Monday 14 May 2012
Burgundian Ordonnance - 13th Company
My first mounted completed unit of mounted men at arms, the first of several which will form the offensive backbone of Charles the Bold's army, representing the 13th company of the Ordonnance. This unit uses the most recent Perry plastic box, with a couple of metal scurrors from the WR range.
The 13th company had several captains during Charles' dukedom. Around 1475 following the siege of Neuss, Thanaseor de Capoue was appointed. This was a time when an increasing number of italian condottiere were being sought and recruited by the duke in a deliberate policy to increase the professionalism of his forces, so superseding many of those originally appointed from his Burgundian territories. Capoue is denoted in the central stand, wearing a coat with his personal coat of arms. The guidon for the 13th Company appears to have portrayed the image of St John, so I've used one of the excellent downloads from the Krigsspil website. The sharp-eyed amongst you will notice this is a different guidon to the previous post, as I realised that I'd attached the wrong one!
I decided to represent these 'chef de chambres', as contemporary documents refer to them as, on unbarded horses. I also plan to do this with the remainder of the contingents. There is no hard evidence for this approach. The 1471 ducal ordinances stated that such men at arms must provide a horse with a combat saddle and chamfron. Near contemporary illustrations are also inconclusive; the 'Master WA' drawings show a group of men at arms or coustillers all on unbarded horses. Diebold Schilling's chronicle of c1480 shows most of the Burgundian men at arms at the battle of Morat on plate-armoured mounts bearing various Charles' devices, such as crosses and flints (which may just be an artist representation to denote them, rather than reflective of actual men at arms). The reality was that such armour was expensive and so unlikely to be very widespread, even with the deep pockets of the Burgundian dukes. So I'll save the barding for units with the main commanders, to denote them more easily on the battlefield.
The coustiller used is carrying a heavy lance, which again is a bit of licence on my part. The 1471 ordinances required them to carry a 'good javelin'. The assumption is that coustillers formed a second rank to the men at arms and if so, then I believe it's reasonable to assume that some may have used a lance, rather than a spear, to add to the impetus of a charge.
I've also added to some of the figures another element of the Burgundian Ordonnance troops - the red saltire emblem that denoted them in the field. As laid out in 1471, they were provided with crosses made of cloth to attach their harness. I've cut these from thin foil and superglued on - but in future I'll try pre-cut plastic strip to try and achieve thinner crosses.