Wednesday, 4 December 2019

Following on from Sagrajas- Montlhery 1465

Following on from Sagrajas (1086) I'll be working on two projects, the Battle of Brunanburh 937 to satisfy my Early Middle Ages cravings and the Battle of Montlhery 1465 to tickle my Late Medieval fancy!

These are two battles that I've held a very keen interest in for many a year. Thus far I've not had the time to venture into modelling either, but now my tail is up again! I've been exceptionally lucky in having someone volunteer to translate the Montlhery - 16th July 1465, from the Forgotten Battles Series published by Historic'one. So a massive thank you to Stephen Phenow for taking time out of his very busy schedule to come to my rescue and finally attempt to put this battle into action on the tabletop. A dream come true.

So, I have Sagrajas 1086 to finish by mid May next year and two projects starting simultaneously following on from that.

More info on Brunanburgh to follow shortly but for now; Montlhery 1465.

This taken from

"It was in July, on a hot summer day that the royal armies of LOUIS XI and the Burgundian armies led by CHARLES Count of Charolais, son of the Duke of Burgundy, allies to the Lords of the "League of the Public Good ", s' fought for this memorable battle.
The disjointed and unforeseen battle of MONTLHÉRY already indicate a new way of fighting. The Count of Charolais, wishing to join the army of King LOUIS XI before she could return to Paris, coming from Orleans, had taken up position at LONGJUMEAU, his precautionary guard in the village of MONTLHÉRY. The King, informed of the Count's presence on the left bank of the Seine, hastily sent for Charles de MELUN, his lieutenant-general in the Ile-de-France, to send two hundred spears from Paris under Marshal RONAULT in order to take the Burgundians on the back.
The Count of Charolais had entrenched himself in Longjumeau with his chariots, and on the morning of July 16, 1465 Roy occupied the castle of MONTLHÉRY at the head of the army, and hastily desired to reach Paris. What the Comte de Saint-Pol commanding the rear guard of the Burgundians made a movement back, leaving between him and the army of the King, a stream and woods, but did not want to go further. Charles of Burgundy therefore left.

Longjumeau and joined the vanguard. The attitude of the battlefield is known (see attached plan). The village of Longjumeau straddles the small river Yvette, in a small valley. On the south side extends to the town of MONTLHÉRY, a plateau cut by two small streams flowing in marshy bottoms, and one jumping into the Barley, the other into the Yvette. The Chaussée d'Orléans passes through Longjumeau and the town of MONTLHÉRY on the plateau. North of MONTLHÉRY about a kilometer is a small eminence.
Charles de Melun could not assemble the two hundred spears demanded by the King, who, from the top of the dungeon of the castle, seeing nothing coming from the Parisian side, would have liked to avoid the battle. The Comte de Charolais, content to block the way from the capital to his adversary, did not seem anxious to engage him. But the leaders of the two avant-gardes decided otherwise, and being separated only by a stream (see A and B) came to the hands (see A 'and B').
The Burgundians were already massed, while the French arrived in line to support their first body. While the Burgundian leaders were discussing whether it was better to fight on foot or on horseback, the royal army had time to battle, and the action began, no longer as on a narrow front, but on a long line; so long that while the right wing commanded by the Comte de Charolais sank the French left wing, the right wing of the Royal Army beat the left wing of the Burgundians. The centers remained on their respective positions. The Count of Charolais, who commanded the victorious right wing of the Burgundians pushed so far, that
"Never," said COMMYNES , "there was greater flight on both sides, but by especial they demolished the two princes in the fields.From Roy Fust a man from Estat fled as far as Lusignon without repoising; of the Count, another good man even to Quesnoy-le Comte, who did not care to bite each other ".
During these two leaks of the left wings of the two armies, the centers were firing. The artillery on both sides had followed the road to Orleans, and could be deployed more easily than the French, confined between ravines and woods, and arriving in line. Also his right wing he commanded in person, having pushed his archers in front of her, the left wing of the French (see D) back to the first houses of the town (see D '). There says COMMYNES, eyewitness: "Those (archers on horseback) from the King led them PONCET of the RIVER, and were all ordnance Orfovérisés and well in point.The ones costed by the Burgundians were without order and without command, as volunteers ".
They had come from a breath through the field of Longjumeau: "If the skirmishes began ... the number of Burgundians was great, and they took a house, and took two or three huis, and used them as walls. to enter the street and set fire to a house (see in C) the wind served them, which pushed the fire against those of the King, who began to cling and ride horses and to flee, and on this noise and cry , began to walk and flee (continue) the Count of Charolais leaving, as I said, any order divided screen ... "

"All the archers of the said Count walked on foot before him in bad order, how much my advice is, that the sovereign thing of the world for the battles, are the archers, but that they are thousands, because in small numbers are worth nothing, and that they have gone up badly, that they have no regrets for losing their horses, or at all having none of them. "
When the Count's attack had thus driven back the French left wing, the men-at-arms of the King rallied, divided themselves into two troops, and, overflowing the line of the archers, tried to attack the Count's cavalry. The latter, instead of waiting for it, passed all through his own archers and thus took the French cavalry on the flank while it was operating, cut it and put it in the greatest disorder, so that it turned her back, and was so strongly urged that she could not get up.
The left wing of Burgundy was weaker than the right wing of the French, who on this side always arrived. It was sunken, separated from the center and thrown back into the woods and along the barley. The French, to obtain this result, seemed to have supported their attack on the little village of Chapelle-Villiers.
This strange battle, in which both parties were victorious or vanquished, is, however, of great interest. They are no longer masses who collide head-on. The field of battle was good, well chosen, and allowed each of the armies to obtain a decisive result, because each of the victorious wings could have fallen back on the center. But the right wing of the Burgundians, having the first depressed the French left wing, could have obtained a brilliant success by letting its archers keep the enemy defeated, on this point and by flinging flank on the center of the artillery . CHARLES liked better to pursue his partial victory while his left was crushed.
But if the success of the battle was thus shared, its consequences were to the advantage of LOUIS XI. The Burgundians were now unable to block the way to Paris, and they spent a very idle night in Longjumeau: Believing to be turned by the French right, it was not, however, LOUIS XI did not want to risk a second battle, and the Burgundians were able to return where they had come from, while claiming a victory with no other result than the loss of two or three thousand men.
It is no less obvious that tactics were changing. The wings of the armies became mobile, and could act. while the center reinforced by the artillery, kept its positions. But the infantry, which hitherto had been used only as skirmishers, archers, crossbowmen, or who had been able to oppose to the attacks of the cavalry, in open country, only compact masses, without initiative, as with the battle of ROSBECQUE, in 1382, was in line, beginning to form in battalion as good for the attack as for the defense.
In fact it was in MONTLHÉRY that for the first time was used the artillery. A note from the archives of the Department of the North reports on the use of arms by the Count of Charolais in this battle.
"On July 16th: 5 powder kegs for serpentines and ribaudequins: 1 500 pounds of plums or small lead pellets July 17th and 18th: a barrel of powder and 100 pounds of plumets During the three days: 223 barrels and spears, 154 vultures, 360 spears, 1,800 bows in hand, 38,400 arrows, 700 dozen bowstring, and seven bronze serpentines burst during the battle. "
The town of MONTLHÉRY had suffered much from the confrontation, part of the houses was burned and destroyed. The inhabitants felt for a long time this terrible struggle because Roy LOUIS XI, did nothing to compensate them, nor to raise them from the losses they had suffered.

This plain called "the battlefield" remained uncultivated for centuries. Only remnant of the terrible event, remains this cross , probably built by the Knight Bayard (Pierre Terrail) in memory of his grandfather who died during the battle. We can read today on the renovated plaque:"

Thirty Years War - Swedish Blue Regt painted for Phil Olley

Apologies for the lack of posts of late, My camera was left at a hardcore punk gig and although a mate, living locally, has it in has possession I haven't been able to go and get it as of yet.

I was trundling through the net the other day when I came across a regiment that I had painted up for Phil Olley a while and in order to fill in the blanks I thought I'd post a few pics here. I only painted the miniatures and cannot take the credit for painting up the colours nor basing the miniatures.

A good description and more images can be found on Phil's War Cabinet (Phil's Blog oddly enough) HERE.

Wednesday, 13 November 2019

Yusuf ibn Tashfin's Black Guard Beginning to Take Shape

I'm pleased to announce that I have finished painting and the first 12 (Gulp! A long way to go as of yet!!) miniatures of Yusuf ibn Tashfin's Black Guard have been rolled out. I went for quite a plain black colour scheme highlighted by a deep blue as I wanted the Black Guard to look quite menacing on the tabletop. 

I've gone for a mix of Artizan Designs, Footsore (actually Musketeer) and Saxon Miniatures (now sold by Warlord Games). In the main these will be the manufacturers of choice but with the (obvious!) addition of Gripping beast's superb "El Cid" range. Doyens of the Dark Ages that they are. The miniatures have been placed in semi permanent positions of the bases as I want the compositon to be flexible should I change my mind about placing as more figures are added.

I've gone more for a sort of Sudanese look with darker skin tones then I plan to paint the 'Berber' and Andalusian units in the army. I'm not sure I'm 100% happy with it but considering I have not done any painting for five years I should probably not be so harsh on myself. Ohmmmmm..... just breathe! 

I did some research into the hippo shields carried by many 'Berber' tribes and what I discovered was interesting. The existing examples of hippopotamus shields in various collections and museums around the globe show signs that the shield significantly blackened as the object aged. I've gone for a much lighter 'brown' and have layered the paint in such a way as to suggest the ridges that occurred during construction that one tends to find on the surviving examples. My lighter shields are not realistic in tone. The brown is matched to be reasonably complimentary to the blue in order to create some degree of colour balance.

Ethiopian Hippo Hide Shield
(slightly 'blackened' with age)

Beja Shield from the 19th Century

Here are a couple of quick snaps of the unit as it takes shape from the right and the left which should give some idea of the dynamic that I am hoping to create; that of a unit in combat and not the static unit of spearmen one sometimes finds in armies of the period. I want all my units to have some sort of vignette as a minor focal point but also to show that this is a fighting force. This has always been a theme in all of my armies including my old WAB armies! Not so easy to to with a one mini- one base type of army as one found in most WAB armies.

For the spears I've gone with a bamboo type affair as exemplified in the El Cid WAB Supplement written by James Morris. If you are interested in the Spanish Reconquista and you  have not got a copy of this book then I suggest that you try your utmost to get a copy! It's filled with a wealth of information, ideas and general military history. Really. It's a gem of a book. 

As you will no doubt have noticed the miniatures need another coat of matte varnish as a few bits were missed after giving them the coat of gloss. This is inevitable when varnishing with a Matte Spray over a first layer of gloss as when you apply the varnish the matte looks as glossy as the gloss! Fun, fun, fun! The gloss I'm currently using is Humbrol Enamel Varnish Spray. This is not typical as I  would normally have given the miniatures a brush on coat of Humbrol Gloss thinned with a little white spirit. I find that this gives a much tougher coat then the gloss spray and it also allows for better control of any 'pooling'. Unfortunately, I cannot find my tin of brush on Humbrol Gloss at present but I'm certain that it is safe and sound in the many boxes that I put my painting gear in! One of the fun parts of packing everything away and unpacking..... not!

This was intended to be a quick post. Not only to show that the armies were beginning to take shape but somehow to give me some impetus into getting stuck into getting the units modelled and painted.

Tuesday, 12 November 2019

Spanish Reconquista Literature Arrives!

The postman must have good timing! Three books on the Spanish Reconquista and a nice book authored by Mike Ingram, The Battle of Northampton 1460, from the Northamptonshire Battlefield Society arrived simultaneously through my letter box!

Before I talk briefly (having not read the Reconquista books) I will mention the Battle of Northampton 1460 book. Mike is a long time protagonist for the preservation of the battlefield and has written a book that reflects his passion. The book is perhaps the most in depth at the violent dispute between the Houses of Lancaster and York just outside the town of Northampton. It has some nice illustrations throughout including maps of the action; but, perhaps of most interest to wargamers the book contains artwork by Matthew Ryan, a medieval illustrator of renown.

Of the three books arriving today the most War in the Iberian Peninsular 700-1600 , Francisco Garcia Fitz and Joao Gouveia Monteiro looks to be the most comprehensive with details of the conflict throughout as well as cultural and social surroundings. It covers the three main battles that I'm beginning my focus is moving toward, those being the Battle of Zalaca/Sagrajas 1086, the Battle of Fraga 1134 and the Battle of Las Navas De Tolosa 1212

The period of 1086 and 1212 saw gradual improvements in the armours of the soldier, particularly the upper echelons of society and this will be reflected in my choice of miniatures for each battle. For Sagrajas I'm looking mainly at Gripping Beast's El Cid: The moors And the Spanish range along with Crusader Miniature's El Cid range ans well as their Normans. 

For Las Navas de Tolosa 1212, at least for the Christian nobility I'm looking to use Footsore Miniatures Baron's War range which was part of a Kickstarter project but will be on general release by Footsore sometime next year. I've seen many of the miniatures for the range and they most certainly are a real treat, being the only comprehensive range of miniatures I can think of that accurately represents the armours and weapons of the time.

War in the Iberian Peninsular is top of my list followed by The Quest for El Cid, Richard Fletcher, Chronicles of the Spanish Reconquest a general narrative from 1110 to 1157 then The Ques for El Cid, which is written in more, well, understandable English.

Before my lunch hour is over I should add that the first of the Black Guard infantry models have been glossed and having allowed this to thoroughly dry they will be getting a coat of Mat Varnish tomorrow before being based. In other words there should be some eye candy available very soon!

Friday, 8 November 2019

Very Interesting Gate Fulford 1066 Videos on YouTube!

I've just dug up these videos on YouTube pertaining to the Battle of Fulford Gate.

Usually this sort of thing is a fairly inane and barely scratches the surface but this guy has a real passion for trying to save the battlefield and has had made /or has made a great little model that most wargamers will appreciate more than a topographical map.

I find it very inspiring. A nice find after I had managed to dig out those photo's of the Forgotten Battle of Fulford Gate 1066 game we put on at Claymore all those years ago.

Thursday, 7 November 2019

Spanish Reconquista Game, Partizan 2020- 191 Days and Counting!

So, with Partizan 2020 and my Spanish Reconquista game not so far away I'm going to be taking stock of what I have accomplished to get the game ready from day to day.

This may make for quite boring reading but I've decided just to include the number of days left in the title of my posts so as to not leave you all with a bemused look and possibly a well deserved gaping yawn to boot!

So, thus far:

1/40 Black Guard Infantry, cleaned, filed and undercoated- 20 of which are being painted- pics posted ASAP.

2/12 Hasham Black Guard Cavalry, cleaned, primed and undercoated.

3/1 Vignette (all hush hush until completion)

I have left you with a picture of a statue of Alfonso I of Aragon. It is very tempting to try to do some sort of conversion to try to achieve the same level of poise and drama as in the statue that stands in the Parade Grande Jose Antonio Labordeta, Zaragoza. We shall see!

Alfonso I of Aragon, "The Battler"