Sunday, 6 January 2008

The Battle of Ferrara - 20th December 2007

Army value 118 florins total.
Battle posture: Attack
Battle hand: Attack posture, 10, 8 & 7 VPs.
Ruse de guerre cards played: None.
Morale Cards: Extra artillery move card, extra move in difficult terrain card and a morale stratagem – Wild card.
Morale Chips: 13.

Army value 63 florins total.
Battle posture: Defence.
Battle Hand: Defence posture, 4, 4 & 2 VPs.
Ruse de guerre cards played: None.
Morale Cards: None
Morale Chips: 14.

The battlefield was a field of two halves. The Spanish side was largely flat and open except for a type III hill and village on their right flank; here their camp and road exit were both worth 4 VPs. The Venetians on the other hand had obviously chosen their defensive position well. Running across the front of their deployment area, from right to left, was a type II wood, a type II hill (worth 8 VPs), another type II wood, some open ground, then type II fields surrounding a type IV village. Behind the hill was type I stream, and behind this the Venetians sited their camp (worth 10 VPs).

The Forces & Deployment

5 commands deployed, running right to left, as follows:
A: C-in-C and 1 unit Spanish Knights.
B: 1 Colunella, 1 unit Genitors (SK).
C: 2 Colunella, 1 unit Italian arquebus (SK), 1 unit mounted crossbows (SK).
D: 1 Colunella
E: 1 unit medium guns, 1 unit light guns.

3 command groups deployed, running right to left, as follows:
1: 2 unit Schiavoni, 1 unit medium guns.
2: 1 unit light guns, 2 unit Italian arquebus (SK).
3: C-in-C and 1 unit Romagnol pike (6 stands), 1 unit Stradiots.

The Battle
The Spanish opened the battle with a blare of trumpets and boom of artillery. This signalled a general advance which went well. The Spanish Knights went forward into the open ground between woods and fields and were briefly opposed by the Venetian Stradiots. The Spanish brought up their Genitors to contend with them, but before they could get to grips, the Stradiots thought better of it and galloped off in the direction of the Spanish camp which they plundered mercilessly.

Meantime, the Spanish Colunellas, in which the Spanish put most of their faith, approached the Venetian line of arquebus and cannon defending the hill and central wood. Even before they got within arquebus shot the Venetian line seemed to waver under the accurate fire of the Spanish guns. It back stepped beyond the brow and sheltered in the lee of the hill. The Spaniards were now so confident of victory that all but one of their Colunellas rushed headlong at their enemy. This single Colunella was despatched to retake the camp from which the cries of the women folk and other civilians could be clearly heard above the sporadic sound of cannon.

As the first volleys of arquebus fire erupted in the vicinity of the wood, the Venetians on the hill stepped forward and poured all the fire they could into the oncoming Spanish masses.

In the woods the Spanish initially managed to push the Venetian skirmishers back, but as the Colunella entered, it was outflanked and shot to pieces, and it exited at a much faster rate. This was the beginning of the end for the previously victorious Spanish infantry.

As the bulk of the Spanish infantry ascended the slopes of the hill they began to falter. The Spanish player, put simply, could not roll a decent initiative to save his life, or more accurately, the lives of his men. The Venetians poured in volley after volley and point blank artillery fire. The Spanish attack began to crumble.

Meanwhile the Spanish cavalry had advanced around the wood and were threatening to take the Venetian camp on which so much rested (10 battlefield VPs). Fortunately for the Venetians this was the exact spot that they had deployed their Romagnol pike. Without infantry support the Spanish cavalry was unable to proceed further until its infantry could come up from the other side of the hill.

This did not happen. One by one the advancing Colunellas were put to rout by the murderous fire of the Venetian guns and marines.

The result was a crushing and costly defeat for the Spanish. Having taken 83 army points of casualties the army withdrew to Ancona. The Venetians in contrast were jubilant. On a hiding to nothing, they had achieved a staggering result; for the loss of only 15 army points of casualties they not only maintained there hold on Ferrara, but gained 12 campaign VPs and leapt back into a campaign winning position.

Coming Soon
The campaign moves leading to the French attack against the Swiss at Milan and the battle of Novarro.

Written, painted and photographed by James Roach.

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