Battle of Pavia – A DBR Scenario

An Italian Wars scenario for DBR based on the Battle of Pavia.

Historical Situation or Mission

Setting: Pavia, Italy; 24 Feb 1525


DBR based on 400 men/element


Key features are:

Pre-game preparation


French Player (Defending)


Defeat attacker in open battle.

Forces Available

Actual composition (??):

  • 10,000 Swiss
  • 5,000 other Pikemen, probably all Landsknecht under Richard de la Pole.
  • 6,000 French and Italian arquebusiers
  • 1,200 Men-at-Arms
  • 2,000 light cavalry
  • 53 guns

About 28,000 in total. Of these about 8,000 were lost before the battle, as the Bande Nere (2,500) retired when Giovanni de Medici, their leader, was wounded, and as the Swiss-Grison contingent (2,000, 5,000 or 6,000) were recalled to defend their lands. The final armies were about equal in size.

The order of battle given below is based on Jones (1994). I have merely divided his figure total by 3 to produce an element total. It is not clear which infantry are the Landsknechts, Italians and actual French.

Nationality Troops DBR Type Num. Fig DBR AP
Swiss Pikes and Halberds Pk (S) 20 80 100
Crossbowmen Sk (O) 3 6 6
French Gendarmerie Ln (S) 6 18 72
Pikemen and Halberds Pk (I) 16 64 48
Arquebusiers Sh (I) 2 8 10
Crossbowmen Sk (O) 3 6 6
Bande Nere Pikemen and Halberds Pk (O) 16 64 64
Arquebusiers Sh (I) 3 12 15
Artillery Guns Art (S) 5 50


As per rules.



Imperialist Player (Attacking)

Begins scenario with initiative.


Defeat defender in open battle.

Forces Available

Giono (1965) says 28,000 men in total, while at Lodi on 19th January:

  • 13,000 Landsknecht
  • 6,000 Spanish
  • 3,000 Italians
  • 800 Lances (4,800 Men-at-Arms)
  • 1,500 Light Cavalry
  • At least 16 guns at the battle

Probably lost 3,000 before the battle, due to poor food, disorganised supplies, disease, weather, desertion.

Oman (1987) gives the Imperialist order of march/battle as:

  • 2,000 pioneers with battering rams and picks
  • Italo-Spanish under Marquis del Vasto, mostly arquebusiers, some other infantry and 300 light horse.
  • Spanish under Pescara
  • Half the Cavalry
  • Main-battle under Viceroy Lannoy of German Landsknecht
  • Half the Cavalry – ‘Burgundian’ and Austrian under Ferrante Castriot
  • German Landsknechts under Charles de Bourbon
  • Italio-Spanish
Commander Troops DBR Type Num. Fig DBR AP
del Vasto 3,000 German and Spanish Handgunners Sh (I) 8 32 40
300 Light Horse LH (O) 1

5,000 Spanish Pk (O) 12
2,400 Men-at-Arms Ln (S) 6
Lannoy 6,000 German Landsknecht Pk (O) 16
2,400 Men-at-Arms Ln (S) 6
16 guns Art (S) and Art (O) 4
Bourbon 5,000 German Landsknechts Pk (O) 12
Rearguard 3,000 Italians Pk (I) 8


As per rules.



Victory Conditions

As per rules.

Scenario Special Rules





Giono, J. (1965). The battle of Pavia: 24th February 1525 (A. E. Murch, Trans.). London: Peter Owen. (Original work published 1963).

Jones, M. N. (1994). “All is lost save honour”: The battle of Pavia, 24 February 1525. Wargames Illustrated, 81, pp. 21-24.

Oman, C. (1987). A History of the Art of War in the Sixteenth Century. Greenhill Books.

Phipps, J. (1994). The battle of Pavia: The Story of a demonstration game. Wargames Illustrated, 80, pp. 38-40.

Taylor, F. (1993). The art of war in Italy 1494-1529 (originally published 1921). Essex, UK: Partizan Press.

3 thoughts on “Battle of Pavia – A DBR Scenario”

    • Oman originally published in 1937 however the edition I own is 1987. Citations give the year of the edition not original publication.


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