Western Frankish or Norman 888AD-1072AD (Book III/51)

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Army Consist

Element Description of Troops
1x3Kn (Gen) Knight General
5x3Kn Milites
1x3Kn or 3Cv or 2LH Milites and Scouts
1x3Kn or 3Cv Milites
2x4Sp Spearmen
2x2Ps or 3Bw Archers and Crossbowmen
Camp Followers The Wine Wagon

This list covers the armies of the West Frankish kingdom as it evolved into the Kingdom of France. It includes Norman armies from their adoption of the Frankish feudal system circa 923 until the conquest of England and the organization of the Sicilian Norman state.

The Battle of Hastings has always been a favorite of mine, and the pivotal changes it brought to England have resonated throughout our cultural history. As a result, and knowing that the Normans were an excellent choice to match up against a wide variety of enemy in the period, it was a logical first choice of armies to paint. The entire army consists of Museum Miniatures, ordered at the time directly from England (I phoned overseas just to hear the lovely lady's accent, to be truthful.)

It's also a strong army, having both a tremendous punch in a 2/3rds Knight complement, as well as a wide variety of options to create a more balanced, combined-arms force. Though it's had a horrible time in many Open tournaments (it draws Hussite and Pecheneg armies like a magnet), there has been a single noted exception where it's managed to win the field. These days it's been retired mostly in favor of using the Italian Condotta.

The paint job isn't bad, considering it was a first attempt. The colors have held up reasonably well, and there's a nice variety in both the sheild designs and the horse coloring. The shields are more than a little strange and atypical, but I was working without good reference sources and just painted what popped into my head. Being precursors to the English Heraldic heritage, you'll notice that there are a variety of simple patterns which might eventually have formed into Blazons.

As Mike Demana has pointed out, the knights in the army all have their tails sticking straight up in the air. Thus, this army has been dubbed, "The army where the horses are all taking a dump."

Knight General [1x3Kn (Gen)]

The general with the white charger and the sword. You may be able to tell the distinctive dragon pattern on the shield. This was originally intended to match similar patterns on the Light Horse and one of the Spear elements. Since the army was originally painted under the DBA 1.1 army list, I did so to be able to select any of the three as my General while I was learning.

Milites [5x3Kn]

The heavy hitters of the army, there's nothing like a host of charging knights to decimate a line of foot troops. While the shield designs are almost certainly ahistoric, you might catch Sir Sky of Line lurking about in the battle line a few places.

And a lovely rear shot of the entire army engaged in synchronized defication, for your viewing enjoyment.

Milites and Scouts [1x3Kn or 3Cv or 2LH]

You can see the Dragon emblems on the shields of the Light Horse a little better here. Even when I had painted the army for DBA 1.1 I had a serious overabundance of Cavalry figs when I was done, so there are plenty of extra stands of cavalry lying about.

Milites [1x3Kn or 3Cv]

The Cavalry in general were harder figures to paint than the Knights, because they had a huge flash blur between their lances and the body of the horses in the rear. This was well before I learned the art of the pin-vise and replacing weapons, so some had the flash cut away, others were too bad off to do much with.

Spearmen [2x4Sp]

Once again, a line of ahistoric shield patterns, they do have the merit of being colorful. Another appearance of Sir Sky of Line, native of Cincinnati, whose blue and yellow checker pattern has been a favorite of mine for quite some time.

Archers and Crossbowmen [2x2Ps or 3Bw]

Because the DBA 1.1 lists had a much larger number of options available, mostly with Psiloi as alternates, I ended up with about three times as many Psiloi as I needed. The crossbowmen are pretty garden variety leather armored feudal types, but the Psiloi at least are very brightly garbed.

The Wine Wagon [Camp Followers]

Another beautiful piece by Museum Miniatures, once I saw the barrel-cart, I knew no wine-drinking culture like the French would fail to bring such a thing along with them in their camp. One must protect the important things, after all.

Please send any comments/criticisms/corrections to webmeisterzeke@att.net

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This page was last updated on February 5th, 2008 at 03:07 PM