Battle of Gergovia - The Battle

The Battle

Five days later Caesar reached Gergovia, the first march being short because the majority of the troops were tired after the march they had stole, and the last march because the legions arrived at the town. Realising its mountainous location made a frontal assault risky, he decided to rely on his superior siege tactics. Upon arriving, Caesar discovered that there was small hill that the Gauls held that was essential to their holding Gergovia itself. The reasons for this being, that holding this, they were able to get at water, corn and forage. Considering the importance of this place to their holding Gergovia itself, the outpost with which they held this small should have been larger.

Caesar took this in a night raid, and swiftly stationed two legions upon this same hill. He then linked it to his main camp, by digging a double trench, twelve feet wide, and a parapet. The result of this was a wall that kept the Gauls from the suplies, which they desperately needed. As a result of this fortification, they were forced to resort to the meager glen that supplied water to Gergovia itself, and this was small.

During the course of this siege, the Aeduan nobles had been 'corrupted' by emissaries of Vercingetorix, with both gold and misleading them about the nature of Caesar's conquests - Caesar would have one believe. Caesar had earlier made an agreement with this tribe, to the effect that ten thousand men would protect his line of supplies. Convictolitavis - who had previously been made chief of this tribe by Caesar - convinced, under whatever pretext by Vercingetorix, ordered these same men under the pretext of joining Caesar, to join Vercingetorix upon their arrival at the oppidum. This same unit of men attacked Romans who were accompanying their train, leaving Caesar in an embarrassing position.

His rations threatened, Caesar took four legions from the siege and surrounded this Aeduan army, and swiftly brought it to terms. Despite the fact that the Aeduan army was brought to terms, large parts of the nation were still revolting. Many Romans were subsequently massacred.

The revolt still going on, Caesar sped to his two legions aid, which were still left over at Gergovia, and hard pressed to keep Vercingetorix's much larger force at bay.

Caesar then went back to Gergovia and realised that his siege would fail. His only chance now of victory was to get Vercingetorix off the high ground. He used a legion as a decoy and moved onto better ground, capturing three Gallic camps in the process. He then ordered a general retreat to fool Vercingetorix and pull him off the high ground. However, the retreat was not heard by most of Caesar's force. Instead, spurred on by the ease with which they captured the camps, they pressed on toward the town and mounted a direct assault on it. The noise of the assault drew Vercingetorix back into the town. Forty-six centurions and 700 legionaries died in the resulting engagement, and over 6,000 were wounded on the Roman side, compared to the several hundred Gauls killed and wounded. In the wake of the battle, Caesar lifted his siege and advanced instead into Aedui territory.

Read more about this topic:  Battle Of Gergovia

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