Sunday, 19 November 2017

Italian diversion

Steve decided to try out the Pike and Shotte rules with his Italian Wars collection this week.  He set up a simple scenario which had a Franco-Swiss force trying to capture a monastery overlooking a strategic road.  An Imperialist force was deployed to drive them off.  Both sides deployed with infantry in the centre and cavalry on the wings.

An overview of the table, Imperialists on the right, Franco-Swiss on the left.  For the latter, the two centre columns  are infantry.  Nearest the camera are the Swiss, beyond the small wood are the French.  On the Imperialist side the infantry nearest the camera are Landsknecht, arquebusier and halberdiers garrison the monastery, with more pikemen beyond.

The dice decreed that I should command the Imperialists and I decided that the best option was to remain on the defensive and disorder Steve's units by arquebus  fire.  For his part, Steve opted to hold, (or if possible drive off) my cavalry and smash his way into the monastery with his Swiss pikemen after the defenders had been 'softened up' by his crossbowmen.

From the very start it seemed Lady Luck had taken against Steve.  On both flanks his cavalry advanced slowly allowing my mounted arquebusier to reach a flanking position where they could fire on his units before they were charged by my men at arms and gendarmes.  In the centre, although they had a range advantage his French crossbowmen took heavy casualties from my arquebusiers and had to retreat, disordering their supports.  Like the cavalry his Swiss pikemen were slow to advance and so their \french comrades took the full brunt of the defenders' fire.

French right wing

The Swiss

French left wing cavalry
The Landsknechts

The Imperialist gendarmes

The monastery
With his cavalry struggling to maintain their position and the French infantry in disarray, it was even more important that the Swiss perform well.       Unfortunately as they advanced their arquebusiers were decimated by the fire from the Imperialists.  When that unfortunate unit routed, it uncovered the leading block of pikemen plodding in their wake, who took similar punishment.  Before they reached the Imperialist line they too routed.  Both units were eventually rallied, but the steam had gone out of the attack.
The French crossbowmen rout

The Swiss advance

'Heavy metal' clash on the Imperialist right
Buoyed by the success of their cavalry the Imperialist pikes on the right of the monastery moved forward.  One block charged a crossbow unit which resisted their initial charge but had eventually to give way.  The second block attacked the French pikes and a prolonged melee ensued.

The end for the French right wing cavalry

Massed pikes

The view from the monastery
On both flanks the French cavalry was in real trouble.  On the left, two units had routed, the remainder were shaken and opposed by relatively fresh enemy.  Across the field, the right wing was surrounded and destroyed.  Only in the centre was there a glimmer of hope.  The second block of Swiss pikes attended by a unit of halberdiers had continued to advance.  They had cut their way through a unit of arquebusiers and now faced the landsknechts.  I was trying to get a second unit of landsknechts to advance and threaten the Swiss flank, but failed a succession of command rolls.

The halberdiers attacked the landsknechts but made little impression on the large block, eventually falling back.  By then the remaining Swiss were now threatened by the cavalry from the Imperialist left and units of arquebusiers in addition to the landsknechts.  Due to the collapse of the French left wing cavalry the French infantry were also casting anxious glances to their flank.

With little prospect of success, Steve conceded the day and began to pull his forces back.

In our post battle review we decided that the stradiots and mounted arquebusiers may have been too powerful and should be classed as skirmishers.  This would limit their opportunities for charging enemy units and rely more on harassing fire.


  1. Those landsknechts are a riot of colour. I havn't tried Pike & Shotte myself, but I'm hoping to give The Pikeman's Lament a go.

  2. A very nice looking game, thanks for the report.

  3. Looks great, beautiful and colorful minis...and impressive monastery!