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Adrianople Battle Day

A fantastic day with the Society of Ancients at Newbury re-fighting Adrianople. Many thanks to Richard Lockwood for organising.

Our Comitatus game followed the scenario on my website with a few minor variations.

The game opened with the Roman infantry advancing on the Tervingi while their cavalry moved around the Gothic right.

The chance cards allowed the Goths to light a grass fire. With the wind blowing from the west this would discomfort the Roman left as they advanced through the smoke.

The first Gothic reinforcements came on early in the form of Saphrax’s Alans. The dice determined that they came in on the Gothic left rather than the historical right.

The card draw resulted in the Alans being followed by Alatheus's Gruethungi on the same flank the following turn. This caused the Roman players to move Sebastian’s cavalry off to that flank to counter the threat.

The infantry combat in the centre was a furious slogging match. As the Roman’s closed, Fritigern inspired his men into a furious charge, hoping to break through the Roman line. The Romans, held firm, fighting the Goths to a standstill and wounding Fritigern in the process. Valens led a similar charge against the Gothic right but worn down by missiles, and suffering the effects of the grass fires, the Roman charge also faltered. As the lines swayed back and forth the Goths gained the upper hand, causing many Roman units to become shaken and then retire.

Sebastian’s Roman cavalry were initially successful against Saphrax’s Comitatus but the Huns worked their way around the Roman flank, peppering them with archery and then charging into their rear as the Roman cavalry were engaged to their front.

Additional Gothic reinforcements arrived on the Roman left but Victor’s cavalry were in position on the high ground to meet them. As the Goths charged uphill they were met with effective archery from the Roman light cavalry and the hill caused their charge to lose impetus. Leading only his own Comitatus, Victor bravely charged into the mass of Gothic cavalry and forced them back. When his supporting troops joined the fray the Goths were broken.

Victor’s valiant charge resulted in Ernie Fosker (playing the role of Victor) to win the prize of best Roman action — a lovely 28 mm mounted warrior painted by Richard Lockwood.

Despite this success, everywhere else the Roman line was crumbling. Sebastian’s cavalry had been driven off allowing the Hun, Alan and Gothic cavalry to move in on the right flank of the Roman infantry as Fritigern (wounded for a second time) was breaking through in the centre.

The result was a clear Gothic victory, in many ways similar to the historical battle.

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