Saturday, 31 July 2010

The Battle Of Trimini :: A Scenario

Whilst campaigning is currently on hold here’s something new from James’ blog, and cross posted here.   This version of the article also contains a pdf of the scenario to download.


Attacks on armed camps were a feature of The Great Italian Wars. Ravenna 1512, Novara 1513, Marignano 1515, Bicocca 1522 and Pavia 1525 are all prime examples. 

In most cases camps were strong positions and fully entrenched.   At Novara the French camp was only partly entrenched and its defenders were badly deployed when a surprise attack by the Swiss overthrew it in short order.

Novara is the inspiration for this fictional scenario but instead of massed Swiss pikes I have substituted a mixed force of Imperial and Venetian allies.  I have also set it slightly later in 1520.

The Battle Of Trimini, 1520 – download scenario


The French, halting their march late on the previous day, only partly entrenched their camp with a series of redoubts for their artillery.  French infantry (crossbow and pike) were tasked to complete the entrenchments next day and slept in the open fields where the earthworks were to be dug.  Believing the enemy to be some distance off, the cream of the army (the Gendarmes and the Swiss) pitched camp north of the village of Trimini.

On hearing of the approach of the French the commander of the allied Imperial and Venetian army called a council of war to decide what was to be done. 

Intelligence reports suggested that the French had advanced without reconnaissance and they had failed to fully fortify their camp.  Without a single dissenting voice the council elected to launch a surprise attack at dawn.

Some time before dawn the French commander was woken and informed that the outlying pickets were reporting enemy movements.  The French commander was not convinced but, remembering the disaster of Novara seven years earlier, he ordered half of his Swiss to stand-to.  He then went back to his bed and his mistress; he was French after all.

Thus the scene was set for the bloody Battle of Trimini.


Terrain definitions for Piquet:

Hills Type I Stop at contact, normal moves thereafter.
Woods Type II
Trimini Type III
French camp Type III
Redoubts Type III

French Order of Battle:

  • 2 'combat bonus' commanders.
  • 4 other commanders.
  • French Gendarmes: 4 units of 7 figures.
  • French mounted crossbows: 1 unit of 6 figures.
  • Stradiots: 2 units of 6 figures.
  • Italian mounted crossbows: 1 unit of 6 figures.
  • Swiss pike: 2 units of 54 figures.
  • French pike: 1 unit of 54 figures.
  • French crossbowmen: 7 units of 10 figures.
  • French artillery: 2 batteries of heavy field guns.
Total figures used: 58 cavalry, 254 infantry, 4 guns and a dog.

Allied Order of Battle:

  • 3 'combat bonus' commanders.
  • 3 other commanders.
  • Imperial Men-at-arms: 2 units of 7 figures.
  • Mounted crossbows: 2 units of 6.
  • Landsknecht pike (plus shot sleeves): 2 units of 82 figures.
  • Organ gun: 1 organ gun.
  • Venetian Condottiere: 2 units of 7 figures.
  • Venetian Stradiots: 1 unit of 6.
  • Venetian mounted arquebus: 1 unit of 6 figures.
  • Venetian pike: 1 unit of 36 figures.
  • Venetian shot: 2 units of 15 figures.
Total figures used: 58 cavalry, 230 infantry, and 1 gun.

Special Scenario Rules and Notes

Camp locks:  the French Gendarmes and half of the Swiss are in camp, half asleep and totally unprepared for what is to come.  To represent this they have a number of locks.  These must be removed before they can undertake any voluntary action. A Whim of the Gods card was added to the French sequence deck. A D4 is rolled when it appears. For each pip on the D4 the French player may remove one lock.  Any unlocked troops caught in camp by the enemy count as unarmoured and in disorder.

French disorder:  to represent the general disorder caused by the surprise appearance of the Allied army, two Command Indecision cards were added to the French sequence deck for turn 1.  One was removed at the start of turn 2, and the last at the start of turn 3.

Allied coordination:  because of the inherent difficulty in coordinating an allied army in the field, an Uncontrolled Advance card was added to the Allied sequence deck. On the appearance of the card any remaining impetus pips can only be used by one of the armies decided by rolling a die; odd score = Imperial, even result = Venetian.

Photographs and text by James Roach © 2010.

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