When Sweden struggled against the central authority of the Union of Kalmar, it had an ace up its sleeve -- the formidable levies of militia from the sturdy miners of Dalarna, who were well equipped and had a serious attitude toward war. They fought in a mixed formation, initially deploying massed crossbowmen in front to shoot at the enemy, with polearmmen behind them. (Paul Dolstein's illustrations of the late 15th century militia do not show the longbows that were used earlier.) These latter appear, in the late 15th century, to have been of two kinds -- a weapon quite similar to an early version of the Swiss halberd, and a peculiar spear-like polearm apparently contructed of a sword fixed at the end of a spearshaft. |
When melee was imminent, the polearmmen presumably came to the front, although the crossbowmen, with their helmets, breastplates, and longswords, were probably fairly capable in close combat.
By the fifteenth century some of the men would have carried firearms rather than the crossbow, possibly skirmishing independently of the massed crossbow/polearm battalions.
These are popular troops in wargamers' armies, but to date no models have been made for them. These models closely follow the representation of the Dalarna levy in Paul Dolstein's illustrations, made from personal observation (at close quarters!): The universal breastplate; a backplate for all of the polearm men and some of the shooters; the unique baggy trousers, so distinct from anything other European troops of the period wore; the even more unique canteen that looked like a mini-barrel; the rather baggy sleeves of the shirt, the sometimes quirky variations on the typical infantryman's sallet or kettle helmet; the Swiss-style halberd, and the peculiar "sword-pole."
These models provide the uniquely Scandinavian militias of Sweden, and it's quite likely that the better levies of the Danes would look essentially similar. (Lesser Danish levies can perhaps be fielded using just the swordpolemen, but I regret that I am unable to sell these separately due to the requirements of moldmaking and casting.) For the wealthier or more technologically advanced troops, I highly recommend the knights, mounted crossbowmen, and artillery of Italian manufacturer Mirliton, particularly the models in their "Burgundian Wars" range. These models should mix quite well with the Mirliton Gothic armour knights, mounted crossbows and artillery to make a formidable and authentic Swedish army.
The heavy infantry are packed in a battalion of three elements/bases of polearmmen (twelve figurines), and three elements of crossbowmen (nine figurines). Handgunners come in handy packs of 2, for one element of light troops.
Sculpted by Chris Jackson.