Early Ostrogothic and Herul

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Historical Overview Section

The Goths were a single nation mentioned in several sources up to the 3rd century when they apparently split into at least two groups, including the Ostrogoths of this list. These Goths established a vast and powerful kingdom, during the 3rd and 4th centuries, between the Danube and the Dniepr in what is now Romania, Moldavia and western Ukraine.

The rise of the Huns around 370 overwhelmed the fledgling Gothic kingdoms, and many of the Goths migrated into Roman territory in the Balkans, while others remained north of the Danube under Hunnic rule. They became one of the many Western Hunnic vassals fighting in Europe, at Adrianople in 378, and also Chalons in 451 against the Dominate Roman and Foederate Roman armies respectively.

The collapse of Hunnic power in the 450s following the death of Attila the Hun in 453 saw them allied with the former vassal and rival, the Gepids, and led by Theodemir they broke the Hunnic power of Attila's sons in the Battle of Nedao in 454. The Ostrogoths started dealing with Rome as allies and enemies, and eventually ended up beingh invited to conquer Italy by the Early Byzantines and became the Italian Ostrogothic kingdom.

The Heruls are first mentioned by Roman writers in the reign of Gallienus (260-268), when they accompanied the Goths ravaging the coasts of the Black Sea and the Aegean. By the end of the 4th century the Heruls were subjugated by the Ostrogoths, and when the Ostrogothic kingdom was destroyed by the Huns in about 375, the Heruls became subject to the Western Hunnic empire. Only after the fall of the Hunnic realm in 454, were the Heruls able to create their own kingdom in southern Slovakia at the March and Theiss rivers. After this kingdom was destroyed by the Lombards, Herul fortunes waned. Remaining Heruls joined the Lombards and moved to Italy, and some of them sought refuge with the Gepids.

Records indicate that the Heruli served in the armies of the Byzantine emperors for a number of years, in particular in the campaigns of Belisarius, when much of the old Roman territory, including Italy, Syria, and North Africa was recaptured. Several thousand Heruli served in the personal guard of Belisarius throughout the campaigns. They disappear from historical record by the mid-6th century.

Using the army in FoG

The strength of the army lies in it's lancers, and when it comes to lancers, Armoured Superior Drilled is best. But it’s expensive, and when it comes to lancers, quantity has a quality all of it’s own. A mix of armoured and protected can give you more bang-for-buck, especially if you expect to be facing Cataphracts in period, where the extra armour is irrelevant.

Against enemy skirmishers protected lancers (supported by an IC) in one rank are also more than capable of doing the business. Undrilled, Unprotected, Lancer, Swordsmen don't cost much (an entire BG of them is less than half the points of a 4 element Ghilman group) - but you can't ignore them either or they can run down weak troops, attack good ones in the flank etc. They are reasonably wide and just sending a single BG of "real" troops to deal with them will probably fail.

Armoured is still however a good value upgrade as it gives you a +1 against most things in melee. Do watch for enemy trying to exploit your flanks and position themselves for flank intercept charges using the “move full speed then turn 90 degrees” with columns of drilled lancers or cavalry.

The big issue for the army is protecting the flanks of your line of charging lancers. You can simply do this with yet more lancers, accepting attrition along the way – and this should not be discounted even though other support troops are available. This army doesn't have enough LH to make a serious effort at using them as flank protection, but you can use the LH to work with your lancers to hunt enemy LH, with combined Lancer/LH charges that enemy LH have to flee from, and where your own LH may be able to catch the flee-er’s. 8 MF with Bw are OK if placed on a flank where they may face only enemy mounted, or ideally LH. And units of 8 LF can form a good screen in front of lancers to protect them from shooting.

The ideal combination for lancers to operate effectively is a mix of 4’s and 6’s, using the 6’s as the sledgehammer to take casualties and not suffer the -1 for losing 25%, and also to last longer before autobreaking. Lancer Cavalry also ideally need generals to help them in combat, and so having a general with a 6 is better value.

The fortified camp maybe worth investing in for this army, as you have little to protect it from enemy LH.

Allied Contingents

  • Carpi - Dacian or Carpi : Date restrictions Sciri Only, Book: Legions Triumphant Page: 35 - A MF force to contest Rgo and woods, but may get left behind as your core troops have a very different gameplan
  • Vandal - Early Visogothic or Early Vandal : Date restrictions Ostrogoths Only, Book: Legions Triumphant Page: 52 - Lots of HF impact foot swordsmen, erm, not my cup of tea thanks.
  • Burgundi - Early Frankish, Alamanni, Burgundi, Limigantes, Rugian, Suebi or Turcilingi : Date restrictions Ostrogoths or Sciri only Book: Legions Triumphant Page: 59 - 8 minimum HF Impact foot swordsmen make these rather uninspiring as an ally
  • Rugii - Early Frankish, Alamanni, Burgundi, Limigantes, Rugian, Suebi or Turcilingi : Date restrictions Ostrogoths or Sciri only Book: Legions Triumphant Page: 59 - 8 minimum HF Impact foot swordsmen make these rather uninspiring as an ally
  • Suebi - Early Frankish, Alamanni, Burgundi, Limigantes, Rugian, Suebi or Turcilingi : Date restrictions Ostrogoths or Sciri only Book: Legions Triumphant Page: 59 - 8 minimum HF Impact foot swordsmen make these rather uninspiring as an ally
  • Gepid - Gepid or Early Lombard : Date restrictions Sciri only Book: Legions Triumphant Page: 67 - Up to 18 lancer cavalry - and good quality - gives a lot more mountd clout, but mixing in the HF as well is just asking for trouble

UK Tournament Results with this army

User-contributed links about this army:


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

15mm Manufacturer directory

There are several fairly generic Gothic/Avar type figures useable for this army. There are plenty of manufacturers with such ranges.
You can see some of the figures in the 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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