Over a week late with this, another belated account of our game on Saturday 10 July. Back by popular request was another early Italian Wars game using the Renaissance adaptions tried last time for Sword and Spear. They’d worked really well on our first attempt so I decided to mash up the orders of battle, essentially removing the Swiss and the Spanish from the mix, leaving the French to fight my larger than I thought Venetian army.
To add to the fun, for me at least, I created a scenario very (very) loosely based on a well-known battle with its anniversary this month. Before I divulge the name, in this scenario the French have invaded an Italian duchy currently under the control of the Venetians, with the purpose of securing a victory and putting a pro-French candidate on the ducal throne. The Venetian army has responded to the invasion by assembling a significant but mixed quality force close to the city of Aquaponte, which has been occupied by the French, confident after winning a series of skirmishes as they brushed aside the local militia.
The French plan was to execute an attack through the dawn mist on the Venetians who were camped on the other side of a ditch/stream/dike in the hope of catching them by surprise and destroying them. anyway, here's how the game went. I think the photos are in the correct order.
|The Venetian army seen from their right wing. The CinC looks suitably unperterbed.|
Orders of battle will be at the end of this post. Suffice to say there were more Venetians than French and almost a third of the latter were relatively poor and very badly dressed French Picard pikemen and Gascon crossbowmen.
|The table at the start. French on the right.|
Conrad, Nigel and John were the Venetians while Richard, Paul and Neil were the French. I brought the oranges and cold sponges on throughout the game and kept a few secrets up my sleeve regarding the terrain and weather, most of which I forgot about. It was supposed to be misty but on turn one the sun burnt the mist off so we were spared the fun of troops loosing their way. The stream, ditch, dike whatever was crossable to all troops but I only told the Venetians that. The French were led to believe it was difficult. Well, it was for gendarmes (of both sides where it would take a whole turn) but otherwise crossing only cost 4" of movement for everyone else.
|Stradiots on the Venetian right, with men-at-arms behind.|
|The great mass of not terribly good Venetian pikemen still look impressive.|
|Events would soon wipe the smile off that face!|
|Both armies approached the stream. The Venetian Stradiots drove off some French mounted crossbowmen but would in turn be forced to pull back in the face of the advancing gendarmes.|
|Landsknechts in French service confidently cross the stream.|
|On the French right Paul ordered his Gascon and Picard infantry towards the Venetians.|
|The Venetian pike were attacked by the Landsknechts and gendarmes. Remarkably, the Venetians not only held but broke all of their opponents, albeit with a little help from Venetian Men-at-Arms.|
|It all got just too much for Esme who went to sleep on the battlefield!|
Commander in Chief
One unit of Condottieri Gendarmes Cav# 4/4/HA/Impact/Undrilled
One unit of Landsknecht Pike HF 4/8/Sw/Pikes+2HW*/Huge unit
One unit of Landsknecht Pike HF 4/6/Sw/Pikes+2HW*/Large unit
One unit of Landsknecht Shot LF 4/2/Av/Arquebus
One unit of Gendarmes d’Ordinance Cav# 4/4//HA/Impact/Undrilled
Two units of French pike HF 5/4/Sw/Pikes
One unit French Arquebusiers MF 5/4/Av/Arquebus
Two units of Gascon/Norman Crossbowmen MF 4/3/Pavises/Crossbow
One unit of Gascon/Norman Crossbowmen MF 4/5/Pavises/Crossbow/Large
Heavy guns in battery Art 4/3/Av/Guns
Three units of French Gendarmes d’Ordinance Cav# 3/4/HA/ Impact/Undrilled
Two units of French Argoulets LH 4/2/Av/Arquebus
ARMY OF VENICE Discipline/Strength/Armour/Weapon
Commander in Chief
One unit of Lanza Spezzia Gendarmes Cav 4/3/HA/Impact/Undrilled
Four units of Stradiotti Cav 4/3/Av/Javelins
Light guns in battery Art 4/2/Av/Guns 26
One unit of Ventian Casa/Famiglia gendarmes Cav# 3/3/HA/Impact/Undrilled
One unit of Condottieri gendarmes Cav 3/3/HA/Impact
One unit of Italian mounted crossbows LH 4/2/Av/Crossbow
One unit of Italian mounted arquebusiers LH 4/2/Av/Arquebus
Two units of pike Venetian Pike HF 5/6/Sw/Pikes/Large
Two units Venetian arquebusiers LF 4/2/Av/Arquebus
Light guns in battery Art 4/2/Av/Guns 29
Two units of Casa Famiglia Gendarmes Cav 4/3/HA/Impact/Undrilled
Two units Italian mounted arquebusiers LH 4/2/Av/Arquebus
One unit of Venetian Veteran Pike HF 4/6/Sw/Pikes/Large
One unit of Venetian Swordsmen HF 4/4/Swd & Buckler
Two units of Venetian Militia Archers LF 5/2/LP/Short bow
Two units of Venetian Crossbowmen MF 4/4/Pavises/Crossbow
Light guns in battery Art 4/2/Av/Guns 38
- Pikes+2HW* - If the unit is fresh and has not moved this phase, has an action dice allocated, and was charged and contacted frontally by enemy pike, it causes an automatic discipline test on the enemy unit before the combat is resolved. The unit may still use the action dice to gain impetus as normal. If it is fresh and has made an advance this phase, it may choose to get the same effect, but it must give up one impetus dice to do so.
- #Gendarmes moves as Cataphracts in the rules.
- Large (or Huge) pike blocks fired on by artillery count as Lacking Protection.
- Crossbows - 16” range. Heavily armoured or armoured target reduced by one level or protection.
- Arquebus - 12” range. Ignores all armour.
- Light Guns - 24” range. Can move 4” in Open terrain.
- Sw – Shieldwall. Treated as armoured if fresh and either in melee or shot at by a unit which is in front of it (i.e., Part of the shooting unit is directly in front of the unit).
- Large/Huge - It requires an action dice two higher than its discipline rating to carry out a manoeuvre. It cannot move backwards, although it can carry out a 180° turn as a manoeuvre.
- Undrilled - It requires an action dice two higher than its discipline rating to carry out a manoeuvre.
- Pavises – The unit is treated as armoured if it is either in melee and is fresh or is shot at by a unit which is in front of it (i.e., Part of the shooting unit is directly in front of the unit with pavises). Otherwise, it is treated as lacking protection. The movement rate of the unit is reduced by 1 DU (4”).
- 2HW - A unit armed with two handed weapons ignores any enemy armour.
Venetian Objectives and Briefing:
Your army is camped not far from the town of Acqua del Ponto in the county of Estatemettere where it known that the invading French army under the Scottish Prince Jacques, Duc de Lainage de Casque has occupied.
The terrain between your camp and the town is open apart from a large, cultivated area of olive trees across from the formidable looking B’sesso Reno dyke. The stream is spanned by a single wooden bridge. In reality the stream is wide but quite shallow so is only a minor obstacle to all cavalry and infantry. The Pappagallo stream runs along the walls of the town into the B’sesso Reno dyke.
There are two villages shown on the battlefield, Occidente Soiaterra near you camp and Capannone Soia.
North is the long table edge behind the French deployment area.
The time is 6am and your army is beginning to stir.
The weather is dry but there is a morning mist, so visibility is down to 12” until it burns off in a few turns time (1D6)
The French must be defeated, and their army totally destroyed. The fate of Venice is in your hands.
French Objectives and briefing:
Your army under the Scottish Prince Jacques, Duc de Lainage de Casque is camped outside the town of Acqua del Ponto in the County of Estatemettere. This is Venetian territory that you have invaded, but the populace are hostile towards Venice and would welcome a pro-French ruler reinstated. After some days of minor skirmishes since crossing the border you have occupied Acqua del Ponto to rest your army.
The terrain between the town and the Ventian army is open apart from a large, cultivated area of olive trees and the formidable looking B’sesso Reno dyke. The dyke is spanned by a single wooden bridge. It is purported to be wide, and deep, so careful reconnaissance is required to find a crossing point or points. 1D6 on reaching the dyke will determine whether it is crossable at that point. The Pappagallo stream runs along the walls of the town into the B’sesso Reno dyke.
There are two villages shown on the battlefield, Occidente Soiaterra near the enemy camp and Capannone Soia.
North is the long table edge behind your deployment area.
The time is 6am and your army has formed up and is marching towards the Venetians in order to surprise them in their camp before they can ready themselves for battle.
The weather is dry but there is a morning mist, so visibility is down to 12” until it burns off in a few turns time (1D6). Movement in the mist can result in units becoming disorientated or worse still, lost. However, you have local guides and speed is of the essence in achieving your goal.
The Venetians must be defeated, and their army totally destroyed. The fate of your expedition is in your hands and will be decided in the next few hours..