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African Vandal

Historical Overview Section

In the course of the Western Foederate Roman Empire's troubles in the early 5th century, the tribe of the Vandals, allied with the Early Alans, had established themselves in the Iberian peninsula. In 429, the Vandal King Geiseric, invited by the vicarius of Africa, Bonifacius, crossed the straits of Gibraltar with his people into Roman North Africa. With the local Roman forces severely weakened because of Bonifacius' revolt and subsequent death in 432, the Vandals were free to take over the province. In 439, Carthage fell, and during the next 20 years Geiseric established his rule not only over the Roman provinces of the Diocese of Africa, but also over Sicily, Sardinia, Corsica and the Balearic Islands, which he conquered with the aid of a powerful navy. During the next decades, the skilled Vandal fleets raided the entire Mediterranean, sacking Rome and defeating an East Roman invasion force in 468 under Basiliscus. This defeat and the Vandals' pirate activity were a sore wound for Constantinople, further exacerbated by their domestic policies. The Vandals were fanatic Arians and followed a policy of separation from and persecution of their Catholic subjects. Nonetheless, the inability of the Romans to launch a campaign against the Vandal Kingdom resulted in a period of peaceful relations, despite occasional tensions, according to the terms of the "perpetual peace" of 476.

The situation changed however, when Justinian I, who aspired to recover the lost western provinces, ascended to the Early Byzantine Imperial throne. Initially, Justinian was occupied with the Iberian War with the Sassanid Persians, while in Carthage, the more tolerant and pro-Roman king Hilderic, the son of Huneric, who reigned since 523, had established close relations with the Roman Empire. This policy however aroused opposition among the Vandals, which resulted in his overthrow in 530 by his cousin, Gelimer. Justinian seized the opportunity, demanding Hilderic's restoration, with Gelimer predictably refusing to do so. Justinian now had his pretext, and with peace restored in the East in 532, he started assembling an invasion force led by Belisarius.

The Early Byzantine fleet approached the African coast unopposed in early September, and made landfall at Caput Vada (modern Ras Kaboudia) on 9 September. From there Belisarius marched his army northwards, towards Carthage, following the coast, accompanied by the fleet. During the march, he maintained strict discipline among his men, so as not to disaffect the local population. As the Romans advanced, Gelimer prepared to meet them. He murdered Hilderic, and summoned his forces to the south of Carthage, at the site known as Ad Decimum ("At the tenth (milestone)"). There he planned to ambush and encircle the Romans, using a force under his brother Ammatas to block their advance and engage them, while 2,000 men under his nephew Gibamund would attack their left flank, and Gelimer himself with the main army would attack from the rear, and completely annihilate the Roman army. In the event, the three forces failed to synchronize exactly. On September 13, Ammatas arrived early, and was killed as he attempted a reconnaissance with a small force by the Roman vanguard. Gibamund's force was intercepted by a 600-strong Hunnic cavalry unit, and was utterly destroyed. Unaware of all this, Gelimer marched up with the main army, and scattered the Roman forces at Decimum. Victory might have been his, but he came upon his dead brother's body, and apparently forgot all about the battle. This gave Belisarius the time to rally his troops and defeat the disorganized Vandals.

Gelimer fled with the remnants of his army westwards, towards Numidia, since Carthage was both left without garrison and its walls were in a bad state. After recuperating for a day, on 15 September 533, the Roman army entered Carthage, amidst scenes of exultation by its inhabitants. On Belisarius' insistence, the victorious army remained disciplined and did not plunder the captured city. Belisarius established himself in the Vandal royal palace, and started repairing the city's walls, anticipating a counterstrike by Gelimer. Indeed the Vandal king, having fled to the town of Bulla Regia, immediately recalled his brother from Sardinia. Thus reinforced, he marched against Carthage, and started to besiege it by cutting it off from supplies. The Byzantines sallied forth and the two armies met near the Vandal camp at Tricamarum in mid-December. The Roman infantry did not arrive until late in the day, so that the battle was decided entirely by the cavalry. The Romans repeatedly charged the Vandals, and managed to kill Tzazon. As had happened at Decimum, Gelimer lost heart at this, and the Vandals were routed. Gelimer fled again to Numidia, but in March 534 he surrendered to Belisarius.

Using the army in ADLG

These guys are shock cavalry plus screen /supports. There are more competitive Impact Cavalry armies, but this lot conjured an empire out of almost nothing so are fast, furious, fun and simple, win or lose and time for another game.

  • They do get a Strategist for that extra bit of control over terrain, as you won't want much
  • The Alans may not seem all that exciting, but they do provide something different so why not go pre-500AD?
  • All 8 Elite Cavalry are a must
  • The foot can be left behind quite easily - an all Medium Cavalry army is going to be big and get behind flanks

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Army Lists

Sample army lists for this army
200 AP 25mm Derby 2017
Included Strategist
1 Nobles* (General) Heavy cavalry impetuous Elite
11 Nobles* Medium cavalry impetuous ------
2 Moors Light infantry javelin ------
==
Competent Included Unreliable
6 Nobles* (General) Heavy cavalry impetuous Elite
1 Alans Light cavalry bow ------
2 Moors Light infantry javelin ------
==
Ordinary Included
1 Nobles* (General) Heavy cavalry impetuous Elite
1 Alans Light cavalry bow


300 Points Challenge 2017
Competent General

  • 4 Nobles Heavy cavalry impetuous Elite 11 44
  • 2 Nobles Heavy cavalry impetuous Ordinary 9 18
  • 2 Moors Light infantry javelin Ordinary 4 8
  • 1 Moors Light infantry bow Ordinary 4 4

==
Competent General
4 Nobles Heavy cavalry impetuous Elite 11 44
2 Nobles Heavy cavalry impetuous Ordinary 9 18
2 Moors Light infantry javelin Ordinary 4 8
1 Moors Light infantry bow Ordinary 4 4
1 Moors Light cavalry javelin Ordinary 6 6
==
Competent General
4 Nobles Heavy cavalry impetuous Elite 11 44
2 Nobles Heavy cavalry impetuous Ordinary 9 18
2 Moors Light infantry javelin Ordinary 4 8
1 Moors Light infantry bow Ordinary 4 4
1 Moors Light cavalry javelin Ordinary 6 6
==
Alan Ally - Ordinary
5 Alans Medium cavalry bow Ordinary 9 45
1 Moors Light cavalry javelin Ordinary 6 6


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