Sunday, 16 October 2016

A Second Italian Wars battle using Pike and Shotte, plus Italian Wars army list thoughts

For our second battle, using Pike and Shotte, I'm going to be ambitious. It will use quite a lot of the possible Italian Wars troop types, and plenty of them. Unit characterisations might change from one scenario to the next as might the odd 'value' but that is for the future. I am very keen on the unit characterisation rules. 



We will play the game using the standard rules, including (against my judgement) the Command Blunder rule because they seem to be so popular that there must be something to be said for them - we'll see. The army lists are a different kettle of fish. In consequence of one army list change I will introduce a new 'special' unit characterisation rule. 


You might notice that their are no Chevauleger type cavalry units in my armies. I do have a few units of these but I hardly ever use them as separate units in a P&S stylee. 

Following the invasion of Italy the French were introduced to light cavalry (in the form of the Stradiots) and having none of their own formed units of chevauleger to fulfil the same role. 

However, although they undoubtedly existed for use as scouts and so forth, I can't find them (in separate units) in the French order of battle for any field battle between 1495 and about 1530 (my chosen era). 


There are units of Gendarmes, Stradiots, mounted crossbowmen and arquebusier but, no chevauleger.

Given that the name Stradiot became a more universal term to describe light cavalry in French service I wonder if, when we see numbers of Stradiots in OOB, this might also include the illusive chevauleger. In any event, they were not used as heavy cavalry as that role was fulfilled by the Gendarmes d'Ordonnance. 

Consequently, I don't field these lesser brands of heavy cavalry as defined in P&S: In my armies, all heavy cavalry are classed as Gendarmes or their equivalent.


My definition of Italian Wars mounted missilery troops is also somewhat different to those described in P&S. 

I do not believe that these units were cavalry in the true sense. I think they were mounted on horses and ponies of dubious quality and were not keen on mixing it hand to hand, preferring to avoid melee and 'skirmish' with crossbows and arquebus from a distance. 

Consequently, to encourage these tactics I have down rated their hand to hand value from 6 to 4 and wish to introduce a new special unit characterisation rule called CautiousThis rule is similar to the rule Eager except that it allows units to make a free movement away from the enemy if they fail their order.

I am also going to reduce the range of the cavalry crossbow to 12" as it would be stirrup or lever crossbow; they did not use an infantryman's arbalest loaded with a windlass. On the subject of crossbows, in P&S the special rule Crossbows does not seem to make sense (paying more not to be able to use closing fire?) so I'm going to choose to treat this as a misprint and charge 2 points less for all troops so armed.

In the future I may class some units of mounted shot (such as Giovanni's 300 mounted arquebusier) as dragoons, giving them the option to dismount. I think this might be very good fun.


I have pondered the definition of Landsknechts as Mercenary since first buying P&S (basing and army lists being first ports of call after buying a rule set). 

That they were mercenaries, and that they could be awkward employees (like the Swiss), is not in doubt but, next to the Swiss, once on the field of battle they were the most reliable pike infantry in the Italian Wars and they invariably fought well. 

I like the rule but I feel it has been badly applied with regards to these troops. I will not rate my Landsknechts as Mercenary unless they are badly disaffected due to lack of pay or some other factor.


My views on the Spanish colunela are well known by followers of this blog. 

The colunela is a single all arms entity. It is not a hotch-potch of individual small units that operate however they (or rather the player) might choose. 

The only way this formation can be effectively represented on the table is as a single unit (IMHO). 

I have to take my hat off to P&S: At last a set of rules flexible enough to do this. Coming at the problem of colunelas from the P&S angle I came up with exactly the solution I had before. My only worry is that I might have produced a 'super unit'. If I have, I will play about with the factors or introduce a new 'characterisation' rule. BTW, my chosen figure scale is 1:40 which makes my 36 figure colunela 1440 men strong - historically they were 1500-ish. My colunela comprise four stands of arquebus (16 figs) backed by two stands of pike (12 figs) and two stands of sword and buckler men (8 figs). Looking at the unit specification in my OOB below, you'll see these units (pictured opposite) are wondrous to behold.


The armies for this Wednesday night's battle are detailed below. All photos are of it set up.

Below are the OOB sheets with the unit details.














FRENCH
Commander-in -Chief             Commander Rating 8
Unit
Unit Type
Weapon
Melee
value
Shooting
value
Morale
value
Stamina
Special
Points
FRENCH CAVALRY 1
(4 units)
-
-
-
-
-
-

Command Rating 8
40
[344]
Gendarmes
(4 large units)
Heavy Horse
(9”)
Lance, mace & sword
12
-
3+
5
Heavy Cavalry D3,
Elite 4+
76
[304]
ITALIAN SHOT
 (3 units)
-
-
-
-
-
-

Command Rating 9
60
[132]
Shot
(3 unit)
Foot
Battle Line (6”)
Arquebus
(12”)
3
2
4+
3
Mercenary
24
72
SWISS INFANTRY
 (6 units)
-
-
-
-
-
-

Command Rating 8
40
[312]
Swiss Pike
(4 units)
Foot
Pike Block (6”)
Pike
7
-
4+
4
Hedgehog, Elite 4+,
Ferocious Charge
44
[176]
Swiss Shot
(2 small unit)
Foot
Battle Line (6”)
Arquebus
(12”)
2
1
4+
2

23
[46]
Heavy Gun
(2 guns)
Artillery
(nil)
Cannon
1
3-2-1
5+
2

25
[50]
FRENCH CAVALRY 2
 (4 units)
-
-
-
-
-
-

Command Rating 8
40
[234]
Gendarmes
(2 units)
Heavy Horse
(9”)
Lance, mace & sword
10
-
3+
4
Heavy Cavalry D3,
Elite 4+
70
[140]
Argulets
(2 units)
Light Horse
(12”)
Crossbow
(12”)
4
1
5+
3
Cautious (Free move to retire),
Mercenary, Crossbow
27
[54]
FRENCH INFANTRY
 (5 units)
-
-
-
-
-
-

Command Rating 7
20
[130]
Picardy Pike
(2 units)
Foot
Pike Block (6”)
Pike
5
-
6+
4

25
[50]
Gascon Crossbows
(3 units)
Foot
Battle Line (6”)
Arbalest
(18”)
2
2
6+
3
Crossbow
20
(60)
TOTAL          
1257




SPANISH WITH VENETIAN ALLIES
Commander-in -Chief             Commander Rating 8
Unit
Unit Type
Weapon
Melee
value
Shooting
value
Morale
value
Stamina
Special
Points
SPANISH CAVALRY
(5 units)
-
-
-
-
-
-

Command Rating 8
40
[308]
Gendarmes
(3 units)
Heavy Horse
(9”)
Lance, mace & sword
10
-
3+
4
Heavy Cavalry D3,
Elite 4+
66
[198]
Genitors
(2 units)
Light Horse
(12”)
Javelin(6”),  sword & shield
6
1
5+
3
Fire and Evade
35
[70]
SPANISH INFANTRY
 (4 units)
-
-
-
-
-
-

Command Rating 8
40
[294]
Colunela
(4 large units)
Foot
Battle Line (6”)
Arquebus 12" / Pike / Sword & buckler
5
2
4+
4
Reliable, Pike Company, Swordsmen D3
59
[237]
Light Gun
(1 guns)
Artillery
(6”l)
Cannon
(24”)
1
3-2-1
5+
2

17
[17]
LANDSKNECHTS
 (8 units)
-
-
-
-
-
-

Command Rating 8
40
[311]
Landsknecht Pike
(3 large units)
Foot
Pike Block (6”)
Pike
8
-
4+
5
Bad War, Hedgehog
40
[120]
Landsknecht Shot
(3 small unit)
Foot
Battle Line (6”)
Arquebus
(12”)
2
2
5+
2
Bad War
17
[51]
Mounted Arquebus
(2 units)
Light Horse
(12”)
Arquebus
(12”)
4
1
5+
3
Cautious (Free move to retire),
Mercenary
29
[58]
Medium Gun
(2 guns)
Artillery
(nil)
Cannon
(48”)
1
3-2-1
5+
2

21
[42]
VENETIANS
 (8 units)
-
-
-
-
-
-

Command Rating 8
40
[304]
Gendarmes
(3 units)
Heavy Horse
(9”)
Lance, mace & sword
10
-
3+
4
Heavy Cavalry 1

56
[168]
Stradiots
(2 units)
Light Horse
(12”)
Javelin (6”), sword & shield
6
1
5+
3
Fire and Evade
35
[70]
Venetian Shot
(3 unit)
Foot
Battle Line (6”)
Arquebus
(12”)
3
2
5+
3
Mercenary
22
[66]
TOTAL          
1256




15 comments:

artourious said...

WHO'S EXCITED WITH HIS NEW RULES THEN ???? :)

Michael said...

That looks fantastic!
I very much like the cautious rule, and will probably nick it.
I would be surprised if the Gendarmes and the Colunela won't turn into super units, but that's just me from the Hotchpotch faction. The Colunela seems to be a moving Hedgehog now, with front and rear etc. that could lead to confusion, but P&S can be a wonderful toolbox and I'm very interested how this colunela will work out and develop.

Michael

Gonsalvo said...

I agree with you on the mouibntyed arquebusioers and mounted crossbowmen; not true light cavalry in the sense of Stradiots and Genitors, and likely to come off badly in "melee" with same. How to handle the Colunella is far from clear. It will be interesting to see hopw your take works out.

I also agree with you on the Landsknechts - they were if anything less touchy than the Swiss as mercenaries. The Colunellas on the other hand had the additional vantage of being part of what was effectively one of the first Western "standing armies" since the glory days of Rome.

Steve J. said...

Lovely looking units as always and look forward to seeing how this plays out. Also nice to read your thoughts on the various units and why you have tweaked them etc.

Colin Ashton said...

Looking forward to seeing how your game plays out. Had a few Italian wars bashes using P and S and they've always been fun and pretty brutal. Interesting tweeks.

JAMES ROACH said...

Hi guys, thanks for the input.

The colunala thing is, I agree, a murky pool. It was, as you know a composite formation of [best guess] 40% pikemen, 40% arquebusier and 20% sword an bucklermen. However, it seems that once they had been formed into colunela (about 1503 / 4) they remained 'fixed' formations of mutually supporting troops. The word colonel is derived from it, BTW. If that is the case, I think the army list should reflect that fact. If you can put all of your army's sword and bucklermen together, or your pike or your arqubusier together (as separate units) so that you can get 'best wargame bang for buck', it's not playing 'by history', so to speak.

I know that many will spout the 'gentleman's agreement', saying that if people understand they will play within the spirit of the game, but I say genitals to that. When push comes to shove it's hard to argue that a unit can't because it might upset its friends - though unit integrity [friends] is what counts to most in the field.

It's a difficult one, and I choose to take the 'options' out rather than argue about them during a game. A colunela's units are ONE colunela - simple as that, IMHO.

Michael said...

I don't think anybody disagrees with you historically and / or fact-wise. Me, I‘m just personally interested in the game mechanics of it.

If the colunela is treated as one unit then, how do you treat the parts of it, say can the rodeleros defend one side while the pike fight another? Is the shotte all around or are the unit really one and can sword fight and do closing fire and a pike fight at the same time? And if its getting murky, in which way will you adjust the the rules that it will fit?
I‘m looking forward to read about it.

JAMES ROACH said...

Hi Michael,

I don't believe there was a 'unit' of sword and bucklermen in the first place. They were, like the halberdiers of other nations, an add on part of the pike. Indeed, if I was to make the pike and arquebus separate, that's how I'd do it: pike with sword and buckler support, two stands of each, pike up front and swords behind. The unit would be a small pike block with Swordsmen D3 bonus Vs infantry. It was an option I considered and, if the one unit colunela doesn't work, it's what I'll try next.

From what I've read, the shot was always at the front (so a colunela fires in it's front quarter only), backed by pike and bucklermen. It was essentially a fire power oriented defensive formation. That is why I have chosen to base the stats on the unit of arquebus and not the pike. It's not a pike block so it can't form hedgehog, and likewise it can't turn to face as a charge response. It is a battle line with pike support. The 'Pike Company' special rule lends itself perfectly to this formation, even though it is aimed at the battalion structure of a much later era.

I hope that explains it a little better.

Mikael R. said...

What is the size in satands of Your pikeblocks - both standard and large. I tried to figure it out from the pictures to understand how Your colunela frontage compares to pikes.

JAMES ROACH said...

Pikes are 45mm square stands with 6 figs on each. I have my standard pike units six stands (36 figs) strong and my large pike nine stands (54 figs) strong; quite small by my usual standards. At the moment all pike are being fielded three stands deep. My 'close order' shot and sword and bucklers are on the same size stands but only have 4 figs. My colunela is four stands wide. Most of my shot are based on 90 mm x 45 mm (skirmish) stands (4 figs each) but these might need rebasing.

Steve63 said...

Stunning absolutely stunning.

Luca Marini said...

Hi, james,
I've played P&S several times, and I find it's a very good toolkit,that anyone can easaily adapt to his own historical (and playing needs).
I completely agree about colunelas (even if I had a little different rules about them).
You can find some house rules of mine on my blog...
http://grancapitano.blogspot.it/p/blog-page.html
and something about my colunelas here:
http://grancapitano.blogspot.it/2016/02/las-colunellas.html

Enjoy!

Luca Marini said...

Hi, james,
I've played P&S several times, and I find it's a very good toolkit,that anyone can easaily adapt to his own historical (and playing needs).
I completely agree about colunelas (even if I had a little different rules about them).
You can find some house rules of mine on my blog...
http://grancapitano.blogspot.it/p/blog-page.html
and something about my colunelas here:
http://grancapitano.blogspot.it/2016/02/las-colunellas.html

Enjoy!

artourious said...

What happened in the game did you not play it ???

JAMES ROACH said...

We did, and I have a report and pics. Just haven't had time to finish it yet. Next post will be it.

James