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Brandon S.

Location: Virginia
Joined: 03 Oct 2006

Posts: 4

PostPosted: Tue 03 Oct, 2006 11:43 am    Post subject: Militia         Reply with quote

I'm interested in hearing your opinions about the best use of militia as a primary means of defense ( assume a small supplemental professional force). How would you arm and equip them.
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Max von Bargen

Location: Stanford, CA
Joined: 13 Jul 2006
Reading list: 10 books

Posts: 144

PostPosted: Tue 03 Oct, 2006 12:56 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Interesting question, but we'll probably need a bit more clarification. First of all, what do you mean by "militia?" What time period/part of the world are you referring to? What kind of resources would be at this hypothetical militia's disposal? Against whom would they be defending? (Could include multiple types of opponents, but an 8th-century Carolingian militia would be facing very different threats than a 15th-century Turkish militia.) I'd be happy to answer, but I am going to need some more information.

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Sean Belair
Industry Professional

Joined: 08 Aug 2006

Posts: 147

PostPosted: Tue 03 Oct, 2006 1:30 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

if we are talking about 15th century i would say, a padded jack with a short mail shirt over it, sallet or wide brimmed kettle hat, with gauntlets and upper leg armor were possible. for weapons half with crossbows half with halberds. i figure it would make a flexible force that would be equally qualified for chasing cattle thieves as guarding my camp on campaign.

if were talking modern i think the army reserve is the gold standard
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Brandon S.

Location: Virginia
Joined: 03 Oct 2006

Posts: 4

PostPosted: Tue 03 Oct, 2006 2:00 pm    Post subject: Militia         Reply with quote

Thanks for the responses. Here's some clarification
(militia: military organization of citizens with limited military training, which is available for emergency service, usually for local defense.)
Assume limited resources, on the order of a 100 square mile rural area.
Assume mid 14th century to early 15th century
Assume potential of multiple opponents
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Kenneth Armstrong

Location: Alexandria, VA (for the moment)
Joined: 24 Aug 2006

Posts: 13

PostPosted: Tue 03 Oct, 2006 2:11 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

To make it more interesting (as in playing general), how many troops are you limited to? This would be important to know so that you could assign various positions to what resources you have. What various skills would your militia members have? Are some of them carpenters (to assist with the design of temporary fortifications while the other troops could be used as manpower to help build the camp). Any proficient hunters I would use for scouts in the case that multiple opponents were a major concern. Regular brute force peasants would be on guard and patrols. Could you raise a blacksmith or two to assist with repairs of equipment and weapons? Any horsemen I would use as cavalry, unless in a heavily wooded area, I wouldn't bother with that. Cross training is key here if your manpower is limited, but if you have very little time just position your men in appropriate tasks to defend against (or attack) the type of forces that opposed you.

I could go on forever on hypothetical topics like this!
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Jean Thibodeau

Location: Montreal,Quebec,Canada
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PostPosted: Tue 03 Oct, 2006 6:58 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

A lot of weapons skills are culturally dependant: Large numbers of quality archers are dependant on archery being at least important for hunting as an example.

Brandon: I assume that in your fantasy of preference your choices might be different than mine. The following are going to be my preferences with my assumptions about " AN " imaginary culture.

Since one can choose some favourable conditions that would help make a culture martially competent here are a few thoughts about what skills / traditions I would give my ideal population: First the peasant class would be freemen, the nobility if any would be " nobles " because of being richer because of land, being successful merchants and hopefully because of weapon skills, bravery, reputation for honour, leadership and honesty.

The level of armament would be a social responsibility were the richer one is the more complete and expensive would be the equipment that would have to be owned and the very rich would have to support small but very professional bands of warriors. Some of which would be the equivalent of Knights in equipment and training, but some might function only as heavy infantry ( Housecarls ) and possibly as mounted infantry as a rapid defence force supporting a small cavalry unit.

As to cultural skills: First it would be good if every boy and many of the girls would learn the use of the sling as this would mean that almost all of the militia would be able to use slings as an emergency backup weapon. In the field the whole force would be able to use available rocks to save on valuable arrows or if all arrows or other missile weapons were used up. In any case, the use of slings for hunting small game or to take out sentries or if a group of non-missile troops were to be isolated without archers or crossbowmen they could surprise an enemy like horse archer with some degree of firepower.

Next, skill in the use of throwing axes, javelins and archery.

With hand weapons: Skill with spears used alone and with the shield and sword and buckler. What would help would be a lot of competitive use of these as sport and entertainment would help to have a competent with weapons militia.

The mindset of " my " population could be called a non-predatory warrior culture very ready to fight, valuing their freedom above all but with a very live and let live attitude to their neighbours: The kind of folks who wouldn't attack without cause but if provoked would be very scary and relentless in counter attack.

Apart from good individual skills there should be some regular seasonal large formation drill and a systematic set of commands to fight in a disciplined way.

Minimum equipment for a citizen soldier: Some sort of helm or kettle hat, a coat of plates or gambison or brigantine, a shield or buckler, spear or halberd, axe or mace, knife or dagger and the universally carried sling.

The better equipped would have a sword and a maille hauberk or shorter haubergeois instead or in combination with the coat of plates, gambison or brigantine and some splinted armour for forearms and lower legs.

Missile troops would have similar defensive equipment but substitute shield and spear for bow or crossbow with some skirmishers being armed with multiple javelins.

The best armed / armoured would be like transitional armour period Knights with varying degrees of maille and plate armour and capable of fighting as infantry or cavalry.

Pike, halberd supported by archers and crossbowman would be units formed by city and the larger villages and mostly armed this way for set battles as opposed to civil defence from " raiders "

Some large warwagon might also be used as mobile forts and against a " horse archer " based enemy: Early hangonnes. hackbuts and small canon uses like giant shotguns would arm the warwagons as well as crossbowmen and archers.

A few large siege crossbows or ballista mounted on carts might be good for some accurate long range snipping at those horse archers.

Oh, a series of watch towers could signal any danger with mirror, semaphore, horn or gong or smoke signals: Most of these towers would not be more than a small round stockade with a wooden tower. Some stone towers could be built at strategic spots that could have value as emergency rallie points or refuges: Small but tall stone tower, a small stone inner court with some storage / shelter buildings on the inner wall and finally a large outer earthwork with stockade only defended or defendable when used as a refuge or staging / rally point for an army.

Anyway, one could go on and on figuring out a lot more about an imaginary medieval type social / military organization.

You can easily give up your freedom. You have to fight hard to get it back!
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