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Hussite

Hussite

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Historical Overview Section

Hussite factions 1419-1479
The Hussites were a Christian movement following the teachings of Czech reformer Jan Hus or John Huss (c. 1369–1415), who became one of the forerunners of the Protestant Reformation. But thats a bit tedious compared to the fact they tooled around Europe for 50 years riding around in armoured wagons causing maybem and hitting people on the head with big clubscool.

Hussite politics was difficult. They broadly fell into several groups (who all fought each other) over whether to overturn the church gently but keep the nice buildings and inside toilets, or to smash it into lots of tiny pieces and live in sacks in the garden like biblical people again. The main factions were:

  • The Moderates, also known as The Prague party, The Calixtines or The Utraquists (not a spacefaring race in Warhammer 40k then). They wanted to keep the inside toilets and stuff.
  • The Radicals, Wycliffites or Taborites. The Taborites usually had the support of a sub-faction called the Orebites or Orphans from eastern Bohemia. They were big on back-to-basics religion and thought that even using Izal Medicated was tantamount to indelible indeluctable sin.


The Hussite Wars started in 1415 when the Holy Roman Empire executed Hussite leader Jan Hus. The nobles of Bohemia and Moravia, who were in favour of church reform complained about this in writing, but Sigismund, Holy Roman Emperor, sent letters back to them declaring that he would shortly "drown all Wycliffites and Hussites" - which of course was a bit inflammatory. He also incited Wencleslas of Bohemia to try and put down the rebellion, which fanned the flames even more. The upshot of this was that on 30 July 1419 in Prague a Hussite procession headed by the priest Jan Želivský was stoned by anti-Hussites lobbing bricks at them from the windows of the town-hall. The Hussites, headed by Jan Žižka, threw the burgomaster and several town-councillors from the windows in the fantastically named "first Defenestration of Prague", whereupon the crowd killed them immediately.

The Hussite factions then spent many years trying to kick Catholics out of Bohemia, and the Pope and Holy Roman Emperor spent many years calling Crusade after Crusade to try and stop them. The politics is a bit too hard to understand, so lets talk about the tanks!

The Hussite Battle Wagons
The Hussites developed tactics of using the tabors as mobile fortifications. When the Hussite army faced a numerically superior opponent, the Bohemians usually formed a square of the armed wagons, joined them with iron chains, and defended the resulting fortification against charges of the enemy. Such a camp was easy to establish and practically invulnerable to enemy cavalry. The "tabor" comes from the Hussite fortress and modern day Czech city of Tábor where the idea started.

The Hussite tactic of the Wagenburg was used throughout the Hussite Wars. This version of a corral was invented by the imaginative commander Jan Žižka. The tactic was used by the Hussites to combat the heavily armored knights of the armies brought against them and would be used successfully for many years. The Wagenburg was a huge fortification of farm wagons converted into war wagons. The crew of each wagon consisted of 18-21 soldiers: 4-8 crossbowmen, 2 handgunners, 6-8 soldiers equipped with pikes or flails, 2 shield carriers and 2 drivers. The wagons would normally form a square, and inside the square would usually be the cavalry. There were two principal stages of the battle using the Wagenburg: defensive and counterattack. The defensive part would be a pounding of the enemy with artillery. The Hussite artillery was a primitive form of a howitzer, called in Czech a houfnice, the word the English word howitzer comes from. Also, they called their guns the Czech word píšťala, meaning that they were shaped like a pipe or a fife, from which the English word pistol is possibly derived. When the enemy would come close to the Wagenburg, crossbowmen and hand-gunners would come from inside the wagons and inflict more casualties on the enemy at close range. There would even be stones stored in a pouch inside the wagons for throwing whenever the soldiers were out of ammunition. After this huge barrage, the enemy would be demoralized. The armies of the anti-Hussite crusaders were usually heavily armored knights, and Hussite tactics were to disable the knight's horses so that the dismounted (and slow) knights would be easier targets for the ranged men. Once the commander saw it fit, the second stage of battle would begin. Men with swords, flails, and polearms would come out and attack the weary enemy. Together with the infantry, the cavalry in the square would come out and attack. At this point, the enemy would be eliminated, or very close to it.

Another use of this tactic would be very similar to the infantry squares used by Wellington at the Battle of Waterloo and the South African laager. The Wagenburgs would form into squares that would support each other. Whenever an enemy charged between two Wagenburgs, marksmen from both Wagenburgs would easily exploit the advantage and kill many of the enemy. The Wagenburg was later used by the crusading anti-Hussite armies at the Battle of Tachov. However, the anti-Hussite German forces, being inexperienced at this type of strategy, were defeated. The Hussite Wagenburg would meet its demise at the Battle of Lipany, where the Utraquist faction of Hussites defeated the Taborite faction by getting the Taborites inside a Wagenburg on a hill to charge at them by at first attacking, then retreating. The Utraquists would reunite with the Catholic Church afterwards. Thus ended the Wagenburg's effect on Czech history. The first victory against the Wagenburg at the Battle of Tachov showed that the best ways to defeat a Wagenburg were to either prevent it from being erected in the first place, or to get the men inside of it to charge out of it, by means of a feint retreat. Thus, the fortification would lose its prime advantage.

The Wagenburg's effect on Czech history was lost, but the Czechs would continue to use the Wagenburg in later conflicts. After the Hussite Wars, foreign powers such as the Hungarians and Poles who had confronted the destructive forces of the Czech Hussites, hired thousands of Czech mercenaries. At the Battle of Varna in 1444, it is said that 600 Bohemian handgunners defended a wagon fortification. The Germans would also use wagons for fortification. They would use much cheaper materials than the Hussites, and they would have different wagons for the infantry and the artillery

Using the army in FoG

  • Do not think because the wagons are so static that yu have to adopt a defensive approach to each game. If your opponent ignores the wagons you just keep moving them forward. In FoG they are not that manouverable but at some point the opposition either has to sit there being shot at or do something about the wagons. It is co-ordinating the wagon movement with the rest of the army that makes the Hussites an interesting army to use.
  • The wagons may be defensive in the sense that they need the opposition to come and fight them. However, tactically you have to be offensive minded to get them to a position that forces an opposition response.
  • An IC should keep the Battlewagons moving, and a fortified camp is needed as you will have rings run around you and lose it otherwise.
  • Your knights are there to give protection vs Impact foot attacks.
  • This army hates pikes and isn't keen on IF/SSw Roman types but does pretty well against anything mounted and other average foot troops that don't like being shot at by artillery. The HW+ in melee just about makes the BWg's viable as melee troops.
  • Using artillery-armed wagons can be OK with 2 dice at 6MU range, needing 5s vs foot and 4s versus mounted. Average mounted troops don't like them one bit and mounted bow armies needing 5s to hit them find life tough going. The "shot at vs artillery" -1 on the Ct can really bother average troops.
  • Try to make the terrain as hard as possible for your opponent. Use Villages or steep hills, so your BWgs can close several gaps between, and your opponent has to fight where YOU want him to fight. The IC again give you a half-decent chance of getting initiative to allow more control over terrain.
  • Don't forget that opponents shock troops must charge you or make a CMT.
  • Don't be afraid of using BGs of 2. You can be unlucky in the death roll of course, but you do get a +1 for each death roll, but having the ability to split them up and roam around and make the enemy deal with them at multiple points is on balance worth it.
  • Consider taking FF so you can deploy the WWg behind them up to 15" in from the edge of the table, and then move out from behind them !

UK Tournament Results with this army

15 / 20 Hussite Warfare 2008 15mm (S&S, SoA, EE)

User-contributed links about this army:

Allies

  • Polish, Later . Date restrictions: None Book: Eternal Empire Page: 35 - Probably best as a unit of proper knights, and some Lithuanian LH. The mixed Kn/Cv formations probably need to be used in bigger numbers than just as this ally. The other way may be to take the Superior Crossbowmen as your mandatory cavalry - Superior shooting is always good.


15mm Manufacturers supplying figures for this army

I've only selected people with Hussite wagons in their ranges here. There are lots of generic Medieval figures and knights around.
You can see some of the figures in the Ancients Photo Gallery also on this site

Image Image Image Image
  • Essex Miniatures - 10-strong Bohemian and Hussite range, with wagons
  • Minifigs UK Large Hussite Wars range in their Renaissance section with many wagons (worth it even if you dont like their actual infantry figures).
  • Irregular Minis Hussite range, and wagons in their equipment ranges
  • Vexilia UK (Mirliton & Venexia ranges) No Hussites as such, but the East Europeans are well worth using
  • Lancashire Games Fortified Wagons in their Eastern Renaissance ranges

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

  • C-in-C IC
  • Sub General TC
  • Sub General TC
  • Fortified Camp CAMP
  • Battle Wagons BWG Average Undrilled - Crossbow - Heavy weapon - 2
  • Battle Wagons BWG Average Undrilled - Crossbow - Heavy weapon - 2
  • Battle Wagons BWG Average Undrilled - Crossbow - Heavy weapon - 2
  • Battle Wagons BWG Average Undrilled - Crossbow - Heavy weapon - 2
  • Battle Wagons with Art BWG Average Undrilled - Light artillery - Heavy weapon - 2
  • Battle Wagons with Art BWG Average Undrilled - Light artillery - Heavy weapon - 2
  • Battle Wagons with Art BWG Average Undrilled - Light artillery - Heavy weapon - 2
  • Battle Wagons with Art BWG Average Undrilled - Light artillery - Heavy weapon - 2
  • Bohemian Nobles Kn Superior Undrilled Heavily armoured - Lancers Swordmen - 4
  • Hussite cavalry Cv Average Drilled Armoured - Lancers Swordmen - 4
  • Polearm Infantry HF Average Undrilled Protected - Heavy weapon Heavy weapon - 6
  • Polearm Infantry HF Average Drilled Protected - Heavy weapon Heavy weapon - 6


800 AP with allies

  • 3xTC 105pts
  • 1xBG 4xBwg 92pts
  • 2xBG 2xBwg 92pts
  • 1xBG 2xBwg/w LA 52pts
  • 2xBG 6xHF, Arm, Drilled, HvyW 120pts
  • 1xBG 4xLh Up,avg,XBow 28pts
  • 1XBG 4xCv Arm, Avg, Drilled, Lance, Sword
  • 1xBG 2xHvy Art. 40pts
  • 15 FF 45 pts.

Polish Ally

  • TC 25pts
  • 2xBG 2Kn/2Cv 148pts

11BG 799pts
Remember to leave a line before you copy the above section as a template for your own list

eBay Listings

UK Bookstore



Created by admin. Last Modification: Thursday 27 of May, 2010 20:47:30 BST by admin. (Version 18)
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