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The Rise of Muscovy: Later Medieval Russian

Page history last edited by PBworks 14 years, 11 months ago

Later Medieval Russian, AD 1246 - AD 1533


Draft List by Ulf Olsson


This list covers the armies of the various Russian states from the aftermath of the Mongol invasion until the widespread introduction of gunpowder weapons, defeat of the various Mongol/Turkic khanates, and the consolidation of Muscovy as the only Russian state.


This period saw Russia gradually throwing off the ‘Mongol Yoke’ while simultaneously fighting off various invasions by western crusaders. At the beginning of the period Russia consisted of an array of independent states ruled by Princes. These states might (or might not) join forces against outsiders, but spent a lot of time and effort fighting each other. The Mongol conquest hit Russia very hard, but a few Principalities, notably Novgorod, were never subdued by them.

Gradually, Muscovy became dominant and eventually absorbed the other Russian states.


Russian armies combined native military traditions with eastern influence transmitted by the Mongols/Golden Horde, as well as western European traditions picked up from western enemies (Germans, Poles, Danes, Swedes). The result was a unique and powerful military machine that eventually allowed the Tsars of Moscow to expand their realm into one of the most powerful and largest states the world has ever seen.


Army List


Terrain: Normal - Plains


0-1 Dvor Cavalry Division

1c Dvor Cavalry

0-1 Dvor Cavalry


If the Dvor Cavalry Division is used it must be commanded by the C-in-C.


1-3 Boyar Cavalry Division

1c Boyar Cavalry

1-2 Boyar Cavalry


The C-in-C must command a Boyar Cavalry Division if the Dvor Cavalry Division is not used.


0-2 Militia Infantry Division

1c Militia Foot

1-2 Militia Foot

0-1 Militia Archers


At least 1 Militia Infantry Division must be used in AD 1380 – AD 1486. Novgorod must use a Militia Infantry Division at any date.


0-1 Peasant Levy Division

1c Peasant Levy

1-2 Peasant Levy


0-2 Russian Prince’s Ally Division

1c Ally Dvor

1-2 Ally Boyar

0-2 Ally Militia Foot


At least 1 Russian Prince’s Ally Division must be used in AD 1246 – AD 1379 by any Russian state except Novgorod.


0-1 Karelian Ally Division (Only if Novgorod or North-Western Muscovy)

1c Karelian Ally Warriors

1-2 Karelian Ally Warriors


0-1 Cossack Division (Only in AD 1400 – AD 1533)

1c Cossack Cavalry or Cossack Infantry

0-2 Cossack Cavalry

0-2 Cossack Infantry


Novgorod may not use a Cossack Division


0-1 Tatar Ally Division (Only in AD 1246 – AD 1379)

1c Tatar Ally Horse Archers

1-2 Tatar Ally Horse Archers


Novgorod can not use a Tatar Ally Division.


0-1 Lithuanian Ally Division (only in AD 1246 - AD 1379)

1c Lithuanian Ally Cavalry

1-2 Lithuanian Ally Cavalry



Additional Units

0-2 Tatar Mercenary Horse Archers (1)

0-2 Light Guns (only in AD 1386 – AD 1533) (2)

0-2 Karelian or Tribal Warriors (3)

0-10 Gulay Gorod Field Defences (4)



No additional units may be added to Ally Divisions

  1. Tatar Mercenary Horse Archers may be added to a Dvor or Boyar Cavalry Division
  2. Light Guns may be added to a Militia Infantry Division
  3. Karelian or Tribal Warriors may be added to any Division
  4. Gulay Gorod may be deployed in Positional Battles only.

Mounted Units


Dvor Cavalry

Heavy Cavalry – Initiative 7 (Bow)

2 Bases 42 Pts, 38 Pts if Ally

3 Bases 57 Pts, 51 Pts if Ally



Dvor Cavalry was the personal troops of a major Russian Prince and the elite of Medieval Russian armies. The Dvor were splendidly equipped and mounted and personally commanded by the Prince himself.

Dvor Cavalry of a Russian Prince’s Division are Allies.



Boyar Cavalry

Heavy Cavalry – Initiative 6

3 Bases – 48 Pts, 42 Pts if Ally

4 Bases – 60 Pts, 52 Pts if Ally


Up to half Boyar Cavalry of Novgorod and other North Russian states may have Bow. In south Russia all Boyar Cavalry must have Bow.



Boyar Cavalry made up the core of medieval Russian armies. The Boyars were provincial nobles and brought their numerous retinues to war. Many of the nobles were splendidly equipped and mounted, but not all members of their retinues could afford the best equipment. Bows were used extensively, especially in southern Russia.

Boyar Cavalry of a Russian Prince’s Division are Allies.


Cossack Cavalry or Tatar Mercenary Horse Archers

Light Horse Archers – Initiative 6 (Wave)

2 Bases - 36 Pts, 38 Pts if Expert

4 Bases - 60 Pts, 64 Pts if Expert


Tatar Mercenary Horse Archers may be Expert, but Cossack Cavalry may not.



Cossack Cavalry and Tatar Mercenary Horse Archers were skilled horse archers fighting in the Central Asian tradition. Renegade Tatar bands were used by Russian Princes quite soon after the Mongol conquest. Cossack cavalry fought in a similar way but were of mixed ethnic background.


Tatar Ally Horse Archers

Light Horse Archers – Initiative 6 (Ally, Expert, Wave)

4 Bases - 56 Pts



Most Russian states were vassals of the Mongols' Golden Horde successor state until the late 14th Century. Russian Princes could sometimes call on their Tatar liege lords for help. The Tatar Ally Horse Archers represent such a detachment of the Golden Horde.


Lithuanian Ally Cavalry

Light or Medium Irregular Horse - Initiative 6 (Wave)

4 Bases - 48 Pts

6 Bases - 66 Pts



Russian Principalities sometimes used Lithuanian allies.



Foot Units


Militia Foot

Medium Shieldsmen – Initiative 6 (Brittle)

6 Bases - 26 Pts

8 Bases - 32 Pts



Militia Foot represent the town-dwellers that made up the bulk of Russian infantry. They are not terribly well equipped and often lack armour, but do have helmet and shields. Armament was mixed, but spears were most common. They were not professional soldiers, but often fought well in defence of their homes.


Militia Archers

Medium or Light Archers –Initiative 5

6 Bases - 31 Pts

8 Bases - 38 Pts



Militia Archers represent those lower-status town-dwellers equipped with bows or crossbows. See Militia Foot above.


Peasant Levy

Medium Irregulars – Initiative 5

6 Bases - 22 Pts

8 Bases - 26 Pts



Peasant Levy depict the less warlike peasantry that was occasionally raised. They were ill-equipped and not well motivated. They could be effective in difficult terrain, though.


Karelian or Tribal Warriors

Medium or Light Irregulars – Initiative 6

4 Bases - 20 Pts, 12 Pts if Ally

6 Bases - 26 Pts, 14 Pts if Ally



Lightly equipped infantry javelinmen recruited from tribal communities in the border areas. They were good, if undisciplined, fighters.

Karelian warriors of a karelian Ally Division are Allies


Cossack Foot

Light Archers or Medium Archers – Initiative 6

4 Bases - 28 Pts

6 Bases - 38 Pts



The early Cossacks included large numbers of foot warriors. Most were armed with bows or crossbows. At the end of the period, gunpowder weapons started to be used by some individuals.


Gulay Gorod

Medium Fortification

1 Width 8 Pt


Can only be used in Positional Battles



The Gulay Gorod were carts and wagons used as field defences.

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