Sunday, 1 February 2009

The English Army - cunning plan (part 1)

The English army plan is starting to be formed, so that packs can be purchased and painting time mapped out.

It's a fairly straightforward army list, which I've collated from other wargame rules and my own reading. Essentially the English army at the start of the fifteenth century was composed of two distinct arms; the men-at-arms and the longbowmen.

All troops for Henry V's campaigns in France were raised via indentures, a legal contract betwen the crown and selected landed nobility to raise specified numbers of armed troops, for a certain period, at an agreed price paid by the King. All contemporary indentures and the related payments made by the crown, specify numbers of men-at-arms and bowmen. Whereas several wargame rules allow 'billmen' as a distinct arm, I've not found any evidence for the period of these armies to show them as a seperate group. I'm therefore going to create men-at-arms which are primarily nobility, from earls to esquires, with full plate armour accompanied by a few retained troops and householders who are less well armed and who maybe the flagbearers. All will be on foot, in 'defensive' poses.

For the longbowmen its more straightforward; all bowmen - well protected by stakes - with a few captains and flagbearers dotted about.

The other point is the ratio between the two arms. All of my reading, notably Prof Anne Curry's work and the website shows consistent 3:1 in relation to numbers of bows to men-at-arms in the English. Only later in the century do the numbers of bowmen appear to rise sharply. Therefore current plan is for 8 men-at-arms and 24 longbow bases, plus some command bases.

To add some variety however, I may need to deviate from the historical evidence - and am planning to add some pavisers from French towns under English control and possibly some Irish skirmishers (and of course any tempting figures that force their way on the table).

This will be an Anglo-Burgundian force and so variety will come from the Burgundian allies, in terms of crossbowmen, handgunners, etc.
Pictured are the first 3 based for the English men-at-arms, painted with basing and flags to be added.

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