Category: Spain

My specialty is the Military History of Spain and Portugal. The Spanish bits that seem to interest people the most are Carlist Wars, Rif Wars, Spanish Civil War and the Spanish involvement in WWII (mostly the Blue Division).


1529 French v Spanish – A 24 Element DBA-RRR Battle Report

DBA-RRR-503 Messy melee on French centre-right

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.

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Musing on Large Pike+shot in Tilly’s Very Bad Day

Swedish Yellow Brigade

In Tilly’s Very Bad Day all pike+shot are the same. But Tilly, after whom the rules are name, was fond of the older style big tercios and Richard (doctorphalanx) has been encouraging me to do something about this.

And Tilly wasn’t alone in the appreciation of big brigades. Gustavus Adophus invented the Swedish Brigade of the Thirty Years War and this was as big as Tilly’s tercios although the interior configuration differed.

What to do with the large pike+shot units in Tilly’s Very Bad Day?

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William Guthrie on Tilly’s Big Tercios

Guthrie - 2000 man Catholic League Tercio - Square

Tilly (Field Marshal Johann Tserclaes, Count of Tilly) was fond of the older style big tercios. William Guthrie describes these unit in his book “Battles of the Thirty Years War: From White Mountain to Nordlingen, 1618-1635” (Guthrie, 2002). I thought I’d have a look.

There is a health warning. Guthrie’s books contain a lot of great detail. But they do get a bit a a thrashing from European experts on the Thirty Years War. That means some of the below might be open to challenge. Even with my limited insight I’ve spotted a couple of things that don’t add

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Spanish beat Swedes – 2 player game of Tilly’s Very Bad Day

Tilly-474 See-saw infantry battle - Left

Jamie and I played a Spanish versus Swedes match up of Tilly’s Very Bad Day. In a very exciting game my Spanish eventually prevailed. We introduced a house rule to make chequerboard more effective and both focused on this aspect of the game with some interesting conclusions.

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Painting Generals of the Thirty Years War

Cardinal-Infante Ferdinand - Adam Frans van der Meulen

Since I’ve published Tilly’s Very Bad Day I figure I should update my painting guide for the Thirty Years War (1618-1648). This is the guide for the Generals throughout the war, of whatever nationality.

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Second Battle of Seminara December 1502

Bernard Stewart, Lord d'Aubigny

During the Italian Wars, there were three battles at Seminara, in toe of the Calabrian peninsula. Most sources talk about the two Battles of Seminara on 28 June 1495 (Spanish loss) and 21 April 1503 (Spanish victory). Mallet and Shaw (2014) have an account of the battle of Seminara in late 1502 where the Spanish lose disastrously to the French. The Mallet and Shaw account mentioned Spanish reinforcements, like the 21 April 1503 battle, so I got terribly confused and thought this was an alternative version where the Spanish lose. Eventually I realised Mallet and Show are describing another battle

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Big Base Triumph in the Punic Wars

Triumph-19 Libyans face the Roman battleline

Despite the fact I play DBA a lot, I’m always on the look out for a better game system for the Ancients period, including the Punic Wars. So when the guys said they’d be willing to try out Triumph I leapt at the chance.

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Spanish draw Swedes – 4 player game of Tilly’s Very Bad Day

Tilly-899 Swedish foot blaze away

In a very exciting game the Spanish (Jamie and Steven) just barely managed to deny the Swedes (Chris and Adam) the victory they thought well in hand. We really enjoyed our first game of Tilly’s Very Bad Day following publication. Again the rules proved themselves able to provide a fast and exciting game, with lots of flavour. We are still struggling to break deeply ingrained habits from DBA, e.g. bunching up, and the more we do this, the more we enjoy Tilly. And we still need to iron out the problem with chequerboard formations.

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First Battle of Seminara 28 June 1495

Ferdinand II (Ferrandino) of Naples

During the Italian Wars, there were three battles at Seminara, in toe of the Calabrian peninsula. This is the first one (28 June 1495), where Gonzalo Fernández de Córdoba, known to history as the Great Captain (El Gran Capitán), suffered his only defeat. This battle was also the first field battle in the Italian Wars. The French gendarmes drove off Gonsalvo’s genitors, the Calabrian Militia panicked, and the Swiss pikemen (apparently) rolled over the lightly equipped Spanish infantry. This defeat forced Gonsalvo to rethink Spanish arms and tactics. Decisions that subsequently lead to the successes that made his name.

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Musing on Types of Horse in Tilly’s Very Bad Day

30YW-769 - Generic - Harquebusiers

I quite like Brzezinski’s (1993) analysis of cavalry in the Thirty Years War. He believes there were three types of horse (Arquebusier, Horsemen, Cuirassier) and I think unit quality can simulate these types in Tilly’s Very Bad Day. All three types could shoot or charge but typically a unit did one or the other; I leave this choice to the player.

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Swedes beat Imperialists in play test of Tilly’s Very Bad Day

Tilly-70 Imperialist Harquebusiers

Adam, Chris, and Jamie came over for a play test of Tilly’s Very Bad Day. It was a good quick game, with considerable spectacle. There were lots of troops, and, yay. I’ve finally got my Thirty Years War forces on table. Although it was a reasonable game, we did come up with quite a long list of observations, suggestions, and tweaks to the rules. By the way, the Swedes beat the Imperialists.

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Spanish Painting Guide for the Thirty Years War

30YW-784 - Spanish - Pike and Shot

Since I’ve published Tilly’s Very Bad Day I figure I should update my painting guide for the Thirty Years War (1618-1648). Although the title refers to the Spanish this is the guide covers all troops in Spanish service whether Spanish, Italian, or Walloon.

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Imperialist Painting Guide for the Thirty Years War

30YW-856 Who is this guy

Since I’ve published Tilly’s Very Bad Day I figure I should update my painting guide for the Thirty Years War (1618-1648). This is the guide for the Imperialists throughout the war.

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Download Tilly’s Very Bad Day – Fast Play Rules for the 30 Years War

Tillys Very Bad Day Logo

I’ve been on the hunt for a set of wargaming rules for the Thirty Years War for a couple of decades. The hunt has taken so long that I’ve ended up writing my own. I’ve called the rules “Tilly’s Very Bad Day” in memory of the Battle of Rain (15 April 1632) where Field Marshal Johann Tserclaes, Count of Tilly, got hit by a Swedish cannonball. He, of course, subsequently died. I’d like to thank Brett Simpson for the inspiration to undertake the project and for play testing from the first draft.

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Constructing 24 element armies for DBA and DBA-RRR

Constructing 24 element armies for DBA and DBA-RRR

Our recent game of DBA-RRR with 24 elements a side, shared between two players was great fun. But it did exhaust my supply of figures, as I’d collected enough for 12 point armies using all options. It also resulted in both army looked pretty much identical. Lots of shot, men-at-arms, and light horse. With as few pike as possible. I think more games with 24 point armies are quite likely in the future, but I’d like the army lists some real choices in what troops appear on table. So how should I arrange my 24 point army lists?

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