Sunday, 26 October 2014

Machiavelli summer 1457

This turn saw a massive swing in fortunes. I had realised that my aggressive assault on Florence was going to make me a threat to my neighbours but I had not realised how advanced their alliance was.

Naples, Venice and the imperialist (Austria) launched a combined offensive against me. Naples attacked from the south while Venice bribed my army in Bologna pushing it into Pistoia, following up with a move onto Bologna and a landing in Ancona. The imperialist transported on Venetian boats landed in Romagna attacking the Papal troops there.

My forces continued their assault into Florence taking Pisa and attacking Florence again. I had hoped for another turns grace but it was not to be. These moves brought an unexpected turn as Milan began a line of communication again. Although things look pretty dire I am looking forward to the challenge of digging the Pope out of this mess.

Battle of Florence

Three Papal armies were converging on Florence. The position for looked hopeless and the Florentine commander was almost beaten before the battle.

The terrain consisted of a few woods and flat ground, not best suited to the Papal forces but the preponderance of numbers should see them win. Florence formed up with a massive pike centre in front of the walls to the city. The Papal forces had a pike block centre with auxiliaries on the flanks. They expected reinforcements on either flank, each consisting of three elements from the 12 element army.

The Florentine commander changed tack normal very passive he opted for a slightly more aggressive approach pushing his line forward and sending psilo into the woods on his right flank. The Papal commander (me) attempted to buy time by pushing forward aggressively but not closing to contact in an effort to bluff Florence into holding. The Florentine commander did indeed take the bluff and hold and the left flank Papal army had arrived. As the Papacy attempted to stall and wait for the right hand army to arrive Florence began light skirmishing against the left flank reinforcements. This skirmishing began to escalate as each side began feeding troops in. The Papal commander should have known better instead of a concentrated attack it now became devolved into a piecemeal assault and Florence really grasped the nettle and came out of his box.

Instead of a crushing attack with overwhelming numbers the Papal troops now found themselves getting in the way of each other as the Florentines went on the offensive. It was close run but Florence prevailed to save the capital for another day.

The strategic situation changed little, while the capital held the remaining territories were open for conquest.

Machiavelli Spring 1457

The Florentine force that had moved into Bolongna did not move out as agreed. In response the papal force garrisoning Bologna sallied out to meet them in the field.

The Florentines were drawn up defending a river line. The papal army is not well suited to open field engagements but excels in bad terrain. My plan was to push on either side to split the Florentine defence before assaulting one wing or the other depending on opportunity.

Florence occupied a defensive position on the riverbank, placing their artillery covering the ford. I split my force into 3, a solid pike block in the centre, auxiliaries and crossbow on my left, auxiliaries on my rightand holding my knights in reserve.

As the papal forces began their advanced, Florence pushed troops up to cover his right but left his other flank unguarded. The papal crossbow began harrassing fire from in the river while the auxiliaries pushed forward against the unguarded flank. The knights facing the crossbows were feeling the pain with one stand lost to fire. The auxiliaries crossed the river unopposed,  this produced a reaction from the Florentine centre as a pike unit, blades and some crossbowmen repositioned to protect the threatned flank.

The weakened centre presented the papal forces with the opportunity and they grasped it with both hands. The pike block attacked over the river against the weakened Florentine centre. One destroyed artillery unit later and it was nearly all over. Florentine hopes were pinned on a pike and blade combination but with auxiliaries pouring over the river on the flank and the pike block to their front it was a vain hope.

The battle resulted in the destruction of the Florentine army as it had no path of retreat. The Papal armies now looked poised to complete the destruction of Florence.

Machiavelli Campaign

I have been taking part in my first campaign for years. It is a renaissance Italian campaign using the board game Machiavelli. The game is similar to diplomacy but with a financial element thrown in. We are taking any engagements on the map and fighting them out using dba.

The campaign started slowly with the independents being swallowed up and a mad flurry of emails figuring out alliances. As the dust settles I felt I had a solid arrangement with Florence and Venice. It was app that my interests clashed with Milan which would lead to problems.

Papal conncerns also extended to the south. Naples poses a real threat to central Italy with there only concern being the Turks. I felt I needed to support the Turks to distract Naples.

I launch an illfated naval attack on Bari. I had anticipated an uncontested landing but that was not to be. Naples had moved an army across to cover this and I didn't come out of the ensuing battle well. Because Venice had moved into the sea space behind me I could not retreat and my fleet was destroyed.

The game moved on, a bit more manoeuvring took place and Milan was far more concerned with my position than before. Milan also came out against me by bribing a unit I had raced up to Genoa to secure its revenue. It was a good play by Milan I have to say though I was fizzing.

This really crystalised my focus, Naples needed to be contained but Milan needed to be delt with. I spoke to Florence and Venice to cobble together some kind of arrangement. We reach a reasonable arrangement and Florence pushed troops through to launch an attack. At this moment the ruler of Florence died (went back to uni) and a new ruler was installed.

My first chat with this new ruler didn't fill me with reassurance and further chats really began to concern me. I was faced with a stark choice hope that Florence would be reasonable or crush them. Being the Pope I felt reasonable was for the weak and decided to crush them.

This really was a one off opportunity.

Thursday, 27 March 2014

Battle of Talana Hill

Sir George Stuart White, commanding the British division at Ladysmith, had unwisely allowed Major-General Penn Symons to throw a brigade forward to the coal-mining town of Dundee (also reported as Glencoe), which was surrounded by hills. This became the site of the first engagement of the war, the Battle of Talana Hill. Boer guns began shelling the British camp from the summit of Talana Hill at dawn on 20 October. Penn Symons immediately counter-attacked. His infantry drove the Boers from the hill, but at the cost of 446 British casualties including Penn Symons. This was the script for our game.

In our game we decided to attack the highest peak on our right, the one without the trees in front of it. The plan was to storm it and then push down the ridge while our guns shelled the middle hill hopefully pinning any Boers there.

Well the assult shoved up the hill taking fire all the way. The two flank battalions pushed on quickly racing to get through the beaten zone as quickly as possible. The centre battalion was failing to keep up the hammer blow envisioned now look a lot more bitty.

The two horns if you like now swung round on each flank of the boer position and launched the assault into the position. At this point we called it a day as we had run out of time.

Sunday, 2 March 2014

Prussian force 1813

I am presently putting together a Prussian force for 1813. I have based it on Prinz Mecklenburg-Strelitz brigade in 1813. It consisted of  1st infantry regiment (1st east Prussian), the 3rd infantry (2nd East Prussian) regiment, a Silesian landwher regiment, a battery of artillery and the Mecklenburg-Strelitz Hussars.

320 infantry
24 cavalry
4 guns

I am also doing some of the Prussian reserve cavalry, the Lithuanian Dragoons and the 2nd West Prussian Dragoons, with a battery of horse artillery attached.

48 cavalry
4 guns

Friday, 9 August 2013

Battle of Actium

This was a game played out at the phoenix club in Glasgow. The club run a massed game the first Tuesday of every month and this was this ones! The battle of Actium saw Octavian's fleet under Agrippa beat Mark Antony and Cleopatra's fleet in a decisive engagement ending the challenge to Octavian's domination.