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.
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.
Second Battle of Seminara December 1502
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 entirely, fought in late November or December 1502, but at Seminara like the other two. In fact, I just had to turn the page and Mallet and Shaw explicitly called this encounter the “second Battle of Seminara” and a later battle the third. Other sources table about a similar encounter about this time but at Terranova (Prescott, 1962, 2016b) and the two may be the same battle. In fact the encounter at Terranova is more plausible as an account given it just involves reinforcements not the “combined Spanish forces”.
Terrain Cards – Random terrain placement for pick up wargames
In our recent game of Tilly’s Very Bad Day Chris observed that, as the defender, he could exploit the terrain placement rules to his advantage. This is my proposal to address Chris’s concern. These rules allow randomised terrain for pick up battles in any period.
The terrain placement rules described here borrow heavily from Terrain Cards for a ECW Campaign.
First Battle of Seminara 28 June 1495
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.
Battle of Fornovo 6 July 1495
In the comments of my post Choosing a date for a DBA-RRR game in the Italian Wars John Rohde pointed out I had got the results of the Battle of Fornovo (6 July 1495) wrong. This was the second major field battle of the Italian Wars. In a short but brutal fight the French gendarmes proved their superiority over their Italian counterparts.
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?
Making a ditch and bank for the Italian Wars
The Spanish surprised their French and Swiss opponents in the Italian Wars by putting arquebusiers behind a ditch and bank. So I thought I should make one. Or, more accurately, make some modular sections of ditch and bank so I can make any shape of fortifications. The modular features are using my Big Bases for use with Big Base DBA and DBA-RRR.
Choosing a date for a DBA-RRR game in the Italian Wars
DBA-RRR has lots of army lists for the Italian Wars. I can field all the variations so the question is, which army lists will we use for each game. In our recent games we have arbitrarily chosen a date and that has given us the army lists. One night I went for 1512 (Battle of Ravenna) and another night Adam chose 1525 (Battle of Pavia).
I’d like to systematise the choice, preferably using a die roll or cards. So in this post I do a bit of analysis on the battles in the Italian Wars and line them up with the army lists. I have a particular focus on Spanish and French because those are the armies I have, but Swiss and Italians of various flavours do appear. My focus is also within the boundary of modern day Italy because that is the theatre that interests me most.
My Wishlist for DBA-RRR Big Base Italian War
You have gathered from my recent posts on the Reformatted DBA-RRR Spanish Army Lists and Reformatted DBA-RRR French Army List that I’m currently keen on DBA-RRR and the Italian Wars (1494-1559 AD). I started this project 20 years ago when I commissioned the Spanish from a professional painting company. I got the Spanish infantry back but I never saw my Spanish cavalry figures or the money again.
It has taken two decades to get over the shock but I’m having another go. I’m repurposing what figures I have for big bases and filling in the gaps. Of course I’m outrageously ambitious, even for a DBA variant.
Reformatted DBA-RRR French Army List (Italian Wars 1494-1559 AD)
Following my reformatting of the DBA-RRR army list for the Spanish, I’m now doing their main opponents … the French of the the Italian Wars. The aim is to: (1) more closely match the style of other DBx army lists; (2) to understand them better with a view to perhaps tweaking them in the future; (3) know what to buy/build/paint.
Reformatted DBA-RRR Spanish Army Lists (Italian Wars 1494-1558 AD)
Tony Aguilar’s DBA-RRR, for DBA Extension rules for Renaissance, Reformation and Restoration 1500-1700, look promising for playing the Italian Wars. Aguilar provides army lists to accompany the rules, based on those for DBR, but I have some gripes with the formatting. In this post I reformat the DBA-RRR Spanish Army Lists (1494-1558 AD) to more closely match the style of other DBx lists. I admit it also helped me internalise the lists – understand them better – with a view to perhaps tweaking them in the future.
Italian Wars – How did the Spanish colunela deploy in battle?
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.
Pierre Picouet on Spanish Tercios from Pavia to Rocroi
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.
17th Century Cavalry – Investigations of a Dog
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.
What is the origin of the term ‘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.