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Britons without chariots

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  • Britons without chariots

    . About five miles from where I live a battle was fought during the latter stages of the Claudian conquest of Britain. Although the Romans won it appears to have been hard fought and the Roman cavalry commander was killed. Looking at the general area it would not have been good ground for the British tribes to deploy chariots in their usual manner. Fighting would have had to be carried out on a fairly narrow front with a river on one flank and steep rising ground on the other. Roman tactics are well known but what were the British tactics if not using chariots?
    Human history becomes more and more a race between education and catastrophe (H G Wells)
    Mit der Dummheit kaempfen Goetter selbst vergebens (Friedrich von Schiller)

  • #2
    Is the battle mentioned in the sources somewhere ?

    The Romans weren't exactly known for their cavalry - but this late in the era it's hard to predict how they fought.

    Maybe the commander dismounted and fought on foot, or he tried to charge into broken ground ?

    Or maybe he died just because he led from the front ? Roman cavalry commanders were often nobles, or auxillaries no ?
    High Admiral Snowy, Commander In Chief of the Naval Forces of The Phoenix Confederation.
    Major Atticus Finch - ACW Rainbow Co.

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    • #3
      Originally posted by Snowygerry View Post
      Is the battle mentioned in the sources somewhere ?

      The Romans weren't exactly known for their cavalry - but this late in the era it's hard to predict how they fought.

      Maybe the commander dismounted and fought on foot, or he tried to charge into broken ground ?

      Or maybe he died just because he led from the front ? Roman cavalry commanders were often nobles, or auxillaries no ?
      Tacitus

      The battle is mentioned rather than described in detail, the main outstanding feature being the death of the cavalry commander who was apparently buried nearby. There was another battle fought about eight miles further downstream at what is today Newnham Bridge where there was a key ford protected by an iron age fort. After this battle the Roman commander and 2nd governor of Britain Publius Ostorius Scapula was carried to the Roman camp at Worcester where he died. Tacitus does not say clearly if he had been fatally wounded but its a likely conclusion although there is possibility that he died from sheer fatigue. It was a hard campaign.

      But what I'm after are British tactics not Roman.
      Human history becomes more and more a race between education and catastrophe (H G Wells)
      Mit der Dummheit kaempfen Goetter selbst vergebens (Friedrich von Schiller)

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      • #4
        They would do without chariots what they'd do with them. Ambush if possible, softening the target with sling shooting, a quick charge on foot. When that fails, fall back preferably to broken/wooded terrain, hoping to lure the small Roman cavalry contingent away from the legion. Turn around, put reserves in and defeat the cavalry. Then attack again the infantry, from multiple sides. If, as predictable, this fails again, fade away in the countryside. Rinse and repeat. Avoid a set battle with a decisive outcome.
        Michele

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        • #5
          Originally posted by Michele View Post
          They would do without chariots what they'd do with them. Ambush if possible, softening the target with sling shooting, a quick charge on foot. When that fails, fall back preferably to broken/wooded terrain, hoping to lure the small Roman cavalry contingent away from the legion. Turn around, put reserves in and defeat the cavalry. Then attack again the infantry, from multiple sides. If, as predictable, this fails again, fade away in the countryside. Rinse and repeat. Avoid a set battle with a decisive outcome.
          In the circumstances of the local battles in each case the British were defending a ford and at Newnham a fort as well and so would be forced into a set battle.
          Human history becomes more and more a race between education and catastrophe (H G Wells)
          Mit der Dummheit kaempfen Goetter selbst vergebens (Friedrich von Schiller)

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          • #6
            Originally posted by MarkV View Post

            In the circumstances of the local battles in each case the British were defending a ford and at Newnham a fort as well and so would be forced into a set battle.
            That assumes they won't yield the ford, and that they would not want to let the Romans set siege to the fort.

            If that's what they'd do, then my guess is they would repeat the tactics described above, not on a following day, but again and again during the same day, thus getting attrited hour after hour by the Roman steadfast formations. The Romans would also take casualties, but without losing order, cohesion and morale.
            Michele

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