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Franks, Alemanni, Burgundi, Suevi

Historical Overview Section

The Franks were Germanic tribes first identified in the 3rd century living north and east of the Lower Rhine. From the third to fifth centuries various groups of Franks raided Roman territory while other Franks joined the Roman troops in Gaul. In the climate of the collapse of imperial authority in the West, the Frankish tribes were united under the Merovingians and conquered all of Gaul save Septimania in the 6th century.

From the 3rd century onward there was continual friction between the Dominate Romans and the Frankish tribes as many kept invading and raiding Roman territory, including client states such as those of the Batavii and Menapii. When Dominate Roman administration collapsed in Gaul in 260 due to a joint invasion of Franks and Alamanni, The Germanic Batavian Postumus was forced (yeah, right, "forced" - ho humm..) to usurp central authority to restore order, and Franks became a central part of the Foederate Roman army as well as a major enemy. This proximity has led many historians to postulate that Frankish armies and warfare was organised far more closely along Roman lines than is catered for under this list.

The primary sources for Frankish military custom and armament are Ammianus Marcellinus, Agathias, and Procopius, the latter two Eastern Roman historians writing about Frankish intervention in the Gothic War. Writing of 539, Procopius says: At this time the Franks, hearing that both the Goths and Foederate Romans had suffered severely by the war . . . forgetting for the moment their oaths and treaties . . . (for this nation in matters of trust is the most treacherous in the world), they straightway gathered to the number of one hundred thousand under the leadership of Theudebert and marched into Italy: they had a small body of cavalry about their leader, and these were the only ones armed with spears, while all the rest were foot soldiers having neither bows nor spears, but each man carried a sword and shield and one axe. Now the iron head of this weapon was thick and exceedingly sharp on both sides, while the wooden handles was very short. And they are accustomed always to throw these axes at one signal in the first charge and thus to shatters the shields of the enemy and kill the men.

His contemporary, Agathias, says: The military equipment of this people (the Franks) is very simple. . . . They do not know the use of the coat of mail or greaves and the majority leave the head uncovered, only a few wear the helmet. They have their chests bare and backs naked to the loins, they cover their thighs with either leather or linen. They do not serve on horseback except in very rare cases. Fighting on foot is both habitual and a national custom and they are proficient in this. At the hip they wear a sword and on the left side their shield is attached. They have neither bows nor slings, no missile weapons except the double edged axe and the angon which they use most often. The angons are spears which are neither very short nor very long they can be used, if necessary, for throwing like a javelin, and also in hand to hand combat

The Frankish kingdoms were replaced by the Merovingians, a Salian Frankish dynasty that came to rule the Franks in a region largely corresponding to ancient Gaul from the middle of the fifth century

Using the army in ADLG

  • Maximise the Elite Heavy Swordsmen as a minimum, and consider the Frank option very seriously. This will mean going with the Strategist, and clustering most if not all of the Impetuous foot in one big command with the big boss.
  • A good LI screen can help stave off the need to charge impetuously for a while.
  • Having too many Impetuous cavalry may make command and control impossible - unless you accept that they are a sacrificial missile to occupy the enemy while your foot overwhelm them

User-contributed links about this army. Add links in this format:

  • Early Frankish DBA Figure Gallery for this army - from Fanaticus
  • Early Franks DBA Figure Gallery for this army - from Fanaticus
  • Early Franks DBA Figure Gallery for this army - from Fanaticus
  • Early Franks DBA Figure Gallery for this army - from Fanaticus

15mm Manufacturers supplying figures for this army

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

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Army Lists

Sample army lists for this army

200 Points

  • 3 of these
  • 4 of these
  • etc
  • etc


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