Sunday, March 6, 2022

The Roman Invasion of Britain - Scenario 6

Cefn Carnedd (51 AD)

This is the sixth scenario in our campaign representing the Roman Invasion of Britain based on my own campaign rules.

The scenario was played using the Commands & Colors Ancients rules but on hex terrain from Kallistra and using paper figures from Peter Dennis instead of blocks. 

The Roman conquest of Britain had been underway for four years when a new Roman commander, Publius Ostorius Scapula, was assigned to the province in 47 AD. He faced an on-going insurgency, led by Caratacus, chieftain of the Cautuvellauni tribe who had recruited Miraculix the Druid to his cause. In 51 AD, Caratacus took up a good defensive position at Cefn Carnedd with his tribesmen on high ground with the Severn River to his front. The hills were steep and rocky, and he constructed ramparts where the hill slope was not as great, making it difficult for the Romans to close with his forces. 

Publius Ostorius Scapula was worried about the fame of Appius Titus Aper, who had recently been promoted to Legate in command of a legion; Scapula was afraid that Aper's renown would eclipse his own leadership as Governor of the Province. 

The Britons were in such a strong defensive position, that Scapula decided it would be a good mission to send Aper on, ideally it would turn out to be a suicide mission.

With seven cohorts of legionaries, five of auxiliaries and some light infantry, Appius Titus Aper marched through the rough Welsh countryside towards the River Severn. The Romans camped only a short march from the British fortress.

Appius Titus Aper giving his final instructions for the attack - by MW

The next morning, Aper ordered the last stage of the march to the River Severn. The river was shallow and fordable along its entire length, it could be crossed by his infantry without needing to be bridged. However the hills and the ramparts built by the Britons would be a serious challenge. 

This is scenario 223 from Commands & Colors Ancients - Expansion 2. The Romans have 1 glory point from the previous scenario and the Britons have 2 glory points. Glory points in our campaign rules are an addition to the standard C&CA rules.

Appius Titus Aper deployed his troops in line facing the hill fortress, with himself in a commanding position on a hill in the centre. Led by Caratacus, and Miraculix the Druid, the Britons waited to see what the Romans would do.

Legate Appius Titus Aper immediately ordered his legionary infantry to advance into the River Severn, which they did with great gusto, throwing their pilums at the British defenders and causing the slingers on the hill to retreat.

Caratacus ordered a coordinated attack by his slingers. Those in the centre returned to the hill and both units pelted the advancing Romans with slingshot. This caused casualties to the Auxiliaries on the Roman left, but seemed to have no effect on the tough armoured legionaries.

With his Inspiring Leadership, Aper ordered his cohort and the 4 adjacent ones to advance across the river and into contact with the British defences.

The Romans tried to storm the ramparts, but were pushed back. The Romans legionaries and the British slingers took slight losses, but the British warriors defending the ramparts were decimated, although they still held their ground.

The British light troops were ordered to move towards the Roman advance, to support what was beginning to look like a dangerous hole in the defences. The slingers tried hard to annoy the Roman legionaries from the safety of their lofty and steep hilltop, but without much noticeable success.

Aper now ordered 3 legionary cohorts in the centre to attack the ramparts again.

The Romans eliminated the already decimated warriors and broke through the ramparts destroying them as they passed.

They then attacked the second rampart defended by warriors under the leadership of Miraculix the Druid. There the Romans took heavy losses and could not dislodge Miraculix, but his warriors lost many casualties.

The Britons, now unsure what command to give their troops, used a Glory Point to discard a command card and draw a new. Glory points in our campaign rules are an addition to the standard C&CA rules.

Miraculix then ordered 3 units on the left flank; his own warriors and the skirmishers on the hill would attack the legionaries to their front, while the warriors defending the ramparts to his left charged into the Romans busy destroying the ramparts.

Charging from the ramparts, the warriors crested the steep hill and attacked the Romans, causing equal losses to both sides.

Even though they were understrength, the Roman legionaries beat off the British skirmishers causing them to retreat. 

Miraculix goading his warriors with a rousing oration - by MW

Miraculix then attacked the understrength Roman legionaries with his own warriors and wiped them out.

Crazy with his victory, Miraculix ordered his warriors to advance out from the ramparts. They charged into the exposed flank of an understrength legionary cohort. 

The Roman cohort was wiped out before it could defend itself. However Miraculix  and his warriors were now in an extremely precarious position.

From his position with a legionary cohort in the river, Aper now saw his chance. He ordered his cohort and the three adjacent cohorts to advance and destroy Miraculix. He also used his only Glory Point to rally his leading leading cohort back up to full strength.

The warriors commanded by Miraculix died gallantly in front of their ramparts, Miraculix himself was seen scurrying back over the ramparts to join up with the warriors defending the hill. The British slingers defending the hill, took casualties from the javelins of the advancing Roman auxiliaries.

From the safety of his lofty and steep hill, Miraculix ordered his light troops to support him. Five units rushed to his aid.

They attacked the lead Roman cohort, on what was now the ruins of the ramparts, but took more losses than they inflicted.

Once again, Aper ordered his cohort and the three adjacent cohorts into the attack.

The skirmishers defending the palisade evaded to avoid the attacking legionaries.

The leading Roman cohort attacked the understrength Britons to their front, causing slight casualties, but the Britons then wiped out the Romans.

Aper himself attacked up the steep hill, with losses being equal on both sides.

From the safety of his lofty and steep hill, Miraculix once again ordered his light troops to support him. 

The skirmishers once again took their place behind the ramparts. The lone infantry in the valley, moved to the safety of the hill. This gave a clear shot to the slingers in the rear, allowing them to cause serious casualties to Aper's own cohort. Seeing this, the troops on the hill charged into Aper's cohort leaving it nearly decimated but taking heavy losses themselves.

Once again, Aper sent orders to his cohort and the three adjacent cohorts. His decimated cohort started to retire back across the river towards safety. The other three advanced forward into the hole in the ramparts. Aper now took over the command of an auxilia cohort.

The auxilia cohort in the lead, attacked Miraculix and his warriors on the steep hill, the Romans lost twice as many casualties as the Britons.

The legionaries once again attacked the skirmishers behind the ramparts who evaded as before.

The auxilia cohort under Aper's command, attacked the lone British unit on the hill in front of them, which was eliminated and Aper advanced onto the hill.

Caratacus could see that the battle was hanging on a thread. The Romans had broken through the ramparts and had climbed the hill. The British units facing them were understrength, weakened by the hard fighting. Something desperate was needed.

So using his Inspiring Leadership Caratacus ordered the warriors under his direct command to leave the safety of their ramparts, from where they had been watching the battle unfold, and charge down into the River Severn and to attack the Roman legionaries retiring over the river.

Caratacus wiped out the Romans.

Now it was too late to stop, so Caratacus and his warriors charged up the bank and attacked the legionaries waiting on the far side. The Romans took losses without causing any noticeable casualties to the warriors.

Aper now ordered his light troops into action.

He led his auxilia back down from the hill, to attack Caratacus and his warriors from behind, ordering an understrength unit of auxilia to take his place on the hill.

He ordered two units on his right flank to advance into the river and to shoot at the defending Britons on a hill.

He ordered two units on this left flank, to move over in support of the legionaries being attacked by Caratacus.

Both Aper and Caratacus took casualties in the fight. The auxilia on the hill eliminated the understrength British unit to their front, but were ordered to hold their ground in order to protect Aper's flank.

Throwing caution to the wind, Caratacus and Miraculix decided it was time to do or die. They resolved to perform a coordinated attack. 

From the left, the unit of warriors on the hill charged down to attack Aper. From the right, another unit of warriors charged the auxilia on the hill. In the centre, Caratacus moved back his warriors so as to be able to attack either Aper or the auxilia on the hill.

Miraculix used the second British Glory Point to activate himself.

Both the auxila on the hill and those led by Aper himself were eliminated. However Aper himself escaped unharmed.

The Romans were demoralized by their heavy losses and by the mad charge of the Britons, they gave up the fight and started to retire back over the River Severn.

Led by Miraculix the Druid and his entourage, the warriors shouted lewd insults which they accompanied with obscene gestures as the Romans headed for the safety of their fortresses many miles to the east.

Scenario Result 

British Victory: Romans 4 - Britons 6

Romans 4 victory banners and 1 glory point

Britons 6 victory banners and 2 glory points

Campaign Result 

  Victories     Banners  
  Romans       1     26
  Britons       5     35

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