with the 'cavalry dash' (which I believe we must) then Paulinus did indeed reach London first.

This necessarily supposes that the rebels were either moving very slowly, or had paused somewhere in their advance.
I would agree about dispensing with the "cavalry dash" theory and my apologies for the typo on the mileage.

Again I am not convinced that the "horde's" (Brythonic army) objective was London after the destruction of Colchester. This was a Roman port and 18 years before hand was of limited use to the Brythons who had used their own ports.

Their wealth and way of life was measured in their own land that the Roman Veterans had taken from the Trinovantes and the land taken from the Iceni by Catus and the Roman State.

It was this that had to be re-occupied and defended and I agree with John that the tribes returned to their homelands and set up ambushes and against the Romans who true to form were advancing from Bangor (14th) and Peterborough (9th) to destroy the uprising at its source.
What changed everything was that SP did not advance on them partly because the 2nd didn't turn up and partly because the 9th didn't either because the latter had been destroyed and Cerealis trapped.

When he retreated from London westwards and then up Watling Street to St Albans he was followed by the Brythons and London was destroyed (although the warehouses were probably destroyed by SP to prevent use of supplies contained by the Brythons) and St Albans overrun in the chase after the retreating Roman Army.

Nathan wrote:
Why west? If he wanted to 'regroup' he would head north - his main army was in that direction!

West out of London itself and then North West up Watling Street to St Albans....

Renatus wrote:
I agree. The scenario as I see it is that Paulinus withdrew a short way up Akeman Street to a strategic position from which he could observe through scouts the movements of the enemy and react accordingly. The intention was to wait there for reinforcements to join him but the actions of the rebels were such that he felt obliged to give battle before his reinforcements could arrive.

AND

Nathan wrote:
I agree with this, except that I think he withdrew initially to St Albans (which is why that otherwise-unsignificant place finds its way into Tacitus's account!). He perhaps intended reinforcements from the west or north-west to meet him there; when they did not he withdrew once more to the vicinity of either Tring/Newground or Dunstable/Manshead.

I agree with this as well and obviously favour Tring but think that Church Stowe should not be discarded as John explains:

(John wrote: “If he marched all the way back to Church Stowe"
You make it sound like CS is a huge distance it's only 30 miles different to the Tring option, it's not at all, maybe 8 hours hard march. The whole section regarding time and distance doesn't provide a differentiation between Tring, Dunstable and CS. They are all too close for anyone to rule the others out on this basis.)

John wrote:
"(Or perhaps the druids were keeping them busy up there? file:///C:/Users/DERYK~1.CUN/AppData/Local/Temp/msohtmlclip1/01/clip_image002.gif )"

Although said in jest John has a valid point - the Romans were over stretched in garrison duties holding down the Silures, the Ordovices, the Brigantes as well as the newly conquered territory and Cornwall as well as having a Battle Group in the field and having lost the operational part of the 9th.

The veterans of the 20th were possibly being re-located similarly to Colchester in Gloucester to create what had been a successful policy until this time and were able to join SP at the battle site  

Nathan wrote:
As we discussed before, I think it unlikely that the rebels would have brought their wives but left their children at home! 'Wives', in the Tacitus account, is a metonym for 'families'.

I am afraid that we are destined to disagree on this point.....and the text reflects a typical baggage train where cattle and beasts of burden were also part of the supplies. Cattle can be driven at 15 miles per day over long distances and the base design for chariots can be easily adapted for horse drawn carts allowing for a mobile army.
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 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 Theoderic - 09-08-2016, 02:27 PM

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