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"Early Italians War French figures" Topic

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brunet Inactive Member16 Oct 2012 4:12 a.m. PST

Which figurs can be used for French troops of the early italian War.
I see a lot of Swiss, Landsknecht and italian figures but what to be use for native French troops?

cameronian16 Oct 2012 4:53 a.m. PST

Have a look here:


Condottiere16 Oct 2012 5:05 a.m. PST


IGWARG1 Supporting Member of TMP Fezian16 Oct 2012 5:18 a.m. PST

French would look like Italians. They also raised regiments designed to emulate Swiss and landsknechts and first thing they did was to give them the same clothing styles. That way your landsknecht looking unit may be just inferior French pike unit. Many mercenaries copied landsknecht clothing and it became a fashion. Remember that Swiss mercenaries PROBABLY had their Swiss cross somewhere on their clothes.

There is a great B/W film called "Barbarians" about this period. I think it's available streaming from Netflix. It shows various styles of clothing that mercenaries had in Italy, but same would apply for France, imho.

BTW, cameronian, EXCELLENT link, thanks.

brunet Inactive Member16 Oct 2012 5:54 a.m. PST


Personal logo Stosstruppen Supporting Member of TMP16 Oct 2012 6:41 a.m. PST

I saved that link thanks cameronian!

Matheo16 Oct 2012 7:17 a.m. PST

Another set of illustrations:


Note – these are not contemporary, but a good start none the less.

lkmjbc316 Oct 2012 8:07 a.m. PST

Basically any late Medieval infantry in hose will do. The Perry's plastics are excellent, but don't be scared to use any of Old Glory's WOR or Foundry's late Medieval stuff. The Italian figs will do as well.

After a couple of months campaign in Italy, everyone would be wearing Italian clothes. Where else would you be able to get them from?

After about 1510 the slashed stuff becomes more common.

After Pavia, the Landsknecht look dominates…

Joe Collins

Malatesta150016 Oct 2012 11:38 a.m. PST

The armies that fought in Italy were often followed by large baggage trains of non combatants. Many of these would have made or repaired clothes, they weren't bought off the peg in the 16th century. So the various mercenary groups would have been able to maintain there various fashions some of the time.

Puster Supporting Member of TMP17 Oct 2012 10:29 a.m. PST

>They also raised regiments designed to emulate Swiss and landsknechts and first thing they did was to give them the same clothing styles.

I have never heard of that one.

There are several threads for the French infantry – hiring foreigners (Swiss and Landsknechts) is one of them. There are remnants of the old feudal system, mainly the French archers (which are NOT ordonannce archers) who would be raised regionally. The "aventuriers" would be quite common and represent hired groups of "volunteers", often lower nobility or veterans and are the French equivalent of the condotta or Fähnlein. These were often used as light infantry – attempts to use them in the Swiss/Landsknecht style with a core of pikes where not always successfull, though at Marignano they allgedly hold the line for some time against some Swiss. Some regions gained notority for relatively good infantry, like the Gascons. These bands would be disbanded (thus the name) after the conflict and reformed at need.
Other ideas would be the "Legion", a mixture of regionally raised system that should combine the best of the Roman tradition with what worked in reality – but the first actually raised "legions" would not enter the Italian war until after Pavia and were not convincing. Ordonannce troops were usually better regulated and paid, command was a luctrative honour sought by nobles. Here as actual soldiers (Gensdarmes and retinue) we often have professionals who spend their life in the military rather then nobles spending their youth. Sometimes nobles flocked to the armies without being properly organized, to take part in the campaign and show off their face with the king.

BTW: A similar behaviour sometimes existed with the Landsknecht recruitments, when the number of volunteers exceeded the demand – this often created problems when these unpaid followers tried to make a living…

Anyway, afaik there are no miniatures yet that represent aventurier French infantry for the 1494-1515 era. A mixture of Italians from TAG and European infantry (with their headswaps) from the Perries might work. The reference material here is so thin on the ground (especially compared with material on Swiss and Landsknechts a decade or two later) that not many will complain for ahistorical equipment.
TAG has French infantry sets in their planned production line, but it may take a year before all are out (they are still working on the last Italians).

As for reference material… its hard to find much. We have a pretty good sketch of Fornovo showing Italian infantry, and Swiss infantry in French service entering Milan in 1494. There are some good pictures of Spanish and Italian infantry of the era, and scattered images of infantry in contemporary paintings – though its hard to put them into context. If you find better material, please inform us :-)

Now lets hope that Daniel sees this and decides to step in :-)

brunet Inactive Member18 Oct 2012 4:00 a.m. PST

thanks for the info

Daniel S18 Oct 2012 4:48 p.m. PST

The main problem with the French native infantry is a lack of sources. Unlike the Germans & Swiss the French never developed a school of art focused on common soldiers. So while there are tons of images showing Landsknechts and Reislaufers in great detail (at times made by men like Paul Dolnstein, Urs Graf & Niklaus Manuel who were experienced soldiers themselves) you have to search hard for images of the native French troops, and when you find them they are often in the background of images focusing on the King & his Gendarmes.

Thanks to the wonders of online libraries it is now possible to access several of the best sources.
First you have Jean Marots "Le Voyage de Genes" which chronciles the French conquest of Genoa in 1507.

The most interesting images are these
In the images you see the Gendarmes which get most of the detail as well as more or less shadowy figures representing Swiss infantry, Stradiots, dismounted Ordonnance arches using the longbow and what may been Aventuriers.
Behind the Gendarmes in the last image are two groups of Archers in red and yellow livery coats who probably represent the Archers of the Royal Guard.

The next source is an illustrated chronicle from Naples where the drawings are much more primitive but were probably made by one or two eyewitnesses to the French invasion of Naples 1494-1498.

At the top you have the Swiss followed by the French artillery. At the bottom is a large group of halberdiers who are dress diffrently from the Swiss and probably are French Aventuriers.

This page provides a better look at that particular style of dress in the shape of the two halberdiers to the rear of the procession

Battle scence from the liberation of Naples, French troops of unknown origin (Swiss because of the pikes) fightin Spanish troops with shields at the bottom of the page.

Last a fairly well known image of the Swiss entering Naples in 1498. The last image may have been made later as the style of the artwork of the last pages is diffrent and the Swiss are seen sporting a slashed style of clothing that other sources indicate did not appear until around 1500 at the earliest.

Daniel S18 Oct 2012 5:12 p.m. PST

A couple of more images

The battle of Fornovo 1495
The Swiss pikemen in the middle with dismounted archers on the far side of them holding the flank towards the river Taro. At the bottom of the image you have the struggle between the stradiots and the armed French servants of the baggage train together with some infantrymen.



Next is the battle of Ravenna 1512
Gendarmes together with a few unidentified infantrymen. Compared to contemporary landsknechts their dress is quite modest and one is wearing a livery coat witht the French cross on it.


Puster Supporting Member of TMP19 Oct 2012 7:40 a.m. PST

As usual, Daniel summed up all I knew and then some :-)

As stated, the Perries with modified heads and TAG Italians seem to be a pretty good starting point, even when the former are a bit outfashioned and the latter a bit armour-heavy.

GamesPoet Supporting Member of TMP19 Oct 2012 5:09 p.m. PST

Very good to see the pictures in Jean Marots' book, as well as the others. It is interesting to see that some of the French infantry seemed to be well armored, yet perhaps making a switch towards the uniforms of latter years. At the same time, it's also helpful to see how many of them are wearing feathers, as well as the other uniforms being worn over top of the armor by the gendarmes. Very interesting to see the one infantry man wearing the French cross on a livery coat.

My guess is that the Perry European Mercs kit could be used for the latter half of the 15th century, and maybe for the early Italian Wars, the second perhaps requiring a bit more conversion, yet seemingly doable.

brunet Inactive Member20 Oct 2012 11:00 a.m. PST

thanks again for the info

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