Solidifying the Ghost Army Part 2 - Inspiration for characterization

Donnybrook has become pretty widely used since its release (despite CH painting himself into the cover!).

Donnybrook is ideally suited to characterisation.  Clarence and I had much fun naming the rather ridiculous characters which pepper the pages of the rule book. A few of our friends appear there in very thin disguise.

The Ghost Army immediately started to lend itself to this characterisation because each Foot unit contained only four models plus two characters and the mounted unit had three models and two characters.

Four of the Ghost Army: Gustafsson, Svensson, Öberg and Abrahamsson

As I decided that a retreating and starving Swedish force was unlikely to attempt to assemble a handful of pikemen into a formation I chose at the planning step to drop the pikemen and equip them with heavy weapons.

Initially I was going for halberds, half pikes and spontoons but then I saw an opportunity to link the 17th century fighting Swedes to the spirit of their Viking and Rus ancestors. Warfare produce a weighty sapper's axe and so I decided my 'heavy weapon' wielding Carolinians would carry sapper's axes like a 17th century Varangian Guard.

My original version.. nicked by a mate!

And so the link to Røde Orm. If you have not read this book I thoroughly commend it. It is a rite of passage experience for every Scandinavian and is the saga of Røde Orm (Red Serpent), a ginger haired Dane from Skåne who embarks reluctantly on an adventure at aged fifteen and becomes a mighty chief who serves in Spain for the Caliph, England for King Harald Bluetooth and visits the Byzantine Empire to seek treasure in the Ukraine. His brother Are serves as a Varangian.

I can't recommend this book highly enough

My Gran gave me the book aged twelve having bought it at a jumble sale. I remember my Mum saying to her "I don't think he should be reading that" - the cover described man sized helpings of murder, arson, robbery and rape!

A BLB Squadron - The Ghost Army has five mounted models - not too many

Gran was a tough old bird and said - let him read it! Thanks Mary, that was indeed a good call!
I have read it eight times since. In English it was published as 'The Longships'. From its great sweeping adventures both the Richard Widmark movie 'The Longships'  (1964) and the Kirk Douglas/Tony Curtis movie 'The Vikings' (1958) stole their plot lines. Both stories are part of Red Orm's saga.

Stor Axel (Big Axel!) - one of Sergeant Öberg's bare legged heavy weapons men.

My Heavy Weapons unit was modelled on Are's Tostesson's Varangians. The first unit of the Ghost Army to be completed. It features in detail in a separate post which is next in the series.