Viking and Leidang

Vikings and Leidang

Historical Overview Section

List 150

"In medieval Scandinavian languages, a vikingr is a pirate, a freebooter who seeks wealth either by ship-borne raids on foreign coasts or by waylaying more peaceful seafarers in home waters. There is also an abstract noun viking, meaning 'the act of going raiding overseas'.... Strictly speaking, therefore, the term should only be applied to men actually engaged in these violent pursuits, and not to every contemporary Scandinavian farmer, merchant, settler or craftsman, nor even to warriors fighting in the dynastic wars of their lords or in their own private feuds. However, it was the raiders who made the most impact on the Europe of their time, so that it has become customary to apply the term 'Viking Age' to the period of Scandinavian History beginning in the 790's (the time of the first recorded raids on Western Europe) and petering out somewhere round the middle of the eleventh century (by which time raids and emigrations had ceased, the settlements established abroad had become thoroughly integrated with the local populations, and social changes in the Scandinavian homelands had marked the transition to their true Middle Ages). Indeed, the term is such a convenient label for the distinctive culture of this period that one now talks not only of 'Viking ships' and 'Viking weapons' but of 'Viking art', 'Viking houses', and even 'Viking agriculture' - expressions which would have seemed meaningless to people living at the time."
(Jacqueline Simpson. Everyday Life in the Viking Age. New York: Dorset. 1967.)

Using the army in ADLG

  • The Bondi Spearmen are less effective than you might like, but the Huscarls are very dangerous
  • Fast-moving swordsmen can sweep enemies off table quite quickly
  • This is a simple and often single-minded army. The Vikings game plan is almost inevitably going to be to form a long line and advance, and the Huscarls job is to sit in the middle and walk forwards acting as an aggressive anvil against which the enemy's best troops should end up beating themselves (hopefully!) to death
  • Taking a Scots ally gives you a mix of MF and HF, and can boost the number of Elite Impetuous Swordsmen in the army up to 4, giving a dangerous force that can have a proper go at enemy infantry in the open as well as dominating the rough.
  • There are very few Light Foot allowed and you will take them all. Their function is simply to absorb as much enemy shooting as possible in order to help the Heavy Infantry get into combat with as few hits as possible. As such, the Light Foot javelinmen may well even be allowed to die - they will also look to position themselves to maximise the amount of shooting they are absorbing as every shot they take is one which the Heavy Infantry are not being shot at!

Using the army in ADLG against Huns or similar

Assume you lost the initiative and are in a mostly open table. First, what is each side’s “theory of victory” in this match-up? If you don’t have conception or plan about how you win you probably won’t…

Vikings: You need to force the Huns to actually fight you, while avoiding being flanked decisively. The base calculation here is that if you advance 2 UD every turn, starting from 5 UD in at deployment AND keep the Huns in front of you in turn 5 you are 15 UD and in turn 6 you are 17UD across the table and at about that point the Huns have to fight or flee off the table. Now the Huns know this as well so they are going to try and avoid this and try and slide around your side so they aren’t going straight back, they will try and arrange to fall back somewhat diagonally to buy themselves more time/room, try to get you to spend time not advancing and pushing them, etc. The nastiest thing they will do is shoot then fall back and march to the other side of the table YOU MUST NOT LET THIS HAPPEN. Your job as a Viking is to nullify as much of this BS as possible and push them back or into a corner where they have to fight.

So how do you do this?

First, you deploy carefully. DO NOT leave multiple open flanks. Bow armed cavalry are basically just as expensive as Spearmen so are unlikely to outnumber the legions. So you should be thinking in terms of one elements of HI for every cavalry. If a Spearman or Swordsman charges a cavalry it is a fight in your favour at +1 (armor) vs. +0 (elite) this is a good fight for the legion. Stay together don’t expose two flanks, you probably can’t avoid exposing one. The Huns might/will try and turn your flank. The one thing you don’t want to do is have your Medium Foot groups isolated on their own – especially on the open flank. If you do that you can guarantee that the Hun will send every man on a horse to kill them. They are much much more vulnerable than the Spear line. This goes equally for small groups of cavalry or light cavalry in a Dark Age army. If you put them somewhere the shooty cavalry can get at them they will do it and do it hard. They can’t compete with masses of bow armed cavalry – don’t try. This is equally true for a Roman cavalry group. NO the Dark Age guys can’t take a few cavalry and “skirmish” with the Huns. That leads to a lot of dead Dark Age cavalry. They aren’t useless but you have to use them extremely careful.

Put that group in one of two places depending on the terrain. It either goes in the middle of your army OR it goes on the edge of the army next to a waterway. Both of these are dangerous locations for our Hun to mass cavalry and you would in fact like them to do so. Why? In either location you push forward and there is a line of legions that are placed to cut off the retreat routes. Sure they can just flee away but that is what you want and eventually the Hun is going to flee and want to turn to one flank or the other to find more space. This is the secret sauce if you will of pushing someone off the table. They need to make this turn while they still have table space to get out of the way. If they can’t march (and more on marching below) that means the cavalry is going to turn and move 3 UD one turn and maybe more 4 more UD the next turn. You need to be able to catch them before they squirt off to the side of your legion by any means necessary. Your ZOC extends out 1 UD and as you advance you can slide 1 UD to the side for free. Always be looking to get the Hun into a position they can’t turn away to the flank. Normally, a cavalry army needs to start thinking about this maneuver when they are about 5 UD from their base table edge at least.

5UD is usually the magic point as that is the last spot they can be assured of not fleeing off the table and being pretty sure they can turn and start moving sideways. When the Huns decide they are going to try and can opener your flank – be ready for that and start turning. Be ready to get heavy troops all the way to the table edge or nearly the table edge. This is a place the M Cav can help if you are careful. They move a bit faster so you can use them to fill the last little gap BUT they need infantry supporting them or they are victims.

Get the rest of your army turning as well – remember you have a foot unit for every MC Bow. Yes the LC Bow are annoying and will shoot at you and you want to keep them from getting behind you but fundamentally they aren’t that dangerous. One key to remember is that you are marching on an interior line, behind your rear, so you have less distance to cover than the cavalry player. This can often let you match any big turning/flanking maneuver.

Once all this has happened do what you can to prevent the MC from being able to march move again. March moves are sneakily dangerous.

Your goal here to create a fight where the Huns are forced to fall back to and edge somewhere so they can’t simply keep retreating. That can be their back edge, your back edge, or a side – somewhere they are going to commit their troops. DON’T let them commit then slide sideways to an open part of the table. That is how you lose. If you have to this is the point to sacrifice some cavalry/light cavalry/medium infantry to hold them in place while the legions catch-up.

When you do this ALWAYS charge them every turn you can. It forces them back – closer to an edge and it stops half their shooting. Even better is if you can force them back and break up their groups. That over time will pip starve them and they will become less efficient and/or leave you elements you can scoop up by preventing flees. Similarly, don’t let your army get broken up into tiny groups. Each Corps can fairly easily support two groups, but once you are at three or more you risk being unable to charge due to lack of pips.

LMI and especially MI shooters are extremely useful here. DO NOT place them alone on your flanks as unsupported they are vulnerable and a good target. Nestled safely in the midst of heavy infantry they provide powerful firepower and are like all weak points in an unpleasant place to attack.

Terrain considerations:

Always try for the waterway, it is generally helpful. If you get a waterway don’t bother with the village it isn’t helpful as it most likely is sitting on your base edge on the waterway which is not a useful spot.
Don’t get overly obsessed with RGo especially of the fields/brush sort. Unless you have a lot of medium infantry – especially medium infantry that shoots (not a forte) it doesn’t make that much difference. Its biggest value is letting LI stand up to mounted so it is of some value but not hugely. Next biggest use is dummy ambush markers preventing marches..
If you are somewhere that isn’t steppes/plains then you want DGo. The single most dangerous thing you can place for the Huns is a piece of DGo (or impassable) sitting on their baseline dividing up the deployment zone. This generally will compact their army which is good and even better dramatically cut down their ability to march away from your advance. Watch out as the counter-move to this is often to flank march. That is not terrible for you unless you deploy badly and get caught out by it.

User-contributed links about this army:

  • Fanaticus Banner download page with useful banners for this army
  • Viking Flags and some others from Don't Roll a One
  • Raven Banner More flags
  • More flags from an Hour of Wolves site
  • http://www.vikinganswerlady.com/ A very useful link to a universal site. Not going to be a great use for figurine painting etc, but a great resource for knowing everything there is to know about Vikings. There are links within links too. Check it out.
  • Norse Viking/Leidang DBA Figure Gallery for this army - from Fanaticus
  • Vikings DBA Figure Gallery for this army - from Fanaticus
  • Vikings DBA Figure Gallery for this army - from Fanaticus
  • Leidang DBA Figure Gallery for this army - from Fanaticus

15mm Manufacturers supplying figures for this army

A full listing of all known 15mm manufacturers for all ranges with details of who supplies what can be found in my 15mm Suppliers directory. You can see some of these figures in the Ancients Photo Gallery also on this site

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Army Lists

Sample army lists for this army
200 points - BIG Abona 2019
Command 1 - Ordinary Included General
2 Huscarles; Heavy swordsmen 2HW Elite
1 Light infantry; Light infantry javelin Ordinary
3 Viking Bondi Warriors; Heavy swordsmen Ordinary
1 Huscarls (General Included); Heavy swordsmen 2HW Elite
Command 2 - Competent General
3 Viking Bondi Warriors; Heavy swordsmen Ordinary
2 Huscarles; Heavy swordsmen 2HW Elite
2 Archers; Bowmen Ordinary
2 Beserkers; Medium swordsmen impetuous Elite
1 Irish Warriors; Medium swordsmen Ordinary
1 Light infantryman; Light infantry javelin
Command 3 - Scots Ally, Competent
4 Scots Warriors; Medium swordsmen
2 Attecotti; Medium swordsmen impetuous Elite
1 Light infantryman; Light infantry javelin

200 Points: Played by Thierry Moliere at Seclin in January 2015

Corps 1:

  • Brilliant general
  • 3 Huscarls, Elite Heavy swordsmen 2HW, Armour
  • 2 Warriors, Heavy swordsmen
  • 3 Irish mercenaries, Medium swordsmen 2HW
  • 2 Bowmen
  • 1 Light infantry javelin

Corps 2:

  • Ordinary general
  • 2 Huscarls, Elite Heavy swordsmen 2HW, Armour
  • 4 Warriors, Heavy swordsmen
  • 1 Light infantry javelin

Corps 3:

  • Ordinary general, Allied included (Bretons)
  • 2 Heavy cavalry Elite
  • 1 Medium cavalry
  • 2 Light Cavalry javelin

300 Points from BHGS CHallenge 2014

1st Corps(120)

  • Brilliant Commander in Chief (10)
  • 5 Huscarls Hvy swords 2HW elite armour(65)
  • 2 Irish Mercenaries Med swords 2HW(16)
  • 2 Berserkers Med swords impetuous elite(18)
  • 1 Viking Warriors Med swords impetuous(7)
  • 1 Light Inf Jav(4)

2nd Corps(93)

  • Competent Commander(5)
  • 4 Huscarls Hvy swords 2HW elite armour(52)
  • 4 Viking Warriors Med swords impetuous(28)
  • 2 Light Inf Bow(8)

3rd Corps(60)

  • Ordinary Commander0)
  • 4 Irish Mercenaries Med swords 2HW(32)
  • 4 Viking Warriors Med swords impetuous(28)

4th Corps Armourican Breton Allies(27)

  • Allied Commander(-5) included(-5)
  • 1 Heavy Cavalry(9) w/corp commander
  • 4 Medium Cavalry(28)

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