Sunday, 18 October 2015

Italian States V Spanish

We played a POWR game at Ian's yesterday - Ian wanted to try out Phil's Spanish Army and to get me familiar with the troops types I opted for an Italian states army with Milan C in C and some German Landschnekt mercenaries.

As the Spanish were going to use entrenchments and hide behind them Ian got to choose the terrain.

It was no surprise to find we were fighting in mountains.....

The calm before the storm.... Spanish village photos

With some horrendous terrain on both sides of the table I elected to give Ian the lesser of 2 evils and came on from the table edge were the fortified buildings and in passable mountains were.

If I had given the Spanish this side it would of been even worse than it actually was.

Trying come up with a plan to assault the walls of Mordor was not easy and I had to think long and hard to come up with something that might just work for me....

Becasue Ian had entrenched across the table using the steep hill and broken ground to protect his right flank I decided to send my Pike to bash through the left flank entenchments while sending a small command of skirmish / crossbow units to attach the hill to the right. My cavalry were only going to be of any use if I could get lucky with the terrain roll for the wood which was screening the right flank of the steep hill. There was no where else I could of used them to any effect so I went for it!

Turn 1 - my whole army arrives


 Sauron - how can I possibly lose this one......

A few turns in and my foot crossbow advances across to the steep hill.

Ian had deployed a small garisson of skirmishers behind entrenchments to slow me down.

I reached the wood with hope that it would allow my cavalry to pass through.

You can guess the result of the dice roll.......

My entire cavalry command will go on hold next turn after reaching the impassable wood.
It's not looking good ....

It was not long before I rolled my first 20 and lost my first unit of crossbow as a result of being shot at.
 The pike reach the gates of Mordor 2 out of 4 manage to get in.

The nightmare of entrenchments became only to clear to me. You lose all melee multipliers going in and this just makes units like heavy gallopers pretty normal as they don't get to double up. Same for pike. If I had attacked Ian frontally I would of been thumped by the artillery and although the Italian army has some pretty good units they would not of stood up to a lesser Spanish force using the entrenchments.

 I took this one for Phil to show him just how good his Spanish army are.

This lot were shaken by a retiring unit of Stradiots breaking through as I had nowhere to go.

Ian just caused the one casualty and I rolled another 20....

We stopped for lunch after turn 8 (out of 14) and I knew at this stage what the result would be here...

It did not take much longer and I lost 50% out of my Pike which took a real hiding trying to go in.
I had already dropped to engage after losing 50% of my skirmish units so the Italians went on hold on turn 13. With a record number of 20's rolled by me (it was 9) the result was made that much quicker.

Well played to Ian and the Spanish.

I can't say I enjoyed the experience but I have learned from it and I would never try to take on the Spanish again unless I had some heavy artillery or a full strength Swiss army.

Bottom line is the Spanish are nearly unbeatable using these tactics. If they manage to build entrenchments around impassible terrain you will lose regardless of what tactics are employed.

The Spanish troops are not really that strong so they historically always used entrenchments which makes sense. I can see why Phil went for this army, it reminds me of the Romans.....

The ultimate test will be with my Swiss. Could they beaten by the cowardly Spanish?

It will be interesting to see how this transpires into campaign battles. With Di Vinci on my side I will get another shift for my entrenchments. I can see there being plenty of orders for heavy artillery coming..........


  1. The Spanish are tough. After my last game with Phil I went for a two supporting lines and gaps for the Spanish cavalry to counter attack through. Four units of light artillery and supporting crossbow and arquebus give plenty of firepower and the sword and buckler sort out any shaken units. This has given me a lot to think about for the campaign.

  2. The spanish like the tudors and burhundians ate primerly a shooting army and are i belive hindered by the shooting arc restrictions.
    What was the reason for this ?
    I understand with massed muskets of tje layer period
    the venitians and florence core troops are also a defensive shooting armyfor that matter

  3. To shoot at 45 degrees requires a command and control that didn't exist at the time - basically these units represent a lot of men who aren't looking left and right but are only worried about what is to their front. Also, artillery and large amounts of men are difficult to move around and direct from one place in their formation to another so 45 degrees is too flexible and allows too much firepower directed in one direction. However, behind fortifications men have stations that they man and obvious lines of fire which makes them easier to direct by their officers, and so, shooty armies did not do well in the open but always chose their ground carefully and opted for fieldworks if given a choice.

  4. Ian learned a lot from our battle last week. Essentially this is historically accurate. The Spanish army in the open would get mullered as the firepower at that stage was not devastating, the cavalry was not strong and the sword and buckler men fared badly against pike - with a couple of exceptions. Indeed, the Spanish soon incorporated pike into their armies but this is not reflected in the PoWR army lists.

    They soon learned that fighting a defensive battle using entrenchments best suited their tactics and armaments. Shooting troops could engage infantry and cavalry from a distance and were safe from being charged. The entrenchments disrupted pike trying to cross them and the swordsmen could jump into the disordered pike and cause mayhem. Bear in mind that without the defence, Swiss pike would munch through the Spanish - much like the ritters (reiters) it was a tactical use to offset the opponents strengths.

    Fighting in the mountains creates perfect defensive options for the Spanish - fighting in the cultivated lowlands is another matter.

    It would be interesting to try the Swiss against the Spanish. I agree with Ian's point about artillery - the Spanish get 45 degrees IF it is emplaced - but it can't move. I put mine in the wrong place and it did virtually nothing.