Thursday, 27 December 2012

Porcinorci - battle report, part 1

On the French right the battle opened with both sides pushing forward mixed light cavalry 
The Imperials came off the better, but the skirmishing is far from over.
The cavalry were followed into battle by the infantry. The Swiss, both pike squares up, are seen here advancing into a hail of deadly arquebus fire from a Spanish colonela - they rolled an 11 Vs a 1, taking out 3 unit integrity at a stroke.
On the Imperial left the Landsknecht and Spanish foot, supported by Genitors, go in hard against the French infantry.
 A fire fight is developing, but the Gascon crossbow is no match for the massed troops of the Empire.
 In the centre, the French Gendarmerie advances into the teeth of the oncoming Spanish.
 This contest might well decide the day. Gendarmes, supported by artillery, taking on pike square.
It will be interesting to see how the rules work with this.

We only played a single turn of the battle last Wednesday night so there is plenty left in it. It will resume next Wednesday.

I have also been doing lots of work on the rules. In a couple of weeks I should have a play test version ready for those who want to check them out.

Friday, 14 December 2012

The Battle of Porcinorci - the set up

I have set up this fictional Italian Wars battle to test some rules in 'open field' situations. Consequently, the terrain has been set up to aesthetically form an amphitheatre in which the main action will take place.

The battle features armies with an identical (unless my mathematics are wrong) unit integrity point total. I have not tried to balance quality, but I don't think that the sides are too far off par. It will be interesting to see how the rules are working: there is nothing like a reasonably large battle on open ground to do that. Here are a few shots of the set up.

Spanish (left) and French (right) showing, in the foreground, the open flank beyond the ridge.
Spanish right: Light and heavy cavalry supported by two colonelas. 
Spanish centre and left: Artillery, two colonelas, two 72 figure Landsknecht pike squares, plus a light sprinkling of cavalry.
French right and centre: French infantry (Gascons and Picard pikemen) and Gendarmes d'Ordnance supported by artillery.
French left: Swiss infantry (two blocks of 54 pikemen) supported by mixed light horse.
Colonela and light cavalry.
Massed pike.
Swiss pike units 'coming up'.
Gascons and Picard pike.

Peter and I will fight this battle out next week.

Thursday, 13 December 2012

Cerignola - One last time

Last night I christened the upgraded war game table with another refight of Cerignola. The deployment featured the alternate (and not very historical) set up of having the French artillery present; plus a few other minor balancing changes.

Probably the biggest change occurred off table, so to speak. I have been working on the rules and I have classified the troop types differently. The Spanish infantry were downgraded to 'C Class' (D8 CC, D6 DD) with arquebus specialist status. This massively changed how the battle was fought - there were no grizzled Spanish veterans here! The Swiss were 'A Class' (D12 CC, D8 DD) with stubborn status. The reversion to rather old school classifications (A - E) has proved to be a very useful and flexible tool for this period.
The other alteration is to bite the bullet and do away with, light through heavy, artillery classification. After much reading, I have decided that the weight of artillery is of little matter in a field battle situation. Artillery in the early 16th century was so inaccurate, and so slow firing, and the quality of powder and projectile construction was so varied, that the size of a cannon ball would make little difference (except when fired at castle walls and the like). This flies in the face of most wargames rules, but just because cannon size features in most renaissance rule sets doesn't mean it is based in fact - personally, I now rather think it is based in 'wargames tradition'. Crew quality, and the quality of the cannon's construction, was probably far more important at this date so it is probably better to adjust fire dice by crew classification - usually D class (D6, D6), C class (D8, D6) for the good stuff (French?), with specialist shooter status for the very best.

So what happened? Well. here is a short report.

 The French launched the Swiss at the defences
 Routing a Spanish colunela.
As the melee continued between the Swiss and German pike, the French launched their Gendarmes into the fray.
On the other side of the field French pike were halted at the ditch and subjected to volley after volley of deadly arquebus and cannon fire.
The fight became general along the entire front of the defences.
Following an explosion (Stratagem) in the lines, the french gain an advantage and cross the earthwork.
Fabricio is killed. The Landsknechts, after a fight that lasted most of the battle, finally give way.
The Spanish position is outflanked.
The French have won!!!!

Peter has won; again; bastard. I tried three bloody times to win this battle using the French, and he does it first time!

Next week we will fight an open field battle. It will be fictional, but might involve the same armies.


Tuesday, 4 December 2012

Out of chaos......

I have not posted or played much lately. My mother died at the end of October, and family business, and family generally, have been my main priority.

My house has also been in absolute chaos for over two months. Builders have been knocking down big supporting walls for a new kitchen diner. But, out of that chaos came two big  kitchen base units (one was a cupboard and one held up the old kitchen sink) to add an extension to my wargames table.

This has , for a short time, created more chaos in the hallowed halls of my games room. It's amazing how much junk you can store in a secret passage!

This shot shows the new kitchen units added to the two banks of existing units that hold up my table (and the 'secret passage' between). With the top off, it clearly shows how my table is constructed.
This shot shows one of the unit banks, and the drop leaf extension which has been moved to one side, out of the way. The fact they don't match makes little difference to me as I rarely see more than the top.

This shot shows the new section of 18mm table-top being screwed into place. This section measures 6' x 4' feet. It makes the table a rigid 12' x 6'. This is the same size as the table was before with the drop leaf and a 'floating extension' piece.
This shot shows the drop leaf section 2'8" x 6' in place. It is connected to the main table with a battened 6' long brass piano hinge. The leaf has been strengthened and made rigid with 2 x 1 inch batons, glued and screwed to the under side, along the three outer sides.
The 2" x 1" batons also form the top anchor point for the legs. These legs are 2" x 2" in section. They are held in place by a long bolt, 50mm washers and a wing nut that pass through leg and baton.

Additional strength is provided to each leg by two long metal braces (pinched from an old wall paper pasting table) at 90 degrees to each other. These are simply secured in holes in the leg and batons.
This drop leaf creates a table 14' 8" x 6'. The gap at the end is not that great, but it is passable. It will only be used for very big games, or games involving a 'long flank' for off table march ons.
This shot shows the drop leaf down, and the long hinge. It also shows the chaos retreating.
Another shot of the drop leaf in its 'redundant' position, this time from the side. Drop leaf extensions are usually worth having because, when not in use, they take up so little space. You can see why it is 2' 8" long - the table height is 2' 9"!   The legs, bolts, braces, etc. are tucked away just under, and behind, the drop leaf.