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Low Countries

Low Countries

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Historical Overview Section


The Low Countries is the name given to the low-lying land around the delta of the Rhine, Scheldt, and Meuse (Maas) rivers in the Late Middle Ages and Early Modern Europe when strong centrally governed nations were slowly forming and territorial governance was in the hands of a noble or of a noble house. The Low Countries consisted of medieval fiefs, whose sovereignty resided with either the Medieval French Kingdom or the Later Medieval German Holy Roman Empire and which were swapped around by inheritance leading to such historical terms as Burgundian Netherlands, French Netherlands, Spanish Netherlands and Austrian Netherlands. Gradually, separate fiefs were ruled by the same family through intermarriage. This process culminated in the rule of the House of Valois, who were the rulers of the Medieval Burgundian Duchy of Burgundy.

In one of the more famous incidents, in 1302, the population of Bruges started a successful uprising against the Medieval French, who had annexed Flanders a couple of years earlier. On May 18, the French population in that city was massacred, an event that could not go unpunished resulting in the famous Battle of the Golden Spurs (Dutch: Guldensporenslag) between the Flemish people, mostly commoners and farmers, and Philip the Fair’s knights took place near Kortrijk on July 11, resulting in a victory for Flanders. This date is now remembered as a national holiday by the whole Flemish community.

The Flemish were primarily town militia who were well equipped, with such weapons as the Goedendag and a long spear known as the Geldon. They were also well organized; the urban militias of the time prided themselves on their regular training and preparation, which allowed them to use the Geldon effectively. They numbered about 9,000, including 400 nobles. The biggest difference from the Medieval French and other feudal armies was that the Flemish force consisted solely of infantry. The battlefield itself was crossed by numerous ditches and streams causing problems for the French cavalry who were unable to effectively charge the Flemish lines. They sent servants to place wood fascines in the streams but did not wait for this to be completed. The large French infantry force led the initial attack, which went well, but French commander Count Robert II of Artois recalled them so that the noble cavalry could claim the victory. Hindered by their own infantry and the tactically sound position of the Flemish militia, the French cavalry were an easy target for the heavily-armed Flemish. When they realized the battle was lost, the surviving French fled, only to be pursued for miles by the Flemish. Prior to the battle, the Flemish militia had either been ordered to take no prisoners or did not understand (or care for) the military custom of asking for a ransom for captured knights or nobles, and so a great slaughter ensued - leaving many "golden spurs" on the field from dead French knights.

In 1477 the Burgundian holdings in the area, the Ordonnance Burgundian Netherlands passed through an heiress Mary of Burgundy to the Habsburg (Later Medieval German))s. In the following century the "Low Countries" corresponded roughly to the Seventeen Provinces covered by the Pragmatic Sanction of 1549 of Holy Roman Emperor Charles V, which freed the provinces from their archaic feudal obligations.

User-contributed links about this army:

Using the army in FoG

  • If opting for Average knights, make sure to take them in 6's rather than 4's
  • Large units (10-strong) of protected spear or 12's of Pike can be surprising resilient to shooting and in combat, especially when a general is added to the mix.
  • The challenge is deciding what to support them with, as the other foot are allowed in very handy units of 4, boosting unit size and sometimes allowing them to sneak round flanks and get in a charge. It will take 2 of these units to provide rear support for one 10-strong spear block, but can be done with 4 crossbow, longbow or halberdiers in column behind each "join" in the spear line.
  • Taking more than the minimal number of knights may be a mistake. And remember you can always dismount them for extra toughness in the line.
  • The Swiss add even more toughness to the battleline
  • A classic Low Country flat empty plain is probably your worst place on which to fight, closely followed by a mixed rough/uneven patchwork such as you will probably get in their textbook terrain of Developed and Agricultural. Don;t take too much terrain as it can prevent you advancing swiftly and sweeping the enemy from the field.
  • Relying on unit size and rear support to protect from shooting instead of an IC allows you to get that all important first move in.

15mm Manufacturers supplying figures for this army

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

Performance in Tournaments

3 / 10 Later Low Countries Britcon 2008 25mm (open)
5 / 12 SA14 Later Low Countries Northern League R2 2008 (open)
14 / 14 Later Low Countries Roll Call 2008 25mm (open)

Army Lists

Sample army lists for this army
800 AP list

  • 1 Knights Kn Heavily armoured Superior Undrilled - Lancers Swordsmen - 4
  • 2 Spearmen HF Protected Average Drilled - Offensive spearmen - - 8
  • 3 Spearmen HF Protected Average Drilled - Offensive spearmen - - 8
  • 4 Spearmen HF Protected Average Drilled - Offensive spearmen - - 8
  • 5 Spearmen HF Protected Average Drilled - Offensive spearmen - - 8
  • 6 Spearmen HF Protected Average Drilled - Offensive spearmen - - 8
  • 7 Crossbowmen MF Protected Average Drilled Crossbow - - - 4
  • 8 Crossbowmen MF Protected Average Drilled Crossbow - - - 4
  • 9 Archers LF Unprotected Average Drilled bow - - - 4
  • 10 Longbowmen MF Protected Average Drilled longbow - Swordsmen - 6
  • 11 handgunners lf Unprotected Average Drilled Firearm - - - 4
  • 12 Halberdiers HF Protected Average Drilled - Heavy weapon Heavy weapon - 4
  • 13 Halberdiers HF Protected Average Drilled - Heavy weapon Heavy weapon - 4
  • CinC TC - - - - - - - 1
  • Sub-commanders TC - - - - - - - 3



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

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