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Free Company

Free Company

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Historical Overview Section

Sir John Hawkwood (1320-1394) was an English mercenary or condottiero in 14th century Italy. Hawkwood served first the Pope and then various factions in Italy for over 30 years. In the beginning of the 1360s Hawkwood had risen to be commander of the White Company. In 1363 Hawkwood's men were part of the companies that the marquis of Montferrato hired and led over the Alps to fight a war against Milan. Afterwards, Hawkwood and his troops remained in Italy.

In the following years, the White Company fought under many banners and switched sides many times. In 1364, it fought for the Italian Condotta state of Pisa against Florence. In 1369, Hawkwood fought for Perugia against the Papal forces. In 1370, he joined Bernabò Visconti in his war against an alliance of cities including Pisa and Florence. In 1372, he fought for Visconti against his former master, the Marquis of Monferrato. After that, he resigned his command and the White Company moved to the service of the Pope for a time.

By the 1390s Hawkwood became a commander-in-chief of the Italian Condotta army of Florence in the war against the expansion of Gian Galeazzo Visconti of Milan. Hawkwood's army invaded Lombardy and was within ten miles of Milan before he had to retreat over Adige river. Later in the year, forces under his command defended Florence and later defeated the Milanese force of Jacopo dal Verme. Eventually Visconti sued for peace. Contemporary opinion in Florence regards Hawkwood as a savior of Florence's independence against Milanese expansion.

Thoughts on using the army

  • The Free Company army is a combined arms army - or, put another way, there are not enough longbows to win the game for you on their own! This means that at some point you are going to need to send in the Men at Arms to do the business, and the army is fortunate in that it has both mounted and dismounted Men at Arms to choose from. For many this is where the appeal of this army is - not too many longbows to make to army lopsided, but just enough to soften the enemy up. Then it is in with either the dash, huzzah and glory of the Knightly charge or the grind ‘em down with the heavy weapon chopper boys.

When to use mounted or dismounted Men at arms?

  • The dismounted Men at Arms will work against most enemies, and the most cost effective mix may well be in 4 stand BGs as Superior / Armoured - although, in an open competition or where you expect to face lots of longbow the Heavy Armour may be more worthwhile.
  • Mounted Men at Arms are best kept for fighting other Medieval armies because of the high BG point cost of the mounted Men at Arms. Out of period enemies will have more Battle Groups than you and will find opportunities for flank charges against your mounted Men at Arms.

Longbows

  • You might be considered crazy if you fail to take all 24 bases of longbows - and the stakes are not really necessary. Besides to English did not introduce stakes until about 1415AD which is in the second half of the Hundred Years War and they very well without them in the first half.
  • The big decision is with the size longbow battle groups do you go for 4x 6 base BGs or 3x 8 base BGs. The 6 base BG only give you 4 shooting dice per BG which is a total of 16 dice for your 24 bases. Whereas the 8 base BG gives you 6 shooting dice per BG for a total of 18 dice for your 24 bases. Running your longbows in BG of 8 bases gives you a 12.5% in your shooting dice over 6 base BGs, so your decision is whether the extra dice are worth it at the expense of reducing your army size by one BG and reducing your manoeuvrability also.

Tips on Using Longbows in this army

  • Your aim with LB is to shoot as much as possible. Make sure you get your long range shot and 2 more at short range. LBw to the front in 8’s, with small 4s of billmen set 4-5" back from the LB line give rear support with limited risk. And can often get back any victorious Kn who do break through. Armoured ones are good enough.
  • Units of 6 LB are slightly more manoeuvrable, but they suffer as only 1 base out of 3 shoots from a rear rank.
  • Adding a General when charged means for the Longbow men the rerolls on both shooting and melee dice will make the difference. If you are charged by knights and LBw can disrupt them by shooting you should win the impact with 12 dice vs 6. If not, you still have a decent chance to bounce knights even without stakes.
  • Stakes are a beginners safety net, but they makes you immobile. Make sure the longbow men are drilled and have a commander with them when you want to emplace the stakes (Assuming you don't do so until the enemy mounted are in bow - and hence probably charge - range)! Lack of them can lead to some nervous moments if your LB are charged by mounted in the open, but a General with rear support should address that just as well. Stakes are expensive for what you get - remember foot ignore them as well. Stakes make you near invincible vs Knights & mounted - but everyone knows that and so only a knave or a varlet will attack you while on a horse when you are carrying them.
  • The dismounted knights act as bastions of strength between the longbow units, spreading casualties over more units, and even if you lose at impact they can mean that you've got a better chance of winning in melee. If you are disrupted by charging knights after melee they won't bounce, so you'll have a chance to slog it out in a long combat, which is going to be tough. The best way to beat knights is to kill an element so they take (if they're run in 4's) -1 on CT’s for 25% losses, and this stands for every test. With 10-12 dice at Impact (including shooting) and a general in the front rank you'll likely get 3-4 hits, which means even if the knights win, hey lose a base a 1 or maybe a 2, which is a very bad thing for them.
  • Even though the LB are swordsmen, they don’t want to be in combat – they can win most shooting battles anyway, at far less risk to themselves.
  • For a LB-heavy version, trying to get as much Uneven and Rough down as you can is a two edged sword, as LB move through it normally but Knights and HF don't like it. It depends on how many longbow you have!


Other non all LB versions

  • You are immune to shooting with the dismounted MAA so use 4 TC's.
  • The big challenge can be forcing the enemy to actually fight the Heavy Foot. As heavily armoured they are a very tough proposition, and move very slowly so many enemies will avoid them it may be worth considering some as simply armoured just to give you opponents enough chance to tempt them to fight you.
  • The 4 lancer cavalry are a useful addition, as they can add a bit of unusual and different punch quite quickly across a wide area of the field
  • Be prepared to dismount your knights as heavy foot
  • Don't take on enemy LB in rough going wit HF men at arms. Its a mugs game, they are just too tough.
  • Crack on through the turns so you can cover the table
  • The MAA can go 1 rank deep against most skirmishers and indeed non-LB shooters.

User-contributed links about this army:

UK Tourney Results

1 / 14 Free Company Roll Call 2008 25mm (open)
10 / 10 Free Company BHGS Challenge 2008 25mm (open)
62 / 62 Free Company Britcon 2008 15mm (open)

15mm Manufacturers supplying figures suitable for Late Medieval Armies

You can see some of the figures in the Ancients Photo Gallery also on this site

Image Image Image Image Image Image

Army Lists

Sample army lists for this army
800 AP list

  • CinC FC - - - - - - - 1
  • Sub generals TC - - - - - - - 2
  • 1 Longbow MF Protected Average Drilled Longbow - Swordsmen - 8
  • 2 Men at Arms HF Armoured Superior Drilled - Heavy weapon Heavy weapon - 4
  • 3 Bidets LF Unprotected Average Undrilled Javelins Light spear - - 6
  • 4 Men at Arms HF Armoured Superior Drilled - Heavy weapon Heavy weapon - 4
  • 5 Longbow MF Protected Average Drilled Longbow - Swordsmen - 8
  • 6 Longbow MF Protected Average Drilled Longbow - Swordsmen - 8
  • 7 Men at Arms HF Armoured Superior Drilled - Heavy weapon Heavy weapon - 4
  • 8 Men at Arms HF Armoured Superior Drilled - Heavy weapon Heavy weapon - 4
  • 9 Men at Arms HF Armoured Superior Drilled - Heavy weapon Heavy weapon - 4
  • 10 Artillery Hart - - Undrilled heavy artillery - - - 2
  • 11 Men at Arms HF Armoured Superior Drilled - Heavy weapon Heavy weapon - 4
  • 12 Brigans MF Protected Average Undrilled - - Swordsmen - 6
  • 13 Men at Arms HF Armoured Superior Drilled - Heavy weapon Heavy weapon - 4



800 AP army used by Madaxeman at Roll Call 2009

  • 1 Bidets LF Unprotected Average Undrilled javelins Light spear - - 4
  • 2 Dismounted MAA HF heavily armoured Superior Undrilled - Heavy weapon Heavy weapon - 4
  • 3 Dismounted MAA HF heavily armoured Superior Undrilled - Heavy weapon Heavy weapon - 4
  • 4 Dismounted MAA HF heavily armoured Superior Undrilled - Heavy weapon Heavy weapon - 4
  • 5 English Longbows MF Protected Average Drilled Longbow - Swordmen - 6
  • 6 Dismounted MAA HF heavily armoured Superior Undrilled - Heavy weapon Heavy weapon - 4
  • 7 English Longbows MF Protected Average Drilled Longbow - Swordmen - 6
  • 8 Dismounted MAA HF armoured Average Drilled - Heavy weapon Heavy weapon - 4
  • 9 Knights Kn heavily armoured Superior Undrilled - lancers Swordmen - 4
  • 10 Crossbows MF Protected Average Undrilled crossbow - - - 8
  • 11 Knights Kn heavily armoured Superior Undrilled - lancers Swordmen - 4
  • 12 Crap cavalry Cv Protected Average Drilled - lancers Swordmen - 4
  • TC TC - - - - - - - 4


800 AP Army

  • 1 Bidets LF Unprotected Average Undrilled javelins Light spear - - 6
  • 2 Bidets LF Unprotected Average Undrilled javelins Light spear - - 4
  • 3 Dismounted MAA HF heavily armoured Superior Undrilled - Heavy weapon Heavy weapon - 4
  • 4 Dismounted MAA HF heavily armoured Superior Undrilled - Heavy weapon Heavy weapon - 4
  • 5 Dismounted MAA HF heavily armoured Superior Undrilled - Heavy weapon Heavy weapon - 4
  • 6 Dismounted MAA HF heavily armoured Superior Undrilled - Heavy weapon Heavy weapon - 4
  • 7 English Longbows MF Protected Average Drilled Longbow - Swordmen - 6
  • 8 English Longbows MF Protected Average Drilled Longbow - Swordmen - 6
  • 9 Dismounted MAA HF heavily armoured Superior Undrilled - Heavy weapon Heavy weapon - 4
  • 10 Knights Kn heavily armoured Superior Undrilled - lancers Swordmen - 4
  • 11 Crossbows MF Protected Average Undrilled crossbow - - - 8
  • 12 Knights Kn heavily armoured Superior Undrilled - lancers Swordmen - 4
  • TC TC - - - - - - - 4


Free Company (Britcon 2008)

  • 4 HF, Arm, Sup, Hvy Weapon
  • 4 HF, Arm, Sup, Hvy Weapon
  • 4 HF, Arm, Sup, Hvy Weapon
  • 4 HF, Arm, Sup, Hvy Weapon
  • 6 MF, Prot, Av, Drilled, LB, Swordsman
  • 6 MF, Prot, Av, Drilled, LB, Swordsman
  • 4 HF, Arm, Sup, Hvy Weapon
  • 6 MF, Prot, Av, Drilled, LB, Swordsman
  • 6 MF, Prot, Av, Drilled, LB, Swordsman
  • 4 HF, Arm, Sup, Hvy Weapon
  • 4 HF, Arm, Sup, Hvy Weapon
  • 4 HF, Arm, Sup, Hvy Weapon
  • IC, TC, TC, TC


800 AP with some mounted Kn

  • 1 Bidets LF Unprotected Average Undrilled javelins Light spear - - 6
  • 2 Bidets LF Unprotected Average Undrilled javelins Light spear - - 4
  • 3 Dismounted MAA HF heavily armoured Superior Undrilled - Heavy weapon Heavy weapon - 4
  • 4 Dismounted MAA HF heavily armoured Superior Undrilled - Heavy weapon Heavy weapon - 4
  • 5 Dismounted MAA HF heavily armoured Superior Undrilled - Heavy weapon Heavy weapon - 4
  • 6 Dismounted MAA HF heavily armoured Superior Undrilled - Heavy weapon Heavy weapon - 4
  • 7 English Longbows MF Protected Average Drilled Longbow - Swordmen - 6
  • 8 English Longbows MF Protected Average Drilled Longbow - Swordmen - 6
  • 9 Dismounted MAA HF heavily armoured Superior Undrilled - Heavy weapon Heavy weapon - 4
  • 10 Knights Kn heavily armoured Superior Undrilled - lancers Swordmen - 4
  • 11 Crossbows MF Protected Average Undrilled crossbow - - - 8
  • 12 Knights Kn heavily armoured Superior Undrilled - lancers Swordmen - 4

- - - - - - - - -

  • TC TC - - - - - - - 4


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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Created by admin. Last Modification: Thursday 21 of January, 2010 11:24:06 GMT by admin. (Version 25)
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