Saturday, 6 April 2013

The Battle of Novara, 6th June 1503

After a degree of play testing James has posted a complete "Hell Broke Loose" scenario for Novara. The "Hell Broke Loose" rules are in development but there is every intention of publishing them.

Historical Background

In 1512, following the Battle of Ravenna, France somehow failed to capitalise on her victory. In fact, the campaign proved to be a disaster, and she lost Milan. In mid May 1513, Louis XII of France dispatched an army, under the command of La Tremoille, over the Alps to retake his lost duchy. By early June, much of the duchy had been retaken, and Tremoille had moved to besiege Novara (the Duchy's second city) where the Duchy's new, Swiss backed Duke, Massimiliano Sforza, was hold up with 4000 Swiss.

Shortly after the French invested Novara, a Swiss army arrived to its relief. On their approach La Tremoille, not wishing to be caught in his siege lines, withdrew his army. At nightfall, the dispersed units of the French army made camp around the village of Trecate. Unexpectedly, the Swiss did not tarry after their long march to Novara. They linked up with the garrison and immediately followed the French as they withdrew. Using local guides they made their way, in the dark, to within striking distance of the French army. Just before dawn, they attacked.



The attack began with skirmish between Swiss 'enfants perdus' and French pickets in the village of Trecate. La Tremoille, who had taken a billet in the village, narrowly escaped capture. The Swiss skirmishers did not follow up this attack. It was a feint, and their skirmishers withdrew to a wood that lay within shooting distance of Trecate's houses from where they kept up a noisy fire. The alarm had been sounded and French troops, bleary eyed and disorientated, were called to stand to. They had no time to re-deploy to face their attackers - the Swiss were everywhere upon them.

This is where this scenario begins.


French Order Of Battle

When the army invaded it numbered somewhat more than 12,000 men. It comprised 1,000 lances of gendarmerie, 1,000 light cavalry, 4,000 Gascon and Navarrese crossbowmen, 6,000 Landsknechts, and was amply provided with artillery.
  • Army Die: D10
  • Sequence Deck: D10
  • Morale Chips: 58
  • Additional cards: Scenario 1, Scenario 2.
Two commands of gendarmes. (Motivation die D10).


  1. La Tremoille with three units each of 8 gendarmes, all billeted in the Trecate. A class, fierce.
  2. Robert of Bouillon with one unit of 8 gendarmes, outside Trecate. A class, fierce.
French light cavalry command. (Motivation die D10).


  1. One unit of 8 mounted crossbows. C class.
  2. One unit of 8 stradiots.C class, grizzled, specialist close skirmishers.
French Gascon & Navarrese infantry command under Sieur de Beaumont. (Motivation die D10).



  1. Six units of 12 skirmish crossbowmen. D class, specialist crossbowmen.
Landsknecht and artillery command under Flourange. (Motivation die D10).


  1. One unit of 108 Landsknecht pike. C class, fierce, grizzled, murderous vs Swiss.
  2. One unit of 12 skirmish shot. C class, grizzled, specialist arquebus.
  3. Two batteries of heavy artillery (1 gun each). D class, specialist for fire.
Milano Swiss Order Of Battle

The Duke's army mustered less than 12,000 Swiss infantry and a few hundred horse of the Duke's bodyguard. They were divided into three bodies which advanced in echelon. The bodies were not equal in numbers. The first had a pike square 1,000 strong, the second a pike square 2,000 strong, and the third had a pike square of over 6,000 strong. This accounts for about 75% of the force. I have no description of the other 25% so I have added some shot and halberdiers. The army was ill supported in artillery - only a few light guns had been dragged up.
  • Army Die: D10
  • Sequence Deck: D10*
  • Morale Chips: 38
  • Additional Cards: Momentum March.
Milano-Swiss flank attack command under Massimiliano Sforza. (Motivation Die D10).


  1. One unit of 8 men-at-arms. A class.
  2. One unit of 24 Swiss pike. A class, fierce, murderous vs landsknechts.
Milano-Swiss frontal attack command. (Motivation Die D10).


  1. One unit of 36 Swiss pike. A class, fierce, murderous vs landsknechts.
  2. One unit of 16 Swiss halberdiers. A class, fierce, murderous vs landsknechts.
  3. One unit of 12 skirmish shot. B class.
Milano-Swiss main force command. (Motivation Die D10).


  1. One unit of 108 Swiss pike. A class, fierce, murderous vs landsknechts.
  2. Two units of 12 skirmish shot. B class.
  3. One artillery battery (1 gun). D class.
Scenario Notes

It is important that the bulk of the French heavy cavalry should not come too easily into the fight. To ensure this, they must be deployed billeted in Trecate (all, including the streets, is Type III + cover terrain). They may only leave the town via a road.

The marshy ground between the town and Landsknechts is Type III terrain. The French camp is Type II terrain. The Wood is Type II + cover terrain. All other terrain is Type I and open.

There is only one special scenario rule. The French sequence deck contains two Scenario cards. If a Milano-Swiss unit is in, or is in contact with, the French camp, when a Scenario card is turned, the French lose D6 morale chips.

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