Saturday, 31 May 2014

Battle of Ceresoles 1544 - the set up

So we were talking about the sort of games we want to play over the next month or so and we talked about a bit more FoG-R. We've played a couple or so games of "pick up" now, and it is time to try a refight.

I've been reading Oman again. The last battle of the Italian Wars he covers in depth is Ceresole in April 1544. This is the period we played in the last game, almost, although this is early Tercio period rather than the late Colunela.

My single source for the battle is Oman's account. As with a lot of descriptions of battles in this period it isn't exactly clear what is going on with what. Light horse may actually be quite heavy compared with later periods, and the proportion of shot to foot is never clear. Swiss & landsknecht still deploy in big pike blocks.

For numbers Oman gives the following:

French - Francis of Bourbon, lord of Enghien:

4,000 "Old Swiss"
4,000 French "old bands", - mainly Gascons
3,000 "Gruyeres" French pike
2,000 Italian foot

600 Light horse
800 Gendarmes (including archers)
100 Volunteers

20 guns

Imperialists - Alfonso, Marquis del Vasto

7,000 Armoured landsknechts
6,000 Italian foot
5,000  Spanish/German veterans

300  Light horse
200  Spanish/Italian Gengarmes
300 "Neapolitans"

Same number of guns as the French.

That's about all you get. There are references to arquebusiers but there are still a lot of pikemen about.

It was clear to me that some figures would have to sub for historical predeceasors (my later period Tudor English for example might get a look in). The rule book suggests a scale of 1 base to 100 to 250. I thought 250 for infantry and 100 for horse initially. I got the figures out and managed to make up the armies, but once I finished I realised that I had a lot of figures on the table and that we might not finish in an evening. I've therefore halved the numbers to give me the following commands (NB I'm well aware that these armies won't conform to the army lists, - go on, sue me).

Des Thermes - Light Horse
2 bases Cavalry, Armoured, Average, Light Lancers, Swordsmen

French foot
14 bases: 2 Arquebusiers, Medium Foot, Unarmoured, Average, 12 pike, Heavy Foot, Armoured, Average

Boutiere's Horse
2  bases Gendarmes, Fully Armoured, Superior, Heavy Lancers, Swordsmen

Swiss foot
8 bases: 2 Heavy weapon, Determined, Unarmoured, Superior, 6 Pike, Determined, Superior, Unarmoured.

D'Enghien's horse
4 bases, Fully Armoured, Superior, Heavy Lancers, Swordsmen
Gruyere Foot
6 bases: 2 Arquebusiers, Medium Foot, Unarmoured, Poor, 4 Pikes, Heavy Foot, Armoured, Poor.

4 bases, Medium Foot, Unarmoured, Poor, Arqurbusiers.
Dampierre's Horse
2 bases, Gendarmes, Heavily Armoured, Average, Light Lancers, Swordsmen

Florentine Horse
2 bases Cavalry, Armoured, Average, Light Lancers, Swordsmen
Salerni's Italian Foot
12 bases: 4 Arquebusiers, Medium Foot, Unarmoured, Average, 4 Pikes, Unarmoured, Heavy Foot, Average
Landsknechts 2 units each:
8 bases: 6 Pikes, Heavy Foot, Armoured, Average, 2 Heavy Weapons, Heavy Foot, Armoured, Average
Spanish horse
2 bases Fully Armoured, Poor, Light Lancers, Swordsmen
German/Spanish foot- Tercio
12 bases: 10 Pikes, Heavy Foot, Armoured, Average, 2 Arquebusiers, Medium Foot, unarmoured, Average
Lannoy's Horse
2 bases, Cavalry, Heavily Armoured, Average, Light Lancers, Swordsmen

Each side also gets a couple of medium guns.

The battle started with a long, inconclusive, period of skirmishing. Our game will start after that point.

I think the armies look better on the table than they do on the lists above. I'm not sure that I've got everything right, but the lists don't quite work for the description of the troops as I read them. That's not unusual for me, - I don't care much for most lists where I think I know what I'm talking about - but I also recognise that the sources are often open to variable interpretations in any event. List writing isn't easy anyway. I did some work on the Armati II lists, for example, and have no real desire to revisit the experience. It would be nice if my Henrician English list saw the light of day, however, as it didn't make the cut for the final version as they changed the end date for the rules.

Still, I digress. Must go and work on the terrain I need.


  1. Looking forward to your recounting of the battle.

    1. Hopefully it will be a classic.

      If we get it done in an evening!