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Calling all armchair generals! Boudica's Last Stand.
(12-27-2017, 06:35 PM)Theoderic Wrote: as the Roman soldier was trained for marching as a pre-requisite they would have had the stamina to march for hours on end laden at 3 mph - which was a big difference.

Herbert Benario's paper Legionary Speed of March before the Battle with Boudicca (Britannia 17, 1986) cites a number of examples of very fast moving legionaries.

In 207BC Claudius Nero marched his army for six days at 44-47 miles per day, fought a battle, and then two days later marched the same distance back in the same time. (Livy, 27, 44-50)

(Caesar, Gallic Wars, 7.40-41): "He urged the troops not to be disturbed by the fatigue of a march which the emergency rendered necessary, and then... advanced for five-and‑twenty miles... and then, having given the army three hours of the night for rest, struck camp for Gergovia... Caesar reached the camp before sunrise, by a supreme effort of the troops." (This is 50 miles in 24 hours, with only a 3-hour rest).

(Tacitus, Histories, 3.21): "six Vitellian legions and all the force that had been stationed at Hostilia, after marching thirty miles that day... were now preparing for battle"

Paulinus almost certainly did not match these speeds, at least during his initial advance from North Wales to the area of the revolt. But, again, Tac. Agr. 16 has provinciae motu propere subvenisset - 'he rescued the province with rapid motion'.

I tend to think that mira constantia medios inter hostes Londinium perrexit might refer to the second stage of his march, after he learned of the fall of Colchester and the defeat of Cerealis, and diverted down Ermine Street, directly to London.

I would guess that 18 miles per day (20 Roman miles) on roads would be a decent estimate for Paulinus, and for the reinforcements converging on his position.

At that pace, troops from North Wales could have reached Godmanchester in 12 days (217 miles), and London in 14 days (249 miles). Troops coming up from Exeter could have reached Silchester in 7 days (130 miles), Alchester in 8 days (143 miles), and either London (175 miles) or St Albans (180 miles via the Fosseway and Akeman Street) in 10 days. From Gloucester it would be 4.5 days to Silchester (81 miles), 5 to St Albans (91 miles).

But, as you say, the important thing is not the speed of the march, but the stamina of the troops in continuing to march for hours and make the distances day after day; something that untrained men could not hope to match.


(12-27-2017, 06:35 PM)Theoderic Wrote: there must have been a very good reason for SP to stop to fight... He had to find a place where he could defend the civilians, sustain a siege whilst awaiting reinforcements  and also to use as a spring board to unexpectedly attack from.

I think Paulinus's 'delay' (cunctatio) indicates that he was staying in one place, rather than constantly retreating before the rebel advance.

So my guess would be that he pulled back from London with his refugees to Silchester or (more likely) St Albans and held his position there, waiting for reinforcements while watching the movements of the enemy; he was in friendly territory, at a strategic road junction, and would have been close enough to defensible terrain that he could pull back there in a single day's march if the rebels got too close.

His withdrawal from London may have been followed by a quite lengthy period of inaction: perhaps ten days or so. Boudica had fulfilled her initial objectives, and her people were busy plundering the valley of the Thames, revelling in the fruits of their conquest and gathering supplies for their onward march. Paulinus was staying put and waiting for reinforcements from Wales and the western garrisons. Neither side was eager to force a confrontation.

Only when Paulinus 'grew short of food' and the rebels began finally to move in his direction and 'pressed relentlessly upon him' (Dio) did he decide, realising that the Second Legion were not coming, and his reinforcements from Wales would not reach him in time, to 'break off delay and fight a battle' (Tacitus).
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 - 12-27-2017, 11:06 PM

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