Aut Cesar, Aut Nihil, Wargaming the Borgias.

Aut Cesar, Aut Nihil, Wargaming the Borgias.

Saturday, 21 February 2015

The Battle of Pavia.

 Today I fought the Battle of Pavia, or more accurately I got my ass whooped . I finally got Jim Sweeney to make the journey North for a Black Powder rematch using our renaissance armies. John [ Reidy] suggested that we have a go at refighting the Battle of Pavia, which John and I had fought many years ago. This time however we took the scenario out of the Pike and Shot book.
 As a result the battle is a good size game, with numerous pike blocks on both the Imperialist and French sides. Now for some reason, Jim wanted to be Imperialist, and foolishly I took the role of Francis, King of France.
 The first photographs show the positions of the French troops, prior to the arrival of Jim's hordes.
 Using my Italian armies, as substitutes, I have my  Italian Black Bande based in the walled garden. [My command] Alongside them is the Swiss, under Jims friend, Tom. Further away are the Gendarmes led by Francis [ie me] and against the wall, looking bemused are the French and Italians under Alencon [ Tom]
                                               Tom's Swiss, who fought well on the day.
As one can see, the Imperialists have now been placed upon the table. One thing that threw me was that John, Jim and Colin,[ The Imperialists] had decided that Alves light cavalry command should be moved from their right flank to their left flank, and replaced it with the Duc de Bourbons large command.From the photograph below, one would think that the French Black Bande placed inside of the walls looked in good order. Au contraire, between me throwing blunders, failed command throws and general mayhem, all was not well with my landsknects.
 Pavia holds a lot of tactical problems, for both sides, but especially the French, the inability to react quickly to the Imperialist night march really causes problems. Also two marsh areas, helped delay the onslaught of Jim's landsknects led by Von Frundesberg.

  One thing did stay true to form, and that is my ability to lose the Cin C in a wargame. Below is Francis rashly leading a charge with some of his gendarmes.
  The finger below is Jims, showing where Francis and the Gendarmes were wiped out. Again the Imperialists showed very poor conduct, by turning all their firepower on the gallant French charge. One may notice two large artillery pieces where Jim's stubby finger is. Yes, that is where Francis had been, prior to all and sundry shooting at him.

  Tom's Swiss, did manage to hold back the Imperialists, and surprisningly drive the Landsknects from the table.
For some reason, Alencon's French and Italians did not want to move to help their king, and managed a very tawdry pace all game.
Things certainly turned after dinner, in the image below, is all that was left of the Black Bande after the Spanish sword and buckler men had dealt with them. One can see the remnants of the Bande, thats the small arquebus unit and their commander. 


  Colin, decided to apply the coup de grace by moving a unit of Italian mounted crossbowmen between what was left of my cavalry command, intent on seizing the French camp, and thus activating more Imperialist reinforcements, in Pavia town. [Talk about kicking a man when he's down] The game was up with that dastardly move.
  I had to include a photograph of this unit of Papal pikemen belonging to Jim.. I would dearly like this unit, but somehow Jim wouldnt part with them.
  So in conclusion, Pavis was a very enjoyable game. The French were always up against it, but I think the result was quite accurate for a wargame. As a game I really enjoyed it, as a spectacle it was great.

Landsknects, thousands of them, figuratively speaking.

 I think I mentioned in an earlier post that I met a fellow wargamer, collector at the York show in early February. The wargamer, Jason Page had been able to buy the Wargames Holiday Centre Renaissance armies from Mike Ingham. After rebasing and touching up the troops, Jason had some left, and made the effort to get in touch with me, and bring them to York. He very kindly refused to take payment for the figures. Anyway, I promised I would put some photos on my blog when I re based them.There were enough for two and a bit regiments. Some wargamers will probably not like them which is fair enough, as there were Hinchliffe and Lamming figures dating back to the late 1970's. Personally I love them. Sadly they dont fight as well as they should and took a hell of a beating in the refight of the Battle of Pavia earlier today.Still its great to have a piece of wargaming history and a touching gift from a fellow wargamer.

I love the two Hinchliffe figures at the back of this unit, typical Peter Gilder style, even if not painted by him.

Saturday, 7 February 2015

My Turkish Light Cavalry.

 My rebasing of the Ottoman Turkish Army has finally started to gather some pace.I have now completed the light squadrons of the army, but have realised that I will need more.Wargamers are a strange bunch really. We buy and build up what should be a suitable sized army, then want more. In the case of the Ottoman Turks I think it is justifiable, as their armies did consist of very large amounts of unpaid marauding light cavalry who were used as fodder for their opponents. Witness the Battle of Mohacs, where the poor Hungarians believed they had actually won the battle after chasing the Turkish light cavalry all over the battlefield, only to be then confronted by the REAL Turkish army, of Jannisaries and Spahis of the Porte.
 So I have set myself another target, and that is to double the number of light cavalry in order to confound my opponents.
 All figures are from the late collection of John Reidy, and have clearly stood the test of time, and in my eyes are the bollocks.

Honour Guard of Cesare Borgia.

Honour Guard of Cesare Borgia.