Wednesday, 4 June 2014

First thoughts on the OOB for Marignano 1515 - The French

Graham H. moving even quicker than the Swiss at Cerignola
In the last couple of weeks I've been going through my sources (my 16C book list) to settle on my order of battle for Marignano 1515. I have chosen to base my game on two books in particular, Oman of course, and the booklet "Marignano 1515" published by the Lance and Longbow Soceity.

I have decided, for no particular reason other than the lead soldiers I have available, to plumb for a figure scale of 1:50. So far, I think I have settled on the raw numbers composition of the French army. 

I would ask that you look at it, and if you have information that I don't, or an idea I've not had, to let me know about it. OOBs in this period are largely a matter of educated guesswork and feeling rather than historical documentation, so if you 'feel' otherwise please, let me know.

FRENCH ARMY

10,000 cavalry – 200 figs, 50:1
20,000 infantry – 396 figs, 50:1
72 guns – 6 gun models, 12:1

Florange
Gendarmes
8
Archer (heavy) cavalry
8
Mounted crossbows
16
Stradiots
16
Bourbon
Gendarmes
32
French crossbows
72
French pike
72
Guns
6
Francis I
Gendarmes
48
Mounted crossbows
16
Mounted arquebusier
8
Landsknecht pike (Bandes Noires)
120
Landsknecht pike
72
Landsknecht shot
12
D’Alencon
Gendarmes
24
Archer (heavy) cavalry
16
Mounted crossbows
8
French crossbows
48


Surprisingly, I need to paint up very few figures for this army - 12 Landsknecht pike, 60 crossbows, 8 Archer cavalry, and 16 Mounted crossbows - all of which are in my stock cupboard. Even more surprisingly, I don't think I'll need any more figures for the Swiss, but I'm still working on their OOB so we'll see.

Actually, I have a question about the Swiss that, perhaps, one or two of you might have thoughts on: Were the three Swiss pike squares equal (-ish) in size or was the mainward larger than the other two at Marignano? I ask because in Sides', Renaissance Battles 1494 - 1700 Vol 1, he puts the mainward at twice the strength of the other two. The Swiss had used unbalanced pike squares in other battles but is there evidence for this at Marignano?

8 comments:

Gonsalvo said...

I'll have to look and see if I have any information that you don't; I rather doubt it. It is hard to see why the Swiss Pike blocks would be substantially unequal in this action, which was an assualt on a prepafred position witholut much chance of surprise, etc, but... you never know.

That is a heck of a lot of Gendarmes! I suspect the Frenmch never again fielded that many after this day!

I am eagerly following yur development of this scenario, as I will likley steaql it for my own anniversary game at Historicon next year, although probably at 1:100! Of course, I do still have those great Eureka Gendarmes to paint up...

Stuart M said...

Hi James, sounds good to me, my only reservation would be whether the Ordonnance Archers were heavy cavalry. I've tried to find out as much as I can for my Valois French army of 1513 and most of what I'm finding Is contradictory or inconclusive on what the Archer cavalry were. My conclusions have been that some army listings don't necessarily realise that the mtd xbow's and mtd arquebus may well have been archer cavalry who were also armed with a demilance

Stuart M said...

Cont. were also armed with Demi lance and still at this time a bow depending upon their role ( bows were carried at Ravenna for example). Then there are the Coustilliers which some army lists confuse as archer cavalry and some ignore completely.

Anyway, in closing, I'd be cautios to have these as heavy cavalry

warpaintjj said...

God I wish I could help you! This looks like the makings of a fabulous game in the making, get painting!
Best wishes, Jeremy

JAMES ROACH said...

Stuart,

Lance organisation and 'Archer' cavalry are the bane of my Italian Wars life.

Like you I am utterly confused and only get more so the more I look into it. None of it adds up to a hill of beans.

My thoughts, best guess, and half hearted solution, are these.

The French 'Lance' for combat was the Gendarme and his squire (equipped pretty much the same). There were two archers, and two non-com pages. So the Lance is 6 men but only 4 count. Italian and Spanish Lances were probably four men strong (1 man-at-arms, 1 squire, 1 archer, 1 page). In this battle there are 2,500 lances represented by 8,500 cavalry. Already the sums don't add up!!!!

In earlier times the archers were definitely crossbowmen - mostly fighting on foot (mounted infantry?) and not with the heavy cavalry unit. Later it all becomes a little confused. By 1500 they might have all been heavy lancers that may or may not have fought with the Gendarmes. Certainly many 'old knights' thought that this had diluted the status and ability of the Compagnies d'Ordonnance. Or, less likely, they might still have been mounted crossbowmen.

There seems to be no formal requirement for archers to be one thing or the other - perhaps it was just down to the individual taste of the gendarme to whom they belonged.

My solution, rule of thumb is this (approx):

Quadruple the number of lances to get the number of cavalry. Take half, throw in a few more for lancer archers with their gendarme (gentlemen would choose who to take with them I presume) and that is the Gendarme figures needed.

Take what is left and, here's the clever bit, divide it into mounted crossbowmen and 'lancers' depending on what figures you have in your cabinet until the numbers add up - it's as scientific as that!



JAMES ROACH said...

Hi Peter,

Indeed, it is a lot of lovely gendarmes. For this battle the other side only gets 8 figures. I'm rather pushed for Gendarme types for some other battles at this figure scale - at Ravenna there are nearly 4000 lances - I'd need a minimum of 50 more, probably nearer 80 more.

Although I don't actually need them, I will buy two more units of 8 Gendarmes to replace two units of inferior design (Foundry WoR figures, which are usable at a pinch). Perhaps I too will go Eureka. They are VERY lovely figures.

Fabrizio Davi' said...

James,

as far as the Swiss are concerned P.Pieri "Il Rinascimento e la Crisi Militare Italiana, 1962" gives three nearly equal columns of 7000-8000 men. The article of L. Henninger on the french magazine Vae Victis gives 20000 pikemen in three roughly equal colums plus nearly one thousand arquebusier and crossbowmen in "enfants perd├╣" 10 small guns and some hundreds of Italian horses.

JAMES ROACH said...

Thank you for that Fabrizio,

The figure of about 20,000 is coming up quite a bit. It is a third more than Oman gives, and his figure seems to be used in almost all of the later books in English.

20,000 is actually quite a useful figure as it gives the Swiss more of a chance and might make it a better game and spectacle. It also allows me a greater freedom with the size of the advance guard - if there were 20,000 pike there must have been about 2000 shot, plus some other doppel-types, in all.