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Cerignola 1503 

When  you are recreating Cannae, Agincourt or the Somme, in order to get semblance of what happened, you need an opponent who will be so obliging as to charge blindingly forward. Mr C Jackson is such a man……


However, on seeing wall to wall entrenchments on the field of battle, Mr. Jackson started whining and claiming that the game was unbalanced. Honestly, if only the battles of History were balanced. It would be yours truly who would have to step into the shoes of the Duke of Nemours and attempt to reverse fate…


All troops were based on the ever wonderful L’art de la Guerre ruleset, with the addition of arquebusers. We classed these as ” crossbows ” in game terms, replaced by firearms, with two U.D. Range and conferring a protection value of zero on everything except light foot and light horse. After discussion of using our Renaissance variant, we decided that the core, ancient and medieval rules would be worth a try. 

Order of Battle

Spanish Neopolitans

Left wing ( Pedro Navarro)

Two light horse arquebusers, three heavy guns, four Genitors light horse( impact)

Centre ( Gonzalo Fernandez de Córdoba )

Six  Spanish arquebusers, six Landskneckt pike, four sword and Buckner ( medium swordsmen)

Right ( Prospero Colonna)

Two light horse arquebusers, four Genitors, four men at arms ( heavy Knights impact)



The French

Right wing ( Duke of Nemours)

Four Gendarmes ( Heavy Knights elite and impact), six Stradiots  light horse javelin.

Centre ( Pierre du Terrail)

Eight Swiss pikemen ( elite) , two Swiss arquebus light infantry.

Rearguard ( Yves d’ Alegre)

Four French Pike (mediocre), eight light infantry with crossbows, one light horse arquebus and no artillery! The 40 French guns never made it to the battle!


As mentioned in the introduction, how do you simulate the over confidence of the French? By repeating it of course! The Duke of Nemours attacked the Spanish left. Yes, the flank covered by three Spanish cannon , ditches and embankments!


The accompanying Stadiots carved through the Genitors but the French gendarmes were suffering from the artillery from Cerignola. The Great Captain was obviously feeling nervous as a Landskneckt pike formation was moved to sure up the flank. Nemours wasn’t going to press the attack but obligingly, El Capitan promptly withdrew all his horse within the field fortifications. The lure of all those mediocre French men on the other flank was too much to resist.But, the Gascon crossbowmen were holding their own ….

As the Spanish swarmed out on their right, they could only present a narrow frontage and the French crossbowmen had a field day! Once the vanguard of the Spanish attack had been discomfited it appeared to be time for Terrail’s Switzers to attack! The entrenchments had been weakened by the Spanish move to the flank and the omens looked opportune…..

The Spanish commander realised the danger of a concerted attack by the reinvigorated Gendarmes and the menacing Swiss. Defying convention, the Spanish foot masked their artillery and clambered over their fieldworks. Lances  were broken and buckles swashed in the melee but the lightly Armoured Spanish were slaughtered!


The day went to the French. It would be the French who ended the battle with the “toque de oracion” or call to prayer. The battle had worked smoothly with minimal changes to the core ruleset. It would be the development of the Spanish infantry formations that would be problematic in extending L’art de la Guerre to past 1510.

Thanks for reading and prepare yourself for the grand release of tickets for Godendag Wargames weekender!

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