The Gauls are a confederation of many tribes who have successfully expanded their territorial range over centuries of migration. Their culture is vibrant, aggressive and proud, valuing courage in both their leaders and warriors.
Do not mistake the Gallic people for simple barbarians. They are far from a simple people. Their culture is ancient. They have kings, coinage and developed trade. Their metal working skills are superb, easily the equal of their so-called civilized neighbours. Their towns are well organised and prosperous. Their culture is rich and they have Gods aplenty to keep them from harm. They have warriors aplenty to do harm unto others. They may lack the writing of the Greeks or Romans, but this does not make them savages.
They are from the same robust Celtic stock as the Britons and indeed many of the same tribes can be found in both Northern Gaul and Britannia. The sea has been no barrier to their expansion. Like the Britons, the Gauls have a proud warrior tradition and are not people to lightly accept conquest or setbacks. They will fight, and fight hard, to preserve what is rightfully theirs, and to take new lands that could be rightfully theirs. A certain degree of bloody-mindedness also colours their druidic religion and warfare which many outsiders find deeply intimidating - headhunting does that to other people!
The Gauls are a people with a great future, if they can find the space to expand successfully. They face many threats, from both ‘civilized’ people and other ‘barbarians’, but these threats can equally be seen as opportunities for greatness and glory.
Gaul is a playable faction in Rome: Total War, unlockable after completing the Imperial Campaign as the Romans. Gaul is a 'Barbarian' civilisation, and thus are unable to build stone walls or stand in perfect order in battle, but this means they get their elite unit at just Minor City level. The Gauls are a loose confederation of tribes who have expanded across much of Europe over many centuries of migration. They share much of their culture with their cousins in Britannia in particular. Although considered barbarians by their "civilised" neighbours, they are advanced enough to have developed extensive trade and metalworking skill equal to anyone else in the world.
Gaul is mainly an infantry faction. Their infantry lack the Hoplons and Xistons of the Greeks or the Gladii and Pila of Rome, but they have a strong melee attack and good morale. Their cavalry is limited but effective and their Forrester Warbands can be upgraded to the best archers in the game.
Gaul occupies much of modern France, a central part of modern Spain and the north of Italy. Although their armies are the strongest starting armies of any faction, they start out surrounded by more enemies than any other faction. The Julii Romans will attack from the southest, Spain and possibly Carthage from the southwest, Britannia from the north and Germania from the east. Some clever play is needed to keep these wolves from the door in building up a defensible empire. Grabbing some rebel-held land early on might be a good idea, but it might also be worth taking out a neighbouring faction or two from the beginning.
Gallic infantry is very effective in melee, although they are poorly armoured. Warbands form the backbone of the early army and are always a good unit for fighting cavalry or chariots. Swordsmen and Chosen Swordsmen have the melee power to beat much enemy infantry, although getting them to melee range can sometimes be a challenge. Forester Warbands are excellent archers and the cavalry is very effective for the price.
Tactics: Since Gaul has strong infantry it's wise to build many warband in the beginning. Use these warband as the staple of your army to maintain fighting lines. Once a fighting line has been established in battle use a cavalry unit or two to flank the enemy. If you lack any cavalry units, swordsmen are good for this as well. Once the flanking is completed the enemy should be surrounded on at least three sides and you can then roll up the enemy battle line as they start to flee. Archers can be used to force the enemy to charge your battleline or to inflict causuilties before engagement in battle.
They start the campaign controlling:
- Alesia (Capital City)
- Numantia (Large Town)
- Patavium (Large Town)
- Mediolanium (Large Town)
- Condate Redonum (Town)
- Lemonum (Town)
- Narbo Martius (Town).
Peasants are reluctant warriors, but barbarian peasants are better fighters than most: hard lives produce hard men. Numbers are useful in all armies, and forcing peasants to fight is one way of getting lots of men in the field quickly and cheaply. They have little tactical sense, and even less willingness to fight - they would rather be defending their own homes than be dragged to a battle they neither care about nor understand. They are, however, experts at reading the land and hiding when there is cover.
Skirmishers are lightly armed troops who should break up and harass enemy formations before the main battle lines meet, and act as a screen for heavier troops. Their skills also make them useful in springing tactical ambushes.
Each man is armed with a clutch of throwing spears, a short sword and a small shield, but they do not wear armour preferring speed over protection.
Skirmisher Warbands are often the tribe's younger warriors. These men have yet to prove themselves as warriors, so are not necessarily tough enough to stand against a seasoned enemy in hand-to-hand fighting.
A life spent hunting is an excellent training for war. Personal courage, skill and the readiness to take a life can all be learned during a hunt. Foresters are highly skilled men with both the bow and the spear, their preferred weapons. They also each wear good leather armour.
Their hunting skills also stand them in good stead when stalking men instead of animals - these men can hide almost anywhere, taking advantage of every scrap of cover. The ability to spring ambushes as well as fight hand-to-hand makes them a uniquely flexible force for a warlord and one that, unusually, has enough sense to obey all orders. Foresters already know that they are superb hunters and warriors, and do not need to prove their skills to anyone by attacking just because they can!
Warbands are bound to the service of a strongman or petty village head. They are the basic 'unit' to be found in many barbarian armies. They fight well, as glory and loot are the road to status, but are often difficult to control. They care little for discipline and less for restraint, but they can be relied on to fight, and fight hard. In warfare it is up to each man to prove his own bravery and worth, so the savage charge into the enemy is about as sophisticated as they ever want to be!
Each man carries a stabbing spear and a large shield.
Swordsmen are steadfast and aggressive warriors, the 'infantry of the line' for barbarian warlords. They are not very disciplined at times, as their sense of honour and bravery can make them eager to get into any fray, but they are uniformly superb swordsmen. They are equipped with good swords and large shields.
Every warlord worth the name makes sure he has a couple of warbands of these hard men under his command.
Chosen swordsmen are the best fighting individuals in their tribe, and armed with the finest swords available.
While superbly skilled and extremely tough, they are not naturally inclined to fight as a group. Personal glory and the need to be first amongst the enemy ensure that they are headstrong and ill-disciplined. They are, however, very well equipped with the finest swords that the smiths can make, along with chainmail armour and large shields. They are an intimidating sight for any enemy.
There are warriors among the barbarian ranks whose love of battle is such that they live for little else. Clad only in flimsy loincloths, the fanatics whip themselves into a frenzy by chanting, beating themselves and drinking heavily. In this state they make an unnerving sight on the battlefield! They are best sent into battle en masse, shocking the enemy by a ferocious charge, but they should be kept away from enemy cavalry.
They carry just swords and shields and have practically no discipline, but they can cause heavy casualties among most enemies. They fight mostly (if not completely) naked to emphasise their own fierceness and utter lack of fear. Scars and tattoos adorn their skin, and they let their hair grow wild. Only after a kill is their hair cut, often with a sword blade while standing over a freshly dead foe.
While their reckless courage is not in doubt, they can lack the cohesion and discipline to adapt to setbacks, breaking and running in confusion when subjected to severe pressure.
Druids are spiritual leaders with practical fighting skills who instill confidence in nearby friendly warriors. They have a religious zeal that gives them great courage and their mere presence fills nearby believers with confidence. Positioned just behind the battle line druids can also form a powerful reserve, ready to join the fray at a crucial moment.
Equipped with sickle-shaped swords and small shields, the mail-clad druids are excellent fighters. Their good war gear is a reflection of their status as teachers, judges, soothsayers and the focal point of religion and magic among their people. As Celtic cultures lack a written form, they are also the memory of the tribe as well, remembering all the important facts of tribal history.
Historically, the Romans despised and then targeted these men because they practiced particularly savage forms of human sacrifice and because of their cultural importance. When a tribe's history was wiped out, it became a little easier to bend the people to the will of Rome.
Warhounds are bred for a savage nature and great size, but then hunting men is only a little more dangerous than hunting wild boar! The beasts are muscular and powerful. Originally bred for hunting large prey, they are now trained to hunt and attack men. Warhounds are usually unleashed on an enemy to break a line and unnerve opponents. Few men are able to stand steadily in the face of a snarling and partially-starved beast. The dogs are trained to bite and hold on, dragging down their human targets, and hamstringing horses.
Their handlers are brave, foolhardy and not easily intimidated: many have fingers, hands or even chunks of limbs missing!
Barbarian cavalry are lightly armoured and carry spears and shields. They are best used as scouts and in pursuit of fleeing enemies, and ride sturdy, sure-footed ponies with a good turn of speed. Like many barbarian warriors, however, they can lack battle-discipline and be over-keen to enter battle against worthy opponents. Honour and standing come from fighting, and sometimes the urge for glory overwhelms good sense! These men are all good fighters, but find organised, formal warfare goes against the grain. They are unlikely to be very effective against steady infantry unless attacking from an unexpected direction.
Noble cavalry are an elite in society as well as war, and fight bravely to justify their status. This can lead them to be headstrong, and difficult to restrain before a fight, as personal glory gained in battle is the only true measure of nobility. Their war gear of spears, shields and good chainmail is the very finest that can be provided.
They are best used to break weakened enemy formations, fight against other cavalry and pursue fleeing enemies. While they are brave men and superb horsemen, they lack the cohesion of more 'civilized' cavalry, and may not be as effective in a hand-to-hand fight. Shock and initial impact are their main weapons.
A barbarian warlord surrounds himself with fierce warriors as a personal guard. These spear-armed cavalry are an elite reserve for use in a moment of crisis.
Every warlord commands by right of personal courage as much as tactical skill, and must prove himself in battle. He and his guards are equipped as cavalry with spears, leather armour and shields so that they can dash to any point on the battlefield. The warlord can inspire his men to greater efforts just by his presence, and also has enough men to be a significant force should the need arise.