Wednesday, 18 May 2022



Last time, I described how I re-classified my Dux Britanniarum Irish Raiders to use as a Clash of Spears warband; for the last couple of weeks, I've been doing the same thing with my Romano-British. Firstly, apologies if you have seen these figures before, as most of them appeared in a post I did a while ago, showing them as a Dux Britanniarum army!

My Warband leader is Publius Decimus Barbula, seen here with his trusty standard bearer. 

Barbula can always count on his loyal second in command, Octavius Calavius Verax.

My first unit in the Warband is the Commanipularis, the elite warriors, sworn to defend Barbula to the death if necessary. This unit is a replacement for the one I originally painted for the Dux Britanniarum warband. The first unit were Gripping Beast armoured Late Romans and I was never particularly impressed with the figures. When I saw the advert for the Wargames Atlantic Late Roman Legionaries, I assumed that they would be the same quality as the Irishmen I had already bought and enjoyed painting so much. The words "Lorica Hamata" are emblazoned boldly on the box, so I thought that the mail shirt would be magnificently rendered and paint up with the kind of quality demanded by the bodyguard of such an important personage as Publius Decimus Barbula. Sadly, I was wrong on both counts... these legionaries are a long long way from the quality you get in the Irish Warriors box, with the Lorica Hamata no more than some rather poorly depicted squiggly letter "s" shapes. However, I hadn't spent my money on an entire box, but rather purchased just a couple of sprues from the wonderful SGS Model Store, and so decided to use the bits from the sprue that I felt worthy and mixed in other parts where necessary!

The result was this band of unruly ruffians... Wargames Atlantic torsos with an assortment of heads, shields and weapons from a range of other manufacturers. The Clash of Spears stats I came up with for the Commanipularis was this...
I chose "Thrusting Spear" rather than "Throwing Spear" because the I feel that it fits better with the push and shove "Shieldwall" tactics employed by infantry during the Post Roman period in Britain. The replacement of the throwing spear with smaller darts or plumbata in the Late Roman army is documented well enough for me and I'm not convinced that those weapons would have continued in use into the later 5th century by the more part time forces employed by Post Roman Warlords. As veterans of many campaigns, these warriors, of course, deserve the Fidelis trait, allowing them to re-roll failed dice rolls in Morale Tests!

Next up in the warband are the Limitanei, part time soldiers who work the land, but are brought together for some rudimentary training from time to time by the Warlord.
Like the Commanipularis, these guys are armed with the long spear and have a nice big shield to hide behind. Their stats look like this...
I painted this group with the idea that it had some form of unit identity even though it is very much a part time organisation. I'm not entirely sure about the "Wall of Spears" trait although their occasional training would certainly equip them to form a shield overlap in the heat of battle.

The third level of infantry in my warband are the Pedyts. These really are the scrapings of society, with very little, if any formal training, they have the ability to form a shieldwall to defend themselves, but that is about the limit of their battlefield potential.
Probably the best use for the Pedyts is to hold up the enemy while the better quality troops manoeuvre to deliver the coup de gras...

Finally, until I get time to paint up some cavalry, are the Slingers; certainly very useful when the enemy are largely unarmoured, like the Irish and the Picts.

Publius Decimus Barbula has an interesting warband to command... until the Cavalry arrives, it is very defensive in nature, relying on those thrusting spears and the shieldwall to keep the enemy at bay and gradually wear them down. As with my Irish warband, any comments on the stats I have chosen would be very gratefully received.

Next time, Barbula leads out his Warband against those fearsome raiding Irishmen...