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DBM - De Bellis Multitudinis

Idistaviso 16 AD – DBM scenario

Climate: Cold
Season: Summer  –  Roll weather normally.

Attacker: Romans Defender: Germans

Battlefield & Deployment

The germans must deploy the C-in-C:s command in the middle, and the other two commands to either side of it. The entire German army, including the baggage, musty be deployed on the right side of the river. The Romans may be deployed normally, except that their camp must be deployed in the middle of their own table edge. Neither side may use flank marches, but ambushes may be used normally.





I have used the ratio of 600 infantry, 400 cavalry or 300 skirmishers per element.


The Germans included three different tribes: Cherusci, Samnones and Langobardi. The C-in-C, Arminius, leads the Cherusci, the two other tribes are considered as allied (and can be unreliable, but as internal allies do not change sides). One estimation gives the Germans a number of 45 000 to 50 000.

Early German (Book 2, List 47.)
300 AP

Command 1

C-in-C (Arminius) – Irr Cv (O)
3 x Cavalry – Irr Cv (O)
24 x Cherusci foot warriors – Irr Wb (F)
6 x Foot skirmishers – Irr Ps (S)

31 ee, demo 10,5

Command 2

Ally-general – Irr Wb (S)
20 x Langobardi foot warriors – Irr Wb (O)
2 x Foot skirmishers – Irr Ps (S)
5 x Archers – Irr Ps (O)

24,5 ee, demo 8,5

Command 3

Ally-general – Irr Wb (S)
20 x Samnones foot warriors – Irr Wb (O)
2 x Foot skirmishers – Irr Ps (S)
5 x Archers – Irr Ps (O)

24,5 ee, demo 8,5

4 x Entrenchment – TF

Army total 80 ee, demo 40


Acording to Tacitius the Roman army was 8 legions with cavalry and auxiliary troops. It’s numbers have been estimated as follows:

  • 24 000 Legionaries
  • 20 000 Auxiliaries
  • 4 000 Cavalry
  • 800 Mounted archers
  • 5 000 Batavian and other German allies

The Romans also had a fortified camp. All the troops did not take part in the battle, because parts were left to garrison the camp. The army was divided into 3 parts:

  1. Gallian and German auxiliaries supported by foot archers
  2. Four legions with Germanicus’s bodyguard and picked cavalry
  3. The other four legions, light troops, mounted archers and other allies (the Batavians?)

The allied Batavians did not fight under their own general, so I have decided not to use the Batavian ally option given in the army list.

Early Imperial Roman (Book 2, List 56.)
432 AP

The first line

Sub-general – Reg Cv (O)
16 x Auxiliary infantry – Reg Ax (S)
6 x Auxiliary archers – Reg Ps (O)

20 ee, demo 7

The second line

C-in-C – Reg Cv (O)
12 x Legionaries – Reg Bd (O)
6 x Equites alares – Reg Cv (O)

19 ee, demo 6,5

The reserve line

Sub-general – Reg Bd (O)
11 x Legionaries – Reg Bd (O)
4 x Auxiliary infantry – Reg Ax (S)
4 x Batavian allies – Irr Wb (F)
2 x Equites cohortales – Reg Cv (I)

22 ee, demo 7,5

7 x Ditch and palisade for the camp – TF

Army total 61 ee, demo 30,5
Notes: Even though the Roman army is 132 AP larger than the German, in number of ee and number of men it is still much smaller (35 000 vs. 47 000). In terms of APs the Romans have a huge advantage, but the terrain should help the Germans.


Tacitus, Annales.




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