After Mark's two losses against my Swiss Ian was keen to field his superbly painted French army and try to stop the Swiss watch ticking.
We rolled for the terrain and interestingly this time ended up with a lot of hills and woods plus a marsh area in the centre. Two lots of close cultivation balanced the tables making it a difficult choice for me to chose which table edge to come on from.
Initial Setup. The Swiss would attack from the near side below. I did not want to give Ian more open space to use his powerful French Knights.
Ian's finished army and tents
Superbly painted Gendarmes
Turn one and we are off!
The Swiss move first and as my pike are all over 16" throughout the move I get to move all my stuff 3 times covering up to the middle of the table in one turn.
You can see how much ground I covered in the first turn.
I opted to build my army slightly differently and only to provide a bit more dynamics to the pike as I felt 12 units of pike would be a little bit one dimensional.
Below are Milanese heavy cavalry together with 2 units of mounted crossbow
Swiss Pike blocks advance
Ian's French Gendarmes and retainers stand strong awaiting the Swiss pike
The machine rolls on
Ian was quick to deploy his first heavy artillery battery on the hill, this proved very effective against my pike and I did suffer against his guns.
The pikes close in on the objective....
My plan was if anything a little one dimensional. I wanted to concentrate all that pike against one area of the table which was the windmill / close cultivation that stood in front of Ian's baggage.
If I could smash my way through this and reach his camp I stood a good chance of demoralising the French army. I just had to execute!
Here we go.... Ian sends an order to hold that hill so his very large command (94 strength) can use the command radius of 9" to basically do whatever he wants, a good idea.
Below my pike block is thumped by Ian's heavy guns, I was warned by Master Shakespear about these on Thursday
This did little to deter me though and I pressed on only to be charged by Ian's Knights, unfortunately for Ian the Pike were just a bit better but only because of the frontage of units.
French Retainers positioned to charge
Ian's knight's take a retire shaken result.
French Pike units (who painted them?)
They are strong but no match for the Swiss
Ian's reserve, these Knights and retainers had me worried all day as Ian is an expert at using his reserves just when it matters. I had to keep my eye on this lot but because of the table side the French were forced to deploy Ian's forces were a bit squashed and this lot were out the action for time being.
Back over to the fight. Ian had rolled some pretty shit pip dice so far which really did screw him up early on. With very little pips Ian could not get his troops manoeuvred into the desired position. I was not complaining.
Fench Crossbow, I had no intention (yet) of engaging this lot if I could. With 8" range they posed a very real and nasty threat to my Pike.
Carnage on the battlefield. Things were becoming a bit busy on this side of the table but I was content to carry on for the time.
The Swiss have been charged (again) in the flank. Ian tried this as much as possible but it just did not have the desired effect. Over on the hill Ian attacks my shaken Pike again with his cavalry.
I am almost onto my objective and despite being slowed by the steep hill I managed to make it over pretty much unscathed to the edge of the corn field and windmill.
Over the in the centre Ians other command is out the action with his strong reserve just waiting....
Another flank charge, must try harder!
My mounted crossbow did take a thumping however and in one turn I lost 50% strength against one attack from the French Gendarmes. The other unit got shot to shit by the crossbow so both these units had to retire shaken. My light guns had also been shot at so were also shaken.
Still the Pike press on
Over on the right I changed the order with my C in C, charging into Ian's cavalry with maximum effect, this caused a retire shaken and allowed me to move into clear space.
Ian try's yet another flank charge, the Pike are now almost on his left flank and the baggage looms.
The Swiss hold but Ian's heavy guns did rout one of the Pike units so first blood to the French!
Over on the other side Ian eventually releases his reserves. I knew this would be coming my way so had to react with an order change to try and save my C in C's command.
Here they come
Order change in just in time!
Hold that hill
I lost a mounted crossbow, this was on the cards as I had no pips left to move it.
The baggage is mine nearly!
just one more move
My C in C's command holds it's ground. Ian' largest command is almost broken and at 1 point off losing 50% strength.
I but had to cause one more casualty on Ian's largest command to make his army drop from attack to engage and this did happen.
More French shaken Knights
Even more French shaken units and all down to a forced morale check for all units for sacking the baggage!
The Flank and baggage is mine now!
The French drop from engage to hold and can no longer do anything else to stop the Swiss attack
Final Position of the Swiss
We shook hands and Ian conceded defeat, the French would retire from the battlefield unable do anything else on the day.
A great game and another convincing victory for the Swiss. The French knights posed the biggest threat but we both felt that the heavy artillery was the more effective weapon against the pike.
Ian's infantry was never going to be able to stand up to my Pike and he needed a combined force using both Knights and artillery to try and whittle me down. The French are indeed a force to be reckoned with, their Knights are if anything stronger than the Swiss pike but with a cramped deployment and initial poor pips my Swiss managed to move very quickly across the table and stole the show again.
There were some moments were I though Ian would come good but in the end the initial plan worked.
Taking the baggage was critical as I knew that I had a good chance to whittle down a French command on route which would cause a double bubble on the army morale.
This sets the scene four our Good Friday re match which should be good fun.
Thanks to Ian for another top game.