Richard I

DBA Resources

Army Notes

Later Crusaders
1128-1303 AD

(DBA IV/17)


This list covers the Crusader armies of Outremer comprising the Kingdom of Jerusalem, the Principality of Antioch, and the Counties of Edessa and Tripoli. The list reflects the period of "Frankish" occupation and the rise of the military orders, beginning in 1128 AD with the Papal recognition of the Knights Templar in 1128 AD. The period encompasses the Second Crusade of Emperor Conrad III and King Louis IV (1147-1149 AD), the Frankish disaster at Hattin (1187 AD), the siege of Acre (1189-1191), the Third Crusade (1190-1192) lead by Richard I Coeur de Lion, the Fifth Crusade (1217-1221 AD), which briefly occupied Dalmietta in Egypt, the Sixth Crusade (1226-1229 AD) which reclaimed Jerusalem, and culminating in the fall of Acre and the abandonment of Tyre in 1291 AD.

Later Crusader list ends with the fall of the Templar fortress at Tortosa dated at 1303 AD.

The later Crusader list is well-known for its personalities, including Christian crusaders and kings such as Richard the Lion-Hearted, Templar Grand Master Gerard de Ridefot, Raymond III of Tripoli, King Guy of Jerusalem, or the trouble-maker Raynald de Chatillon, as well as their competent Muslim antagonists such as Nur ed-Din (Syrians), Saladin (Ayyubid Egyptians), and Baibars (Mamluks). And of course, you can't overlook Sinan (aka the Old Man in the Mountain), and his sect of Ismailis in Syria who are known to us as the Assassins.

The Later Crusader armies are also famous for their military orders. The three most important orders in Outremer were the Knights Templar and Hospitallers (aka Knights of St. John), and the Teutonic Order of Germanic knights that grew out of the Hospitallers. The orders provided the King of Jerusalem and other Crusader rulers with strong contingents of mounted Knights and sergeants, supported by mailed turcopole cavalry, and backed by foot sergeants and supporting troops. The knights of the orders were notoriously impetuous, often attacking against great odds and suffering significant losses of horses and men to bow armed Muslim cavalry, who deftly evaded their charges.

Lastly, it would be a mistake to think that this DBA army list is exclusively about the struggle of European Christendom and Islam for the control of the Holyland. There were periods of peace and cooperation between the Christian rulers of Outremer and their Muslim counterparts and Crusader kings frequently made alliance with local Muslim rulers for common cause. At the same time, Crusaders fought small civil wars against each other in Outremer (usually amongst national contingents), as well as campaigns against Byzantium, Cilicia, Maronite Syria and other Christian lands. The Crusaders even fought as Mongol (Ilkhanid) allies against the Muslim Mamluks. And the Assassins worked both sides of the street in order to preserve their autonomy.


The Later Crusader list includes the following element types:

1x 3Kn (Gen) The Crusader commander and his nobles.
2x 3Kn Crusader Knights and sergeants, including Knights Templars and Hospitallers
1x 3Cv or 3Kn Turcoples of the military orders. Knight option could be depicted as mailed turcoples mixed with Knights of the military orders.
5x 4Sp Spear-armed foot sergeants, including sergeants of the military orders.
2x 3/4Cb Crusader crossbowmen, depicted as 4Cb if belonging to the military orders.
1x 3Bw Maronite or Syrian archers, or just for fun, Assassin volunteers before 1273 AD

Enemies and Allies

Fatimid Egyptians (III/65), Sejuk Turks (III/73b), Komnenan Byzantines (IV/1ab), Cilician Armenians (IV/2), Syrian (IV/6), Ayyubid Egyptian (IV/20), Khwarizmian (IV/24), Mamluk (IV/45) and Ilkhanid (IV/46). The Khwarizmian opponents represent the survivors of Ghengis Khan's conquest of Khwarizm who took refuge in the service of the Ayyubids.

Crusader kings made individual alliances with the Fatimids (III/65), Komnenan Byzantines (IV/1), Cilician Armenians (IV/2) or Syrians (IV/6) when advantageous. In the 2nd Crusade, the native crusaders of Outremer found themselves fighting alongside crusading armies from Feudal France (IV/4a) and the Holy Roman Empire (IV/13).


The littoral classification seems appropriate for Richard I at Arsuf or for seige operations at Tyre, Ascalon and other coastal cities, but it seems out of place for Crusader battles fought in Edessa, Jerusalem and on the frontiers of Egypt. Similarly, Crusader's low aggression factor does not seem mirror the active campaigning done by Crusader armies to take or retake territory held by the Syrians of Allepo, the Seljuks, the Fatimids or the Mamluks. However, as many of their opponents are also inexplicably classed as low aggression, some balance is apparent.

In a regular battle, the challenge for the Crusader commander against Muslim opponents will be to use the Knights effectively against historical opponents who will use their advantages in bow to shoot them down and/or mounted to draw them off and surround them. It will be critical to force the battle with your own spear and missile-troops, not just rely on the impetuous charge of your Knights. Missile fire by Crusader Bows and Crossbows will be just as effective as your Knights in killing enemy Light Horse and Cavalry, but your archers are vulnerable to mounted in close combat.

With an army comprised of a strong, but impetuous striking force (Knights) and a solid block of ground holders (Spear) and anti-cavalry troops (Crossbows and Bows), it will be tempting to pin the enemy's front with your foot and use the littoral option to land Knights in a position to threaten a flank. Not exactly typical historical tactics, but effective nevertheless, as long as you don't need the commander's pips to maneuver your foot force since a littoral landing may put him out of command-control range.


In 15mm, you will find Later Crusader ranges and early Medieval figures suitable for the Later Crusades from Donnington, Essex, Gallia, Gladiator, Irregular, Mirliton, Museum, Navigator, Old Glory and others. 15mm Richard I (Lion-Hearted) personality figures are available from Donnington (MC1), with escort from Gladiator Miniatures (CRF1), and mounted on cloth barded horse from Gallia (15LG10).

In 25/28mm, there are also numerous options including Amazon, Griffin Miniatures, Naismith, Old Glory, Perry Miniatures, and Whitecross

Painting and Heraldry

For the bulk of the army, you'll only need flesh, metal, black, red and white. Additional colors may be required for the clothing and the devices of personalities such as Richard I or King Louis IV of France. Crusader knights typically wore a full-body suit of mail covered by a cloth surcoat bearing crosses and/or the simple devices that were the precursors of formal heraldry. The Military Orders had their own distinctive robes worn over mail, the Templars in a white surcoat with red cross on the left breast, and the Hospitallers in their hooded hospital robes (capa clausa) which were black with white cross (changing to red with white cross after 1259 AD). Small heater shields and closed helms had replaced the kite shields and nasal helms of the earlier Crusaders. Foot sergeants would bear larger heater shields and thigh length mail hauberks with nasal helms, and crossbowmen of the military orders also enjoyed mail coats and helms. Typical turcoples in the service of the military orders are presumed to have mail shirt and helm and to bear a light lance, sword and bow.

Merlin the Mad (from The Miniatures Page): Heraldry was still in its infancy at the end of the 12th century. Richard's gold lions on a red field is certain. The military orders have their colors and cross variants. The Hospitallers are plain black without a sigil on their shields according to some sources, others say a white split-point cross; mine have the fully-developed "Maltese" cross, surely an inaccuracy, but they look so cool that way. Other than a few great lord-type commanders, there isn't any roster of English participants that I have heard of (nothing like the rolls of William the Conqueror's companions): so you would have trouble researching any early heraldic motifs for individuals. My solution would be to look at all the artwork of the period showing knights (not artwork from a later period about the third crusade - that would only show shield patterns from the later period); and combine it with the Bayeux Tapestry stuff, seeing as how individual shield patterns were not fixed yet into any rules of heraldry. There are absolutely NO quarterings, nor "furs" nor color restrictions yet: patterns would be a simple device, not anything like the overlapping and such that comes later. These would have been typical: an iron fist, a stag's head, a picture of a saint, a depiction of a weapon, Ivanhoe's uprooted (disinherited) tree, Christian crosses of various colors and shapes, multiple animals in rude "heraldic" poses (e.g. Richard's lions), bends and wavy lines and embattled bars, etc. I think if you get hold of a "King Maker" game and reproduce the simplified heraldry for the various English noble houses you would be really close; most of them were in existence as early as the 3rd Crusade.

See also the arms of the Latin Kingdom of Jerusalem by Heraldica.

Battle Scenarios

Armies of the Fanatici

Other Resources

Dr. Brendan Moyle's De Bellis in Terra Santa is an excellent resource for historical information for wargamers on the Crusades.

Ian Heath's "Armies and Enemies of the Crusades 1096 - 1291" by Wargames Research Group (1978) is a primary reference for wargamers, along with Ian's "A Wargamers' Guide to the Crusades" (Patrick Stephens, 1980), which adds background information that would be very useful in establishing a campaign setting.

There are a number of useful Osprey reference titles, including:

For related resources, the De Bellis Bookstore's Crusades section and/or check out the following websites of potential historical interest:

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Essay by Chris Brantley.  Comments, questions or suggested
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Last Updated: September 8, 2003