Heretical Gaming is my blog about my gaming life, featuring small skirmishes and big battles from many historical periods (and some in the mythic past or the far future too). The focus is on battle reports using a wide variety of rules, with the occasional rules review, book review and odd musing about the gaming and history. Most of the battles use 6mm-sized figures and vehicles, but occasionally 15mm and 28mm figures appear too.

Monday, 15 April 2019

Battle of Tornavento 1636: a Twilight of Divine Right AAR

Battle of Tornavento:
I played out another battle from 1636 in this series of refights of Thirty Years' War battles using the Twilight of Divine Right rules and its accompanying scenario book: the Battle of Tornavento.

This time the action shifts to one of the peripheral theatres: Lombardy.  This battle features a Spanish attack on a slightly larger Franco-Savoyard force but with an element of surprise which seems to have caused a degree of temporary paralysis in the French command...the Spaniards have to defeat the Franco-Savoyard force to win.

The Forces:

Franco-Savoyard Army:
C-in-C: Vittorio Amedeo

Defending the Fortifications & Village:
6 units of Foot
2 units of Horse
1 unit of Dragoons

Main Body:
9 units of Foot
3 units of Horse
1 unit of Guns

Spanish Army:
C-in-C: Leganes
10 units of Foot
8 units of Horse
1 unit of Dragoons
1 unit of Guns

(as ever for this period, the 'Spanish' army contains a fair admixture of Germans and Italians too...)

The Franco-Savoyards have to roll to start their main body moving.  Their troops may only move over the bridge a single unit per turn (although they don't have to move in column).  The river is only crossable at the bridge.  The Spanish infantry units arrive first in two columns (with a couple of units of Horse in support), then the main body of the Spanish Horse comes after.

The Set-Up:

The Franco-Savoyard forces are deployed in fortifications around the town (centre) and on the far bank (top-right)

A closer look at the forces occupying the town and earthworks.

Vittorio Amedeo and his main body are on the other side of the river from the fortifications

Another view
The Battle:
The Spanish Army has arrived: the Foot has deployed in the centre with Horse in support.  A second mixed column is moving along the hills (top), and another brigade of Horse is moving to secure the other flank (bottom-right)

The deployment is completed.  The Franco-Savoyard main body (top-left) has still not moved

The massed Spanish Foot begins its advance

The assault on the fortifications begins: the main Spanish infantry force arrives first (centre-right)

The Spanish force on the right begins its assault too, attempting to clamber over the earthworks in the face of musketry fire

Initially, the Franco-Savoyard defenders hold their ground quite easily

Spanish Horse joins in the attack (bottom)

The Spanish army is engaged all along the fortifications but has not broken through, although casualties on both sides are mounting, especially in the earthworks at the base of the hill (centre-top); the Franco-Savoyard main body has got moving and its lead unit is across the bridge (top-left)

Finally Spanish pressure begins to tell and a Franco-Savoyard regiment goes under, creating a gap in the defences (centre); losses on both sides continue to mount elsewhere

Franco-Savoyard units are suffering at an increased rate and there is a definite gap now (centre): can the Spaniards exploit quickly enough?

...or has Vittorio Amedeo managed to get his reinforcements into place in time?!

The Franco-Savoyard defences against the Spanish Right are overwhelmed; the French cannot deploy quickly enough to restore the situation

The gap in the defences is widened in the centre (centre-right) and the Spanish Foot pours inexorably forward...

The Franco-Savoyard defenders continue to inflict heavy losses on the Spanish attackers even after they have passed over the walls

The advancing Spanish have managed to reach the village and are attacking its defenders (centre-left)

The leading Franco-Savoyard reinforcements have been taken in the flank an are being pushed back towards the bridge

The position of the red flags shows how far the Spaniards have managed to advance (and the fortifications at the bottom of the village (bottom) where they haven't managed to get forward at all); at this point the Franco-Savoyard forces became discouraged and the battle was lost!

Game Notes:
Not much to say about this one: good game, good scenario (although once again there are a couple of errors in the commanders for the scenario, you need to have a look a the errata sheet).  It was quite tight, tighter perhaps than the visuals made it look: the key moment was that the relieving Franco-Savoyard column of Foot failed two action rolls to re-deploy.  This gave just enough time for the attacking Spanish right wing to finish off their opponents on the defences and advance to catch the leading reinforcement regiments in column and defeat them.  This in itself didn't cause defeat, since morale is tested by 'command' or 'wing', but it meant that the defending force couldn't be relieved before it lost so many units that it was defeated, leading to the defeat of the whole.  As I think I have mentioned before, the command and army morale mechanism works a little like DBA and Polemos (in the Napoleonics version), in which a certain number (half) of individual units being defeated will lead to the defeat of a wing, and the defeat of half of the component wings will lead to the defeat of the army.  It is a very little bit  more complex than that, but that is the essence.  Like the rest of the mechanisms, it seems to give a believable result: in fact, thus far, I haven't found any mechanism or factor that seems out of place, although I am not confident in the period to be sure about the calibration and I still have a couple of "am I doing this right?" questions for the forum.  I did add a ruling which seemed reasonable, that troops that hadn't crossed the defences couldn't be counted as being in position to create negative modifiers for defending the flank or rear.  This seemed more fair than not.

Played on a 3'x2' area, using Baccus 6mm ECW armies as proxies and with Leven buildings.

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