Tuesday, 20 June 2017

Battle of the Garigliano River 29 December 1503

Following the Battle of Cerignola in April the French fell back on their base at Gaeta. The Spanish, led by Gonsalvo de Corboba, followed up and laid siege but to little avail. When French reinforcements arrived Gonsalvo fell back on the river Garigliano where he took up a defensive position. 

The winter weather was appallingly wet, "water answered the spade", and life in the forward positions was reminiscent of the trenches of WW1. To keep up morale the French withdrew much of their army into drier billets away from the river; much of their cavalry withdrew as far as Formia.

Meanwhile Gonsalvo, taking advantage of the French dispersal, planned a surprise flank attack on them. He cleverly had a special bridge of boats constructed, flat pack style, at the Fortress of Modragone: The prefabricated parts of this bridge could be assembled remarkably quickly. On the  night of 28 - 29 December he secretly marched his best troops upstream to Sujo where his bridge was thrown across the river. At dawn, before the French knew what was happening, Gonsalvo's men were across the river in force. 

So started Gonsalvo's crowning glory, the Battle of Garigliano.....
A picture of the initial deployment. Note that, since setting this up, I have moved the gun in front of Formia to the French position near the palisade. Also, I realise that the trees should have no foliage in December but, I don't have winter trees and the set up looks even odder with no trees at all.

Spanish Deployment


1: Commander-in-chief: Gonsalvo de Cordoba - Command rating 10.



2: Prospero Colonna - Command rating 8.
Spanish colunela (4 units).

3: Bartolomeo Alviano - Command rating 9.
Spanish Knights (1 unit). Italian Lance Spezatte (1 unit). Italian Stradiots  (2 units).

4: Andrado - Command rating 8.
Italian Lance Spezatte (1 unit). Spanish Genitors (1 unit). Italian pike (1 unit).
Italian crossbowmen (1 unit). Italian arquebus (1 unit).


French Deployment

A: Commander in chief: Ludovico, Marquis of Saluzzo - Command rating 7.



(force billeted between Trajetto and Formia): Pierre Terrail, Seigneur Bayard - Command rating 9.
French Gendarmes (3 units). Italian Lance Spezzate (2 units). 
Italian Stradiots (1 unit). Medium artillery (1 gun) 
C: Capitaine Alegri - Command rating 7.
Gascon crossbowmen (2 units). French pike (1 small unit). Medium artillery (1 gun).

D1 and D2 (force equally split at Castelforte and San Cosmo): The Swiss - 
Command rating 8.
Swiss pike (4 units). Swiss arquebus (2 small units).

E: Italian infantry - rating 7.
Italian crossbowmen (2 units). Italian arquebus (2 units).

F: French infantry at Sujo - Command rating 7.
Norman crossbowmen (2 units). Norman pike (1 small unit).
Special Rules and Victory Conditions

For each settlement that the Spanish can take they will receive extra stamina points. These can be assigned however the Spanish player wishes. Castelforte is worth 3 stamina; Trajetto and San Cosmo is worth 2 stamina points; Sujo and Torre del Garigliano are worth 1 stamina point

If the Spanish take Formia they automatically achieve a major victory.

The only special scenario rules in effect concern artillery. Because the torrential rain has made the ground very soggy artillery may only move to change facing and furthermore, there will be no save modifier versus artillery hits at medium and long range (as any shot falling short will bury itself in the ground rather than bounce on).

Pike and Shotte amendments:

We will use Pike and Shotte rules by Warlord Games to re-fight this battle but with amended unit characterisation. So you can see where we are at with troop abilities and values, I take the opportunity to show you the unit tables we are currently using. 

I have chosen to increase all move rates and weapon ranges by 33%. My reasoning for this is pretty simple: My table is quite a big one.

Those familiar with Pike and Shotte will also notice that I have also chosen to change certain 'ability' definitions - these include Crossbows being defined as having no short range but being able to give closing fire. The definitions for other things are also somewhat different than standard. I make no apology for this. I think my definitions fit better with what I understand about this particular sub-period. They might not work so well for others. 

I hope it provides food for thought.


Pike and Shotte master list for the characterisation of units during
The Great Italian Wars
CAVALRY UNITS
Unit
Unit Type
[move]
Melee
Dice #
Shooting
Dice #
Morale
save
Stamina
Special
French Gendarmes
Heavy Horse [12”]
10
-
3+
4
Heavy Cavalry: add D3 melee hits.
Elite: 4+ to rally disorder.
French Argulets
Light Horse
[16”]
4
1
[16”]
5+
3
Cautious: may use free move to retire.
Crossbow: no close range
Spanish Knights
Heavy Horse [12”]
10
-
3+
4
Heavy Cavalry: add D3 melee hits.
Elite: 4+ to rally disorder.
Spanish Genitors
Light Horse [12”]
6
1
[8”]
5+
3
Fire & Evade: can give closing fire & evade.
Javelin: no close range.
Marauders: Do not count command distance.
Skirmish: Freely change order; shoot at full effect.
Italian Casa / Famiglia
Heavy Horse [12”]
10
-
3+
4
Heavy Cavalry: add 1 melee hits.
Elite: 4+ to rally disorder.
Imperial
Men-at-arms
Heavy Horse [12”]
10
-
3+
4
Heavy Cavalry: add 1 melee hits.
Elite: 4+ to rally disorder.
Wedge: re-roll one melee miss [large unit only].
Elmeti Condottiere
Heavy Horse [12”]
10
-
4+
4
Heavy Cavalry: add 1 melee hits.
Brittle: quit if rally failed when shaken.
Elmeti Lance Spezzate
Heavy Horse [12”]
10
-
4+
4
Heavy Cavalry: add 1 melee hits.

Mounted Crossbows
Light Horse
[16”]
4
1
[16”]
5+
3
Cautious: may use free move to retire.
Crossbow: no close range.
Mounted Arquebus
Light Horse
[16”]
4
1
[16”]
5+
3
Cautious: may use free move to retire.

Stradiots
Light Horse
[16”]
6
1
[8”]
5+
3
Fire & Evade: can give closing fire & evade.
Brittle: quit if rally failed when shaken.
Javelin: no close range.
Marauders: Do not count command distance.
Skirmish: Freely change order; shoot at full effect.
INFANTRY UNITS
Unit
Unit Type
[move]
Melee
Dice #
Shooting
Dice #
Morale
save
Stamina
Special
French Pike
Pike Block
[8”]
5
-
6+
5
Hedgehog: no flanks / rear; shelter shot; static only.
Brittle: quit if rally failed when shaken.
French Crossbows
Battle Line
[8”]
3
2
[16”]
6+
3
Crossbow: no close range.
Brittle: quit if rally failed when shaken.
Spanish Colunela
Battle Line
[8”]
5
3
[16”]
5+
5
Pike company: cavalry count as pike armed.
Elite: 5+ to rally disorder.
Colunela: add 1 melee hit Vs pike.
Volley Fire: Add 1 dice to closing fire shooting value.
Hedgehog: no flanks / rear; shelter shot; static only.
Spanish Pike
Pike Block
[8”]
7
-
5+
5
Hedgehog: no flanks / rear; shelter shot; static only.

Spanish Arquebus
Battle Line
[8”]
3
3
[16”]
5+
3
Hedgehog: no flanks / rear; shelter shot; static only.
Volley Fire: Add 1 dice to closing fire shooting value.
Hedgehog: shelter with associated pike; static only.
Spanish sword & buck’
Battle Line
[8”]
5
-
5+
3
Sword & buckler: +D3 melee hits Vs pike, +1 Vs other.
Close fighters: re-roll melee misses in town fighting.
Swiss Pike
Pike Block
[8”]
7
-
4+
5
Hedgehog: no flanks / rear; shelter shot; static only.
Elite: 4+ to rally disorder.
Ferocious: re-roll misses when charging.
Bad War: melee break test +1 Vs Land’s / Swiss.
Swiss Halberdiers
Battle Line
[8”]
6
-
4+
3
Elite: 4+ to rally disorder.
2 Handed Weapons: -1 to enemy saves.
Ferocious: re-roll misses when charging.
Bad War: melee break test +1 Vs Land’s / Swiss.
Swiss Arquebus
Battle Line
[8”]
3
2
[16”]
4+
3
Hedgehog: shelter with associated pike; static only.
Elite: 4+ to rally disorder.

Pike and Shotte master list for the characterisation of units during
The Great Italian Wars
INFANTRY UNITS
Unit
Unit Type
[move]
Melee
Dice #
Shooting
Dice #
Morale
save
Stamina
Special
Landsknecht Pike
Pike Block
[8”]
7
-
4+
5
Hedgehog: no flanks / rear; shelter shot; static only.
Bad War: melee break test +1 Vs Land’s / Swiss.
Landsknecht Halberdiers
Battle Line
[8”]
6
-
4+
3
2 Handed Weapons: -1 to enemy saves.
Bad War: melee break test +1 Vs Land’s / Swiss.
Landsknecht Arquebus
Battle Line
[8”]
3
2
[16”]
4+
3
Hedgehog: shelter with associated pike; static only.

Italian Pike
Pike Block
[8”]
6
-
6+
5
Hedgehog: no flanks / rear; shelter shot; static only.
Brittle: quit if rally failed when shaken.
Italian Arquebus
Battle Line
[8”]
3
2
[16”]
6+
3
Hedgehog: shelter with associated pike; static only.
Veteran Italian Arquebus
Battle Line
[8”]
3
2
[16”]
5+
3
Hedgehog: shelter with associated pike; static only.
Skirmish: Freely Change formation; shoot at full effect.
Italian Crossbows
Battle Line
[8”]
3
2
[16”]
6+
3
Crossbow: no close range.
Hedgehog: shelter with pike; static only.
Italian Sword & Buckler / Schiavonni
Battle Line
[8”]
4
-
6+ / 5+
3
Sword & buckler: +D3 melee hits Vs pike, +1 Vs other.
Close fighters: re-roll melee misses in town fighting.
Schiavonni: do not count command distance; freely change order; shoot at full effect.
Italian City Infantry
Battle Line
[8”]
4
-
6+
3
Brittle: quit if rally failed when shaken.
ARTILLERY UNITS
Unit
Unit Type
[move]
Melee
Dice #
Shooting
Dice #
Morale
save
Stamina
Special
Light Artillery
Artillery
[8”]
1
1 - 2 - 3
[32” - 16” – 6”]
6+
2

Medium Artillery
Artillery
[4”]
1
1 - 2 - 3
[48” - 24” – 6”]
6+
2

Heavy Artillery
Artillery
[0”]
1
1 - 2 - 3
[64” - 32” – 6”]
6+
2



12 comments:

Oli said...

Great to see some more Italian Wars battles. The very early engagements have always fascinated me so I am keen to see how this turns out.

Colin Ashton said...

I like what you've done to the factors and troop characteristics. I agree that P and S need some amendments to quite a few sub-periods, even those covered by specific supplements.

Ken Reilly said...

I do love this collection of figures, great to see them in action again.

Dalauppror said...

Stunning looking game !!!

Dalauppror said...

Stunning looking game !

Robbie Rodiss said...

Beautifully presented battle, as usual. I like the amendments you have suggested, although I think you have been very kind to the Spanish gendarmes. My understanding was that they were equal man to man with their French equivalents, but they couldnt match the extra armour and ferocity of the French charge. But thats just a different opinion.

JAMES ROACH said...

Thanks, guys.

Hi Robbie,

"French narratives such as Bayard's 'Loyal Servitor' repeatedly mention knights of distinction...." (Oman). I figure the +D3 hits accounts for Spanish knights using dirty tactics - especially aiming their lances at the French horses which, unlike the French, the Spanish thought an acceptable 'ruse de guerre'.

Although you might be right about the French being generally a little better armed, I imagine that the Spanish would acquire better armour as the years went by (this list is still quite general and covers the period 1495 - 1530 ish). Also, there were so few Spanish knights that they generally only amount to a single unit; I thought to 'over egg' rather than 'underplay'. If memory serves, Gonsalvo only had 100 lances when he came to Italy.

Anthony Miles said...

Great looking table and figures and interesting AAR of a period I know nothing about.

Tony.

Stuart M said...

Excellent rule tweaks i'm sure they'll make for a game with a period feel, looking forward to seeing how it turns out.

caveadsum1471 said...

Great looking figures and really useful pike and shot list as I'll be using it for the Italian wars myself (once I've painted more light cavalry! )
Best Iain

Curt C said...

James, your table and figures look superb! Truly beautiful stuff. I also like your amendments to P&S. I like your game mods as well. We use similar ones for our games as well, including one where Heavy Cavalry only get their D3 bonus on their first charge - reflecting the loss of their lances / blown horses.

leang heng said...

Excellent rule tweaks i'm sure they'll make for a game with a period feel, looking forward to seeing how it turns out.

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