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  • Saxons defend London

    This scenario assumes that a senior Saxon noble either survived Hastings or was leading a group of reinforcements that didn't get to the battle in time. There were such groups, one of c500 ambushed Norman pursuers at Malfosse in the night after the battle. The scenario then assumes that the surviving Saxons flee to London. They would have time to make it to London as William did not move his army for two weeks after the battle.

    In real life after two weeks resting William marched on London and London surrendered without a fight. But what if someone was there to rally the remnants of the Saxons and any militia that could be recruited from the London residents and defend the city?

    1 .Could they have made a meaning defense?
    2. What condition were London's defenses in in 1066? The old Roman walls were quite high and thick, you can see them today at Tower Hill.
    3. How long could they have held?
    4 How much of a problem would have a delay in securing the capital have been to William and would any delay have resulted in a relief army being raised?
    "To be free is better than to be unfree - always."

  • #2
    1) If William decided to assault, yes. The Saxons were his equal, maybe better, in Close Quarters infantry combat. William would have probably moved to isolate the city first, and go for either interdiction or a siege, awaiting reinforcement from Normandy.

    2) No idea. I'd presume the Roman Walls were still in halfway serviceable condition. With the Vikings being a current issue, I'd presume as well that London had excellent gates and maybe even some other defensive structures.

    3) All depends on the rest of the country. If it's London alone, I'd give them 6 months tops before they capitulate. Without the rest of England the Saxons are liable to come to terms with William rather than suffer a long siege followed by an inevitable defeat.

    4) That's interesting. Without London, William can't immediately claim the throne and access the administrative functions of the previous government. The latter is a big deal in conquering. If London is not besieged and completely cut off in short order, it's possible that the Nobles could come up with a leader to serve as steward, regent, or even King, and begin raising levies to march against William. The big issue is a central command. If someone can take the reins and everyone agrees that they should have them, William is potentially in trouble. But if the Nobles are hopelessly fractured, he can get by even without the administrative center that is London.
    Tacitos, Satrap of Kyrene

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    • #3
      Originally posted by TacCovert4 View Post
      1) If William decided to assault, yes. The Saxons were his equal, maybe better, in Close Quarters infantry combat. William would have probably moved to isolate the city first, and go for either interdiction or a siege, awaiting reinforcement from Normandy.

      2) No idea. I'd presume the Roman Walls were still in halfway serviceable condition. With the Vikings being a current issue, I'd presume as well that London had excellent gates and maybe even some other defensive structures.

      3) All depends on the rest of the country. If it's London alone, I'd give them 6 months tops before they capitulate. Without the rest of England the Saxons are liable to come to terms with William rather than suffer a long siege followed by an inevitable defeat.

      4) That's interesting. Without London, William can't immediately claim the throne and access the administrative functions of the previous government. The latter is a big deal in conquering. If London is not besieged and completely cut off in short order, it's possible that the Nobles could come up with a leader to serve as steward, regent, or even King, and begin raising levies to march against William. The big issue is a central command. If someone can take the reins and everyone agrees that they should have them, William is potentially in trouble. But if the Nobles are hopelessly fractured, he can get by even without the administrative center that is London.
      Securing London was not necessarily critical to Norman success. While it was the largest city ,Winchester was still the capital at the time.

      But Item 4. is the key, I think.If the Saxons had produced a strong, acknowledged leader of a Hereward "The Wake" character, around which the Fyrd could coalesce, then the Normans would have been quickly ejected. It was a tragedy for Saxon England that Edgar the Aetheling was so young at the time of the conquest.
      Last edited by BELGRAVE; 10 Apr 14, 08:15.
      "I dogmatise and am contradicted, and in this conflict of opinions and sentiments I find delight".
      Samuel Johnson.

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      • #4
        The Saxons would need at least two strong leaders. One to organize, lead and motivate the population of London in their resistance and another to be the focus of resistance throughout the country. The longer London can hold, tieing down William's army the greater the chance that the Saxons in the country would organise and raise another army. Possibly with Danish support?
        "To be free is better than to be unfree - always."

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        • #5
          Originally posted by BELGRAVE View Post
          Securing London was not necessarily critical to Norman success. While it was the largest city ,Winchester was still the capital at the time.

          But Item 4. is the key, I think.If the Saxons had produced a strong, acknowledged leader of a Hereward "The Wake" character, around which the Fyrd could coalesce, then the Normans would have been quickly ejected. It was a tragedy for Saxon England that Edgar the Aetheling was so young at the time of the conquest.
          True on the first....oops. Though I'd still say that even at the time London had a lot of administrative and logistical functions that William would be denied if he didn't capture it.
          Tacitos, Satrap of Kyrene

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          • #6
            Originally posted by Surrey View Post
            The Saxons would need at least two strong leaders. One to organize, lead and motivate the population of London in their resistance and another to be the focus of resistance throughout the country. The longer London can hold, tieing down William's army the greater the chance that the Saxons in the country would organise and raise another army. Possibly with Danish support?
            Edwin and Morcar seem to be the most likely candidates for that. They had a sizeable force near London at this point, iirc. Them being willing to fight for the South might also be enough to keep a lot of the nobles there fighting, rather than letting them submit to William.
            Diadochi Rising Wargame:
            King Pairisades I of the Bosporan Kingdom

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            • #7
              Originally posted by Anacreon View Post
              Edwin and Morcar seem to be the most likely candidates for that. They had a sizeable force near London at this point, iirc. Them being willing to fight for the South might also be enough to keep a lot of the nobles there fighting, rather than letting them submit to William.
              One of the questions of the Hastings battle is why Harald did not wait for Edin & Morcar to join him before moving onto the Norman army.

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