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This blog presents my different wargames armies, after action reports, campaigns which I have run, some scenarios and a presentation of some of the different rules I play. The pages at the top of the blog contain historical information on the periods that interest me. They are an aid to my poor memory, and not in any way exhaustive nor necessarily correct. As I am an Englishman living in France, some pages are in English and others in French...sorry, I am too lazy to translate...

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vendredi 24 août 2012

French vs Burgundians (1430)

The Battle of Wassy, Champagne 1430

Outnumbered and outscouted, the Burgundians also have only one unit of knights. They do however count numerous archers with both longbow and stakes (Picards and English).

The Prince of Orange is able to impose his choice of battlefield on the over-eager French. They choose a site with hills on either flank, and a vineyard between them. This is a strong defensive position, as archers on the hill will be able to shoot up to 40cm distant.

Picardy and Flemish archers and crossbowmen line the hill on the Burgundian left, English longbowmen hold the right, and the gap between the hill and the vineyard is defended by foot knights and Flemish pike. The French plan is to unlock the centre by forcing the Burgundian right. They decide to throw 3 units of mounted crossbowmen and a unit of voulgiers against this hill, accompanied by cavalry and light infantry. If they can take the hill, the Burgundians will have to withdraw onto the second hill and risk being surrounded.

Unfortunately for the French, the two generals commanding the troops on the left are completely bogged down. A shallow stream, with numerous fords, is quickly crossed, but the French leaders are unable to spur their troops forward. The superior range of the English on the hill has arrows quickly falling amongst the milling French, causing great confusion.

The Burgundian valets sent towards the right flank are a continual threat, the French varlets paralysed and unable to see them off. Cavalry charges and evades succeed one another.

An hour into the battle (turn 3) the Duc d’Anjou decides to advance his numerous knights into range of the Picards on the hill, ready to exploit any opportunity. The knights come under heavy fire : twenty minutes later, they have lost an element, are in disorder, and are being driven back towards their initial positions. At the same time, the concentration of French crossbow fire forces the English momentarily off the hill, but they will quickly return. During these moments of respite, however, the French are able to shoot the Burgundian cavalry in the flank and force them off the battlefield, onto which they do not return. It is nonetheless obvious to the French that they are not going to take the hill before weariness sets in (battle restricted to 7 turns).

Having reached the foot of it, they are once more driven back when the English crest the hill-line, and pour down once more their disciplined fire, led by a general with the "skilled shooter" capacity. Even if the hill falls, the knights will never be able to move up into support. The French therefore call off the attack on turn 5. There has not been a single hand-to-hand combat, archery fire has been critical in this battle.

The result is a draw.  Battlefield losses are only one element of knights and one element of light infantry.

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