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Like most fifteenth century sovereigns, the Kings of France sought to possess standing armies of professionals to fight their incessant wars, most notable of which was the Hundred Years War. By that period, the old form of feudal levy had long proven inadequate and had been replaced by various ad hoc methods of paying vassal troops serving for money rather than simply out of feudal obligation, which method was heavily supplemented by hiring large numbers of out-and-out mercenaries.
These methods, though improvements on the old annual 40-day service owed by knights (the traditional warrior elites of Medieval Europe), were also subject to strain over long campaigns. They also resulted, during periods of peace, in social destabilization, as the mercenary bands, referred to in this period as Armagnacs, refused to disband until granted their back-pay (which was invariably hopelessly in arrears), and generally looted and terrorized the areas they occupied. The French kings sought a solution to these problems by issuing ordinances (ordonnances) which established standing armies in which units were permanently embodied, based, and organized into formations of set size. Men in these units signed a contract which kept them in the service of the unit for periods of one year or longer. The first such French ordinance was issued by King Charles VII at the general parliament of Orleans in 1439, and was meant to raise a body of troops to crush the devastating incursions of the Armagnacs.
User-contributed links about this army:
- French Medieval Flags to download and print out from War Flag
- Ordannance Flags to download and use
- Krigspiel also has some flags for the Burgundians and Ordonnonance French
- PDF Download from Venexia
- The main choice here is between loads of knights, or lots of HF. Some of the superior knights are really expensive due to being drilled, and average knights often fail to cut it, so irregular undrilled is the optimum mix.
- Upgrading the longbows to mounted does give you one fast-moving unit, but they are only protected and so cannt play well against armoured opponents, and can get ganged up on by LH
- Using infantry (MF or LF) with Bow, X-Bow and Longbow is a better way to drive off enemy mounted and skirmishers
- An attack (on one side of the table) with Superior Pk, heavy weapon men and superior knights will prove difficult for many opponents to cope with
- The option to take poor pikes gives you a mobile terrain feature to protect the other flank
- If you have a mix of BGs of drilled and Undrilled knights, only the end BGs need to be drilled â€“ the undrilled can march forward and fight anything in their path.
- Defensive spears struggle to push forwards against most things - only take them if their role is going to be to hold up the enemy.
- Co-ordinating Defensive spears and Pikemen together is a nightmare. Best to give them separate jobs in separate areas of the table if you can.
- Swiss - hmmm, nice..
- Guns - just say no.
- You can have lots of cheap LF units in 4's - very good to bulk up the army break point.
- Crossbow units generally are troops which do not win battles. They can cause heavily armoured and armoured knights pause for thought and are pretty good against cavalry but generally unless you expect to face off against lots of knights, or cynically plan to use them as a unit of 6 in column to support spearmen from behind you may be better spending points elsewhere on game winning units.
- 12 Poor pikemen are just about decent, but will need good flank support on both sides, and maybe even a unit of 6 poor longbows as rear support.
6 / 12 Ordonnance French Leeds Doubles 2008 (SoA)
37 / 41 Ordonnance French BHGS Challenge 2008 (open)
You can see some of the figures in the Ancients Photo Gallery also on this site
- Essex Miniatures - vast range of generic medieval figures
- Donnington C15 Europe Range, 36-strong WOTR range,
- Museum Miniatures 100YW & WOTR ranges with nice generic mounted and dismounted knights
- Gladiator Miniatures by Fighting 15's (Previously Black Hat) 40+ Medievals, 18 WOTR, plus Feudal/Crusade ranges
- Corvus Belli 30 or so figures in a well-regarded 100YW range
- Old Glory 15's, large number of medieval figures
- Minifigs 2 large and separate 100YW Crecy & Agincourt ranges, plus large WOTR selection
- Irregular Miniatures 60 medievals in a range spanning East/West Europe from Late Feudal to C15
- Lancashire Games Around 30 generic & English medievals
- QRF Models Ltd 20 WOTR figure codes in the Feudal Castings range, plus some additional figures in the LAN early renaissance range (e.g. French Pikemen).
- Tin Soldier 40 C14 & C15 medievals, including Swiss and equipment
- Battle Line Miniatures (NZ) 60 generic Medievals, some noted for WOTR
- Vexilia Extensive Mirliton & Venexia Italian/Burgundian Wars ranges for C15 armies
- Isarus - sold by 15mm.co.uk 70 codes in their C11-C15 Medus ranges
- AlainTouller Figurines A dedicated Spanish/Almughavar late medieval range
- Gallia 21 Late Medievals (a little small)
Sample army lists for this army
Name of Army / Date
Olivier Dada's successful at Britcon 2010 army
- IC Louis II de la Tremoille
- 2x8 Swiss Pikemen HF Sup, Dr, Pk
- 1x12 French Pikemen HF, poor, dr, Pk
- 1x8 Franc archer MF,poor,dr,LB
- 2x8 Ordonnance Archer MF, Av, dr, LB, sw
- 2x4 Ordonnance Knight Kn, Sup, dr, L, sw
- 2x4 Handgunner LF,Av,Hg
- 2x4 Crossbowmen LF, av, CB
- 1x4 Bidets LF, av, Jls
Remember to leave a line before you copy the above section as a template for your own list