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"Has your Viking army cavalry?" Topic

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Personal logo Aurochs Supporting Member of TMP12 Sep 2021 4:20 a.m. PST

Does your Viking army has cavalry?

One of my many projects is a 15mm Viking army made up mostly of Forged in Battle miniatures plus some older Essex and Miniature Figurines minis.

I have also the mounted Vikings from FiB. Like their other Vikings they come in many different poses and I enjoy painting them. But do I need a unit of mounted Vikings?
Maybe for a battle between different Viking factions in Scandinavia? Or as scouts during a campaign in Frankia? But in a skirmish or a battle with Charlemagnes forces they surly would dismounted.

So does your Viking army has cavalry? How do you use them? And whom do they fight?

Thanks for your interest.


robert piepenbrink Supporting Member of TMP12 Sep 2021 4:40 a.m. PST

I try to restrict historical armies to historical troop types, and I have found no references to mounted Vikings in battle.

I do, however, have the Riders of Rohan among my fantasy armies. Everything in its proper place.

Personal logo Herkybird Supporting Member of TMP12 Sep 2021 4:53 a.m. PST

Vikings seem to have used horses for moving quickly and possible reconnaissance, but preferred to fight on foot.
I, too have never heard of Viking cavalry.

OSCS7412 Sep 2021 5:38 a.m. PST


Personal logo Cardinal Ximenez Supporting Member of TMP12 Sep 2021 5:57 a.m. PST


Raynman Supporting Member of TMP12 Sep 2021 6:10 a.m. PST


Personal logo Extra Crispy Sponsoring Member of TMP12 Sep 2021 6:41 a.m. PST

I have a single unit of mounted cavalry in my Viking army. But my assumption is they use the horses as battle taxis.

I painted them because they look cool.

rustymusket Supporting Member of TMP12 Sep 2021 7:14 a.m. PST

I have read that they learned to take horses for movement in areas they invaded and then left them behind as they left the area. So mounted infantry?

ZULUPAUL Supporting Member of TMP12 Sep 2021 8:14 a.m. PST


GurKhan12 Sep 2021 8:18 a.m. PST

"… cavalry were evidently used on occasion, as at Sulcoit in Ireland in 968, and by the Danes in operations against the Wends in the later 11th century, while the chronicler Abbo of Fleury implies the use of a large body of Viking cavalry fighting separately from their infantry, at the Battle of Montfaucon in 888. However those at Sulcoit at least may only represent Vikings who rode to battle and were attacked while still mounted; they appear to have been only 100 or 50 men …"

- from Ian Heath, "Armies of the Dark Ages"

(But personally, I don't have a Viking army anyway.)

Legionarius12 Sep 2021 8:28 a.m. PST


SpuriousMilius12 Sep 2021 8:28 a.m. PST

Ditto Herkybird, the Dark Age/Early Midieval rules I played that had Viking army lists would allow them to have Celtic light cavalry mercenaries--Irish, French, Spanish, Italian--depending on the battle site. The Vikings could start the game mounted & move mounted for a turn or two but couldn't attack while mounted & they were not very effective in a mounted melee.

Personal logo Virtualscratchbuilder Supporting Member of TMP Fezian12 Sep 2021 8:55 a.m. PST

When we play Pig Wars it is often a "get back to the boat " type scenario where a main column of loot carrying Vikings has to traverse the length of my 8' table while small units of 2-5 friendlies and defenders randomly appear at designated entry points and attempt to reinforce or stall the column respectively. One of the Viking units is a five man group on stolen horses. I give them no bonuses other than movement and a +1 for being higher, but they cannot charge, use shields, etc. Most often the Viking player sends them to reinforce the boat ASAP because it is lightly protected and defending units can randomly appear near by. The Vikings have never lost the boat but their timely arrival has turned the tide when the boat was under attack.

Prince Rupert of the Rhine12 Sep 2021 9:20 a.m. PST

Interesting article on the development of gaited horses and the role Scandinavian traders played in spreading them across Europe. Horses were clearly a part of Viking culture (which isn't to say they had cavalry)


Dagwood12 Sep 2021 10:40 a.m. PST

I have three cavalrymen in my largely unpainted Viking army. I'm not sure what I will use them for, but not cavalry !

torokchar Supporting Member of TMP12 Sep 2021 2:09 p.m. PST


SHaT198412 Sep 2021 3:19 p.m. PST

>>Does your Viking army has cavalry?

Such is the perversity of gaming that facts are largely ignored. What are they to be mounted on? Reindeer?

May as well ask if they used flame throwers?- seems to fit nearly every depiction of them anyway.

GamesPoet Supporting Member of TMP12 Sep 2021 6:14 p.m. PST

I've never seen cavalrymen riding reindeer, unless of course St. Nick is counted, but he rides in the sleigh, not on the reindeer. Course I have not seen Vikings on a horse either, yet seems it could have happened, yet not as "cavalry". Nor does that mean they ride on reindeer … lol. No, I don't have any Vikings on horses currently, doesn't mean I wouldn't have some as mounted infantry so-to-speak, although not high on the priority list either.

mildbill Supporting Member of TMP12 Sep 2021 6:22 p.m. PST

The laps used reindeer in the 17th C. as cavalry.

JAFD2612 Sep 2021 7:50 p.m. PST

I'm painting a Generic North-Western Europe Army, some of which can serve as Vikings. Various figures on horseback can be included amongst these Norsemen, with various suppositions made about their training, mounts, and missions (Swedish nobility ready to charge, or a scout party on stolen farm nags ?)

Personal logo Virtualscratchbuilder Supporting Member of TMP Fezian12 Sep 2021 8:55 p.m. PST

Actually I have some reindeer rider cavalry. Kickstarter some years ago. Bear riders too.

Prince Rupert of the Rhine12 Sep 2021 10:15 p.m. PST

WRG ancients army lists for medieval Scandinavians used to allow for a lap scout mounted on a Reindeer.

GurKhan13 Sep 2021 1:25 p.m. PST

Oh, here's another example, from "Combat Training for Horse and Rider in the Early Middle Ages" ( link )

"… at the battle at the Geule 891, Viking cavalry (equites Nortmannorum) surprised the attacking Frankish infantry in the rear, and annihilated the Franks…" (the original source looks to be Regino of Prum)

Korvessa13 Sep 2021 1:36 p.m. PST

I should think riding a reindeer would be more like riding a cow then a horse.

Of course Mongo rode a bull in Blazing Saddles so who knows.

Now that would make an awesome figure now that I think about it

Prince Rupert of the Rhine13 Sep 2021 1:57 p.m. PST

Korvessa@ Some 19th century African explorers rode oxen on their travels apparently charging unfriendly natives on one could have quite the psychology effect.

Korvessa13 Sep 2021 5:00 p.m. PST

Seeing a Mongo charge would certainly try my nerves!

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