DBx and FOG are wrong. The gardingi were personal military retainers of the Visigothic king. They were wealthy and led their own retainers into battle. Given they were wealthy, and a military elite, they probably fought mounted. And in an army where even some slaves wore armour, it is beyond belief that these palatine officials were unarmoured.
It bugs me when rules writers introduce arbitrary distinctions between troop types and armies. From what I’ve read there was little difference between the Germanic tribes operating in western europe during the migration period leading to the Fall of Rome. I’m interested in the Early Visigothic, Early Vandal and Suevi because they operated in Spain and Portugal, either passing through or settling permanently. The DBA army lists for these armies, II/65, II/66 and II/72c respectively, highlight the issue for me as they differ in ways that are inexplicable to me. DBA is not alone as other rule systems also distinguish these armies in various ways. It is all too much for me. Too made up by the list writers. So here is my blended army list for a generic Western Germanic horde, whether Visigothic, Vandal or Suevi.
The Suevi are covered by DBA army list II/72c Suevi 250AD-584AD, an option within II/72 Early Frankish, Alamannic, Quadi, Suevi, Rugian or Turcilingi. They were part of the general chaos during the Fall of the Western Roman Empire and ended up in Iberia. This post is part of my series on Troop Identities in DBA Army Lists.
The Vandals were a Germanic tribe that crossed the Rhine into Roman Gaul, helped with the Fall of the Western Roman Empire, settled in Iberia (Spain and Portugal) before crossing to Africa. They hung out with the Alans. DBA army list II/66 Early Vandal 200AD-442AD is the army before forming the African Kingdom. This post is part of my series on Troop Identities in DBA Army Lists.
The Visigoths had a bit of a love-hate relationship with the Roman Empire. At times fighting against them, notably the Battle of Adrianople where they thrashed the Eastern Roman army, and sometimes operating in conjunction with the Romans as Feoderati. They ended up in Spain. In DBA they are list II/65 Early Visigothic 200 AD-419AD. This post is part of my series on Troop Identities in DBA Army Lists.
I was thinking about a revised DBA army list covering Early Visigothic, Early Vandal and Suevi so thought I’d better do a bit of research. So on a rainy sunday I browsed through Simon MacDowall’s book on the Germanic Warrior at the end of the Western Roman Empire. As usual I couldn’t help taking a few notes.
A few notes about Ancient Spanish Cavalry.
Volley & Bayonet has big bases. Pretty much all troops are based on 3″ x 3″ bases; you can have any number of figures you want of any scale. I recently rebased my Peninsular War figures on big bases. I wanted to leave myself options so I effectively went for half size V&B bases. Each of my bases is 80mm wide by 40mm deep and . gets six cavalry or 12 infantry. Two of these, one behind the other, is a V&B brigade stand.
The Portuguese used a variety of equipment, both foreign and local made, during the Portuguese Colonial War and n the mid-1960s the Portuguese acquired a batch of Panhard AML-60 Armoured Cars for their reconnaissance squadrons. These vehicles have a mortar as the main armament, an unusual weapon for an armoured car, so I thought I’d do some research on them.
The Portuguese paratroopers were amongst the first to see action during the Portuguese Colonial War in 1961 and were amongst the last to pull out in 1975 (Spencer & Machado, 1992). They achieved an impressive 20:1 kill ratio, i.e. 20 insurgents killed for the loss of one paratrooper. Although it was more like 3:1 for casualties in general.
I’ve just got all the books by Al J. Venter I could find … at least those related the Portuguese Colonial War. Al Venter is unique – a journalist, with military experience himself, willing to go into the combat zone with the Portuguese security forces, who then wrote about his experiences. The result is a set of books with rich descriptions of real life conditions in the field in Africa during the 1960s and 1970s.
These books are not general histories. For an overview of the war you’ll have to look else where. They are first hand accounts of the war from the Portuguese stand point by an informed but independent observer.
I thought I’d type up my notes for all of Al’s books in one place.