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Battle Scenarios

The Battle of Mynydd Baddon (c. 500 AD)

By Nicholas Wright

In or around 500 AD, the Briton (Romano-British) kings joined together under a war lord named Ambrosius Aurelianus ("Arthur") and inflicted a severe defeat on an invading Anglo-Saxon army under the South Saxon Aelle at Badon Hill (Mons Badonicus) that stopped Saxon expansion for the fifty or more years, thus producing a rare interlude of relative peace and prosperity in the western Sub-Roman kingdoms. Exactly where the battle was fought, how it was fought (i.e., a pitched battle or seige), the composition of the armies, and even the exact status of Ambrosius (Arthur) as a leader in Sub-Roman society are subjects of historical conjecture. One possibility is the following scenario for Mynydd Badon provided by Nicholas Wright.

The Armies:

Arthur's Britons, one full Sub-Roman British(#82) army, and three allied Sub-Roman British elements.
Aelle's Angles, which is comprised of one full Early Saxon(#75a) army, three allied Early Saxon elements, and three allied Sub-Roman British elements.

Deployment:

All of the Arthur's foot start the battle deployed on the main hill (Mynydd Baddon). They have a general and a camp with them. Arthur and the cavalry force arrive at entry point X in three plus d3 turns. The allied Britons arrive on the Gelvum road in six plus d3 turns. The allies must come on in column.

Aelle's Angles start the battle deployed in the six-inch square in the southwestern corner around the Aquae Sulis road. The Saxon and British allies start the game deployed anywhere on the south side of the river.

The Historical Battle:

The "British" monks and historians Gildas (c.550AD), and Nennius (c.850AD), both write of the Battle of Mynydd Baddon (also known as the Battle of Badon) that occurred circa. 500AD, and resulted with a cessation of Saxon advances for around 50 years. Although Gildas doesn't mention the leader at Badon, Nennius states that the War Leader Arthur "fought with the Kings of Britain".

The map below was adapted from the book Excalibur by Bernard Cornwell. I strongly recommend Cornwell's "Warlord" trilogy to anyone interested in this era. The first two titles are The Winter King, and Enemy of God. As I have used his map, I have also chosen Cornwell's placing for the battle, just to the northwest of Aquae Sulis (modern day Bath).

In keeping with the feeling of Excalibur, the combined forces of the Angle King Aelle, the Saxon King Cerdic, and his British Client-King Lancelot, have caught Arthur's Captain, Derfel Cadarn, and his foot troops, on the hill of Mynydd Baddon, horribly out numbered. Here, Derfel takes up a holding action until Arthur arrives with the cavalry forces followed by King Meurig of Gwent.

Game Map (ASCII):

The battle is fought on a 36x36-inch field.

	     to Gelvum           X
. . . . . . .R. . . . . . . . . . . . . .h.h.		 N
. . . . . . .R. . . . . . . . . . . . . .h.h.		W+E
. .h.h. . . .R. . . . . . . . . . . . . .h.h.		 S
. .h.h. . . .R. . .h.h.h.h.h. . . . . . .h.h.
. . . . . . .R. . .h.h.h.h.h. . . . . . . . .
. . . . . . .R. . .h.h.h.h.h. . . . . . . . .
. . . . . . .R. . .h.h.h.h.h. . . . . . . . .
. . . . . . .R. . .h.h.h.h.h. . . . . . . . .
.w.w.w.w. . .R. . . . . . .R.R.R.R.R.R.R.R.R. to Corinium
.w.w.w.w. . .R. . . . . .R. . . . . . . . . .
.w.w. . . . .R. . . . .R. . . . . . . . . . .
.w. . . . . .R. . . .R. . . . . . . . . . . .
. . . . . . .R. . .R. . . . . . . . . . . . .
. . . . . . .R. .R. . . . . . . . . . . .w.w.
.w.w. . . . .R.R. . . . . . . . . . . . .w.w.
.w.w. . . . .R. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
. . . . . .R. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
. . . . .R. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
. . . .R. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
. . .R. . . . . . . . . . .r.r.r.r.r.r.r.r.r.
. .R. . . . . . . . . . .r. . . . . . . . . .
.R. . . . . . . . . . . .r. . . . . . . . . .
to Aquae Sulis

TERRAIN KEY:

.  = Good Going (Good Going)
R = Road (Road)
h = Gentle Hill (Good Going)
w = Light Wood (Bad Going)
r  = River

Terrain Notes: all normal rules apply. All hills confer a +1 to the up hill element, the river is the deepest kind found in the standard rules needing a 2+ to cross it.

Special Rules:

In all, there are six generals in the battle, Aelle, Cerdic, and Lancelot, attacking, and Derfel Cadarn, Arthur, and Meurig, defending. Only Aelle's, and Derfel's armies have camps.

Victory Conditions:

The Attacker's mission is to capture the camp on Mynydd Baddon, and destroy the Arthur or Derfel Element.

The Defender's mission is to destroy five elements of Aelle's army. The destruction of two elements or the general elements of either Cerdic's or Lancelot's armies will result in all other elements in their own and the other's army routing (being removed from play).


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Last Updated: Aug. 2, 2002

Questions, comments, and feedback are welcome. Sent them to my attention at IamFanaticus@gmail.com.