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Lafayette C Curtis

Location: Indonesia
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PostPosted: Tue 07 Dec, 2010 7:10 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Lorenzo E.C. Perring wrote:

Yes, I've read that the Normans relied a lot on mercenaries during the conquest. But where would they have come from? I think it was mentioned that he had some from Flanders, Brittany, France and even parts of Italy. These mercenaries seemed to have had an influence on Norman tactics also. The much debated withdrawal that drew out the English is said to have been a tactic often used by the soldiers of Brittany, and it was this that eventually caught the Anglo-Saxons out.

This one is a bit tricky. Note that not all soldiers who weren't William's feudal subjects could really be called "mercenaries;" the Bretons were one of at least two instances of a nearly self-contained allied armies joining William's forces. It's also worth noting that the Bretons had a great deal of Alan influence from settlers transplanted there in Roman times, and it has been theorized that it was this very influence that made the Bretons rely more on skirmishing tactics than their Norman neighbors. However, in all the discussions I've seen so far, this skirmishing tendency has been taken to refer to the Breton horsemen, not the infantry.

Another interesting point is the theory that a significant proportion of the Norman foot were not really infantry at all, but rather men-at-arms who had to fight on foot because there weren't enough transports available to bring their horses along. This may have been backed up by the Norman pay records if they still existed--let me go and see where I first read about that.

Note, also, that some of the Norman ships apparently came from areas known for the quality of their marines (some specific Flemish cities? I forgot which ones), and some of these may have landed along with the invasion force.
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