Chris, Adam, Jamie and I had another DBA RRR game, with 24 Elements, set in the Italian Wars. I think everybody enjoyed it. Chris and I won as the French. I found it a bit odd that pikes avoid fighting shot, in fact everybody avoids fighting shot, and shot don’t really need support by pikes against anything. My conclusion is that shot is a DBA-RRR super troop.
We used my scheme for Choosing a date for a DBA-RRR game in the Italian Wars and Jamie picked this one out of the hat:
Option 9: Landriano (1529). I/2 French (d). I/5 Spanish Imperial (a). Historical result: Spanish Imperial defeated French.
We also used my recommendation for Constructing 24 element armies for DBA and DBA-RRR i.e. to double the compulsory troop types and leave the optional troop types the same.
For the French that meant the army list was:
Army List: I/2(d) Italian Wars French. 1523-1535 AD:
- Arable. Ag: 3
- 2x Kn (g)
- 2x Kn Ordonnance gendarmes
- 4x Pk Swiss pikemen
- 2x Sh Aventuriers with arquebus
- then 14 from:
- 1x Kn Ordonnance gendarmes
- 2x Kn Ordonnance archers
- 1x Kn* Ordonnance archers *(can only be taken if the additional Ordonnance gendarmes are taken also)
- 1x Kn Italian elmeti
- 1x LH Italian mounted arquebusiers
- 1x LH Stradiots
- 2x LH Argoulets with arquebus
- 1x LH Mounted crossbowmen
- 4x Pk Old bands of Picardy and Piedmont
- 3x Pk Landsquenet pikemen
- 2x Pk Aventurier or Italian pikemen
- 2x Pk Swiss pikemen
- 1x Sk* Swiss skirmishers *(must be taken if both additional Swiss pikemen are taken)
- 3x Sh Aventuriers with arquebus
- 2x Sh Italian arquebusiers
- 3x Can Heavy and or field guns
And for the Spanish the army list was:
Army List: I/5(a) Spanish Imperial 1519-1533 AD
- Arable. Ag: 1
- 2x Kn (g) Spanish gente de armas
- 2x LH Spanish ginetes
- 2x Pk Landsknecht pikemen
- 4x Pk Spanish colunela pikemen
- 4x Sh Spanish colunela arquebusiers
- then 10 from:
- 1x Kn Burgundian men at arms
- 2x Kn German men at arms
- 1x Kn Italian elmeti
- 1x LH Spanish ginetes
- 1x LH Italian horse arquebusiers
- 1x LH German mounted crossbowmen
- 1x Pk Landsknecht pikemen
- 2x (1x Pk + 1x Sh) Spanish colunela pikemen and arquebusiers
- 1x 3Bd Spanish colunela sword-and-buckler men
- 2x Sk Unregimented arquebusier companies
- 1x Sk Skirmishing Spanish musketeers
- 2x Hd “Indifferent” Italian foot
- 1x Can Field guns
The table had a couple of hills (one gentle, one rough), a wood, a town and a stream.
For the French, Chis’s deployed on the left on, and around the gentle hill. He had foot on the hill, gendarmes to their left flank, and two cannon to the centre. My command was divided on each side of the wood in the right-centre. In fact my command was further divided by the stream. I had foot and light horse on the far side on the stream and gendarmes squashed between the wood and the stream. My remaining troops were pike and shot between Chris’s cannon and the wood.
The Spanish massed around the town. Jamie had shot in the town, pike and shot behind the town extending out to the flank, plus horse behind them. Adam had foot between the town and the rough hill, skirmishers on the hill, and light horse beyond the stream. James and Adam didn’t quite realise the difficulties their deployment would offer them.
I took a risk with having my general start in the wood. I wanted him, and his gendarmes, out of the bad going as soon as possible.
Jamie was desperately trying to move around the town. Some of his troops shuffled towards the centre of the table.
In front of the wood, I started expanding out my line.
On the far side of the river, my flanking forwards started inching forward.
Chris followed along and advanced all along the line.
I advanced my forces as quickly as I could. I wanted to form a line, beyond the wood, around the middle of the table.
Chris’s grand battery opened up and immediately destroyed some Spanish pikes.
The Spanish advance in the centre and beyond the town.
Beyond the stream I kept advancing my flanking forward as fast as spare PIPs would allow.
Jamie wanted to get his men-at-arm into contact with Chris’s cannon so he had to swing around the front of the town. This did look a bit of a gamble to Chris and I, but, being French, we said nothing.
The Spanish had learnt their lesson and started to shy away from Chris’s guns.
The next casualties were some Spanish pike, shot down by French adventuriers.
But the Spanish arquebusiers immediately took revenge on the adventuriers.
As Chris advanced on the far left flank I started to pull back to avoid the Spanish shot. I found that weird, that pikes would have to flee the threat of shot rather than going in with cold steel. Something wrong there.
I got some pikes and gendarmes lined up with the Spanish shot in the centre. But didn’t quite get into contact.
And beyond the river my flank force kept edging forward.
So I’d already discussed that pikes dissolve in front of shot. Now I found the knights also disappeared quick. Adam’s Spanish shot destroyed some of my gendarmes.
And over on our left, the Spanish arquebusiers killed some more gendarmes.
Jamie had two units of gente-d’armes in front of the town. Chris threatened the flank of one, leaving the other to advance alone. Meanwhile the French cannons continued to boom and in the centre Adam brought his Spanish off the hill to confront the French.
The French cannon scored again.
I had an annoying situation with just my general in contact with the Spanish and my pike and shot just short.
Despite being outnumbered my general cut down his Spanish counter-part. Morale of that story, gendarmes + general beat skirmishers + general.
Near the town French gendarmes destroyed Spanish gente-d’armas.
The French centre and left now look dominate.
Italian shot in French service shoot down some Spanish pikes on the far French left. Once again proving the superiority of shot in DBA-RRR.
And in the centre more Italians take the game for the French. This time a shot on shot match. Although the Italians were assisted by French gendarmes on the Spanish flank.
And that was the game.
Conclusions and observations
It was a good game, enjoyed by all. Chris and I won as the French. Of course my loyalties were torn as I’d have much preferred being Spanish.
Jamie and Adam hampered themselves by setting up behind the town. Bit of a novice error. They assumed they could easily move around it. Unfortunately this hampered them for the entire game.
The two tweaks I made, the scheme for Choosing a date for a DBA-RRR game in the Italian Wars and the recommendation for Constructing 24 element armies for DBA and DBA-RRR, both worked out well. We have a simple way of selecting the date and hence army lists. And the 24 element armies, with doubled compulsory troops and not others, seemed more balanced than other options we’ve considered.
But not everything was rosy. I found it quite odd that pikes avoid fighting shot, literally run away from them as fast as possible. In fact, by the end of the game, all non-shot troops were avoiding fighting shot if they could get away with it. Shot are a DBA RRR super troop type. This was even evident even before the battle began, in the choice are armies, when both sides maximised the number of shot elements.
In this period pike were the predominate infantry arm. Shot could prevail against pike, but only when the pikes were stalled in front of the shot, for example by fortifications. Shot couldn’t stop pikes in the open. This is not true in DBA RRR. Shot gleefully hunt down pikes and the pikes try to avoid confronting them.
Historically, to survive knights, shot either sheltered under pikes or hid in rough ground. In DBA RRR there was no evidence that shot need support by pikes against anything. In the game shot could stand up to knights in the open, without support by pikes. I could accept this if the shot were sheltering in rough, but they weren’t. Our game was fought in the open.