Norse Irish (846-1260 AD)
|1 x 4Aux or 4Sp||Commander in Chief and his best armed retainers. Warriors who either fought as a shieldwall or adopted the loose-order formations of the native Irish. Most warriors carried only a shield for armor and fought with spear, sword, or axe.|
|4 x 3Aux||Irish mercenaries or local troops, equipped as above. Later these would be Bonnachts, who would carry sword, spear, and javelin and wear coats of mail with shield and helmet.|
|3 x 2Ps or
2 x 4Bd (Ostmen) & 1 x 4Bd (Gall Gaedhil)
Psiloi are Irish Kerns, who most likely skirmished with javelins or slings. Archers were also used as skirmishers, but much less frequently (it was considered unmanful to shoot at a foe from such a distance!)
Ostmen were Norse mercenaries or native Vikings living in Ireland. Like most vikings, they should have helmets and coats of mail and carry swords or axes and round shields. Gall Gaedhil were adopted native Irish from Norse families or men of mixed Norse and Irish heritage. Legend is that their ferocity on the battlefield gave them the fanciful nickname "Sons of Death." Equipment should be similar to that of Vikings.
|3 x 2Ps||More kerns or skirmishing archers.|
|1 x 3/4Wb or 3Aux||More lightly-armored warriors who are either very angry or much less angry, but armed as the first two groups.|
The Norse Irish can be fielded as a 6Aux and 6Ps army, but unless you are unduly fond of Bad Going or painful defeats, it is probably in your best interest to field the Sp and Bd options.
Deploy with Bd elements as the center of your line and use the Aux to guard your flanks. Against a horse-heavy opponent like the Anglo-Normans or Feudal English, try taking the fight into Bad Going, or position your Bd on a flank and use your Aux as "throwaway" troops (especially if playing with the Knights QK against Blade).
This army has excellent Bad Going capabilities, so occupy the rocky ground and fight there when possible. I haven't found the Wb option to be particularly useful, since there's only one and its impetuous nature tends to get it in trouble. With three elements of Ps and some skill, you can tie up your opponent's progress until you can properly line up your own forces to attack.
Fully half of this army is Auxilla, which aren't the most robust unit in DBA. This means some knowledge of tactics is required and beginners may have a harder time using this army than would a more experienced player.
If you find yourself losing a lot, simply settle for dominance of the local trade networks. The general should never carry a Raven Standard, but ask that a good friend or close enemy do so.
The Norse Irish proclivity to enjoy the occasional sack of their neighbors gives them quite a selection of opponents from all over the British Isles. Listed enemies are: Norman (#102c), Viking (#106a), Pre-Feudal Scots (#111), Norse Irish (#112), Scots Isles & Highlands (#128), Anglo-Norman (#134), and Anglo-Irish (#144). The Norse Irish also appear as a faction in the Feudal Britain 1250 AD campaign on page 13 of DBA v.1.1, which adds the Feudal English (#145), Welsh (#92), and Scots Common (#140) as opponents.
Although their listed time ends at 846 AD, the Scots-Irish (#61) are hypothetical opponents, represesenting the last few inland Irish clans resisting the spread of the Norsemen and their Irish allies. In this case, substitute Cav for the LCh elements. The Anglo-Danish (#113) are also plausible opponents for some more merry raiding.
The Battle of Clontarf (1014 AD) pits Norse Irish (Brian Boru of Leinster) vs. Norse Irish (Mael Mordha of Munster, King Syrgtrygg of Dublin and their Viking allies). Historically, this is regarded as Norse Irish vs. Viking, but large numbers of Vikings and Irish fought on both sides, suggesting that a mix of Bd and Aux on both sides is more accurate. Furthermore, unless a good 80% of the terrain is Bad Going, the Norse Irish will have a very hard time winning against a Bd-heavy army like the Vikings.
I own a Falcon pre-packaged Norse Irish DBA army, with which I am generally pleased. The casting is clean and the figures are chunky and easily identifiable. I am especially fond of the more Viking-esque figures with their "goggle" style helmets and mail. However, there's little pose variety (Look! Synchronized warbanding!) and the Ps elements are represented by bows, which aside from their historical rarity are a bit too late-medieval in appearance.
Essex also sells a pre-packaged army, though you could easily morph a Norse Irish army from leftover Viking figures, generic Dark Age skirmishers and spearmen, or from one or two other Dark Age Anglo-Saxon or Scots armies.
Appropriate camps can encompass both traditional Viking and Gaelic iconography (although I would stop short of Stonehenge or druid's circles), so a longboat, longhouse, a crannog, or motte-and-bailey fort would be appropriate. A pile of (looted or traded) goods or an angry Gaelic saint atop a barrow would also make for a picturesque camp. A plashed woodline is appropriate. A circle of tents or generic Dark Ages camp could also be used by the less imaginative.
Last Updated: March 17, 2000.
Original page located at http://php.indiana.edu/~pemurray/norse-irish.html and reproduced with author's permission.