Battle of Roell
The Battle of Roell was a conflict between Ravenna and Cadria in 486 which took place in outside the south Cadrian town of Roell. In it, Emperor Ered I defeated the Ravennans, reversing a long string of defeats for Cadria and leading to the stalemated end of the war.
The war which started in 484 had gone badly for the Cadrians as Ravennan pikes had proved difficult for their cavalry-based army to counteract. Ered I took personal command in 485 and began training a corps of heavily armored infantrymen, carrying tower shields and maces. These infantry would advance across the field, sheltered from Ravennan crossbowmen by their shields, and batter their way through the lines of pikes. Cadrian cavalry would then mop up.
The theory was tested at Roell. Ered caught the Ravennan army of 15,000 as it had begun to lay siege to Roell’s walls. Ravenna’s commander, Prince Voriza, had not bothered to deploy scouts and was surprised by Ered’s arrival. When Voriza’s troops took up their customary formation of thick ranks of pikes with crossbowmen behind, Ered deployed his heavy infantry in long thin lines across his front with the cavalry waiting behind, numbering 12,000 in total.
The battle went exactly as Ered had hoped. The Cadrian infantry maintained discipline as they advanced, using their tower shields to protect themselves from Voriza’s crossbows. As they approach his lines, the long Cadrian formation began to encircle the thickly formed pikes and press in on them, using their shields and maces to simply smash the pikes aside. To make matters worse, Roell’s defenders sortied, threatening Voriza’s rear. Voriza tried to withdraw his forces southward, but his pikes could not easily move and maintain formation. When his formation began to waver, his troops panicked and began to flee. Ered ordered his cavalry forward to run down the fleeing troops.
Voriza himself was captured and eventually ransomed back to Ravenna. The battle marked the end of Ravenna’s dominance and southern Cadria and eventually led to a stalemate peace.