The Great Summer Army arrived in Northumbria in 870. Promptly there was trouble. One of the raiding earls decided to have a bit of fun. But he ran into one of the local earls at the river Oxno.
The east wing of the Northumbrian army held the bank of the river which had a short stretch east of a plank bridge that was fordable. To the west half of the raiders, who had come all the way from Kiev for a Brittanic holiday, had managed to work across the stream and faced off against a force of mercenaries from the Saxon plains.
The Rus immediately sent a force along the river to try to help secure the bridge. A valiant group of Saxons, led by Njal, raced to intercept. The plains of Kiev are more vast than the plains of Saxony and, on this day, Njal found himself the last man standing, his entire retinue killed. With one last invitation to the Valkyries he charged to his death against a dozen Rus.
Meanwhile the Norse leader sent his large command in two assaults - one across the bridge and one over the shallows. The Northumbrians, outnumbered, fought desperately but vainly as the northern steel cut deeper this day than that forged in more southerly climes.
The Rus, too, on the further west flank, triumphed in a wildly swirling melee, their massive two-handed axes splitting many a shield.
In the end the Earl of Northumbria fell with his men at the foot of the bridge and the Saxons bought their passage back to the mainland, what few remained, with the gold they had been paid by their vanquished employer.
There was much feasting by the few Rus and Norse survivors on the rich cattle and sheep of the earl's lush holdings.
Game played using 25mm figures and home rules by Chris Anderson.
Magnor Bloodax had led his Danish band to capture the fine castle of Helgor in the late spring. However, Sven the Swede and Hedin the Isleman decided the castle would be a great place for them to spend the coming winter. Magnor’s brother, Issjelgard, led away a raiding party leaving the castle only lightly defended.
Hedin led the main body forward in two waves toward the castle. To the east the lightly armed and armored hird led a feint with ladders against the open wall. To the south, against the main gate, Hedin himself led his best troops forward with a powerful bear’s head ram and more ladders. Sven kept his personal retinue of Norwegians together to the west to block the returning Issjelgard.
Issjelgard never had a chance. His men, laden with stores taken from the countryside were first astonished and then crushed by the battle-ready Norwegians. So much so that as Issjelgard fell and his men ran toward the safety of their longships, Sven led a contingent over the wall, actually getting onto the parapets before Hedin.
Hedin’s archers made it difficult if not impossible for Magnor’s defenders to expose themselves over the merlins and the ram smashed through in only ten minutes of concentrated work. A few rocks dropped desperately from the top of the gatehouse caused the only casualties amongst the rammers.
Valiantly portraying the forlorn leader on his way to Valhalla, Bloodax slew four attackers on the parapet before finally succumbing himself. Sven proved again his extreme prowess in battle, crushing three defenders as he led the assault over the crenels, before the defenders cried for quarter.
Played using 25mm figures and OxNard Siege Rules by the Long Island Irregulars on 3 November 2017.
Diatribes are simply often humorous recountings of the games played by the Long Island Irregulars. We play with toy soldiers and are unabashedly happy to have never lost this part of our childhoods..