Monday, April 22, 2013

The Nordmark Jaegers

"Two summers past, the Baron von Refn conceived a plan to take some two hundred men over the Black River and raid some of the outlying encampments of the horde of the Chaos Lord Buzzgobb Phesterlick.  This was to be in revenge for the massacre at Frog Hollow and the many other crimes this foul being has committed against our folk.  Although the Rangers of the Mittelmark were present to serve as scouts, our Lord Baron was deeply concerned by the prospect of moving with a large part of his army through the largely unknown territory east of the river without a stronger force to screen his movements and to ascertain the position of such a dangerous enemy as the one we faced...
The Baron and the Margrave of the Nordmark went through the communities of that northern third of our country and spoke to the militia captains and other leaders there.  They returned with a score of volunteers:  stout, woodscrafty hunters, loggers and trappers of the Nordmark Militia Companies.  These men are part of a new breed springing up in our frontier land.  Most came to the Black River country as children, and those that grew up in the thickly wooded hills and mountains of the Nordmark learned in their youth the skills of moving, hunting and fighting in the woods and rugged country.  They are superlative woodsmen and archers, and are quite capable of creating all manner of trouble and misery for those bandits and monsters that trespass in their territories.  
 As most readers well know, the various militia companies in our land are raised largely from amoung free-holders and are required to stand to only in defense of their own marks...the Baron having no authority to compel them to march against an enemy beyond their own borders...yet many amoung the Nordmark militias have proven to be daring and enterprising men, happy to ply their skills in the Baron's marching army in exchange for a little hard silver and the right to keep such loot as they might find upon the stricken field... 

...the great majority are freemen, with their own homes and small farmsteads, and are glad to supplement their rather spartan incomes by marching with the Raven standard...

The mixed successes of the Baron's raid  are recounted at length elsewhere in these chronicles, but there can be no doubt that the Jaegers of the Nordmark did great service on that campaign.  They worked carefully and closely with the Rangers of the Mittelmark, and with Snorri Head-Biter's Dwarf Slayers, screening our advance and retreat on all sides, and laying ambushes and snares for the enemy with cruel cunning.  In open battle, they served as a company of archers, and with their tall bows worked great mischief in the ranks of the enemy, to the delight and admiration of all our folk..."
                                                                                               - Olorrin, The Black River Chronicles

I've been fascinated since Childhood with the English Longbowman of the Hundred Year's War, and as I've gotten older, I've only come to find him more and more interesting.

That commoners, middle-class or poorer men, largely unarmored and armed with hunting bows, men who'd join up for a campaign and then go back to their farms when it was all over, could so come to dominate the battlefields of medieval France  is pretty amazing. 

What's even more fascinating to me, as I grow ever older and more cynical, is that the English ruling classes realized the potential of this weapon, and, unlike the French, who seemed to take pains to prevent the development of a martial culture amoung their commoners, embraced it and encouraged it!  So much did they do so that by the time of Agincourt, the English men-at-arms and knights seemed to accept their role in battle as being protectors and supporters of the longbowmen, who did the real killing.  Remarkable.

Obviously these fellows are far from being the spitting image of the English Longbowman, but I did very much want some English Longbowman-type troops for the Baron von Refn's army.  They will count as  Forstjaegers as per the entry in the 3rd Edition Empire Army list, and I gave them a forest-friendly color scheme to suggest that role...

Most of the troopers in this unit are pre-slotta Citadel troops or foundry re-casts...there are a few Grenadier figures in there as well, including some Julie Guthrie Adventurers to add a little bit of a 'back-woodsmen' feel...

If anybody can recommend a really good history of the English Longbowman, I'd be grateful for the intel...

"For the Nordmark...Loose!"


  1. Great looking figures.
    The books on archery by Robert Hardy (the actor who makes his own longbows) are well worth a read...

    1. Thanks, TGM! And thanks for the tip. I will check it out...Although I'm actually more interested in the longbowman as a profession and a class...

    2. The book by Hardy is a history of Longbowmen with only a wee appendix on making a bow at the back.

  2. Mouse, what a terrific looking unit! Such a nice mix of figures, and I love how your Fantasy guys all have blue eyes. Great write-up as always too.

  3. What an excellent idea, and nicely done miniatures.
    I always thought it was a shame there was not a greater scope for fielding an English Longbowman type in the Empire or Bretonnian armies. The peasant levy bows in the Bretonnian list is'nt too inspiring, although in one of the later White Dwarf's they did update the Bretonnian list for 3rd ed.
    As for books, I second Robert Hardy, and recommend the Osprey publishing book, English Longbowmen.

    Also don't forget that Wargames foundry have re-released the old citadel men at arms range, including longbowmen.