The Norman Commanders: Masters of Warfare 911-1135

The Norman Commanders: Masters of Warfare 911-1135

by Paul Hill


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Robert Guiscard, William the Conqueror, Roger I of Sicily and Bohemond Prince of Antioch are just four of the exceptional Norman commanders who not only led their armies to victory in battle but also, through military force, created their own kingdoms in the eleventh and twelfth centuries. Their single-minded and aggressive leadership, and the organization, discipline and fighting qualities of their armies, marked them out from their Viking forebears and from many of the armed forces that stood against them. Their brilliant careers, and those of Robert Curthose, William Rufus, Richard I of Capua and Henry I of England, are the subject of Paul Hill’s latest study of medieval warfare.

In a narrative packed with detail and insight, and with a wide-ranging understanding of the fighting methods and military ethos of the period, he traces the course of their conquests, focusing on them as individual commanders and on their achievements on the battlefield. The military context of their campaigns, and the conditions of warfare in France and England, in southern Italy and Sicily, and in the Near East, are vividly described, as are their decisive operations and sieges – among them Hastings, Brémule, Tinchebrai, Civitate, Misilmeri, Dyrrhachium and the Siege of Antioch.

There is no doubt that the Normans’ success in war depended upon the leadership qualities and military capabilities of the commanders as well as the special strengths of the armies they led. Paul Hill’s accessible and authoritative account offers a fascinating portrait of these masters of warfare.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781783462285
Publisher: Pen and Sword
Publication date: 09/19/2015
Pages: 240
Sales rank: 908,197
Product dimensions: 6.30(w) x 9.30(h) x 0.90(d)

About the Author

Paul Hill, formerly curator of Kingston Upon Thames Museum in Surrey, is well known as a lecturer, author and expert on Anglo-Saxon and Norman history and military archaeology, and he has written several books on these subjects, among them The Age of Athelstan: Britain's Forgotten History, The Viking Wars of Alfred the Great and The Anglo-Saxons at War 800-1066.

Table of Contents

List of Illustrations vii

Introduction 1

A note on the sources 2

Part 1 The Rise of the Normans

Chapter 1 Establishment and Expansion in Normandy 7

Chapter 2 Legitimacy in the South 14

Part 2 The Commanders

Chapter 3 Robert Guiscard, Duke of Apulia, Calabria and Sicily (d.1085) 25

Chapter 4 William the Conqueror, Duke of Normandy (1035-1087), King of England (1066-1087) 34

Chapter 5 Richard I, Count of Aversa and Prince of Capua (d.1078) 47

Chapter 6 Roger I, Count of Sicily (d. 1101) 53

Chapter 7 William II Rufus, King of England (1087-1100) 63

Chapter 8 Robert II Curthose, Duke of Normandy (1087-1106) 80

Chapter 9 Henry I, King of England (1100-1135), Duke of Normandy (1106-1135) 88

Chapter 10 Bohemond, Prince of Antioch (d.1111) 100

Part 3 Battles and Campaigns

Chapter 11 Introduction 116

Chapter 12 In the North 117

Val-ès-Dunes 1047 117

Hastings 14 October 1066 120

Tinchebrai 28 September 1106 133

Alencon December 1118 137

Bremule 20 August 1119 138

Bourgtheroulde 26 March 1124 142

Chapter 13 In the South 145

The Three Battles of 1041 145

Civitate 17 June 1053 149

Cerami, June 1063 157

Misilmeri 1068 161

Dyrrhachium 18 October 1081 162

Part 4 The Norman Way of War

Chapter 14 The Nature of Warfare across the Norman World 172

Chapter 15 Recruitment, Organisation and Mercenaries 175

Obligated Troops 176

Stipendiary/Mercenary troops 180

Chapter 16 The Normans and their Horses 184

Chapter 17 Logistics and Supply 188

Chapter 18 Training 192

Chapter 19 Leadership and Discipline 194

Chapter 20 Strategy 196

The Role of Castles and their Garrisons 196

The Nature of Sieges 199

Ravaging and Harrying 206

Using the Landscape 208

Stratagems and Ruses 214

Chapter 21 Tactics on the Battlefield 216

Command and Control 216

Mounted Tactics: Shock Cavalry, Stirrups, Couched Lances and the Feigned Retreat 218

Infantry Tactics: Heavy and Light Infantry 226

Infantry Tactics: Archers and Crossbowmen 228

Conclusion 231

Bibliography 234

Index 238

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