Over the weekend Mark and I managed to dust down the Renaissance PoW rules and get out the French and Burgundian armies. Prior to Charles the Bolds defeat and death by the Swiss, Burgundy's principle foe was France with whom it sought to dominate the lowlands, Alsace, Lorraine and Burgundy. Luckily for France, Burgundy's utter defeat and collapse at the hands of the Swiss left a power vacuum on its borders which it filled with the help of the Holy Roman Empire.
Historically, the Burgundians should be a match for the French. Whenever, the English campaigned on the continent they always needed Burgundian men at arms to match the French. The Burgundians also led Europe in the development of artillery and in the establishment of a combined arms standing army.
The French emerged victorious from the Hundred Years War through the establishment of heavy artillery that took every English stronghold except Calais. It was also used effectively on the battlefield mowing down assaults by previously irresistible dismounted men at arms. The French heavy cavalry remained the finest in Western Europe and was composed with the cream of French society. However, the infantry was weak and was some years behind the developments led by Burgundy.
|We both struggle to determine each other's real deployment. My French are on the left and Mark is on the right.|
The generally open battlefield benefitted us both but where do we put our main effort? Mark has put 25 points on each of the hills nearest the viewer. He was relying on a firm push ahead of his baggage to secure victory. I had opted for a defensive 25 points on the central steep hill and a further 25 points on the far town. We had 13 turns to secure a victory but both of us were wary of committing an attack until we knew the others intentions. We wasted the first six turns trying to spot each other!
At last I felt I had enough information to force the issue. My main infantry command was anchored on the left flank guarding the town and utilising the difficult ground. I had attached a Gens d'armes and a retainer unit to this flank to give it some punch. My two other cavalry commands were behind the steep hill under my CinC and on top of the right flank hill. Mark had a weak combined arms force opposite the town and I decided to push against it and see whether this would prompt a response.
|My CinC (cavalry in the bottom right) charges forward in support of my left flank which is already in combat around the village. My Gens d'armes have already pushed the Burgundian men at arms back towards the table edge.|
Mark still stuck to his wait and see plan. He moved a little further forward to better engage my left flank and as a result was further away from any support that could be got from his slow central infantry command and his far away left flank cavalry. My CinC slowly (it took 2 turns!) changed his orders and charged off in support of my infantry in the hope of smashing Mark's right flank and uncovering his centre. However, they were not needed. My left flank efficiently overwhelmed their opposite numbers and my CinC was able to change his orders from a position that uncovered the flank of the Burgundian infantry.
We had reached the final two turns of the game by this point. Mark had skirmished ahead of my right flank in the hope of forcing my elite Gens d'armes off their high ground. However, this suited me as his remaining army were pinned watching my right flank as my CinC smashed into archers and artillery in the centre uncovering the Burgundian baggage.
Just to see how good the Burgundian pike was I charged into a block of three - I was minced!
The Burgundians are a good army but difficult to wield. The generals are all D6 which is OK and it has all troop types but not an overwhelming superiority in one particular type. Mark allowed himself to be picked off in detail without challenging me in the one troop type in which he did have a decided superiority - his pike! Until I saw an opportunity I was not willing to risk my army against this all round force.
As a result of this game we think this period would be ideal for our first operational game outside of the twentieth century. Once we have fully developed the ideas we will discuss further.