THE THREE PERIODS
The Early Period:
By 1087 England is, for the most part, firmly in the control of its Norman overlords. The King, his courtiers and the great lords are all French-speaking Normans, and most hold lands on both sides of the English Channel. England is only one part of a larger, Norman domain but is increasingly wealthy due to the wool trade. The King’s holdings in France, it has to be said, are far more valuable than his English provinces.
This basic position on both a defensible island and on the continent brings opportunities and problems for an English King. The kingdom is sprawling and not always easy to defend at every point. There are also political considerations: thanks to ancient oaths of fealty, the English King is nominally a vassal of the French King. This status is ignored by English Kings as a matter of course, but is a bone of contention with France. The English ambition to gain land and power at the expense of France is another issue in the two nations’ intertwined histories. The English kings are, of course, Catholic, but they are not above struggles with Rome over who controls the Church in England, a struggle that has still to be played out to a conclusion. That said, the Kings of England are largely pious and god-fearing.
As always, when looking to expand, the English must look both close to home and across the seas to France. With holdings in France an attack there can look tempting, but any English ruler who doesn’t keep an eye on Scotland at the same time is asking for trouble. Scotland, Wales and Ireland can be subdued first, but it is likely to be at a high cost in blood and treasure. In turn, this risks an attack by the French. And once conquered, new lands will need to be firmly occupied. All that said, the English have Norman vigour and a growing sense of national identity to bind them together under a strong war leader. They have the potential to flower into a great western empire.
In 1205 England is a land with potential greatness, but one that has suffered hard knocks in the previous decades and seen its power diminished. The English still have the potential to become a great continental power, uniting the home islands and France beneath a single crown. This almost came about under Henry II fifty years ago, but since then his Angevin empire has been divided and lost.
England has become an island nation, but a potentially wealthy one (English wealth is based almost exclusively on its unglamorous but profitable wool trade). The fearsome Welsh longbow has begun to make its contribution to English armies too. The overseas holdings of the English Kings are much reduced, lost to the French in a series of disastrous bargains, wars and acts of foolishness. At one point almost masters in France, the English have been on the defensive for generations, holding on to the last valuable lands they own.
However, the English are now the master in their island home. The Welsh have been subdued, if not yet crushed; Wales still needs strong garrisons. Ireland too is an English possession, although this too needs a formidable garrison. The Scots can be contained, probably, and permanent conquest of Scotland (or dynastic chicanery to achieve the same ends) remains an English ambition, and one that could be fulfilled with sufficient effort.
Looking abroad, there are the lost French lands of the Angevin kings to re-conquer. The kingdom of France may now rule much of France, but any English king could – and should – make a good claim to rule on French soil. The few lands in France that remain are valuable in themselves, but also offer a toehold to launch an attack to retake what is rightfully English! And once conquered, these lands will need garrisons to protect them from inevitable French reprisals. This struggle for dominance with the French will need to be uppermost in any English ruler’s mind, and guide his choice of allies in both the short and long term.
Overall, the English still represent a credible force in the race to become a power in western Christendom.
Over the last century or so English kings have had mixed fortunes. The current ruler, Edward II, faces the hostility of the great nobles at every turn. Poorly considered disputes with the Papacy, fellow monarchs and great lords at home have all weakened the throne considerably. The English, for example, are a pious people and the Kings have suffered accordingly when going against papal authority. The Magna Carta has, in theory, made the King subject to the rule of law in the same way as his subjects, limiting his freedom to govern as he sees fit. England has also changed at the lower levels of society. A new class of petty landowners has come into being, the yeomen. There are still poor farmers, of course, but the yeomen have added greatly to the wealth of the country, and in parallel with their rising wealth they have greater expectations and pride in their new status. They are far less willing to submit meekly to their social betters, as once would have been the case. The loyalty of Englishmen and their willingness to pay taxes at the whim of the King can no longer be counted upon!
Even with these concerns, England is wealthy and relatively well governed. The Welsh and Irish are, for the most part, safely subdued. Scotland remains the thorn in English flesh, one that will always need careful attention. All English Kings still hope for the uniting of the English and French crowns – worn, of course, by an Englishman. These ambitions are not as hopeless as they might seem for, although the old Angevin lands are gone, England may still have strength enough to conquer what her Kings claim in France. In turn, the French extend their claim of feudal sovereignty beyond the old English holdings in France to English holdings in England! It is not so many years since French soldiers harried the south coast of England. This continuing struggle for dominance with the French will need to be uppermost in any English ruler’s mind, and guide his choice of allies.
Overall, the English position has promise. The strengths of the country have been ill served, under-used and squandered, but the potential for greatness under a strong leader is very real.
UNIQUE ENGLISH UNITS
The billhook was a farming tool: an axe-and-hook with a long handle. After it had evolved into a weapon, it could hack, stab or drag a man to his death. English Billmen are well trained in fighting against armoured and mounted soldiers, pulling knights or men-at-arms to their deaths! Billmen get a +3 attack and defence bonus against cavalry. The billhook also fits in to the pole-arm class of weapon which provides additional bonuses when defending against a cavalry charge.
Welsh and English Longbowmen are the finest archers in Europe, well able to create a storm of arrows against targets 300m away. Even knights are vulnerable thanks to the armour-piercing bodkin arrowheads they use. Longbowmen are often best when the enemy is forced to attack and then shot down!
OTHER ENGLISH UNITS
|· Genoese Sailors
|· Religious Fanatics
|· Urban Militia
|· Alan Mercenary Cavalry
|· Militia Sergeants
|· Pavise Crossbows
|· Feudal Knights
|· Bombard Mortar
|· Chivalric Foot Knights
|· Knights Templar
|· Pavise Arbalester
|· Feudal Man at Arms
|· Chivalric Knights
|· Culverin Crew
|· Chivalric Man at Arms
|· Royal Knights
|· Demicannon Crew
|· Spanish Jinetes
|· Serpentine Crew
|· Feudal Foot Knights
|· Lithuanian Cavalry
|· Siege Cannon Crew
|· Mounted Sergeants
|· Feudal Sergeants
|· Chivalric Sergeants
|· Order Footsoldiers
An assassin kills people. When dropped onto another character, the assassin will try to kill that character. His chance of success depends on his own skills and the importance of the target.
A Catholic bishop improves the faith of the Catholic flock in his current province. He will only affect Catholic followers, not Orthodox Christians as well.
A cardinal is a powerful figure in the Catholic Church hierarchy, and his mere presence does much to boost the faith of Catholics.
An emissary is a noble- or high-born man trained in diplomacy and sent to deal with rival monarchs and other nobility. An emissary acts as the eyes and ears of his master in his current location.
It is the grand inquisitor’s calling to root out heresy and dissent wherever he finds it among the Catholic faithful. His presence in a province vastly reduces heresy, increases public zeal and will usually cow any rebellious population, as he often inspires outright terror!
It is an inquisitor’s calling to root out heresy and dissent in the Catholic flock. His presence in a province reduces heresy and can cow the whole population, thanks to his harsh reputation.
A princess is an asset to her family, acting as an emissary of sorts. She can be married to a general to encourage his loyalty, or she can be married into another royal family to cement an alliance. Her new royal husband may then have a claim to her father’s lands.
A spy discovers information about your rivals. A spy sees everything about the province and any armies where he is standing. A spy can also be used to find out about a character’s hidden vices, and can plant evidence of treachery. He can also cause discontent in rivals’ provinces.
ENGLANDS GLORIOUS ACHIEVEMENTS
Here are some of the English objectives that will apply when the ‘Glorious Achievements’ victory condition is selected:
Kingdom of England:
The heart of England must be defended against incursions. Points are counted at 1204, 1320 and 1453. The following provinces must be controlled:
Control more than 2/3 rds of the wool trade. Points are counted at 1250, 1300, 1350, 1400, and 1450.
Own Normandy and Aquitane 1453.
Crush the Scots:
The ‘Auld Alliance’ continues to help the Scots defy English sovereignty over Scotland. The defeat of these unruly highlanders will be a testament to your faction’s greatness”. Own Scotland in 1320.
Successfully launch a crusade.
Here are some of the campaign historical events that directly affect the English:
The Constitutions of Clarendon:
The King of England has issued 16 articles, defining all the legal dealings between the Church and his servants. These articles limit the powers and rights of the clergy and the Pope when dealing with English matters. The English King gains +1 Influence and -1 Piety as a result.
The lords and barons of England have succeeded in limiting the King’s powers over them and lesser men in the land. While the King’s standing suffers a little (-1 Influence), this act binds the nobility closely to their monarch. +3 Loyalty to all English Generals.
The code of knighthood binds men to behave in a brave and honourable manner, defend the weak, protect the virtuous, and give and receive every courtesy to friends and foes alike. Chivalry is an ideal that is not always achieved, but its emphasis on virtue helps to spread the Catholic faith more widely.
The Hundred Years War:
The ‘Hundred Years War’ was fought by England and France from 1337 to 1457, although warfare was by no means continuous during this period. English kings felt that they had good claims to much of France and even to the French throne. Most of the fighting took place on French soil, but there were occasional attacks on English coastal towns by French raiders. When there was fighting, it was bloody and often merciless. The French nobility regarded war as their vocation, and were horrified to be confronted and beaten by lesser – but more professional – English soldiers. The three battles in this campaign show the differences in war making between the English and the French. By 1420 the English, under their finest warrior-king, Henry V, had very nearly achieved their goals. But even victories at Crécy, Poitiers and Agincourt would not be quite enough. As an historical aside, the English owe their traditional two-fingered gesture of contempt to the Hundred Years’ War. The French threatened to cut off the first two fingers of any longbowman they captured, thus crippling the man as a warrior. Waving two fingers at the French thus became a way of defying them and daring them to come and make good their threats of mutilation!
Agincourt is, perhaps, the most famous English victory in the Hundred Years’ War. Following a siege at Harfleur, Henry V led his small, tired army on a march towards Calais and safety. He was trapped by a larger French army – some say five times as many men – and most of the English expected to die. In the event, the French nobility were their own worst enemies. They charged forward in search of glory and easy victory and met only death as they were shot down by English longbowmen. With Agincourt, Henry V began a campaign that almost put him on the French throne, but his triumphs were squandered by his successors.
Crécy was the opening battle of Edward the Black Prince’s assault on Normandy, one of the early campaigns of the Hundred Years’ War. The French had been careful to avoid battle with the tactically superior English, but at Crécy they had the advantage of numbers and, apparently, better morale too. Edward chose a defensive position for his army and waited for the French attack. After exchanges between the English longbowmen and the French crossbows, the French knights lost patience and charged forwards – they even managed to trample their own crossbowmen! With little discipline, the French were cut down in droves and French knighthood lost its bravest and best.
Ten years after his victory at Crécy, Edward the Black Prince was still campaigning in France. In 1356 an army under King Jean Le Bon of France caught up with an English raiding force near Bordeaux. Once again, the English proved themselves to be masters of selecting ground for a fight that suited them, not the French. The English longbows wreaked terrible damage, and the French ‘battles’ (or divisions) did not attack together. Surprised by an English counter attack, the French broke and fled, but their King was captured. Legend has it that after the battle the chivalrous Edward served dinner to his chief captive, King Jean, before sending him back to the Tower of London to await ransom.