I notice it is actually quite warm out today, very unusual for the end of October, especially as it started with the usual grey sky and rain. Be that as it may I had a game organised with Julian and he duly turned up at 1000 hrs. It was our second Italian Wars bash, he has not had the time to increase his troops but I have managed a French pike block, some cavalry and more shooters.
The battle was a simple engagement so Julian based his army on a joint Spanish/Imperialist force having two Landsknecht and two Spanish pike blocks, two guns and six cavalry units one of which were mounted crossbows, he used his skirmishers to screen the pike blocks. I had a right old mix, Swiss, Landsknechts, Italian and French pikes, Italian formed shot, two guns, three Gendarme and three Archer cavalry units So, the enemy infantry were superior in mass to mine but my cavalry were slightly better. My troops were led by Giovanni de Medici.
We used the rules deployment where you put down cards representing the units then later turn them over to reveal the unit and set out your troops, a quick and easy system. I put four cavalry on my left and then Landsknechts, Italians, Swiss and French infantry in a line with two more cavalry units behind my right flank. Julian also had four cavalry units on his right but only one facing mine, then came his infantry close together with two more cavalry units on his left. From my point of view I thought my left flank cavalry could advance and quickly crush the enemy before they could get organised while I decided to bring my right flank cavalry to the front and also immediately attack. What to do with my infantry was taken from my capable hands as the Swiss once again threw themselves forward.
My left charged but didn't have a great deal of success and Julian countered well and at one point as I looked across I could see disaster looming, so much for my left hook. I took some time to get into a good position on my right but did eventually manage to get my heavy cavalry to the front only for them to be set upon and pushed back by the Spanish cavalry. The Swiss were now well across the battlefield followed by the Landsknechts and much more slowly but enthusiastically by the Italians and French. Julian seemed to be playing a waiting game.
|Spanish/Imperials on the left, French on the right|
|Spanish right flank|
After some bitter fighting my cavalry on the left began to make headway, but so did one of the enemy units as it punched through my line, but my up till then useless gunners, played on an easy target. With my left stabilised and cavalry now moving to the rear of the Spanish line the infantry clashed. The Swiss once again proved worth their pay and destroyed the Landsknechts to their front. My own Landsknechts also proved superior to the Spanish foot opposite them and in a surprise move my French who had been pushed back now turned the tables on their tormentors and joined the rest of my infantry in sweeping forward. In the final throws of the battle the Spanish lost several more units and Julian called a halt to the slaughter.
|My cavalry make heavy weather of the attack|
|Scots cavalry having a tough fight.|
In this game we came up against quite a few new 'problems' not covered in the rules, we settled these with what I hoped passed for commonsense but I intend to drop an email to the author, no one can hide anymore. We had a couple of instances where it looked like a quick flip would take a unit on to the flank of someone nearby, but of course the rules don't allow this as you are talking about huge, unwieldy pike blocks of several thousand men which simply cannot turn on a sixpence, no matter how easy it looks on a table. This game has also inspired me once again to look at the actual battles of the period but time is lacking, I will get there eventually. We both feel that gunnery, both arquebus and artillery seem to be quite ineffective, but again I think the answer may be in the detail, when these were effective, at Bicocca and Pavia the shot units consisted of thousands of men, not the small numbers we have on our table at the moment.
|Swiss way ahead and my right flank cavalry surge forward|
|Suffolk and his Landsknechts charge in|
|Dodgy fighting on the right.|
I rush painted an artillery piece and some arquebusiers for the game. I now have Stradioti ready for the painting tray, these are from The Assault Group and look very nice, in vain I have looked for examples of their clothing colours, I know some prefer dull colours but my thinking is that these guys are from the Balkans and the Balkans were under Turkish dominance at this time and those guys are usually pretty colourful, so would it have rubbed off on the Albanians?
I also took a small break and built the SdKfz 250/1 Alte that I got at Partizan, a very easy build and a lovely little model, it has been primed in Panzer Grey and awaits transfers, detailing and weathering.
The other night at the club Simon and I again played Johnny Reb, Simon is still keen on learning the game and I introduced command limits this time, this played a big part in the game as we both had brigades of between five and six regiments with only three orders to use for each. A simple meeting engagement again in which I advanced to the centre and held along a fence line, Simon was more aggressive and tried to push his men forward. Like the last time he did well until his die rolling threw his morale into chaos, he also suffered from several regiments running out of ammunition. So another Confederate victory but he is getting closer with each game to that elusive win.
Lost for a decent series of late I started 'Tehran' on Apple+, it is like the eyes of a snake, you want to look away but somehow can't. The Israeli agent is so incompetent she leaves a trail of dead innocents in here wake as she tries to carry out her, yes, it is a woman and most of the people in charge are women, in Moslem Tehran that should fit right in. I digress, I stayed the course and am now on Series 2, I am hoping against hope the Iranian protagonist catches her, how crazy is that. I also started 'The Old Man' on Disney, first episode, great, second episode, not so great, why would you go to dinner with someone then bore the life out of them with your desperate life story before you even order a drink, where was the waiters, where was the remote. It has one more chance.
As for our political chaos, Rishi Sunak, the defence rests and goes home m'lud.