Sunday 22 October 2017

Battle of Chalons After Action Report

Hi All, bit of a while since I put a post up, sorry. Mainly due to the lack of any material to share. I have been unable to get much pained due to a relapse of the tummy trouble, the basing department has not been able to progress the one unit she has and we have not gamed for a few weeks.

All that said today we had a great game of Hail Ceaser I put a re-fight of the battle of Chalons on. This being the battle where the Roman army under Aetius with numerous Germanic Allies defeated the Attila's Huns and their Germanic Allies in a closely fought battle.

The figures were from the collections of chums Chris Flowers, Mark Stimpson and myself. The unusually large number of archers on the Hun side needing us to delve into the ranks of the Persian army at one point.

Chum Chris Charlton had done this game some time ago and already had an army list which I shamelessly nicked. The original being a small scale version of the battle I scaled things up by doubling the numbers. I then found we had 8 players rather than 6 so added a further division each of Romans and Huns. I changed the location of the army units as well to change this around a bit. I also added a few extra units. The Romans In particular had no missile troops at all in the original and so got two units each of foot and horse archers.

Orders of battle were as follows:

Aetius. Left to right.

Left wing Visigoths
King Theodoric
6 x Heavy Cavalry
5 x Heavy Infantry

Centre Romans, Franks and Allies split into two commands
General Aetius
4 x Legion Medium Infantry
8 x Auxillary Infantry
2 x Heavy Cavalry
2 x Horse Archers
2 x Foot Archers

Right Wing Alans
King Sangiban
2 x Heavy Cavalry
8 x Light Cavalry

Attila Left to Right

Left Wing Gepids and other Allies
2 x Light infantry Archers
6 x Heavy Infantry

Centre Huns
6 x Heavy Noble Cavalry
12 x Light Horse Archers

Right Wing Ostrogoths
6 x Light infantry Archers
5 x Heavy Cavalry

The battlefield was fairly flat with a hill dominating the Roman right and a small bit of rough ground the Roman left. The table was 14 feet by 6 feet.

The forces were very different. With the Roman side having a good amount of decent infantry but virtually no missile troops. The Hunnic army meanwhile had very little foot but a lot of archers both on foot and particularly on horse. Should be interesting.

The Roman army moved first, no surprises Richard failed to get his forces to move. Fortunately for Richard the Roman foot are drilled and always get a move. On the left the Visigoths also fail to move but on the right the Alans do get going.

Meanwhile the Hunnic army doesn't do much better. The Gepid foot make one move on the left, and so do the Huns. On the right the Ostrogoths stare sullenly across the battlefield at their Cousins and refuse to move.

The early stages of the game are dominated by not very much happening at all, with the various armies creeping cautiously closer and some very suspect behaviour from the various Germanic Allies. The highlight (or not) being the blunder by Dave's Ostrogoth foot which sees them retreat back off table!

Finally some units get moving and the cavalry start to probe each other, whilst the heavy cavalry of both Goths are the first to start some serious fighting as they charge each other 5 units against 6. Each side has one unit driven back with its supports and follows up, pushing one large melee into two smaller ones a foot apart.

The Alan heavy horse have now crested the hills on the left only to be met with withering fire from the Gepids and one of the two units leaves the table never to return. In the centre the Romans are moving steadily forward and engaged in a rather one sided exchange of arrows with swarms of Huns.

Dave's Visigoth foot and by now moving steadily forward on the extreme Roman left, but his heavy horse are not doing too well. A particularly poor round of Melee sees three units of heavy Visigoth Cavalry cause no casualties at all to the Ostrogoth's. A break test role of double 1 sees a second unit break. A further unit in the second melee then forces a divisional break test and just like that the Visigothic Heavy Cavalry have gone. Steve's Ostrogoths however have also lost 2 units and have a further 2 out of 3 Shaken. He passes a morale test but his cavalry is a spent force.

In the centre the Roman advance is pushing the Huns back towards their table edge but taking a steady toll of troops as they go, over one the Roman right the Alan light cavalry is now exchanging missile fire with both the Huns and the Gepids and coming off the worst for the most part.

Back to the Roman right and the Visigoth infantry now storm forward to charge the Ostrogoth light archers. No surprise to anyone that the light infantry are overwhelmed and annihilated with relatively light casualties.

The Roman centre have now pushed forward onto the last two foot of table at the Hun side of the table but nearly all of their units have suffered severe casualties and the Hns whilst unable to break the formed Roman foot are still relatively fresh.

To the right of centre the Alan light cavalry is now in trouble having taken too many casualties from missile fire. A bad morale throw and Simon now needs a divisional morale. Another poor throw and the whole of the Alan contingent is in full flight from the table. We now have the odd position of the Hunnic right being wide open, whilst the Roman  right is also wide open. Both side have a large contingent of fairly untouched German foot to take advantage of this. The Romans however have virtually no cavalry left.

To the Roman left the Visigoths advance into short range of the last of the Ostrogoth cavalry and 5 units throw javelins into their cousins who have now had enough and break. Chris's Romans see off a Hun push in the centre but are a spent force offensively and start to pull their line back, the last of the Roman cavalry charge the Huns who evade and poor a withering parthian shot into them as they pull back with no casualties. On the Roman open right flank 8 units of Gepids with two units of Hun cavalry are now pushing around the flank and threatening to role the Roman line up. The whole table looks set to turn in a full 90 degrees right angle.

At this point, despite the Huns inability to break the Roman foot the Roman commanders bow to the inevitable and accept a narrow defeat as they feel the best they can now manage is a fighting retreat with no cavalry in the face of a horde of vengeful Hun cavalry.

 A great day for all 9 of us, played in a great spirit and I think everyone got a full days gaming from it. A game that remained in the balance right up to the end and whilst I agreed that the Romans looked unlikely to win, with another hour and a bit of luck who knows if they could have rescued something from it..........

As always thank you to Chris Flowers for his hospitality and to Simon, Chris C, Dave, Steve, Jerry and Mark for a great days gaming.

Thanks fella's.

I hope you enjoyed reading about our game, see you again soon.


  1. Glad you all had a good game. Looks like it was a belter. Unusually high number of people in the pictures this time! Keeeeep blogging.

  2. The scale of the battle is impressive! An amazing sight and a great army from both sides

    1. Thanks Klingula, army size was just right for the table with a little bit of room for manouvre.

  3. Although I don't do ancients that looks one spectacular game, enjoyed the AAR.
    Hope your tummy troubles soon clear up.

  4. 9 players around a beautiful table, great looking armies and a narrow defeat...Nice report sir!

    1. Thanks Phil was athoroughly enjoyable game

  5. Great game with a great bunch of lads and an excellent host - thanks for inviting me.

    1. Pleasure to have you there Simon, glad you enjoyed it

  6. Cheers Roj. Had a great time!

  7. The Irish rebels could be called "Freedom Fighters" depending on your perspective :-)