The Italian Wars, Pike & Shotte, 28mm
This fictitious scrap was dreamed up by or club’s Renaissance enthusiast Michael Schneider. the figures came from his collection, backed up by those of Donald Adamson, plus my own fledgling Venetian “battle”. The game was played on an 8 x 6 foot table, with a river running down the middle of it. This was crossed by a bridge, dominated by a fortified farmhouse. There were four contingents, and four players. Strangely the two Imperialists – Bart and I – came on on diagonally opposite table edges, while the French – Campbell and Donald took the opposite corners. That meant my combined Spanish and Venetian command had Campbell’s French in front of me, and more French on my left flank – across the river. Michael umpired, while Bill Gilchrist watched, while offering sage rules advice to Bart. Actually, things started to go badly wrong from the start. I didn’t have any heavy cavalry, while Campbell did. So, I pretty much stayed on the defensive, as I expected some to turn up as reinforcements. Bart didn’t have any such reservations. He charged forward in fine style, only to be shredded by the counter-charging French gendarmes. One turn we had a healthy Imperialist cavalry wing – the next turn it was gone.Of course that opened up that side of the table for a general French advance, spearheaded by a large block of Swiss pikes. Bart threw his Spanish colunela into its path, and fired at it with his supporting guns, but the Swiss block proved unstoppable. It effectively rolled over the Spanish infantry, leaving nothing else on that side of the table that could stop it. So, the game was effectively lost within an hour, and all that Bart could do was to delay the inevitable.On my side of the table the French advanced fairly steadily, but then my reinforcements arrived – two small units of Spanish men-at-arms. hey took on their French counterparts, while my own light cavalry skirmished with the stradiots who had traitorously signed up for service with the French. My brand new unit of mounted crossbowmen scored a hit – their first ever – and that was the highlight of my game.You see, over on the far side of my Venetian brigade the Spanish and French cavalry had fought a melee, and my Spaniards were routed. Not just one unit – the other had to take a break test due to supporting the first cavalry unit – and I rolled a “2” on a “D12”. Not good. So, in the first turn of combat I’d managed to lose all my cavalry. So, with the Imperialist cause in shreds, I reverted to plan B. That was to save the Venetian contingent, who after all had no real enthusiasm to help either the French king or the Holy Roman Emperor.My mercenary pikes, my brand-new unit of handgunners, my gun, my crossbow militia and my light cavalry all turned about and walked off the table. The French tried to stop the withdrawal, but all they managed to do was to overrun a heavy Spanish gun, and make a unit of German mercenary light cavalry retire off the table. So, it was a short game, and not one to boast about. Still, next time I’ll have more Venetians, and we won’t have to rely so much on the useless Spanish!