"...the breastplates clanged,
war-gear of men; their weapons stacked,
spears of the seafarers stood together,
gray-tipped ash: that iron band
was worthily weaponed!"
— Beowulf, trans Grummere
The Norse propensity for strong, powerful medium infantry continues with the Hirdmenn, who are the elite warriors of the Danish royal household. Although they have a stronger attack, are better armoured and have more hitpoints, they are however slower than Vikings, meaning that once the Danish player hits the Castle Age his or her tactics will have to change, so that instead of raiding with Vikings and Jarls, Hirdmenn will have to be used less recklessly and more prudently.
Still, because of their added attack, Hirdmenn are highly regarded and are good counter-infantry units, capable of destroying enemy formations if properly managed. Their only problem, however, might be meeting unique units which have better defensive stats. Towers will also stop them in their tracks. Equally devastating too, is heavy cavalry — the added height of Lancers and Knights makes it an easy task to gaffe the life out of them since all they are armed with are just clumsy axes. Nevertheless, the ability to spawn these fearsome warriors with each Barracks constructed by the Norse player means that they are still a very powerful asset, handily providing the Norse with a good defensive unit to support a mid-game rush or defensive boom in the late game.
- Steadier, Stronger, Slower — The drop in speed for Norse light infantry means that the Danish player will need to switch tactics, moving away from Viking raids to forming solid battle lines with the Hirdmenn.
- An Axe Cut Above the Rest — Because of their added attack, Hirdmenn are highly regarded and are good counter-infantry units, capable of destroying enemy formations if properly managed.
During the 13th and 14th centuries in Europe, added conflict and scarcity of resources initiated a round of rationalisation and innovation in European armies, and the Danes were not excepted from this: the Hirdmenn represented a halfway house between the old Viking past of the Norse peoples and the new professional men-at-arms which were becoming more commonplace, especially in Western Europe. Still, rationalisation was never completed for various reasons, the most common one being that the Danish crown was at its weakest for most of the early and intermediate Mediaeval era, leaving its somewhat old-fashioned armies easy prey for its mortal foes Holstein and (much later) the Hanseatic League.