Armies of the Iron League Part One

In preparation for a super-secret new project that may or may not debut sometime next March in a certain Northern Tier state (ahem), I’m delving into the armies of the southeastern Flanaess, in order to figure out what the army lists might be like for the Iron League and its enemies circa 578 CY. I figured I’d start with the Iron League.

First, we have the Gold box:

Idee: “…the Count maintains a standing army to man and support the chain of castles and fortresses which guard his northern frontier. Militia contingents are ready to stand to arms on instant notice.”

Irongate: “Irongate has a strong naval squadron and a large company of armored crossbowmen in League service. She can also raise 2,000 heavy militia infantry of high morale and excellent training. These troops are spetum or glaive-guisarme equipped and can march in a single day after muster.”

Lordship of the Isles: No information (!)

Onnwal: “Onnwal and Irongate supplied the sea power, while the other members furnished troops for land actions — although strong contingents from both of the former places were also sent to battle. … While never invaded, Onnwal is subject to periodic sea raids from the Herzog’s squadrons. The major port of Scant is exceptionally well fortified because of this fact. Other than a small force of regulars and her marines, Onnwal relies upon levies in time of war.”

Sunndi: “Sunnd troops are always in arms — human and dwarven contingents in the Glorioles, human and gnome companies guarding the eastern hills, human and elven forresters ranging the northern woodlands. The Sunnd hillmen employ slings and morningstars, while the men of the interior prefer crossbows and bardiches. Except for the nobles and their equerries, Sunnd horse is medium or light, and not numerous in any event for they rely upon their confederates to the west (Idee) to provide cavalry.”

That last bit is interesting, because the Idee entry doesn’t mention cavalry at all.

In Dragon 57, Gary Gygax’s entry in the “Greyhawk’s World” entry focused on this region, and the movements of armies that were occurring around CY 577-578. Here’s the relevant bits for this particular investigation:

Idee: ” At the close of CY 578, the army of Count Fedorik was composed as follows:
1,000 heavy horse
2,000 medium horse
1,000 light horse (mercenary)
3,000 regular infantry
2,000 mercenary infantry
5,000 levied infantry (60% hillmen)

It is expected that only about 2,000 dwarves —and possibly half that number of gnomes — will join the Count, since King Holgi has refused to leave the Iron Hills.”

Irongate: “The majority of Irongate’s light infantry border guards were sent to discover what the Provincials’ movements were, and 1,000 of these troops actually assisted Holgi’s army when it defeated the Herzog’s force in 578. When the Provincial armies joined, the 1,000 armored crossbowmen of lrongate were sent by ship to Idee. The Free City’s forces now stand as follows:
200 light cavalry (scouts)
1,000 regular infantry (marines)
2,000 levied infantry (at ready)
2,000 light infantry (borderers
and hillmen)

These troops can effectively defend Irongate, and some 5,000 are available to aid the demi-humans of the Iron Hills, should the need arise and no direct threat to the Free City is being posed. Although no more than 8,000 — 10,000 dwarves and 2,000 — 3,000 gnomes are available to defend Holgi’s realm…”

“The Free City, however, was indeed grateful for the promise of such aid, for nearly 1,600 gnomes and over 2,000 dwarves of excellent fighting skills helped assure Irongate’s ability to withstand attack. … From a strength of 1,600, the regular army was brought up to 2,400 men and 600 sergeants and officers. The militia now trains all able-bodied men between the ages of 15 and 45. There are about 4,000 now in training.”

Onnwal: “Szek Elverd and his peers decided to reinforce the marine contingents about Onnwalish war vessels and to increase the size of both the regular army and the militia. From a strength of 1,600, the regular army was brought up to 2,400 men and 600 sergeants and officers. The militia now trains all able-bodied men between the ages of 15 and 45. There are about 4,000 now in training. One-third of the standing army, all light infantry, are to be sent eastward in the spring of 579, either stopping at Irongate, or moving to aid Idee if the Free City is not being threatened.”

Sunndi: “…in 578 Count Hazendel was prepared for an invasion of his land, and a force of about 2,000 elves and woodsmen shadowed General Reynard’s advance along the north edge of Rieuwood. … When the dwarven folk of the Iron Hills marched against Chelor, the Count of Sunndi dispatched a force to serve with his ally to the west. Some 1,000 light horse and 3,000 infantry joined the ldeesh above Naerie, with 3,000 gray elves reinforcing the unit. In addition, a regiment of dwarves, gnomes and halflings of the Hollow Highlands, over 3,000 strong, moved into the hills above Newkeep … No more than 500 cavalry and about 1,000 infantry remain [uncommitted]. Sunndi militia numbering about 6,000 can be raised, and there are the foresters and several thousand elves of the Rieuwood. Likewise, the hillmen, gnomes, and dwarves dwelling in the Glorioles-Hestmarks constitute a formidable body of troops, but each force is needed to guard their respective border area.”

There’s little information to be gleaned from the Greyhawk Wars game (itself set around 582/583 CY), but the cards have this to say about the members of the Iron League:

Idee: 2 Light Infantry, 2 Medium Infantry, 1 Ship

Again no cavalry! But I assume the light infantry is the above-mentioned militia, while the medium infantry is the standing garrison for the fortresses.

Irongate: 2 Medium Infantry, 1 Dwarf, 2 Ships

Here it’s medium infantry, above it’s heavy. Hmmm.

Lordship of the Isles: 1 Marine, 1 Light Infantry, 2 Ships

Onnwal: 2 Marines, 1 Medium Infantry, 3 Ships

That medium infantry must be the levies mentioned above.

Sunndi: 2 Light Infantry, 1 Scout, 1 Elf, 1 Dwarf

As might be expected, there is a mix of light troops and demihumans in Sunndi.

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Wargamer and RPG'er since the 1970's, author of Adventures Dark and Deep, Castle of the Mad Archmage, and other things, and proprietor of the Greyhawk Grognard blog.