Heretical Gaming is my blog about my gaming life, featuring small skirmishes and big battles from many historical periods (and some in the mythic past or the far future too). The focus is on battle reports using a wide variety of rules, with the occasional rules review, book review and odd musing about the gaming and history. Most of the battles use 6mm-sized figures and vehicles, but occasionally 15mm and 28mm figures appear too.

Sunday, 7 May 2017

DBA Refight: Battle of Chalons 451AD re-themed

I had a go at re-fighting a Battle of Chalons scenario published in Miniature Wargames 11.

 I don't have Patrician Roman or Hunnic or Gothic armies, so I re-themed this and set it in the first century BC, featuring a Gallic army against a "Marian Roman" army.  The only differences really are that the Gallic cavalry is divided between being cavalry and light horse instead of being a fully cavalry-type army, whilst the Romans are all cavalry and don't have any cataphract type units, and have traditional legionaries rather than the auxiliaries of the fifth century AD.

The magazine article supposes very high numbers of troops on both sides: 500,000 for Attila, 250,000 for Aetius.  I'm not very convinced by this, but it was clearly a big battle, so I used 16 bases for the Romans and their Germanic allies, 18 for the Gauls (i.e. Huns).

Attila the Gaul's Army:
3 bases of Cavalry (Cv), 6 bases of Warriors (4Wb), 7 bases of Light Cavalry (LH), 2 bases of Archers (Ps)

Aetius' Army:
5 bases of Cavalry (Cv), 5 bases of Warriors (4Wb), 4 bases of Legionaries (4Bd), 2 bases of Archers (Ps)

The Set-Up

Attila at the bottom, Aetius at the top, except for the detachment under Torismund occupying the hill to bottom-right.  The River Marne at the top-right, with Chalons on the far bank.  Attila has his personal guards and his light horse in the centre, with a mixture of foot warriors, horseman and skirmishers on each flank.  Aetius has Roman cavalry and legionaries on his left (i.e. top-right), with his Gallic and Germanic allies in the centre and upon his right, plus those on the hill in Attila's rear.

The first clash of iron: Gauls and Germans clash at the base of the hill. Beating the odds, the Gauls start pushing Torismund's Germans back!

The see-saw struggle sees the Germans pushing the Gauls back down the hill; other Gallic warriors and cavalry are sucked into the battle to stop the rot

Aetius and the Rman cavalry charge forward: the Gauls are partly surrounded

And snap! After a short, bitter struggle, the Gallic warriors are cut down by the victorious Roman horsemen

Meanwhile, the Gallic left is advancing slowly towards the Roman allied troops

The Romans mop up the last of the Gallic warriors and skirmishers; only the horsemen remain

In a decision perhaps smacking more of courage than sense, the Gallic cavalry swing round into the German warbands - stalemate!

Finally the Gauls get stuck in in the centre - with mixed results and no great losses to either side

The brave but foolish Gallic cavalry are eliminated when more of Aetius' horsemen hit them in the flank

Mixed fortunes in the centre - but the loss of a group of light horsemen ends the battle for the Gauls

A wider shot: Attila can escape with the remainder of his army, but it has been a singularly one-sided affair!
 Game Notes:
An interesting game, although incredibly one-sided: the Gauls lost six bases and the Romans not a single one:;even worse for the Huns/Gauls than the historical result!  The cavalry vs warband match-up isn't brilliant for the warband.  I used a broadly historical deployment but Light Horse have to be used with more finesse than I did.  They need to be used against foot warriors, with the supporting cavalry being used against the enemy horsemen and foot skirmishers.  Strategically, Attila wasted too much time and effort reinforcing defeat on his right rather than leaving them to fight as best they could and spend time crashing into the Romans with his centre and left - the only place where the battle was going to be won for the Gauls.

The board was 4'x3' and the game took about 45 minutes to play.

All figures were Baccus 6mm from their Ancients ranges, rules used were DBA 3.0.  Buildings mainly by Timecast IIRC.


  1. A nice looking game, not far from where I live...Great mass effects!

  2. Thanks very much. The game looked okay, but I would quite like to do a bigger version at some point.