In the Dark Ages formed bowmen units were rare. The bow was a hunting weapon and some were used in war but they were not the most effective weapons. The power of them and the large shields, helmets and mail used made them of limited use. Bows were not seen as a true mans weapon of war as well in Western Europe. This meant that they were used mainly by second line troops – the poor and less motivated, who were less interested in going toe to toe with opponents.
All that said, it does not mean that I did not want some for my dark age forces as many armies have a few of these available in their lists. So I thought I’d show the ones I have done so far.
As you can see I have 12 bases – shown here in 3 units of 4, which have 3 figures per base. These are not a specific army based as various armies all across Europe from Britain to Byzantium really had these types of troops. They are good for welsh and the Northern Russian tribes just as well to my mind, which had more bow armed troops in their forces.
Some of these have shields and even some types of armour. The bow was not super effective but some groups used it more extensively so having figures like that. They may also just have that for added morale for themselves as well. These will work for the bow armed ‘local’ troops raised by commanders and lords to support their war effort. These may also be good for showing local forces who are better than hordes/rabble and armed with their own bows etc but still not experts.
These could be used in armies from late Rome up to the early 12th century to my mind. They will reflect the lower class troops using bows and what they could get to support armies. Their clothing would change a little but for my mind in 15mm those changes will not be that visible on the tabletop. Likely too many of them have shields for the lower class troops but they will do.
The basing of the troops matches all the others I have done for these forces. The figures are all from Oldglory15’s as normal for these forces. So these match up to the troops done already without an issue.
Some of the DBA forces for the period require a bow with 4 figures, so I decided to do a few bases with 4 figures per base. I like to do figures in groups of 4’s so they work for Hail Caesar units. They likely are be better quality bowmen or at least those committed to the bow as their weapon of choice. They can be used to show other differences in units – such as being an elite unit. So, for these I used models without shields.
With the low numbers of bows in many armies of the period these may be the bows for one side of a force and the 3 per base guys may be on the other. These are all done in fairly bland, earth/natural colour outfits and not brightly clothed. I wanted to highlight that these were not the rich or powerful in any way.
So there we are another lot of figures for the Dark Ages forces.