Saturday, March 22, 2014

Pavia 1525: The Climax of the Italian Wars (Campaign)

So after watching the Borgias and the Borgia series on Netflix, I was still in the mood for more information on the various issues in Italy. Well, the area around which the series took place as Italy as a unified state didn't exist at that time and the whole area was rife with warfare from French and Spanish, as well as numerous Italian, French, and German mercenaries.

Pavia 1525, The Climax of the Italian Wars, is written by Angus Konstam, and outside of the numerous illustrations from historical sources, utilizes the modern day talents of Graham Turner to bring to life the battles in the Italian Wars the cumulated at Pavia in 1525. Note that the cover I used here is not the latest one, but rather, the cover of the edition I personally own that at its time of publishing, ran for $19.99, but not runs for $21.95.

There are a number of interesting factors at work when looking at history.

Never Ending War: When looking at the Italian Wars, such as over on the Wiki,, you'll see that there are various 'wars'. LIke the Italian War of 1521-1526. The sack of Rome happens in 1527. War is a part of the landscape.

Names: I sometimes laugh at some of the names I see in fantasy novels, my own characters, friend's characters or other media. Historically though, such names like 'the Bastard of Savoy' or Saint-Severin (Master of the King's Horse) among others, such as Bande nere, the Black Band mercenary group.

Weather: One of the things that happen with canons and hand canons, is that they are vulnerable for a wide range of weaknesses. For example, once the canons are in place, they don't move. Mobility is not a key factor. Another thing is fog. If you can't see the enemy, you can't shoot the enemy. Another problem is rain. Wet guns and wet gunpowder do not make for good weapons.

Reversals: The French lose the battle at Pavia. The Imperials though, don't have time to take advantage of it due to the quick thinking of the mother of the French King.

Mercenaires: The Italians were known for their mercenaries. The Germans, such as the Landsknechts, and the Swiss, are all employed here. The payment, or lack of payment for these forces, provide fooder in and of itself for how things could work.

Large Campaigns, Small Campaigns: Despite the book being titles Pavia, it covers many of the other events that happened, such as 'The Storming of Mirabello", where the Imperialist troops attacked the French at the hunting lodge. This hunting lodge is described as a small castle with its own drawbridge. This would be a perfect fortification to hold back a larger group. For example, a group of players fighting against larger numbers to slow them down. Another example is when a group of French soldiers fight a group of Spanish infantry outside the small town of Binasco.

Pavia is an interesting look at a small slice of a terrible time in history and has enough odd bits between its pages to provide readers with many bits for their own games.