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Variant Armies

The Jutes (430 - 800 AD) - DBA 75c

DBA does a great disservice to the Early Germanics that I intend to set right here in the DBA Resource Page! For those of you who like to game the post-Roman Germanic "invasions" of Europe and especially Britain, DBA provides official army lists for Franks, Burgundians, Alans, Rugians, Saxons, Frisians, Suevi, Bavarians and even Thuringians. But where, oh where, are the Jutes?

The Venerable Bede records the arrival of large numbers of Germanic settlers in Britain beginning in the 430s, and notes:

They came from three very powerful Germanic tribes, the Saxons, Angles and Jutes. The people of Kent and the inhabitants of the Isle of Wight are of Jutish origin, and also those opposite the Isle of Wight, that part of the kingdom of Wessex which is still today called the nation of the Jutes

Actually it is likely that Britain had some previous experience of the Jutes, who hailed from Jutland, in what is now Denmark. There are suggestions of earlier Jutish raids on the Northumbrian coast, which are reminiscent of their Viking relations who were to make a nuisance of themselves some 400-500 years later. It also seems that some Jutes may have been brought to the Isles and employed as mercenaries before the fall of Romano-Britain.

Kent was a significant kingdom in southeast Britain from 455 AD until the late 750s, when Offa of Mercia effectively made the Kentish king his vassal. It was founded (per historical accounts) by the german Hengest, who rallied the natives and drove out the British in 455 AD, thus thwarting the aspirations of Vortigern. Kent's population was apparently comprised of Saxons as well as Jutes, Frisians and others, and Hengest's own ancestory is not clear, so it would probably be an error to characterize Kent as a Jutish kingdom. However, there was clearly a Jutish dynasty installed on the Isle of Wight, which repelled at least one Mercian invasion and resisted the tide of Christianity until the late 600s.

Composition:

There are no readily available accounts of Jutish armies in the field, and there may have been none to speak of. However, presuming there were, there is no reason to presume that they would be significantly different from that of their fellow Germanic tribesmen:

10x 4Wb Warband represent the bulk of any early medieval Germanic army, and there is no reason to presume that the Jutes would be different.
1x 4Bd It seems likely that a Jutish king would have had a body of more heavily armed and experienced household troops and loyal allies who fought as heavy infantry; what is often referred to in the Latin as a comitatus.
1x 2Ps The sole Psiloi element represents the lightly armed skirmishers found in most armies of this period, and would have been equipped with an assortment of missile weapons, including javelins, bows and slings, with which to harass the enemy.

Enemies:

The Jutes of Southern England would have found themselves in conflict with the Sub-Roman British (#82) as well as their Middle Anglo-Saxon successors (#75b). It is possible there was dissension with their early Saxon neighbors in Kent (#75a). Also, assuming the Jutes were still around in the 800s, the Viking Great Army had made an annoying habit of stopping off at the Isle of Wight on their way to raid Wessex (106a).

Tactics:

The best tactics for a predominantly Warband army is to point them at the nearest Blades and charge, preferrably with a second rank in support to add weight (and a +1 bonus) to their impetus. The single element of Blades, with a +1 bonus as the General's element, is a potent killer at +6 versus foot, but should not be allowed to become isolated or outflanked. Your Psiloi can help defend your Blades from Cavalry or provide a supporting/delaying force on one or the other flank.

Closing Note:

The Jutes were a distinct Germanic people who played a significant role in early medieval British history. Unfortunately little is recorded regarding the Jutes and of that, even less is readily available to this author for reference. Therefore, anyone who has more information on this subject and would like to correct errors herein and/or has suggestions on the Jutes as a DBA army list can drop me a note at IamFanaticus@gmail.com.


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Last Updated: June 6, 1998