Normans

A forum for any questions relating to army design, the army companion books and upcoming lists.

Moderators: hammy, Slitherine Core, Field of Glory Moderators, Field of Glory Design

mikekh
Administrative Corporal - SdKfz 232 8Rad
Administrative Corporal - SdKfz 232 8Rad
Posts: 173
Joined: Tue Nov 20, 2007 12:26 pm

Normans

Post by mikekh » Thu Mar 06, 2008 9:34 am

I've a 25mm Norman army and wondered what the main troop types are and what the proportions are?

Any thoughts?

Many thanks

Mike

Svejk1914
Lance Corporal - SdKfz 222
Lance Corporal - SdKfz 222
Posts: 22
Joined: Thu Feb 28, 2008 8:44 pm

Post by Svejk1914 » Thu Mar 06, 2008 9:43 am

About a year away it would seem, unfortunately. All my stuff is dark ages with the exception of one DBA Roman army. Guess I'll have to get to painting more Romans lol.

hammy
Field of Glory Team
Field of Glory Team
Posts: 5440
Joined: Tue Aug 22, 2006 2:11 pm
Location: Stockport
Contact:

Post by hammy » Thu Mar 06, 2008 10:03 am

You could always just decide for yourself what seems reasonable in terms of troop types and play with your dark age troops anyway.

My guess is that Saxons will be mostly spearmen, Vikings will probably be much the same with perhaps more heavy weapons. Normans will be either armoured cavalry or armoured knights (you could try them as both and see what difference it makes).

Phaze_of_the_Moon
Senior Corporal - Destroyer
Senior Corporal - Destroyer
Posts: 103
Joined: Tue Feb 19, 2008 11:19 pm

Post by Phaze_of_the_Moon » Thu Mar 06, 2008 10:23 am

What year? And where?

mikekh
Administrative Corporal - SdKfz 232 8Rad
Administrative Corporal - SdKfz 232 8Rad
Posts: 173
Joined: Tue Nov 20, 2007 12:26 pm

Post by mikekh » Thu Mar 06, 2008 10:38 am

Phaze_of_the_Moon wrote:What year? And where?
1066 and all that.

I was thinking Milites as armoured knightly lancers , undrilled?
Some medium foot with offensive spear and heavy, armoured foot with same.
Few Xbow skirmishers and some cavalry

Phaze_of_the_Moon
Senior Corporal - Destroyer
Senior Corporal - Destroyer
Posts: 103
Joined: Tue Feb 19, 2008 11:19 pm

Post by Phaze_of_the_Moon » Thu Mar 06, 2008 10:52 am

mikekh wrote:1066 and all that.

I was thinking Milites as armoured knightly lancers , undrilled?
Some medium foot with offensive spear and heavy, armoured foot with same.
Few Xbow skirmishers and some cavalry
Definetly not lancers before Dyrrhachium (1081).

More bow than crossbow.

nikgaukroger
Field of Glory Moderator
Field of Glory Moderator
Posts: 10265
Joined: Tue Aug 22, 2006 9:30 am
Location: LarryWorld

Post by nikgaukroger » Thu Mar 06, 2008 12:33 pm

Phaze_of_the_Moon wrote:
Definetly not lancers before Dyrrhachium (1081).

Why not?

"Lancers" is an effect after all - for example the Frankish cavalry described in the Strategikon as holding their spears at shoulder height can be Lancers whilst in no way using a spear in a fashion you'd (normally) call a lancer style.

Kineas1
Senior Corporal - Destroyer
Senior Corporal - Destroyer
Posts: 103
Joined: Fri Feb 29, 2008 4:49 pm

Post by Kineas1 » Thu Mar 06, 2008 12:39 pm

Anna Comnena stated that a Frankish lancer could "knock down the walls of Babylon." She stated it as a commonplace. Whether the lance was couched or overarm, whether it was "truly" effective without a high-backed saddle--all of that is speculation. Recent evidence shows that you can effectively couch a lance and fight with it sans stirrups... what is something like a fact is that the charge of Norman/Frankish knights was crushingly effective.

rbodleyscott
Field of Glory 2
Field of Glory 2
Posts: 22242
Joined: Sun Dec 04, 2005 6:25 pm

Post by rbodleyscott » Thu Mar 06, 2008 1:48 pm

Kineas1 wrote:Anna Comnena stated that a Frankish lancer could "knock down the walls of Babylon." She stated it as a commonplace. Whether the lance was couched or overarm, whether it was "truly" effective without a high-backed saddle--all of that is speculation. Recent evidence shows that you can effectively couch a lance and fight with it sans stirrups... what is something like a fact is that the charge of Norman/Frankish knights was crushingly effective.
We have (arbitrarily) taken the date of a changeover from "Cavalry" to "Knights" as 1040 for the Normans, so as to include their devastating charge against the Byzantines at Monte Maggiore in Italy in 1041. We (equally arbitrarily) give the rest of Western Europe 10 years or so to catch up.

And in an attempt to forestall a long and rancorous debate as to the "correct" date, we accept that any date will be arbitrary as changes of behaviour would have been gradual over a period of time. However, as Anna Komnena attests, by some time in the 11th century Western milites had developed a style of fighting that completely outclassed the (equally lance-armed and only slightly lighter armoured) Byzantine cavalry.

Ironhand
Senior Corporal - Destroyer
Senior Corporal - Destroyer
Posts: 111
Joined: Mon Mar 10, 2008 1:34 am

Post by Ironhand » Mon Mar 10, 2008 1:58 am

Based on my limited experience with Field of Glory, rating the Milites as Superior Lancers should give that "crushingly effective" charge without having to resort to the gimmicks some other rulesets do. I'm very much looking forward to the Norman list since I have a large collection of 28MM figures for the Normans, both in England and in Italy.

Phaze_of_the_Moon
Senior Corporal - Destroyer
Senior Corporal - Destroyer
Posts: 103
Joined: Tue Feb 19, 2008 11:19 pm

Post by Phaze_of_the_Moon » Mon Mar 10, 2008 3:53 am

Kineas1 wrote:Anna Comnena stated that a Frankish lancer could "knock down the walls of Babylon." She stated it as a commonplace.
No she did not. The quote is book XIII chapter VIII which describes the events of 1107-8 where the emperor makes that statement to justify his adjustment of Byzantine tactical doctrine based on his experience fightimg the Normans in 1105-7.

The Byzantines adopted "couched lance" during the reforms of Manuel I some where between 1160 and 1180 (too much trouble to look up the exact year). So it's advantages were not immediately apparent.

Even at Dyrrhachium (1081), which most historians agree is the first use of "couched lance", the Normans milites were crushed on both flanks before breaking through in the centre.

At Hastings in 1066 the Normans went up the hill 18 times without making any impression at all on the Saxon shield wall. These are not lancers. Call them "Superior" or "Elite" if you must, but not "Lancers".

A lancer (with a 14' to 18' lance) would have hit the shield, gone through it, gone through the man holding it, and the man behind him, and run roughshod over the entire formation. A shield wall with 7' spears does not stop any variety of lancer.

The Normans were good, very good. High morale, well led. They could do a Cantabrian Circle. But in 1066 they weren't lancers.

Seven foot spears held above the shoulder are not lancers. Effective cavalry, yes. "Lancers", no. Want to describe cataphracts with kontos as "Lancers", fine.

The spread of the couched lance is slow. It requires training, equipment, and suitable mounts. The first use in battle on English soil is Lewes in 1264, the first use by Muslims is in 1268.

So realistically lancers are perhaps 1/3 of Normans in Sicily 1081, all Normans and many Franks by 1105, all of Christendom by 1160.

nikgaukroger
Field of Glory Moderator
Field of Glory Moderator
Posts: 10265
Joined: Tue Aug 22, 2006 9:30 am
Location: LarryWorld

Post by nikgaukroger » Mon Mar 10, 2008 5:43 am

I think you are getting hung up on the equipment a bit here. The Lancers PoA can be applied to cavalry using spears in different ways - the idea is to get the right effect against their historical opponents.

Phaze_of_the_Moon
Senior Corporal - Destroyer
Senior Corporal - Destroyer
Posts: 103
Joined: Tue Feb 19, 2008 11:19 pm

Post by Phaze_of_the_Moon » Mon Mar 10, 2008 6:12 am

nikgaukroger wrote:I think you are getting hung up on the equipment a bit here. The Lancers PoA can be applied to cavalry using spears in different ways - the idea is to get the right effect against their historical opponents.
No, this isn't about equipment at all.

Being a "lancer" is about having a devastating charge.

18 times to no effect is not a "devastating charge".

getback
Lance Corporal - Panzer IA
Lance Corporal - Panzer IA
Posts: 14
Joined: Mon Feb 11, 2008 6:05 pm

Post by getback » Mon Mar 10, 2008 7:52 am

How easy would any mounted troops - however they used their weapon - find it to deliver a devastating charge up a muddy (would have been muddy by charge 18 I guess) hill into a wall of (at that point) steady foot with pointy sticks pointing at the horses chests and arrows falling on them ?

Phaze_of_the_Moon
Senior Corporal - Destroyer
Senior Corporal - Destroyer
Posts: 103
Joined: Tue Feb 19, 2008 11:19 pm

Post by Phaze_of_the_Moon » Mon Mar 10, 2008 8:11 am

It's a hill, in dry weather, it's not muddy.

The Saxons had no archers at all.

The "pointy sticks" are 7" long. "Lancers" should have no problem at all.

nikgaukroger
Field of Glory Moderator
Field of Glory Moderator
Posts: 10265
Joined: Tue Aug 22, 2006 9:30 am
Location: LarryWorld

Post by nikgaukroger » Mon Mar 10, 2008 9:07 am

The top of Senlac hill is, apparantly as I have never been there, quite steep and I recall some horse riding gamers saying that it was enough to mean that the Normans charge would not have been at full effect - esentially I think they said that massed horsemen would be reduced to pretty much a walk at that stage.

I also think you are tending to over estimate the charge of lancers. For example if we look at Bouvines we have a reltively small contingent of lowland spearmen in a "crown" formation with a depth of 2 or 3 ranks holding off repeated charges by French knights. This happens towards the end of the battle where the lowlanders are relatively unsupported.

Another example, this time up a hill for a bit of Hastings like comparison, would be Falkirk where the English knights charged to no effect at the Scots spear formations.

There are a number of examples of Italian civic militia spearmen holding off knightly charges as well.

Of course there are cases where the knights do ride over the infantry - IIRC Edward's charge at Lewis would be a good example - but they are by no means universal.

Ironhand
Senior Corporal - Destroyer
Senior Corporal - Destroyer
Posts: 111
Joined: Mon Mar 10, 2008 1:34 am

Post by Ironhand » Mon Mar 10, 2008 11:30 pm

I think that better examples of the potency of the Norman charge can be found in Italy, where the Normans were beating all comers at least since Monte Maggiore in 1041.

shall
Field of Glory Team
Field of Glory Team
Posts: 6137
Joined: Fri Mar 17, 2006 9:52 am

Post by shall » Tue Mar 11, 2008 3:58 am

Norman charge uphill at Hastings

Armoured Lancers vs shield wall. Infantry on ++ at impact. Very unlikely to lose. Mounted will be breaking off and trying lots fo times before winning, and losing bases all the while. No wonder they tried 18 times!! They should have have read the rules first and saved some effort. :wink:

I have tried a Norman test army a few times and its rather nice - one on my purchase list for the next few years in fact in 15mm. For those impatient Williams amongst you the Early Crusader list coming shortly in Swords and Scimitars is a good basis for a Norman army if you swap the compulsory Xbows for Bows. This is what I did to create a test army as its not far off a Norman army playing away from home.

Si
Last edited by shall on Tue Mar 11, 2008 12:09 pm, edited 1 time in total.

Ironhand
Senior Corporal - Destroyer
Senior Corporal - Destroyer
Posts: 111
Joined: Mon Mar 10, 2008 1:34 am

Post by Ironhand » Tue Mar 11, 2008 11:21 am

Thanks for that tip. I've got a big Norman army in 25MM. I'll be sure to try it out when the Early Crusader book appears.

Quintus
Administrative Corporal - SdKfz 232 8Rad
Administrative Corporal - SdKfz 232 8Rad
Posts: 152
Joined: Wed Feb 20, 2008 7:34 pm
Location: Welsh Marches

Post by Quintus » Tue Mar 11, 2008 6:22 pm

Having seen examples of horseshoes displayed as being for a Norman warhorse I find it very difficult to picture the Normans of that period as hard-charging lancers. As stated earlier though, the judgement has to be based upon the effect they would have had on historical opponents, but I still have serious doubts as to whether that would be a valid classification.

Post Reply

Return to “Army Design”