The Battle of Piccaetto 07/28/98 © by Kenneth Baggaley

The Battle of Piccaetto

HISTORICON '98 - Saturday, 7/25, noon

    Being a Renaissance battle using the PIQUET system called

    BAND OF BROTHERS 1200-1600- modified by house rules.

Somewhere in Northern Italy, 1550-something....

    Milan has just backstabbed Florence after Venice lied to the Pope just before the French withdrew from Siena who sold out former ally Genoa to Naples prior to the Emperor's covert deal with Sicily who switched from supporting Mantua against Sardinia when they double-crossed Verona with secret Turkish bribes diverted from Ferrara and now leaning toward Pisa.

    The Spanish say to Hell with all of you, and march on in.

    Italian states put aside their differences (?) and scramble to assemble condotterie, infantry and landsknects to meet the threat. Their forces are of unknown quality, but they vastly outnumber the Spanish invader. The question is, where does everyone's loyalty REALLY lie?

    The confident veteran Spanish drive into the heart of Italy, meeting scant opposition. Then, on a hazy, sun-baked Italian morning, stradiots exchange insults with advancing mounted arquebusiers. Both withdraw - the two armies have found each other, at last, in front of the quiet little village of Piccaetto...

(given to all Italian commanders)

The Italian Forces consist of the following:

Chief Commander - Lord Claudio Calamari, Prince of Popoloni (in the pay of Florence, and out of your own pocket)

20 companies of paid Italian foot, pike and arquebus
10 companies of Popolonese militia crossbowmen
8 companies of Elmeti fully armored condotta cavalry
1 body of Stradiot horse

Center - the condottieri general Cesare Salado, Count of Basi (in the pay of all other states, but largely Venice)

Landsknecht pike phalanx, with arquebus supporters,12-20 companies
Hordes, hordes and more hordes of faithful Italian peasantry
3 companies of light lancers, the Count's personal 'cavalleria
a few light cannon

Right Wing - Lord Pico Pecapeppas, Marquis of Posta (in the pay of Milan)

8 companies of landsknect pike and arquebusiers
16 companies of paid Italian foot, pike and arquebus
4 companies of Reiter cavalry
2 bodies of Stradiot horse

    There is a possibility of reinforcements arriving from the Knightly Order, but when,where, how many, and if they arrive are all unknown.

    You've all squabbled a bit over precedence, but your plan is now in place. Defeat the Spanish, and you save Italy from another round of foreign wars. Fail, and your homeland is once again a chessboard for kings.

(given to all Spanish commanders)

The Spanish invaders consist of the following:

Commanding General Don DeLaescuela,Ably assisted by General Lupe Casco And commander Jorges Denada    

Two veteran tercios

The Tercio Del Tempano (Iceberg), under DeLaescuela, and The Tercio Del Huevos Malos (bad eggs!), under Casco.

also available, to distribute as you wish:

2 units of foot, one each of Pikemen and arquebusiers, average troops
1 unit of proud sword and bucklermen
2 renowned elite units of crack musketeer skirmishers
2 units of demilancer cavalry
2 units of Reiters
2 units of Carabins, mounted arquebusiers
3 batteries of cannon, 2 medium and one light

    In addition, further units of Reiters and Carabins are on their way. Also, siege cannon are being set up to the hill behind you, though you don't know when they'll be ready for action. Every one of you get along and are agreed on your mission. That is not true of the allies in the army you face. Your troops are fewer, but better. And you suspect the allies think their advantage in numbers is greater than it is. That will be just one of their problems. Win, and glory and all of Italy will be yours. Losing is not an option.

(For Lord Calamari alone...)

Lord Claudio Calamari, Prince of Popoloni

    This is going to be tough. Your Italian pike are terrible. Your militia crossbowmen are cowards, brought to the field by your willpower alone (though their appearance swelled your contribution to the cause, making you the commander). Your Italian arquebusiers are decent. Your heavy cavalry look great, but probably won't fight better than average. And stradiots are not to be trusted, period.

    And your opponent is chock full of dreaded Spanish tercios and veteran musketeers!

    This alliance is frayed. Your ally generals, Cesare Salado and Lord Pica Pecapeppas, are untrustworthy. Salado gets secret communications from Venice and other states regularly, and he does not share them with you. You can only guess what these panicky partners are saying to him - but at war counsels, Salado suggests caution and flanking maneuvers, never open battle.Lord Pico has had arguments with you, over command, the army, pay, strategy, you name it. He's a hot-head, but he's poor for a noble, so he can't buy out your position or your captains. He only has troops under him that Milan paid for directly, except for some elmeti. You took all his heavy cavalry, and added them to yours, since this army had so little of it. He has not forgiven you, and a spy has informed you he has sent letters to the Spanish camp. Would he dare defect, with his paymaster Milan a key player in the alliance? Isn't Salado a greater threat for treachery? With allies like these...

    You could really use those Knightly Order troops - superb fanatics - if they ever arrive.

    Your orders from Florence say fight, and so you will. You've got an investment in this battle. And you've got an overwhelming advantage in numbers. Use it.

(For Caesare Salado alone...)

General Cesare Salado, Count of Basi, condottieri

Lord Calamari be damned! You draw your pay from Venice and the other states, not his Florence or Lord Pico's Milan. Your paymasters stay in constant, secret contact with you. You do not share this contact with the others. And your paymasters are all saying the same, monotonous, whiny, droning, persistent thing:

    Don't risk the army. Deflect the Spaniards from us, but don't be destroyed doing it.  Look, you're a mercenary. You've served just about every state, and done a fine job - that's why they picked you here. But the times of good paydays from city-states are dwindling. This was an exception. Next time, the real money will probably be coming from kings and emperors. You've got a mighty Landsknect phalanx, but no idea how well it will fight. You won't know until they go to battle. The peasants behind you? Well, they dig a mean latrine. Otherwise, they're worse than useless, which is why Calamari assigned them to you. You've got a few light cannon that make noise. Your bodyguard cavalry are your own picked mercenary men, who've followed you for years. They're great, reliable, and you WON'T risk them stupidly.

    You've spoken in war counsels, suggesting caution and flanking attacks. But Lord Calamari wants return on his investment. Lord Pico is a hot-headed 'noble but poor' jerk. It's a good thing Calamari took away his heavy cavalry, he'd just ruin them. His paymaster Milan wants to fight. He's had constant arguments with Calamari over petty noble things. These guys may wear gilded armor, but they do NOT understand war like you.

    So you have got to keep as much of your force intact as possible, without looking like you're shirking from the fight. This could be tricky, but hey; you've been around a long time. You know the game. And in all your years in the field, Venice has never missed a payday yet....

(For Lord Pico alone...)

Lord Pico Pecapeppas, Marquis of Posta

    If that Lord Calamari argues with you in counsel one more time, you swear, you'll run him through like a roast pig! You wanted to fight this war, but you're allied with imbeciles. Milan trusted you with her gold and her troops, and what does Calamari do? He takes 3 companies of heavy cavalry away from you, to swell HIS flank! Now, you've got just a body of reiter pistoleer horse, and a bunch of untrustworthy stradiots (wild guys, those Albanians). You couldn't do a decent cavalry charge if you wanted to.

    Your landsknects are unknowns, and their mettle won't be discovered until combat. Your Italian pike suck, though the arquebusiers are quite good. You're the best attack commander in the army, and you've got no attack troops!

    Every suggestion you made, every strategy, every idea, was struck down by Calamari. He's a higher ranking noble - he brought his own troops - he's richer (well, you are dirt poor these days) - so his word goes. Milan pays you well enough, but Calamari gives you no honor.

    You got so disgusted, you actually sent letters secretly into the Spanish camp, to see what they might offer for your services. Milan won't pay better than Spain, and you'd relish serving against Calamari. But Spanish interest wasn't matched by generous offers, at least not to date. Your last letter was as bold as you could be - what's keeping the Spanish answer? Are they dissing you, too? This is too much!

    Without an offer on the table, you'll show the Spaniards what real fighting is, as best you can. Screw Milan, screw Calamari, they're on their own. You will show them all what fighting is really about. If they don't make an offer, screw Spain, too!

    As for the other commander, Ceasare Salado, he seems the typical old school condottieri - play for time, skirmish, flank, etc. He should have your troops, and you his. But Calamari makes the rules.

    You won't lift a finger for Calamari's defense, but fight you will. If Spain comes up with a good offer, you're outta here (troops may or may not follow you).

    Man, this war bites. Makes you wanna go kill somebody..........

(For all Spanish commanders....)

The Spanish commanders

    You gentlemen are professional soldiers, skilled in war, and so share your counsel and information freely. Though you may differ in temperament and tactics, you are part of a unified army. (only Denada lacks a title - perhaps he will earn one today).

    You marched through most of Italy with little resistance. Venice made overtures of neutrality to Spain the moment you landed. You expected some local resistance, a locked town here or there, but you figured internal rivalries would preclude an opposing army of any size. However, your information did confirm large forces of hasty allies gathering. Your carabins found them today.

    More reinforcements may be coming to the Allies. They have the advantage of numbers, but you see lots of peasants, militia and stradiots among their ranks.

     Scouts report most of their heavy cavalry on your right flank, with Italian infantry, Lord Calamari leading them. So their main commander is on your right? Landsknechts and peasants seem to fill the center. The center is commanded by that old condottieri, Ceasare Salado. Isn't he in the pay of Venice? Hmmm..... Light cavalry, and a scattering of troops, face your left. These are commanded by Lord Pico Pecapeppas, who has sent pleasant letters into your camp. Is he trying to defect? His notes sounded promising, leading up to an offer almost, then suddenly stopped coming. Has he been caught? Got cold feet? Was it a ruse? You don't know, and on the eve of battle, how would you find out?

    A unit of reiters and a unit of carabins are on their way behind you. The siege guns are moving slowly to the hill. Your reiters are of unknown quality until they face battle.

Command of your two tercios are defined, but the rest of the army is up to you to divide among yourselves. Draw up a battle plan, with who commands what, and godspeed.

Vaya con Dios.

The Battlefield

    Piccaetto was a small village with low stone walls that lay out in the open. A single road ran north/south through it. To the northwest loomed a high hill ridge, upon which the Italians made their camp. To the northeast sat the beat-up and outdated battlements of the Castello San Jakobi.

    On the far west of Piccaetto was a small wood; on the far east, a low rise which would figure prominently in the fighting. The southwest corner was cut off by a river, and a small hill rose in the south.

    The Italians lined up with Lord Calamari next to the castle, his force a judicious mix of supporting cavalry and infantry. He threw his stradiots to the far left flank, with his elmeti (heavy cavalry) companies in the center. His militia forces from Popoloni were stationed to his right and rear.

    Cesare held the center along the road, with peasant archers and landsknecht skirmishers to his front. The huge phalanx stood defiantly directly across the dusty pathway. Cesare kept the bulk of his other peasants far to the rear, and placed his few light guns at the edge of the ridge.

    Lord Pico sat just below the camp on the ridge, with reiters and stradiots to his front. His Italian shot and skirmishers formed a second line, with his pike to the rear.

    The Spanish marched the Tercio of the Iceberg between the river and the road (under De Eslaescuela). A unit of arquebusiers and two bodies of reiters were in reserve.

    The Tercio of Bad Eggs was placed to the right of the hill (under Casca). Another body of pike, plus all the demilancers and some carabins, formed up the Spanish far right flank and rear.

    General Denada held the center with some carabins, adventuros and all of the army's deadly musketeers. The Spanish guns sat back on or near the hill behind them.

The Battle

    As the sun blanketed the late morning with a stifling haze and clouds of fine khaki dust, the Spanish forces dribbled into positions and a semblance of order, while the Italians....waited. Incredibly, while their opponents formed up in full view, the allies ‘doffed their heavy helms, and called upon cool water from their pages”. The militia “sat upon the ground, arbalests between their legs” while the paid infantry chattered and the landsknechts cursed at each dirty gust swept into their faces (notably, the phalanx kept the aromatically challenged peasants downwind). For over an hour “they stood as a ha’penny crowd at a festival” records the Bard of Battles. For a precious hour, they did nothing but wait.

    Lord Calamari could only shake his head at the inactivity of his commanders. He himself rode up and down the left flank, aligning a careful pattern of horse and foot to provide mutual support. But the alignment took longer than he had hoped, and the Milanese elmeti he had taken from Lord Pico proved haughtily uncooperative. There were many bodies of troops, and they were unused to the deployment and to each other. Though his disgust rose, Calamari kept his temper, sending direct orders to his commanders: “The Prince of Popoloni respectfully requests you attempt to move your troops forward now”. First to one, then the other, the same direct order - but it was of no avail. Calamari’s already considerable suspicions of his allies’ intentions were only heightened by the inactivity.

    The Spanish, on the other hand, took the opportunity to improve their position. The jammed troops on the right began to spread out evenly, throwing cavalry to the far right flank toward the slight rise. General Denada, given command of the center, was ordered to rush forward and occupy the village of Piccaetto with his musketeers and adventuros. The left tercio and troops under DeLaescuela continued to present a refused front, using the river and the village as secure flanks.

    Unless he did something soon, Calamari stood to loose both the village to his front and the open ground to his left. The former would put the mighty Spanish musketeers in near-unassailable control of the center; the latter would compress his flank, negating his advantage in numbers. Quickly, “The Lord Calamari called upon ‘those native among ye, of wild spirit, to affront our enemy’s advance’”. Unleashed, his stradiots on the left dashed out and across the rise, alone and in open view of the Spanish cavalry. In he center, Cesare grudgingly pushed forward the light peasant bowmen under a popular leader, Fraiser Tucci, toward the village. A body of stradiots from Lord Pico’s command also moved toward the low stone walls of Piccaetto.

    But the Spanish moved too quickly. Commander Denada’s carabins pushed straight to the edge of the Italian center, almost daring them to advance. At the double, the elite musketeer skirmishers, led by Denada himself, jogged into the deserted village. Within ten minutes, the cagey veterans had loopholed key positions throughout the walls and houses around them. Piccaetto was now firmly the property of Spain.

    The Spanish right, under Casca, had some difficulty bringing all its infantry to bear. Clamari might still have a chance to turn his numbers loose on the Spanish flank. The stradiots on the rise were opposed by a single body of carabins, with demilancers somewhat to the rear. But according to the Bard of Battles, these light horse ‘played as a children’s game of tag’ across the rise, first one occupying it, then the other, neither side holding the gentle slope for very long. Yet in the end, control of that seemingly innocous knoll would prove crucial to the outcome of the entire battle.

    For the moment, the Spanish war machine turned all its mighty gears in sync. Their plan seemed in perfect execution. Then, out of nowhere, one of those memorable, dramatic, incredible events took place at Piccaetto. In a single moment, a moment that contemporaneously chilled the blood of his commanders, but ever after stirred the blood of his native Spanish balladiers, - in that moment, Commander Jorges Denada turned his firey mount away from the walls of Piccaetto, and forever toward glory and legend.

    “DIABLO! Where is that madman going?” so the Bard records General Casca’s reaction to what he was witnessing. For someone was advancing! The adventuros, under the command of a colonel named Yero, were swashbuckling swordsmen recently returned from the New World. The travel experience had made them more arrogant than rich, and perhaps more boastful drunkards than sensible soldiers. They had dutifully formed up in column and had begun to file into the village behind the musketeers, under Denada’s watchful eye. Suddenly, they seemed to stop, their formation in disarray. An opaque request was received by DeLaescuela from Denada - but legend has long since obscured what that request actually said. In his memoirs, Casca claims Denada merely inquired about effective formations for his swordsmen. DeLaescuela remained tactfully silent as to its contents. But balladeers, unhindered by cynicism, tact or fact, proclaim in song Denada’s words to “seek glory or death, in single combat upon this field!” or something to that effect. On one point the chroniclers on all sides agree - the adventuros, halfway into the village, stopped, turned around, and ran - RAN! - straight down the road toward the Landsknecht phalanx! And Denada was leading them!

    With years of Italian Wars’ experience behind him, Cesare’s reaction to this foolish act can only be imagined. Yet the shock was not yet complete. For as the adventuros closed to within arquebus range, an aide of Denada, acting the part of a medieval herald, rode toward the Count’s banner - and issued a challenge from Denada for PERSONAL COMBAT! Personal combat! The balladeers have Denada engaging in a long-winded man-to-man declamation with Cesare, but this is highly unlikely. What is recorded, and agreed by most chroniclers, is the Count’s final reaction. “In silence first, stroking his beard as if giving careful consideration, Count Cesare quickly raised his open hand to his nose,and making a most rude gesture, calmly stated ‘It is bad for business’”. Denada’s challenge was thus tersely refused.

    What happened next is always polished up by the balladeers, but was foreseeably inevitable. Cesare ordered his Landsknecht arquebusiers to open fire, and from close range they tore into the swaggering ranks of the swordsmen. Those who did not fall turned and ran down the road as quickly as they had advanced, finished as a fighting unit, and not stopping until reaching the Spanish camp. As one German chronicler put it “they seen feathers ‘n’ bright colors, so they charged, but we wuz no Aztecs”. That same German also notes that, having seen their leader dishonor a personal challenge, the Landsknecht pikemen “shrugged, ‘n kept marchin’”. Gold klinks louder than honor, it seems. Colonel Yero was never found. Denada’s aide was killed outright, and the commander himself was shot clean through his lower intestine. Bravely, he attempted to ride back to his command, but the pain overcame him and he fell, his riddled mount dying under him (some balladeers have whole songs just honoring his horse!). By a pure stroke of luck, Cesare had now routed a Spanish force, capturing its commander. No doubt he smiled that all his hard work, on this day, was done. Venice would be pleased.

    Now it was the turn of the Spanish carabins. Having advanced too close to the Italian center, they tarried too long, thinking the advancing adventuros were support troops. The carabins exchanged fire with the landsknechts at a loss, and then were struck in the flank by Lord Pico's stradiots. These stradiots had ridden across the front of Piccaetto and, failing to enter before the musketeers, wheeled on the exposed carabins instead. The Spanish cavalrymen galloped off in defeat. In turn, the musketeers in Piccaetto took advantage of the stradiots' move, emptying many saddles and driving the wild horsemen back in rout to the ridge and the Allied camp (which they promptly and hastily sacked).

    Finally, Calamari spurred his army into action. A general advance began  on all fronts, drums pounding, flags waving, horns and shouts filling the hot dusty air. Calamari took a final gulp of water, lowered his visor, and led the entire left wing in a single massive advance. In the center, Cesare threw out his peasant archers toward the village, and began a slow but steady march with his phalanx and the other peasant hordes. Lord Pico on the right infested the wood with skirmishing arquebusiers, with his reiters and remaining stradiots lunging ahead past Piccaetto toward the refused Spanish tercio. His infantry got tangled a bit in the narrowing gap between the wood and the village, however, pushing some troops close enough for the musketeers to find their range.

    The advance was determined, impressive and terrifying. Had the opponent been of lesser mettle, such a display of arms might well have rattled them. The moment of truth was at hand.

    And then, three events conspired to rob the allies of that moment.

First, the Spanish musketeers, feared elite troops that they were, calmly began an accurate fire on the distant formations. Several units retreated in disarray, others halted and reformed, especially on Lord Pico's flank. The reiters, under the stern colonel Ruff, rode through a hail of point-blank musketry from the walls, losing many men and being forced away from the village, further constricting the allied advance. A second body of stradiots faced the harsh fire and ran from the field. In the center, Fraiser Tucci's bowmen fell back before the mere threat of the musketeers. The earlier loss of Piccaetto was telling dearly on the allies.

    Second, the peasant mobs, advancing so bravely behind the phalanx in the center, began to have misgivings as the shooting got closer and louder. The Bard of Battles records "as witnessed they the glint of steel ahead from morion and arquebus, behind solid walls, with fire and death around them, so did they recant of their hearts, and find naught within". En masse, the entire peasant levy fled, a steady dribble becoming a torrent of filthy fugitives trotting silently down the packed road. In the words of Captain Hedzluz of the forlorn hope,watching them go, "Ach, they be but weinerless dung-wypers of the devvyl's own arse!" . Whatever their true nature, this reserve of thousands was now out of the battle.

    Third, and most damaging, the mighty left wing of the allies fell into confusion as it closed to within striking distance. Calamari had wisely placed his cavalry to the front, to sweep forward in charges, but supported closely by infantry firepower. However, one of his arquebus formations had become divided during the advance. Calamari rode back to reunite it, and giving instructions to the other infantry supports, rode again to the front of his advance. But the quick instructions were garbled in the large mixed command. The long line of advancing elmeti cavalry, in their splendid shining armor, fell back from ' within smelling distance of the pepper-winded Spaniards'. The Italian skirmishers continued advancing through the cavalry falling back around them. The stradiots, in possession of the low rise and advancing down it, now took this as a cue to retreat, and fell back far to the rear. The abandoned low hill (and with it the security of the Italian left flank) was claimed by again the Spanish carabins. General Casca quickly occupied the hill with his demilancers as well.

    Lord Calamari valiantly burst about the scene, attempting to repair the damage. All his cavalry had retreated, and several infantry units were now hemmed in or exposed in front. Calamari himself rode far out to the front of his wing, almost alone before the advancing Tercio del Huevos Malos. It was a tremendous personal risk, but he did pull some of his units back into order. He was himself forced to beat a hasty retreat, as his attendant and standard-bearer were shot dead next to him. He returned to his reforming lines.

    But the damage had now been done, the impetus lost forever. Casca had finally maneuvered most of his troops out into formation, and a telling series of volleys drove in the Italian skirmishers, and broke the Milanese elmeti before they could charge. These proud polished horsemen dashed the length of the field back to the road and (nasty rumor has it) straight back to Milan (hence the jest "what's the difference between a stradiot and a Milanese knight?" "One homes in on heads; the other heads on home".).

    Casca now controlled the flank, and attempted to turn the whole Italian left wing. Calamari countered cleverly, but he could not avoid the inevitable crash of the tercio. Calamari threw arquebusiers and his militia crossbow forward, but both were easily driven back. His remaining elmeti cavalry took heavy fire and would not charge. Casca held the hill, but could not quite get the exposed flank he wanted against Calamari's formations. Until the tercio reached the Italian pikemen, Calamari had forced a stalemate. The Italian commander only then noticed the dust clouds beyond the low hill.

    On Lord Pico's flank, the assault was being stopped in its tracks. Musket fire drove in many of his troops. His skirmishers and arquebusiers were bundled back by the sharp fire of the tercio. Unable to close with either the tercio or the village, Lord Pico fumed and swore at his men, cursing in full witness of everyone "his commander, his employer, his God and his stolen elmeti".

    In the center, Cesare of course was only too happy to watch his peasant archers nip and tuck with the hot fire from the village. He had little reason to press the fight further.

    Thus all the clever maneuvering and hard fighting of the Prince of Popoloni was to be in vain. His right could not, and his center would not, press home. General Casca drove the Tercio del Huevos Malos down the throat of Calamari's Italian pikemen, who "crumpled as cheap damask upon a merchant daughter's bosom". The last body of Italian arquebusiers bloodied the tercio, but could no longer stop it. As his elmeti filed to the rear, Calamari admitted defeat and began to form a rearguard - and then he saw them.

    The Knights of St. John, bold, invincible barded cavalry and tough determined halbardiers, appeared as a relief force to his rear, near the Castello Santo Jakobi. They had marched hard to reach the battlefield, and indeed might have arrived sooner - on the LEFT FLANK of Calamari! Unfortunately, they saw the low hill possessed of Spanish demilancers, and detoured AROUND the castle to give support in the allies' rear. Thus the failure to hold that minor feature had played its last and most painful role - denying Calamari an earlier devastating flank attack that might have turned the day.

    Lord Calamari ordered a general withdrawal. Cesare Salado had conveniently already started to perform one. The Knights, too late for battle, helped form up a threatening rearguard. Lord Pico ordered his troops cease-fire and return to camp, the reiters forming a shield. DeLaescuela did not pursue him. The battle of Piccaetto was over.


    Ever the thinking man's commander, Lord Calamari threw some arquebusiers and a handful of his militia into the weathered Castello Santo Jakobi. Though the place was doomed to fall eventually, it might buy him time to retreat and regroup. Santo Jakobi did indeed fall two days later, shortly after the belated Spanish siege guns arrived and breached its tired walls. But the delay had helped Calamari make good his retreat.

    The allied army dissolved into pieces almost immediately. Assembling his colonels in his tent, Lord Pico ordered them to go over to the Spanish with him. To a man, they refused. The Marquis of Posta and a handful of supporters barely escaped patriotic arquebus fire beating a hurried departure to the Spanish camp. DeLaescuela welcomed this sorry little party with all honors. It was only then that both sides realized the courier carrying Pico's final offer to defect had been killed by bandits before the battle. But could the outcome have been much different? Three days later, Colonel Ruff's reiters defected as well. The remainder of the Milanese army went north and broke up into small garrisons to defend the frontier.

    Cesare Salado took his forces and retreated directly for the Venetian homeland. Within eleven days of the battle, Venice signed a treaty with Spain, agreeing to support her on land and sea. DeLaescuela paused for orders, then spun south towards Florence. Calamari fought outnumbered, and his Principality of Popoloni was brutally overrun. When Cesare Salado and the Venetian army arrived before Florence late in the season, the city sued for peace. Only Milan remained - she quickly formed a pact with France, and the war stumbled on.

    As for the combatants, Calamari was praised but had suffered great losses in this war. Lord Pico became a Spanish puppet, and years later challenged Calamari in the small bloody revenge Battle of Reveggio.

    Cesare Salado, Count of Basi, received an honorarium from Venice, extra pay from Spain, a ransom reward for turning over the captured Denada, extortion from several towns, bribes from the terrified Florentines...and then retired, to die six years later, a wealthy, honored and happyman. Business had been good indeed.

    DeLaescuela received honors and finished his career with several well fought but meaningless small battles in the Netherlands. Casca became known for his memoirs and his role in suppressing the peasant Grain Rebellions in Aragon years later.

    And Jorges Denada? He stepped forever into legend. He was called the Spanish Roland (hence his new nickname 'Rolando') , and praised for BLUNTING the allied attack, thereby saving the day for Spain! His popularity soared upon his return to Spain, though Phillip II would not yet grant him the title he sought. Never fully recovering from his wound (he lived off eating a thick paste), Denada worked several minor military desk posts, clamoring for a chance again at glory. Years later, when Phillip faced the prospect of losing a few key forts along the Moorish coast, the public cried out for a heroic rescue of Spanish pride. But who, asked Phillip's advisors, would be so mad as to inspire a small ragtag force to plunge into the very teeth of corsair sea power, to succor some isolated useless outpost in the bleak stinking desert surrounded by multitudes of home-grown well-armed heathens? Where could they ever find such a popular, vainglorious fool?

Phillip smiled.

Jorges Rolando Denada, Lord of Calores, sailed off and into the Battle of San Sarif.


Kenneth Baggaley Commenets: Everyone said they had GREAT time, one stating "It's the most fun I've ever had at Historicon!". I believe two (at least) bought the rules, so that's something.

    What I liked was everybody stayed in character! When Denada issued the challenge (and he actually did!), and I turned to Cesare for his response (recorded as actually given),, you couldn't script a result that entertaining!

    I waited for one side or the other to ask about 'how' they could defect, but no one ventured into that territory. That might have proved interesting.

    I found myself forgetting rules during the game, and I shamelessly turned to Bob Jones and others for answers a few times. But hey, when the Grand Poohbear himself is sitting next to you (shutters in awe), such appeals are not hard to make.

    I think the overall response by all was very positive.

For those interested, the following game issues came up.

A Confused Withdraw card ruined the Italian Left at a critical moment. We mitigate the effect a bit as follows: The opponent selects which command is affected. Count the number of units in that command. Roll a die that most closely totals the number of units. That number of units are effected by Confused withdraw. A possible modifier is +1 to abysmal and -1 to brilliant commanders. In our case, the left wing had 11 units, so a d12 was thrown (commander was average). a roll of 3 led to all three cavalry units withdrawing, disrupting the advance and surrendering the fateful knoll.
A Levy Apprehensive roll was failed by the peasants. I almost always include this card in games with large numbers of peasants. In some scenarios, peasants survivng this roll are treated as fanatics, however!
Mounted Arquebusiers can dismount and fire or fire mounted (at the usual penalty). They reload normally. If they fire mounted in that phase, they can only move 1/2 speed. They cannot use adv/fire/retire. They move as light cavalry, but fight as medium cavalry with swords.
Cavalry do NOT fight in battle mass, except for reiters and some irregular types. Although LaNue points out the advantage of late French pistoleers under Henry IV vs. gendarmes 'en haye', he is comparing cavalry that CHARGE, not traditional pistoleers (which would be most mercenart reiters in our period). Reiters do NOT get charge advantages against lance cavalry, since most lancers would charge them first!
We do not play the rules for officer risk as written, though I continue to fence-sit on the issue. It simply makes no sense for an advance party of skirmishing arquebusiers to take a hit, and the commander 1/2 mile back on the hill fall dead. In Napoleonic times, perhaps the officer might have ridden on ahead, but the Duke of Parma certainly would not.
I continue to be concerned about the firepower of arquebusiers close up against charging cavalry. In a 'historic' battle, no commander would willingly put arquebusiers in front of lancers, undefended by pike or terrain. But in PK, it's almost a decent gamble to get that first point blank shot in, and decimate the lancers. Nobody in the Renaisssance thought that way - in fact, the Hugenouts were continually punished for lacking pikes and sending out arquebusiers alone (and only because they had no choice!). So I don't know how to get that balance back.
We did use our cavalry modifiers. Basically, cavalry with the superiorweapon get one up. The weapon matrix is 'Heavy Lance-LightLance-Spear-Sword'. Everything is just one up, though - no accumulation. - we did modify skirmish fire a bit. Basically, they disorder, with a rare chance of removing a stand.
I will post our House Rules for BoB soon. The problem is, I don't really advocate modifying the heck out of rule sets without a lot of experience on them. Too often, I've known groups to play a game 1-2 times, find a single odd result, and declare 'this must change'. Plus, honestly, we go back and forth on some rules - it takes a lot of play testing to tell if it really 'works' right. This may be even more true for PK with its potential exterme results.

Return to Battle Report Archive or Return to PK Scenarios Archive

Last Updated: Monday, November 08, 1999 08:02:02 PM

This page has been visited Hit Counter times since August 13, 1998.

Copyright © 1998, 1999, 2000 by David K. van Hoose Webmaster of the Official Piquet (PK) Gamers Site.
  All rights reserved.