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Calling all armchair generals! Boudica's Last Stand.
Meanwhile... I've been thinking a bit more about marching camps.

If we assume that Paulinus was following (what we assume to be) usual Roman military doctrine - and he had the time to do so , as he wasn't in a rush to prepare his position - then he would have built a marching camp for his whole force of c.10,000 men (about 15 hectares, or 150,000 square metres, I reckon) somewhere to the rear of his proposed front line.

But how far away from the front line would this camp have been?

It's difficult to determine as, as far as I know, the only certain camps in relation to Roman conflict sites relate to sieges (Masada and Alesia) rather than field battles.

After Cerialis's defeat, the general and his cavalry force managed to shelter within their camp (or perhaps a nearby fort, but I'm guessing the camp would have been a more convenient fortification!). So it must have been fairly close to the action - but not too close, or the infantry too might have been able to fall back there. 

Tacitus's description of Mons Graupius has the legionary force drawn up as a reserve 'in front of the ramparts' - although how literally we should take this I don't know. But presumably they could see the battle, and would be close enough to move up in support of the auxiliaries when required.

Kenneth St Joseph's proposed site for Graupius has the camp at Durno between 1.8 and 3 miles from the scene of the fighting, on an oblique line. This would seem to me the maximum feasible distance for a camp intended to house the troops the night before the battle and allow them to deploy in good time, and to act as a refuge should they need it. Closer - between 0.5 and 1 mile - might have been a safer distance, still allowing room for redeployment behind the front line.

The camp would also, of course, be built close to a water supply, although some sources suggest the use of springs and wells in preference to flowing water. It would ideally face or 'address' the battle site to some degree, to allow for easy deployment, although the exact layout may have been determined more by the lie of the land.

So - where might these camps be in relation to our various proposed battle sites?

The site at Dunstable (Manshead) is a full 4 miles down Watling Street from the Roman settlement site at Tilsworth (the late Barry Horne's suggested location for Roman Durocobrivis), where there are traces of superimposed Roman trenches, either military or civilian. But the centre of modern Dunstable is only 1.6 miles from the position, again on Watling, and here again there are Roman ditches dating from the 1st century aligned with the road - again, though, they may well be of civilian origin.

Moving to the Tring (Newground Road) site, the saddle between the Bulbourne and Thame river basins is directly north of the proposed position; Tring station (listed as a possible camp location by Steve Kaye, I think) is less than a mile away (1km), and the site we were discussing some time back is 1.7 miles north-west. No traces of ditches etc as far as I know, although nobody's seriously looked for them either!

What about the other sites we've discussed?
Nathan Ross
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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 Nathan Ross - 11-27-2017, 03:05 PM

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