The Flickering Flame: The Battle of the Bolla

The flames sputtered and flickered in the candelabras on the great dining table in the banquet hall of the palace of the Dodge of Venice. It was late on a chilly November evening, but this was no formal state dinner. No sycophants or grasping merchants occupied the stately hall this night. No fine dishes nor silverware were set out upon the table, although there was some carving to be done. Instead, a broad and detailed map of Italy lay rolled out thereupon, with but two persons gazing thoughtfully upon it. GirolamoVitale Contarini, his 79 year old body wasted by a chronic stomache grippe aquired while leading the armies of the Serene Republic some 20 years ago, was still possessed of the full measure of cunning and warlike courage that had earned him the title of "The Lion of Venice" so many years ago. Alas, his weakened frame would no longer allow him to serve the Republic in the field. But his Dodge, Bartolomeo Lorenzo Da Caprio, knew well that his value to the Republic was not yet ended, and had called him to this room and place to confer about recent events in Italy. With the defeat of Spain by France at the Battle of Benvenuto earlier in the month, it seemed that a new round of wars was likely to break out across the peninsula. How the Serene Republic in general, and the houses of Dodge Da Caprio and Senator Contarini in particular, could best profit from recent events was the main course on tonight's menu! It seemed best to encourage the natural tendencies for the Hapsburgs and Ottomans to distrust one another, whilst the Republic looked for some profitable real estate to aquire. After considering the various possibilities, it seemed that an invasion of the nominally neutral Duchy of Mantua from Ventian territory in Verona, accompanied by a large bribe to certain noble factions in that land, held the best chance for success, both military and monetary. But who was to lead the army? Bartolomeo, although handsome and popular, knew he was too much of a coward to take the field, and Giralomo was too elderly and infirm. The two consipators decided to hire the famous Condotiere general Niccolo Urlife to head the army. Bartolomeo's 29 year old son, Leonardo Orso, was picked as one of the wing commanders. Perhaps it would limit for a while his endless campaigns in the bedrooms of most of the notable ladies of Venice! Girolamo's 34 year old cousin, Franchesco de Tedesco was selected as well. Finally, the prominent Loredan family had to be considered, and a member appointed to command as well. With several sly chuckles, the 18 yo Paolo Loredan was chosen. He was usually to be found around the stables of the cavalry, but rather than practising his arms, he was generally in the arms of a particularly attractive trooper. At least he'd be familiar with the Republic's new cavalry, heavily armored men armed with a brace of pistols and trained to fight in the new caracole style. The army would be mustered by the beginning of December, and a swift subjugation of Mantua was planned, before the weather became too foul.

At the same time, the Duchess of Milan, Octavia Jasmina Mendocino began to press her husband to take some action to strengthen their territories against the new wave of wars she saw about to spread over Italy. Naturally militaristic by nature, it didn't take much prodding from his wife before he ordered the mobilization of the Duchy's armed might under the serpent banner of his house. Where might his forces be used to best advantage? Ah, yes, by bringing the independent Duke of Mantua under his heel. For wing commanders, it was to be "all in the family" He appointed his brother in law, 39 year old Domenico Tomaso Zamboni to command the cavalry. The bulk of the infantry was given to his other brother in law and asthmatic twin of his wife, Quintilius Alfonso Zamboni. Finally, Mercenaries were hired to supplement the army and were placed under the command of Alexandro Umbruzzi, the acknowleged bastard son of Octavia's father. Soon Duke Luigi Emilio Mendocino was headed out of Milan at the head of his army, headed for Mantua! It was so much better for the soul to be heading forward to glory than presiding over the court in Milan! With the Venetians worried about the Ottomans and the Hapsburgs, they'd be in little position to interfere, especially once the winter weather made all the roads into quagmires!


Rulers! The Dodge claimed this was going to be like a formal Dance at Court. Just move across the border into the Duchy of Mantua, overawe the populace, bribe the Duke, and the Duchy will be a fine addition to the Serene Republic. Unfortunately, Luigi Mendocino, Duke of Milan, seemed to have had much the same ideas. Niccolo Urlife sat in his tent, contemplating the rough sketch he had made of the ground that would be a battlefield on the morrow. The flickering of the lantern made it hard to see the crude map, but he remembered the key features anyway. As the Milanese forces of Duke Luigi Mendocino heavily outnumbered him in battle worthy cavalry, he'd try to use the terrain to minimize their advantage. Fortunately, the Bolla stream and woods off to his left flank would provide a solid anchor there. The small village of Folonari in his center with its olive grove afforded another defensive position, while a farm and some marshy ground could be relied upon to anchor his right flank. The terrain on the Milanese side of the battlefield was mostly open, except for the town of Lambrusco in the center, and a low hill off to the Milanese left.. Scouts had reported that the Milanese army had approximately the following composition:

In the Van, under Domenico Zamboni

  • 1200 Famiglia, Lancers in full plate with barded horses - the nobility of Milan
  • 600 Lanze Spezzate, hired men in full plate but without the barding (or elan)
  • 1200 Condotiere lancers in cuirasses and helmets
  • 400 Mercenary mounted crossbowmen

In The Battle, under Quintilius Zamboni

  • 800 Mercenary crossbowmen skirmishers
  • 600 Sword and Buckler men in leather armor
  • 1200 City Militia arquebusiers, who seemed well trained in the use of their arms.
  • And some objects the scouts reported looked like mobile calliopes from a carnival.

In the Rear, under his illegitimacy, Alfonzo Umbruzzi

  • 1800 Landesknecht pikemen, most with armor
  • 400 Mercenary crossbowmen skirmishers
  • 1200 City Militia arquebusiers
  • And finally, some heavy artillery pieces could be seen.

Count Urlife reviewed the morning returns for his own army, wishing for more and better heavy cavalry, as well as more experienced subordinates:

Under his personal command, as a reserve against the ardor of the Milanese horse: 1200 "Reiters", highly trained Pistoliers in Plate armor. They never the less seemed to lack the spirit of true nobles. They were trained in the latest fad from Germany, the Caracole tactic. He had his doubts as to how they'd fare.

In the Van, the despised Paolo Loredan commanded his beloved cavalry. Despite his lack of appreciation for his amorous tastes, and his family being opponents of the Dodge, Niccolo had to admit that the man was brave to a fault, and had the respect of his troops. Deployed across the Bolla stream from the Milanese:

  • 800 Stradiots, the equally despised javelin armed medium cavalry recruited by the Venetians from the wild lands of Albania
  • 400 Mounted Arquebusiers, useful only for delaying tactics and raids
  • 400 Foot Arquebusiers, skirmishing along the stream and woods.

In the Battle, under his most reliable commander, the cousin of the redoubtable Lion of Venice, Franchesco de Tedesco, and deployed from the edge of the stream and on through the olive groves and village of Folonari:

  • 1800 Pikemen, heavily armored mercenaries, all veterans
  • 600 Elite Arquebusiers from the city of Venice
  • 600 Schiavoni, bloodthirsty but less skilled arquebusiers from the Venetian colonies
  • 400 Musketeers, armed with the new, accurate heavy fire arms (a gift to the Dodge from the King of Spain, no less)
  • 2 Batteries of Culverins, useful if the enemy were obliging enough to advance upon them

And in the Rear, under the notorious lover, the youngest son of the Dodge, Leonardo da Caprio:

  • 1800 Pikemen from the Venetian City Guards, doubtless full of men cuckolded by their commander ( and sure to encourage the young gigolo forwards!)
  • 600 Elite Venetian City Arquebusiers (ditto!)
  • 400 Skirmish Arquebusiers
  • 1200 Colonial Schiavoni

Count Urlife only extinguished the dimming flame in his lantern in the early morning hours, after having most of his troops mustered into place. A short time later, his page awoke him, and he put on his armor, chilly as it was on a December morning. He prayed briefly and confessed to one of the attendant priests before leaving his tent. He made sure the army's wagons and camp, including the bribes earmarked for the Duke of Mantua, were stationed in a secure location behind the Folonari village. Then he inspected the Milanese dispositions. He was not very surprised to see the cavalry of the Van deployed in several waves opposite the Bolla stream. The Battle was deployed in front of the town of Lambrusco, with the Rear refused off towards the hill. On the crest of the hill stood a battery of very heavy, very immobile, guns. It looked to be a long day in the saddle.

The Flickering Flame - The Battle, part I

The morning of the battle dawned bright and clear, but clouds could be seen heading down from the Alps to the north. The Milanese cavalry, under Domenico Zamboni, advanced smartly towards the Venetian left flank force under Paolo Loredan. After admiring his troopers, Loredan sent the foot and horse arquebusiers forward to skirmish along the banks of the Bolla stream, with his 2 units of disreputable Stradiots formed up in reserve, one backing up each arquebusier unit. The plan was for the arquebusiers to fire at any attacking Milanese cavalry and disorder them, then withdraw, whereupon the Stradiots would charge and hopefully repulse them. If the entire Milanese cavalry forded the stream, Loredan's force would be overwhelmed, but the cavalry would likely be removed from the rest of the battle thereafter. However, Domenico had strict instructions to send only the mounted crossbowmen and the 2 units of heavy cavalry Condotiere lancers to dispute the Bolla. The strike force of the army, the Lanze Spezzate and the Milanese Famiglia advanced to almost midfield and then began to incline towards the Venetian center where it was anchored on the bend of the Bolla stream. This area was held only by an elite unit of Venetian city arquebusiers and the armored mercenary pikemen, screened in front by the experimental musketeers. The commander of the Venetian center, Franchesco de Tedesco, boldly pushed these troops forward as far as he could without losing the flank protection of the Bolla and Loredan's command. For more than one reason, he didn't want that fellow's command behind him for any reason! On the other hand, the presence to his rear of his commander, with the plate armored Reiters, was a considerable reassurance.

The rest of Franchesco's all important center command had been deployed in the buildings of Folonari village, with the Culverins deployed and ready alongside the village. Urlife had hoped for and expected a defensive fight in defense of the village. Duke Mendocino had, however, not chosen to oblige him. The Milanese center, under Quintilius Zamboni, had only thrown forwards its crossbow armed skirmishers. The bulk of the troops seemed to be holding back, as though waiting to exploit an anticipated breakthrough by their armored cavalry. These exchanged fire with the musketeers of Venice. Contrary to the reports of their battlefield superiority from Spain, the crossbowmen severely out shot the Musketeers, eventually disabling or dispersing the entire unit, and killing all 4 of the captains. To Urlife's professional eye, it appeared that perhaps the troops were less than perfectly familiar with their new arms, and therefore close too closely and quickly with the crossbowmen, thereby failing to take advantage of their weapon's superior range.

Meantime, on the Venetian right, the young puppy (and son of the Dodge), Leonardo da Caprio, found little opposition to his front. However, even at long range, the heavy Milanese guns were playing havoc with the deep ranks of his pike phalanx as well as their supporting arquebusiers and Schiavoni. Perhaps unwisely, he pressed his troops forward, hoping to take out those annoying guns. For his part, the Milanese left flank commander, Alfonzo Umbruzzi, was content to hold his Pikemen and arquebusiers in reserve as long as possible. This allowed the impetuous Leonardo's troops to suffer their whole advance under the unobstructed fire of his magnificent cannon. Only after they had suffered adequately, and closed to within deadly close range of the guns, did he planned to counter attack and pin Da Caprio's troops under that galling fire. This had the added advantage of leaving the more numerous but shorter ranged Venetian Culverins without any targets!

As the armies advanced upon one another as has been described above, the Alpine clouds started to drift over the battlefield. They had the most curious effect of causing first one portion of the field and then the other to go from bright sunlight to deep shadow. This eerie effect was to continue for the remainder of the battle. Many of the troops thought it to be omen from God, but of what?

The Flickering Flame - The Battle, part II

Franchesco de Tedesco looked at his culverins, imposing but completely without targets, and decided to attempt the difficult maneuver of hitching them to their teams and bringing them forwards. Several noted military writers have since questioned the wisdom of this decision, but evidently Franchesco was worried by the weight of cavalry and infantry descending upon his command, especially after the earlier loss of his musketeers. Seeing this, Domenico Zamboni judged it high time to unleash his cavalry upon the Venetian left and center.

As the Milanese Lanze Spezzate crossed over towards the center, they came in range of the Venetian skirmishers deployed along the banks of the Bolla. These kept up an annoying fire, causing some losses among the armored cavalry, the Baronet of Cremona being among them. Slowed by their full plate armor, they fell under the guns of the arquebusiers of the city of Venice, who caused further losses and disorder amongst them before they could finally charge home. The arquebus fire had done its job, and the remainder of the heavily armored cavalry was either killed or routed. Unfortunately, close behind them rode the two units of Milanese Famiglia. Still trying frantically to reload their firearms, the arquebusiers could not pull off the trick a second time, and were ridden under, with the loss of two sons of the merchant princes of Venice. The remainder routed to the rear in the greatest possible disorder. In the confusion, the commander of the Venetian center, Franchesco de Tedesco, was hit in the chest by a stray crossbow bolt. The wound, although serious, did not at first appear fatal, but later a chest fever set in and he succumbed by the end of the month. The Venetian center was now deprived of his leadership.

Meanwhile, on the Venetian left flank, one of the units of Milanese Condotiere lancers slowly forded the Bolla stream. The Venetian mounted arquebusiers fired at them as they crossed, but to very little effect, and soon found themselves bundled off towards the rear. The Condotiere continued on into the stradiots stationed in reserve. The battle raged for a short time, after which the stradiots were somewhat surprised to see themselves victorious, with the lancers losing one of their captains in the fray, and routing back across the Bolla. Fortunately for Milan, Domenico Zamboni was able to restore order to the discomfited (and now thoroughly embarrassed) Condotiere, and they reformed some distance from the Bolla. Closer to the center, Domenico then ordered his mounted crossbowmen towards the Bolla, in order to screen the advancing Famiglia from any further attentions from Loredan's arquebusiers. As he lead them forward, a shot from the arquebusiers slammed into the armor on his left shoulder. The wound, while not serious, was very painful and left Domenico with no choice but to retire from the field. His crossbowmen, too, got the worse end of the exchange with the Venetians on the other side of the Bolla, losing 2 captains over the course of 2 hours as they skirmished with one another.

Stationed on the Venetian right flank, Leonardo Da Caprio continued to urge his troops forward. As they started to near the Milanese bombards, Alfonzo Umbruzzi at last allowed the Landesknechts and arquebusiers under his command to wheel forwards to meet the Venetians. Initially, success favored Milanese arms, as the bombards inflicted losses on the closely packed ranks of the phalanx, and the Milanese crossbowmen rained destruction on one of the city arquebusier units, killing 2 prominent traders and sending the remainder of the unit to the rear in rout, not stopping to rally until they had reached Folonari village itself. Shortly thereafter, the Venetian civic pikemen took their revenge by charging one of the Milanese arquebusier units, routing it with the loss of half of its men. Da Caprio called up his as yet untested Schiavoni, and they exchanged shots with the Milanese, gaining the upper hand due to their linear formation issuing timed fire as opposed to the deep fire by rotation of the Milanese.

By now, the mercenary pikemen of the Venetian center were now virtually without support, aside form the limbered culverins and some Schiavoni in the houses of Folonari, who seemed little inclined to leave the safety of its walls. The 2 units of Milanese Famiglia were bearing down towards their flank, whilst the entire infantry and organ guns of the Milanese center advanced on their front. Niccolo Urlife saw little choice but to commit his 2 units of Reiters in full plate from the reserve, in an attempt to stabilize the situation. The lead unit advanced to point bank range of the victorious but disordered Famiglia, pouring pistol fire into the noble horsemen for 30 minutes, but seemingly without effect. Once the proud Milanese came to grips with the pistoliers, the later were scattered to the winds with heavy losses, 2 of Paolo Loredan's companions being trampled under in the action. Thereupon the Venetian pikemen managed to wheel to their left, reducing their chances of being taken in flank by the next unit of Famiglia. This left the Milanese crossbowmen free to fire at will at the deep pike column, and despite many bolts glancing off the armor of the mercenaries, still one captain and then another went down under their attentions.

Niccolo Urlife fretted and worried, whilst Duke Luigi felt most encouraged. Although things weren't looking too bad for Venice on the flanks, their center was looking in imminent danger of total collapse. Urlife prayed that his remaining unit of Reiters was made of sterner stuff than the first, or it might prove difficult to collect his pay from his Venetian masters!

The Flickering Flame - The Battle, part III

By now, it was well past mid day. On the Venetian left flank, Paolo Loredan's foot arquebusiers continued to slowly outshoot the opposing Milanese mounted crossbowmen who were supported by the second and as yet uncommitted unit of Condotiere. The other Condotiere unit, now rallied, began to advance back towards the Bolla, where the Stradiots remained disordered despite the best attempts of Loredan to rally them. The Venetian mounted arquebusiers also started to ride slowly back towards the stream.

At the same time, on the Venetian right flank, things were coming to a head. The Venetian Civic pikemen wheeled towards the hill where the Milanese Bombards were stationed. As they neared the hill, Alfonzo Umbruzzi saw his pride in his heavy guns start to flag. Although at deadly close range, the Bombards seemed unable to damage the pike phalanx. It seems that the muzzles of the monstrous guns could not be depressed adequately to bear upon the advancing pikemen. Before the perspiring Milanese gunners could switch to hailshot in a desperate attempt to repel the pikemen, the Venetians nimbly climbed the gentle hill and gleefully dispatched the artillerists to a man.

Seeing the fall of the Milanese guns, their commander let out a whoop of celebration. Unfortunately, a piece of the case shot struck him in the cheek, putting a whole clear through it. Leonardo Da Caprio was unable to communicate except by gestures, which his troops pretended to be unable to understand. At the same time, the Venetian Schiavoni of his command charged home on the Milanese arquebusiers. Disordered by their earlier losses, and disheartened by the capture of their guns, the arquebusiers put up scant resistance and were routed. Now the Milanese pikes were unsupported, and out of position to attack the 2 units of Schiavoni near them. A grand minuet occurred as the Landesknechts wheeled towards Folonari and the Venetians, and the Schiavoni in turn wheeled towards the vulnerable flanks of the phalanx. To complicate things for the Landesknechts, the Venetian culverins were finally in position to fire, and this made it difficult for them to find an approach where someone could not bring fire to bear on their flanks.

In the center, things were still looking precarious for Venice. The rather lonely mercenary pikes already had Famiglia towards to their flank, and coming up behind the annoying crossbow armed Milanese skirmishers, 2 full units of arquebusiers, a unit of swordsmen, and an array of multibarreled organ guns were fast closing upon their position. Niccolo Urlife exhorted his final reserve, the Plate armored Reiters, forward to engage the Famiglia threatening to outflank the embattled pikemen. The Famiglia had not been able to reorganize after their defeat of the first Reiter unit, and this time the fire of the Reiters proved devastating, and the Famiglia disintegrated completely under repeated rounds of point blank pistol fire. 4 Counts perished, including the count of Piancenza. The survivors streamed straight backwards into the Bolla, and with both horse and rider heavily encumbered with plate armor foundered and drowned all along its muddy banks. Rattled, Duke Luigi Mendocino unleashed his final unit of Famiglia in a slow but thundering charge at the triumphant Reiters. This sight was too much for the Reiters, who were now with completely unloaded pistols, and they broke and ran back towards their camp, with Urlife riding after them frantically, attempting to rally them before they fled the battlefield!

Back on the far Venetian left flank, the rallied Condotiere charged across the Bolla and into the still disorganized Stradiots. This time the Condotiere were unaffected by their Javelins, and spitted the commander of the Albanian cavalry, sending the Stradiots galloping off the field in a panic filled rout. It is rumored that they did not rally until carrying news of a Milanese victory clear to the Balkans! However, the Venetian mounted arquebusiers calmly finished reloading their pieces, and began to advance on the victorious but now quite winded Condotiere. Simultaneously, the decimated Milanese mounted crossbowmen withdrew from their bank of the Bolla just as the second unit of Condotiere lowered their lances reached the edge of the stream. Paolo Loredan, although enjoying the opportunities this flank had afforded to admire the posteriors of both friends and foe, began to worry about his own!

The Flickering Flame - The Battle, part IV

The shadows of the short December afternoon were by now becoming noticeably long. Fortunately for Loredan, his concerns for the Venetian left flank, as well has his own derriere, proved groundless. The foot arquebusiers to his front unleashed a volley upon the charging Condotiere as they attempted to ford the Bolla, and the morale of the horsemen cracked. They ran from the field as fast as they could, and would not hear of rallying. Similarly, on the Venetian far left, their mounted arquebusiers calmly trotted up to the still confused ranks of the other Condotiere unit, toppled one of its captains from the saddle, and cheered as the cavalry streamed off towards the Milanese camp behind Lambrusco village. Loredan ordered a respectful pursuit all along his line. There were no longer any formed Milanese troops to his front!

In the center, the remaining unit of Milanese Famiglia wheeled towards the flank of the Venetian mercenary pikemen, and their bannerets gave the order to charge! As the wheel took place, the Famiglia caught site of the Venetian camp behind Folonari Village. There were no defenders (except the still fleeing Reiters) between them and the camp, and rumors had already circulated about the treasures therein that were designed to help bribe the Duke of Mantua into inaction. Incredibly, the greed of the nobles of the Milanese court exceeded their honor, and the entire unit broke into a mob riding hell for leather towards the prize! Before long they reached their goal, and proceeded to plunder the camp with great thoroughness. Nobles were seen attempting to tie fine paintings, valuable statuary, bags of silver and gold, and even ornate furniture to their chargers. All along the Venetian battle line, a momentary cry of anguish was heard for the spoils of the now lost camp. However, as the plunder continued, Niccolo Urlife was able to rally his routed Reiters, and restore them to order just beyond the camp. The Famiglia were looking most vulnerable!

On the Venetian right flank, the Milanese pikes continued to bravely attempt to come to grips with the Schiavoni. The nimbler arquebusiers had the edge in maneuvers, though, and were finally able to deliver a volley into the flank of the phalanx. This proved to much for the brave pikemen, and after the second banner bearer fell, half the phalanx fled in rout. The Venetian guns fired occasionally upon the phalanx as well, but generally to little effect. Seeing that their position was dire, Alfredo Umbruzzi ordered the remaining pikes to escape as best they could. There were no other reserves available to salvage the flank.

Finally, the attention of all settled on the center. The Milanese line of arquebusiers, swordsmen, and Organ guns drew close to the unsupported Venetian pikes. With the greatest of cool, these hardened professionals responded to their plight by charging into the approaching Milanese! Taken somewhat by surprise by this bold move, one of the Milanese arquebusier units became shaken, an the other unit fire so high that their bullets struck only the banners of their enemy. This left the Organ guns trying frantically to deploy in position to sweep the pikes with their myriad projectiles, and the Swordsmen dancing back and forth in front of the Venetians, looking for an opening to slip under the pikes to close quarters. At the same time, Niccolo Urlife was able to bring his rallied Reiters back into action against the plundering and looting Famiglia. The revenge of the returning Reiters was not to be refused, and the Famiglia were dispersed, many of them riding into the bend of the Bolla stream. The encumbrances of their armor, barding and plunder ensured that few of those that entered the stream were ever to leave it again.

Duke Luigi Emilio Mendocino swore loudly and colorfully! He'd had the accursed merchants of Venice where he wanted them, and somehow, it had all slipped away. Reluctantly, he gave the signal to his still intact center to withdraw. With the Organ guns covering the Milanese retreat, there was little the exhausted pikemen could do to pursue them. The cold December evening came rapidly upon the field, and it seemed far more attractive to the Venetian soldiers to try their luck fishing in the Bolla, than to try to gauging the effective range of a battery of Organ Guns!

For his part, Niccolo Urlife was both pleased and pleasantly surprised. He'd really thought the Milanese were going to completely rupture his center, and instead he had destroyed both their flanks. While the Dodge would be furious at the loss of his treasure, he would have little excuse to short change him on his hefty fee. And besides, who knew what he might be able to fish out of the Bolla for his own villa?

The Flickering Flame - Aftermath

After the battle, Niccolo Urlife reflected upon the merits of the new Pistol armed cavalry employed by the Venetians. While he'd still rather have a body of Gendarmes in his cavalry, on the whole the Reiters had aquited themselves about as well as anyone could expect. Hmm, perhaps their pistols would prove even more useful against a densely packed target such as a pike phalanx. Certainly, even the bravest of Gendarme units would have little effect in a frontal charge on pikes. Something to think about for the future..... Of course, that opportunity might come soon. The Duke of Mantua, the threat of the Milanese army having been removed, and observing the heavy losses suffered by his army, was proving very difficult about not receiving the gifts the Dodge had promised. Ah well, nothing to beat steady employment!

Back in Milan, Duke Luigi Mendocino arrived accompanied by the remnants of his army, and a very foul temper! He planned again to try for glory on the filed of battle, as soon as his cavalry could be rebuilt. A grand ball was thrown by the Dowager mother, Anna Maria Mendocino, in attempt to lift her son's dark mood. However, it was hardly a social triumph, as many of the men of the noble families were unable to attend the event. Duke Mendocino queried his chamberlain regarding the shameful absence of so much of his Court. "Sire", he replied, "Your Court is the Bolla!"

The Flickering Fame - Game notes

This game was from our Ken Baggaley inspired (thanks, Ken!) pseudo campaign of the Italian Wars. The personalities were molded using Ken's tables published in the USP&SF journal, "The Reiter", this year. I had the Venetians, and an new wargame friend, Jon Davenport (an expatriate Brit.) made a very amiable and competent Milanese commander in his initiation into the world of Piquet. In fairness to Jon, I must point out that he was clearly out playing me and left the Milanese with the upper hand (at the end of "Part 2"). Due to time constraints, I finished the battle solo later, and that, plus the unpredictable nature of PK, likely accounts for the reversal of fortunes in the later part of the battle. This was a quite long battle, but featured marvelous swings of fortune and was great fun to play, especially with Jon, but later solo as well. We used the on table camp rule, and the unfortunate Milanese Famiglia drew a "loot and pillage card" just after they had wheeled towards the flank of the Milanese. This unfortunately left them looking straight at the undefended Venetian camp, and off they went - a "Band of Brigands"! There were also several "Courage!" test failures late in the game, and a few units on the Milanese side failed their Major Morale Checks in the later part of the game.

I had spent well into the early hours of the morning 2 days running painting up the spoils of Fall In! in order to have the full complement of troops required for the scenario, and the shop lights that illuminate my wargames room (i.e. basement) were on continuously for about all of those 2 days. Shortly before Jon arrived, they developed a curious thermostat type effect, where first one light and then the other would shut down. If unplugged and allowed to cool down, they'd then function again normally for about an hour before winking off again. Very eerie and most annoying. Ergo, "The Flickering Flame!". BTW Jon, the lights have since been replaced!

The Flickering Flame - Losses

Venice - Killed

  • 4 x LI Musketeers
  • 4 x LI Arquebusiers
  • 3 x MI Arquebusiers
  • 1 x MI Schiavoni
  • 2 x MI Pikemen
  • 1 x HI Pikemen
  • 1 x MC Stradiots
  • 1 x EHC Reiters

Venice - Routed

  • 3 x MI Arquebusiers
  • 3 x MC Stradiots
  • 4 x EHC Reiters

Milan - Killed

  • 5 x LI Crossbowmen
  • 4 x MI Arquebusiers
  • 1 x HI Pikemen
  • 3 x LC Crossbowmen
  • 4 x HC Condotierre
  • 3 x EHC Lanze Spez.
  • 4 x EHC Famiglia
  • 2 x Heavy Artillery

Milan - Routed

  • 2 x LI Crossbowmen
  • 4 x MI Arquebusiers
  • 3 x HI Pikemen
  • 1 x LC Crossbowmen
  • 4 x HC Condotierre
  • 1 x EHC Lanze Spez.
  • 4 x EHC Famiglia
Page Last Updated On: 18 Aug 2007