An excellent day’s wargaming was had on Saturday. First I hosted a technologically trouble free live streamed Italian Wars game, based, as the title suggests, loosely on the Battle of Novara in the early part of the Italian Wars. The city and walls played no part in the game. I’d left it out as a work in progress and also because I’ve not solved yet the question of where to store it. This was quite a small game compared with my usual ones, but it did leave some space for manoeuvring if needed. These photos from the previous post show the table and the deployment of both sides.
The French have been caught with their hose down by the Swiss, nominally under the command of Maximilian Sforza, the Duke of Milan as he was paying them. The army had made a rapid early morning advance towards the French army, camped in and around a village. The Swiss were in three columns. From right to left, the first was made up of a block of 1000 pikemen and 200 ‘lances’ of Italian Gendarmes. The second contained a unit of crossbow-armed skirmishers and a block of 2000 pike. The third column on the left was 6000 strong, in two huge pike blocks and one unit of halbardiers and a couple of puny light guns. The French had approx 1000 assorted Stradiots and other light cavalry on their extreme left, four large units of gendarmes in and around the camp/village, 4000 Gascon crossbowmen in three units and on the right, facing the main Swiss column, 6000 Landsknechts in two huge pike blocks supported by some shot and two-handed swordsmen. There were also two medium guns. We used Pike and Shot, much fiddled with, and with more representative (ie a bit of thought, not all mine, went into them unlike the ones in the rules) unit stats. I class ‘huge’ units as ones with more than 64 figures, and step further up than ‘large’ units, giving them extra melee dice and stamina. This was also the first time I fielded my gendarmes in units of 12 instead of six. They looked much better that way and I also gave them a little bit more in the way of stamina but not melee dice.
A smaller than normal turnout this time. Conrad, Richard and Shaun were the French while Neil and Mark (beamed in all the way from Adelaide) were the Swiss. The French thought they would have a tough fight on their hands to win. How right they were.
|The French Commander, Louis de Tremouille.|
|The French gendarmes started the game dismounted and unarmed so would have to spend time getting their kit on.|
|The Swiss/Milanese commande Maximilian Sforza, Duke of Milan. In reality the only troops he had any real control over were the gendarmes.|
|The stradiots and mounted shot start to move around the flank of the Milanese gendarmes. |
|Richard's gendarmes were quicker into the saddle than Conrad's.|
|The central Swiss pike block launched itself hell for leather against the French crossbowmen in the centre. They made short work of them.|
|The disordered Milanese were then, by virtue of their disorder, eligible targets for the Stradiots who hit them in the rear and flanks. This figure is pretending to be the Duke of Milan.|
|The gendarmes won the first round of melee and drove the Stradiots off, but were disordered still after taking more fire from the French argoulettes. The Stradiots attacked again the next turn.|
|The victorious Swiss in the centre then drove off a second unit of French crossbowmen, and as a result that command became broken and out of the fight. |
|The Landsnechts under Shaun charged the Swiss and held them, winning the first round of combat!|
The Swiss block was slowly pushed back after it became shaken (those artillery hits etc early in the game came back to haunt Mark)
|The left hand Swiss pike block was being pushed back but hanging on thanks to a rule in P&S that allows Swiss pike to ignore any break results and just withdraw so long as all the other units in their command were not also shaken. |
|Then the other huge Swiss block broke after failing to fight off the Landsnechts to their front and flank, leaving the entire column shaken or in rout.|
|The French artillery only had one shot the whole game but it was a critical one. Very old Hinchliffe cannon and powder cart crewed by TAG gunners. I made the design on the little flag up (a flaming bomb with sparks shooting out).|
|In the centre the Swiss pike block had advanced unhindered towards the French camp. The gendarmes had managed to arm and mount themselves fairly quickly but pulled back in the face of the Swiss. The other gendarmes had left the village on the other side and were positioning themselves to attack the Swiss rear.|
|I don't know why but the Swiss elected to charge the gendarmes! This immediately made them disordered and they lost any advantage they might have had against enemy cavalry! They'd have been better off forming a massive hedgehog as they were by now threatened in the rear as well.|
|Yep. Conrad's gendarmes swung round the village and charged the already engaged Swiss in the rear. It was a massacre and the Swiss were destroyed.|
The afternoon was rounded off with another hour and a half of banter and sharing of all things Wargames related with the Virtual (and global) Wargames Group run by Phil Olley. After the usual excellent ‘show and tell’, another Tidders’ Time from Alan Titchmarsh, a presentation of his new cavernous games room by American member Chris Bump that left us in awe, I rattled through a presentation on my refight of the Battle of Ferozeshah in the First Sikh War.
Today’s bad bit of news came from Shaun. He told us that a former but previously long standing member of the Durham Club had passed away after a short fight with Covid. I’d first met Big Ron Emery back in 1975/76 when we were both in D Co. of the 5th Btn the Light Infantry, a TA unit with close links to the famous but by then disbanded/merged Durham Light Infantry. We’d only been in sporadic contact over the last couple of years but I was sad to hear of his passing. Ronnie was an inveterate terrain maker and DIY person, so I’m sure he’ll be knocking up some excellent terrain boards, shelving and gaming tables for the other Big Guy in no time at all.