On the 28th of September, they came. England would never be the same again. With William’s claim to the English crown, he sailed across the channel on a do or die campaign to take what he believes is rightfully his.
The Normans bring skilled cavalrymen to our early middle ages battles and will fight in a much different manner than theLate Saxons and Vikings our two previous forces. The ability that sets the Norman cavalry apart from the light scouts of the Saxons and Vikings is ‘Couched spears’. causing a shock test if only 25% of the target warriors are removed as casualties. This ability can be seen throughout the force, from commanders to warriors.
William, of course, is the first of the characters available to a Norman player. He can be taken mounted or on foot depending on the makeup of your force and features the ‘Couched spear’ ability if mounted as mentioned above. To represent his invasion of England at the time he has a further ability, ‘All or nothing’ this is particularly useful as any group of warriors in his command range will not break whilst holding an objective. they will fight to the bitter end to secure their foothold on English soil.
Alongside the Duke, we have Odo of Bayeux who is a huge morale-boosting character. He counts as his own priest and confers ‘God Protects’ to the rest of his command group. Not only this but he shares Williams ‘All or nothing’ ability. The two characters together on the field make for a very strong objective taking force.
The bulk of Norman Forces should be made from Milites, these can be mounted or on foot. They come with leather armour and a spear but can be upgraded with mail, sword and shields as needed. They do not have any fancy abilities as standard. they are the rank and file of your retinue. Well equipped they will be a solid core supported by the highly trained crossbowmen in the list, tabletop control should not be an issue. However, do watch for those big Dane Axes of the Saxons and Vikings.
If you fancy a more fast-paced and lightly armoured force, the Breton Cavalry will suit your needs perfectly. Lightly armed and with a movement of 9″ these fellows can harry the flanks or rear of your opponent’s force or screen the actions of your slower Milites and Knights. These warriors have a charge ability which enables them to attack an enemy at any point along a charge move (as long as they make contact) and, providing they win the combat, may continue with their charge move to a safe distance. Particularly handy for dealing with lower-class rabble!
Finally, a controversial inclusion, but one that I feel adds a lot of character and fun to the Norman army list is the Death Squad. Trained to hunt the enemy commander and cut the head from the snake. Their ‘Head hunters’ ability allows them to charge a command group without taking a Morale check even if it isn’t the closest group and add 2″ to their charge range for good measure. Again these warriors may be mounted or on foot and can be devastating if used with perfect timing. One thing to consider however is these are ‘Picked men’ and only one group may be allowed per retinue.
Well, that concludes my look at the first three dark ages factions. There appear to be more files on my laptop with names such as ‘Welsh’ and ‘Irish’ and one even says something about islands and a kingdom so we will look further into those in the near future!
The world is a crazy place at the moment, so keep safe and if like us you re locked down, what better time to paint and share your forces over in our community section.