The Battle of Benvenuto: Introduction

An Italian Wars Scenario for Piquet "Band of Brothers"

This battle was fought as an open game/demonstration of Piquet's 1200 - 1600 AD module, Band of Brothers, at Fall In! November 1998. It was the "Opening Salvo" in a semi-fictional Italian Wars campaign that my friend, Joe Fish and I are playing.

King Louis-Francois II of France has invaded the territory of the Duke of Savoy, hoping to filch some choice real estate to add to his kingdom. However, Duke Rinaldo Carlo Flabenico has other ideas, and has called on family ties with Carlos Miguel de Aragon, King of Spain. The Spanish have used their fleet to land an army in Savoy. The two armies are poised for battle to determine who will control the Duchy. Duke Rinaldo himself has wisely decided to stay holed up in his strong hold at Castel Nuovo. It is important to the French to keep the coastal road to France open, and equally important to the Spanish to cut off the French army from further reinforcements. The village of Benvenuto lies at a strategic location controlling the roadway. Each of the 2 buildings of Benvenuto is worth 3 Morale chips to the side that gains control of it, and similarly the exit point of the road to France is worth 3 morale chips to the side that gains control of it. Each army will also deploy its camp on the battlefield at the location of its choosing. Note that each army will gain one Morale Chip at the end of every turn that its camp remains in its control. See the optional rules in Band of Brothers for "Loot and Pillage" of the camp. As a Ken Baggaley inspired rules variant, pike Phalanxes are composed of 2 pike units plus a "free" extra stand of halberdiers. A Tercio (or Colunella?) is composed of 2 pike and 2 arquebus units. Roll for commander and unit quality as usual for Piquet. The French are -2 for commanders quality rolls. The Spanish are +2 for unit quality rolls. Use usual Piquet procedure for army characterization. Both armies have a card divisor of "Four".


Duc de Nemours, Commanding

  • 1 Units Mounted "Archers", HC, Metal Armor, Lance, Regulars as personal guards

Left Wing, Zamudio

  • 1 unit Gendarmes, EHC, Full Plate, Bard, Lance, Guard, "Unique"
  • 1 unit Mounted Crossbowmen, LC, Helmet Only, Crossbow, Militia
  • 1 unit Skirmish Crossbowmen (2 hits/stand), No armor, Crossbow, Militia

Right Wing, Chevalier Bayard

  • 1 unit Gendarmes, EHC, Full Plate, Bard, Lance, Guard, "Unique"
  • 1 unit Mounted "Archers", HC, Metal Armor, Lance, Regulars
  • 1 unit Stradiots, MC, Leather Armor, Shield, Javelins, Mace, Natives
  • 1 unit Skirmish Crossbowmen (2 hits/stand), No armor, Crossbow, Militia

Center, Louis D' Ars

  • 4 units Swiss Pikemen, Leather Armor, Helmet, Pike, Regulars, "Unique"
  • 2 units Landesknecht Pikemen, Leather Armor, Pike, Regulars
  • 2 units Italian Arquebusiers (3 hits/stand, formed), Helmet only, Arquebus, Militia
  • 1 units Skirmish Arquebusiers (2 hits/stand), No armor, Arquebus, Militia
  • 1 Battery Heavy Guns, No armor, Militia
  • 1 Battery Medium Guns, No armor, Militia


Guillermo de Cosas, Commanding

Left Wing, Don Diego Garcia de Paredes

  • 1 unit Italian Elmeti, EHC, Full Plate, No Bard, Lance, Regulars
  • 1 unit Heavy Mounted Arquebusiers, HC, Metal armor, Arquebus, Sword, Regulars
  • 1 unit Genitors, MC, Leather Armor and Helmet, Javelins, Natives
  • 1 unit Skirmish Musketeers, No armor, Musket, Militia, "Unique"

Right Wing, Picassaro

  • 1 unit Spanish Knights, EHC, Full Plate, Bard, Lance, Guard, "Unique"
  • 1 unit Mounted Arquebusiers, LC, Helmet Only, Arquebus, Militia
  • 1 unit Skirmish Crossbowmen, Helmet Only, Crossbow, Militia

Center, Compte De Allegre

2 Tercios, each consisting of:

  • 2 units of Pikes, Metal Armor, Pike, Regulars
  • 2 units of Arquebusiers, Leather Armor, Arquebus, Elite
  • 1 unit Skirmish Musketeers, No armor, Musket, "Unique"
  • 1 unit Skirmish Crossbowmen, Helmet Only, Crossbow, Militia
  • 1 unit Sword and Bucklers, Metal armor, shield, sword, Regular, "Unique"
  • 1 Battery Organ Guns, Militia (*see special rule below)

Sequence decks are as for 14th-16th C. Spanish and 15th C. French.

Add 2 "Pillage and Loot" cards to the French Troubles and Delay ("TAD") deck, and 1 to the Spanish TAD deck.

Add 2 "Uncontrolled Charge" cards to the French TAD deck

Add 1 "Crushing Missilery" and 1 "Ineffective Missilery" card each to the Spanish TAD deck

* Organ Guns variant special rule: Organ guns have a basic Fire adjustment of "Up Two", point blank range 0 - 6", close range 6 - 12". They reload only on an elite reload card, and must pass a difficulty check to be successful. If a reload attempt fails by triple, there is an explosion, and the battery is removed from play!

Opening Salvo - the Battle of Benvenuto

To: King Louis XII Francois of Valois

From: Marshal The Duc De Nemours

My liege, it is my pleasure to report on the recent victory achieved by your troops over those of the meddling Spaniards. As your Majesty is aware, I had been dispatched with a sizable force to treat with Rinaldo Carlo Flabenico, the corpulent Duke of Savoy, regarding the addition of his territories to those of your Majesty. While I besieged him in his stronghold of Castel Nuovo, he had the effrontery to call upon the unwashed Spaniards to assist him, claiming some ancient defensive treaty existed between them. Little did I expect this call to be successful, so great was my astonishment when my stradiot scouts reported that a large Spanish fleet was engaged in a major landing operation off the coast of Savoy. The Spanish army, commanded by Guillermo de Cosas advanced on the village of Benvenuto, threatening to both break through to the Duke's stronghold, but also to cut us off from the coastal road leading back to dear France! This could not be allowed! I left a small covering force to maintain the siege of Castel Nuovo, and drew up the rest of my army in line of battle to contest the field with the detested Spaniards.

In the center, under Louis D' Ars, I deployed your Majesty's fine artillery towards the right center of my line, with your 2 excellent Swiss and 1 mediocre Landesknecht pike blocks and their supporting shot in the center. To the far right across the creek under the Chevalier Bayard, I stationed your majesty's mercenary stradiots (need I say more regarding their abilities?) with a unit of your gendarmes behind them and in rear support a unit of your "archers". On the left flank, under the command of Zamudio were a unit of Francs-archers crossbowmen were deployed at the edge of a rough rocky hill, and to the far left a unit of exceptionally well trained and motivated mercenary mounted crossbowmen supported by the second unit of your royal gendarmes. Under my personal command, I held a unit of badly winded "archers" whose horses were in desperate need of rest. These were held in reserve behind the guns.

Across the field, the Spanish had deployed with their two immense Tercios anchoring the center of their line. To the left of the village was deployed the elite Tercio of Castile, and opposite our right center was the Tercio of Burgundy. Between the two mighty Tercios were a unit of organ guns, a unit of crack skirmish musketeers, a unit of fine skirmish crossbowmen, and in the second line a unit of crack heavily armored sword and bucklers. The center was commanded by the Compte D' Alegre. Opposite our right, the veteran Don Diego de Paredes commanded a unit skirmish musketeers deployed partly in the marsh and partly across the creek and in front of his cavalry; a unit of hastily raised genitors, a unit of fine EHC Elmeti, and in support a new Spanish innovation - heavy cavalry trained to the sword, but also armed with arquebusses out to prove their battleworthyness. lastly, opposite our left flank were the forces of General Picassarro, an abstract thinker. He commanded two excellent units, one of skirmish foot crossbows, and another of light cavalry mounted arquebusiers, supported by the fearsome Spanish Knights.

It was important that we try to take the village of Benvenuto to prevent the Spaniards from raising the siege of Castel Nuovo, but we were also worried about the foul Spaniards cutting us off from France and your Majesty. It was hoped that we could seize these key points before the Spaniards, and thus bolster the confidence of the lads, who still had Flabenico and his men to the rear, raising the risk of a sortie by the garrison!

The day was already well advanced by the time our armies had deployed for battle. The cursed Spaniards completed their deployment with greater alacrity than your humble servants, and commenced a lumbering advance upon the key village and the key road to France. Zamudio's mounted crossbowmen started forward to contest the advance, and on our right flank, Bayard's cavalry also started forward to dispute the field with the garlic eaters. But in the center, nothing I could do would budge D' Ars and his infantry. He contented himself with some long range artillery fire at Don Diego's advancing Spanish cavalry. For an hour and a half, your majesty's center stood still, the Landesknecht starting their dice games. De Cosas was heard to shout "Magnifico!" as the Spaniards seized control of both the village and the road, essentially unopposed. The Spanish morale and gait, both a bit shaky from their recent maritime transport, began to steady. Half of the arquebusiers of the Tercio de Castile deployed into the village, as did the deadly skirmish musketeers. I must tell your majesty, that our hearts did indeed begin to falter momentarily at the sight of the relentless advance of the Spaniards. Thus far, the only successes of your majesty' s arms had been casualties inflicted by your superb artillery train upon the advancing cavalry of Don Diego, and a convincing and bloody repulse of the mounted arquebusiers of Picassarro by your majesty's Italian mercenary mounted crossbowmen. It seems the two units of light horse had been trading taunts for the better part of an hour, when the Spaniards decided to close range with the mercenaries, evidently with the plan of emptying their arquebusses thereinto. However, may it please your Majesty, your mercenaries acquitted themselves superbly. Taking advantage of their handier weapons, they fired their crossbows before the arquebusiers could come to the halt necessary to fire their weapons from horseback. Fully half of the Spaniards were laid "hors de combat", capitans Fuerte and Maldecido being among the slain. Then the audacious crossbowmen charged the shaken arquebusiers, putting them to rout! Your majesty can barely imagine the cheers that broke forth from the ranks of your soldiers at this most welcome turn of events. After the battle, it was learned that all of Picassarro's aides and officers were swept up in the rout, depriving him of effective command of his wing. Disheartened, it is reported that he spent the rest of the battle far to the rear contemplating the dilemma of how many saints could sit upon the roof of the buildings of the Universidad de Salamanca!

Almost at the start of the second hour of the battle, D' Ars finally reported to me the eagerness of the troops of his center command to surge forth into battle with the uncultured Spaniards. A brief debate ensued over the merits of bringing the battle to the Iberians. Your majesty's troops generally excel when swords, lances, or pikes are crossed, whereas the Spaniards specialize in infantry firearms. Therefore, your grace, it is usually the practice of you generals to close with the enemy with as much haste and elan as possible. At first glance, this seemed to be the prudent policy, as advocated finally by D' Ars. However, on contemplation of the situation, I decided otherwise. True, the banner of Aragon and Castile flew over the key village, but our men were of good spirit, and had suffered no casualties to speak of, whilst the enemy had suffered moderate damage during their advance. Your artillery in particular were being most effective, and with the ponderous pace of advance for a Tercio, the foe was still not within small arms range. Bayard and his troopers, thanks to the fire of your Majesty's cannon, were in an advantageous position to repulse Don Diego and his troops. Lastly, Guillermo's feared musketeers were still emplaced in their swamps and Village, out of range, and showed little inclination to advance. Therefore, your Majesty, I took the bold step of holding my ground with the troops of D' Ars, in the hopes of continuing to damage the opposition with your fine cannon, and then charging after he had become weakened. The propriety of this decision I shall leave to your Majesty and the course of events.

Guillermo de Cosas, surveying the field from the other side was beginning to have similar reservations as to the direction the battle of Benvenuto was taking. He ordered some complex maneuvers to bring the crossbowmen and swordsmen of the center closer to the action and pushed his ponderous Tercios to advance with all speed. At first, Don Diego had some success as the Heavy Arquebusier cavalry dispatched a unit of screening crossbowmen to the rear. He was having no success getting his musketeers to move forwards out of cover to engage the enemy, despite the fact that they were his best troops. His generals were beginning to complain that hour for siestas and the evening repast was approaching. And those cursed French guns! They were causing far more havoc with his troops than they had any right to. His own organ guns, a brittle weapon in the best of circumstances, were hopelessly out of range. They had been dragged forward at a pace that made that of the Tercios seem like one suitable for a fleeing Moor! Silencing those guns was becoming a necessity. Craftily, he ordered Don Diego to maneuver his battered but swift genitors in position to ford the creek and threaten the nearer battery. Unfortunately, just after this maneuver had been executed, the Chevalier Bayard chose to at last display his famed ardor, and De Cosas' concerns turned to dismay when the fearsome Gendarmes of Champagne clanked forwards to the charge!

My sovereign, I now have the honor to relate the story of the Chevalier Bayard's glorious charge. Your Gendarmes of Champagne, at the word of the worthy Bayard, moved to the charge, sweeping all before them. First it was the turn of the Spanish mounted heavy arquebusiers. Their vaunted firearms could make little impact on the Gendarmes, encased as was rider and mount in armor, and were swiftly swept away, capitans Albondegas and Helado being chewed up in the process. As the noble horsemen paused to regroup, they were themselves charged by the splendid Italian allied Elmeti. Lances splintered upon armor on both sides with little losses, but the Elmeti were thrown into disorder. The next hour, as the action turned to mace and sword, the Elmeti were sent scurrying to the rear. Finally, the Spanish musketeers of Don Diego attempted to slow the Gendarmes with a fairly long range fire, and once again the armor of the Gendarmes proved proof against the unchivalrous firearms of the Iberians. Greatly discomfited, the musketeers also began to think of the safety of the ships.

My lord, I beg your indulgence, for I have gotten ahead of myself in my Narrative. As your Highness' servant Bayard was chasing the treacherous Don Diego and his minions from the field, the battle was coming to a climax in the center. The Tercio of Burgundy finally made its way into range of your glorious forces, and promptly loosened a noisome cloud of bullets and black smoke at a unit of Your majesty's Francs Archers. The varlets ran and have doubtless reached your Majesty's fair court already with tales of woe and defeat. Pray pay them no heed and even less salary, your Highness! Similarly, the despicable Genitors closed ranks with your Majesty's culverins, having the poor manners to charge the honorable artillerymen whilst they were short of powder, and after a considerable struggle slew or routed all of the brave crew before being annihilated themselves. Your Majesty's most excellent Bombards, however, continued to mow down ranks of the Tercio of Burgundy to it's front akin to the fashion in which your Highness' peasants reap the winter wheat!

On our left flank, The gracious Zamudio had not been idle. Seeing the Spaniards without direction, he caused his fine mounted crossbowmen to infiltrate themselves forwards towards the mounted Grandees of Spain. With their nimble ponies, there was little risk of the mercenaries being caught by the knights, and so they plied their crossbows with the greatest dash and impunity at the Spanish chivalry. Unfortunately, once again the combination of armor on both man and beast proved more than a match for the feeble projectiles dispatched towards them, and the crossbowmen were forced to pirouette with their ponies away from the advancing and angry knights. Behind them, Your Majesty's most puissant Gendarmes of Gascony lowered their lances to the charge, and rode forwards to meet their social equals! Zamudio' s helm was doffed to reveal long ebony hair as a cheer was offerred to speed them on their way.

Alas, my liege, such a splendid and honorable display of knightly skills was not to be. For the fate of the day had been decided in the center. The Spanish sword and bucklermen had rashly charged both a phalanx of your Majesty's most excellent Swiss pikemen as well as their supporting arquebusiers. As they charged home. the Spanish crossbowmen found their range and decimated the arquebusiers, 2 fanion bearers being perforated, whilst they in turn were unable to have effect on the dispersed crossbowmen.

If I might be so bold, your most lenient majesty, I would conclude on the day that these new firearms are both despicable to any honest noblemen and unreliable in the extreme. I implore your majesty to reserve your Gunpowder for your most excellent Gunnes! Begging your Grace's indulgence for my unasked for and humble advice, I shall resume my tale.

Having thus been rattled, the arquebusiers refused to support the neighboring phalanx. The Swiss pikes of the Canton of Uri fought tenaciously against the more heavily armored but dexterous Spaniards. However as that rascal Nicolo Machiavelli observed, these troops are akin to the Roman legions of antiquity, and have little to fear from unsupported pikemen. They managed to lift up the pikes of the brave confederation soldiers, slipped thereunder, and slew them to a man. Your generosity to the familles of file leaders Gutschmidt, Kleinfelter, Schwarzenkranz, and the Burgermeister of Nachtwald, would I believe, be well placed. It pleases me to report that not a one of the Swiss fled the field, and so intense was the combat that capitan Sablazo of the swordsmen met also his Maker.

The victorious swordsmen had now punched a gaping hole in the center of D' Ars' command, and, may it please your Majesty, therefore the center of the entire army. Now, my lord, it will be seen the wisdom of my dispositions at the outset of the day. For the arrogant swordsmen now executed as fine a wheel as any of Caesar's X legion may ever have been capable, and threatened to fall upon and eliminate the soldiers of the Canton of Schwyz, who composed the remainder of the phalanx. Seeing the crisis of the battle upon me, I seized the fallen banner of Uri, bearing as it does the great Bull's head of that district, and used it to direct the sole reserve of the army, the lance armed Archers, upon the flank of the Swordsmen themselves. Thus seeing, the swordsmen became disordered, and as my Archers descended upon them, completely demoralized. Yet still these demons from the depths of the Inferno fought on, wheeling yet again as they faced the somewhat fatigued charge and fended off many lances. Indeed, your Highness, they fought the Archers to a standstill for over an hour. This was, however, enough for Guillermo de Cosas, and he ordered the army to retreat under cover of the swordsmen and their heroic last stand (as well as the fully loaded organ guns and musketeers within the village). Thus, my lord, ended the Battle of Benvenuto.

- Your loyal serviteur

Page Last Updated On: 18 Aug 2007