Monday, 25 January 2016

Battle of Valle del Fiume :an Italian Wars scenario

It has been some time since Steve's Italian Wars figures featured on the blog so this weeks post marks a welcome return.  This is an imaginary scenario where French and Imperial forces clash as they both seek to control an important crossing of the river Fiume.  Each side had a roster  of their troops and it was up to the army commander to split them into three commands. A dice roll decided that I would command the French (more Gendarmes and artillery, but fewer pikemen and lighter cavalry).  I decided to put all my lighter cavalry on the right, supported by two light guns and two units of crossbowmen and a unit of halberdiers.  Their task was to occupy the enemy on their side of the river whilst the bulk of my forces secured the bridge and defeated the Imperial forces opposing them.  The river could be fordable, both sides were unsure of its depth and would have to dice to discover if there was a ford after holding the bank on a particular stretch for one move.

The Imperialists advance
The Imperialists won the initiative and deployed.  It soon became clear that Steve had allocated the bulk of his pikemen and missile foot to his right, where they opposed my pikemen and gendarmes and outnumbered missile foot.  His left and centre contained all his cavalry plus the remaining infantry.  Both sides were attacking 'en oblique' leading with their left.

The troops on my right were the first into action.  Both sets of cavalry moved forward briskly and although outnumbered, the French managed to hold their position.  Steve suffered from a run of low 'pip' dice which delayed his infantry and allowed me to concentrate on allocating my 'pip' dice to maintaining the cohesion of my cavalry.

View from the French left
In the centre I had planned to push the gendarmes over the bridge, but, with their progress delayed by the terrain, the Imperialist foot were close to sealing off this option.  Just in time the forward unit crossed, but with limited room to deploy.  The second unit tried to find a ford, but instead ran into a hail of fire from a missile unit which totally disordered them and finished them as a fighting unit.
Cavalry action on the French right
With plan A in ruins I decided that, with my right seemingly handling the Imperialist attack, I would swing the pike blocks from the centre towards the Imperialist right which was giving my left flank some considerable problems.  Each time my left tried to advance they were disordered by missile fire, particularly my last remaining unit of gendarmes. They made 3 or 4 attempts to charge home, being stopped each time by close range fire.  My one advantage was that the Imperialists were hemmed in by woods which made it difficult to deploy their numerical advantage.  They had also obligingly left their flank 'in the air'.  Forward plodded my pikemen and engaged the Imperialist pikes defending the flank of their missile foot.  In a short melee the Imperialists were totally defeated.  Success beckoned!

The attacks develop
On my right, the situation had deteriorated.  The Imperialists had at last brought forward their cavalry reserve (gendarmes) and these crashed through my weary cavalry, scattering them to the winds.  All that remained was 2 units of missile foot supported by the light artillery and halberdiers.  Their fire held off the first Imperialist attack, but a second was pressed home and the remaining Imperialist cavalry was working around the missile foot's flank.  The writing was on the wall for my right flank.

The French pikes drive forward
At this point, time ran out.  The centre was a stand off, neither side could cross the bridge and establish a bridgehead.  Each side had lost (or was losing) a flank, so we declared a draw.


  1. Those blocks of pike look very impressive. I suppose you could say that a draw is a very Italian wars result.

  2. Lovely splash of colour, that could only be The Italian Wars. Nice to see this collection get an airing David.
    See you at York!