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Old November 12th, 2009, 09:46 AM   #1

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Picts vs. William Wallace


Let's imagine an encounter between two small armies - say of around 1000 men - of two generations of Scotland's history. Calgacus the Caledonian vs. William Wallace and his Scots.The nucleus of the Caledonian warband is Calgacus and his retinue of around 50 warriors. They ride in chariots, wear chainmail and helmets, and fight with long La Tene swords, and small rectangular shields. There are about 200 young warriors on foot armed with slings and javelins, and the rest - around 800 - are armed with thrusting spears, and some may have swords. Except for Calgacus' retainers, all the Caledonians are wearing nothing but woad.Wallace is leading a couple dozen knights, armed with lances and swords and wearing late 13th Century era armor. A hundred of his Scotsmen are unarmored hunters armed with short hunting bows. He also has around 800 heavy infantry in a schiltron - they are wearing helmets and iron-studded leather jerkins. Armament includes pikes and shorter spears, broadswords, long daggers, round shields, and the occasional Lochaber axe or English bill/halberd.The Scots have the advantage of more substantial armor, and possibly better-quality weaponry. They are well-drilled and marching in formation. The Caledonians are much more mobile, however, and with their deadly slingers they have much more effective missile troops. They are also fanatical 'woad warriors' without fear or any sense of self-preservation. Both armies are very familiar with the terrain and the 'Art of War' of their Highland homes, and both are led by the most inspiring Caledonian patriot of their generation. Both are experienced in clashing with better armed and organized empires from the south bent on conquering them.Who would win?
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Old November 12th, 2009, 11:34 AM   #2

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Re: Picts vs. William Wallace


I think the modern Scots take it. The armour, schiltron, and bows should counter the slingers and chariots easily enough. I'm not sure the Picts would even offer battle in that scenario, seeing the armoured knights..lol. I don't think they would know what to make of them, as well as the length of the schiltron. The picts would probably skirmish, then leave the field to evaluate how they could engage, but a head on clash, yah, the Scots take it.
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Old November 12th, 2009, 12:49 PM   #3

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Re: Picts vs. William Wallace


The Caledonians were hit-and-run fighters (mind you so were Wallaces men) so it's highly unlikely that a head-on clash would happen. There's no point in offering stand-up battle when you can be sneaky and devious. On the other hand, both sides are good at the sneaky and devious.......
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Old November 12th, 2009, 01:10 PM   #4

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Re: Picts vs. William Wallace


It's very difficult to be sneaky and devious in a chariot.
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Old November 12th, 2009, 01:12 PM   #5

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Re: Picts vs. William Wallace


Quote:
Originally Posted by Toltec View Post
It's very difficult to be sneaky and devious in a chariot.
LOL
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Old November 12th, 2009, 01:32 PM   #6

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Re: Picts vs. William Wallace


Quote:
Originally Posted by Toltec View Post
It's very difficult to be sneaky and devious in a chariot.

Not really sneaky, but certainly devious.

They used them as mobile infantry carriers .... the main force would hang back and the chariots would ferry small groups of skirmishers to and from the enemy army. Always fresh men. They'd harass the enemy for days on end, while their army lounged about watching at a safe distance. The enemy would be constantly having to be in formation, guarding its flanks, basically in combat posture for days on end. With this army lurking around, "vaunting" (loudly mocking) them the whole time, blasting huge horns and drums, getting drunk, etc. Once the enemy were really worn out, or in some inopportune position, they'd move in, all freshly rested and enthusiastic.

Caesar describes these tactics in Britain, and you definately get the sense that this campaign was also by far the most frustrating and aggravating campaign he ever fought. So frustrating, the man who crossed the Rhine bailed out, of sheer vexation.
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Old November 12th, 2009, 01:34 PM   #7

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Re: Picts vs. William Wallace


Quote:
Originally Posted by Edgewaters View Post
Not really sneaky, but certainly devious.

They used them as mobile infantry carriers .... the main force would hang back and the chariots would ferry small groups of skirmishers to and from the enemy army. Always fresh men. They'd harass the enemy for days on end, while their army lounged about watching at a safe distance. The enemy would be constantly having to be in formation, guarding its flanks, basically in combat posture for days on end. With this army lurking around, "vaunting" (loudly mocking) them the whole time, blasting huge horns and drums, getting drunk, etc. Once the enemy were really worn out, or in some inopportune position, they'd move in, all freshly rested and enthusiastic.

But they definately had very limited application in the highlands.
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Old November 12th, 2009, 01:37 PM   #8

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Re: Picts vs. William Wallace


Quote:
Originally Posted by Toltec View Post
It's very difficult to be sneaky and devious in a chariot.
Not really - the chariots were a distraction (modern term = Maskirovka). You've got all these guys leaning on their shields making bets on which chariot is going to crash next and laughing their heads off, then, wait for it..........wait for it..........wait I said..........the Caledonians sneak up behind them, slit a few throats and hamstring a few horses before disappearing back into the trees............

But the Scots, being equally sneaky and devious, left only a small part of their forces to watch the chariot races. The rest have cunningly sneaked off into the trees to set up their own ambush.........

Unfortunately, both sides are ambushed by a Welsh male voice choir............
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Old November 12th, 2009, 01:41 PM   #9

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Re: Picts vs. William Wallace


Quote:
Originally Posted by Rasta View Post
But they definately had very limited application in the highlands.
This is true.
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Old November 12th, 2009, 01:46 PM   #10

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Re: Picts vs. William Wallace


Quote:
Originally Posted by Rasta View Post
But they definately had very limited application in the highlands.
Which is sort of disagreeing with Tacitus in reference to the Caledonians using Chariots at Mons Graupius (wherever it was (if it ever happened)).
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