Thursday, January 14, 2010

Testudo tactics

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Alan Ford has kindly responded to my appeal for more material and has been scanning his Crickley photos. Thank you, Alan. His guest appearance for the Ermine Street Guards was mentioned a few weeks ago on the blog. He illuminates further: "1991 was the year that Rob Knell and myself were press ganged into the Ermine Street Guard. I actually at first refused the chance of an all expenses trip to Martigny in Switzerland as I was filling in as planning supervisor that year. Cold sobriety and wiser council returned the next morning, so off the two recruits went.

As you can see we made a right pair, straight out of the pages of Asterix. Whilst there I had a chance to experience an attack in Testudo for myself. Though all the commands were audibly shouted in Latin I can assure you that the Legionnaires within the Testudo were keeping time by shouting "Mince! Mince! Mince!" as we shambled down the ramp of the Roman Ampitheatre in Martigny. Our visual acuity being about as good as that from a WWII tank, our lead rank did not note we were drifting to the right. Thus it came as a terrible blow to us all when the front Sinister corner of our Testudo collided with the gate post, resulting in the entire formation falling apart with arms and legs (and yes probably other appendages too) waving in the air like a stunned beetle or the Belgians in the "It's a Knockout attack the Castle blindfolded in a foam outfit game". And all this on a bright day, on an even surface and without without the rocks, corpses, writhing wounded, incoming missiles and other obstacles that would have got in the way of a Roman assault.

I can however attest to the efficaciousness of the Mangonel as a weapon of war. One shot missed the butts, sailed over the Ampitheatre Wall and smashed the windscreen of a parked car some 300 metres distant."


1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Why did Alan get to be a legionary and wear the cool lorica segmentata when I was a stupid auxiliary and had to wear chainmail and a hat that didn't fit?