Category: Italian Wars

Late medieval and renaissance Italy was divided into a gaggle of competing states. For 66 years during the period 1494–1559 the great European powers – notably France and Habsburg Spain – were in almost continuous conflict to control these small Italian states. The wars signified the passing of chivalry, largely due to the extensive use of gunpowder weapons by relatively untrained infantry, the arrival of artillery as a field weapon, and the rise of the famous Spanish Tercios. They were also characterised by the extensive use of mercenaries (Swiss, German and Italian) with the problems that entailed. On the whole the Hapsburgs were the winners, with Spain being left in control of Milan and Naples and France with nothing more than the Alpine marquisate of Saluzzo.

Italian Wars – How did the Spanish colunela deploy in battle?

Detail from Siege of Alesia

In the first part of the Great Italian Wars, until the introduction of the Tercio in 1534, the Spanish were organised into columns (colunelas) under a Colonel. We have some idea of the theoretical organisation of the Spanish colunela, but how did the Spanish colunela deploy in battle? And what is the difference between a colunela and a coronelía? This is what I know.

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The Confessions of a Megalomaniac Wargamer and Amateur Historian (2015)


One of the things that really impresses me about Paul Ward of Matakishi’s Tea House is his focus. He chooses a new project, plans the project, does the project, finishes it, and moves on.

I’m a bit more scatter gun myself despite the fact that at work I encourage teams to limit work in progress. I start with a focus and get a lot done but then often wander off on a tangent when something else comes up that sparks my interest. I let myself do that because this is my hobby, not my job. A hobby shouldn’t really

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Pierre Picouet on Spanish Tercios from Pavia to Rocroi

Pierre Picouet Les Tercio Espagnols 1600-1660

I got a bit worried last week. Dr Pierre Picouet’s website on the Spanish Tercios had disappeared. But I quick email to the man himself and I discovered that the website had just moved. It is now at Tercio1617. What a relief. Pierre’s material is a must read for anybody with an interest in Spain, the tercios, the Great Italian Wars and/or the Thirty Years War. To celebrate finding it again I thought I’d do a small tour of the website.

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17th Century Cavalry – Investigations of a Dog

Royalist Cavalry

You know how sometimes something big is going on but you don’t hear about it. I feel a bit like that about Gavin Robinson’s blog Investigations of a Dog. The blog was active 2006-2013 but is, unfortunately, now closed. Luckily the site is still up and is well worth a look. It contains some marvellous analysis of certain aspects of 16th and 17th Warfare, particularly the use of cavalry.

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What is the origin of the term ‘Tercio’?

Early Spanish tercio

What is the origin of the term ‘Tercio’ – the name adopted by the large Spanish pike and shot units of the Renaissance? The word literally means a bundle, or a one-third part of something (Notario Lopez & Notario Lopez, 2012) but he origin of the term for a military unit is not known. There are, however, various theories.

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15mm Wargaming Figures for the Italian Wars

Here’s my guide to 15mm wargaming figures for the Italian Wars. When I started this project in the 1990s only Essex Miniatures and Gladiator Games (now Black Hat Miniatures) had reasonable Italian Wars ranges in 15 mm. These ranges were fine at the time but more recent ranges, such as Venexia Miniatures: Range 4, are much better.

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No-Mans Land Mini-Campaign

This is a skirmish level mini-campaign set in no-mans land on a fairly static front. It is applicable to any period (see the possible settings). Each player is a junior commander whose job is the patrol and control the area between the opposing forces. Over three game days and nights each player must plan and execute 6 missions from a predetermined list. The interest lies in the fact that each player is picking from a different list to that of his opponent. The key problem being addressed is “How does a commander react when faced with events not covered by

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Timeline of the Italian Wars

Timeline of the Italian Wars.

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Sources for the Italian Wars

Annotated bibliography for the Italian Wars.

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Renaissance Battlefield Tactics

I’m not happy with the various renaissance wargaming rules I’ve seen so I thought I’d type up some thoughts about how battlefield tactics. Applies to Italian Wars, Eighty Years War / Dutch Revolt, and Thirty Years War. I’m not sure where it will lead but we’ll see …

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Personalities of the Italian Wars

Personalities of the Italian Wars. A work in progress …

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What Wargaming Rules to use for the Italian Wars?

What Wargaming Rules to use for the Italian Wars

Wargaming rules for the Italian Wars. There are a few choices out there. The ones I’ve poked a stick at are:

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Painting Guide for the Italian Wars 1494–1559 and Conquistadores from 1492

1494-1559 Spanish Swordsman Arquebusier Half-pikeman

Painting guide for the Great Italian Wars (1494–1559) and Spanish Conquistadores in the New World. It covers:

Spanish Infantry, Spanish Cavalry, Italian, German/Landsknecht, Swiss.

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Orders of Battle during the Italian Wars

Orders of Battle for the Italian Wars.

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Battle of Pavia 24 Feb 1525

The Battle of Pavia (24 Feb 1525) in the Italian Wars.

Setting: Pavia, Italy; 24 Feb 1525

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