Wednesday, 13 October 2010

New scenario - The Battle of Marignano



(Update: Go here for a postbattle discussion and some changes to the scenario)

Howdy!
So for our next battle I think it is time for a historic scenario! These are always fun and provides the game with a little "something" else :-). And this scenario has been chosen to allow our group to experience something we have not really tried en masse before - the Swiss pike... 

Francis I Orders His Troops to Stop Pursuing the Swiss
The Scenario - The Battle for Marignano
In a few words this is the battle in which the sofar unbeatable Swiss, inspired by the Pope, launched a surprise attack on the camp of the young French king Francis. After a bloody battle the Swiss had been defeated and an end put to their conquest of Europe while the French star was rising.
Background history (long - but beneath it are short motivations for each player, the armies, deployment maps and special rules)

The Battle of Marignano was fought during the phase of the Italian Wars (1494–1559) called the War of the League of Cambrai; and took place on 13 and 14 September 1515, near the town today called Melegnano, 16 km southeast of Milan. It resulted in a victory for French forces. It was one of the most savage and (for the Swiss) decisive battles of the age. It pitted on the one side the French army, composed of the best armored lancers and artillery in Europe; and led by Francis I, newly crowned king of France and a day past his 21st birthday. On the other the heretofore invincible Swiss Mercenaries of the Old Swiss Confederacy, considered the best infantry in the world. With Francis were some German landsknechts, bitter rivals of the Swiss for fame and renown in war; and arriving late his Venetian allies.

Louis XII of France had lost Milan after the Battle of Novara in the summer of 1513. Here, Maximilian Sforza, self styled Duke of Milan, and his army of mercenary Swiss gave the French a good licking by a surprise attack on the French camp. Almost at once Louis XII began plotting for its recapture. But, whatever his plans were, he did not to see them come to fruition - he died at the end of 1514. Dynastic struggles being what they are, it was not long before the sword was taken up again by his successor, Francis I. In June 1515 Francis left Paris at the head of an army mustering 30,000 combatants. Crossing the Alps via the Col d'Argetier pass the French emerged into Italy outflanking the Swiss who had been sent to oppose him. The Swiss withdrew to Milan and the French followed up until they came to Marignano (10 miles from Milan), where they encamped, then entered into negotiations with the Swiss to sell Milan to Francis. Up to half of the Swiss took the money and departed back to their Cantons.

The prologue to the battle was a remarkable Alpine passage, in which Francis hauled pieces of artillery (including 40 or 70 huge cannons) over new-made roads over the Col d'Argentière, a previously unknown route. This was, at the time, considered one of the foremost military exploits of the age; the equal of Hannibal's crossing of the Alps. At Villafranca the French, led by the famous Chevalier Bayard, surprised and captured the Papal commander, Prospero Colonna, in a daring cavalry raid deep behind the allied lines. Colonna and his staff aside, the French seized a great deal of booty on the raid; including 600 horses.
The capture of Colonna, along with the startling appearance of the French army on the plains of Piedmont, stunned the allies. The Pope and the Swiss both sought terms with Francis; while the Spanish allies enroute from Naples halted to await developments. The main Swiss army retreated to Milan, while a large faction, tired of the war and eager to return home with the booty of years of successful campaigning, urged terms with the French.

Though the parties reached an agreement that gave Milan back to the French, the arrival of fresh and bellicose troops from the Swiss cantons annulled the agreement; as the newly arrived men had no desire to return home empty-handed; and refused to abide by the treaty. Discord swept through the Swiss forces till Matthias Schinner, cardinal of Sion and an arch-enemy of King Francis', inspired the Swiss with a firery harangue on September 13; reminding them of what a smaller Swiss army had achieved against as powerful a French army at the Battle of Novara. Schinner pointed out the enormous profits of victory, appealed to their national pride, and urged them to immediate battle. The effect was prodigious. The suddenly enthusiastic Swiss sprang to arms, issuing forth from Milan in disciplined but frenzied columns.

The Swiss encountered Francis's forces at the little burnt-out village of Marignano; on a featureless plain. A treaty signed, the French were not expecting battle. Francis was in his tent, trying on a new suit of armor; when scouts reported the coming of the Swiss. The French army quickly jumped into action, forming up in three divisions: the vanguard, posted slightly forward and on the right under Charles III, Duke of Bourbon, the Constable of France; the central battle, commanded by the King, slightly trailing the right; and on the left and even further back the “rearguard” commanded by the Duke of Alençon. Each division was a combined arms force of infantry, cavalry, and artillery.
Massed in front of Francis’ center division was a grand battery of seventy-two field guns; guarded by the infamous Black Legion, or Black Band. These were German Landsknecht mercenaries who had refused to return home; instead serving loyally under Francis. Also with the king's division was the Chevalier Bayard and his company; the foremost lancers in the French army (and perhaps Europe).
Close on sunset, the Swiss approached the French in three divisions of their own, each a dense mass of pikemen. They had no artillery or cavalry; and had learned in past actions that a rapid advance into the enemy would sweep all before them. At Marignano, the battle began with a “forlorn hope” detaching from the Swiss vanguard phalanx; and with lowered pikes charging the grand battery in front of the King’s position in the center. Their intent, justified by experience in other battles, was to quickly overrun the French cannon; and then turn them upon their owners.
At first the Swiss attack succeeded in driving back the landsknecht defenders and capturing a few of the guns; the speed of the Swiss advance rendering their fire ineffective. But Bourbon’s cavalry from the French right counter-attacked their flank; driving the forlorn hope back to the shelter of the Swiss vanguard. The pursuing French horse were themselves routed by the oncoming Swiss mainbody.
Smoke and the coming of night obscured the battle; in the moonlight and confusion, the outcome hung in the balance. Furious French cavalry charges, often led by the king himself, with Bayard by his side, succeeded time and again in throwing back temporary Swiss gains. Many of the foremost French commanders were wounded or killed in the desperate night fighting; including the Prince of Tallemont, son of Louis II de la Trémoille, who died with sixty-two wounds on his body. The Black Legion counter-attacked and threw back the Swiss; only to be repulsed in turn. Bayard had to cut his way through the Swiss phalanx to rescue the Duke of Lorraine, stranded in the dark amongst his enemies. In the darkest hours, the fighting stopped; and both armies extracted themselves and reorganized. 

At dawn the battle commenced again. In the French center, the grand battery had been reassembled. Opposing them, the Swiss had reformed their largest phalanx. Encouraged by the evening before, the Swiss once again lowered pikes and charged the French guns. This time the grand battery was ready for them. Massed cannon fire tore bloody furrows deep in their ranks; slowing the advance. But the undaunted Swiss continuely closed ranks and pushed forward. Again, the defending German landsknechts were driven back; but the massed fire of the guns at point blank prevented the Swiss from pushing forward beyond. Still another French cavalry charge, this time led by Bayard, forced the attacking Swiss to give ground. Baffled by the artillery but as yet undaunted, the Swiss refocused their assault against Alençon’s left-wing division. After making some headway, this attack too was thrown back. In his report later to his mother, King Francis would boast that “Thirty brave charges” were hurled by the French gendarmerie against the stubborn Swiss. Only the mid-morning arrival of allied Venetian forces commanded by the condottiero Bartolomeo d'Alviano, turned the tide against the Swiss. Their attacks repulsed everywhere, their ranks in bloody shambles, they grudgingly gave ground and withdrew.

The battle was a decisive victory for Francis. By the peace of Noyon (1516), Milan was returned to France. The Swiss returned to their cantons and never went to war against France again. Marshal Triulzio, veteran of every war for the previous forty years, praised Marignano as the “battle of giants”; and that compared to it all previous battles in his lifetime had been “child’s sport”. King Francis considered the battle his most cherished triumph. “I have conquered those whom only Caesar conquered” he had printed on the medal he ordered struck to commemorate the victory. On the battlefield following the victory, King Francis requested that he himself be knighted, in the ancient style; by the hand of none other than the Chevalier Bayard.

Marignano established the superiority of French artillery and gendarme cavalry over the until-then invincible phalanx tactics of the Swiss infantry. French success at Marignano, however, eventually galvanized opposition in the divided peninsula, and turned the European balance of power against Francis I. In the meantime, however, Francis gained the city, and more importantly, the Castello Sforzesco within it, the strategic key to control of Lombardy. There Massimiliano Sforza and his Swiss mercenaries and the cardinal-bishop of Sion retreated, only submitting when French sappers had placed mines under the foundations. The French regained Milan, and Massimiliano went into luxurious exile with a French purse of 30,000 ducats.
Shortly after the battle, Francis met with Pope Leo X in Bologna to discuss the return of Milan to France - a meeting at which Leonardo da Vinci was also present. There, Francis persuaded Leonardo to accompany him back to France, and granted him the Clos Lucé manor. The retreating Swiss army seized the upper-Lombardy province of Ticino to cover their retreat, leaving a rearguard to preside it, later it was incorporated in the Swiss Confederation as the Canton Ticino, remaining to this day an Italian-speaking enclave in Switzerland.
The Truce of Nice


Battlefield and deployment:

 
Scenario special rules:
First Turn: The Milanese army gets the first turn.

Terrain: The ground around Marignano is undulating arable farmland cut up by drainage ditches and canals, and dotted with small villages. The French had chosen the site of their camp well; it was naturally fortified (see deployment map) behind and between some of the drainage ditches. These counts as stop-and-go terrain, meaning a unit must stop and be issued another order to pass a ditch (unless retreating/advancing in combat), , cannot be crossed in a retreat/reform move, and gives defended status for infantry.

Landsknechts and Swiss Pike engage in a fierce battle
Special Units
Black Band: The landknechts of the French are solid infantry (3-3-5+) while a single unit in the mainward should be chosen as the core of Black Band who are (3-4-5+). 
Chevalier Bayard: One unit of Gendarmes in the Mainward should be chosen as the core of the famous Chevalier Bayard, who are (3-4-4+).
French Artillery: The Swiss may capture the French Artillery if they so wish. If an artillery stand is defeated in combat by infantry the Swiss player may convert the unit of Pikemen into artillerymen. These will crew up to three connected artillery pieces from the beginning of the Swiss players next turn. They cannot be converted back (their cohesion etc is to far gone) but will not count as destroyed untill they are so in combat/shooting as per the normal rules for artillery crews. The cannons may be recaptured in the same manner by the French and so on.
The artillery on the hill next to the town of Zuido have a superior firing position and may shoot across friendly units.
Victory Conditions:
The Swiss win if they have one or more units of Swiss Pike within the French camp at the end of the battle, anything else is a French victory, the size of which is decided by victory points as normal (eg. the Swiss does not manage to reach the French camp but wins in victory points = small victory for the French, draw in victory points = normal victory for the French and the French wins in victory points = a massive victory for the French.)

THE FRENCH ARMY
Historic forces:
The Cavalry Screen: Commanded by Robert III, de la Marck, so called Floranges.
1,500 light cavalry, mainly composed of mounted crossbowmen with some Stradiots.
The Vanguard: Commanded by Charles de Montpensier Duke of Bourbon.
1000 Gendarmes, 3000 French crossbowmen, 4000 French pike, many heavy and light guns.
The Mainward: Commanded by Francis I King of France.
1000 Gendarmes, 6000 Landsknechts (Black Bands of Gueldres), some guns.
The Rearward: Commanded by Charles de Valois Duke of Alencon, called D'Alencon.
500 Gendarmes, 3000 Landsknechts, 3000 French crossbowmen.
2500 points Warmaster "translation":
The Cavalry Screen:
1 Light Horse with Commander Robert III, de la Marck
(70 - use Teutonian Light Horse stats to represent the presence of de la Marck)
The Vanguard: Commanded by Charles de Montpensier Duke of Bourbon. 
(Noble 80)
(3x French pike 60 = 180)
(1 Heavy and 2 x Cannons = 175)
(3x Crossbowmen = 135)
(2x Gendarmes = 270)
The Mainward: Commanded by Francis I King of France.
(King = 100)
(2 Heavy Cannons = 150)
(1 Cannon = 50)
(4 Landsknechts inkl. the Black Band = 240)
(2 x Gendarmes =270)
The Rearward: Commanded by Charles de Valois Duke of Alencon, called D'Alencon.
(Noble = 80)
(Gendarmes = 135)
(2x Landsknechts = 120)
(2x Crossbowmen = 90)
French Total: (810+900+290) = 2000

The Army of Milan:
This army was predominantly composed of 15,000 or so Swiss. These seem to have formed up in their usual three wards deployed en echelon with an advance guard. They were accompanied by a few hundred Italian men-at-arms and some light guns. The latter both took position on the right.

The "Forlorn Hope": 4 x Pike with noble (380)
1 x Italian Men-At-Arms (Light): 60
1 x Cannons: 50
First Ward, led by Marx Röist: 8 Pikes with Noble (660)
Second Ward, led by Maximilian Sforza: 8 Pike with Noble (660)
Third Ward, led by Cardinal Mattheus Schiner: 8 Pike with Noble (660)
Milanese Total: 2470

Army notes: The Milanese have a seizable advantage and much better initial deployment but hard scenario objectives. In turn the French have a disrupted deployment and fewer points but have the advantage of defended positions and time on their side. Should be close :-).

Individual Player Briefings:
Francis I (12 September 1494 – 31 March 1547) was King of France from 1515 until his death.
Francis I is considered to be France's first Renaissance monarch. His reign saw France make immense cultural advances. He was a contemporary of Suleiman the Magnificent of the Ottoman Empire, with whom he was allied in a Franco-Ottoman alliance, as well as of Henry VIII of England and of Holy Roman Emperor Charles V, his great rivals.
Motivation: The real king of history used this victory to smash the Milanese, Swiss etc once and for all, paving the way for his personal fame to be praised over much of Europe. This was in part done by participating in the charges done by the famed french Knights.
Individual Victory achieved by participating in three cavalry charges (by attaching himself to a cavalry unit and charging with it on three separate occasions) - be careful and choose well, in order to avoid death and being known as an idiot for ever after...
 
Charles de Montpensier Duke of Bourbon. (February 17, 1490 – May 6, 1527) was a French military leader, the Count of MontpensierDauphin of Auvergne. He commanded the Imperial troops of Holy Roman Emperor Charles V in what became known as the Sack of Rome in 1527, where he was killed. Already distinguished as a soldier in the Italian Wars, he was appointed Constable of France by Francis I of France in 1515, and was rewarded for his services at the Battle of Marignano (where he commanded the vanguard) with the Governorship of Milan. However, Francis was uneasy with the proud and wealthy duke, and soon recalled him from Milan and refused to honor his debts. Charles was further angered by the appointment of Charles IV of Alençon, the King's brother-in-law, as commander of the vanguard during the campaigns in the Netherlands, an office which should have been his


Motivation: Being an up and coming leader of the French army this is your moment to shine! You have been entrusted with the vanguard and to defend this sorry ditch - which you must do at all cost.
Individual Victory achieved bystill having infantry units defending the ditch at the end of turn three.


Bartolomeo d'Alviano (1455–1515) was an Italian condottiero and captain who distinguished himself in the defence of the Venetian Republic against the Holy Roman Emperor Maximilian.
The son of Francesco d'Alviano and Isabella degli Atti, Bartolomeo fought very early in his life in Central Italy, serving the Papal States and, in 1496, the Orsini family against pope Alexander VI and the Colonna.
In 1503, hired by Ferdinand II of Spain, he was determinant in the victory at the Battle of Garigliano over the French army, which started the Spanish domination over southern Italy. In 1507, together with Nicolò Orsini, was hired by the Republic of Venice. The following year he defeated the imperial Army of Maximilian I, Holy Roman Emperor in Cadore, at Mauria and Pontebba, conquering Gorizia and Trieste. In the same year Pordenone also fell and the Serenissima assigned its seignory to Alviano himself. In 1509 (the year he began the construction of new city walls at Padua), however, he was crushingly defeated at the Battle of Agnadello, being also wounded in the fray. Alviano was charged of the result, as he allegedly attacked the enemy without the authorisation of Orsini, then commander-in-chief. Captured by the French, he remained in jail until 1513. In 1513, after the alliance between France and Venice against the Duchy of Milan, he was freed, and later fought under the French commander Louis de la Trémoille. He was defeated at Vicenza by the Spanish viceroy of Naples Ramón de Cardona.
Later Alviano again conquered, and sacked, Pordenone, which in the meantime had fallen again to the House of Habsburg. He was subsequently a protagonist of the French victory at Marignano (September 1515), in which he attacked the Swiss mercenary with a corps of only 300 knights. Later he managed to conquer also Bergamo, but died in the October of the same year during the siege of Brescia. (Not correct photo...)
Motivation: No-one ever really appreicated your impressive charge as much as they should have! You must do better than the first time and cement your name along the other great cavalry leaders of history!
Individual Victory achieved by destroying more enemy army points than you ahve been entrusted with eg. you need to destroy more than 300 points of enemy units.



Marx Röist Bürgermeister von Zürich (1454-1524) 
(Not correct photo...)
Motivation: Well the Swiss are unstoppable - but unless you prove so, you will disappear from history! Even Wikipedia will know nothing about you apart from your name! Smash the French, make sure your troops are first inside the camp and you have won - Wikipedia will shout your name across the internet!
Individual Victory achieved by having the troops who enter the French Camp.

Cardinal Mattheus Schiner: Matthäus Schiner (Schinner) (c. 1465 – 1 October 1522) was a Swiss bishop of Sion, Cardinal, and diplomat.
He was born in Muhlbach in the Canton of Valais, Switzerland, the son of the lord of Martigny; his uncle Nicholas Schiner, later Bishop of Sion (Sitter), gave him his early instruction. He embraced the ecclesiastical career, and eventually became parish priest of Aernen (1496), and canon and dean of the cathedral of Sion. When his uncle resigned, he was made Bishop of Sion (20 September 1499). Schinner's diplomatic skill and his influence over the other Swiss cantons allied with Valais made him the right hand of Pope Julius II and Pope Leo X in their efforts to unite Italy and expel the French. In 1511, as a result of an alliance brought about by Schiner, the Swiss made two unsuccessful campaigns against Milan. As a reward for securing this alliance, he was made Bishop of Novara and also cardinal in 1511. In 1512, as papal legate for Italy and Germany, he was appointed commander of a Swiss and Venetian army, drove the French from Milan, and established Maximilian Sforza as duke. However, as Louis XII again captured Milan after the death of Julius II, Schiner one more took the field at the head of the Swiss Confederates, and defeated the French in the battle of Novara (1513). The Duke of Milan rewarded Schiner with the margraviate of Vigevano.
When under Francis I of France the French recrossed the Alps, Schiner led the Swiss troops, part of which had retired, at the unfortunate battle of Marignano (1515). In 1516 he raised another army with the aid of England, but was unable to regain Milan. He now sought to attain his end by an alliance between the pope, the emperor, England, and Spain, for which purpose he went himself in 1516 to London, but the reconciliation of the Swiss Confederation and the emperor with France made the alliance abortive.  
Motive: The Swiss Pike are unstoppable - but half have left and unless you manage to stop the hated French all your possessions and gains will vanish, as will your legacy. Unless you take the camp and put an end to the young weakling of a french frog-king - and if your forces are the ones to enter first that might make you the most well-known grandmaster of Sion of all time (which is very impressive...).
Individual Victory achieved by having the troops who enter the French Camp.

Maximilian Sforza: Maximilian (Massimiliano) Sforza (1493–1530) was a Duke of Milan from the Sforza family, the son of Lodovico Sforza. He ruled between the occupations of Louis XII of France (1500–1513), and Francis I of France in 1515. He was imprisoned by the returning French following their victory at the Battle of Marignano.
Motive: The Swiss Pike are unstoppable - but if they are stopped then you will spend the rest of your life in prison - motivation enough for you? And if your troops are first inside the Froggies camp - that will make you more amous than any of the other Swiss leaders... 
Individual Victory achieved by having the troops who enter the French Camp.


("Inspiration" from http://olicanalad.blogspot.com/ who used C. Oman's The Art of War in the Sixteenth Century. Marignano 1515 by Moraitis, Pacou & Erskine (Lance and Longbow Soc.). Renaissance Battles 1494 - 1700 Vol.1 by Peter Sides) and of course Wikipedia....

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