Sunday, 15 June 2014

First thoughts on Marignano 1515 - The Swiss

Firstly, thank you to everyone for leaving useful comments on the last Marignano post and for the several more detailed emails you have sent to me. Several had one thing in common - the Swiss army might well have been bigger than the one described by Oman in his The Art of War in the Sixteenth Century. The new numbers seem to come from more modern Italian sources (Oman published his book in 1937). Unfortunately, not speaking Italian, they are books I can't read. It also seems to be the case that the pike squares were probably fairly equal in size.

I cannot vouch for the new numbers but I like them. From a game design and spectacle point of view they provide for a much more equal fight and unit breakdown. However, some of the numbers I've been shown are huge, one having over 24,000 Swiss. I have decided to split the difference between the 'accepted' new number (about 21,000) and Oman's maximum (15,000). I have decided on approximately 18,000 Swiss plus some guns and Milanese horse.


18,200 Swiss infantry - 364 figs, 50:1
800 Milanese Cavalry - 16 figs, 50:1
10 to 20 guns - 2 light guns, 10:1

Advance Guard - Enfants Purdus
Arquebus 24
Halberdiers 16
Swiss Van
Swiss pike 96
Swiss Arquebus 12
Swiss Main
Swiss pike 96
Swiss Arquebus 12
Light guns 1
Swiss Rear
Swiss pike 96
Swiss Arquebus 12
Light guns 1
Maximillian Sforza
Men-at-arms 8
Mounted arquebus 8

The Swiss pike in their squares of 96 pikemen with some attached skirmish shot. Excuse the French flags on the first unit. As you might know, all of my flags are on aluminium tubing and are fully interchangeable. I just need to paint up four more Swiss flags. These flags will probably end up on the poles of some French Landsknechts - how to do interchangeable flags. Note the mix of manufacturers here - Foundry and Old Glory (and the odd TAG figure) pike, Front Rank (and the odd Foundry Conquistador) shot.

The advance guard, the enfants purdus, again of mixed manufacture. I really like the idea of this group of 40 figures. They will start almost upon the French position and, in the very early stages of the game, give Bourbon something to think about whilst the Swiss pike deal with Flourange and come into the fight. In the background are two light guns. Most give the number of guns at around 10. However, they seem to have gone in dispersed, so I have given the Swiss 20 guns (2 models) but I will lessen their effect by making them light.

The Milanese horse. It is thought that Sforza might have had 200 - 500 men-at-arms. As any that have read my comment on French Lances (see French OOB - comments) I'm at a loss as to what this means - does it mean total cavalry or Italian Lances? I have decided to call it 200 lances (400 heavy cavalry) plus a number of lighter 'archer types'; in this case I have decided to make the lighter types mounted arquebus for a little variation and to match my figure collection to the OOB. I've given Sforza a grand total of 800 cavalry.

So there we have it. My first thoughts on the Swiss. I look forward to your further thoughts on this prospective army list.

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