Wednesday, 5 December 2018

The Battle of Novara 6th June 1513 - a scenario

This will not be the first time we have re-fought this battle. Indeed, it's not even the first time will have re-fought it using our house rules Hell Broke Loose. However, the set up is different, especially with regards to the placement of the Landsknechts. 

The game also has a few more troops in use than before. To enhance the visual spectacle without increasing the number of units I'm using 50% more stands per unit (e.g. a four stand unit is six stands strong). I have chosen a figure scale of 1:40 and a dollop of fudge.

The historical background is a cut and paste job from the original scenario. The order of battle and scenario notes are fresh, and I've put them together with notes about why I have chosen to do the set up the way I have and what fudges I've chosen to use.

A Short Historical Background

In 1512, following the Battle of Ravenna, France somehow failed to capitalise on her victory. In fact, the campaign proved to be a disaster, and she lost Milan. In mid May 1513, Louis XII of France dispatched an army, under the command of La Tremouille, over the Alps to retake his lost duchy. 

By early June, much of the duchy had been retaken, and Tremouille had moved to besiege Novara (the duchy’s second city) where the duchy’s new, Swiss backed duke, Massimiliano Sforza, was holed up with 4000 Swiss. 

Shortly after the French invested Novara a Swiss army arrived to its relief. On their approach La Tremouille, not wishing to be caught in his siege lines, withdrew his army. At nightfall, the dispersed units of the French army made camp around the village of Trecate. Unexpectedly, the Swiss did not tarry after their long march to Novara. They linked up with the garrison there and immediately followed up the French as they withdrew. Using local guides they made their way, in the dark, to within striking distance of the French army. Just before dawn, they attacked.

The attack began with skirmish between Swiss ‘enfants perdus’ and French pickets in the village of Trecate. La Tremouille, who had taken a billet in the village, narrowly escaped capture. But, the Swiss skirmishers did not follow up this attack. It was a feint, and their skirmishers withdrew to a wood that lay within shooting distance of Trecate’s houses from where they kept up a noisy fire. 

The alarm had been sounded and French troops, bleary eyed and disorientated, were called to stand-to. They had no time to re-doploy to face their attackers – the Swiss were everywhere upon them.

This is where this scenario begins.

The Battlefield

I have set up the battle on a 12 x 6 table. 



The battlefield is dominated by the town of Trecate. This small town (located at 45 25 58 N, 8 44 17 E) lies about six miles east of Novara. Oman describes it as being sited on rising ground and that is how I have set it; in fact the ground only falls away gently to the south, the approaches being across a dead flat plain from other directions. The whole town counts as (type III) rough terrain and heavy cover. Cavalry may operate on the roads and in the square but not in other parts of the town. 

I have chosen to place the outskirts of Romentino at the extreme northern end of the table. This lies about two miles from Trecate and is useful as a boundary to the battlefield. It is not necessary for the scenario, the table edge would suffice.

East of the Trecate, between it and Novara, and within arquebus shot, there is a large wood. This wood helped to screen the advance of the Swiss from from the French when they marched from Novara. It counts as (type III) rough terrain and heavy cover. 

To the north of the town there is an expanse of boggy ground. The nature of this ground is contested. Tremouille used it as a reason for not supporting his Landsknechts with his heavy cavalry, however, Robert de Bouillon managed to lead his cavalry across the marshy ground in support of his son Florange. I have chosen to make this ground a patchwork of different terrain; areas of 'solid bog' pieces are impassable; the area marked with tufts represent ground that looks worse than it is - it counts as (type II) rough terrain for movement on odd rolls, otherwise (type I) open terrain. It does not provide cover.

To the south of the town is the French camp. For game purposes it is bounded by the walls extending from the south east quarter of Trecate. To French troops it counts as open terrain and does not provide cover. After its French defenders quit the camp the Swiss troops started to plunder it; I think the simplest way to represent this, whilst preventing a French rule lawyer from using the camp as a tool to stop the Swiss, is to say that any Swiss troops, fully in the camp, treat it as (type III) rough terrain for movement purposes - they can't move on odd rolls and move at half rate on even rolls.

There are two large cornfields on the table. These were placed to cover the approach of the main Swiss column and the flanking force sent to attack the French camp. Oman says that standing crops helped to conceal the approach of the Swiss and caused the French artillery to fire high. Consequently, the fields provide light cover vs fire.

The French



For this scenario I'm going to heavily penalise the French in three ways. This, I believe, is the only way to give the Swiss a fighting chance of performing as they did historically whilst still giving the French a fighting chance. 

Tremouille, regardless of former glories, must be rated as a poor commander. His lack of initiative and direction severely effected the French response to the surprise Swiss attack. Consequently, the French will use a D8 sequence deck and army die.

I've decided to assign army characterisation cards rather than deal them out randomly, and the French do not do well. The French are due 6 cards from the characterisation deck: they get 26 morale chips [5,5,5,5,6]; 1 Stubborn army morale card. I added the latter card because the French cavalry hung about for some time after it became obvious they had lost the battle.

Finally, the French are deployed not fully prepared to meet the Swiss attack. The French are deployed in five commands. Four of these commands are historical, the fifth has been used to split the French gendarmerie into two commands to allow Robert de Bouilon to act independently of Tremouille and with more panache.

The French order of battle comprises 1,000 lances (about 3000 heavy cavalry); 1,000 light cavalry, 4,000 Gascon and Navarrese crossbowmen; 6000 Landsknecht; well provided artillery train.


C-in-C: Louis de La Tremouille: D8 motivation die. 

Commanding 500 lances. 

Three units of French Gendarmes. 

These units start the game vexed [surprised], unarmed and unformed. 

They are not counted as armoured unless they use the first Formation Change card to arm (at which point they can remove the 'broken wheel' counter). If they choose to do this they cannot change formation on the same card. 

Unformed troops present rear in all directions until they change formation on a Formation Change card. 


Robert de Bouillon: D10 motivation die. 

Commanding 500 lances.

Three units of French Gendarmes.  

These units start the game vexed [surprised], unarmed and unformed. (See notes above).

If Bouillon takes personal command of a unit of Gendarmes it becomes elite whilst he leads it. He can use this ability once in the game. It represents his attempts to save his sons serving with the Landsknechts.


Louis de Beaumont: D8 motivation die. 

Commanding 4000 Gascon and Navarrese crossbowmen.

Four units of French crossbowmen. 

Oman describes these troops as being "imperfectly formed" when the blow fell. To represent this all of the units count as vexed [surprised]. Two of the units (front to back, second and fourth) are completely unformed and require a Formation Change card to present a front.


Monfalcone: D10 motivation die.

Commanding 1,000 light cavalry.

One unit of Stradiots and one unit of mounted crossbows.

These units seem to have managed to mount some sort of defence from the outset. They start the game vexed [surprised].


Florange, Robert de la Marck: D10 motivation die.

Commanding 6,000 Landsknechts and the artillery train.

Three pike blocks (counting 6 stands each); one unit of Landsknecht shot; three medium guns.

This command managed to organise a defence from the start. All units start the game vexed [surprised].

I have chosen not to make the Landsknechts Murderous in this particular battle due to their rather poor performance.

Note that these troops have been deployed as per the description by Oman, who says that the shot were placed to one side and the artillery was deployed in front. He also says that the Swiss approached somewhat flank-wise, so I have deployed the bulk of the Landsknechts obliquely to the Swiss approach.


The Swiss


The Swiss order of battle comprised about 9,000 Swiss, a handful of Milanese cavalry and 8 falconets. These were disposed in the traditional Swiss manner, three columns under the nominal command of their employer Maximilian Sforza. 

I have chosen to misread, fudge and lie about the number of Milanese cavalry present. Oman sets their number at 200. This would mean a unit of four or five figures, which isn't worth representing. I have chosen to say 200 lances, which gives a unit of around twelve. Given that this unit is the only cavalry present in the army it shouldn't undo the general balance of the forces.

I have assigned a D10* sequence deck and a D10 army die to the Swiss (Milanese) army. They have also done quite well with their four army characterisation cards, getting 20 morale chips [10,10] and two aggressive melee cards.

Note that the names of the Swiss captains, Graff and Mottinus, are two names listed among the Swiss casualties. Both fell leading the main column but, as I do not know the name of the second column's captain, I have redeployed Graff to command it


C-in-C Maximilian Sforza: D10 motivation Die

Commanding 1000 Swiss pike and 200 [lances?] heavy cavalry.

1 unit (counting 4 stands) of Swiss pike and one unit of Milanese men-at-arms.

This column marched around the town unseen to attack the French camp.

Graff: D10 motivation die.

Commanding 2000 Swiss pike plus supporting troops.

1 unit (counting 4 stands) of Swiss pike, two units of Swiss shot and one light gun.

I have chosen to concentrate all of the Swiss shot with this column. I have also chosen to attach the artillery to it; I believe the artillery would have used the road from Novara so this seems appropriate. 


Mottinus: D10 motivation die.

Commanding 6,000 Swiss pike plus supports.

Three Swiss pike squares (counting 6 stands each); one unit of Swiss halberdiers.

The halberdiers were, according to Oman, a distinct body set to one side of the column. They attacked the Landsknecht shot before charging onto the flank of the Landsknecht pike. No numbers are given, so I have chosen to attach a full unit.

Victory Conditions

The victory conditions are simple: The destruction of the enemy as per the general rules in Hell Broke Loose.



HELL BROKE LOOSE TROOP TYPES 
FOR NOVARA 1513

FRENCH
Troop type
Combat dice
Defence dice
Unit
Integrity
Notes
Elite Gendarmes
(when personally led by Bouillon)
D12
D8
4
Swift (move on swift cards);
Fierce (melee on even move roll);
Other Gendarmes
D10
D8
4
Swift (move on swift cards);
Fierce (melee on even move roll).
Stradiots
D8
D8
3
Swift (move on Swift cards);
Grizzled (inc.).
Missile cavalry
D8
D6
4

Gascon & Navarrese crossbows
D6
D6
3
Brittle (down 1 to DD Vs missilery / morale);
Skirmish (may only be ‘formed infantry’ in a deep formation, or when defending a linear obstacle).
Landsknecht pike
D10
D8
6 (2S)
Swift (move on Swift cards);

Landsknecht shot
D8
D8
3
Grizzled (inc.);
Skirmish (may only be ‘formed infantry’ in a deep formation, or when defending a linear obstacle).
Medium artillery
D8
D6
2


MILANESE
Troop type
Combat dice
Defence dice
Unit
Integrity
Notes
Heavy cavalry
(Spanish flags)
D10
D8
4
Swift (move on swift cards);
Fierce (melee on even move roll);
Swiss pike
D10
D8
6 (S)
or
5 (S)
Fierce (melee on even move roll);
Swift (move on Swift cards);
Murderous (up 1 in melee Vs Landsknechts);
Stubborn (all stands subborn).
Swiss shot
D8
D8
3 (S)
Grizzled (inc.);
Skirmish (may only be ‘formed infantry’ in a deep formation, or when defending a linear obstacle).
Stubborn (all stands subborn).
Swiss halberdiers
D10
D8
4 (S)

Fierce (melee on even move roll);
Swift (move on Swift cards);
Murderous (up 1 in melee Vs Landsknechts);
Stubborn (all stands subborn).
Light Artillery
D8
D6
2



Monday, 29 October 2018

Ravenna at Fiasco 2018 - fought to a conclusion

As the clocks changed from BST on Saturday, most of us got an extra hour in bed so the early start, for a Sunday, didn't feel quite so harsh. The day was bright, cold, but rain-free, which is always a bonus when you are loading open topped boxes of soldiers in and out of cars. Furthermore, although the Ravenna game employed 999 toy soldiers (exactly) it is relatively 'terrain-less' so it all fitted into six large tomato boxes and a carrier bag (plus cloths) - small in comparison to some games, where a removals van would be handier than a car. 

We arrived at the venue at 8.45 and were set up by 9.45, 15 minutes before the doors officially opened. I was suffering with a bad head cold, that I've had for a week, so I was pleased that everything had gone so smoothly. Members of the Leeds club were as helpful and welcoming as always - which is always nice - and we had a volunteer gamer to help push the troops about - so things were boding well.

From behind the left of the allied line - commanded by the 'Holy League' of Graham and guest player 'dice chucker' Bob, or 'Chuckie' as we will call him from now on.
From behind the French left, looking north to the Ronco. The French commanded, on the day, by Peter. 
  Following the artillery bombardment the League, as historically happened, were forced to send their cavalry out before it was destroyed without purpose to French gunnery. They didn't fair well and soon the French army was launching itself, en masse, towards the League's entrenchments.  
  At this point Chuckie, possibly working out a trajectory to lose another dice, is looking rather worried by the Landsknechts who have struggled across the 'hidden ditch' under heavy fire. 
 It's an awesome sight, and what's more the League's cavalry is now streaming to the rear in rout.
 The Landsknechts have been badly mauled in their approach but their commander, Jacob Empser, has managed to rally and inspire them to further effort. They breach the Spanish infantry line.
 Everywhere the The Spanish and their Papal allies are close to breaking point. The French cavalry are behind the earthworks at both ends of the line.
 The French are moving to exploit the breach made by the (now almost spent) Landsknechts with the Italian and French infantry following in their wake. The Spanish are at zero morale points, the French have seven. The game is called - a French win, and fairly historical in every respect.

Aside from the bad lighting (for a modern venue the lighting is awful) , and my head cold, the show was a good one for me. I was pleased by how busy it was, certainly much busier than the last couple of years, and how many people dropped by to say hello, and stopped to watch the game. One chap, yes, that's you Robbie, said he only came down from Newcastle to see the Ravenna game - the silly sod (and I told him so). There was even a photographer, who apparently sold her photos on to one of the national papers (Telegraph), who took a fancy to the game, so it might appear UK wide this week - that would be a first.

The game, as convention games go went extraordinarily well, though I was wilting by 2 pm. The scenario worked, and the rules worked. A historical result was achieved. Everyone said they liked the whole set up - job done. 

I got see a lot of the usual suspects, and some suspects who had obviously just been recently released. Good to see all of you.


Wednesday, 17 October 2018

Ravenna 1512 - A scenario for Fiasco 2018

Introduction

Here are the scenario notes for the Ilkley Lads demonstration game at Fiasco, Royal Armouries, Leeds, 28th October 2018. We will not be giving away a hand out flyer as there is too much information to include. We will give out address slips for this blog instead - fill your boots.

As my previous post indicated, I have used various sources to develop this scenario, most of which are contradictory to some degree. Initially I went with Taylor's deployment but now I think this is fundamentally wrong. I've mostly followed Oman instead but, mostly I've still chosen to use Taylor's generous numbers. The background was taken from Mallet & Shaw's book because it is the easiest to understand (the style is 'modern'), and it had one or two other tit bits too. I always use Peter Sides' scenario booklet as a first look guide, because his numbers and deployment maps are laid out 'war game style'. 
  • Charles Oman - A History of the Art of War in the Sixteenth Century [ISBN 0-947898-69-7]
  • Frederick Taylor - The Art of War in Italy 1494 - 1529 [ISBN 1-85818-002-3]
  • Michael Mallet and Christine Shaw - The Italian Wars 1494 1559. [ISBN 978-0-582-057758-6]
  • Peter Sides - Renaissance Battles 1494 - 1700 Volume 1. [Gosling Press]
  • Other books, some I looked through for this scenario, in this linked list.

Images for the command labels were found on the net, some are guesswork.

We will use a revised version of Hell Broke Loose rules (by me), a set of rules based on Piquet by Bob Jones, and Piquet, Field of Battle by Brent Oman, to play this scenario.

The figure ratio used is 1:50-ish. I've counted 'lances' as two heavy cavalrymen each, they should be counted as the best part of three, but they would be hard to squeeze into the space available - assuming I had that amount of figures anyway, which I don't. To cut down the number of units the game will use (by about a quarter), to speed up play, I've increased the unit sizes, prescribed in Hell Broke Loose rules, by 50% - six stand units will represent four stand units, etc.

The Strategic Situation

Contemporary print of the Battle of Ravenna. The artist captures the brutal nature of the contest. 
The strategic background, and lead up, to the Battle of Ravenna are quite convoluted. For those who wish to explore them further I suggest Mallet & Shaw's book, which has the clearest description. However, potted from a few short chapters to a few paragraphs, this was the strategic situation in 1512.

As 1512 dawned, Louis of France must have looked at the future with some trepidation. France was beset on all sides by enemies. In 1511, The Holy League had been formed. This was an Alliance of Spain, Papal State, Venice and England. The stated aim of the League was the preservation of the Papacy, not specifically aimed against any power, but actually intent on restraining Louis' aggressive, and expansionist, foreign policy in Italy; the League even had its own army, largely Spanish in composition and led by Ferdinand's appointed commander, paid for by the Papal State and Venice. 

In Lombardy, the Swiss were threatening to re-invade French held Milan. They had only just aborted a siege of it in December, with an army 10,000 strong, following a lack of support by the League's army. Venice was in the process of reorganising its army to reestablish control over its lost possessions in north east Italy. The Leagues army was cautiously awaiting these events, aiming to bring its weight to bear at the most advantageous moment. Meanwhile, Louis was also facing imminent invasion at home; Ferdinand and Henry had agreed to jointly invade Aquitaine. France's best ally, Maximilian, was prevaricating in his usual manner, demanding help for the Empire rather than providing it to imperilled France.

With so many threats, all imminent, Louis decided on a policy of preemptive strike. The only enemy army yet in the field was that of the League. He ordered his Italian army's field commander, his twenty two year old nephew Gaston de Foix (incidentally, also Ferdinand's brother-in-law), Duke of Nemours, to seek out and bring the League's army to battle and destroy it posthaste. This was easier said than done; the League's army was commanded by the very cautious Ramon de Cordona (some of his captains thought too cautious), Viceroy of the Kingdom of Naples, who was only too happy to avoid contact with the French, withdrawing before the French every time action looked likely. Short of supplies, Gaston de Foix decided to force the issue by laying siege to Ravenna. This city was too important to the League for its loss to be countenanced; Ramon de Cordona had to relieve it, or face being relieved himself. The die was cast.

On 10 April the League's army approached to within a mile of Ravenna and 'dug in', hoping that, with Foix running low on supplies, the French would withdraw. On 11 April, Easter Sunday, leaving a rearguard to watch the city's garrison, Foix marched out of his siege lines, over the Ronco, conveying his artillery using a specially constructed bridge, to confront the army of the Holy League. One of the bloodiest battles of the Italian Wars was about to take place.

The Battlefield

The battlefield is laid out on a 10' x 6' table. 
  • In the foreground the River Ronco flows between two man made embankments. The southern embankment carried the major roadway from Forli to Ravenna. From accounts, the Ronco was fordable everywhere but, for the purposes of this scenario, it is an impassable barrier at the northern end of the table. The southern embankment falls gently away to the lower lying ground and it is not an obstacle.
  • There is an extensive area of boggy ground, occupying the south west end of the table. This is important because it formed the secure flank on which the southern end of the Spanish deployment area was anchored. It also allows safe haven for Ferrara's guns to enfilade the Holy League's position. Boggy ground is impassable to troops.
  • There are two places of human habitation. The first is the mill at Molinaccio (referred to by Oman as "the mill called Molinaccio") which, by rights, should be somewhere off table, beyond the boggy ground, to the southwest of the battlefield; the second is the farm in the south east sector of the table. Both places are out of the way and should not interfere with the battle's progress. They were added to the layout to impress the fact that the fields surrounding the town of Ravenna (barely a mile away) were a 'living', well populated, agricultural environment. As a rule of thumb, as war game terrain features, they should, wherever possible, be ignored.
  • The main feature of the Holy League's deployment area is the earthwork thrown up at the behest of Pedro Navarro (the famed military engineer) the day before the battle. I imagine it was similar to the one hastily thrown up at Cerignola nine years before; it was probably based on an existing ditch made wider and deeper, with the spoil thrown up into a low breastwork. In any event, for this scenario it counts as light rough (type II) terrain for all moving or fighting over it; it provides cover to the defender in melee; it provides heavy cover versus all missilery to troops directly behind it and is the range limit of incoming arquebus fire; it provides light cover to troops further back versus artillery and crossbows, which can 'arc' their fire over it; it provides a defending unit with 1 stubborn 'unit integrity' bonus (see Hell Broke Loose rules). For ease of play, contact occurs at, and all range measurements should be taken from, the leading edge of the earthwork.
  • The rest of the battlefield is flat water meadows, clear of woodland, cut up by irrigation ditches and crisscrossed, here and there, by roads. The road running, north to south, down the table between the opposing armies is an important feature of this scenario (see scenario notes). The irrigation ditches, marked with 'foliage', are scenic and do not pose an impediment to movement.


The Holy League - OOB and Initial Deployment 

The Holy League (Papal State and Spain) deployed behind their earthwork. The infantry are lying down, on Pedro Navarro's orders, and are virtually invisible to the French (see scenario notes).

The army has a D10 army die and sequence deck. From the Army characterisation deck, the army has the Like Hail reload card; a Stratagem card (see scenario notes); 28 morale chips.

The overall command of the army has fallen to Ramon de Cordona, Viceroy of Naples; generously given a D10 motivation die because of his high social rank. 

The army is arrayed in six command groups: Two are infantry, four are cavalry commands. 

From north to south...


The 670 lances of the 'Van', led by Fabrizio Colonna, Constable of the Kingdom of Naples; D12 motivation die
Comprising two standard sized units of men-at-arms. 

The 565 lances of the 'Battle', led by Marquis della Padula; D10 motivation die. 
Comprising two standard sized units of men-at-arms. 

(Note that numbers within these two commands have been evened out - it just worked well that way).


The 9,000+ Spanish infantry and the guns, led by Pedro Navarro, Count Oliveti; D12 motivation die.
Comprising four standard sized colunela units; two medium guns; four war carts.

4,000 infantry of The Papal State, led by Ramassot; D8 motivation die
Comprising one (counts as 6 stands in the rules) pike square; one standard sized unit of 'skirmish' arquebus

(Note that most sources have the Italians at 2,000 strong. I have gone for the 4,000, claimed by only one source, in the interest of game balance).


The 490 lances of the 'Rearguard', led by Don Alfonso Carvajal;  D10 motivation die. 
Comprising one large sized unit of men-at-arms.

(Note that Taylor has the rearguard under Carvajal behind the 'Battle'. Given they sallied out of the south end of the position after being bombarded by Ferrara's guns I find this difficult to understand. Oman has him to the south of the position.)

1,500 light cavalry of the Holy League, led by Fernando d'Avalos, Marquis de Pescara; D12 motivation die
Comprising one large sized unit of stradiots; one large sized unit of mounted arquebus.



 The French - OOB and Initial Deployment 

The French are army making the final adjustments to their battle array. The heavy cavalry of the 'Battle', under Odet de Foix, are about to take position at the ent of the infantry line; The Duke of Ferrara is moving his guns to the extreme end of the French line to better engage the enemy.

The army has a D10* army die and sequence deck. From the Army Characterisation deck the army has the Bounce Through artillery action card; the Ciao Bella command group wild card; a two use stratagem (see scenario notes); 34 morale chips. 

The overall command of the army has fallen to Gaston de Foix, Duke of Nemours; D12 motivation die. 

The army is arrayed in nine command groups: Four are infantry, four are cavalry and one is guns. One of these groups, the French 'Rearguard' cavalry under Yves D'Alegre, is off table (see scenario notes).

From north to south...

The 900 lances of the 'Van', led by Jacques de Chabanne, Seigneur de la Palisse; D10 motivation die.
Comprising three standard sized units of Gendarmes.

4,500 Gascon crossbowmen, led by Soffrey Alleman, Seigneur de Molart; D10.
Comprising four standard sized units of 'skirmish' crossbows; 1 heavy gun; 2 medium guns.


9,500 Landsknechts, led by Jacob Empser; D10 motivation die.
Comprising three (count as 6 stand in the rules) pike squares; one standard sized unit of 'skirmish' arquebus. 

(Note that most sources have the Landsknechts at 5,000 strong - 5,000, that's not enough!).

3,500 Picard pikemen, nominally led by Thomas Bohier, Seneschal of Normandie.

Comprising two (count as 4 stand in the rules) pike squares.

(Note that I have followed Oman for the position of the Picard pike but, I'm not sure this is right. They might be better placed alongside the Gascon crossbowmen, which they are said to have supported - perhaps on another day).


3,900 Italian foot, led by Federigo Gonzaga, Seigneur de Bozzolo; D8 motivation die.
Comprising one (count as 6 stand in the rules) pike square; one standard sized unit of 'skirmish' arquebus. 

780 lances of the 'Battle', led by Odet de Foix, Seigneur Lautrec; D12 motivation die.
Comprising two large units of Gendarmes. 

(Note that I have deployed the cavalry of the 'Battle' making their way from behind the cavalry of the 'Van' to the southern end of the infantry line. Oman has them placed between the Picards and the Italians but fully admits this is guesswork by him - no one knows for sure where they were positioned. Historically, they engaged the Holy League's rearguard under Carvajal when it sallied out; I have put them where they can do so easily).


2,000 light cavalry, led by Gian Bernando Caracciola; D10 motivation die.
Comprising two standard sized units of Stradiots; 1 large sized unit of mounted crossbows.

The guns of Ferarra, nominally led by Alfonso d'Este, Duke of Ferrara; D12 motivation die.
Comprising 1 heavy gun; 1 medium gun. 

(Note that, Taylor simply states that Ferrara brought his guns to the southern end of the line by road, by a circuitous route (the ground being too boggy to go 'cross-country'), independently of the main force, and did not arrive until shortly after the battle got underway. I'm very fond of this idea. I have him approaching a good, and safe, position from which he can bombard the cavalry at this end of the field - historically, something he did very successfully).

Off table: The 300 lances of the 'Rearguard', led by Yves D'Alegre.
Comprising one large sized unit of Gendarmes.

(Note that the 'Rearguard' may arrive during the battle subject to action being taken on the French Stratagem card - see scenario notes).

Scenario Notes and Special Rules

The French

The French have two special rules in play and both are led by the appearance of their Stratagem card. The card can only be used for one purpose on each appearance. Both uses have a sound historical basis.

The first is 'Prolonged Bombardment'. On the card's FIRST appearance the player may declare that a prolonged bombardment will take place. 
  • If the French player chooses to undertake this stratagem the current turn ends and the bombardment deck comes into play (this comprises five very pretty playing cards, four jacks and one joker, which will be shuffled and placed face down prior to play). 
  • The cards are turned from the deck, one by one, and each card counts as an Artillery Action card for both armies. 
  • When the joker is turned, also counting as an Artillery Action card for both sides, the French player may use it to remove one medium gun from the battery at the northern end of the French line, then place it anywhere on the northern bank of the Ronco, and behind the enemy front line, from where it can enfilade the Holy League.
  • When the last card has been played the bombardment ends and normal play resumes with a new turn.
(Note that the battle of Ravenna is famous for the longest and heaviest cannonade in history up to that point. Both sides suffered terrible losses during its two hour duration. It was also during the bombardment that the French chose to withdraw two guns and redirect them, with deadly effect, to a flanking position on the other side of the Ronco; if the bombardment isn't carried out the cannon cannot be moved - it was all part of the same plan).


The second special rule covers the arrival of d'Alegre. On the appearance of the Stratagem card the player may roll D8 Vs D8 to activate d'Alegre. If successfully activated, d'Alegre will arrive on the next March card. His move will start in contact with the French table edge and the Ravenna to Forli road.

(Historically, d'Alegre's arrival helped turn the cavalry battle between the French Van and the Spanish Van and Battle).

The Holy League

The infantry of the Holy League begin the battle lying prone, out of sight of the enemy. They were ordered to do so by Pedro Navarro. To indicate that the unit is prone, each unit begins the game marked with a (Broken Wheel) counter. 

  • The enemy modifies any fire to prone units Down 2. 
  • Prone units can stand to, facing in any direction, on the appearance of a Formation change card, or with their present facing if an enemy unit moves within 12" as a 'reaction move' (units stand but cannot shoot as part of the same reaction phase). 
(Note that the decision to make the infantry lie down was a two edged sword. It preserved the infantry from the cannonade virtually unscathed. The cavalry, unable to lie down, felt the full force of the enemy artillery, causing them to charge out of their fortified camp rather than face certain slaughter).

The Holy League Stratagem card is not included in the player's sequence deck but held to one side, playable at any time: It is Hidden Ditch. At any time, the player may declare a stretch of the road running between the farm and the river embankment, up to 18" long, as a ditch that is difficult to cross 
  • It cannot be put anywhere that any troops have already crossed in a previous move.
  • It should be marked with two small trees, one at either end. 
  • The ditch will force troops to stop at contact, then move at half rate until it is fully cleared.
  • It does not provide a terrain advantage or cover to defending troops.
(Note that the idea for this came from Oman's description of the battle. He says "Braving the fire which was poured upon them, they rolled up to the ditch, after passing a water cut (which was not part of the Spaniard's work) which was found to lie across their path." This indicates that the Landsknechts, at least, were held up by an unforeseen obstacle that was within arquebus range of the 'Spanish' works; the road makes a suitable, easily identifiable, location for such an obstacle to be placed). 

Unit Specifications and Command Labels

Unit definitions for Ravenna 1512 using Hell Broke Loose.

FRENCH
Troop type
Combat dice
Defence dice
Unit
Integrity
Notes
Elite Gendarmes [A]
(Two flags)
D12
D8
4 (1S*)
Swift (move on swift cards);
Fierce (melee on even move roll);
*Stubborn (8 stand units have 1 stubborn UI, inc.).
Other Heavy cavalry [B]
D10
D8
4 (1S)
Swift (move on swift cards);
Fierce (melee on even move roll).
Stradiots [C]
D8
D8
3
Swift (move on Swift cards);
Grizzled (inc.).
Missile cavalry [C]
D8
D6
4

Picard pike [D]
D6
D6*
5
*Brittle (down 1 to DD die Vs missile / command; -1 stubborn UI, inc.).
Gascon crossbows [D]
D6
D6*
3
*Brittle (down 1 to DD Vs missilery / command);
Skirmish (may only be ‘formed infantry’ in a deep formation, or when defending a linear obstacle).
Landsknecht pike [B]
D10
D8
6 (3S)
Swift (move on Swift cards);
Stubborn (+1 Stubborn UI, inc.).
Landsknecht shot [C]
D8
D8
3
Grizzled (inc.);
Skirmish (may only be ‘formed infantry’ in a deep formation, or when defending a linear obstacle).
Italian Pike [C]
D8
D6
6 (1S)
Brittle (-1 stubborn UI, inc.).
Shot [C]
D8
D6
3
Skirmish (may only be ‘formed infantry’ in a deep formation, or when defending a linear obstacle).
Artillery [C]
D8
D6
2
Brittle (Down 1 for command).

SPANISH
Troop type
Combat dice
Defence dice
Unit
Integrity
Notes
Elite heavy cavalry [A]
(Spanish flags)
D12
D8
4
Swift (move on swift cards);
Fierce (melee on even move roll);
Other heavy cavalry [B]
D10
D8
4 (1S*)
Swift (move on swift cards);
Fierce (melee on even move roll);
*Stubborn (10 stand units have 1 stubborn UI, inc.).
Genitors [C]
D8
D8
3
Swift (move on Swift cards); Grizzled (inc.).
Missile cavalry [C]
D8
D6
4

Spanish Colunela [B]
D10
D8
5 (1S)
Specialist (Up 1 to missilery); Specialist (Up 1 to melee Vs pike);
Italian Pike [C]
D8
D6
6 (1S)
Brittle (-1 stubborn UI, inc.).
Shot [C]
D8
D6
3
Skirmish (may only be ‘formed infantry’ in a deep formation, or when defending a linear obstacle).
Artillery [C]
D8
D6
2
Brittle (Down 1 for morale).
Light artillery (representing war carts) [C]
D8
D6
2
Organ guns (Down 1 CD for fire, Down 1 for command).
Earthworks
Count as type ii terrain for all troops moving / fighting over; provide cover to defender in melee; provide heavy cover to troops directly behind Vs all fire and are the limit of incoming arquebus fire; provide light cover to troops farther back vs artillery and crossbows; provide defender with 1 stubborn UI bonus.


Fold over labels for commanders.