Sunday, 1 May 2022

Borderers with polearms


Following on from my Scots pike block here is a second unit of Pete's excellent new sculpts, https://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/255257595473?hash=item3b6e89ce51:g:cwIAAOSwvZ9hp5bx.  Each pack of the pikemen comes with 4 different polearms comprising a Jeddart stave, Lochaber axe, halberd and bill, although it is always questionable as to how this terminology was actually used in the period. I have mixed these in with an assortment of other spears and polearms from my spares collection. The same is true for the targes, whilst some are those that come with the figures I have also added some targes by other manufacturers for variety. The border polearms, together with the targes and cloaks really give the unit a distinctive northern feel.

Rather than representing the lowland pike that formed the majority of the infantry in Scots early 16th century armies this unit represents border levies and as such could be fielded as both Scots or northern English troops. The first few photos show them as Scots, under the banner of the borderer Lord Home. The photos then show them as 1540s borderers accompanied by English archers. They are perfect for the type of infantry that would have been seen in the prolonged 1540s campaigns in lowland Scotland that have come to be known as the "Rough Wooing". England, first under Henry VIII and then under Edward VI's protector, Edward Seymour the Duke of Somerset, waged war on the Scots in an attempt to force the betrothal of the infant Scottish Queen Mary to Henry's son, Edward. This only served to push Scotland into a closer French alliance with Mary becoming betrothed to Henry II of France's son, Francis, instead. 

As stated in my previous post on the pikemen, these figures are suitable for the first half of the 1500s and as such would also be great for Flodden in both the English or Scots armies. The final photos show two individual bases of the borderers and also show them as northern levies for 1513, under a Percy standard. I have really enjoyed painting up these two units and they have forced my hand into collecting further troops for the Earl of Arrans Scot's of the 1540s. I am currently working on some mid 16th century border horse with the hope of building sufficient forces to be able to wargame battles such as Haddon Rigg and Ancrum Moor as well as the attempted garrisoning of Scotland and siege of Haddington.

Scots borderers armed with a variety of polearms under the banner of Lord Home.

A unit of Scots figures from Pete's Flags with polearms.

16th Century 28mm Scots from Pete's Flags. 

A unit of English borderers and archers, or perhaps they are "Assured Scots", from the Rough Wooing in the 1540s.

1540s English borderers with archers in support.

English borderers and bowmen under a Percy standard from 1513.

Early 16th Century borderers with polearms and bowmen.

16th Century border infantry with targes from Pete's Flags.

The border infantry with a variety of different polearms.

 

Thursday, 7 April 2022

The Marquis of Dorset's 1512 campaign

For our second game during Stuart's last visit we decided to cover a Tudor campaign that we have not yet explored, the Marquis of Dorset's 1512 expedition to Aquitaine. It's a campaign we have wanted to cover for a while now and we thought it would be interesting to see the English on a more southern European style battlefield as most of their campaigns were in the north. It also allowed us to play a game using loads of figures from Stuart's collection. As his main focus has been the 1513 invasion of France the campaign of the previous year is well covered by his armies. 

Dorset's 1512 Campaign 

Although the 1513 English invasion of France was the first military campaign Henry VIII took part in personally, it was not the first time he had sent his troops to foreign fields. 1511 had seen Lord Darcy travel to Spain in preparation for a Spanish campaign in North Africa that was being organised by the Spanish King, Henry's father-in-law, Ferdinand of Aragon. The campaign never happened and Darcy's troops fell to drinking and ill discipline. Hall's chronicle describes their behaviour; "The  Englishmen  which  went  a  lande,  fell  to  drinking  of  hote  wynes  and  were  scarce  masters of  theim  selfes,  some  ranne  to  the  stewes,  some  brake  hegges,  and  spoyled  orchardes  & vyneyardes,  and  orynges  before  they  were  ripe,  and  did  many  other  outragious  dedes". More successful was Sir Edward Poynings who commanded another 1,500 Englishmen to the Low Countries, http://camisado1500s.blogspot.com/2019/04/the-siege-of-venlo-1511.html in support of Margaret of Austria, daughter of Maximilian I, to aid in the war against Guelders.

1512 saw Henry's military ambitions increase considerably with Thomas Grey, Second Marquis of Dorset, leading over 7,000 infantry to Aquitaine, a territory that had been in English hands until the mid 15th Century. The army included a contingent of 500 Landsknecht under Guyot de Heulle, all dressed in white as described by Hall "a  gentleman  of  Flaunders,  called  Guyot  of  Guy,  came  to  the kyng   with   v.C.  Almaines  all  in  white,  whiche  was  cutte  so  small,  that it could  scarce  hold together". They were being sent to assist the Spanish King Ferdinand as part of the Holy League that had been formed by the "Warrior Pope" Julius II against France. The league included Spain, England and the Holy Roman Empire. The English were to recover Aquitaine for Henry whilst aiding Ferdinand, who would provide further troops as well as horses and wagons for the English supplies and artillery in his war against Louis XII of France.

The army landed in Pasaia in the Bay of Biscay in June 1512 and the promised Spanish assistance was slow in arriving. The troops were initially camped between Errenteria and Oiartzun but after complaints of the heat and humidity the English moved closer to the border with France, near Irun which was 40km from the Gascon capital Bayonne. Hall's chronicle describes the move "Then  the  Lorde  capitain  remoued  his  field,  and  toke  another  place nerer  Fountraby (Fuenterrabía),  more  plenteous  of  water  and  woodde,  and  there  pitched  his  felde,  euery daie  lookyng  for  aide  of  the  kyng  of  Arragon,  but  he  harde  of  none". The English proximity to France meant that a threatening mounted force did arrive prompting some of the English to cross the river Bidasoa, at which the French cavalry fled. Hall describes the skirmish on 28 June:

"The  Frenchemen  of  Bayon,  hearyng of  the  Englishemennes campe,  made  a  greate  askry betwene  the  riuer  of  saint  Maria  and  Bayon:  the  Englishmen  perceiuyng  thesame,  passed the  riuer  in  good  ordre  of  battail,  al  being  on  foote  for  lacke  of  the  horsemen  that  the  kyng of  Arragon  promised,  and  so  with  arrowes  chased  the  Frenchemen  on  horsebackes  that  thei fled,  and  many  horses  foundered,  and  many  a  man  was  brosed  or  thei  came  to  Bayon  :  at the  whiche  thenglishmen  laughed  &  lamented.  Firste,  to  see  their  cowardnes,  second,  to remembre  what  thei  might  haue  doen,  if  thei  had  had  horses  mete  for  their  purpose:  yet  all this  notwithstandyng,  thei  retired  to  their  campe  in  suche  ordre,  that  the  Spanyardes  wondered muche,  bothe  at  their  fierce  corage  and  sobre  ordre."

With no active campaigning the troops were difficult to control. The became prey to disease and drinking with fights breaking out amongst themselves and the locals. A fight between an English Soldier and Basque man in Irun led to the town being looted by the English and landsknecht and the deaths of some of the townspeople.

Following the looting of Irun the French attempted a surprise attack on the disorderly English army but, forewarned by a local Gascon, Dorset was able to ready his troops. He crossed the Bidasoa  and forced the French to withdraw. The English pursued the French force, plundering local villages and the town of Saint-Jean-de-Luz that lay between Bayonne and Irun. They reached the walls of Bayonne itself but were forced to withdraw having neither artillery with which to breach the walls or light cavalry that could scour the area and prevent the army from being ambushed or surrounded. 

Hall describes the raiding: "Then  one  daye  the  Frenchemen  whiche  hard  of  this  riot  and  trouble  in  the  hoste,  issued out  of  Bayon  toward  the  Englishe  mennes  armie,  the  Englishmen  hearing  therof,  marched toward  them,  &  when  the  French  men  perceiued  that  thei  wer  asskried,  thei  sodeinly  re- turned. Thenglishemenne  perceiuyng  that  the  Frenchemen  would  not  tary,  went  to  a  good toune  called  Sainct  Jhon  de  Luce,  and  brent,  robbed  and  killed  the  inhabitauntes,  and  so from  thence  spoiled  diuerse  other  villages,  aboute  the  borders  of  Guyan"

Whilst the English Captains had struggled with their ill disciplined army July 1512 had seen Ferdinand's Spanish forces successfully conquer Navarre. The presence of Dorset's army had meant the French did not cross into Navarre and attempt to stop the invasion and so had been of particular strategic use to Ferdinand of Spain. His emissaries attempted to persuade the English army to winter in Spain so a fresh campaign could begin in the Spring of 1513. This was a plan which Henry back in England supported, stating he would send reinforcements the following year for a new invasion of France. 

October saw Dorset fall ill, apparently being so weak that he asked where he was. Command  passed to Thomas Howard, later 3rd Duke of Norfolk who would be one of Henry's principal military commanders in the coming decades ( see for example: https://camisado1500s.blogspot.com/2021/06/have-at-wicket-surreys-raid-on-morlaix.html, http://camisado1500s.blogspot.com/2021/07/this-is-like-no-house-of-praier.html and https://camisado1500s.blogspot.com/2021/05/the-english-attack-on-jedburgh.html). With the troops close to mutiny and refusing to spend any longer in Spain Howard organised a return to England. Much depleted by desertion and disease the English army sailed home from the ports of San Sebastian, Fuenterrabía, Errenteria and Getaria. The returning Captains faced a furious Henry and a subsequent investigation into the disastrous campaign. Despite the young King's anger this came to nothing, it seems he was more angry with his duplicitous father-in-law, Ferdinand, than any of his own commanders.

Dorset's army prepares to cross the Bidasoa. 

The battlefield. The English targets are the manor house, the roof of which can be seen in the foreground, the walled church in the centre and one of the buildings in the small village in the top right of the photo.

Scenario

From the above account it is clear that little in the way of fighting took place during this campaign with the English being used as a distraction by Ferdinand so he could carry out his attack on Navarre. Our options were also limited by the fact the English had no artillery or cavalry in the campaign as these were meant to have been provided by Spain. We decided to base our game on the English facing the French cavalry across the Bidasoa river as this was an event which could have developed into a more serious clash.

With the river zig zagging across the board and counting as difficult terrain and cover the French deployed on one side with the English on the other. Both armies had to deploy in the middle 4ft of the table, 12" from their table edge. The English had to attempt to burn three target buildings (see the photo above) on the French side of the table whilst the French had to attempt to half the strength of the English Army which would force the English to retreat.

Burning the Buildings

To burn one of the 3 target buildings the English had to have at least one base from a unit in contact with it at the start of their activation phase. As an ordered activation, they could use that unit to try to set fire to the objective (instead of Moving, Attacking, or Shooting). If there were 7 or more models in the unit the fire started on a roll of 8+ on 2D6; if there were 6 or fewer models in the unit the fire was started on a roll of 9+ on 2D6.

Ill Discipline

In the encounters with the French in this campaign the English were ill disciplined whilst the French showed an unwillingness to come to blows with the invading army. To represent this each player had twelve cards dealt at the start of the game. At the start of their turn they could decide to play however many picture cards (ie king, queen or jack) they chose from those they had been dealt. Any picture cards played would mean they could move an enemy unit of their choice for that turn. The unit did not need to be activated and the movement would not affect the rest of that players turn but the target unit could not be activated for that players following turn. Units could not be moved off the table using this rule and only movement activations could be made, no shooting or attacking.

The opposing player could use any picture cards they had to counter this. If they decided to do this the player countering the move rolled a D6 and on a 4+ they got to move one of the opposing players units instead. If a 1-3 was rolled the card was spent and the player who originally played a picture card continued to move the target unit.

If a player decided to play 2 picture cards in a turn the opposing player would then have to play 2 to try and counter the moves, rolling a dice for each. 

Once players had run out of any picture cards they had been dealt they were not dealt anymore from the deck.

The Armies

For this game Stuart took command of Dorset's English whilst I took command of the French.

Thomas Grey, Second Marquis of Dorset and the English Army

1 Unit of Garrison Bill (Thomas Grey, Second Marquis of Dorset, Retinue Leader) 
1 Unit of Foot Knights (Thomas Howard)
2 Units of Shire Bill
2 Units of Garrison Archers
1 Unit of Landsknecht Pike (Guyot de Heulle)
1 Unit of Landsknecht Shot

The French, defenders of Bayonne

2 Units of Gendarmes ( 1 is the Retinue Leader)
2 Units of Men at Arms
2 Units of Ordonnance Archers (with lance)
1 Unit of Mounted Archers
1 Unit of Stradiots
1 Unit of Mounted Crossbowmen

As always the games were played with our renaissance version of Lion Rampant, "Renaissance Rampant". The picture captions are a good way to follow the game but a brief write up also follows below.

The lighter French horse, in the form of the mounted archers and crossbowmen, advance to defend the church.

The English army splash across the Bidasoa.

The church is defended by dismounted French archers and mounted crossbowmen.

Dorset's men rush across the river.

The battlefield as the English draw nearer.

As the French heavy cavalry hold back, English bill and landsknecht pike push forward.

The attack started with the English wading through the waters of the shallow River Bidasoa. The French heavy cavalry looked on but remained stationary whilst the lighter French horse rode forward to take up positions around the church which would be the first target of the English looting and burning. The French archers dismounted to use their bows and the mounted crossbowmen took up a position behind the church walls. They began to shoot at the English but to little effect as Dorset's men were hard to target in the river.

Both armies would demonstrate ill discipline during this clash, the first example of this was seen when the mounted crossbowmen gave up the cover of the church walls riding through the church gates and straight at the advancing landsknecht arquebusiers. The crossbowmen assumed the arquebusiers would be unable to fire at them on account of the landsknecht having just crossed the river. The landsknecht shot had kept their arquebuses and match well out the water and, with their powder dry, they were able to fire a deadly volley into the oncoming mounted crossbowmen. The volley killed enough of the horsemen to send the others in flight from the field.

Now it was the French dismounted archers who came under a rain of arrows from the English archers. The French sent their stradiots and lancers forward in an attempt to dislodge the English who were using the river bank as cover. With both the lancers and stradiots taking casualties the lancers charged the English archers but again the river offered the English protection and the charge faltered at the river bank. In a confused fight in the Bidasoa Dorset's archers defeated the light cavalry. The English assault across the river was looking unstoppable.

In a moment of ill discipline the French mounted crossbowmen race forward only to face a volley of shot from Guyot de Heulle's landsknecht arquebusiers. The surviving crossbowmen flee the battle.

As the mounted crossbowmen have fled mounted lancers and stradiots attempt to hold the French left flank.

Being stung by the arrows of the English archers the French lancers are provoked into a charge. The horsemen find it hard to get at the Englishmen in the river and are beaten in a confused melee in the shallow water.

  A group of English men at arms under Thomas Howard reach the church gates. Behind them an unruly gang of English soldiery follows, eager for loot!

De Heulle's "Almaines" advance on the French heavy cavalry.

The English have crossed the river, sustaining few casualties in the process.

The French have waited for the English to be across the Bidasoa before launching their heavy horse. A unit of men at arms are first into the fray charging the landsknecht pike block. Both units take casualties in the clash.

The English are into the church yard. Not wanting to engage in a melee with the English the French archers have mounted up and retreated from the attackers.

With the French light horse pushed back or routed the English, led by a group of men at arms under Thomas Howard, entered the church yard. With scant regard for the neutrality of the clergy the building was ransacked and put to the torch. Closer to the village Guyot de Heulle's landsknecht crossed the river to face the waiting French heavy cavalry. Sensing that now was their chance to throw back the English the French gendarmes and men at arms made a series of charges against the landsknecht and English infantry.

De Heulle's Germans fought bravely against numerous charges but were eventually put to flight. Ill discipline now became a problem for the English as bill and bow units rushed out of the river eager to loot the village. They were easy prey for the French heavy horse who succeeded in riding down both a unit of billmen and archers. For a moment it looked like the counter attack was going to work but as more English units closed in from the church yard it became clear that the French horse would be unable to turn the tide. Being threatened by fresh English men at arms and bill whilst being shot at by archers and de Heulle's landsknecht arquebusiers, who had not fled with the pikemen, the French defenders of Bayonne decided discretion is the better part of valour and spurred their horses into a hasty retreat. The local area was left to be pillaged and burnt by the English.

The English soldiery have little respect for the French church...

...and after everything of value is taken, it is set alight to the dismay of the local priests.

Having pushed back the French men at arms Guyot de Heulle's landsknecht pike are charged by a unit of gendarmes.

Another fierce clash takes place but the German pikemen are broken by the successive waves of heavy cavalry.

The battle in full swing with the church already burning and the landsknecht pike about to flee.

The French sense that victory may now be within their grasp and the gendarmes, men at arms and lighter lancers launch repeated charges at the advancing English.

A unit of English bill is defeated and the disordered survivors flee back across the river to the English camp.

The French cavalry have taken casualties but they regroup to prepare for more charges.

In the churchyard the Marquis of Dorset is berated by the priest for the actions of his unruly men. This is the only attack Dorset's unit have come under during the advance!

A unit of English archers is routed by the French lancers.

The French counter attack has not been enough to turn the tide and under a rain of arrows from the archers and shot from the landsknecht the French cavalry are forced to withdraw from the field.

 So a victory for Stuart's English in this game with the English using the shallow waters of the river as a kind of fortification from which to pour forth shot and arrows at the French cavalry. The "Ill Discipline" rule worked really well with Stuart playing it on the mounted crossbowmen, leading to their very quick demise, whilst I used it on two of the English units. It meant they came out of the cover of the river and could be ridden down by the French heavy horse. For a moment I thought this had let me back into the game, adding some real tension to the dice rolls, but it was not to be. It was great to finally cover this 1512 campaign, even if there was far more fighting and drama in our skirmish than actually took place in Dorset's historical one!

Friday, 1 April 2022

The assault on Ruvo, 1503


This weekend Stuart visited and we played through a couple of early renaissance games set in different theatres. For the first of these games we chose an Italian Wars battle that I have been interested in for a while now, Gonzalo de Cordoba's storming of the French held town of Ruvo in 1503, http://camisado1500s.blogspot.com/2014/09/ruvo-1503.html. As Stuart had recently finished a Jacques II de Chabannes command base, https://stuartsworkbench.blogspot.com/2022/03/jacques-ii-de-chabannes-lord-of-la.html we thought that this would be an interesting event to cover. It allowed us to get Chabannes on the tabletop as well as making for a more unsual game as the historical battle was not fought in the open but within the walls of the town of Ruvo.

Ruvo, 1503

The winter of 1502 -1503 saw Gonzalo de Cordoba, El Gran Capitan, and his Spanish army holed up in the Italian coastal town of Barletta. Following the French invasion of Italy in 1494, and subsequent clashes between French and Spanish troops in the Kingdom of Naples, Louis XII of France and Ferdinand and Isabella of Spain came to terms with the Treaty of Granada on 11 November 1500. By this treaty the Spanish and French monarchs would share southern Italy between them, meaning Louis XII could hold onto the Duchy of Milan in the north. Exactly how the Kingdom of Naples was to be shared was ill defined in the treaty.

July of 1501 saw De Cordoba land in Calabria tasked with taking the provinces that had been allotted to Spain in the treaty of the previous year. In the following months both the French and Spanish armies were keener on taking new territory into their hands than making any attempt to divide the kingdom equally. Discussions between De Cordoba and Louis d'Armagnac, Duke of Nemours, the French commander, over what to do with disputed areas took place between April and June 1502 but these came to little. As De Cordoba awaited instructions from Ferdinand and Isabella skirmishes with the French developed into war. Lacking disciplined pikemen that could match the Swiss mercenaries of the French as well as the heavy cavalry to match the French gendarmes in the open and being outnumbered by the French forces in the peninsula the Spanish retreated to Barletta whilst garrisoning some outposts. 

As Spanish reinforcements made their way to southern Italy De Cordoba played for time. He saw an opportunity to strike in February 1503 whilst the Duke of Nemours was occupied by the town of Castallaneta. The townspeople had attempted to surrender the town to the Spanish, being incensed by the conduct of the French garrison forced on them, and Nemours had led troops to the town in order to take punitive action. Hearing of Nemours absence De Cordoba sortied from Barletta with a force, which included the Italian Condottieri Prospero and Fabrizio Colonna, and made a night march to the town of Ruvo. After a short cannonade he breached the walls of the town and two columns, one under himself and one under Diego Garcia de Paredes, later to become a Spanish folk hero known as the "Samson of Estremedura", assaulted the town. 

The town was held by a French garrison under Jacques II de Chabannes de La Palice who had a force of possibly 300 lances and a similar number of infantry under his command. His men put up stiff resistance, leading to a fierce house to house battle. Eventually La Palice was wounded in the head and forced to surrender. La Palice surrendered to a man at arms under the command of the Spanish captain Diego Hurtado de Mendoza, reportedly throwing away his broken sword declaring "Neither you nor another will have it. Never by my hand". The Spanish also captured a large quantity of supplies which they took back to Barletta. On being reinforced by 2,000 landsknecht, sent by Ferdinand's ally Maximilian I, De Cordoba would march out of Barletta in April 1503 and defeat Nemours and his French army at Cerignola.

The table from above. The Spanish retinues enter from the breach and the escalade positions in the bottom left. Their objective is get three units into the town square tile at the top. If a Spanish unit reaches the gates to the right then they can add three mounted units to Gonzalo de Cordoba's retinue and these will enter from the gates. Some of the French units are hidden in the buildings within Ruvo.

Scenario

The "Chroniques de Louis XII" by Jean d"Auton, d.1527, describe La Palice as putting up a dramatic defence of the town and we used this source as inspiration for the game. The names of some of his captains in the game are taken from the chronicles as is the idea of a Spanish escalade, or ladder assault.

The game represented the Spanish attack on Ruvo with the Spanish entering from a breached wall and over another wall to represent the escalade. Diego Garcia de Paredes' retinue would make the escalade attack whilst the troops under the command of De Cordoba would enter from the breach. The aim of the Spanish was to get three units into the town square at the end of a turn. The French would try to stop them. The photo above shows the entry positions and the objective. As always we played the game using our heavily modified and ever evolving "Renaissance Rampant" adaptation of Lion Rampant. Stuart took command of Ruvo's French garrison under La Palice whilst I took command of De Cordoba's Spanish.

Hidden Units

At the start of the game the French player could place any infantry units that did not have attached organ guns or carry pikes into buildings within Ruvo noting down where they were located. The Spanish player did not know where the hidden units were. During the French turn these hidden units could exit the buildings they were hiding in with a shoot, attack or move activation. In the attack or move activation they left the building to carry out the action. If they shot they would also be placed outside of the building in the direction which they were shooting to represent them emerging from cover to shoot. If a unit failed an activation whilst hidden in a building it was still placed outside of the building in the direction it would have acted in. This represented the troops giving away their position but failing to act. Once out of a building a unit was committed to the fight and could not re-enter. 

The Gates

If the Spanish player could get a unit of infantry to the town gates, see the photo above,  they could try and open them to allow cavalry in the following turn. To open the gates the Spanish player had to have a unit in base to base contact with the gate scenery piece and make a successful move activation. If they succeeded they could then bring on the following:

2 Units of Jinetes
1 Unit of Men at Arms

These three units would count as part of Gonzalo de Cordoba's retinue and could enter the game via move activations the following turn from the gates.

Escalade

Diego Garcia de Paredes Spanish retinue entered the game from the wall via an escalade. A unit within this retinue had to make a move activation to move from the base of the wall in order to enter the town. They could not shoot or attack until the move activation had been made.

The Breach

De Cordoba's Spanish retinue entered the game from the breached wall. A unit within this retinue had to make a move activation to move from the base of the breach in order to enter the town. They could not shoot or attack until the move activation had been made.

Victory Conditions

The Spanish would win if they could occupy the town square with three units at the end of a turn. The French would win by preventing this. If any of the Spanish units were battered and in the square they did not count towards the three units needed to achieve the victory.

The town square - the Spanish objective - is defended by Jacques II de Chabannes, La Palice, with his gendarmes and supporting men at arms.

A view inside the walls of Ruvo. Some of the French defenders hastily prepare for the Spanish assault.

After a brief cannonade Gonzalo de Cordoba's guns have made a breach in the walls.

The Spanish storm Ruvo through the breach and over the walls in an escalade.


The breach in the walls of Ruvo.

The armies

The French defenders under Jacques II de Chabannes de La Palice

Jacques II de Chabannes de La Palice

1 Unit of Gendarmes (Jacques II de Chabannes, La Palice, retinue leader) 
1 Unit of Men at Arms 
1 Unit of French Pike 
1 Unit of French Halberdiers 
2 Units of Aventuriers 

French Infantry

1 Unit of Foot Knights (Jacques de Monsenayns, retinue leader) 
1 Unit of Foot Knights (Pierre de Côuidrez) 
1 Unit of French Halberdiers 
1 Units of French Archers 

The French could also assign two Organ Guns to two infantry units (which could not hide in buildings). Stuart decided to assign these to one of the aventurier units and the French pike unit.

The Spanish of Gonzalo de Cordoba, El Gran Capitan

Gonzalo de Cordoba, El Gran Capitan

1 Unit of Foot Knights (Gonzalo de Cordoba, El Gran Capitan, retinue leader) 
1 Unit of Foot Knights (Diego Hurtado de Mendoza) 
1 Unit of Spanish Pike 
1 Unit of Rodeleros 
2 Units of Spanish Arquebusiers

This retinue would enter via the breached wall.

And if the gates could be opened:

2 Units of Jinetes 
1 Unit of Spanish Men at Arms

The cavalry would enter from the gates.

Diego Garcia de Paredes, the "Samson of Estremedura"

1 Unit of Foot Knights (Diego Garcia de Paredes, retinue leader) 
1 Unit of Rodeleros 
1 Unit of Spanish Arquebusiers
2 Units of Italian Infantry (the Italian Condottieri Prospero and Fabrizio Colonna)

This retinue would enter via an escalade from the walls.

A short account of some of the action is below but the pictures and captions are probably the best way to get an idea of what happened. These "street battle" games are chaotic and it is difficult to give a blow by blow account of what took place!

Spanish jinetes and men at arms wait outside the town gates.

Diego Hurtado de Mendoza and his dismounted men at arms are the first into the breach. The are met by a hail of shot from a French organ gun.

Italian infantry under Prospero and Fabrizio Colonna are first over the walls in the escalade, closely followed by Diego Garcia de Paredes and his Spanish infantry.

Diego Hurtado de Mendoza and Gonzalo de Cordoba lead Spanish infantry into the town in the foreground, in the background the Colonna come under fire from another French organ gun that has been wheeled into the streets.

French aventuriers fall back as De Mendoza's men push into the streets of Ruvo.

The attack started with Gonzalo de Cordoba's retinue hesitating to enter the breach, only Diego Hurtado de Mendoza and his men at arms rushed forward through the crumbling walls. The escalade was more successful with Diego Garcia de Paredes and the Colonna cousins leading their Spanish and Italian infantry down from the walls and into Ruvo. The French garrison wheeled organ guns into the narrow streets and attempted to blast the attackers back. This did little to deter the Spanish and the aventuriers facing the initial attack were slain as they attempted to fall back.

Two distinctive areas of fighting now developed. There was a brief clash at the breach as French halberdiers garrisoning the town rushed out from the towers and tried to halt De Cordoba and his men. The Spanish numbers in this area were far too great and the French counter attack came to little. Outside the main church of the town the French were more successful with their archers being able to inflict casualties on the advancing Spanish and Italian troops.

Outside the church French archers and halberdiers hastily prepare a defence.

A view from above. The Spanish are pushing into the town but the French still have plenty of unengaged troops in the streets as well as units hiding in the buildings.

Spanish rodeleros and pikemen flood into Ruvo...

...as they do so French halberdiers charge from one of the towers and a fierce melee takes place.

The fighting does not last long as the Spanish pike and rodeleros, supported by their arquebusiers, quickly overwhelm the defenders.

The Spanish surge into the town.

Outside the church the French archers send a storm of arrows into the Italian infantry.

The church courtyard is the scene of chaos as Diego Garcia de Paredes leads his men into the fight.

The Colonna infantry are forced back in the fighting outside the church.

The Spanish arquebusiers use a walled garden as cover from which to fire at the French defenders.

Diego Garcia de Paredes lives up to his name as the "Samson of Estremedura" by defeating one of the French captains, Jacques de Monsenayns, in single combat outside Ruvo's church.

Spanish infantry storm through the town.

The fight outside the church developed as more units entered the fray. The French captain, Jacques de Monsenayns, charged out into the courtyard and in a fierce melee defeated both Fabrizio and Prospero Colonna, sending the Italian infantry back. The "Samson of Estremedura", De Paredes, challenged Monsenayns from accross the courtyard and as the two met in a personal duel De Paredes lived up to his name and slew the French captain. His victory was short lived as De Paredes and his dismounted men at arms then received a charge from their mounted French counterparts. De Paredes was felled with his men. A hail of shot from a group of Spanish arquebusiers then sent the French horsemen reeling back.

With his troops being defeated piecemeal La Palice realised he had to act. Holding his horseman's pick aloft he charged down a unit of Spanish arquebusiers as they rushed into the town square. Flushed with this success he then drew his sword and led his men into a unit of Spanish pike who were headed towards the centre of the town. This charge was not as successful and loosing some of his gendarmes in the clash La Palice was pushed back. Caught off guard his retreating men were caught by a charge led by the first man through the breach, Diego Hurtado de Mendoza. La Palice was unhorsed in the melee and casting away his sword he swore ""Neither you nor another will have it. Never by my hand". As La Palice surrendered to De Mendoza and his men De Cordoba's small army took the town. Ruvo had fallen to the Spanish.

Diego Garcia de Paredes is brought down by a unit of men at arms...

...who are in turn defeated by a volley of shot from some of the Spanish arquebusiers.

As his troops are pushed back, Jacques II de Chabannes, La Palice, surveys the scene.

La Palice charges down some of the Spanish arquebusiers who have made it into the town square.

Surrounded on all sides La Palice then takes on the Spanish pike who drive his gendarmes back.

Jacques II de Chabannes de La Palice, the garrison commander is defeated in combat with Diego Hurtado de Mendoza and forced to surrender. Ruvo has been taken in a lightning assault. 

A different take on the normal Italian Wars clashes this game was a lot of fun and it was great to try and recreate part of Ruvo on the tabletop. It did become a little one sided as Stuart's French suffered from being slowly fed, unit by unit, into an oncoming Spanish steam roller. Regardless of the defeat Chabannes, La Palice, put in a great first performance on the wargaming table and ended up being defeated by troops in Diego Hurtado de Mendoza's unit, which is what happened in the historical battle! My victory on the tabletop was to be short lived when I took command of the French against Stuart's Tudor English in a game set on the Franco-Spanish border, a write up of which is to follow shortly.