Tuesday 4 August 2020

Further Test Games (1490 – 1515)

To explore conflicts outside the Italian peninsula I began with the Spanish invasion of Portugal. This will be followed by a number of nations bordering the Baltic Sea, such as Poland, Livonia, Lithuania, Muscovy. This should be interesting.

The Portuguese vs. the Spanish

Fast and furious can best describe the six matches. The Portuguese infantry are all classed as ‘fast’ (3Pk + 3Bd + Ps) which gave them an edge, whereas the Spanish were mindful of their pike block of four elements. Both sides ended their tests scoring three victories each.

Later Polish (IV/66) vs. Livonia (Teutonic Order IV/30)

Wooded landscape did not deter the Sword Brothers from trouncing the Polish in the opening game (4 – 2). The Polish countered enveloping both Livonian flanks earning a 4 – 0 victory. Livonia bounced back to winning game three, however, the best is yet to come. Bizarre can best describe game four as the Polish Hetman fell in turn two. Most of the Polish units were engaged leaving a column of Hungarian horse archers to fall on an exposed Livonian flank initiating a chain reaction to include the death of the Livonian Landmeister and the collapse of the entire army (5 – 2). The town militia (8Cb) were exchanged for war waggons in the last two games. The WWg earned their keep by supporting a third and fourth win for the Later Polish. In retrospect all were great games.

Muscovy (IV/44b) vs. Finland (Swedish list IV/54d)

The Swedes held an advantageous position between two woods leaving only half their army exposed. Muscovy failed to lure the Swedish out of their position and seeing their indecision the Swedes moved their archers forward to disrupt their formation. Taking advantage of the chaos, the Leidang closed on the Boyars to scatter the Muscovites (4 – 1). The Muscovites came close to winning game three with well-coordinated attacks by boyar and tartar horse archers, but this was not to be. The Muscovites lost all six test games mainly to cavalry lines falling in disarray by archers leaving surviving boyar to confront Leidang blade.

Tudor English (IV/83a) vs. Scots Common (IV/16)

Like Flodden Field both commanders dismounted, leaving the Border pickers the only mounted unit for these tests. Simulating Landsknecht pike tactics, the Scots handily won the opening test (5 – 1). However, a second win was not to be as the English blade fell on an open flank of a pike column to tip the scales in their favour (4 – 3). In the following test, the Scots held favourable terrain however, it also offered the English an opportunity to chip away at the pike blocks of the Scots earning a 5 – 1 victory. Game four was long and tenacious, both commanders locked in personal combat, however the deafening yells and shrill of Highland bagpipes signalled the defeat of the English left flank earning the Scots another victory (5 – 4). The next game is better described as a brawl than a battle, the Scots won a narrow victory (4 – 3) again through the effort of the Highland rabble. The final game was nearly a repeat of game four, long and tenacious struggles with both sides incurring even losses. An unlucky pike column sealed the fate of the Scots and England held the field with a 5 – 3 victory.


Of the three tests, the army of Ivan the Mis-understood was disappointing. Their composition is not unlike the early Byzantine which have proved successful in the past. Yet in contrast, the Swedes, well supported by their archers, were not averse to taking the battle to the Muscovites. The test games between the Scots and English were a nice surprise. All games were close with the artillery of both sides doing excellent work.  

After the completion of eight test matches of six games each there are not many more left to do. Between matches, I had time to rebase a few figures to make sword and buckler men, fast pikes and jinetes for the Spanish and Portuguese. After the final test matches, I can determine which armies I would focus on. This will mean some repainting to correct livery and of course adding flags.

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