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Nominee 3: Jeanne d'Arc (Joan of Arc)

No doubt you saw this one coming - she is simply unavoidable. Or is that undeniable? Saint Joan really was an amazing human being. From the depths of defeat during the Hundred Years' War, she lead the French army to both immediate and eventual victory. She was a 17-year-old peasant girl in an age when that made her supremely irrelevant, particularly to the kings and nobles who were the top-echelon military commanders of the day.

I will not summarize her military career here, but I will note that she was not just a cheerleader or mascot. She lead from the front in assaults, got wounded and carried on despite it. She sited artillery and gave orders in the siege lines. She participated in all of the councils of war of the French army, and was a (single-mindedly aggressive) dominant voice. She is amazingly well-documented, thanks to her trial and re-trial, and it is clear that she impressed both friend and foe deeply with her bravery, faith, intelligence, charm, and skill (both as tactician and warrior). She was also said to be physically quite attractive. There is a good article by Stephen W. Richey titled Joan of Arc: A Military Appreciation which gives the full story not only of what Jeanne d'Arc accomplished, but how. Excellent reading.

There are lots and lots of images of her, of course, but here are a few examples (none depicting her burning - at that point her military career was over). The lack of historical accuracy is typical, and she didn't wear skirts (she was burned in the end for dressing like a man!), but here she is in battle:

And storming the fortifications at Tournelle:

Here, she is looking inspiring in a suit of what appears to be (tournament?) armor from much later in the Middle Ages (or the 17th century? Or never?):

And finally, here she is with the banner she designed, at the coronation of the faithless King Charles VII at Rheims, whom she was responsible for installing as monarch, but who treated her very poorly indeed afterwards. No skirts this time at least:

Working Jeanne d'Arc into a wargame will be a challenge. The French army was transformed by her leadership, and followed her with passion, devotion, and bravery, even when unpaid (which, at the time, was remarkable). I would suggest reading the article mentioned above and then modifying your rules to suit - in her presence the troops experienced a morale boost of impressive proportions, and the effect was a direct result of her proximity, from what I can tell.

As for miniatures, we are spoiled for choice. The picture below shows a 28mm figure made by 1st Corps Curteys Miniatures, with her banner made by Battle Flag (sold at the same site, it looks like it might come with the figure).

The Perrys make a good set, complete with some of her historical companions, although without a banner:

Hasslefree make a dismounted "fantasy" Jeanne in 28mm which I quite like, pictured below.

As you might expect, there are many, many different St. Joan figures out there, and the ones listed here are just a start. You can click here for more. Jeanne d'Arc didn't just inspire her countrymen with dreams of a united France, free of English influence, she also inspired a lot of miniatures sculptors. (I refuse to provide a link to Black Hat's depiction of Jeanne d'Arc being burned at the stake!) And not just in 28mm, either - Mystic Games had a 15mm Joan-of-Arc Kickstarter as the second installment of their "Time of Legends" series, and there are at least three other 15mm depictions.

In the final analysis, Jeanne d'Arc is simply one of the most incredible historical figures of all time. So buy whichever figure takes your fancy, paint it up, dust off your Agincourt-era French knights, and see if she leads them to victory the way she did the real ones!

Copyright (c) 2018 by Arofan Gregory. All rights reserved.