100yrs War FREE COMPANY 1357 AD to 1445 AD
This list is an attempt to recreate the Free Company armies that so typified the mid Anglo-French 100 Years War period.
It represents one of the gathering together of a number of smaller bands or companies - usually under a single Grand Captain of diverse nationality (such as Sir John Falstaff, Sir Robert Knollys or Bertrand du Guescelin to name just three of the more well known ones) and is an non-homogeneous mix of troop types from a number of different nationalities and military traditions.
Free Companies had troops from nationalities as diverse and varied as: French, Italian, Gascon, Navarrese, Castilian, Aragonese, English, Scots, Burgundian, Breton, Basque, Irish, Welsh, Benelux and from within the borders of The Holy Roman Empire.
It should also be remembered that during this period in European history there was often less loyalty to country or nation than to social class or to brothers-in-arms and so it was not uncommon for brother knights from France & England to join common cause and make a quick ducat through military extortion! With the weakness of the French crown & disablement of the French aristocracy (post Poitiers), these bands were free to roam large areas of French soil that were not under more stable English, Gascon or Breton control, terrorising the towns, clergy & countryside, robbing merchants & travellers and extorting 'protection money' (& provisions) from all within their 'territories'. The French & English contingents that crossed the Pyrenees to fight on opposing sides in the Castilian Civil War were extensively Free Company troops encouraged to do so by the French & English monarchies!
From an Armati perspective it is not an easy army to represent as there is a danger that the composition of the army (lots of small disparate bands) could easily be mistaken for flexibility - which is not the case. Whilst often made up of veteran troops made 'unemployed' by one or other short-lived peace treaty or suspension of hostilities (e.g. The Treaty of Bordeaux in 1357 or the Treaty of Bretigny in 1360), most of the larger groupings of companies were not that long lived or that successful. To represent this I have opted for a relatively low numbers of Heavy commands and a low initiative.
It should also be remembered that these were mercenaries and that they only entered into full scale battles with a very good chance of winning and if things started to go badly they tended to 'head for the hills'.
My favourite company was one called "Compagnie des Batards" ... and this list has really been 'inspired' as a means of using up all those spare assorted 15mm medieval troops you always have left over from manufacturers who sell by the packet!
Bonus Terrain: (Max 2): 2GR; 1:RG, 1Wd
|Era: Triumph of Cavalry|| ||Free Company 100 Years War||CR: H: 3 L: 4|| ||BP: 2||Init: 5|
|2||SI|| || ||21||+2||Crossbows||2|
| || || || || || || || |
|1||KN (d!)||Free Lances||Key||60||+3||Lances||15|
|1||FT||Horseless Men At Arms||Key||61||+2||Two handed weapons||9|
|2||LI|| || ||32||+1||Cross Bows||6|
|1||SI|| || ||32||+2||Javelins||2|
|2||SI|| || ||21||+2||Cross Bows||2|
Bonus: (Max: 2 ) 2GR; 1W; 1RG
Core: 96 Bonus: 166
# HC are subject to obligatory charge
Many mounted Free Company troops were relatively poorly equipped with just jupons, aketons, houpelands or arming jacks, leg harness & visored or open-faced bascinet style helmets. One contemporary French account reports that many of them were 'marvellously evil harnessed". Similarly, the numbers of true knightly or noble troops was also low, hence the single unit of Kn(d) in the bonus list and MA & HC in the core.
LHI are the clouds of Ribaults, Varlets and Brigands that made up the core of these companies and would be represented by a mix of troop types. Some with quite extensive armour whilst others had very little. Some would have shields, most just bucklers at best and there would be a wide range of close combat weapons carried - axes, spears, swords, polearms etc. These are not missile armed troops and so do not have javelin style missile capability.
LI X-bows are Catalans, Italians, Gascon or Provencal troops - not as well protected as Genoese and less inclined to get stuck in on a hand-to-hand basis.
FT* represent "False French", Breton Bands, Scots and Lowlanders - not very many would have been fielded
SI with javelins can be Irish or Scots or Bretons or Basques or Gascons (Bidowers) - or a mix!
SI with X-bow represent the less well armed French, Spanish & Italian skirmisher types.
RG can be vineyards or a small fortified village or town.
Ordo Link: Free Company 100 Years War
Last Edited: 06 November 2005
List Author: Aetius