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The Liao Dynasty, 907-1125, also known as the Khitan Empire ruled over the regions of Manchuria, Mongolia, and parts of northern China proper. It was founded by the Yelü clan of the Khitan people in the same year as Tang Dynasty collapsed (907), even though its first ruler, Yelü Abaoji did not declare an era name until 916. Although it was originally known as the Empire of the Khitan, the Emperor Yelü Ruan officially adopted the name "Liao" (formally "Great Liao") in 947 . The name "Liao" was dropped in 983, but readopted in 1066.

The Khitan lived on the eastern slopes of the Greater Khingan Mountain range, within the eastern portions of present-day Inner Mongolia. The area is ideal for the raising of cattle and horses, which was the basic source of wealth for the Khitan people. Chinese records refer to eight tribes of Khitan, the most powerful being the Yila Tribe into which the founder of the empire, Abaoji was born in 872. Abaoji was elected to be the chieftain of the Yila Tribe in 901. Two years later, he was named “yuyue”, the commander of all Khitan military forces. The Yila Tribe had close relations with the Later Horse Nomad Shatuo Turks.

From the rise of Abaoji to the fall of the Liao Dynasty in 1125, a total of six dynasties ruled northern China and clashed with the Liao. These are covered by lists such as the Late Tang to Five Dynasties Chinese, Jin, Song Chinese and Koryo Koreans. The chief area of conflict continued to be the Sixteen Prefectures region ceded to the Liao by the Late Tang to Five Dynasties Chinese Tang and Jin in return for assistance against a rebellion in Shanxi province - successive Chinese Emperoors sought to recapture it without success. In 946, the Khitan Liao Dynasty even invaded China, in a failed attempt to conquer all of China.

By the mid 11th century, the Khitan had lost their morale and started adopting a defensive attitude towards their neighbors. This was in part due to the influence of Buddhism and loss of the nomadic way of life among many of the Khitan. Around the 12th century, the empire's slow decline sped up as a result of succession problems, natural disasters, and the positive progress of the Jurchen in the northeast. More pressure was put on the Khitan when the Jurchens & Song made an alliance against them and in 1124-1125, the Khitan Empire collapsed.

Using the army in FoG

You may want to review the Troop Types in FoG shooty cavalry page of the FoG tactical guide methinks...

  • The army is rare in having a reasonable amount of close formation foot - as well as the usual mixed rubbish endemic to this book. Might be an interesting surprise for an opponent, however the all mounted option is probably better
  • Like other shooty cavalry armies, your battle plan is usually to stake out as much ground as possible to block enemy Second Moves, at least in some sectors, and leave ample manoeuvre room behind your lines. Getting first move is very helpful so losing the PBI roll is preferred by some players, although your tough Cv may be willing to face the enemy in close combat, so its therefore less critical to keep lots of manoeuvre room to the rear.
  • Sometimes you are lucky and the enemy deploys with a hanging flank you can readily outwing and envelop, or a good flank march opportunity presents itself, but often the terrain and enemy dispositions limit you to a frontal approach of disrupting, loosening and disjointing the enemy line of battle with shooting, threats, and uncontrolled enemy charges in order to expose gaps, flanks and other weak spots you then exploit with concentrated shooting or timely charges
  • Destroy or flee enemy Skirmishers, draw their mounted and aggressive foot away from their other troops by skirmishing - he will have to charge shooters to reduce their effect - pick off isolated detachments, and provoke charges where possible. Work around his flank and hunt his BG count filler such as Mobs and LF.
  • Ultimately your cavalry will need to be the ones to win the battle for you by running down your opponents - remember this and don't expect your LH to do all the work in eroding enemy morale and competence to breaking point.
  • One common mistake with all Shooty cavalry is to take advantage of the possibility evade too often - superior armoured cavalry swordsmen are still very potent combat troops against most enemies, and it is often better to advance in 2 ranks (inflicting more shooting as a result) and take on any enemies in hand to hand combat.
  • The time to commit is once an enemy has gone disrupted, or if they have lost bases - waiting and skirmishing in the hope they go fragmented may well be gilding the lilly.
  • Protected and even unprotected drilled cavalry are not too bad when combined with other LH on a flank - they will outmatch standard LH who might otherwise risk standing up to your expensive Superior LH - and may catch them when they evade. They are just as good as armoured cavalry against Heavily Armoured knights as well.

Tournament Results with this army

Have a look for them on the Official FoG Database on the FoG site

User-contributed links about this army:


Put information on allied contingents here - including recommendations on which to use, and why.

Painting and Collecting the Army

  • The Khitans were resolutely non sedentary Chinese, so would probably have retained Mongol dress in furs and stuff, nothing to flash

15mm Manufacturers supplying figures for this army

You are probably picking a combination of Later Tang Chinese, Later Horse Nomads and other later Chinese ranges for this army You can see some of the figures in the Ancients Photo Gallery also on this site

Image Image Image Image

Army Lists

Sample army lists for this army
Name of Army / Date

  • Using asterisks inthe edit mode creates a bulleted list in the actual site
  • This is a lot easier to do than easier than setting up tables
  • For FoG I suggest listing your army in order or march
  • with troop desctiptions on each line, for example
  • 4 HF Armoured Average Drilled Impact Foot Swordsmen
  • 8 LG Undrilled Unarmoured Poor Bowen
  • Dont forget to include your Generals !!!

Include any notes you want here, including comments on how to use - or play against - the army.

Remember to leave a line before you copy the above section as a template for your own list

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Created by admin. Last Modification: Tuesday 12 of November, 2019 18:58:45 GMT by admin. (Version 6)
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