Monday, 6 February 2012

The Battle of the Via Claudia, 453 A.D.

Grey the ships which brought us here
Serpent prowed and eager for sailing,
Through the sea foam’s fury
And dark nights of rain.

To the land of rich grazing,
Golden halls of stone,
Fat cattle herds and bloated Lords
Laughing like children.

Bone-white cold was the morning
When we stalked from the shadows,
Battle ready, with the keenness of ravens
Scenting the morning’s prey.

Handsome in their war armour
And shields of bright colours
The enemy stood before us
Twisting in their cold fear.

Ecgfrith, lord of the ring mail
His knife sharp and keening
Stood before them. Their women wept
As his knife drank blood.

Fast and sharp, like wolves
In the thin light, the champions fought.
The bone-bags scarred and wrecked,
Ecgfrith fell, in honour immortal

Out of the cold moor
Came our Saxon host, stalking.
Cunning and hungry
For revenge on their foe.

Battle ragged their standards quaked
In the fell wind of our bitter fury.
Our sharp spears
Shattered their shields’ clash.

Gold gleam and jewel hoard
Drew our Anglii kinsmen,
To burning and slaughter.
The enemy’s wails were terrible.

Sword cursed and hateful,
The enemy fought us,
The stench of their burning farms
Wreathing the battle-fold.

Battle-brave thanes,
Sons of Hengist,
We carved into slivers
Their wooden-walls, splintered

Recall now, Earlmen,
Our victory in the dawn gloom
As we shattered their forces.
Ravens glutted on their slain.


So, there you have it – the second battle report from our ongoing Dark Age campaign set around 5th Century St Albans, and the rival Saxon perspective on Lard-Thane Richard Clarke’s fine pro-British blog from last week. We’re still working on the detailed rules for the battles and campaigns, so it’s a bit early to talk about tactics and mechanisms. But I will say that the second battle really saw some aspects of the game coming together, particularly with respect to the battle between the rival army champions, and the ferocious fighting which focused on the British shieldwall.

The members of my local wargames club are really getting into the spirit of the period, which is proving as colourful and dramatic as I hoped it would.

On the modeling and painting front, I hope to blog the final 25 Saxon figures (actually Anglii mercenaries) shortly, together with one or two extras I hope you’ll enjoy. The next game is tomorrow night, so watch out for the third battle blog report later this week ...


  1. As always really wonderful reporting done in a superbly atmospheric way and cool looking set up as well!


  2. Aye, I agree with Christopher; that's a grand way to report such a battle! Beautiful pictures, too!

  3. That's a nice looking game and the poetic report makes it epic! Best, Dean

  4. Great-looking battle, and glad to see that the rules are giving you a real epic feel

  5. Wonderful stuff!!! More please.

    I must ask, where did you get the battlefield cloth and also the road - is that scratch built? Resin?

    Thanks for posting.


  6. An epic of all proportions, a great game and great looking figures. A great verse too adds to the feel, nice one Sir!!

  7. Wonderful report Sidney. Great photos and an excellent read to boot.

  8. That's actually rather beautiful. Normally the figure stands make everything look naff.

  9. Thanks Gentlemen. The comments, as ever, are very much appreciated.

    @Christopher and Pete - thanks guys! Glad you enjoyed it!

    @Dean - glad you enjoyed the poetry. I decided it was hopeless trying to make it rhyme…!

    @Donogh - Welcome! Great to see you here. Thanks very much indeed.

    @Matt - Thanks mate. Certainly more to come. The battlefield cloth is something Richard made. Green dye (DYLON) applied to fabric purchased from John Lewis and then messed up slightly using paint spray cans and an spray gun. The road is actually rubbery latex - Richard picked it up at the Penarth show two weeks ago. I'll ask him tonight who was selling it at the show. The latex road is good as it bends to the contours of the table (made by offcuts of carpet under the battlefield cloth).

    @Ray - thanks Ray. Very chuffed you enjoyed it.

    @Rodger - thanks - glad you liked the photos. I tried to choose the better ones, without players hands in the way and buckets of dice on the table!

    @Zornhau - thank you very much. Hope enjoy what's coming as much.

  10. There would appaer very little to add that has not already been said, but I would just like to record my admiration for the venture.

  11. @Michael – all the same, that’s very kind. Thank you!

    @Matt (Update) – Lard-Thane Richard Clarke informs me that the road is from Early War Miniatures, and that it's meant to be French pave for 1940. It certainly double very well for Roman road. Also, Richard mentioned that the ploughed fields (pre-Saxon desecration) are from The Scene, as are the rocky broken, ground bits.

    More to come after tonight's game, for which I've just given the Saxons' campaign moves ...

  12. What a great way to do a batrep, reading the saga and looking at the pictures, very well done and entertaining.

  13. Excellent...the saga style of the report,,,brilliant!!!

  14. Agree with Paul, an excellent poem, raises feelings even to us foreign-speakers. And nice looking terrain too. Top job indeed, mates. Unfortunately I won´t be able to join the testing bunch, my professional life has entered into a very complex phase and I´ll have to put on standby many of my gaming projects

  15. Sidney,

    Thanks for the info about the terrain.

    For everyone else, here's the link



  16. Very enjoyable, thanks for sharing.


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