Tuesday, July 29, 2008

New Recruits-The Captal de Buch

At the Battle of Poitiers nearly the entire English force was dismounted. Arrayed in the traditional three battles of medieval warfare, Edward, the Prince of Wales, the Earl of Salisbury, and the Earl of Warwick commanded roughly equal sized forces mixed between longbowmen and men-at-arms. Though the exact numbers are unclear, it is likely the English army numbered about 7,500 men.

Not all the soldiers, however, were English. Some were Welsh, a few were German, and some were French, Gascons from Guienne, or Aquitaine, an English possession in France since the marriage of Henry II to Eleanor of Aquitaine in 1152. Among the Gascon participants at Poitiers were knights/men-at-arms, crossbowmen, and the tiny mounted force under the Captal de Buch.

The Captal was a feudal title. His actual name was Jean de Grailly, one of the Black Prince's loyal knights that like Sir John Chandos, Sir James Audley and a host of titled soldiers remained companions throughout his life. At Poitiers the Captal led his command of perhaps 180 mounted Gascon knights and crossbowmen around the French left flank and into their rear while they were engaged with the English to their front. This led to the disintegration of the French main battle and the capture of King Jean. The Captal continued in English service until his capture in 1372. He was deemed too dangerous to be ransomed and died in French custody in 1377.

The figures are Front Rank mounted knights from the Hundred Years War range. I bought these in a deal with David Sullivan some years ago, and I am thrilled to paint up most of what I had left. I decided to make this army as colorful as possible by trying to paint historically accurate heraldry to the best of my limited ability, and providing a fair number of banners. The banners those that I downloaded from Dansk Figursspilsforening and painted over. They are mounted directly on the sizable lances included on the figures. The Captal is mounted on the black caparisoned horse with the gold and black banner.

I also remounted some figures for Medieval Warfare. It's likely they will be the only figures I remount from my singly mounted pile of HYW miniatures. These are Irish kerns, originally made by Corvus Belli, but since picked up by Crusader Miniatures. Crusader/Corvus's HYW very nice, if pretty abbreviated. I've painted up the knights and mounted command figures, as well as a pack's worth of the kerns. Kerns were Irish skirmishers, noted for their skill as foragers, er, pillagers, em, looters, armed chiefly with javelin and clucking chicken.

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