During the later stages of the Gothic War, the Ostrogoth king Teia called upon the Franks for help against the Byzantines under Narses. Although king Theodebald refused to send aid, he allowed two of his subjects, the Alamanni chieftains Leutharis (Lothar) and Butilinus (Buccelin), to cross into Italy. The two brothers gathered a host of 75,000 Franks and Alamanni, and in early 553 crossed the Alps, confident that they could overwhelm Narses, for whose military talents, eunuch and chamberlain as he was, they professed supreme contempt.
The two brothers advanced into central Italy. Buccelin had marched south towards Campania and he was finally persuaded by the Goths to risk an open battle with the Byzantine army which he tried to avoid until then. He encamped on the banks of the Vulturnus river, near modern Capua, and waited. Narses left Rome to meet him.
Narses, as usually, placed his cavalry on the two wings and the infantry in the center. Buccelin had drawn up his all-infantry army in the shape of a deep column, which should hit like a wedge through enemy lines. In this array the Franks attacked, armed with missile lances, swords, and axes, confident that they would sweep all before them at the first rush. They penetrated into the center of the Byzantine array, but there, found themselves between the cross-fire of the cavalry, who were all armed with bows. It was a complete annihilation. Buccelin was slain and only a handful escaped.Anecdote: The army of the Franks was initially 75, 000 but one third was lost of dysentery which was caused by the consumption of ripe grapes.
FRANKS (Use Tan blocks)
• Leader: Lothar & Buccelin
• 5 Command Cards
• 2 Inspired Action tokens
• Move first
BYZANTINE (Use Purple Blocks)
• Leader: Narses
• 5 Command Cards
• 4 Inspired Action tokens
- Frank player gets 1 victory point for each unit exiting off board from the Byzantine edge (also for each leader separately)
- Franks player starts game with Line Command
- The Byzantine Medium and Heavy cavalry units are armed with bows.
- The River is fordable.