Early Henrician Army - 1513 in France

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RonanTheLibrarian
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Early Henrician Army - 1513 in France

Post by RonanTheLibrarian » Fri Oct 14, 2016 10:11 am

Below is my "take" on this army, which I have been using for about ten months now, culminating in it seeing the light of day competitively at the Southampton round of the Southern League at the end of September. Having read quite extensively on this force, and talked at some length with Stuart Mulligan, author/owner of the "Army Royal" blogspot, I have found several discrepancies with the "official list". My view is that the list in "Trade & Treachery" definitely does not represent the 1513 army, and should be amended. I have also trawled the “Army Design” folder on the FoG:R website, and the three previous (and very short!) discussions on this army can be found here:-
http://www.slitherine.com/forum/viewtop ... 10&t=45209
http://www.slitherine.com/forum/viewtop ... 10&t=42106
http://www.slitherine.com/forum/viewtop ... 10&t=24559

The overall standard of the Early Henrician army is quite low, and it would appear that the list authors have allowed themselves to be influenced by the “nay-sayers” who belittle Henry’s forces and present England as a military backwater throughout the Tudor period, rather than looking at the late 15th/early 16th Centuries more specifically. Whilst the Later Henrician and Elizabethan armies did behave poorly, both in the field and in camp, the earlier forces, and particularly the 1513 army in France, represented the cream of England’s military and – given its (admittedly limited) performance against the French, and that of the”B” team against the Scots - it would seem a review is in order. My reading on the subject includes Army Royal by Cruickshank, Henry VIII’s Military Revolution by Raymond, The Scots Wars by Phillips, and Tudor Mercenaries by Millar. Of these works, only the last is damning; however, that appears to be based less on poor performance (certainly as regards the very early army), and more on the author’s presumption that the English army must have been weak because it had to hire all these mercenaries. So, just like the French and Imperial armies, then.....

Below is a ratio, supplied by Stuart Mulligan, of the different troop types in Henry’s 1513 army. It is impossible to represent this in an allowable FoG:R army, given the total absence of firearms, and the limitation of long bow to (a) dismounted, and (b) fewer bases than bills (instead of all polearms, which would be more accurate). I've had trouble paginating this, so the Actual Ratios of troop types to each other is in black, the T&T army list maxima/minima are in red, and my competition army in green.

TROOP TYPE ACTUAL RATIO MIN./MAX. MY ARMY
[1 = 500 men] BASES FOG:R [800 points]

English MAA (mounted) 2 0-2 0
English demi-lancers 6 4-8 8 (2 x 4)
English light horse 9 4-12 12 (3 x 4)
English archers (mounted) 4 Not Allowed
Burgundian MAA (mounted) 4 0-6 6 (1 x 6)
German crossbow (mounted) 1 Not Allowed
English MAA (dismounted) 8 } [mixed with YotG] {
YotG (70:30 arquebus:bill) 6 } [all hvy wpn] { 6 (1 x 6)
Retinue Billmen ?? } 8-16 incl MAA/YotG { 8 (1 x 8)
Militia Billmen ?? 8-36 8 (1 x 8)
Bowmen (> bills, incl. YotG/MAA) ?? 12-36 16 (2 x 8)
English pike 6 Not Allowed
English arquebus 6 Not Allowed
Landsknecht arquebus (1 per 3 pike) 4 Not Allowed
Landsknecht pike/halberd 12 0-24 24 (1x14, 1x10)
___ _____ __
122 36/140- 88 bases

My original 800-point army list deliberately “maxed out” the cavalry and landsknecht keils, as I felt I would otherwise lack any kind of parity with enemy armies composed primarily of gendarmes and/or large pike blocks (both of whom were likely to be superior, to boot). After winning all six practice games against fellow club members, for the competition, I decided to lose the King’s Spears, as this 2-base unit was getting picked off by enemy artillery, and used the extra points to armour the landsknechts. I also thought about some light guns to supplement arrow hits with “black powder” weapons, but decided against and went for a third “Staves” unit instead.
• Generals – TC x 3
1. Demi-Lancers #1 (Horse, Hvy Arm’d, Ave,-/ Lt Lance/Sword – 4 bases)
2. Demi-Lancers #2 (as above)
3. Burgundian cavalry (Horse, Hvy Arm’d, Ave, --/Hvy Lance/Sword – 6 bases)
4. Staves #1 (LH, Unarm’d, Ave, --/Lt Lance/Sword – 4 bases)
5. Staves #2 (as above)
6. Staves #3 (as above)
7. MAA/YotG (HF, Hvy Arm’d, Sup, --/Hvy Wpn/Hvy Wpn – 8 bases)
8. Retinue Bill (HF, Hvy Arm’d, Sup, --/Hvy Wpn/Hvy Wpn – 6 bases)
9. Militia Bill (HF, Unarm’d, Ave, --/Hvy Wpn/Hvy Wpn – 8 bases)
10. Retinue Bow #1 (MF, Unarm’d, Ave, Bow/--/Swd – 8 bases)
11. Retinue Bow #2 (MF, Unarm’d, Ave, Bow/--/Swd – 8 bases)
12. Landsknecht #1 (HF, Arm’d, Ave,--/Pike/Pike – 12 bases)
Landsknecht #1 (HF, Arm’d, Ave, --/Hvy Wpn/Hvy Wpn – 2 bases)
13. Landsknecht #2 (HF, Arm’d, Ave,--/Pike/Pike – 8 bases)
Landsknecht #2 (HF, Arm’d, Ave, --/Hvy Wpn/Hvy Wpn – 2 bases)

So, having used the army in anger, here are my thoughts on how the army list in “Trade & Treachery” should be amended – bear in mind this is purely for the 1513 army in France, not for the army in Scotland/NE England the same year, or the 1523 army in France.

1) The King’s Spears (replaced in 1539 by the Gentlemen Pensioners) – This unit numbered 50 nobles when raised in 1509, but appears to have had over 1,000 men in 1513 (although this may have included retainers); it was composed of the richest nobles in the land, all personal friends of the King; and it was led by Henry Bourchier, Earl of Essex. It won its only battle with the French (who are allowed up to 20 bases of superior gendarmes), so I would allow an option to be Superior. However, to balance this, it can only happen if the MAA/Yeomen of the Guard is also present (ie both retinue bill units are deployed, at least one being superior) to represent the presence of the King.

2) Border Horse – The “Staves” option only provides light lance/sword as weaponry, yet allows the Scots equivalent of the same period (the same year, in fact) to use cross-bow as well. Both troop types were drawn from the same regions, in some cases even the same families, so why does the list deny the English the option of cross-bow? The Border Horse army list from the same book allows not onlycrossbow, but also both armoured AND superior options, as well. I think list users should be allowed the option of EITHER cross-bow (in addition to lance/sword) OR armour for their Light Horse; and also the option to make one unit superior if all 12 bases are fielded.

3) Mounted Archers – These troops numbered around 2,000 and were key to “pinning” the French forces during the “Battle of the Spurs”, the only serious engagement of the 1513 campaign. They were an important accompaniment to the light horse, and should be represented in any Henrician force prior to 1525. Given that they moved on horseback, and fought on foot, they would appear to be “Dragoons” in all but name and should be depicted as such – I would suggest 4 bases. I would also allow the optional use of one foreign crossbow unit (firing mounted), but subject to the same command limits by English generals as set out in 6) below.

4) Firearms – The 1513 army contained a considerable number of troops armed with arquebus: four companies of English troops alone, a considerable proportion (perhaps up to a quarter) of the hired Landsknechts, and – which surprised me – at least 70% of the 600+ Yeomen of the Guard. There are also accounts of wagon-loads of arquebus (at least 800 weapons)es in the baggage train. So, why does the army list give us none at all? Clearly, this needs to be rectified, and my suggestion would be to allow one arquebus-armed unit – either the YotG (as 6 bases of HF, as they were armoured, with sword as well)), or allow the Landsknects to have a unit (also 6 bases, but of LF). Both would be too much, in my view, but one or other would balance up the army.

5) Mercenaries – Almost 30% of Henry’s 1513 army was composed of Europeans (compared with 43% in 1523 and 25% in 1544); these troops invariably “filled the gaps” where the native component of the army was weak, or non-existent, typically the pike blocks, black powder missile troops, and heavy cavalry. These men were hired in order to improve the ability of the army to cope with “modern” warfare; unfortunately, some authors have taken this as a sign of weakness in the army as a whole. Given that these were the same men that were recruited by Maximillian and Francis, both of whom are allowed superior landsknechts, why must Henry’s men all be average? Admittedly, only the Burgundians (who played some role in the Spurs engagement) had any chance to prove themselves, and both they and the Landsknechts were reputedly less than keen to be commanded by English noblemen, but that surely reflects on the command structure, not the actual quality of the troops themselves. Provided only one keil-type unit is fielded, I would suggest allowing the option of superior for the Landsknechts, but balance this by preventing English generals from commanding or rallying them (see 6) below).

6) Generals – The 1513 army still employed the Mediaeval “three wards” system and I would suggest that the army should have only three mounted generals; however, if a fourth general is deployed, he must be a Landsknecht and can only command Imperial/Mercenary troops, as their control by English officers was a big issue and effectively never happened. Where there are only three (English) generals, none can directly command the Landsknechts in combat, or rally them if routed.

7) Artillery – If there is one thing all authors agree upon, it is that Henry took a shed-load of guns with him to France in 1513. There was an estimated 60 guns per ward, which may not have included the famous “12 Apostles”, but which most certainly did include 120 organ/battery guns for what we, today, would call “close support”. Given the massive artillery train permitted for other armies of this period (eg the Flodden Scots army), I would have thought there should be some compulsory artillery for Henry’s army – at least 4, possibly up to 8, light guns.

Based on the above, here is my amended 800-point army:-
• Generals – TC x 3
1. King’s Spears (Gendarmes, Fully arm’d, Sup, --/Hvy Lance/Sword – 2 bases)
2. Demi-Lancers #1 (Horse, Hvy Arm’d, Ave,-/ Lt Lance/Sword – 4 bases)
3. Demi-Lancers #2 (Horse, Hvy Arm’d, Ave,-/ Lt Lance/Sword – 4 bases)
4. Burgundian cavalry (Horse, Hvy Arm’d, Ave, --/Hvy Lance/Sword – 4 bases)
5. Staves #1 (LH, Unarm’d, Ave, Xbow/Lt lance/Sword – 4 bases)
6. Staves #2 (LH, Unarm’d, Ave, Xbow/Lt Lance/Sword – 4 bases)
7. Organ/Battery Guns #1 (Art, Unarm'd, Ave, LtArt/--/-- - 2 bases)
8. Organ/Battery Guns #2 (Art, Unarm'd, Ave, LtArt/--/-- - 2 bases)
9. Yeomen of the Guard (HF, Hvy Arm’d, Sup, Arquebus/--/Sword – 6 bases)
9. Retinue Billmen (HF, Hvy Arm’d, Sup, --/Hvy Wpn/Hvy Wpn – 6 bases)
10. Militia Billmen (HF, Unarm’d, Ave, --/Hvy Wpn/Hvy Wpn – 8 bases)
11. Retinue Bow #1 (MF, Unarm’d, Ave, Bow/--/Sword – 8 bases)
12. Retinue Bow #2 (MF, Unarm’d, Ave, Bow/--/Sword – 8 bases)
13. Landsknechts (HF, Arm’d, Ave, --/Pike/Pike – 12 bases)
Landsknechts (HF, Arm’d, Ave, --/HvyWpn/Hvy Wpn – 2 bases)

I’d be very interested in the thoughts of anyone else who has used the army
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ravenflight
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Re: Early Henrician Army - 1513 in France

Post by ravenflight » Sat Oct 22, 2016 2:35 am

Looks like you've done a lot of work in research, and I'd have no problem with it on the field.

quackstheking
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Re: Early Henrician Army - 1513 in France

Post by quackstheking » Mon Oct 24, 2016 8:20 am

Whilst it may be "historically spot on" (!), the game winning troops for the Early Henrician is the Superior Heavy weapon boys. I ALWAYS take these as two 8's and with a fair wind they can beat most things on the battlefield

Don

RonanTheLibrarian
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Re: Early Henrician Army - 1513 in France

Post by RonanTheLibrarian » Mon Oct 24, 2016 11:27 am

Don - I quite agree, from the perspective of the book list, which is odd as they were among the only troops of the 1513 army to NOT see action (yet are judged superior). I also always take two full units of them, but bizarrely, in almost a dozen games, I have never once got them into action - they either get shot to bits (and/or throw a crap CT) in the final turns before they get to charge home, or spend the whole game trying to get across the table! Yesterday, I had my 17-unit army broken by Trastamaran Spanish cavalry of all things (their foot and heavy guns hid behind defences all game), in the turn before both bill units, and my landsknecht keil, were in a position to charge home.
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zeitoun
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Re: Early Henrician Army - 1513 in France

Post by zeitoun » Sat Mar 11, 2017 10:08 am

hi all,

i'm just starting to play FOGR, and I have a question for you about the Early Henrician Army list.

Is there a Erratum for this list concerning the amount of billmen and Longbowmen. ? because in the starter army liste there is more longbowmen than Billmen, but the army list restrictions says tha you must have MORE billmen than longbowmen ! I'm totally lost ..

sorry if this question was post before..

regards
Olivier Marceau
early carthage
later carthage
HWY continental
WOTR Yorkish, Tudor and Lancastre
Perses Sassanids
Francais Ordonnance

quackstheking
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Re: Early Henrician Army - 1513 in France

Post by quackstheking » Sat Mar 11, 2017 11:02 am

Don't worry - there are a few "starter army lists" in the books that don't conform to the main lists. These are for illustration only and the main lists are the ones to use.

Don

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Re: Early Henrician Army - 1513 in France

Post by RonanTheLibrarian » Wed Sep 27, 2017 4:05 pm

zeitoun wrote:i'm just starting to play FOGR, and I have a question for you about the Early Henrician Army list.

Is there a Erratum for this list concerning the amount of billmen and Longbowmen. ? because in the starter army liste there is more longbowmen than Billmen, but the army list restrictions says that you must have MORE billmen than longbowmen ! I'm totally lost ..
Sorry to have not spotted this reply earlier. Further to Don's reply, historically the bill:bow ratio stated in the lists is correct for Flodden, but completely wrong for Henry's army in France in 1513, where there seems to have been about a 3:2 bow:bill division within the English contingent and it's only when you factor in the English/Landsknecht pikes that polearms become more numerous than bows. But then the list also completely ignores firearms, and that the English army of 1513 (and the French army of this period, too) had mounted archers who were a vital component of the mounted troops.

Please come back if you have any more questions.
"No plan survives the first contact with the dice."

"There is something wrong with our bloody dice today!"

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