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Calling all armchair generals! Boudica's Last Stand.
(02-17-2018, 01:20 PM)Theoderic Wrote: would he not have had the Batavians with him? ... Could the space needed have been narrower?

We can't be sure which auxiliary units Paulinus had with him, although Batavians, Tungrians and others from Gaul, Belgica and Hispania seem probable.

The space may have been narrower indeed - I was estimating on the basis that most Roman forces that we have any clue about seem to have been around 10% cavalry, and P would presumably have grouped his lighter missile troops away from or behind the main infantry line.

As a rough guess of his army composition, I'd say 4800 men of Legio XIV plus a 480-man veteran vexillatio (from Wroxeter?), another 480-man vexillatio of Legio XX (from Usk?), then two cavalry alae at 512 men each, three auxiliary infantry cohorts at 480 men each and three cohortes equitatae at 480 infantry and 120 cavalry each. That would give Paulinus 8640 infantry and 1384 cavalry - 10,024 men total. Many of these units would have been understrength, of course!



(02-17-2018, 01:20 PM)Theoderic Wrote: we haven't found that much archeology as yet referring to the battle site - apart from the Tring helmet  Undecided

That would depend on whether you consider a pilum shank, fragment of armour, sword grip and an unknown number of sling bullets and arrow heads (all found at Newground/Cow Roast, close to the Tring helmet find) to be 'archaeology'... [Image: wink.png]
Nathan Ross
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Nathan wrote

As a rough guess of his army composition, I'd say 4800 men of Legio XIV plus a 480-man veteran vexillatio (from Wroxeter?), another 480-man vexillatio of Legio XX (from Usk?), then two cavalry alae at 512 men each, three auxiliary infantry cohorts at 480 men each and three cohortes equitatae at 480 infantry and 120 cavalry each. That would give Paulinus 8640 infantry and 1384 cavalry - 10,024 men total. Many of these units would have been understrength, of course!

I would agree  Smile



Nathan wrote

That would depend on whether you consider a pilum shank, fragment of armour, sword grip and an unknown number of sling bullets and arrow heads (all found at Newground/Cow Roast, close to the Tring helmet find) to be 'archaeology'... [Image: wink.png]

Absoloutely  Smile
Deryk
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(02-15-2018, 02:21 PM)Nathan Ross Wrote: The translation 'defile' is confusing - the word Tacitus uses means 'throat' - so it's an open pass or through-way between hills, 'closed' in the rear by woods, not by high ground. It is not a closed valley or an indentation in an escarpment.

(02-16-2018, 12:30 PM)Nathan Ross Wrote: I would guess a gap of c.1000 metres is about right.

Just so that I have this clear in my own mind, we're looking for a relatively steep sided valley (not just a gap between two hills) about half a mile wide. Is that right?
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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(02-17-2018, 04:34 PM)Renatus Wrote: we're looking for a relatively steep sided valley (not just a gap between two hills) about half a mile wide. Is that right?

Half a mile is probably about right.

'Gap between hills' - well, maybe. A range of hills or an escarpment would be better, to avoid outflanking - which is why these sites in the Chilterns we've been looking at are quite good. If you have a range of hills or high ground, or an escarpment, and some sort of half-mile gap or pass through through those hills, ideally with trees on the far side, then I think you've got the right sort of 'throat shaped' feature.

'Steepness' is always going to be relative, as we've discussed before! Even what appears to be a relatively mild gradient on a map could make a different in terms of movement on a battlefield, I'd say.
Nathan Ross
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A bit of new action on the cards at  Venta Icenorum;

http://www.eveningnews24.co.uk/news/archaeologists-excavate-ancient-roman-temple-at-caistor-st-edmumd-1-5658164

412 319
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(08-20-2018, 06:47 PM)John1 Wrote: A bit of new action on the cards at  Venta Icenorum;

When I first read that I confused the name with Venta Belgarum and thought something earth-shattering might have turned up at Winchester... [Image: tongue.png]

Quite interesting all the same, although most of the 'action' appears to be post-Boudica.

I wonder what happened to that vaunted summer excavation at Silchester?
Nathan Ross
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a bath house?
research.reading.ac.uk/silchester/
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(08-20-2018, 07:38 PM)John1 Wrote: a bath house?

Aha, right, yes: "excavations of the public baths in Insula XXXIIIA are programmed for the summer of 2018"

Not quite so exciting, perhaps, for our purposes, after the massive Nero temple thing they found last time. Unless, of course, any interesting destruction layers or whatever turn up... But we should not hold our breaths.
Nathan Ross
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(08-20-2018, 06:47 PM)John1 Wrote: A bit of new action on the cards at  Venta Icenorum;

http://www.eveningnews24.co.uk/news/archaeologists-excavate-ancient-roman-temple-at-caistor-st-edmumd-1-5658164

412 319

Thanks for posting.
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Thanks John
Deryk
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amid the silence I have been plodding away. The Windridge Fort (St Albans) is seen as very plausible after some drone photography of one of the Gates. First  Roman Fort in Hertfordshire is the current billing, but being lined up for 1600 houses........ The Castle Yard (Church Stowe)  site also yielded some interesting features by drone, fairly clear internal structures but these appear post Roman. Church Stowe also turned out to be the principal seat of Nicholas de Segrave (jnr) one time Marshall of England, no seat is identified in the area as Lord of Stowe, so could explain some of the feature at Castle Dykes www.en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nicholas_Seagrave
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As for "thought something earth-shattering might have turned up at Winchester..."   

Nah... as we've always said on this subject......

   
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Discussion about distances between files and ranks splits off per request.
Robert Vermaat
MODERATOR
FECTIO Late Romans
THE CAUSE OF WAR MUST BE JUST
(Maurikios-Strategikon, book VIII.2: Maxim 12)
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Nathan,

We have spoken earlier of the defile being half a mile wide to accommodate Paulinus' legions arrayed eight ranks deep but, in view of the opinion that I think we have both taken in the 'Distances between files and ranks' thread, that he would have adopted a formation to take account of the width of the defile, I wonder if half a mile is too wide. Seeing what half a mile looks like on the ground, it seems a bit much to me. I am beginning to think the narrower the defile, within reason, the better. That way, the Britons trying to funnel into a relatively narrow gap would tend to bunch together and impede each other, presenting a solid target for successive volleys of pila in which each pilum would find a victim. If Paulinus also had archers, they could pour showers if arrows into the mass, creating even more devastation. We could then have a 'Horatius on the bridge' scenario ('Those behind cried "Forward" and those before cried "Back"') and the Romans wading into the struggling mass with gladii and levelled spears. No wonder the Britons eventually broke and ran.
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)
Reply
(09-07-2018, 11:29 AM)Renatus Wrote: the narrower the defile, within reason, the better. That way, the Britons trying to funnel into a relatively narrow gap would tend to bunch together and impede each other, presenting a solid target

Yes, that sounds absolutely right, and tactically I think that was exactly the purpose of the 'defile'.

If we go with my rough estimate above for Paulinus's force (8640 infantry and 1384 cavalry), the infantry drawn up in one unbroken line eight men deep would occupy 1080 metres - or just over half a mile. Ten deep they would cover 864 metres. Twelve deep would be 720 metres. Sixteen deep (two lines of eight ranks) would be 540 metres. Eighteen (three lines of six ranks) deep would be 480 metres. I would say this is the very minimum frontage possible.

Allowing for a few gaps in the line between units, this would give us a possible range of between 500 metres and 1100 metres (0.3 to 0.7 of a mile). This is assuming that the auxiliary infantry formed a line with the legionaries, and were not on the hill slopes to either side, and that the cavalry occupied the hills and were not in the defile. All these considerations would add variables to the calculation, of course.

I must say, I don't think I've seen any suitable sites, either by peering at topographical maps or suggested by other people, that fall much outside those general parameters. My proposed line at Newground is c.800-900 metres, but if turned obliquely into the valley below Wiggington it could be c.490. South-eastern and central England are quite short on narrower valleys with pronounced slopes - the higher the elevation on either side, the wider the valley tends to be. I'd be interested to see any you might have in mind though!
Nathan Ross
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