The Battle of Castillon 1453 was a pivotal battle in the history of Western Europe, by which France conquered the last major English territories within its current boundaries. Myself, I don't think it was a truly defining moment, in that even if the English had won, all the long-term currents were running against the Anglo-Gascons and eventually the French King must have triumphed. Anyway, none of this diminishes the interest of the battle.
The order of battle in the scenario is a bit rough, basically being:
3000 Anglo-Gascons (mixture of men-at-arms on foot and longbowmen)
4000 French (mixture of men-at-arms, spearmen, crossbowmen, handgunners, archers and artillery), plus 1000 Breton cavalry.
It was a little tricky to bash all of this into a DBA format - the DBA army lists don't really match. What I came up with was:
3 x Blades (inc. 1 with General)
6 x Longbowmen
(2 x Blades and 4 x Longbowmen were to come on as reinforcement; a D6 roll from the 3rd turn onwards, with a 4-6 indicating their arrival)
3 x Psiloi (Handgunners)
3 x Blades (dismounted men-at-arms & others)
1 x 7Hd Horde (commoners)
3 x Crossbowmen
1 x Artillery
3 x Cavalry (Bretons)
The Bretons roll each turn from Turn 10 onwards, with a 6 needed to arrive.
I used the PIP roll to also determine the arrival of reinforcements. The fortified camp seems to have been a formidable obstacle, so I rated it as a fort. The river is counted as a stream.
|The besieged town of Castillon is bottom-left; the siegeworks can be seen on both banks of the river; an abbey is occupied by French troops but is the initial objective of the Anglo-Gascons (top-left); the main French camp is top-right.|
|A closer view of the initial set-up; Sir John Talbot's advance guard is about to attack the abbey (top-left); Castillon is at the bottom-left.|
|The French Army, deployed in its siege camp|
|A closer view of some of the crossbowmen|
|....and the artillery, supported by handgunners and halberdiers|
|One last shot...|
|The Anglo-Gascons prepare to assault the abbey (okay, a church!)|
|One of the siege works (just for show)|
|The Anglo-Gascons prepare their assault and then execute it|
|The defending Frenchmen run for it (I was a bit confused for a moment about whether they should have been destroyed or not. After a little thought I decided they should have been, and removed the base).|
|John Talbot continues his forward movement with the advanced guard|
|However, he splits the main body, directing half of it to march around to the rear of the French position.|
|The French move some troops across the river to meet this threat, hoping to be reinforced by the Breton cavalry upon their arrival.|
|Sir John Talbot reaches the French fortified camp|
|And begins to wheel his troops around to face the French, ignoring the ineffective artillery fire. He detaches an element of longbowmen to discourage the French from making a casual shallow flanking attack.|
|The flanking Anglo-Gascons deploy (right)|
|The initially outnumbered French join battle with the Anglo-Gascon flanking force; the English yeoman prove stronger at close quarters than the French handgunners, but the French men-at-arms push back their Anglo-Gascon opposite numbers|
|Sir John Talbot leads an assault on the French guns, but is swiftly driven back|
|The hand-to-hand struggle continues on the far side of the river...|
|Whilst Sir John rallies his men and launches another assault!|
|And this time is crowned with success! The French guns are taken and the gunners driven off|
|The French men-at-arms continue to get the better of their opposition, despite being outflanked with superior numbers!|
|Successfully holding up the Anglo-Gascons until the French commoners and the Breton cavalry arrive!|
|The French men-at-arms quickly counter-attack Sir John's dismounted knights, to try and contain the breakthrough; the French voulgiers leave the encampment and try to outflank the knights - Sir John's longbowmen move around to block them.|
|The French Peasants put the English yeoman bowmen to the sword. And knife and bill and spear, supported by the Breton cavalry. Even more surprisingly, the handgunners on the other side have finished off the other longbowmen too!|
|The Anglo-Gascon men-at-arms fight on in the centre, against masses of Frenchmen...|
|Again the French men-at-arms seem to get the better of their Anglo-Gascon opponents at the edge of the camp|
|The Anglo-Gascon reinforcements arrive and try to turn the tables on the French voulgiers|
|The Anglo-Gascons are now surrendered...|
|The Anglo-Gascon men-at-arms go under the weight of their opponents...|
|Sir John and his men are forced back out of the encampment, although they are still fighting...|
|The fighting outside the French camp continues, but the Anglo-Gascon morale has collapsed after the defeat and destruction of their flanking force.|
Another very enjoyable DBA game, although the Anglo-Gascons got a not unexpected hiding - very similar to the original battle! I suppose that they did get marginally closer to winning in this game...
Dividing the French does still feel like a better strategy than trying to amass a local superiority against the fortified camp, since one bit of reasonable luck might change the game. But the French deployed competently and fought (i.e. rolled) well and it just didn't happen for the Anglo-Gascons.
That aside, although I certainly don't think that DBA does the worst job of reflecting warfare c1450-1500, I have my doubts about every ruleset I have ever used for this period. Unfortunately the proposed Polemos set of Wars of the Roses' rules looks to be in suspended animation, if not entirely dead in the water. The element system of DBA, and the unit system of Neil Thomas', makes me feel a bit like I am manoeuvring battalions of foot, rather than the contingents of late C15 troops. I think it should be a battle of limited manoeuvre, but with great emphasis on timing. But which rulesets reflect this? Any suggestions gratefully received! And even more than rules suggestions, I think that I lack a fundamental understanding of this type of warfare. My basic thought is that missile troops, men-at-arms and commoners with polearms could be massed together, or intermingled with each other, maybe with a very rough "passage of lines" with missile troops at the front and then moving back to let the melee troops through; or with archers to the back doing overhead firing. How much tactical finesse is possible, I doubt. I may pose a question on the forums about the changes in medieval warfare and how focused a set of rules should be in this period.
Figures by Baccus 6mm, buildings a mixture of Leven and Timecast (I think).