Wednesday, 14 March 2012

The Battle of Ceresole 1544

Every now again we like to run a larger than normal game on a Sunday at the Polish Club in Maryhill where we meet. This game actually took place about three years ago. We decided to put on a Renaissance game and I foolishly volunteered to design the scenario. Fortunately I had a copy of Battlefields magazine Vol 1 Issue 1 which contained a scenario for the Battle of Ceresole in 1544, one of the later and less well known battles of the Italian Wars. I used this as inspiration for our game. The original scenario and it's accompanying article were written by Roger Williams, to whom we owe our thanks for a most enjoyable game. If you don't own or have access to the particular issue of Battlefields then I refer you to the Wikipedia article on the battle for more details. The battle involves two more or less evenly matched armies both keen to fight. The battlefield was fairly featureless. Historically it breaks down into three almost separate battles between the respective centres and wings. We had six players on the day, enough for a C-in-C and two wing commanders for each side. We used 15mm figures and the original Armati rules with their Renaissance supplement. The OOBs were adapted from the magazine article to match the miniatures we had available. These came from the collections of Craig and Mark. To make things a bit more interesting, I gave each player a card detailing the general he was playing, including some personal objectives, details of their troops and a few other surprises. More of these later.
View of the battlefield from the east, the French will deploy to the left, Imperialists to the right. Note the higher ground in the centre with the valley between.
Deployment underway behind screens.
The opposing armies revealed. The two sides then went at it, for the most part, mirroring the actual battle.
In the centre the Swiss and Landsknechts clashed.
Despite their superior numbers the Landsknechts failed to break through the Swiss and were dispatched with the aid of the French Gendarmes. This fight was particularly bloody due to one of the special rules. To simulate the Landsknechts use of arquebusiers in the pike blocks behind the front rank of pikemen, the Landsknechts were allowed to fire immediately prior to resolving their first round of combat, in the same way as pistol-armed cavalry are in Armati. This came as something of a shock to the Swiss commander.
Historically the French Gascon infantry employed the same tactic, cancelling out the Landsknecht's use of it. The results were so destructive to both sides that it appears not to have been tried again. However in our game the French right wing commander had a personal objective of avoiding contact with the enemy, being out of sorts due to having been replaced as commander by the French C-in-C, leading to the Gascons taking no part in the battle until the very end.
As the Imperialist player opposite him has a preference to sit back awaiting his opponent's opening moves and then reacting to them this lead to much consternation on the Imperialist left wing. Light horse and arquebusiers were sent forward to try and provoke an attack.
This was followed by a messenger from the French C-in-C demanding action, which was duly ignored.
Meanwhile, on the French left wing more Swiss pike advanced against the Spanish and German foot.
As the two sides met, the French player was given a replacement card which revvealed that his 'Swiss' were in fact poor quality 'new Swiss' from Gruyere who quickly melted away in front of the superior Spanish and even the average German foot.
Back on the other flank the French finally moved forward and engaged, although their commander and his Gendarmes still managed to avoid combat. After a brief fight the Imperialists were defeated. This gave a similar result to the actual battle, with the Imperialists victorious on their right flank but defeated in the centre and their left. Overall a French win with a special mention to the French right wing commander for fulfilling his personal objective. We had an enjoyable game, the various surprises and special conditions seemed to work well and added an extra element to the game. The Armati rules coped well with the big game, possibly in part due to the fragmented nature and the three individual clashes. I'll finish off with a few more pictures.
Eriprando Madruzzo - Landsknecht Captain
The Marquis Del Vasto - Imperial C-in-C
The Sieur De Boutieres - French Right Wing Commander (Lurking behind his Gendarmes!)
Francis of Bourbon - French C-in-C
A very nice mobile forge and workshop
A mobile army hoor-house (With all due respect to Mr Alex Harvey)

Monday, 17 August 2009

Bearsden Landsknechts

A picture of some of the new Bearsden Miniatures Landskenchts.

Wednesday, 13 May 2009

Club Display Game 2007

Michael and Jon put their fantastically painted combined 28mm English / Scottish Civil War figures out on the road for our club display game in 2007.

Michael had both sides for an ECW army, and Jon had Scots.

They used Armati for the rules.

Some pics below

Phoenix Renaissance

Prompted by the closure of Geocities (and general slackness for over 6 years), Phoenix Wargaming is moving its club website to a series of period related blogs.

This one is for Renaissance and Pike and Shot gaming.