Saturday, 28 November 2015

Battle of Turin

Anatomy of a Milanese disaster. Those of a nervous disposition look away now...

With time running out, the French must attack or Milan wins the whole of North Italy.  Has a single battle ever been so important?  But two factors play into the French hands.  The landschnects have placed themselves in horrible terrain, limiting their movement, and the mounted crossbow fill the gap in the defences - giving the French Gendarmes the perfect target.  Let them shoot then charge them down.  The crossbow attempt to evade but one doesn't manage to.  The Retainers on the left meanwhile attempt to wipe out the other artillery group. Crucially the commander of the pike / artillery - caught in this furious charge - runs for cover (the mounted crossbow).  If they go, he goes.

The heavy French cavalry charge in.  The artillery on their extreme right is wiped out by the Retainers - who then unfortunately run into the pike and will not live long as a result. The Milanese condottiere countercharge the French gendarmes to protect the mounted crossbow but are now caught in-between - not good if they are forced to flee.  The remaining French forces slowly move up.

The condotierre are forced back through the crossbow (shaking them) and their own second rank (shaking them as well). The gendarmes make hay by ploughing through their shaken opponents.  The Retainers to their right are doomed BUT they prevent the unengaged unit of pike hitting the gendarmes in the flank.  This saves the French attack at the cost of the Retainers lives.  Note that the pike commander is still hiding amongst the crossbow.

With the artillery killed off, the condotierri are split.  One engages in an epic battle with the surviving retainers as the Gendarmes see off the remaining condotierri and plough into the shaken mounted crossbow.  The loss of one unit of condottieri shakes a pike unit close by and thus breaks up the pike block further.  The French attempt to mask their pike with crossbowmen to save their dense pike blocks (already shaken from gunfire).

The same action, but you can see the condottieri sitting shaken on the baggage, wondering what hit them.  The mounted crossbow meanwhile get both barrels from armoured lancers with high melee skills.   They run for it - taking the pike commander with them.  No pips for the pike!

A crucial part of the battle.  By rights the remaining unengaged gendarmes should just charge into the pike coming over the barricades.  But the French King automatically runs through the crossbow (shaking more units around them) and with 4 pips available the unengaged gendarmes instead put themselves in a position to charge the pike.  With no commander the pike have no orders and so can't react - oh dear, how sad, never mind...Meanwhile the French left have drifted over - leaving their artillery behind their gendarmes blast into the skirmishers who run for it.  The remaining cannon on the Milanese left also run for it after coming under crossbow fire.  The French pike are now free to run forward into the gaping hole forming in the Milanese centre.  The Duke of Milan sees his dreams crumbling around him.  His most powerful units are either leaderless (pike on his left) or stuck (landschnects in the middle in poor terrain).

The King and his gendarmes kill off another unit of condottieri in front of the Milanese baggage (their leader is stuck in a fight to the death with French retainers).  This mini-battle runs on and on - the condottieri just can't seem to be able to finish them off.

The Milanese pike roll for a commander replacement and he is placed with the closest pike unit to the gendarmes to provide morale support-  just as the gendarmes plough into them.  But he prevents another pike unit coming to help by blocking their way.  The King of Franch ploughs into the remaining condottieri in front of the baggage while French pike and crossbow reach the entrenchments with no-one to stop them.  The landschnects are powerless - they are stuck in the terrain and if they show their flank will have lance-armed retainers ploughing into them.  Milan's only chance is to kill the King's gendarmes attacking their left flank OR get the remaining condottieri to finish off the King's retainers and plough into the foot crossbow to cause moral checks.  But the retainers stay in the fight...

It gets worse for the Milanese.  The King's Gendarmes - having already seen off 2 units of condottieri and two of mounted crossbow AND captured the Duke of Milan's baggage - returns to smack some Milanese pike in the rear (just as his other gendarmes and handing out more damage to the pike they previously charged).  The remaining condottieri are STILL battling away with the King's retainers who resolutely refuse to die.  In the fields, the Milanese skirmishers are charged again and flee again...the French pike meanwhile climb over the entrenchments...its not looking good for Milan.

From the French view - carnage in the Milanese ranks as two units of pike are shaken and the French foot are piling through.  Only the setting sun can save Milan from a catastrophic defeat.  All those cannon lost to the French, who can capture them and use them against their old owners in the weeks to come.

The end is here.  The skirmishers in the field are caught in the open by the Gendarmes. The Milanese pike are routed completely.  The baggage is captured.  Although the Kings Retainers finally give up the ghost, the Milanese army retires, leaving cannon behind and the field to the French.  Zut alors!  Vive la France!


  1. What a nice looking game! And 'vive la France ' is a great end!

  2. Well written report from that renowned and impartial chronicler Filippo of Florence!

  3. History is written by the winners :)

  4. A bold statement from a tomato grower.....