Thursday, 1 February 2018

Irish Chieftan and Noble Cavalry


Following on from a look at the Kern, Galloglass and Horseboys who formed much of the infantry of Gaelic Irish armies in the 16th century I have turned my attention to the Irish Cavalry. A bit of a labour of love this unit as no manufacturer really makes perfect figures for these chaps at the moment. I have had to make a few compromises with the figures and I have based some of the colours and additions on conjecture but I hope they are fairly close to how they may have looked.

The cavalry arm of the Gaelic Lordships was normally made up of the nobility, in fact they could often be all directly related. This at first seems odd but a few examples may help to illustrate. Turlough an fhiona O Donnell, lord of Tirconnell, d.1423, had 18 eighteen sons by 10 different women and 59 grandsons in the male line. The O'Reilly lord of East Brefny, Mulmora, d.1566, had at least 58 grandsons who took the name of O'Reilly. In this light it is easy to understand how the Cavalry component of a sept could easily be a family affair in the most literal of senses. The "close" family aristocratic element could also be augmented by their more wealthy followers who answered their call to arms or "rising out". This could be further enhanced by young nobles who frequently traveled to other Irish Lordships to take service with another Lord. So for example in 1406 two sons of the King of Connacht travelled to Offaly with their attendants to serve the Lord of Offaly against the English of Meath. 

When looking at contemporary pictures of how these horsemen were armed and equipped a fairly broad spectrum has been used as there really aren't that many images. However just by looking at the first two pictures below, one from c.1399 and the other from c.1580 what is immediately striking is how similar the horsemen look despite nearly two centuries in between. The two unusual things about the Irish cavalry of the 16th Century were that they didn't use stirrups and that they used long lances overarm rather than the normal couched lance of late medieval/early renaissance warfare. John Dymmok in "A Treatise of Ireland" c.1600 described them as such "The horsemen are armed with headpeeces, shirtes of mayle or jackes, a sworde, a skayne, and a speare. They ryde vyon paddes, or pillowes without styrvps, and in this differ from ours; that in joyninge with the enemy, theye beare not their staves or launces vnder arme, and so put it to the reste, but takinge yt by the midle, beare yt aboue arme, and soe encounter." As with the Kern and Galloglass they of course had their attendants as grooms for their horses as well as leading their spare mounts and taking care of their harness and weaponry. Dymmok goes on to state that "Every Horsman hath two or thre horses, and to euery horse a knave : his horse of service is allwaies led spare, and his knave, which caryeth his harness and speare, rydeth vpon the other, or els upon a hackeney."


Depiction of Irish Horsemen attacking Richard IIs Cavalry c.1399

16th Century Irish Horseman c.1580. He is actually a Burke and so an Anglo-Irishman riding and armed in Gaelic Irish style.

As with the Irish infantry I was keen to have the cavalry component of the army looking as much like those in the original sources as possible. I used the old Redoubt Enterprises Irish miniatures from their renaissance range for my horsemen but had to do quite a bit of conversion work to complete the unit. I think the biggest issue for me was that the Redoubt figures all have large wicker shields. As I mentioned in my last post I think this comes from Edmund Spensers  "A View of the present State of Ireland" of 1596 where he states "their longe broad sheeldes, made but with wicker roddes, which are comonly used amongst the said Northeren Irishe". This may have been the case but the image below showing Irish Cavalry in a skirmish with English Horsemen (who are actually quite similarly equipped save for the stirrups and boots) has some really good depictions of Irish Cavalry shields. Only two examples of these shields or targes survive and there is a great description of making replicas of them here on Claiomh, the Irish living history groups, Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/ClaiomhLivingHistory/videos/vb.146967882013099/1189489427760934/?type=2&theater .

This shield issue meant I had the nasty job of removing the cast on wicker shields using a knife, drill and saw. It took ages and I can safely say I will not be attempting to remove 11 cast on large shields from metal miniatures again! I replaced the wicker shields with as close as I could get to the Irish shields in the image above. I know that the large bosses in the centre are not really correct and what is more frustrating is that Vendel used to make shields exactly like those in Derrickes image and they were available in packs on their own but such is the way with miniatures. Little niche ranges often appear and then disappear a few years later. I also included a couple bucklers from The Assault Group and painted some designs on them. These were inspired by a line from Edmund Spenser "Likewise rownd lether targettes, as the Spanyarde fashion, who used it, for the most part, paynted, which in Ireland they use alsoe, in many places, colored after ther rude fashion". I have mirrored the image of one of the Irish standards on one of the targes and on the other I attempted a Gaelic style pattern similar to the kind of thing seen on the Kerns Jackets (I think these Jackets may have perhaps been called Ioanars, following on from my last post).


Irish Horse from John Derricke's Image of Ireland 1581. Note the "hook" style nasal guards on the front of their helmets, plumes on the back of some of the helms and the shields worn on straps. The fallen horsemen at the bottom of the image also shed useful light on how they were equipped.

An Irish Chieftan, horse, showing the trappings off beautifully, and horseboy from The Image of Ireland, John Derricke 1581.

When it comes to the horses I have to give Redoubt credit as they are the only manufacturer I know of who have made any horses in 28mm that are in the unique Irish trappings with a "cushion" being ridden on rather than a saddle. The image above by John Derricke shows how this worked very clearly. I am glad this element of the Irish cavalry can be represented on the miniatures. As a nod to the contemporary images, and also to some of the images shown in my last post, I added various different plumes to the horsemen. Ok, so some of the plumes I added maybe a little over the top compared to those seen in the images but I really think they add to the cavalry and make them look suitably aristocratic. Some of the images show relatively simple plumes, for example the mounted chieftan in the image below or the cavalry fleeing from the English shown above. Others head accoutrements are a bit more dramatic, for example the Wild Irish Rider of 1575 or the Chieftan shown being blessed by a priest and then on horseback in one of John Derricke's images.

With regard to these two images, both shown below, firstly I am unsure what type of troop the "Wild Irish Rider" is really meant to represent. He certainly doesn't seem to be an aristocratic Irishman from his dress but he is riding stirrupless in the Irish manner and certainly dressed like a native Irishman of the 1500s. Ian Heath in his "Armies of the Sixteenth Century" argues that Horseboys normally fought on foot, despite their name which was more to do with the fact that they cared for the nobles horses and led the spare mounts. Certainly by Tyrones Rebellion or the Nine Years War, as it is also known, the Irish did have lighter cavalry than the mail armoured nobles so perhaps some Irish Chiefs also fielded even lighter horse armed with bows and darts or javelins earlier in the century. Horses were certainly in plentiful supply in Ireland.

Close up of an Irish Chieftan, note the plume at the top of his helm.

A lighter armed "Wild Irish Rider" Abraham de Bruyn 1575.

An Irish Chieftan riding under the O'Neill Banner.

Secondly, have a look at the images of the Chieftan shown below and then have a look at Redoubts representation of a Gaelic Chief. Apart from the helmet I think you will agree their miniature looks very similar, wrapped in his "brat" or is it an Irish mantle? He certainly looks the part. If you have a look a the image of the Irish cavalry fleeing the English horse you will notice that their helmets have quite unusual nose guards. Surviving pieces and images show Galloglass helmets sometimes had these as well. The miniatures also have these on their helmets which is a nice touch. Quite why they also have mail hanging from the back of their helms I am unsure, as I haven't seen this in the images I have looked at but maybe I have missed something. You will notice I've chosen to represent a lot of the helms as painted or maybe cloth covered. My "excuse" for this is that if you look at some of the images of Kern and Galloglass in my last post they have coloured helmets. If these infantrymen did then surely their aristocratic betters wouldn't want to be outdone! The painted helms are also a nice throwback to the Anglo-Norman roots some of these horsemen may have had. The mail armoured Burke in one of the images above is in fact Anglo-Irish, Burke being a corruption of de Burgh, and even the great Shane O'Neill was a grandson, on his maternal side, of Garret Mor, the 8th Earl of Kildare.

Two depictions on an Irish Chieftan from Derrickes Image of Ireland 1581. Note the unsual helmet and plume.

So here are the horsemen, shown with Petes superb Irish flags: http://thegreatitalianwars.blogspot.co.uk/2013/11/16th-century-irish.html. The flag I have chosen to show with the unit is taken from a picture map of the Battle of the Erne Fords in 1593, shown below. Annoyingly I couldn't find a really large copy of this image online, but it is flying in the block of horsemen at the top of the image. Flags, or bratachs in Gaelic, weren't particularly popular with the native Irish. In fact in some images of the later 16th century they are shown simply carrying captured English ensigns! Note also in this final image that in 1593 the cavalry are still using the lance overarm. A couple of the miniatures I have painted are carrying darts or javelins rather than these long lances. As with the Kern, the dart was still a popular weapon with the Irish Nobility. Ian Heath notes a skirmish between Neill Garbh O Donnell, who went against his cousin Red Hugh O Donnell, and fought for the English in the Nine Years War. Neill fought another kinsman, Rory, who thrust a large javelin into the head of Neill's horse but was able to retrieve it as it was held on a thong.

All in all I am fairly pleased with the finished unit. I think they are colourful and flamboyant enough to represent the Gaelic Irish aristocracy. There are a few nasty areas behind the shields that were created when I removed the original wicker shields. I have tried to simply paint these areas in shadow, as can be seen in the photo of the miniatures from the rear and I don't think this detracts too much from the finished horsemen. The Redshanks will hopefully be up next and I will try and get some photos of the whole host assembled as well.

Irish Noble Cavalry armed with Swords, Darts or Javelins and Long Lances that were used overarm.

Irish Noble Cavalry. The flag, or bratach in Gaelic, is from a depiction of Hugh Maguires cavalry at the Battle of the Erne Fords 1593, see the image below.

Battle of the Erne Fords 1593, the Irish Cavalry can be seen in the top of the image holding their lances overarm.

The Irish Horse from behind.


Monday, 1 January 2018

"Of kerns and gallowglasses is supplied"



Something different to start 2018 off with, some Gaelic Irish. We have Kern and Galloglass, warriors who made it into Shakespeare's Macbeth they were so notorious by the very end of the 16th Century. A few Horseboys accompany them as well. Late Medieval/Early Renaissance Irish armies have been an interest of mine for a long time and when I was selling my old Elizabethan Irish army on Ebay I decided to start another one! Often the way with wargaming. The Claymore Castings figures helped sway my decision as despite the fact they are made for the 14th Century many of the Irish and Highland sculpts are perfect for the 1500s, even more so with a little bit of converting. Another reason I thought I would give this army another go is that the cattle raids and ambushes of Irish Warfare in this period are perfect for Lion Rampant games, this will be a great army to skirmish with my 1513 and 1540s Tudors. The Kern can also be used as mercenaries for my 1540s English (see the last photo). The fact that many of the figures can be used for quite a wide time span is another bonus.

Tudor Ireland is a theatre that does suffer a little from not having an entire really well sculpted range to support it. Lots of manufacturers make a few figures but some are quite old sculpts or the miniatures are very large which is a shame. With a bit of work and careful selection of figures most of the Irish troop types can be represented. I think only the very end of the 16th Century, Tyrone's Rebellion, also known as the Nine Years War would still be quite tricky to do well in 28mm at the moment. The traditional Gaelic troop types were rapidly replaced with Caliver and Pikemen and there aren't really any great figures for these troops yet. For most of the 16th Century, when Kern, Galloglass and Redshanks were used, there are figures available. 

Irish Gallowglass, Galloglaich, Galloglass or Galloglas!

The Galloglass

Gallowglass, Galloglass or Galloglas, this is one of those words you find a few different spellings for, comes from the Gaelic "Galloglaich". It is normally translated as meaning "foreign warrior" as to denote that they were not originally native Irish. Sean Duffy, in "The World of the Galloglass", states that the word is in fact short hand for "warrior from Innse Gall" meaning the Hebrides. Whatever the exact etymology is, these were heavy infantry who came from the Hebrides and West Coast of Scotland to Ireland in the latter part of the 13th Century. They settled in Ireland and became part of the social strata. By the 16th Century many were in fact native Irishmen and some may have even been Anglo Irish with only the Captains being from the main Galloglass families such as the MacDonnells or the MacSweenys.

The unit of organisation of the Galloglass was the Spar, a term deriving from the name of the traditional Galloglass two handed axe, the sparth. A spar was a Galloglass and his two servants (they will be dealt with below). The Spars were organised into companies, also known as battles. The sources seem to differ on how many Spars were in a company. Ian Heath, in "Armies of the Sixteenth Century" provides examples of them being stated at 60 to 100 Spars in a company, but argues that by 1575 a company was set at 100 men with 13 being "dead pays", that is men who weren't actually present so instead the captain would collect their pay as a kind of "bonus". This was a practice common in lots of later 16th Century armies.

So what did the Galloglass look like? If you read my ramblings regularly you will know that I like to try and get my miniatures looking as close to contemporary images or descriptions as possible. For the Galloglass I had already decided to use the excellent figures by Claymore Castings, but of course I could not resist a few tweaks as a nod to some of the original artwork and sources. Let's start with weaponry. Galloglass were of course famed for their two handed axes, know as Sparths. They are known to have had a very distinctive shape. John Dymmok in his "A Treatise of Ireland", written c.1600, stated "the weapon they most vse is a batle axe, or halberd, six foote longe, the blade whereof is somewhat like a shomakers knyfe, and without pyke ; the stroake whereof is deadly where yt lighteth". I take this to mean it would look something like the axes carried by the MacSweeny Galloglass in the third image below. Annoyingly I used to have lots of these style axes in 28mm from the Vendel Irish range but I sold them before I decided to start this army again. They aren't always depicted carrying this style of axe however, see the second image below, so I was happy to use some other variations of the two handed axes.

Interestingly in the famous Dürer image of the Irish soldiers, the Galloglass themselves don't carry axes at all, although their following attendants may of course be carrying their axes for them. These look more akin to Lochaber axes than those described above. It is hard to know if these chaps were drawn from life. It would be fascinating to know if there really were Galloglass and Kern fighting in the Low Countries during this period, perhaps in the Guelders Wars, and that Dürer encountered them. The soldiers drawn match other descriptions so well that it is tempting to think he did see them.  However if you have a look at Dürers Rhinoceros sketch which was drawn from a description and realise he had never seen a Rhino you start to think that maybe he was going by a second hand account rather than a first hand encounter. It's hard to tell!

What Dürers image does show is two huge Claymores, one carried by a Galloglass himself and one by an attendant. I could not resist rearming some of the Claymore figures with two handed swords as they look really impressive and are, rightly or wrongly, also seen as a classic Galloglass weapon. As a further point to this, there are a lot of modern Galloglass images, and miniatures, where a two handed sword is being worn in a back scabbard. Aside from this seeming very impractical and the fact that the Galloglass had servants to carry their weapons, I have been unable to find a single contemporary image or description of these back scabbards. All the images I have found show these large swords being carried, normally under the arm, as the attendant is doing in the image below. I will return to this point when I work on some "Redshanks" for this army. If anyone does know of any contemporary evidence for the back scabbards let me know, I would quite like to be proven wrong on this one as some really nice miniatures have back scabbards sculpted on and removing them is a real pain!

Another weapon carried by a Galloglass in the Dürer image is the spear. I have included a few of these among my figures. Interestingly in some of the 16th century poems to the MacSweeny Galloglass their spears are described as being used to make temporary shelters when they camp, something the Landsknechts did with their pikes and halberds in camp and shown in European pictures of sieges. In her essay "Images of the Galloglass in poems to the MacSweeneys" Katherine Simms translates one of these verses as "No surprise when Domhnall takes his rest after plunder sitting on the mountainside. Every man withdraws his spear from what constituted the sleeping-quarters last night". Simms also notes that the Galloglass Constables, may have in fact been mounted. In 1397 a Catalan Pilgrim stated he had met the Great O'Neill's Constable of Galloglass, Owen MacDonnell, at the head of a troop of one hundred horsemen. As a Constable was a prestigious position and horses were in plentiful supply in Ireland, the Irish Nobles normally took two or three to war, it would be of little surprise if some of the Galloglass did indeed travel on horseback and dismounted to fight.

Dürer's image of Irish Soldiers, 1521. There are some great details in this image: the unusual Galloglass helmets, the two handed swords, the horn carried by one of the attendants, the "jacket" and "brat" being worn by the attendants.

A "Royal" Galloglass from  Elizabeth I's Charter to Dublin c.1581. His helmet seems to be painted or cloth covered and to have an odd plume.

MacSweeny Galloglass from a Map of Ireland 1567. Note the crest or plume that the centre Galloglass has on his helmet.

Late 15th Century Galloglass from the Tomb of Felim O'Connor in Roscommon Friary.

Tomb Effigy of a Burke Warrior in Glinsk, Galway, second half of the 15th Century.

16th Century Tomb Effigy of a MacSweeny of Banagh. The image is not very clear but you can make out an odd crest on the helmet of the Galloglass on the left.

Other interesting little details I have noticed when looking at contemporary images of the Galloglass are the strange crests or plumes they sometimes have. In the images above the "Royal Galloglass" in Elizabeth I's charter, one of the MacSweenys in the 1567 map and the MacSweeny on the 16th tomb effigy all have variations of some kind of crest or plume. I couldn't resist adding a few of these to my Galloglass, see the two bases of them below. They are quite unique and really simple conversions to do that help to make the miniatures look the part.

In terms of armour at the very end of the 16th Century Dymmok described the Galloglass as "armed with a shert of mailc, a skull, and a skeine" with Edmund Spenser in 1596 stating they wore "a long shirte of mayle downe to the calfe of his legge". From looking at tomb effigies and based on these descriptions above it seems these specific Claymore Castings figures can be used to represent Galloglass from the 14th Century right up to the end of the 16th Century at a pinch. The only caveat I would add is that the two handed swords are probably more of a late 15th century onward weapon. While it would be nice to have some in Burgonets or Morions for the Elizabethan Wars I can always convert and add some of these later. If you look at the tomb effigies from Roscommon and Glinsk shown above you can see these figures match them really well. I like the fact not all of them are in mail, one of Dürer's Galloglass is depicted only wearing a long "cotun", and there are plenty of contemporary tomb effigies where Hebridean Warriors are depicted in cotuns and mantles of mail only.

Galloglass by Claymore Castings. I have added a crest to one of the helmets and a few moustaches to some of them with greenstuff. One carries a spear as in the Dürer image.

More Galloglass by Claymore Castings. The chap pointing with the axe is a converted Highlander and I have replaced one of the axes with a two handed "claymore", again as in the Dürer image.

The Galloglass charging into battle!

The Galloglass from behind - note there are no two handed swords in back scabbards!

Irish Kern or Kerne

The Kern

The term Kern or Kerne comes from the Gaelic "Ceithearn". The Scots Highlanders "Cateran" comes from the same source. These were the native Irish infantry, it seems some of the "Household Kern" or "Ceithearn Tighe" were full time soldiers or perhaps more accurately bodyguards or "police" who fought under hereditary captains. As with the Galloglass I wanted my representation of these soldiers to look as much like contemporary images as possible. For the 16th Century there are some really characterful images of these Irishmen as can be seen below. They wear the léine, a saffron coloured shirt made of linen with voluminous sleeves, and characteristic sleeved "jackets". I don't know when the "jackets" first appear, interestingly the Irish in Dürer's image don't wear them although one is in something similar. Is this perhaps evidence this wasn't an image drawn from a first hand meeting or did the jackets worn in the later 16th Century evolve from this more basic style? To me they look like a specifically later 16th Century fashion, the depictions of them seem to come from the 1540s onward, but I may be wrong. Perhaps they were worn earlier.

In the first three images below the Kern are shown armed with swords, javelins or "darts" as they were known, and skeans, a narrow Irish dagger. Interestingly in all of the images below one of the Kern has at least a gauntlet for his left arm, in the 1547 image one has his entire left arm covered. As this armour is always on the left it makes me wonder if these were worn as some kind of parrying armour for sword fighting, instead of a shield or buckler? Sadly no manufacturer has made any Kern with these gauntlets yet which is a shame as I would have like to included some in this army. Perhaps a conversion for the future?

What is odd about the images below is that none of the Kern are shown carrying shields yet in contemporary accounts they are often described as doing so. Kern saw service for Henry V at the siege of Rouen, 1418-1419, where they were used in considerable numbers to protect supply lines through forest and woodland. Monstrelet described them as such "This King of England had with him in his company a vast number of Irish, of who far the greatest part went on foot. One of their feet was covered, the other was naked, without having clouts, and poorly clad. Each had a target and little javelins, with large knives of a strange fashion". It seems nearly two hundred years later their armaments had changed little save for the adoption of firearms. John Dymmok in  "A Treatise of Ireland" c.1600, described them as such "The kerne is a kinde of footeman, sleigh tly armed with a sworde, a targett of woode, or a bow and sheafe of arrows with barbed heades, or els 3 dartes, which they cast with a wonderfull facillity and nearnes, a weapon more noysom to the enemy, especially horsemen, then yt is deadly ; within theise few yeares they have practized the muskett and callyver, and are growne good and ready shott".

Miniature sculpts often depict Kern carrying "wicker" shields. I presume this is based on their description by Edmund Spenser in "A View of the present State of Ireland", 1596, where it is stated "Moreover, their longe broad sheeldes, made but with wicker roddes, which are comonly used amongst the said Northeren Irishe, but specially of the Scottes". As Spenser states that only the Northern Irish used the Wicker shields I decided not to use them for this army (which is proving to be a real pain with the Cavalry I am currently working on as they all have wicker shields cast on them!) and to go for the wooden "targets" described by both Monstrelet and Dymmok. It does seem odd that the Kern never carry them in contemporary images though.

Lucas d'Heeres Irish, c1575. Note the gauntlet hanging on a cord.

Irish from the Códice De Trajes c.1547. Note the arm armour worn by the Kern with the Javelin or "Dart".

Irish Kern from Henry VIIIs reign. Again the arm armour can be seen worn by one of the central figures. Claymore Castings have done a nice sculpt of his leather helm on one of their figures.

Irish Kern Skirmishing.

Kern with a mixture of Javelins or "Darts" and bows.
I have converted the Kern in the red jacket by adding a léine with its characteristic long sleeves from green stuff.

For the two units of skirmishing Kern shown above I have used predominantly Claymore Castings figures, with a few tweaks of course. There are also a couple of Crusader Miniatures casts in the mix for added variety. I have used different shields for them and have made sure all of their léines have the characteristic baggy sleeves. Some of the figures come with them sculpted on but for those that don't its relatively simple to add them on with green stuff. A few extra moustaches and beards have also been added as well.

In Gaelic Irish society their large cattle herds or "creaghts" were of great importance to the Clans or Septs as they were known at the time. A few years ago I painted up some bases of cattle which fit in really well with these figures, remember that the cattle back in the 16th Century were much smaller than modern breeds. I wanted some Kern to accompany the "creaght" who weren't in quite as dynamic poses as most of the Claymore figures. The resulting unit is shown below and is made up of  Claymore and Crusader figures with the Piper being from Scheltrum Miniatures I think? Apart from the Claymore figures they have all had their weapons swapped and the Piper has had his baggy sleeves added with green stuff.

The unit was inspired by the two contemporary images below, one showing Kern in Henry VIII's employ during the Siege of Boulogne in 1544 and a later representation from John Derrickes "Image of Ireland" in 1581 showing Kern raiding cattle and horses. I wanted to create a small band of Kern that looked like those in these images being led by a Piper. I like the more relaxed poses of these miniatures and they work well carrying javelins and axes as in the Derricke image. At some point I would like to do some more Kern with swords and also arquebuses.

A band of Kern including a Piper guard the cattle. This unit was inspired by the two images below.

Detail from the Cowdray House Murals which depicted Henry VIII's siege of Boulogne in 1544. In the centre Irish Kern can be seen driving the cattle into the camp. They are armed with Javelins and lead by a Piper. Some appear to be wearing Morions. Henry used Kern in significant numbers in France and in Scotland during the 1540s.

Irish Soldiery from John Derrickes "Image of Ireland", 1581. Note the Piper and the Javelins and Axes they are armed with.

A lone Kern drives the cattle or "creaght" onwards. 

The Horseboys or "Daloynes"

The Horseboys or "Daloynes"

An interesting thing about the Gaelic armies of this period is that all of the different classes of soldier, the Cavalry, Galloglass and Kern, had attendants. The Cavalry had two or three Horseboys to look after their horses, each Galloglass two servants and for every two Kern it seems a page or boy was also present to carry their weapons, mantles and victuals. That the Kern had boys to accompany them is born out by the issues this caused the English Government who were hiring them in May 1544. During the 1540s the English engaged in warfare on an unusually large scale, helped greatly by the finances from the dissolution of the monasteries. Henry VIII was fighting on fronts in Scotland and in France and was in need of manpower. In May 1544 1,154 Kern were hired and rather than one boy for every two Kern it was requested that one for every four was hired instead. So of the 1,154 soldiers hired, 234 were in fact the accompanying boys, only 920 of them being actual Kern soldiery.

That being said it seems that the attendants did take part in combat sometimes. Returning again to Dymmok, he stated "Some will have the Dalonyes or horsboyes to be a fourthe sorte, for that they take them into the fight: they are the very skumme, and outcaste of the cuntrye, and not lesse serviceable in the campe for meatinge and dressinge of horses, then hurtfull to the enemy with their dartes". The word "Daloyne" is a corruption of the Gaelic "Diolmhainigh", meaning hireling. I am unsure whether the Horseboys ever fought mounted, it seem logical that they may have done if they were attending to the nobilitys other horses.

I wanted to represent these Daloynes in some way in this army and decided to use the Old Glory Kern miniatures for them. They work well to represent boys as they are quite slight figures and most of them don't have beards. I have even removed a few beards from some of the miniatures. It seems that some of the Galloglass and Kern attendants were in fact young men and not always boys but I wanted the unit to be distinctive so tried to make them all look as much like the young lad illustrated below in Derricke's "Image of Ireland" as possible! They are only armed with javelins, there are no shields or other weapons. Weren't they meant to be carrying everyone else's stuff anyway? I still have another unit of these to paint up, they are really easy to do and the handy thing is they can also be used as Kern if need be.

A Horseboy from John Derrickes "Image of Ireland", 1581.

Horseboys, these are Old Glory Kern without the shields. I also removed any beards to make them look younger!

So below is the Gaelic raiding party so far along with a picture of the Kern accompanying my Mid-16th Century English. I am currently working on the Irish Noble cavalry and will hopefully be able to post pictures of them up soon. As mentioned above I have another unit of Horseboys to complete as well as some Redshanks in the pipeline. I would like to add more to this army but as I said at the start Tudor Ireland is an area that I don't think has yet been done real justice by any manufacturers in 28mm. Here's hoping this will happen one day! The beauty of this army is that while the converting and green stuff may take some time the miniatures are really quick to paint, especially when you consider how much time I have spent painting Landsknechts!

Happy New Year.

The Irish raiding party so far.

And finally an image of the Kern accompanying my 1540s English. Henry VIII employed Irish Kern as mercenaries in Scotland and France during the 1540s and when the English Deputies campaigned in Ireland they regularly used Kern in their forces.



Monday, 4 December 2017

The Green Fields of France


This weekend I visited Stuart of Army Royal, http://stuartsworkbench.blogspot.co.uk/,  to fight out some more daring actions in Northern France 1513 using our adapted, and ever evolving, Lion Rampant rules. We played three games but were plagued with incredibly bright sunshine for some of the time, I know that is an unusual thing for someone British to say, and then rapidly falling darkness in the afternoons! This limited which games we could photograph. As a result I have chosen two of the games to report on. In the third game we played the "Meeting the Neighbours" scenario from the Lion Rampant rule book and my force, I was playing the French, was completely annihilated to the loss of one unit by Stuart. Such a shame it was already too dark to properly photograph that game.

As with previous reports the photos are all of the actual games and are not staged. Ok so we have added Stuart's superb new backdrop to some of them but none of the figures have been posed or moved. Apologies for any bad lighting, it was tricky to get decent photos a lot of the time. I did not record the games action by action so will summarise what happened in each one, with an obvious bias towards the side I played no doubt. The best way to follow the action is by reading the captions underneath the photos, the images often tell a better tale than I can.

Encounter at Tournehem

The first Scenario we played was loosely based upon an abortive raid on the English column as it marched to Therouanne. The English crossed the river Hem and were met by an advance French force who attempted to draw the English into combat. Skirmishing took place for six hours which was stopped by the arrival of a detachment of English cavalry.

Opposing accounts of the engagement claimed that it was an ambush laid by the other side. The English simply had to break through to reach their billets in Tournehem. The French were ordered by Louis XII to keep the field which was a somewhat vague command, de Piennes interpreted it as to maintain a force in the area to harass the English whereas Bayard favoured a more specific and direct approach of stopping the English. For the game we therefore decided either side could win via aggression, discretion or both.

The forces were as follows (we played with large retinues in this game!)

The French

From a French Ordonnance Company:

2 units of Gendarmes
2 units of Men-at-Arms
2 units of Ordonnance Archers with Bows

Supporting troops:

1 unit of Aventuriers
1 unit of Francs Archer with bows
1 unit of Stradiots
1 unit of Mounted Arquebusiers

The English Column

1 unit of Foot Knights
2 units of Shire Bowmen
1 unit Shire Bill
1 Organ Gun

Accompanying "Almains"

1 unit of Landsknecht Shot
1 unit of Landsknecht Halberdiers

The English Cavalry Relief Force

2 units of Demi-lancers
1 unit of Border Horse

The French started up to 6 inches along the Southern Edge of the table but were allowed to place up to 8 points of troops 8 inches their side of the river as an advance guard. Additionally they could place 4 points of troops in the woods, these were just across the river on one flank.

The English army entered the table on the Northern Edge via normal activation and could move up to full move distance upon the first activation.
We decided the river was relatively shallow and was treated as rough going. It also afforded cover to units in it. It had a ford which due to low lying fog could not be discovered until it was approached. Upon any unit reaching the river the ford was determined as being in the West on a 1-2, Centre on 3-4 and East on 5-6. The ford was passable without detriment to movement

On the third turn after the English had entered the field the English relief entered from the Central Western edge on a 5+ and then a 3+ if it had not yet arrived on the second turn and then automatically on the third turn if it had still not arrived.

The English would gain 1 victory point for each unit that left the table along the Southern edge and for each enemy unit they destroyed or routed. Similarly the French would gain 1 victory point for each enemy unit destroyed or routed and for each friendly unit that remained on the field.

The French forces advance towards the river, attempting to get into position before the English can.

The English take the field and quickly see off a small group of dismounted arquebusiers

The fighting develops as the English use Landsknecht shot and Bowmen to drive the French back.

This was a great game which really gave the feeling of an escalating engagement. Stuart took the English and I played the French. Initially the English continually failed to activate and bring anyone onto the field which meant the French advanced a long way up towards the river. When the English did finally arrive the French Mounted Arquebusiers, who had been placed as an advance force in the woods, were quickly seen off with volleys of arrows from the English Bowmen.  On both of the French flanks the Ordonnance archers dismounted and took cover in the shallow water from where they sent a steady stream of arrows at the English. It did not take long for the English to realise the advantage of cover that they river gave and they had soon set up a defensive position along it.

On the French left flank the English Relief arrived. The Border Horse flushed the Ordonnance archers on the left from the riverbed only to themselves be routed by the Francs Archers. The relieving Demi-Lancers entered the river cleverly luring the French Gendarmes into a charge where their heavier armour and barding put them at a disadvantage against the lighter equipped Demi-Lancers. The river really was proving to be a key factor in this engagement.


The English make it to the river and use the banks as cover in their "shoot out" with the French.

The Dismounted French Ordonnance archers have been doing a good job of holding back the English, using the river as cover. Unfortunately the arrival of the English Border horse, spearheading the English relief, puts an end to this.

The English relief force has arrived and helps to spur on the English infantry.

The two forces get uncomfortably near each other, with only a shallow river between them.
English Demilancers enter the river...

...and succeed in luring in the French Gendarmes who attack them at a considerable disadvantage in the slippery and rocky terrain.

An overview of the developing engagement.


The Dismounted French Ordonnance archers in the foreground are making a nuisance of themselves but otherwise the French are steadily giving ground.

With one unit of their Gendarmes and one unit of mounted archers lost and the other mounted archers struggling to hold their position the French gave ground. They still had some very effective cavalry units left but had realised that engaging the English on the river banks only put them at a disadvantage. The feint had the desired effect and as the English crossed the river in a more disorganised fashion the French counter attacked. Intitially the French counter attack had some success. A unit of Billmen was routed and a unit of archers nearly caught in the open. The archers did make it back to the river bank from where they could more effectively defend against the French horse.

The game ended as an English victory with the French keeping some of their cavalry on the field but having lost more units than the English. The English were also able to get some units off the field which earned them further victory points. The river had played a key part by allowing units to take cover in the initial "fire fights" that had taken place. The difficult terrain also meant that the English could fight the French Heavy Cavalry on equal terms if they were rash enough to engage them in the water.

The Francs Archers have been seen off so the French horse retreat, knowing that attacking the English while they hold the shallow river will be disastrous.

But the retreat turns out to be a feint and the French cavalry attack isolated English units as they cross the water.

The over enthusiastic English archers, flushed with victory, have advanced too far and are caught in the open by the vengeful French horse.

The archers are driven back to the relative safety of the water where they can fight the French horse more effectively in the rough terrain.

No Wheels on my Wagon

The second game was again set in Northern France during the summer of 1513. In this fictional scenario, based on the day to day type of attacks that took place in this campaign, an English convoy, supplying the siege at Therouanne, had been shadowed by a larger French force so had formed up in a defensive position. The English had unlimbered their guns along a river bank and sent for aid. The English had to try and escape before being crushed by the French force. The French had to try and destroy the English wagons and guns before aid arrived. The English would try and get the wagons off the table and the organ guns if possible as well. The English could leave by the East or West deployment zones, but all their forces had to leave by the same edge once one unit had left from that edge.

The English defenders deployed in the centre of the table by the river.

English Wagon Column

2 Organ Guns
1  unit of Shire Billmen
1 unit of Shire Longbowmen

Accompanying "Almains"

1 unit of Landsknecht Shot
1 unit of  Landsknecht Halberdiers

Plus 2 Wagons. These could be be "picked up" by a unit, it just had to move it into contact with the wagon and declare it was moving it. The wagons then moved as per "The Convoy" Scenario rules in the Lion Rampant rule book. If the wagons were contacted by an enemy before being "picked up" they were considered destroyed.

French Shadowing Retinues

The French forces deployed in the North West and North East zone. They were divided into two separate retinues, each with their own leader.

2 Units of Gendarmes
2 Units of Men-at-Arms
1  Unit of Ordonnance Archers with Bows

1 Unit of Stradiots

2 units of Franc Archers
1 unit of Aventuriers
1 Culverin

English Relief Force

2 Units of Demi-Lancers
1 Unit of Border Horse

Burgundian Auxilliaries

1 Unit of Burgundian Men-at-Arms
1 Unit of Mounted Crossbowmen

The English relief would arrive during the first turn on an 11-12 on 2 dice, then 10+ and so on. We decided exactly where they arrived would not be known from the start and we would dice for the East or West deployment zone when they arrived. A unit would need to role for a move activation to enter and could not attack on the turn it entered the table.

The Relief Force was a separate Retinue with it's own leader.


The English Guns and Wagons form a defensive position while they await aid. The shadowing French force can be seen in the distance.

Outnumbered by the French the English close ranks and, having sent for help, await the arrival of their cavalry.

The French forces enter the field hoping to crush the English before help arrives.

We swapped sides for this game with Stuart now taking the French and myself the English. The English Wagon convoy moved their German Arquebusiers, Archers and Organ Guns into the shallow river for cover while the Billmen attempted to take one of the wagons on and off up the hill to safety. Initially this looked like it might be working as the Stradiots in French service who rode around the top of the hill in a pincer movement were seen off by the English employed Landsknechts. The English success was short lived as the Francs Archers close behind the Stradiots managed to rout the Landsknechts before they could come to grips with them and then sent the Billmen leading the wagon up the hill running in panic. The wagon was abandoned and smashed as it slid back down the slopes.

Meanwhile at the other end of the field the English relief force had arrived. The Border Horse, Burgundian Mounted Crossbowmen and one troop of Demi-Lancers made for the beleaguered Wagon Laager while the Burgundian Men-at-Arms and the other troop of Demi-Lancers surprised the French and attacked them from their flank. This lead to a brief but fierce cavalry melee. Again success seemed to be within reach of the English to start with as the French Men-at-Arms were broken by the initial assault and retreated having been "battered" by the Burgundians. The Burgundians charged a second time, seeing an attack on an already broken enemy as an easy way to earn some English coins and possibly get some noble prisoners to ransom. Unfortunately for them they neglected the more heavily armoured and barded Gendarmes who charged the over enthusiastic Burgundians and sent them fleeing along with the Demi-Lancers who had followed them onto the field.


Stradiots in French service attempt to encircle the English wagons.

As the French close in some of the English try and make a dash for safety. Some try to press on up the hill while the bow, shot and ordnance hold the river banks attempting to keep the majority of the French at bay.

The dynamic of the fight changes with the arrival of the English relief. Demi-Lancers and Border horse can be seen in the top left riding on to aid the convoy while in the top right Burgundian Men-at-Arms and more Demi-Lancers attack the French from behind.

The Landsknecht shot in English service have crept up the river banks in an attempt to fire on the dismounted French Ordonnance Archers.

The Burgundian Men-at-Arms are more than happy to break spears with the already disordered French Men-at-Arms.

With Landsknechts leading the break out, some of the convoy with one of the wagons attempt to escape the field...

...bringing injured men with them, they attempt to climb the hill and escape.

At the other end of the field the Burgundian Men-at-Arms have not managed to rout the French Men-at-Arms. In a furious cavalry engagement they are counter charged by the fresh Gendarmes who soon send them, and the Demi-Lancers with them, from the field.

It looks as though one of the English Wagons may be saved, but no, the Francs Archers loose a volley of arrows into the already panic stricken men, who flee abandoning the wagon which is destroyed as it crashes back down the hill in the chaos.

The French cavalry have secured the top of the hill and now proceed to ride towards the remaining English, tightening the noose!

The French breech-loader on top of the hill has had little part to play in the fight, save a few shots at the English attempting to defend the river.

In the centre of the field the English defenders who had deployed in the river bed found themselves out ranged by the French who used Franc Archers, Aventuriers and the Ordonnance Bowmen against them. The Border horse did manage to get the remaining wagon and slowly (and I mean really slowly, I rolled four sets of double ones trying to activate these bastards!) bring it across the river in an attempt to get it to safety. The remaining unit of Demi-Lancers and the Mounted Crossbowmen screened the Borderers and the wagon as they attempted to remove it from the field. This led to the Mounted Crossbowmen being routed by the Francs Archers and the Demi-Lancers being bested in a nasty clash of lances in the shallow river as they were charged by the French Gendarmes.

 The Borderers did get the wagon off the field but at a terrible cost to the rest of the English force. The Wagon Convoys infantry had been annihilated, one wagon and both the organ guns lost. The relief force hadn't done much better with only the Border Horse getting off the field in good order. Had the Border Horse managed to move at anything greater than a snails pace with the wagon then the Mounted Crossbowmen and Demi-Lancers would have made it to safety with them! In contrast despite some losses both of the French retinues were still in a respectable state although the retinue that had suffered the mounted flank attack had had a bit of a mauling.

A hell of a fight this one, at one point there were charges and counter charges happening all over the table. I think we particularly enjoyed the rule that Burgundian Men-at-Arms will only "Wild Charge" battered units. This is to reflect the fact that in the 1513 campaign they were suspected of only entering the fray when victory was already guaranteed! Amusingly they did have to Wild Charge the battered French Men-at-Arms which meant they were then charged by the Gendarmes with disastrous results.

A great weekends gaming - such a shame that the photos of that third game in which I was completely driven from the field didn't come out well!

The English Border horse have succeeded in getting the remaining wagon moving. As the hill is occupied by the French they attempt to take it across the river to safety.

As the wagon, glimpsed in the bottom left, moves tortuously slowly, the Burgundian Mounted Crossbowmen and English Demi-Lancers attempt to shield it from French attacks.

The French are gaining on the wagon.

The Mounted Crossbowmen are driven off by the Francs Archers and the Gendarmes rashly charge into the water to engage the English. Despite the terrain they scatter the Demi-Lancers but one of the wagons has managed to get to safety.

The "Generals"!