Battle of Bicocca

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Corporal - 5 cm Pak 38
Corporal - 5 cm Pak 38
Posts: 40
Joined: Tue Feb 19, 2013 7:05 am

Battle of Bicocca

Post by Rmarsden »

Your impetuous Swiss Pike decide to attack a well-defended position head on, with or without you.

Short Version = Slow up some of the Swiss charge with your fast cavalry, focus on the right and left corners of the fort. Release the Swiss to try and coincide with your attack.

Long Version = In this scenario you command a Swiss/French army, in which the Swiss begin a forward march that you do not control. Aware of the situation from the briefing, I opted on an army heavy on arquebusiers, thinking I'd have to blast my way into the enemy fortifications, and with some cavalry to try and probe for a way around. What Pike I had I believed (wrongly) would not be needed.

This battle ended up going my way, but like all so many plans- it didn't survive the point of contact.

At the get-go I noticed my faster cavalry units could get ahead of the advancing Swiss. I placed them to the front of the Swiss pike where able to slow up key units. The Swiss didn't march around my cavalry (what I expected) and thankfully did not attack them (what I feared). Thus partially stalled, I had a reserve of Swiss pike I could unleash.

The enemy is up a hill, behind walls, with arquebusiers to the front and pike in the back. Several redoubts house artillery. Cavalry lingers far to their rear. To the left is a road that does lead to a causeway into the fort, and far to the north is a bridge. To the right is a swamp. One of my favorite areas to sneak through.

I marched a mass of my arqeubusiers and pike to the right, planning on going through the swamp and fighting the enemy in it if I had to, or using it to get them to abandon their positions, or better yet, flanking them as they engaged the Swiss. I had my center empty. To my left I set up my artillery, a single-pike unit and some cavalry, originally for the purpose of defending the artillery. My initial plan was to overwhelm on the right and breach the defenses with the aide of the distracting Swiss.

And of course nothing went according to plan.

The scattered Swiss that reached the walls were defeated, though I knew this would happen and it took time.

As my army approached the swamp, (perhaps a bit too much along the west edge of it rather than east) the AI had their pike take to the walls to meet the Swiss and the arqebusiers drew back. The AI, unhappy about being outflanked, sent the arqeubusiers out of the fort and charged into the swamp, merrily seeking out melee and/or shooting up my units. My arqebusiers fell back and my cavalry did as well after I noticed I wasn't winning the shooting or melee phase in the murky swamplands. So much for being clever. The good news was that the enemy army from this point on abandoned its position and left the safety of its own walls. The details of the plan didn't work out, but its intent to dislodge the enemy did.

On the right, everything hinged. I released my stalled Swiss and they along with my pike met the enemy pike, who left their walls behind and marched SE onto open ground. This allowed me to set up favorable matches, but it was a slow grind, and the Swiss surprisingly broke at times and if victorious would sometimes sit stationary for turn after turn.

On the left, the Swiss were not going to win, which was fine, but I needed to stall for time so I could overwhelm on the right. I sent in my small force, and used ranged weapons to pepper the enemy, breach their fort, fall back from their fort and in general tangle up 3 enemy pike and the enemy cavalry.

In the center, my arqebuisers and cavalry (who had abandoned their swamp-antics on the right) found the enemy cannons undefended and took out most of them. I had them occupy the redoubts, and when any of my pike routed an enemy on my right, I'd send a few arquebusiers over to prevent the enemy gunmen from focusing their fire. A tactic I've had to reply on is- after a successful route, valuable units need to be protected from a concentrated counter-attack. Skirmishers and light cavalry do great at this when it comes to resisting ranged counter-attacks.

While my overall plan didn't go as expected, the tide of battle turned in my favor. The enemy broke on my right and my skirmishers placed themselves in the way of the largely intact enemy arqeubusiers in the swamp, acting as human shields to prevent a counter-attack.

On the left, my pike and the Swiss were defeated, but the enemy was isolated and I was able to concentrate artillery and skirmisher fire onto units and break them. This combined with my efforts on the right led to 30% to 60% victory.
Sergeant - Panzer IIC
Sergeant - Panzer IIC
Posts: 199
Joined: Sat Nov 22, 2014 2:14 pm

Re: Battle of Bicocca

Post by Waldorf »

Your idea of using quick cavalry to get in the way of the relentless Swiss and weakening the fortification corners worked like a charm. When the Spanish crossed their defences to advance towards us I released the Swiss like a cork from a bottle and we swept to victory 61/7!
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