The Battle of Segonzano Pass - April 1499


In Vienna, throughout the long winter on the gray Danube, ArchDuke Josef Franz wearied of the constant pressure to take advantage of the recent defeat of Milan at the hands of the Venetians at the Battle of Benvenuto the previous December. He was still worried about the Turks and their raids on Hapsburg lands. Famous for his even temperament, there were times when even he was tempted to summarily dismiss all his advisers to be free of their constant prodding. His son, Bruno the Cruel, was the worst saber rattler of them all. Finally, in early March, he gave approval for an invasion of Milan by way of the passes of Trent. By launching the invasion as soon as the passes would be negotiable, the Austrians hoped that the Milanese forces would be disorganized and demoralized. The ArchDuke appointed the veteran Berthold Waldstein to command, with instructions to march with all speed through Trent and into Milan.

In Milan, Duke Luigi Emilio Mendocino spent the winter recovering from his recent defeat. With politics being what they were in Italy, he had little doubt that someone would try to take advantage of the situation, and he was determined to be ready. His first priority was to rebuild the heart of his army, the heavily armored Famiglia. Not many of the noble lancers had returned from the battle of Benvenuto. All of the younger sons of the nobility throughout the Duchy were tactfully but forcefully told to report to the court at Milan to attend the Duke, and more importantly, train in the arts of war. He also sent new monies to his spies at the courts of France, Venice, Austria, Florence, and the Papal States. France seemed to involved with her attempts to establish control over Savoy, and Venice was having a similarly hard time subduing the Duchy of Mantua. However, the courts of Vienna, Rome, and Florence all seemed to be talking about Milan's apparent weakness. When he received peasant reports of increased Austrian activity on the border of Trent in March, the Duke's martial nature asserted itself, and he marshaled his army, and set out its head for the picturesque Trentino passes!

The Scenario

The armies of Milan and Austria have met in a broad alpine valley in Trent, as the Austrians have descended from a pass near the village of Segonzano. The Austrians deploy on the Segonzano side, the Milanese opposite. We used a 6 foot wide by 10 foot long table (for 25mm - see map) with each side having an 18" set on distance. The Austrians seek to punch through the Milanese, as they probably won't be able to raise another army if this one is defeated. The Milanese seek to defeat the Austrians, or at very least stop their advance. The on table camp rule will be used. Use the normal restricted deployment rules from Band of Brothers.

Milan, Duke Luigi Mendocino commanding

Subcommanders: Domenico Zamboni ,Quintilius Zamboni, Alexandro Umbruzzi

  • 2 Units Famiglia, EHC, 3 hits per stand, Lance, Plate armor, Bard, Guard, "Unique", Fearsome @ 68 pts
    Fire: N/A Melee: UP 6 Morale: UP 3
  • 1 Unit Lanze Spezzate, EHC, 3 hits, Regular, Plate Armor, Lance @ 44 pts
    Fire: N/A Melee: UP 3 Morale: NC
  • 2 Units Condotiere, HC, 3 hits, Regular, Metal armor, helmet, Lance @40 pts
    Fire: N/A Melee: Up 3 Morale: NC
  • 2 Units Mounted Crossbowmen, LC, 2 hits, Militia, helmet, no armor, Xbow @ 18 pts
    Fire: UP 1 Melee: DN 1 Morale: NC
  • 2 Units Pikemen, HI, 4 hits, Regular, Helmet, composite armor, Pike may use phalanx formation (plus 1 stand of halberds/2H swordsmen for a Ken Baggaley 9 stand phalanx). @ 40 pts each plus 8 pts for the Halberds
    Fire: N/A Melee: UP 1 Morale: NC
  • 1 Unit swordsmen, MI, 3 hits, Regular, leather armor, shield, helmet, swordsman @ 24 pts
    Fire: N/A Melee: NC Morale: NC
  • 3 units crossbowmen, LI, 2 hits, Militia, helmet, crossbow @ 21 pts
    Fire: UP 2 Melee: DN 1 Morale: NC
  • 4 units Arquebusiers, MI, 3 hits, Militia, Arquebus, Helmet @ 28 points
    Fire: UP 2 Melee: DN 1 Morale: NC
  • 1 Heavy Gun, militia, no armor @ 24 pts
    Fire: UP 2 Melee: DN 3 Morale: NC
  • 1 Medium Gun, militia, no armor @18 pts
    Fire: UP 1 Melee: DN 3 Morale: NC
  • 625 points - Use the Italian City states 16th C. Die Roll correction table and sequence deck, except to reflect their rawness, the Famiglia only will roll for BDV at minus 2. With a card divisor of 4, will draw 5 army characterization cards. Add 2 Pillage and Loot and 1 Uncontrolled Charge card to the sequence deck.

Austria, Graf Berthold Von Waldstein, commanding

Subcommanders: Fritz Collaredo, Carlos Reinach , Hugo Mansfeld

  • 1 Unit Lancers, EHC, 3 hits, Elite, Heavy Lance, Plate, "Unique" @ 56 pts
    Fire: N/A Melee: UP 4 Morale: UP 2
  • 1 Unit of Veteran Reiters, EHC, 3 hits, Elite, Pistols, sword, Plate, Caracole "Unique" @ 64 pts
    Fire: UP 3 Melee: UP 3 Morale: UP 2
  • 1 Unit of Mercenary Reiters, HC, 3 hits, Regulars, Pistols, Sword, Comp. armor, Caracole, @ 40 pts
    Fire: UP 1 Melee: UP 2 Morale: NC
  • 1 Unit of Hussars, LC, 2 hits, Militia, simple bow, sword/ax, no armor, helmet. @ 12 pts
    Fire: NC Melee: DN 2 Morale: NC
  • 1 Unit of Croats, LC, 2 hits, Militia, pistol, sword, no armor, helmet, @ 15 pts
    Fire: NC Melee: DN 1 Morale: NC
  • 1 Unit Mounted Crossbowmen, LC, 2 hits, Militia, helmet, no armor, Xbow @ 18 pts
    Fire: UP 1 Melee: DN 1 Morale: NC
  • 1 Unit Arquebusiers, LC, 2 hits, Militia, Helmet, Arquebus. @ 18 pts
    Fire: UP 1 Melee: DN 1 Morale: NC
  • 2 Units of Imperial Landsknechts, HI, 4 hits, Elite, Composite armor, Pike, "Unique", may use phalanx formation (plus 1 stand of halberds/2H swordsmen for a Ken Baggaley 9 stand phalanx). @ 55 pts each plus 11 pts for the Halberds
    Fire: N/A Melee: UP 2 Morale: UP 2
  • 2 Units of Mercenary Landsknechts, MI, 4 hits, Regulars, Helmet, leather armor, Pike. may use phalanx formation (plus 1 stand halberds/2H swords) @ 35 pts each + 7 pts for Halberds
    Fire: N/A Melee: UP 1 Morale: NC
  • 2 units Regular close order arquebusiers, 3 hits, Helmet, no armor, Arquebus @ 32 pts
    Fire: UP 2 Melee: NC Morale NC
  • 2 units Militia close order arquebusiers, 3 hits, Helmet, no armor, Arquebus @ 28 pts
    Fire: UP 2 Melee: DN 1 Morale: NC
  • 2 units of Grenz, LI, 2 hits, Militia, no armor, helmet, swordsman, Musket. @ 18 pts
    Fire: UP 2 Melee: DN 2 Morale: NC
  • 1 Heavy Gun Battery, militia, no armor. @ 24 points
    Fire: UP 2 Melee: DN 3 Morale: NC
  • 1 Medium Gun Battery, militia, no armor @ 18 points
    Fire: UP 1 Melee: DN 3 Morale: NC
  • 618 points Use the Imperial Hapsburgs die correction tables and sequence deck. With a card divisor of 4, will draw 5 army characterization cards. Add 2 Pillage and Loot and 2 Advance, Fire and Retire cards to the sequence deck.

The Fire Below: An Account of the Battle of Segonzano Pass

It was a frosty April night in the Alpine valley of Segonzano. The nobles and a few lucky troopers spent the night in the houses of the villages, but the remainder lit campfires in an attempt to keep warm. The local villagers were also spending the night in what cover they could find on the slopes of the pass, marveling at the multitude of fires filling the valley below. They hoped that their homes were not contributing to the impressive display, and shivered in the cold. They knew better than to remain behind when two armies were about battle! Bah, friend or foe, they were equally dangerous, especially after the battle fury passed. They'd be best to move even farther away in the daylight!

In the village of Segonzano itself, comfortably installed in the local tavern, "The Prancing Satyr", Graf Berthold von Waldstein contemplated another stein of passable beer as he considered his plans for the battle to come. His army was well trained, many of them veterans, and his unruly Landsknechts among the finest infantry in Europe. There was little steady infantry in the Milanese army that could match his fierce pikemen. On the other hand, the Milanese cavalry arm was numerous and impressive. His own cavalry, while more than competent, would be at a significant disadvantage. Perhaps his clouds of light cavalry could be used to distract and delay the mounted gentry of Milan?

Waldstein called to his adjutant and commander of his Lifeguard, a Pole named Pan Krystaf, "Send in Mansfeld, Reinach, and Collaredo, and see if they have any brandy strong enough to warm a man's guts in this god-forsaken place!" Krystaf hastily withdrew, and returned shortly with the 3 subcommanders of the Hapsburg army. The brandy followed not long after. Waldstein explained his plan as the group partook of the fruits of the labor of some local Benedictine monks. Hugo Mansfeld was to take all of the army's light cavalry - a motley assortment of Croats with pistols, Hungarian Hussars with bows, Slovenian mounted crossbowmen, and mercenary Italian mounted arquebusiers. The Grenzers from the borders of the realm were also assigned to his forces. The proud and aggressive Hugo Mansfeld was not pleased to learn that he was to command such a doubtful assortment of brigands and cutthroats. His short temper wasn't improved by Graf Waldstein's instruction to deploy on their right flank beyond Segonzano village, and use his clouds of light horsemen to distract and draw away any Milanese cavalry he might find opposing him. The Grenzers, with their new longer ranged muskets were to be deployed in the village itself. Perhaps they might be able to fire on any Milanese that pursued the elusive light cavalrymen too far! Fritz Collaredo, on the other hand, was happy to once again be in command of his grim but gaudily clothed Landsknechts, as well as the rest of the infantry and artillery. The artillery were to be sited on the edge of the hill to their left flank, so as to be able to fire over the advancing pikemen as long as possible. The Landsknechts were to deploy in a deep column and strike as swiftly as possible though the Milanese center, supported by their foot arquebusiers to the flanks. Lastly, Carlos Reinach was assigned to the command of the 2 units of Reiters. "The smallest but most honorable command", mused the veteran. His mounted pistoliers were to be deployed to the left rear. They could either support the left flank of the infantry against any Milanese cavalry that might be stationed there, or move behind the advancing phalanx for further support of its right flank if need be. "I myself shall keep Pan Krystaf with my Lifeguard in reserve under my personal command", declared Berthold Waldstein. The Austrian count then dismissed his subordinates with an admonition to have their men in position by early morning. As they departed into the clear April night, von Waldstein belched. "Donner und blitzen, what herbs did those monks put in that brandy!" - his stomach was more than pleasantly warm, it was on fire! Well, he usually didn't sleep well the night before battle anyway.....

On the Milanese side of the field, Duke Luigi Emilio Mendocino III had commandeered a small alpine castle, situated at the mouth of the pass as it opened into the valley of Segonzano. From this drafty headquarters, he contemplated the valley and his plans for battle on the morrow. Standing and pacing before a blazing fire on the hearth, he cut an attractive and charismatic figure. Truth be told, he enjoyed the excitement and glory of war, although he never let his taste for it cloud his judgment regarding the best interests of his Duchy of Milan. The pride of the army, his 2 banners of Famiglia, were not as imposing as they had been before being shattered in the last battle with Venice. Still, he felt confident that there was no cavalry their better to be found on the Austrian side. His infantry, though, was a conglomeration of arquebusiers of the city militia, crossbowmen from the countryside, and some mercenary pikes and swordsmen. They would not stand up well to the mass of Landsknecht pikemen serving in the Hapsburg forces. Therefore, he resolved to station Alexandro Umbruzzi with the bulk of his arquebusiers as well as his heavy guns on a low ridge opposite Segonzano. On his right flank, the rest of the infantry was to be deployed, with his few pikemen screened by a unit of skirmishing crossbowmen. The far rank of his line would be held by another unit of crossbows in the village of Cembra, supported by his sword and bucklermen. On his near left flank, just beyond the hill, would be his brother in Law, Quintilius Zamboni with the organ guns anchoring the end of the ridge line, and a unit each of Mounted Crossbowmen and Famiglia. Further to his left, his other brother-in-law, Domenico Zamboni, was to command 3 units also - Mounted crossbows, Famiglia, and the well armed but less motivated Lanze Spezzate. He himself would hold the 2 units of Condotiere lancers in reserve behind the hill, where they might be able to control any breakthrough of the ridge line. He sent messengers out to his subordinates with these dispositions and strict admonishments to be in position by daybreak. "Better sleep some while I still can" he thought, and prepared to retire.

Thus, as the crisp spring morning dawned brightly over the valley, both armies were completing their deployment. On the Milanese left, their 2 cavalry commands were opposed by a goulash of various Hapsburg light horse. A few Grenzers only were visible in the houses of Segonzano opposite from the Milanese organ guns and 2 units of arquebusiers in battlemass. On the right, the Milanese heavy Guns on the hill were looking down at an immense phalanx of 4,000 Landsknechts with supporting arquebusiers. On the far right of the Milanese line were more arquebusiers, skirmish crossbowmen, and the only quality infantry in their army, the mercenary pikemen and sword and buckler infantry. The Hapsburg guns were deployed opposite, along with a wing containing all their heavy cavalry. Recalling how effective his heavy guns had been against the infantry of Venice, Duke Luigi was feeling very smug about the siting of his guns for this day. The immense block of Landsknechts would be under their fire the whole day!

Having spent the night under better cover and thus having less chill to stomp out of their feet, the Hapsburg forces moved swiftly forwards, commencing their advance by about 8:00 AM. Hugo Mansfeld spurred on his light cavalry, whilst the Milanese Gendarmes and their supports remained motionless, apparently still organizing their commands. As the hussars came near, the Milanese mounted Crossbowmen of Como let loose a torrent of bolts, killing Hauptman Hradisch. The central block of Landsknechts and supporting arquebusiers rolled forwards with the most astonishing rapidity under the watchful eye of their leader, Fritz Collaredo. The rumble of their drums was accompanied by their feared war chant. Clear to the ridge opposite was heard "Hut, Dich, baur komm ich! In support of their advancing infantry, the Hapsburgs guns issued long range fire onto the skirmishing crossbow screening the right side of the Milanese line, laying low a full company, with captain Campesano being seriously injured. The only response the Milanese could manage was to fire upon the advancing Landsknechts. Unfortunately, firing from atop the ridge, they neglected to adequately depress the muzzles of their guns, and their immense balls of iron sailed harmlessly over the entire formation. Commanding the center, Alexandro Umbruzzi rode over "to encourage greater accuracy" from his guns.

Both sides then paused briefly to adjust their battle lines, and little serious action occurred until around 9:00 AM, when the Milanese mounted crossbows abruptly galloped headlong towards the previously weakened Hussars. Both sides disdained any real firing as they closed, and the Crossbowmen of Como carried the day, sending the Hungarian horsemen fleeing to the rear in the greatest possible disorder. Leutnant Apfel was crushed as he tried to slow the flight of the panicked light cavalry. Hugo Mansfeld himself was injured when a stray crossbow bolt stuck him below the protection of his cuirass and plunged into his groin. Painful but not serious, the wound compelled him to retire from the field, leaving the Hapsburg light cavalry and Grenzers without effective command. Legend has it that the crimson bandages covering his embarrassing wound helped start the bizarre "plunderhosen" style of legwear! Mansfeld's humiliating fate caused many on the field to cinch up their breeches and dally in their advance. The only notable action on the field for the next hour was a change by the wild pistol waving Croats into the previously victorious Mounted Crossbowmen. Unloaded and with their ranks disordered by their recent combat, the Crossbows of Como were now promptly routed themselves.

This triggered off a maelstrom of swirling cavalry charges, as the Ducal Famiglia pondered forwards towards the Croats. Ordinarily, the nimble light horsemen would have had little difficulty evading the Famiglia, encased as was man and rider in heavy armor. However, themselves thrown into disorder by their recent melee, they were unable to maneuver effectively, and the Famiglia were able to charge home! The outcome was never in doubt, and the Coats were severely mauled and dispersed to the rear. Inspired by this, the remaining Milanese light cavalry, the crossbow armed Cacciatore di Cremona, advanced to take on their opposite numbers in the Hapsburg army. Coolly, the Cacciatore paused to unloose a shower of bolts at their enemy, reloaded, and then charged full speed into the opposing but stationary Hapsburg Mounted Crossbowmen. Their own bolts having no discernible impact upon the wild charge of the Cremonese, the Hapsburgs became disheartened and rapidly joined their fellow light horse in all out rout! The Zamboni brothers were ecstatic! Their twin cavalry commands were making a clean sweep of the enemy light cavalry clear off the icy field of Segonzano. It was now approximately 10:00 AM.

On the Milanese right, the pace of the Hapsburg advance had slowed considerably as the Landsknechts struggled to advance across the field. Umbruzzi and Duke Mendocino himself swore repeatedly and with increasing degrees of creativity as shot after shot from the Milanese guns achieved nothing of significance against the deep hordes of pikemen advancing upon their position. With their 4 units of Arquebusiers deployed almost at the corners of their enormous pike block, the Hapsburg infantry was in an almost Tercio like formation as it closed within arquebus shot of the Milanese infantry. A murderous exchange of fire took place. The dense clouds of smoke that ensued made it hard for the commanders to assess the impact of this exchange. After the battle, survivors generally agreed that the Arquebusiers of Hauptman Kreuz, stationed to the left front of the Hapsburg phalanx, were heavily damaged with the loss of 2 of his leutnants, and that the Arquebusiers of Hauptman Kranz, stationed to the right front were severely shaken up. Of the opposing Milanese, the skirmishing crossbowmen were hard hit, 2 captains being laid low, and the remainder of the unit decided to withdraw, terrified by the mass of the advancing Landsknechts. Half of the Milanese Pikemen, and the Arquebusiers of Pavia were both also shaken up by the noise, smoke and the forrest of advancing pikes. Duke Luigi Mendocino started to feel that familiar forboding of snatching another defeat from the arms of victory. He sent his pages galloping to the Zamboni brothers, urging them to wheel the pride of Milan into the center to turn the tide of battle once again in their favor!

The Zamboni brothers fortunately responded precisely as desired. Quintilius, with the near cavalry command, got his Famiglia back into good order, and then wheeled them and the supporting Lanze Spezzate towards the center of the field. Domenico likewise restored order to his heroic Cacciatore di Cremona, and this time without firing a shot, they routed the last remaining unit of Hapsburg light cavalry, the Mounted Arquebusiers of Hauptman Rosti. As the Cacciatore pursued the hordes of fleeing Austrian light cavalry, Domenico wheeled his Famiglia di Fornovo into the center as well. In response, Graf von Waldstein calls Carlos Reinach and Pan Krystaf to his side. "Pray keep those boxes of tin off our Landsknechts, gentlemen!", he orders. Reinach and his Reiters trot out to meet the advancing Milanese nobility, supported by Krystaf with the count's own heavily armored lance-armed Lifeguards.

The Milanese scored first, as the mercenary Lanze Spezzate charged home into Kranz's shaken Arquebusiers. The armored horsemen hardly paused as they thrust clear through them, Kranz and all of his leutnants being killed in the action. Kreuz and his arquebusiers were luckier - their fire against the Milanese Arquebusiers of Piancenza was crushing, killing many including captains Toranto and Tencza, and routing the remainder. Still shaken, the Arquebusiers of Pavia fired ineffectively at the mass of Landsknechts, yet again having no discernible effect upon the dour veterans. "Hut dich, baur komm ich!" - the chant resonated throughout the valley as the 4,000 pikemen reach the ridge without having lost any casualties of significance!

With the weak April sun now directly overhead, the crisis of the battle of Segonzano had arrived! "Was fur ein schlect!" muttered Berthold von Waldstein. On the one hand, his enormous column of Landsknechts was poised to pierce clear through the Milanese center on the ridge. On the other, the column had the Lanze Spezzate threatening his flank, and away from the smoke he could also see that Mendocino had wheeled 2 units of unengaged arquebusiers from the distant end of the ridge into the center and towards the flank of the Landsknechts as well. At least Reinach had his troopers in position in the center now, which should prevent the rest of the Milanese cavalry from becoming a factor in the decisive battle on the ridge. Fortunately, the Grenzers in the village of Segonzano, although not having fired their muskets once, had caused the troopers of Milan to advance more cautiously to stay outside of their range. With luck, the Landsknechts would be administering ash suppositories to the effeminate Italians on the ridge before their own arses were over exposed!

Not in the least effeminate, Duke Mendocino stood on the ridge with little time for contemplation. He had but two orders to give. First, he ordered the reserve condotiere lancers to move up onto the ridge and maneuver to further threaten the flanks of the Landsknechts. He knew he had nothing on the ridge itself that had any chance of stopping the grim pikemen, and yet there he was himself. Second, he sent instructions to Alexandro Umbruzzi to that cursed battery of Guns. He himself was to hold a pistol under the belt of the battery commander, and if their next salvo was as ineffective as all the previous ones, he was to pull the trigger without further hesitation or comment, and proceed on to the second in command with the same motivationary strategy!

As their commander sweated profusely despite the cool April day, the Milanese gun crew aimed their guns with care. With the enemy pike column now at the edge of the ridge, it would be impossible to maneuver the cumbersome heavy guns to bear on them. Instead, commander Vesuvio directed the guns be trained onto the heavily armored Reiters below, just then presenting their flanks to the battery as they rode across the field to meet the advancing Milanese cavalry. With a hysterical prayer for the sake of his as yet unborn progeny, he gave the order to fire! Vesuvio fainted just as the battery erupted, and thus he did not see the results - virtually the whole 600 Reiters were bowled over, with leutnants Herz, Avis, and Schrift paying off their rent. Smiling at last, Umbruzzi withdrew his pistol and turned to face the phalanx.....

Curse that phalanx! Umbruzzi had no intention of being skewered himself. He screamed to the still shaken Arquebusiers of Pavia as well as the now in position Arquebusiers of Palma to fire. Whilst the badly rattled Pavia troops again fired wildly, those of Palma scored severely on the phalanx, 2 flagbearers perishing in the hail of shot. Enraged, the Landsknechts charged into the Arquebusiers of Pavia, annihilating them to a man, with no quarter offered. However, the Milanese Pikemen were now in position to attack the flank of the column, and on his own initiative their Colonel led them into a charge onto their vulnerable flank. Unable to respond, in the space of 30 minutes 400 Landsknecht pikemen were killed and 1600 more broke and ran. Rushing over to lead his remaining Arquebusiers, Alexandro Umbruzzi tripped on a rock and fell. He was still carrying his pistol in his right hand, and it slammed into his groin as his hand reflexively squeezed the trigger! Fortunately, although he had followed his Duke's commands to the letter, the Duke hadn't said anything about loading the pistol, and so there was only a click and a large very painful bruise that it seemed likely no one but his wife would ever see.

After the confused events on the ridge, the action shifted to the center. Carlos Reinach trotted up at the head of his remaining mercenary Reiters, who fired their pistols at the Ducal Famiglia without effect. With a cry of "Fur Gott und Geld!", Reinach lead his Reiters as they charged home on the Famiglia. Despite their heavier weapons and armor, the inexperienced Famiglia had not been able to countercharge, and without the necessary impetus, they were disorganized and routed with a loss of 150 Gendarmes. Another 150 were lost as the Reiters pursued them vigorously. The Milanese battery's second in command got the great guns loaded again, and they fired once more at the Hapsburg cavalry trotting across their front. Although less spectacular than the last salvo, still the second unit of Reiters was hard hit, leutnant Befahl being among the slain. At this point, the nerve of the artillerists finally snapped, and they ran from the still approaching but much reduced Landsknechts, abandoning their guns. The newly rallied crossbow unit behind them also became shaken at the sight of the pikes renewed advance.

However, there wasn't much left of the Hapsburg army by now. Only von Waldstein's own Lifeguard remained intact. The few remaining Landsknechts on the ridge were now literally surrounded by no less than 5 Milanese units, all intact and in good order. The Milanese swordsmen were advancing on the rapidly retreating survivors of the pike and arquebus units, and there were still 2 completely untouched units of heavily armored Milanese lancers dominating the center. Lastly, the Milanese organ guns had been dragged off the ridge and were in position to cover the routing Famiglia against further pursuit. With little more that he cloud hope to accomplish, Berthold von Waldstein came to the unwelcome but inescapable conclusion that this battle was lost. The Grenzers were assigned to hold the village until nightfall, and the Hapsburg artillery was also to provide covering fire support for the withdrawal of his shattered army. Graf Waldstein bade Pan Krystaf hold up his Lifeguards to cover the retreat of the army, and sent word to the embattled Landsknechts on the ridge to form a hedgehog and hold their ground as long as possible. As for Berthold himself, he found himself henceforth languishing in assignments far from the likelihood of serious action.

Duke Mendocino, pleased by his victory, contented himself with ordering only a modest harassing of the retreating Austrians, whilst his troops slowly and methodically decimated the 1,000 Landsknechts making their last stand on the ridge. Having refused quarter to their enemies, the grave veterans knew they could expect none themselves, and clutched their pikes firmly in hand as they were mowed down. It looked as if his fundament would remain on the Ducal throne a while longer. Being rather a student of the ancients, Mendocino then recalled the famous words spoken on the floor of the long gone Imperial Roman senate as the barbarians invaded Italy though these same alpine passes: "Woe to him who shall invade the passes of Trent, for defeat shall be his Lot(t)!"

Game Notes:

In this battle from our pseudo campaign of the Great Italian Wars, Joe Fish had the Hapsburgs, while I played the Milanese. A less exotic mix of Light cavalry types could easily be used by the Hapsburgs - the ones we used matched the figures Joe had available. It took about 3 1/2 hours to play the game, which was every bit as fun as it sounds. We both rolled poorly on the deployment rolls, and all our commanders were average. I drew the "extra missile reload card" in the army characterization process. The "Cacciatore di Cremona" were obviously no chickens, having rolled up a "determined" D10 as their BDV! After the first turn, Joe didn't roll well for impetus, and that plus good die rolling in melee allowed my Milanese cavalry to send all 4 of Joe's Hapsburg Light Cavalry units off the field in rout. The subsequent loss of impetus and cards from the sequence deck severely limited the Hapsburgs thereafter. When a commander is "hit" on an officer check, I roll for the result on a D10, with 1,2,3 being killed or mortally wounded; 4,5,6 being seriously wounded; 7,8 being a minor wound; and 9,10 being unhorsed. This is all for game color purposes only, the figure is still removed from play (and remember in BoB, no replacements are allowed!). Being a physician, I used the "Rule of Nines" (which is used for determining the percent of the body involved in serious burn cases) to fix the body area involved and then go from there to determine the specifics of the injury. Obviously, Joe and I both rolled the same area for the wounds suffered by our subcommanders! The last remaining unit of Joe's Landsknechts were so isolated at the end of the game (see pictures), that they really were left as a rearguard - Joe completely forgot to take them home, and they're still down in my basement waiting for our next get together.

Page Last Updated On: 18 Aug 2007