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Assault on Venice

being a report of the action fought on the twentieth day of October in the year 2007

by James Cheung


Lawrence and I fought a very tense battle at the mid-October meeting and upon the request of several members of the Society, I have prepared the following report:




The Venetians had successfully resisted 3 invasions by Imperial Germany.  In 1427AD, the newly elected Holy Roman Emperor, Lawrence, wanted to seek revenge for his predecessor and invaded Venice again.  James, the ruler of Venice, had order Carmagnola, an Italian Condotta, as well as a brilliant general, to led a small but professional army to stop the Imperial invasion.  Carmagnola had chosen a small plain near Venice and offered battle in order to stop Lawrence's advance.


The Armies


The Imperial army was led by the Imperial C-in-C with 2 Feudal lords as allies.  They were mostly irregular and had the following troop types: - 12 Feudal Knights (Irr Kn(O)) - the backbone of the army; 3 Mercenary Knights (Dbe Reg Kn(I)) - led by the Emperor and useful in attacking opposing knights. Described as heavy tanks, an unknown number of Heerban (Irr Bd(X)) - the main killer of Italian knights; 8 mercenary bowmen (Reg Bw(O) - to support the advance; various numbers of auxilia and psiloi (Irr Ps(O), (I) & Irr Ax(O)) - to make up the numbers; 2 feudal mounted crossbowmen (Reg Cv(O)) - to fill gaps; 8 Hungarians (Irr LH(F)) - to outflank the enemy or fill gaps.  The Imperial player had an ME of about 99 and would lose the battle at ME 49.5.  They were more numerous than the Italians but more difficult to control and manoeuvre.  Most of them were impetuous and prone to make spontaneous advances without obeying orders.


The Italian army was led by Carmagnola with 2 regular sub-generals. The heavy bombards and 2 baggage formed another command, however without a general.  11 Italian knights (Reg Kn(O)) - the backbone of the army; 8 mounted crossbowmen (Reg LH(I)) - inferior to their opponents and used to outflank or fill gaps; 3 militia crossbowmen (Reg Ps(O)) - to make up the numbers; 6 mercenary bowmen (Reg Bw(O)) - a forlorn hope to delay the advance of the Imperial knights or to shoot up the opposing infantry; 4 sword-&-buckler men (Reg Bd(F)) - to deal with opposing Heerban; 4 pioneers (Irr Hd(O)) - to make up the numbers and guard camp; 2 bombards (Reg Art(S)) - to shoot up anything and hopefully to disrupt the formations of irregular knights; 4 mercenary pikes (Reg Pk(O)) - to protect the bombards or to cover the flanks of the knights; 2 mercenary billmen (Reg Bd(O)) - to protect the bombards or bowmen; 2 militia pavisiers & crossbowmen (Dbe Reg Bw(X) & Bw(O)) - to deal with opposing infantry/bowmen; 2 English archers (Reg Mtd Bw(S)) - to advance with the knights and to provide fire support.  The Italian army was small with a total ME of only 85.5.  It would lose at a loss of more than 43 ME.  However, they were more manoeuvrable and, led by a brillant general, could strike suddenly on the Imperial army by using a brilliant stroke.  




The Imperial army was led by Lawrence Ho, a wily old veteran with many victories under his belt.  He is cool in battle and always has good dice rolls.  His nickname is 'King of the dice'.  The Italian army was led by James who, while an experienced commander, is hot-tempered and always complains about his bad dice rolls.


The Plan


The Imperial army had 3 commands.  The right wing was commanded by a feudal lord and contained most of the feudal knights, some Hungarians and auxilia.  It had 36 ME.  The centre was commanded by another Feudal lord, but was smaller in size. It had only 2 knights and 2 mounted crossbowmen, but had all the Heerban, the Irr Bd(X), the real killer of the game.  The left was commanded by the Imperial C-in-C, with all the remaining troops, including the notorious Dbe Reg Kn(I).  The 3 commands covered the whole battlefield and obviously the vastly superior number of Imperial troops would carry the day.  Moreover, Lawrence would only commit the Heerban at the right time, in order to kill the Italian knights, although the Heeran were impetuous troops and difficult to control.


The Italian army had 4 commands.  Due to its smaller size, James sought to refuse his right wing and put all his knights from the left wing to the centre.  All the knight were commanded by Carmagnola, a brilliant general and Reg Kn(S).  On his left, the extreme left wing was commanded by a sub-general who has 6 Reg LH(I), 4 Reg Bd(F) and 3 Reg Ps(O).  The task was cover the flank of the knights and to outflank their opponents.  The right flank of the knights was covered by English archers and pikemen from the other command, led by another sub-general.  The great bombard, without any general, was placed at the centre with some temporary fieldworks.  To the right of the bombard James placed all his bowmen. They were the forlorn hope and were to delay the Imperial outflanking force as long as possible.  


The Battle


The first bound saw the Italians readjusting their left flank to extend their LH(I) from column to line.  Both sides stayed put, although the Imperial C-in-C attempted to outflank the Italian right wing and extended his right wing further by repositioning his auxilia.  On the second bound, James rolled a 6 for the main command and a 4 for the left wing.  Seeing the Imperial auxilia had blocked the recoil path of their Hungarian LH and afraid that the Imperial left wing was about to fall on his right, the Italian launched an immediate attack by using a 'brilliant stroke'.  From James' left wing to the centre all hell broke loose.  James successfully destroyed all the Hungarian LH in one stroke and killed several Bd(X).  However, James only managed to push back the feudal knights and a melee ensued. Then appeared one of the critical moments of the battle. The Italian C-in-C was killed in the melee with Bd(X), although James managed to kill several feudal knights due to Lawrence's bad dice rolls. 


No more brilliant strokes could be used and the main attack of the Italian force had been blunted.  Luckily for James most of his knights has been engaged and did not need many pips to move.  Moreover, Lawrence's right wing was also starting to crumble.  Seeing this, Lawrence quickly readjusted his left wing.  His clumsy Bde Reg Kn(I) started to threaten James' right wing.  However, maybe to avoid the firing arc of the Italian bombard, the Imperial left did not move across the battlefield to aid their comrades on the left and centre, which were under very much pressure by the Italian attack.


The Imperial left finally arrived on the scene and their bowmen exchanged fire with the Italians.  This time the Italian was had the upper hand, as Dbe Bw(X) & Bw(O) is better than Bw(O).  Then came the second critical moment of the battle.  2 Dbe Reg Kn(I) were killed by bowfire before charging home on the exposed flank of the Italian bowmen.  Nevertheless 1 Dbe Kn(I) survived and charged the Italian BW(X).  At the same time the sub-general on the Italian right wing was also killed by Bd(X), together with 3 elements of pikemen.  James' right wing was disheartened and soon became broken.  Luckily for James, Lawrence's left wing also broke after several bounds of melee.  Eventually all of Lawrence's right was put to flight.  By this time Lawrence had lost more than 40 ME, compared with James' losses of about 30ME, and James only needed to inflict less than 10ME to win.  However, without only 2 generals in play it was a difficult task for James to achieve.  Even worse, the Imperial Centre and left were mostly intact. 


James' pip dice were high enough to halt the rout of his right so that he could delay the Imperial C-in-C enough to achieve the finally victory.  The Italian left started to turn to Lawrence's centre and threatened the Imperial baggage.  Lawrence thwarted James' plan by using his psiloi to block the path of advance. James needed a quick victory as his centre was already disheartened and near broken.  3 more ME loss in his centre and all would be lost.  James knew that it was useless to engage the psiloi, so he realigned his left wing with the remaining knights from the centre.  All he wanted was to make a final charge on Lawrence's centre, while his English archers, bombard and bowmen attempted to kill something in range.  On the other hand, Lawrence needed to kill the isolated Italian knights while preventing the loss of 2 or 3 ME, which would exceed his army's break level. 


The final moment came when the Italians made their final charge on Lawrence's centre, which was already reformed to face James's onslaught.  At that moment Lady Luck smiled again on the Italians. James' English archers successfully killed the only remaining feudal knight and James' remaining broken bowmen successfully killed an impetuous element of Imperial bowmen, although the remaining Italian general was also slain during the final charge. 


The final outcome was a 51ME loss for the Imperial German, compared with a 39ME loss for the Italian. One command of the Italian army was broken and all of its generals were slain.  One German command was also broken and the Imperials had lost more than half of their army ME.  The Italians won a marginal victory.




Both sides were exhausted after the battle.  Venice offered peace to the Holy Roman Emperor and a peace treaty was signed afterward.  There would be no battle for these 2 countries in the near future.  


Response by Lawrence Ho  


Splendid Game!  Yes, we did have a great game yesterday.  In particular, the game was evenly matched and both sides only needed to destroy two to three elements of the right command to rout their adversary.  Actually, I had planned and marked all my deployment on a mini-map well before the battle began.  Highlights of the day: three of the Italian generals were killed, mostly by Bd(X); 4 of the Hungarian Light Horse (F) were destroyed in the first round.  The double-based German inferior knights were very brittle against bow fire - 4 of their elements were destroyed by bow fire.   It only took 1 PIP to halt an Impetuous General, but not 2 PIPs.  Bd(X) might be one of the best troop types in DBMM rules.


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