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The First Roman Expedition to Britain 55BC
On August  26,  55BC, two Roman Legions (about 10.000 soldiers) under Julius Caesar's personal command crossed the English Channel in a group of transport ships, leaving from Portus Itius (today's Boulogne). By the next morning (August  27), the Roman ships were just off the cliffs of Dover, whose upper banks were lined with British warriors prepared to do battle.  
The Britons met the legionaries at the beach with a large force, including warriors in horse-drawn chariots, an antiquated fighting method not used by the Roman military. After an initial skirmish, the  British war leaders sought a truce, and handed over hostages. 

Four days later, however, when Roman ships with  500 cavalry soldiers and horses also tried to make the channel crossing, they were driven back to France by bad weather. The same storm seriously damaged many of the Roman ships on the beach at Deal (later in the second expedition). This quirk of fate resulted in Caesar's initial landing force having no cavalry, which seriously restricted the mobility of the 55BC operations. It was also disastrous for the planned reconnaissance since the legionary soldiers were forced to repair the ships and were vulnerable to the British forces who began new attacks. 
Thus immobilized, the Roman legions had to survive in a coastal zone which they found both politically hostile, and naturally fertile. The need to procure food locally resulted in scouting and food-searching missions into the adjacent countryside. After repairing most of the ships, Caesar ordered a return to Gaul, thus curtailing the reconnaissance of 55 BC. 


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