The 1190s saw Wales embroiled in conflict, with the Welsh lords facing constant Viking raids from the west and incursions by Anglo-Norman marcher lords from the east. In 1098, the marcher lords Hugh the Proud (Earl of Shrewsbury) and Hugh the Stout (Earl of Chester) led a 2500 man Anglo-Norman army into North Wales. Facing little opposition from the Welsh who fled at their approach to take shelter in the hills, the Anglo-Normans arrived along the coast opposite Angelsey at precisely the moment that a 1500 man Norse raiding expedition under Magnus III (Barefoot) (a grandson of Harald Hardrada) was landing their longboats along that same shore. What followed was a bloody battle, whose details are largely lost to history. The heralds record that Hugh the Proud fell while charging with his knights through the surf; taking an arrow in the eye presumably shot by a grandson of Harold Godwinson fighting on the side of Magnus. The outcome is presumed to be a tactical draw with heavy losses on both sides.
This DBA scenario is inspired largely by Terry Goreís scenario for Medieval Wars, published in SAGA (April 2002). That scenario was inspired in turn by a scenario done by Guy Halsall in Miniature Warfare (Dec. 1986).
The board is comprised of either flat good going (green) or impassable waterway (blue). The waterway covers approximately 1/4 of the depth of the board, leaving at least 18 inches between the Anglo-Norman baseline and the Viking shoreline.
Based on accounts and the previous scenarios, it is believed that the Anglo-Normans and Vikings were dispersed at the start of the battle, with the Vikings entering at several points along the shoreline as their ships landed and the Anglo-Normans attempting to concentrate and respond to the evolving Viking threat. What makes this historical scenario appealing is that it presents a true meeting engagement, where commanders must adapt on the fly to a fluid deployment situation. In order to simulate that situation, the following special deployment rules are used.
Normal victory conditions are used. There are no camps or logistical elements.
You may wish to mark the landing zone for each Viking command with a ship model and provide a special rule whereby the Anglo-Normans can attack and destroy the beached ships for victory points. In that case, the Vikings should have the option to re-embark and sail off if hard-pressed in order to save their ships.
Last Update: 23 Dec. 2004
Comments and feedback welcome and can be sent to Chris Brantley.