|1x 3Kn (Gen)||Vandal king and his retainers|
|10x 3Kn||Vandal warriors.|
|1x 3Kn or 2Lh||More Vandal warriors or remnant Alan (before 500 BC) or Numidian Light Horse|
The African Vandals have it in for the Later Moorish (II/57), the Patrician Romans (II/83ab), and the Early Byzantines (III/4a).
After establishing themselves in the region of Roman North Africa, the Vandals can also look to the Later Moors (II/57) as Big Battle allies.
A simple tent camp, Moorish or Numidian shephards with their flocks, a section of city wall, or beached dromons (in the case of a littoral layout), all make viable camps.
Vandals in African were armed and equipped much like the Vandals were in Spain, and so any range of Vandal, Gothic, Ostrogothic, Lombard (sans long beards) or other Dark Ages horse with chainmail, simple conical helms, round shields, and spears or swords will suffice. Draco standards are perfectly appropriate. Such figures are available from many 15mm manufacturers, including Donnington, Essex, Irregular, and Pass o' the North.
What makes an African Vandal army African? Well, the Vandal aristocracy grew rich off their North Africa possessions, and can be depicted with gold accents on their equipment, richer looking clothes, decorated around the edges of their tunics and less muddy colors. Another way to make your African Vandal army unique is to use regional touches, like a leopardskin saddle blanket, or cloaks in rich African colors or featuring African designs.
With twelve Knights, who needs tactics? Just line them up and charge! That is of course if you're willing to live and die gloriously by the roll of the die.
If you want to enhance your odds of victory, however, you'll need to take advantage of Knights and their quick-kill capabilities, guard against their impetuous behavior, and look for opportunities to use your Littoral edge. With a high aggression (3), you'll seldom have terrain on your side when fighting Patricians and Moors, but should be able to send in littoral landings against the Early Byzantines at least occasionally.
The Moorish Psiloi (a.k.a. "speedbumps") don't have a chance against Knights in open terrain, and must be protected by bad going or by the Moorish Light Horse, who can flit about and even kill the occasional impetuous Vandal Knight with good die rolling or flank overlaps.
The Patrician Romans can keep a third of the twelve Vandal Knights busy with their own mounted. But that leaves two thirds of the Vandal Knights to try their luck against the vulnerable Roman Blade, Auxilia and Warband. I like those odds unless the Roman foot can find shelter in terrain. But if they are passive on the defense, you can concentrate on the Roman mounted.
The Early Byzantine Cavalry and Light Horse pose a considerable challenge to impetuous Vandal Knights if well-used, but should be easily driven if outnumbered and overlapped. The goal, however, is to get at the more vulnerable Byzantine Blades and Psiloi, the latter who will unfortunately provide support to the former.
You might ask the question, why would an African Vandal commander ever opt for the Light Horse option when it is possible to field 12 Knights? Well, actually, the Light Horse can provide a much needed mobile threat capable of closing a flank or using its second and subsequent movement to throw your opposing general off kilter or dash in on an undefended camp.
Can the Vandals be beaten? Surely. They will beat themselves if you are not careful. An opponent who makes creative use of terrain, denies the Vandal Knights easy quick-kill opportunities, and who takes advantage of impetuous Knight follow-ups to gain overlaps, will be sure to give you headaches. But like any impetuous army, you've always got your secret weapon -- just surrender to the inevitable chaos and roll sixes!
Writing in 550 AD, the historian Procopius of Caesarea gave this account of the Vandal Conquest of North Africa.
Any history of the late Roman Empire is likely to feature Gaiseric and his Vandal successors, who played a prominent role in bringing about the downfall of the western Roman empire. Edward Gibbon's "The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire" (Volumes 1-3)(Volumes 4-6)(Abridged) is the classic example and a good source for Vandal information.
A more recent scholarly addition to anyone's "Fall of Rome" bookshelf is Thomas Hodgkin's "Huns, Vandals and the Fall of Rome," printed by Greenhill Press (1986) and weighing in at 816 pages.
The African Vandals are described in Ian Heath's "Armies of the Dark Ages" (published by WRG).
Comments, questions or suggested additions to this page
can be sent to Chris Brantley, IamFanaticus@gmail.com.
Last Updated: 13 Oct. 2004