Thursday 3 September 2020

French Ordonnance and Italian Condotta

French Ordonnance

During the Italian wars, Swiss mercenaries formed the bulk of the infantry for which two elements of Swiss supported by Gascon skirmishers are present. In addition, French pikemen’ (7Hd) are listed representing the ‘old bands’, these were present at the Battle of Ravenna (1512). Currently, horde are on 30mm deep bases, but as this did not look right alongside the Swiss I increased their depth and added more pikemen.

Blue is the theme colour for the French uniforms, a nice contrast to the red seen on many flags. The Swiss are of Bern as can be seen with their banner and a second element carry the red/yellow of Bern with the cross of St. Denis to signify French employment. A red flag and white cross in differing shapes and sizes can be seen in many period illustrations and here they are carried by the French pikemen of Picardy, the mounted archers and an element of French knights. Anticipating the expansion of the French Ordonnance, I have flags for the Swiss of Uri and the ‘old band’ of Navarre done.

Italian Condotta

After 1405, the Republic of Venice had increased its domain by annexing the cities of Vicenza, Belluno, Feltre, Verona, Padua & Este to name a few. To bring more contrast to the ranks, the infantry represent four; Venezia, Verona, Bologna and Brescia. Spearmen and crossbow are separately based as my research found Florence as the sole candidate to field a double based unit of 8Cb at this time.

Flags were taken from the city coat of arms and uniforms reflect a similar colour combination. Lacking concrete information of the noble houses of Brescia and Verona the ‘elmetti’ carry flags of the same colour combination but in a different pattern. I did not use the ‘Lion of St. Mark’ as the banner for the general, but an alternative emblem, the cross. My plan is to expand the Condotta to 24 elements which would rectify this and include infantry from other cities.

Flags; Venezia (red ground/white cross), Verona (blue ground/yellow cross), Bologna (white ground/ red cross) and Brescia (white/blue).     


  1. As a big fan of the Italian Wars, I love these collections. No being familiar with the rules set you use, I notice the Swiss don't really seem like pike formations although the French pike does. Do the rules handle Swiss differently from run of the mill pike?

  2. Joseph,

    Thank you for the question.

    DBA3, pike units in combat against infantry and supported by a second element increase its combat factor to 6 (basic 3 +3 for the supporting element). That is twice the factor for the French pikemen, however, they can take quite a bit of punishment.