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Historical Overview Section

923-1071 AD
The Normans were the descendants of Viking conquerors of northern France, intermingling with the native population of mostly Franks and Gallo-Romans. Their discrete Norman identity emerged initially in the first half of the tenth century, the name "Normans" deriving from from "Northmen" or "Norsemen", after the Vikings from Scandinavia who founded Normandy (Northmannia in its original Latin). Normandy itself came into being after various Danish, Hiberno-Norse, Orkney Viking and Anglo Danish (from the Danelaw) invasions of France in the 8th century leading to the treaty of Saint-Clair-sur-Epte in 911 when Early Medieval French King Charles granted to Rollo, leader of the Vikings known as Northmen (or in Latin Normanni), a territory in which to stay. Charles hoped that by doing so he would end the Viking attacks that were plaguing France at the time. In exchange, they were expected to provide protection along the coast against future Viking invaders.

When in 1002 the Middle Anglo Saxon King of England Aethelred II married Emma, the daughter of the Duke of Normandy the seeds for the Norman invasion were sown. Despite having the country stolen by the Vikings, their son Edward the Confessor who had spent many years in exile in Normandy still ended up succeeding Harold to what was by then the Anglo Danish English throne in 1042. Edward drew heavily on Norman support, bringing in Norman courtiers, soldiers and clerics. When Edward died at the beginning of 1066, the lack of a clear heir led to a disputed succession in which several contenders laid claim to the throne of England.

Edward's immediate successor was the Earl of Wessex, Harold Godwinson, the richest and most powerful of the English aristocracy who was elected king and crowned by Archbishop Aldred. However Duke William of Normandy claimed that he had been promised the throne by King Edward and that Harold had sworn agreement to this. Viking Harald III of Norway, commonly known as Harald Hardraada, also claimed the throne based on a supposed agreement between his predecessor Magnus I of Norway and the earlier Danish King of England Harthacanute, whereby if either died without heir, the other would inherit both England and Norway. With this context, it all kicked off big time shieldwall-stylie all over England.

After a lot of running about, the Anglo Danish Harald beat off the Vikings, but then lost the resulting midweek fixture against the Normans at Hastings in 1066 - and with it his kingdom.

The Norman army at Hastings was estimated to be around 8,400 strong and consisted of, at the most, 2,200 cavalry, 4,500 infantry and 1,700 missile troops (archers and crossbowmen). William's strategy relied on archers to soften the enemy, followed by a general advance of the infantry and then a cavalry charge. The Norman army was made up of nobles, mercenaries, and troops from France to as far as southern Italy. The army's power derived from its cavalry which were reckoned amongst the best in Europe. They were heavily armoured, and usually had a lance and a sword. As with all cavalry, they were generally at their most effective against troops whose formation had begun to break up. Apart from the missile troops, the Norman infantry were probably protected by chain mail and armed with spear, sword and shield, like their English counterparts.

The inclusion of large numbers of missile troops in William's army reflected the trend in other European armies for composite forces who combined on the battlefield. The bow was a relatively short weapon with a short draw, but was effective on the battlefield at this time. Hastings also marks the first known use of the crossbow in English history.

Using the army in FoG

  • Very much a charging knight army, but one likely to be outgunned once heavily armoured knights appear in later lists. Given the lack of subtlety inherent in the list, using knights in BGs of 6 may be a good idea to give them greater resilience
  • For support troops, the role is one of bulking out the army size, and defending the knights flanks. This may lead you towards MF bowmen and crossbows rather than LF, as they have more ability to chase away light horse.
  • The William The Conquerer option to downgrade (ahem) 1/3-2/3 of the knights to Sp Arm Off Sp sets up a hard army to crack.
  • A third option is the pre-1041 armoured cavalry build. However, this build is overshadowed by the similar Early Medieval German list, which has considerably more options available to it.

UK Tournament Results with this army

User-contributed links about this army:


  • Feudal French - published in Oath of Fealty

15mm Manufacturers supplying figures for this army

You can see some of the figures in the Ancients Photo Gallery also on this site

Image Image Image Image

Core Troops

Which troops are absolutely needed for this army, and what are your thoughts on how to organise, paint and buy them.

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 24)
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