Attila the Hun (433-453 AD)
|1x Lh(Gen) or Cv(Gen)||Although there is no direct evidence that any Huns fought other than as mounted light archers, the Cv option for the general represents armoured cavalry armed with lance and bow. Indirect evidence for some Huns being so armed derives from Huns entering Roman service being credited with introducing the lance / bow combination to Roman cavalry tactics. The Lh option are simply mounted archers armed with bow and javelin although the generals element might well have some armour.|
|7x 2Lh||Hun mounted light archers some also armed with javelins and shields|
|1x 3Kn||Fast-charging Ostrogothic or Gepid armoured cavalry armed with spear and shield|
|2x 4Wb||Frankish, Burgundian, Gepid or other German foot warriors armed with spear and shield.|
|1x 2Ps||Lightly equipped Ostrogothic or Gepid archers|
General Tactics: Firstly, all historical enemies are arable and of lower Ag so most battles will be against a BUA. In the case of 82a, 83a and 83b the very low Ag means that nearly all games will include an enemy BUA. Now, as will be clear from the preceding historical piece, Attilašs Huns were quite effective at sieges. Not so in DBA! With their best assault troops the Wb they cannot capture a BUA garrisoned by a Bd (as may be the case with 83a and 83b) and will die nearly 50% of the time. Even if the BUA is only garrisoned by Wb which everyone has except 67b the assault will only succeed 1 in 36 times and the Wb die one third of the time. So in order to reproduce historical battles it will be necessary to adopt a variant rule that either devalues or removes the BUA.
Attilašs Army is a Light Horse heavy army and will need to out-flank its enemies to attack their camp or create flank / rear attacks to defeat heavier slower opponents. This will be easier in 25mm due to the board being larger in proportion to the element size and move. This is an army which really gains from a larger board size as has been suggested in a number of variant rules.
Lh can be used to draw impetuous Kn and Wb forward into double overlaps and QK situations but it must be done with care as Kn kill the Lh on a double.
67b Early Ostrogothic, Herul, Sciri or Taifali: This army consists of an equal number of Kn and Ps. As they are Ag 3, they will set up the terrain in the majority of battles so the Ps will probably hide in bad-going. The Huns can use their Lh to draw the Kn into double-overlaps where they can be quick-killed or work around the flanks to create over-laps. A BUA ifone is present will only be defended by Ps and so could be taken by Wb although the odds are still against them.
69 Sassanid Persia: The Sassanids have two elements not featured in the army of any other enemy. One is the El which have a QK on Wb or Kn so will need avoiding. Lh do QK El but at +2 vs +5 will need overlaps or rear attacks. The other element are the 7Hd which against the Huns are essentially the same as Wb which do not recoil except that they are QK by the Hunšs Wb and do not gain rear support against them. So they are probably a good target for the Wb. Otherwise the army consists chiefly of Kn and Cv which the Lh should try to create overlaps against.
70a Burgundi and 72d Early Frankish, Rugian or Turcilingi: These are both Wb heavy armies with little else. Neither has Kn so your Wb can take on their Wb on equal terms. Kn can be used to QK Wb while Lh look for flanks to exploit.
82a Later Visigothic (note that the inclusion of 65b Early Visigothic appears to be an error as the dates 200 419 AD do not overlap with Attilašs army). This army has a Kn General and Cv as well as Wb. So again avoid the Kn with your Wb and attempt to create overlaps or flank attacks with your Lh against the Kn and Cv. However this army also has 4 elements which can be taken either as 3 Bw or 2 Ps. The Bw option is very unbalancing in that they are +4 vs +2 against Lh or indeed +4 vs +0 with 3 shooting at one Lh element and kill Lh on a double. A Bw element in a BUA does not bear thinking about! So if you are attempting historicalmatch-ups you probably should take the 2Ps option to maintain the balance found historically between these armies.
83ab Patrician Roman (East and West): Use your Kn vs Bd, Ax and Wb elements but remember that ps can be used to support Bd or Ax vs mounted. If possible use your Wb to sweep away the Bd. Attempt to draw Kn into overlaps with your Lh and avoid his Kn with your Wb if you can. At least therešs no Art to worry about! The Huns against these two armies will be an interesting duel of two heterogeneous forces with large amounts of impetuous forces in both sides.
58 Alan (not included in list of enemies in the Army Lists but a campaign against them in 452 / 453 is mentioned by Jordanes). The Alan army is also essentially a Lh army and so very mobile. Use your Kn carefully to destroy opposing Lh but beware of follow-ups. Otherwise it will be whoever manoeuvres the best. During this period the Alans should not use the 4Bd option.
Hun ranges (or figures) in 15mm are available from a number of manufacturers including Allan Touller, Chariot, Donnington, Essex, Gladiator, Irregular, Lancashire, Museum, Old Glory and Table Top Games.
In 25mm, figures are available from Essex, Foundry, Hinchcliffe, Irregular, Old Glory, and Whitecross Games.
A gallery featuring the author's Atilla the Hun DBA army comprised of 28mm Whitecross and Gripping Beast figures.
The De Bellis Bookstore features the following Osprey title: Attila and the Nomad Hordes : Warfare on the Eurasian Steppes 4th-12th C. (30) [New Trade Edition]
My thanks to Chris Jones for submitting this essay. Comments, questions or suggested additions to this page can be sent to Chris Brantley, IamFanaticus@gmail.com.
Last Updated: Dec. 3, 2002