Tuesday 4 October 2011


For Part One see


Duke Nicholas had refused battle twice as the terrain that was generated at random was simply terrible. Not that the third table was much better but refusing to fight would have caused the Naples Major Morale to drop by one point. Seeing how the Italian States have low morale to begin with (2) this simply would not do. Both sides had their Battle Tactics (deployment) generated by the game mechanics. No side out scouted the other so deployment was quick and in some respects almost mirror like, no surprise as both armies were similar in composition. This would be a good sized battle with both sides fielding twenty or so units each. So on to turn one.


The Neapolitan Army wheeled its center to the left as its left wing advanced forward. The plan was to have the center move to have its right flank resting on the lake then move towards the Papal forces on the hill. With the left flank and the right flank covering the advance the Neapolitan Army felt that in a battle between each army's centers, they would win, despite the Papal force having the advantage of the high ground.
As the Neapolitan forces began its move around the left side of the lake the Papal Army stood and watched. A bit tardily the Papal right flank was ordered to maneuver to its right and occupy the edge of the hill. The Papal center, in turn would wheel to take up position next to them. Confident in the advantage of the hill the Papal Commander would hold his knights in reserve and launch them as the Neapolitan attack ground to a halt.

The Neapolitan Army moved the center first and not the flanks on the first turn. By the second turn I saw that the left flank would be blocking the advance of the center, which wheeled very little as they came into contact. I pushed the left wing forward full speed to allow for the center to resume their wheel on the following turn. At the same time the Papal right wing began their wheel. It wasn't until the start of the following turn I realized that out of sheer luck, isn’t that how it happens in battles sometimes, the Neapolitan left wing would be within crossbow range and facing of the Papal right and that their right would be late in completing their wheel. The net result would be that the Neapolitan crossbowmen would be able to get off the first shot!
As they feared the Neapolitan Crossbowmen (2 units) and Contadini archers (1 unit) began to fire at the Papal right flank before they were ready to fire. Much to their credit the Papal Contadini archers (2 units) held their ground and returned fire. Even when casualties began to build up the archers stood their ground and kept firing, some saying that the line of Papal Spearmen were instrumental in convincing them to stay a bit longer than they may have liked. In any case, the Papal right saw its skirmish screen disappear leaving the Spearmen to fend for themselves. Hurriedly the Papal center, exhorted by their Commander pushed to the edge of the hillside. It was now time for their Crossbowmen to return the favor in kind. As the center moved into position orders were sent that allowed the Papal left to wheel towards the center of the line.

The Papal Center moving into action so fast and able to engage at long range with their three crossbowmen placed the Neapolitan right in a dilemma.  Although the temptation to fire at the Papal right was strong they had to wheel to face the threat of the center. This in turn slowed the advance of the Neapolitan center who had finally squared its flank with the lake. The wheel and slowing of the center took place on their portion of turn 5. It was now time for the Papal center to open fire.
The Papal Crossbowmen (3 units) began firing with promising results. One Neapolitan Crossbowmen unit would not return fire choosing to seek cover as best they could. Much to their credit the other Crossbowmen unit joined by the lone Contadini archer unit gave back better than they received. Either their fire was so devastating or the Papal Crossbowmen had no stomach for the fight, in either case the whole Crossbowmen contingent stopped firing, preferring to cover up themselves. As their officers went back and forth between pleading and threatening the Crossbowmen stood their ground, not firing but at least not running!
Things were going badly for the Papal Army. Their crossbowmen rolled crappy dice and tried to retire, couldn’t and stopped firing. Meanwhile, the Neapolitan Crossbowmen kept rolling good dice and kept up their firing. On their part of turn six they began to fire into the cowering Papists who after firing weakly in return routed under a stream of fire from the Neapolitans. Sensing the battle to be slipping out of his hands it was time for the Papal Commander to act. And he did but in retrospect, perhaps a bit half-hardily.
The Papal right wing, two units of City Spearmen charged down the hill intent on sweeping away the now thinning ranks for Neapolitan Crossbowmen. They were greeted with a hail of crossbow bolts but did manage to come into contact. One Neapolitan Crossbowmen unit broke but their place was followed up by a City Spearman unit which in turn broke the victorious Papal Spearmen. Not to be outdone the other Neapolitan Crossbowmen unit defeated the other spear. The Papal center now watched in dismay as the Neapolitans pursued up the hill.

A quick body count had the Papal at six losses to one Neapolitan loss. True, the two missile units on the table were pretty well bet up but they were on the table. The rest of the Papal turn six was now taking place.
"Forward!" With a shout the Papal center charged down the hill at the pursuing Neapolitans. The stout Crossbowmen finally routed off and the two Neapolitan City Spear braced themselves for the attack. A unit of Papal City Knights assisted in the Papal attack and broke the Neapolitan units sending them reeling from the hill. Following up the City Knight wheeled and charged the remaining Contadini Archer and Spear unit routing them off. The Knights, in turn, were driven off by archery fire from the Neapolitan center.

By the end of turn seven the path was relatively clear for both centers to engage if they so chose to do so. The Papal army had gotten the better of the last two turns and casualties were now at seven stands each. Meanwhile, on the neglected Papal Left flank their wing had reached the rear of their center and turned to face the small Neapolitan force as it turned to move up the hill.
One of the Papal City Spear routed away from missile fire by the Neapolitan center while the other maneuvered to support the City Knights to the right. As the center braced for the attack the Papal left wing Crossbowmen unit opened fire on the Neapolitan right wing. Casualties were taken and the order to charge was given but the city spear halted instead.
The Neapolitan center began its wheel to face the Papal center bringing their three Contadini Archer units to bear. As the Papal center was devoid of any missile units the plan would be to sit and pepper the Papists with archery fire then charge home. Seeing this, the mangled City Knights and City Spearmen charged towards the archers. Charging into melee with the enemy, they routed off one of the Neapolitan archers and inflicted damage on another. However their success was short lived as both eventually broke and fled, their casualties being too much, with one bold or foolish archer in pursuit.
Both sides were now clear to charge and it was obvious that the Papal center, being outnumbered, had to do something dramatic. In rally Round the King this usually means the CinC at the head of his best heavy cavalry unit charging into glory. And so…
The order was given, a charge! Quickly the word went round the Papal center and each unit of Knights to the rear headed to the front. The CinC took his place of honor, he would command the unit of elite Knights at the farthest right of the line. When ready the Papal Knights would be five units wide and capable of overlapping the Neapolitan center. With a shout the armored line charged.

The Papal Commander ran down the foolish Neapolitan Contadini archer unit. This did little to slow the advance of the line but would mean that Duke Paolo would not be in initial combat. Perhaps this would play to their advantage.
Taking up the challenge the Neapolitan center countercharged and with a crash the battle was on. Charging downhill and overlapping both ends of the Neapolitan line the Papal Knights slaughtered their counterparts giving out two casualties for each one that they took. Worse still, the second rank of Neapolitan Knights were so close that when the front rank tried to retire and reform they had no room to maneuver and were easily cut down. Within minutes half of the Neapolitan Knights were dead or routing.
The Neapolitan Commander, sensing victory escaping his grasp charged the next line of knights into the fray. The lines crashed and casualties were given with the Papists giving a bit better than they got. The melee settled down into a confused mess as both sides stood toe to toe exchanging blows.

Meanwhile behind the Papal rear the separate battle continued. The Crossbowmen fired again into the Neapolitan left wing which now started to move slowly up the hill towards them. Again the order was given to charge but again they would not close.
Expanding the line before charging gave a Papal Knights a great advantage being able to place five units against three in melee. But the major disaster was when I forgot the first rule of shock cavalry. One line only! Stacking the second line so close, while providing support, was a mistake as the losing line had nowhere to retire, took additional casualties and were contacted by the pursuing knights effectively routing them from the table. Luckily the second line of Neapolitan Knights had held but it now would be a race. Could the Neapolitan Knights break their enemies before the Knights led by Duke Paolo, who was not in the melee, could be brought into position to charge onto the flank. It was down to one turn and the army of Naples would go first.
The impetus of the Papal charge had ground to halt. One of the Neapolitan City Knights retired to regroup but the two elite Knights rallied round the CinC and remained in place. The whole Papal force, all four units of Knights, retired back up the hill to regroup. The centers had come to a halt.

On the other side of the field the Papal Crossbowmen, joined now by the Contadini Archer unit, again inflicted casualties on the stubborn Neapolitan Spearmen. By now the front rank was so decimated there would be no way that they would charge. Hoping for the best the captain expanded his line with two fresh Contadini Spearmen and gave the order, charge! Of course the two decimated units do not move but the two fresh units actually charge! One charges off the Contadini Archers but the other is driven away by the fire of the Crossbowmen. The charge has failed.
At the end of turn ten the Papal cavalry has reformed as they did prior to the charge with the CinC unit totally fresh but the others with casualties. Assembled on the hill they look down at the Neapolitan Knights and ready for a second charge that will sweep them from the field, or so they hope.
The Neapolitan has been thwarted on the right where their lack of missile men leaves them at a great disadvantage. Any hope of gains on that side is ridiculous. Time for one more charge but this time it has to be on Duke Paolo. The question is should he wait for his other unit of Knights to return or go into it now. 
The Neapolitan Knights returned to the line but too late to help. The Neapolitan CinC, Duke Nicolas, wheeled his depleted two units of Knights and charged the Papal banner. Calmly ordering the countercharge and trusting to superior numbers the Papal cavalry went into battle. The remnants of the Neapolitan Knights broke on impact with the CinC being caught from behind while trying to rally his force. At the sight of the Neapolitan banner falling, the army retired then routed from the field. It was a resounding victory for the Papists needing only to be confirmed by the body count to follow.
Casualties for the Neapolitan army were two Contadini Archer units and one City Spearmen. Papal Major Morale rises to 3 and added to the WR of 3 is a 6 so pass 2d6, morale is good. Neapolitan Morale goes from 2 to 1 and added to the WR of 4 for a total of 5. Pass 1d6 and morale is shaken dropping to a 0. Basically if Duke Nicolas is incapacitated Naples would capitulate and sue for peace.
What did we learn from the battle? That I was brilliant! Properly using my cavalry in one rank saved the Papal Army. I also learned I was an idiot! Bunching up the Neapolitan cavalry was a complete blunder. Ah, the benefits of playing solo, hero and goat in the same battle.
I also learned that the infantry arm is, uh, pathetic. Rep 3 is shaky at best when on the defense and inclined not to attack when ordered. Reflects the warfare of the time and area and why mercenaries were in such demand. Best bang for the buck? The City Crossbowmen, adequate fire power and enough mass to stick around in a melee.


Summer 1494


  1. Good stuff! I have been acquiring some German and Italian late medieval figures and am thinking of moving from my current chariots games with RRtK to here.

  2. I like the Italian Wars as the armies are similar and you can add some Free Company mercenaries for spice.

  3. German, Italian, historical or fantasy - doesn't matter. I can't wait when I can unpack my gaming stuff again for some RRtK gaming!

    Thanks for sharing the report!