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Usk Wars of Religion – After action report

The bible and the sword, "kill them all, and God will know his own...."

The Bible and the sword, “kill them all, and God will know his own….”

I seem to be spending a lot of time reminiscing when in conversation with Richard Bodley Scott.  The subject of “Godendag” reared its head, the superb annual get together for all true fans of 15mm Ancient/Medieval and Renaissance gaming. Next weekend the function room of the Glan-yr- Afon hotel in Usk ( the name roughly translates as mid-life crisis in Welsh), will be taken over by the best and the brightest in “serious” , and “not too serious” competition wargaming. Readers will no doubt be aware of which category I place myself in but I was sorely tempted this year to pick up the challenge once more of this most excellent jamboree of lead orientated entertainment.

Richard is of course infamous for his preference for ‘shooty cavalry’ I.e. mounted armies that rely on firepower. This is reflected in Richard’s favourite choice of wargames army, the Huns. To someone like myself who rates himself, and is rated by others, as an enthusiastic mediocrity in competition, Richard’s command of such troops is something to behold. In fact, the Huns were actually consigned to the “toolbox” because they bored our RBS, being so mobile they could effectively alter their deployment to counter any opponent’s plans. This is a feature of his gameplay. You see a wide deployment of seemingly isolated units and then they form up into lines pouring out devastating fire, from all angles. Although Richard did recount of a time under WRG rules when his Huns were a little overenthusiastic and charged to their doom against a Late Roman army.

Fire from every angle!

Fire from every angle!

Richard’s choice was the Early Eighty Year’s War Dutch army from the Late 1500s. As expected the army was a fiendish mix of small pike and shot units, ‘the new legions of the embattled Republic and heavily armoured horse with carbines. My opponents maxim of  “never let an opponent get close enough to hit you” gave me my inspiration. My love of Fog Renaissance came from the advances of artillery. My usual choice of army relies upon heavy guns to blast my more skillfully manoeuvred opponent. This time I thought I might overpower him with old fashioned pike keils and gendarmes. My first mistake……….

Dastardly French Wars of Religion Catholics- the antidote to Dutch heresy

Dastardly French Wars of Religion Catholics- the antidote to Dutch heresy

The Catholic army gave me three units of ” Gendarmes” but outrageously categorised as “horse” in FOG! I chose two large units of Royal Swiss pike as my none too subtle attack force, supported by assorted lower quality Italian and French arquebus and pike units. My second mistake, only one medium artillery battery.

My right wing horse aiming to support my infantry attack

My right wing horse aiming to support my infantry attack

The terrain was quite featureless with Richard following the conventions of the time,  chequerboard infantry units, with a majority of his horse on his left. My single battery on the right did force RBS to send his cuirassiers into echelon in order to avoid the flying cannonballs. Rather I concentrated my fire on the supporting Dutch infantry, to some effect.  However, when the Dutch cavalry came into contact I found my “gendarmes” sadly lacking.  My ” horse” put up a brave fight but they lacked the fighting élan of their earlier namesakes.

Gendarmes in name only

Gendarmes in name only

In the centre, my Swiss  were up against the more numerous smaller Dutch formations. Their fire failed to hurt the pikeblocks but the skirmishing arquebusers in the lead did suffer.


On my left, I had refused the flank with my poor quality Italians and mounted arquebusers. Richard’s foot were flanking  these at the close of the game but my disappearing right wing forced me to retire. His dragoons, with their new fangled muskets led me a merry dance.

Despite intervention by the Capitan, Dutch carbines took a heavy toll.

Despite intervention by the Capitan, Dutch carbines took a heavy toll.

The Catholics had enough. Another loss against the tabletop genius that is RBS. I think Godendag competition games are going to have to wait until next year. I shall be attending of course so will post photos next weekend. The game system does grow on you though. back to heavy artillery for me!

The Catholics seek safety in flight!

The Catholics seek safety in flight

Filed under: Field of Glory, Miniature wargames, Pike and shotte, Wargaming

About the Author

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The wild ramblings of an infamous wit and wargames guru. One of nature's true gentlemen who devotes his time to the care of his two sons, i.e. giving realistic tactical advice in Fortnite games, and recreating great moments of military history using inch high toy soldiers. Currently a leading light in the Cardiff Dice Studz who meet regularly at Firestorm Games ( formerly Ali Baba's Carpet Warehouse), Trade Street, Cardiff, sunny Wales, U.K.


  1. Mr Tom Atkins

    How are you by now?

    I search desperately for ages Swiss infantry for my collection of 25/28 mm figures on the French wars of religion (1562 to1598 AD)…

    There are masses of Swiss for the wars of Italy and now also for the seventeenth century, but not for the second half of the sixteenth century ???

    Fools will tell you that any figures may Swiss, but it’s wrong …

    At this time there, there were no uniforms, but there were clothing fashions nation by nation …
    Not a single factory does it?

    You do not have an idea to help me?

    With kind regards



    • Hi Tom,
      Your best bet in my opinion is The Assault Group. They have just released Valois French and may move on to Swiss for the French Wars of Religion. I’ve seen Swiss depicted as less flamboyant Landeskneckte for this period. It may be worth checking out the Old Glory and Artizan sites for the later Swiss.
      I spoke to the guys from Warlord a few months ago and they were non commital about new later 16century miniatures but we live in hope.
      Mike B
      Not certain I answer erred your question but thanks for visiting!


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