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Miniatures Adventure => Medieval Adventures => Topic started by: OB on May 19, 2022, 05:50:27 PM

Title: Assembling an Arab Conquest Army
Post by: OB on May 19, 2022, 05:50:27 PM

I’ve been doing a bit of reading about the Conquest period Arabs.  I’ve read The Arab Conquest of Spain by Collins.  I’m half way through Kennedy’s Great Arab Conquests and I’ve made a start on Hoyland’s In God’s Path.  All very interesting stuff.

I’ve also bought half a dozen or so packs of Forged in Battle Arab figures.  All very nice.

Now I’m at the stage where I want to catergorise the various contingents in the Army.

The Arab close fighting infantry seem to be deemed “warband” or “Blades”.  I think I can work with this in Comitatus terms.

The archers could I think be massed or Skirmishers depending.  Slingers can be skirmishers too.

The cavalry seem to be armoured or light lancers.  Maybe some horse archers too.

Sub Saharan African troops are more of a challenge.  Are they “warband” or a sort of light medium javelin infantry?

Anyhow, if you already have an Arab Army or have some thoughts on the issue  I’d appreciate your thoughts.
Title: Re: Assembling an Arab Conquest Army
Post by: FramFramson on May 19, 2022, 06:13:47 PM
I don't have much to add, but having at least a few horse archers is a must. They were definitely present in varying quantities and locations.
Title: Re: Assembling an Arab Conquest Army
Post by: vexillia on May 19, 2022, 06:21:02 PM
I am doing the same thing with the same range of figures but for ADLG.  See the link below for my progress to date.

(https://blogger.googleusercontent.com/img/a/AVvXsEi8YV-Cobi6ZjtNC003d4IcPp-zP_APM1wAO78IzY8K-kn_xgMvwnylRfm8CehV4PoEVhYIfGFXJ5FS0FYceie533GyW3P4UAii2f5h1P3B9IkH4alklupiBp_QIVq8ALHIZmfpwaMRMxlevLcPdC-aENH0HnOBMwdSSsW84lPpsubBOQqfdjqo9iPZpw=s600)

ADLG has the following basic troop types, irrespective of origin, for the majority of the Arab armies:

Spear:  Heavy & medium infantry (both can have missile support)
Javelin men: Loose medium infantry and or light infantry
Bowmen: Loose medium infantry and or light infantry
Slingers: Light infantry
Cavalry: Heavy & medium cavalry impact (lance?)
Cavalry: Medium & light cavalry javelin
Camels: Medium & light camels bow

One early army has impetuous heavy & medium swordsmen but these are replaced by spear by about 696 AD in the lists. 

Heavy & light cavalry bow are available as small units in some of the Arab lists but aren't that common until the advent of Turks in the much later Arab armies (see Kennedy).  As far as I can see the former are Iranian. 

Not exhaustive but I hope it helps?

Finally I have few spare foot archers if you're interested.

https://blog.vexillia.me.uk/search?q=arab
Title: Re: Assembling an Arab Conquest Army
Post by: OB on May 19, 2022, 07:20:54 PM
I don't have much to add, but having at least a few horse archers is a must. They were definitely present in varying quantities and locations.

Yes, I can see I need to get a pack of them.  They do get mentioned rather a lot.
Title: Re: Assembling an Arab Conquest Army
Post by: OB on May 19, 2022, 07:23:53 PM
I am doing the same thing with the same range of figures but for ADLG.  See the link below for my progress to date.

(https://blogger.googleusercontent.com/img/a/AVvXsEi8YV-Cobi6ZjtNC003d4IcPp-zP_APM1wAO78IzY8K-kn_xgMvwnylRfm8CehV4PoEVhYIfGFXJ5FS0FYceie533GyW3P4UAii2f5h1P3B9IkH4alklupiBp_QIVq8ALHIZmfpwaMRMxlevLcPdC-aENH0HnOBMwdSSsW84lPpsubBOQqfdjqo9iPZpw=s600)

ADLG has the following basic troop types, irrespective of origin, for the majority of the Arab armies:

Spear:  Heavy & medium infantry (both can have missile support)
Javelin men: Loose medium infantry and or light infantry
Bowmen: Loose medium infantry and or light infantry
Slingers: Light infantry
Cavalry: Heavy & medium cavalry impact (lance?)
Cavalry: Medium & light cavalry javelin
Camels: Medium & light camels bow

One early army has impetuous heavy & medium swordsmen but these are replaced by spear by about 696 AD in the lists. 

Heavy & light cavalry bow are available as small units in some of the Arab lists but aren't that common until the advent of Turks in the much later Arab armies (see Kennedy).  As far as I can see the former are Iranian. 

Not exhaustive but I hope it helps?

Finally I have few spare foot archers if you're interested.

https://blog.vexillia.me.uk/search?q=arab

Thanks Vexillia, that all works for me.  I'll have a good ponder at your blog too.  Very nice figures btw, an excellent paint job. 

I'm good for foot archers at the moment I think.
Title: Re: Assembling an Arab Conquest Army
Post by: OB on May 20, 2022, 02:49:00 PM
Just to add a bit more to this.

The Arabs seem to have acquired significant contingents of non Moslem troops.  This always seems to arise from a prior legal arrangement. 

The details vary so far as I've read.  All seem to have required acceptance of Arab over lordship, sometimes pretty notional.  Some, like the contingent of Sassanian heavy cavalry got high wages and a prestige position in the Army.  Others got tax exemption for their home district.  I've not come across mercenaries per se but that might just be a matter of perspective.

Nubian troops seem to have been valued. Many were armoured close fighters but Nubian archery seems to have been very well regarded.  I'm not sure if their archers were armoured or not.  Armour in both cases seems to have been quilted cotton.

I'll post my finished units here as I go.
Title: Re: Assembling an Arab Conquest Army
Post by: Eric the Shed on May 20, 2022, 04:17:38 PM
I just classified my Arab Army into Warbands (medium or Light Infantry), Archers (Either as units or Skirmishers - depending on number of bases), Light Cavalry, Heavy Cavalry and Camels....

http://shedwars.blogspot.com/2022/05/the-saracens-army-takes-to-field.html (http://shedwars.blogspot.com/2022/05/the-saracens-army-takes-to-field.html)

(https://i.imgur.com/QpWavoW.jpg)

Most are gripping beast plastics - about 500 in total - mostly play Hail Caesar
Title: Re: Assembling an Arab Conquest Army
Post by: OB on May 20, 2022, 04:24:48 PM
An impressive array.  Yes, medium or light warband is a good take I think.
Title: Re: Assembling an Arab Conquest Army
Post by: gregmita on May 21, 2022, 08:32:00 AM
That's quite a big force! Interesting that HaT cavalry can mix so well with other brands.
Title: Re: Assembling an Arab Conquest Army
Post by: Eric the Shed on May 21, 2022, 08:51:04 AM
That's quite a big force! Interesting that HaT cavalry can mix so well with other brands.

The only real issue with the HaT arabs are that their heads are tiny - so I lopped them off and added spares from the Gripping Beast boxes. They are a very cheap way of adding light cavalry
Title: Re: Assembling an Arab Conquest Army
Post by: OB on May 22, 2022, 11:56:11 AM
My first unit, sub Saharan Africans from Forged in Battle 15mm.

Title: Re: Assembling an Arab Conquest Army
Post by: MaleGriffin on May 22, 2022, 03:08:38 PM
Beautiful Army! Fantastic figures!
Title: Re: Assembling an Arab Conquest Army
Post by: OB on May 27, 2022, 11:48:05 AM
I've just received some Donnington New Era  figures that I thought I'd use to pad out my Forged in Battle stuff. 

The horses are pretty much the same size but the men (riders and foot) look like youths compared to their FiB equivalents. Not the end of the world by any means, they can be mixed in, but worth knowing I think.
Title: Re: Assembling an Arab Conquest Army
Post by: vexillia on May 27, 2022, 03:58:05 PM
Thanks.
Title: Re: Assembling an Arab Conquest Army
Post by: OB on May 27, 2022, 06:34:29 PM
I'll try and take some comparison pics and post them here.
Title: Re: Assembling an Arab Conquest Army
Post by: vexillia on May 27, 2022, 07:09:27 PM
That would be great.
Title: Re: Assembling an Arab Conquest Army
Post by: OB on May 31, 2022, 08:52:05 AM
My first post about my Arab Conquest project is now on my blog.  There are pics of the first few units. If it is of interest click the link below.

In the meantime you can see Donnington New Era and Forged in Battle figures in this unit. The fellow with the cymbals and the second rank swordsmen are from Donnington.

https://youdonotknowthenorth.blogspot.com
Title: Re: Assembling an Arab Conquest Army
Post by: Digger on May 31, 2022, 10:03:33 AM
Great looking unit.  Very nice indeed.

Pete
Title: Re: Assembling an Arab Conquest Army
Post by: vexillia on May 31, 2022, 11:00:05 AM
Tried to post this on your blog but I get  "Google sign in error":

[1] I agree with you about Hoyland.  Well structured, clear and simple prose style.  My recommended first read for those new to the period.

[2] The Arabs never developed any tradition of horse archery but the Turks, as steppe nomads, did.  In the later period (post Conquest) you've got to remember there were a lot of Moslem Turks in the Eastern empire, and the Eastern armies, and the Abbasids took over from the East.  Kennedy covers this in his "The army of the Caliphs" chapter 5: "The armies of Samara 833-70 - The coming of the Turks and the new model army".

Hope that helps?
Title: Re: Assembling an Arab Conquest Army
Post by: OB on May 31, 2022, 08:37:59 PM
No idea what happened there.  It seems to be taking comments now.

1.  Oddly enough they do seem to have an archery tradition in the biblical and classical period, Arab city states deploy archers in the Roman period, later Arab troops serve in Sassanian and Byzantine armies both of whom have a prominent archery component.  In our period Kennedy gives examples of Arab horse archers.  Consider the three visits to the Chinese.  On the third visit the Arabs appear mailed and with their bows on their shoulders.

2. Steppe archers excel and Turk tactics brought something powerful and new.  So, the Turks replace the Arabs as the dominant military caste of Islam.  What puzzles me is when the bow disappears from the Arab cavalry.  We are even told that that the Bedouin despise the taking of life with a bow.  Something had changed and when currently eludes me.
Title: Re: Assembling an Arab Conquest Army
Post by: OB on May 31, 2022, 10:52:22 PM
Great looking unit.  Very nice indeed.

Pete

Thanks Pete, they are all nice figures to paint.