Friday 30 July 2010

The Battle of Trimini

Attacks on armed camps were a feature of The Great Italian Wars. Ravenna 1512, Novara 1513, Marignano 1515, Bicocca 1522 and Pavia 1525 are all prime examples. In most cases camps were strong positions, fully entrenched.

At Novara 1513 the French camp was only partly entrenched and its defenders were badly deployed when a surprise attack by the Swiss overthrew it in short order. Novara is the germ of inspiration for this fictional scenario. But instead of massed Swiss pikes I have substituted a mixed force of Imperial and Venetian allies. I have also set it slightly later, 1520.

General Background:

The French, halting their march late on the previous day, only partly entrenched their camp with a series of redoubts for their artillery. French infantry (crossbowmen and pike men) were tasked to complete the entrenchments next day and slept in the open fields where the earthworks were to be dug. Believing the enemy to be some distance off, the cream of the army (Gendarmes and the Swiss) pitched camp north of the village of Trimini.

On hearing of the approach of the French the commander of the allied Imperial and Venetian army called a council of war to decide what was to be done. Intelligence reports suggested that the French had advanced without reconnaissance and they had failed to fully fortify their camp. Without a dissenting voice the council elected to launch a surprise attack at dawn.

Some time before dawn the French commander was awoken and informed that their were reports of enemy movements coming in from the outlying pickets. The French commander was not convinced but, remembering the disaster of Novara seven years earlier, he ordered half of his Swiss to stand-to. He then went back to his bed and his mistress (he was French).

Thus the scene was set for the bloody Battle of Trimini.


Terrain definitions for Piquet:
Hills are Type I - stop at contact, normal moves thereafter.
Woods are Type II.
Trimini is Type III.
French camp and redoubts are Type III.

French Order of Battle:

Commanders: 2 'combat bonus' commanders and 4 other commanders
French Gendarmes: 4 units of 7 figures.
French mounted crossbows: 1 unit of 6 figures.
Stradiots: 2 units of 6 figures.
Italian mounted crossbows: 1 unit of 6 figures.
Swiss pike: 2 units of 54 figures.
French pike: 1 unit of 54 figures.
French crossbowmen: 7 units of 10 figures.
French artillery: 2 batteries of heavy field guns.
Total figures used: 58 cavalry, 254 infantry, 4 guns and a dog.

Allied Order of Battle:
Commanders: 3 'combat bonus' commanders and 3 other commanders.
Imperial Men-at-arms: 2 units of 7 figures.
Mounted crossbows: 2 units of 6.
Landsknecht pike (plus shot sleeves): 2 units of 82 figures.
Organ gun: 1 organ gun.
Venetian Condottiere: 2 units of 7 figures.
Venetian Stradiots: 1 unit of 6.
Venetian mounted arquebus: 1 unit of 6 figures.
Venetian pike: 1 unit of 36 figures.
Venetian shot: 2 units of 15 figures.
Camp locks:
The French Gendarmes and half of the Swiss are in camp, half asleep and totally unprepared for what is to come. To represent this they have a number of 'locks'. These must be removed before they can undertake any voluntary action. A 'Whim of the Gods' card has been added to the French sequence deck. When it appears roll D4. For each pip on the D4 the French player may remove one 'lock'. Any unlocked troops caught in camp by the enemy count as unarmoured and in disorder.

French disorder:
To represent the general disorder caused by the surprise appearance of the Allied army, 2 'Command Indecision' cards are added to the French sequence deck for turn 1. Remove 1 at the start of turn 2, and the last at the start of turn 3.

Allied coordination:
Because of the inherent difficulty in coordinating an allied army in the field, an 'Uncontrolled Advance' card has been added to the Allied sequence deck. On the appearance of the card any remaining impetus pips can only be used by one of the armies. Roll any dice: Odd result = Imperial. Even result = Venetian.

TOP TIP - Flags

When collecting figures for some wargame periods it soon becomes apparent that certain troops can figure in several armies. This was certainly the case with The Great Italian Wars - Imperial Landsknechts, French Landsknechts, etc. In fact, most troop types could multi-task, and the only thing that differed amongst them was what kind of flag they needed to carry.

That's when I hit on using this idea:

Imperial commander

Medici commander

All of my Italian Wars flags are wrapped around narrow gauge aluminium or brass tubing (from model shops) with a spear point casting glued into the top to finish it off. These slot over the banner bearer's 'flag pole'. The tubing is not very expensive, and the cost benefit analysis is obvious. If I want to field a new combatant all I have to do is make a new flag - the figure having been painted ages ago.
To prevent damage to flags that are not in use I store spare flags as shown below.

I think you will agree, this is a TOP TIP. I don't have a clue where the original idea came from.

Thursday 29 July 2010

Italian Wars scenario play test.

This is a scenario play test. The scenario is a surprise attack by Imperialists on a partially constructed French camp. Next week a gathering (Mark, Peter, Brian, and Eric) of the Ilkleylads will play the tweaked scenario, with slightly different layout and more troops. I'll post the scenario with deployment map, OOB and the usual notes and pics towards the end of this week. But until then, here are some pics of the play test.
Before battle:
Some shots of the action:

Monday 26 July 2010

My Wargame Book List

Although I now buy wargames books for nostalgic reasons, some are still useful. Things were so much simpler way back when....

Discovering Wargames - John Tunstill. [Pamphlet.]

KTG Wargaming - WRG. [Pamphlet.]

Scenarios for Wargames - Charles S. Grant. [A goodie.]

Buildings for the Military Modeller - I. Weekley. [Dream on Ian!]

The War Game - C. S. Grant. [An Icon.]

Ancient Wargaming - Phil Barker. [Hard back pamphlet.]

Wargame Campaigns - C. S. Grant. [Useful.]

Setting Up A Wargames Campaign - Tony Bath. [Useful.]

Wargames Campaigns - D. Featerstone. [Still useful.]

Wargaming Campaigns - Henry Hyde. [Covers everything; recommended. Very surprised to find myself and this blog in the bibliography, no one told me]

Solo Wargaming - Stuart Asquith. [Pamphlet. Things were so much simpler...]

Napoleonic Wargaming - C. S. Grant.

Sea Battles in Miniature - Paul Hague. [From a time when no one produced small models!]

War Games - Donald F. Featherstone. [Oooh, he has much to answer for...]

Naval Wargames - D. Featherstone.

The Peninsular War - D. Featherstone. [Signed copy with letter to John on headed note paper: "...It is only a 'pot boiler', written in about three weeks......and at very short notice........."

Battle Notes for Wargamers - D. Featherstone. [A present from my parents - 1973 - they have more to answer for.]

Advanced Wargames - D. Featherstone. [Advanced, like electric light bulbs!]

War Games through the Ages 1792 - 1859 - D. Featherstone.

Wargames through the Ages 3000BC - 1,500AD - D. Featherstone. [That's scope! and the page with the Romans is missing from mine!]

Tank Battles in Miniature (5 vols) - Various Authors. [What started me in WWII at 11. Fantastic books by the usual suspects - Featherstone & Quarrie.]

War Gaming - Andrew Wilson. [A look at wargaming from the military's perspective.]

My WWII Book List

After Napoleonics i'm probably going to do a WWII project. This will be very specific in time and place - Operation Crusader, Western Desert, 1941. My book list, which was once larger and more comprehensive, has dwindled to this:

Panzer Army Africa - James Lucas.
Crusader - Richard Humble.
[Operation Crusader.]
Sidi Rezeg Battles 1941 - Agar-Hamilton and Turner. [The defining history of Crusader and one of the best books I've ever bought - take out a bank loan and buy it!]
The Crucible of War 2 Auchinleck's Command - Barrie Pitt.
8th Army in the Desert - John Sanders.
[The Airfix book.]
Afrika Korps - K. J. Macksey. [Purnell's book.]
Heinz Werner Schmidt with Rommel in the Desert. [Biog. of an aide de camp.]
Africa Trilogy - Alan Moorehead.
The Desert War - Alan Moorehead.
Brazen Chariots - Robert Crisp. (Memoir of Crusader by a Captain of 4th Armoured Brigade (Honeys).
The Desert Generals - Correlli Barnet.
Iron Hulls Iron Hearts - Ian W. walker (Italian armoured divisions in N. Africa)
Army Uniforms of WWII - Blandford books.
Tanks and other AFV of the Blitzkrieg Era 1939 - 41 - Blandford books.
Tanks and other AFV 1942 - 1945 - Blandford books.
The Longest Day - Cornelius Ryan.
Overlord - Max Hastings.
[An old favourite.]
German Army Uniforms and Insignia 1939 - 1945 - Brian L. Davis. [Hmmm]
Storming Eagles - James Lucas
The Armed Forces of WWII - Andrew Mollo.
[Possibly the best uniform plates ever.]
Panzer Division - K. Macksey. [Purnell's.]
Tank Force - K. Macksey. [Purnell's.]
T34 Russian Armour - D. Orgill. [Purnell's.]

Pamphlets and Ospreys, etc.

Royal Armoured Corps Weapon Training, Pamphlet 34, Fire Tactics. [Official training pamphlet for troop commanders, published 1940.]
Rommels Desert Army - Osprey.
British Tanks in N. Africa 1940 - 42 - Osprey.
The German Army 1939 - 45 vol 2. - Osprey.
[Inc. N. Africa.]
Gazala 1942 - Osprey.
Rommels Afrika Korps - Osprey.
[OOB series.]
Desert Rats - Osprey. [OOB series.]
WWII Desrt Tactics - Osprey.
Operation Cruader - Osprey.
Afrika Korps Soldier 1941 - 43 - Osprey.
Pzkpfw IV medium Tank 1936 - 45 - Osprey.
Crusader and Covenanter Cruiser Tanks 1939 - 45 - Osprey.
Pzkpfw III Medium Tank 1936 - 44 - Osprey.
Matilda Infantry Tank 1938 - 45 - Osprey.
Tank and AFV Crew Uniforms Since 1916 - Martin Windrow.
Crusader. The Relief of Tobruk - John Sanders.
Rommel's Tanks - Tank Power Vol. LXV.
[Very nice photos and plates.]
Axis Forces in North Africa - Claudio Antonucci. [Very photos and plates.]
Tanks at War 1939 - 1945. [Purnell's. 'Special edition'.]

Military Aviation Book List

My main interest here is WWI.

On a Wing and a Prayer - Joshua Levine. [Not read it.]
Independent Force - Keith Rennles. [War Diary of the Daylight Squadrons of the Independent Air Force June - November 1918.
Knights of the Black Cross - Terry Treadwell.
Aces High - Alan Clark.
The Air VCs - Peter G. Cooksley. [Tales of daring do.]
Naval Aviation in the First World War - Layman.
The Red Baron - Peter Kilduff.
A Brief History of the Royal Flying Corps in WWI - Ralph Barker. [Not so brief and very good.]
Tumult In The Clouds - Nigel Steel & Peter Hart. [An all time favourite.]
Fighters 1914 -19 - Munson. [Blandford book - excellent.]
Bombers 1914 - 19 - Munson. [As above.]
War Birds Military Aircraft of the First World War - Published by Macdonald and Jane's. [Nice plates for colour schemes.]
Jane's Fighting Aircraft of WWI - PB. Studio Editions. [Not as good as it sounds.]
The Encyclopedia of Air Warfare - PB. Spring Books.
Aircraft Versus Aircraft - Norman Franks. [Fighting tactics WWI to present.]
Military Aircraft Markings and Profiles - Wheeler. [This book has a picture of a 230 Squadron Puma helicopter in tiger pattern - my dad designed the tiger's head motif and I have the original tiger's head artwork.]


I have a small collection of Profile Publications that used to sell for 2 shillings and now sell
for £2 - £3:
Sopwith Camel
Spad VIII C1
The American DH4
The Albatros D V
The Fokker Monoplanes
The Gotha GI - GV
The Fokker D.VII
The O. Aviatik (Berg) D I
The Fokker Dr.I
Purnell's History of WWI The First War Planes [Special edition]

Sunday 25 July 2010

My Napoleonic Book List

My next major project will be the Peninsular War. I've already collected a few books which I'll start reading in earnest next year. If anyone has some juicy morsels I must add, please tell me about it:

A History of the Peninsular War (vol. 1 - 6) - Charles Oman. [I know there are more volumes. I have been reliably informed that this is the defining history of the war.]
Napoleons War in Spain - Lachouque, Tranie & Carmigniani. [Pictorial history with lots of uniform plates.]
The Peninsular War 1807 - 1814 A Military History - Micael Glover. [good first read for an overview and chronology.]
Years of Victory - Arthur Bryant.
Napoleonic Source Book - P. J. Haythornthwaite. (Invaluable!]
Campiagning with the Duke of Wellington and Featherstone - Donald Featherstone. [A wargamers guide.]
The Peninsular War , Wargaming in History - Donald Featherstone [Signed and inscribed "To John Flight, my good friend, with whom I have wargamed .....and walked many of these fields." Also includes a typed letter  to John saying " is only a pot boiler...".]
Uniforms of the Peninsular Wars 1807 - 1814 - P. Haythornthwaite and M. Chapel.
Talavera - Peter Edwards. [I like his style.]
Albuera - Peter Edwards.
Salamanca - Peter Edwards [his last book.]
The Man who Broke Napoleons Code - Mark Urban. [Fascinating read. Wellington could be a shit.]
Rifles - Mark Urban. [He's a wargamer so it should be good, and is].
The War of Wars - Robert Harvey. [General history of the Napoleonic Wars.]
Redcoat - Richard Holmes.
Napoleon's Wars - Charles Esdaile.
Wellington (2 vols) - Elizabeth Longford.
Borodino and the War of 1812 - Christopher Duffy. [A good read before going to the battlefield.] 1812 - Adam Zamoyski.
Austerlitz 1805 - Christopher Duffy. [As Borodino.]
The Spanish Ulcer - D. Gates [Excellent 1 vol. history with lots of maps. Recommended]
The Peninsular War Atlas - Col. N. Lipscombe. [This is a large coffee table style hardback published by Osprey and has the 'Osprey feel' to it - not a bad for a Christmas gift].
Wellington's Army - Michael Glover. [As a newbie to the period, I found this book insightful and well written].
Fields of Fire, Battlefields of the Peninsular War - Ian Fletcher, photography by Andy Cook.
Wellington's Return, The Battle of Talavera 1809 - C.S. Grant. [ Signed and inscribed "To James, a great addition to the League of Gentlemen Wargamers. With Best Wishes, Charles." - which was awfully nice of him.]
British Napoleonic Uniforms - C.E. Franklin. [Pictured left. I was put onto this book by the guys over at WD3. It might be the best uniform guide I've ever seen - superb!]
Battle Tactics of Napoleon and his Enemies - Brent Nosworthy. [Very good book that deals with tactics, and the psychological effect of tactics, in Napoleonic battles - a must have book for wargame rule developers].
The Campaigns of Napoleon - David Chandler. [A classic work that gives a solid introduction to Napoleons campaigns in its c.1200 packed pages, with lots of simple to follow maps of the battles, etc. I picked up this single volume copy in an Oxfam shop (March 2018) for £6 - Bargain!]
1809 Thunder on the Danube (3 vols.) - John H. Gill [Details the Austrian Campaign of 1809. Not read yet. Highly recommended by Peter Anderson (a.k.a. Gonsalvo), and a quick scan reveals good maps and OOB. I bought this book because I might add an Austrian army to my Napoleonic collection (as an extra opponent for my Peninsular French) at some point in the future].
Wargame Scenarios: The Peninsular War 1808 - 1814 - J. Sutherland & D. Canwell [20 scenarios for Grand Battery rules by Pen and Sword in a 222 page volume - not anything like as good as it sounds and the maps leave a lot to be desired; mostly history re-hashed, and if I lost this book I wouldn't miss it as several other authors do the history better - harsh].
Galloping at Everything - Ian Fletcher. [A reappraisal of British cavalry performance 1808 - 1815. A very interesting and thoughtful read. Excellent stuff on several Peninsular cavalry actions.]
Wellington Invades France - Ian Robertson. [Gift from a client, reads very well].

Ospreys. [If you like that kinda'thing.]

Vimeiro 1808.
Telavera 1809.
Bussaco 1810.
Fuentes de Onoro.
Salamanca 1812. [I walked the field using only this as my guide and didn't get lost.]
Vittoria 1813
Napoleon's......, etc. [Men-at-arms series, several volumes, each by troop type.]
Wellington's....., etc. [Men-at-arms series, several volumes, each by troop type.]
Wellington's Peninsular Regiments 2.
Wellington's Army in the Peninsular 1809 - 1814 [Order Of Battle series - good, easy to follow guide to divisional organisations, by year, with notes, but doesn't have unit strengths. Excellent as a combo with Oman's numbers.]
The King's German Legion 1
Napoleonic Infantry Tactics (3 vols) [French and British (inc. Light Infantry) - they do two books on cavalry tactics that I'll pick up eventually]
British Napoleonic Artillery (1) 1803 - 1812.
The Portugese Army of the Peninsular Wars (3 vols).
The Portugese Army of the Peninsular Wars. [Earlier 'men-at-arms' version?]
Spanish Army of the Napoleonic Wars (3 vols).
Artillery Equipment of the Napoleonic Wars.
Flags of the Napoleonic Wars 1.
The Peninsular War Atlas - Colonel Nick Lipscombe (Big 400 page book of Osprey maps).

My Naval Book List

I've had an interest in things naval for years. Here is my book list:

Age of Sail:

Naval Warfare in the Age of Sail - Bernard Ireland.
The Line of Battle - Conway's.
The Naval War of 1812 - Conway's.
Naval Warfare in the age of Sail the Evolution of Fighting Tactics - Tunstall & Tracy - Conway's. [Very Good.]
Nelsons Navy - Brian Lavery - Conway's.
The Trafalgar Companion - Mark Adkin. [Very Good.]
Nelson's Battles - Tracy. [Very good.]
The Naval War of 1812 - Roosevelt. [That President was a brainy chap and this work is excellent.]
St. Vincent and Camperdown - Christopher Lloyd.
The Glorious First of June - Oliver Warner.
Trafalgar - Clayton & Craig.
Trafalgar The Nelson Touch - David Howarth. [My favourite account.]
England Expects - Dudley Pope. [Another good account.]
The Frigates - James Henderson. [An all time favourite - a ripping yarn of daring do.]
Nelson A dream of Glory - John Sugden. [Not read it.]
Nelson - Howarth & Howarth.
Nelson's War - Padfield.
Nelsons Favourite - Deane. [Lovely book.]
Nelson and the Nile - Lavery. [Very good account.]
Fighting Ships - David Davies. [I like this little gem.]
Admiral Lord Cochrane - Cochrane. [Autobiog.]
Nelsons Navy - Osprey.
Charts of War - J. Blake [book of old naval charts, etc. of limited interrest].

Age of the Oar and Renaissance:

The Age of the Galley - Conway's.
The Battle of Salamis - R. B. Nelson.
The Battle of Salamis - Strauss.
Actium 31 BC - Osprey.
Ancient Greek Warship 500 - 322 BC - Osprey.
The Spanish Armada - Falkus.
The Spanish Armada - Lewis.
From Merciless Invaders - McKee.

WWII, etc. :
The Bismark Episode - Russell Grenfell.
Pursuit - Ludovik Kennedy.
The Royal Navy In Old Photographs - Trotter.

My 17th Century Book List

Although you might not know it, I do have an English Civil War collection - though it rarely sees the light of day - and once upon a time I played with it a lot. It has been so long since I read any of these books that I can only pass comment on a very few. Here is my book list:

General histories:

The English Civil War - Maurice Ashley.
The Kings War - C. V. Wedgewood.
Cavaliers and Roundheads - Christopher Hibbert.
Going to the Wars - Charles Carlton.
Civil War - Taylor Downing & Maggie Millman.
Cromwell Our Chief of Men - Antonia Fraser.
The English Civil Wars Local Aspects - Richardson.
The Civil War in the Midlands - Roy Sherwood.
History of the Great Civil War (3 vols.) - Samuel R. Gardiner.
Cromwellian Gazetteer - Peter Gaunt.

Military histories and books:

The Battle of Naseby - Maurice Ashley.
Marston Moor 1644 - Peter Young.
Edgehill 1642 - Peter Young.
Battles of the English Civil War - Woolrych.
Cromwells Army - C. H. Firth.
Roundhead General The Campaigns of William Waller - John Adair. [An all time favourite book.]
The Campaigns of Montrose - Stuart Ried.
Generals of the Civil Wars - H. C. B. Rogers.
A Battlefield Atlas of the English Civil War - Anthony Baker.
All the King's Armies - Stuart Ried.
The English Civil War - Philip Haythornthwaite.
Armies and Warfare in the Pike and Shot era - Featherstone.
Warfare in the Seventeenth Century - John Childs.
English Civil War - Elliot-Wright.
The Thirty Years War - G. Pages.
The Thirty Years War - C. V. Wedgewood.


Sir Beville Grenville - Stucley
Prince Rupert, Portrait of a Soldier - Frank Kitson. [Great book.]
Montrose - C. V. Wedgewood
Charles I - D. R. Watson


Soldiers of the English Civil War (2 vols) - Osprey.
The English Civil War Armies - Osprey.
The Campaign of Naseby - Osprey.