Legio Wargames

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By smacdowall, Aug 15 2018 10:54AM

I have long considered building an Ottoman army to provide a new and interesting opponent for my War of Spanish Succession Imperialists. I was, however, put off by the sheer numbers of troops I would have to raise and the fact that there are no opportunities for fielding a contingent two to serve as allies in any of my existing armies. Fortunately one of my friends decided to do it himself. Not only that he has the space and patience to raise an Ottoman army in 28mm scale.


Ottoman light cavalry
Ottoman light cavalry

I played the Ottoman right wing commander with an all-cavalry force of light Tartars, Bedouins and Akinci irregulars backed up by some heavy Sipahis. As a cavalryman at heart, these are exactly the type of troops I love to lead on the wargames table.


Süleyman the Magnificent
Süleyman the Magnificent

Our Sultan, the benevolent and magnificent Süleyman, arrayed his army with a powerful artillery force in the centre along with elite Janissaries behind mobile fortifications.


Jannisaries and artillery of the centre
Jannisaries and artillery of the centre

His plan was to wear down the Hungarian foot with superior firepower, while the cavalry wings drew off the enemy mounted knights and retainers.



Commander of the Hungarian right wing
Commander of the Hungarian right wing


Hungarian knights and retainers
Hungarian knights and retainers

The Hungarian knights were heavily armoured with many riding barded horses. In an even combat they would inevitably have the edge but we had many light cavalry who could wear them down.



My light cavalry overwhelm the enemy right
My light cavalry overwhelm the enemy right

Although I had initially planned to simply wear down the enemy cavalry on my flank, good shooting by my Tartar horse archers gave me the opportunity to close in and overwhelm the enemy light cavalry screen. I was then able to drive off the entire enemy left wing, forcing King Lajos to move his reserve knights to shore up his collapsing flank.


The Ottoman guns open fire
The Ottoman guns open fire

In the centre our guns opened fire at long range.


The enemy foot take casualties from artillery fire
The enemy foot take casualties from artillery fire

Although it took 3 turns for our heavy guns to re-load, by the time the enemy Landsknechts and Hungarian foot reached our lines they were already beginning to waver.



The cavalry engagement on our left
The cavalry engagement on our left

On our left a huge swirling cavalry battle developed which flowed back and forth with neither side gaining a significant advantage.



The Saphis rout
The Saphis rout

Meanwhile on our right, King Lajos’ reserve knights succeeded in routing my Saphis. Isolated and in danger of being surrounded by my hordes of light cavalry the Hungarian knights called off their pursuit and pulled back to re-form. This gave my Saphis the opportunity to rally.



The enemy foot crumble
The enemy foot crumble

When the Hungarian foot came into close combat with the Janissaries in the centre, they were so worn down by artillery and musket fire that their lines crumbled.


Victory was ours. We had destroyed the Hungarian left wing and centre. We had managed to hold their right wing and their reserves without having yet committed our own reserves.





By smacdowall, Nov 30 2015 08:35PM

After a bit of a pause the toys were out on the table again today -- not mine but Gary Kitching's.


The battle is Marignano (1515) in which the Swiss, encouraged by the sly Cardinal Schiner, spring fourth from Milan to attack the French army commanded by the young King François I, played by myself. The Swiss are supported by a small mounted contingent following Maximilian Sforza.


The French advance guard consists of light cavalry stradiots, some French infantry and a small number of Gendarmes. They are under the command of the vainglorious Charles Duc de of Bourbon.




The lead Swiss pike phalanx charges accross a ditch, pushing the French infantry back while Sforza's cavalry got the better of a series of engagements with Bourbon's men.




After a blessing from his holy cardinals, the gallant King François leads his Gendarmes forward to rescue the hapless Bourbon and drive off Sforza's cavalry.



Faced by the best cavalry in the world, personally led by the most chivalrous and christian king, there can only be one outcome. Maximilian Sforza is driven from the field, hotly pursued by the French.



The lead Swiss unit drives back the French foot and then continues forward to smash the Landsknechts of the Duc d'Alençon's rearguard which moves up on that flank. Unfortunately the retreating French troops mask the grand battery of guns and prevent them firing on the rapidly advancing Swiss.




The steady Landsknechts fight bravely but they cannot hold back the Swiss juggernaut.



Fortunatley as the second line of Swiss move on the Black Legion, the retireing French clear out of the way. This allows the massed battery of guns in the center of the French line to deliver a devastating blast which ploughs great furrows through the Swiss ranks.




Personally led by the gallant and chivalrous Chevalier de Bayard, the Black Legion routs the second Swiss phalanx and then swings around to hit the third line. At the same moment King Francois leads his Gendarmes back to the centre of the field after reining in their pursuit of Sforza's cavalry. At the same time as the Black Legion crashes into the flank of the Swiss phalanx, the Gendarmes hit them from the front.


The Swiss are swept from the field. Then after giving praise to God, King François dismounts and is knighted on the field of battle by the Chevalier de Bayard.











By smacdowall, Jun 16 2015 09:17PM

While my 17th century armies are steadily building to a point that soon they will see battle, today I stepped back a bit over a century for some early Rennaisance action thanks to Gary Kitching's beautiful Italian wars armies. The scenario was Ravenna in 1512 with the valiant French (Ernie Fosker and myself) storming the entrenched lines of the so-called Holy League (Gary and Dave Allen).


Too cowardly to meet us in open battle the Spanish and Papal troops cower behind entrenchements to await our attack.


Led by the noble and valiant Jacques II de Chabannes, Lord of La Palice and Grand Master of France; the French Gendarmes open the battle by sweeping around the enemy left wing and charging the Papal men at arms.


The French Gendarmes break through and crash into the second line of enemy cavalry while the Spanish pike turn to face the threat.



Meanwhile the Landsknechts, Picards and Gascons advance in the centre. Our plan was to pin the enemy infantry in the entrenchments while our cavalry swept around the flanks.


The Gendarmes on our left flank are led forward by Gaston de Foix. In his excitement to get to blows with the enemy he advances first against the entrenchements and then has to begin to swing around to the flank under artillery fire.


Suffering heavy fire from the Spanish behind the entrenchments the Landsknechts decide to attack rather than suffer more casualties.



The Landsknechts break through the entrenchments and the Gendarmes break through the second line of Papal cavalry only to be driven back themselves by the Spanish guard cavalry. The brave La Palice is killed in the melee.


Similarly in the centre the Swiss break through the entrenchments but are held by the Spanish foot.


Likewise our Italian foot on the French side come up against their compatriots on the enemy side but are driven back with casualties.


On our left flank Gaston de Foix finally has his men in position to charge around the enemy right flank. They are held up by the Spanish light cavalry as they squeeze through the narrow gap between the entrenchments and boggy ground. A lucky shot from the Italian shot on the ramparts wounds him.


With the Landsknechts and Gendarmes breaking through a confused melee erupts in the centre. The Gendarmes are driven off but the second line of French cavalry drive off the remaining Spanish and Papal cavalry and pile into the melee. The Spanish foot make an attempt to hold the line but attacked on all sides and with their morale wavering they have no chance.


It was a great game with great company and fantastic figures. The result was not too far removed from the original battle. We used a modification of the Close Files and European Order rules (17th century version) which worked surprisingly well.


















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