Historical Background (from Wikipedia)
The Swabian War of 1499 was the last major armed conflict between the Old Swiss Confederacy and the House of Habsburg. What had begun as a local conflict over the control of the Val Müstair and the Umbrail Pass in the Grisons soon got out of hand when both parties called upon their allies for help; the Habsburgs demanding the support of the Swabian League in the south-west Holy Roman Empire, and the Federation of the Three Leagues of the Grisons turning to the Swiss Confederation. Hostilities quickly spread from the Grisons through the Rhine valley to Lake Constance and even to the Sundgau in southern Alsace, the westernmost part of Habsburg Further Austria.
Many battles were fought from January to July 1499, and in all but a few minor skirmishes, the experienced Swiss soldiers defeated the Swabian and Habsburg armies. After their victories in the Burgundian Wars, the Swiss had battle tested troops and commanders. On the Swabian side, distrust between the knights and their foot soldiers, disagreements amongst the military leadership, and a general reluctance to fight a war that even the Swabian counts considered to be more in the interests of the powerful Habsburgs than in the interest of the Holy Roman Empire proved fatal handicaps. When his military high commander fell in the battle of Dornach, where the Swiss won a final decisive victory, Emperor Maximilian I had no choice but to agree to a peace treaty signed on September 22, 1499 in Basel. The treaty granted the Confederacy far-reaching independence from the empire. Although the Swiss Confederation officially remained a part of the empire until the Treaty of Westphalia in 1648, the peace of Basel exempted it from the imperial jurisdiction and imperial taxes and thus de facto acknowledged it as a separate political entity.
Pike & Shot Campaigns
The Pike & Shot Campaigns computer game covers European armies from 1494 to 1698, and I thought that it would be interesting to try out the new campaign system using the Swiss Confederation when it was at its peak, but using something different than the popular Italian Wars for the early period. I chose the Swabian War because it was a classic match between Swiss pike blocks and German Landsknechts, and it might be a challenge to play the Imperialists since they lost every major battle historically.
In addition to three historic campaigns, the game allows you to create an ad hoc campaign where you fight over a hypothetical territory using any of the army lists contained in the game. The Swiss Confederation army list was easy to find: Swiss 1494-1515. The Imperialist army list came down to a choice of two: German States 1494-1542 or Imperialist 1494-1519. I decided that it would be simplest to assume that the German list would be for the Swabian League forces under Heinrich von Fürstenberg, while the Imperialist list would be for the Habsburg armies under Emperor Maximilian I. Since I could choose only one army list, I decided to play the Swabian League. I will play one campaign year (six turns) at the “Colonel” difficulty level and use the Balance of Power stated in the game to determine the winner.
I let the computer choose the starting armies and their locations for a quick start to the campaign. The system selects a starting year for the campaign based on the army lists chosen, so when you see 1494 on a screen shot please read it as 1499. The provinces on the map are considered to be predominantly agricultural unless they are marked by a woods or hills symbol.
The Swiss Confederation starts the war with a slight advantage in manpower and tax base (Balance of Power). The standing of all of the field armies are as follows:
- League 1st Army (4,898 foot, 992 horse) in Quakenwald
- League 2nd Army (5,379 foot, 1,204 horse) in Uffenstein
- League 3rd Army (3,900 foot, 1,381 horse) in Jeverhausen
- Swiss 1st Army (est. 5,135 foot, 209 horse) in Viernstadt
- Swiss 2nd Army (est. 6,013 foot, 617 horse) in Rheinbrück
- Swiss 3rd Army (est. 3,240 foot, 359 horse) in Neukingen
- Swiss 4th Army (est.1,935 foot, no horse) in Traunburg