My first post! Hi guys.
Following on from a great and informative BBC thread about Paulinus & Boudica's campaigns of ad61, I have been reading a few sources and thinking about Boudica's tactics which largely employed ambush (and siege?) as a winning strategy until the end, in which she seems to have ditched her winning strength and opted for a disastrous pitched battle?
This has been excused over time as over-enthusiasm due to being flushed with victory or the geographical terrain at that last battle which necessitated a head-on assault only?
But in order to take on Paulinus in that last doomed pitched battle, why didn't Boudica send a large force of local foot warriors to ambush, or harass, the Roman rear?
Ambush was a tactic which had served the Britons well against Roman armies under Caesar and Scapula, and latterly the IXth Legion under Cerialis?
It didn't have to be a full-blooded and serious attempt to cut through the Romans in a true pincer attack, but with overwhelming numbers it would serve to distract Paulinus's comparatively tiny army, or perhaps spread fear as a psychological factor?
Boudica had the vast numbers to do this and, no matter where the battle was actually fought, some of her inter-tribal army would have known the terrain very well- hunting, etc? Examples where ambush or psychological panic routed armies were;
Pharsalus - the sudden revealing of Caesar's charging infantrymen behind his cavalry routed Pompey's cavalry under Labienus? Similarly, Hannibal used ambush twice in his battles of 218-7bc?
Hastings - the effect upon the indomitable Normans when the word spread that 'William had fallen'? Then later in the same day, Harold!
Agincourt- the effect of near-panic upon the English when word of their baggage train in the rear was being raided by the French? It actually wasn't in huge numbers, but the effect galvanised the desperate English, fearful of losing a desperate battle on two fronts?
If the woods and shrub were as dense as Tacitus and some scholars suggest, making the use of throwing weapons awkward (hindered by woods and trees), then why not at least do it for fear value?
It's not so much the actual firepower (or lack of) from the woods behind the Roman lines, but the sheer psychological effect upon the opposing force's ability to function/focus when suddenly presented with the enemy to the rear, even if tactically it is not threatening?
Surely not ALL tactical command had totally broken down by the time Boudica and her chieftains had sacked Colchester, London, St.Albans (and Staines and Silchester?)?
Or, as some scholars and net amateurs like me have suggested, was Paulinus's deliberate ravaging of British sacred groves/sites (to lure Boudica to him?) so successful that it made the furious British 'hoarde' lose their military sense?