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Italian Wars WAB Army lists

by Anthony Edwards

For centuries warfare had remained relatively the same. Now, suddenly, its ugly face was changing and changing drastically. Heavy cavalry was more expensive than ever, but at the same time becoming drastically less & less effective on the battlefield. Armored infantry presented impregnable rank after rank of metal shod pikes. And the traditional missile weapons of longbow and crossbow were giving way to the primitive & dangerous handgun and arquebus. These new gunpowder based weapons made existing armor all but useless.

The army list below was developed mainly to reflect the 16th century Italian wars and I threw in England because it was fun. (Although I've probably not given them or the Scots due justice.) Early Swiss, Landsknetch, French, Burgundian, Spanish, etc. can all be adequately recreated with this list below. I've tried to leave enough room to comfortably game also in the later renaissance periods and non-western European (Turkish, Polish,

etc.), and the pistoleers listed come from that effort, but I've only really tested it with our Italian Wars campaigns. I also have left an AWFUL lot of flexibility in the list - its up to the players to make sure they are good-natured about their armies. ;)

The Italian wars ravaged the Italian peninsula for nearly a century. Frequently the armies would act as little more than brigands - looting and pillaging everything in sight. And the "major players" were often times not even Italian, but rather armies fielded in the interest of France, Spain, etc. This is a very dynamic period in military history, pretty much anything goes (and pretty much did).

An interesting part about the 16th century is that most nations made extensive use of mercenaries, often hired from each other and many times used against their homelands! The main thrust of this army list is to capture this same feel. To reflect this, I've opted to make a single army list, with generic troops as the norm (what's the difference between

an English pikemen and a French pikeman?) and filled in specific troop types when adequately unusual or necessary (Landsknecths and Swiss, etc). That is the reason I've only made one army list - rather than duplicate large portions of work into several lists.

Due to the above mentioned reason, and Warhammer Ancient Battles is really targeted to recreate much earlier battles, this list will seem like it is probably the most "special rules" intensive one ever made. But this really was necessary, in order to correctly capture the dynamics of the situation.

 

Swiss:

Swiss would not fight against their countrymen. If both sides have Swiss allies, the side with the least number of Swiss units will not show for the battle. This rule does not apply to national Swiss armies fighting in a civil war, though.

Mercenary:

Landsknetchs were the worst form of soldier for hire - they had little loyalty to any but gold. For each Landsknetchs unit, roll a d6 before the game begins. On a 1 your opponent has bought them and they do not show for battle.

Mixed Armor:

Counts as heavy armor until 1/4 casualties inflicted count as light armor until 1/2 casualties, no armor for remaining. If engaged on flank, the BEST count is light armor. If engaged in rear, always counts as no armor. Note that the spanish do not have this option, the newly discovered Americas provided Spain with so much wealth that they they were able to afford large, well equipped & trained, regular armies.

Pike Phalanx:

-1 to hit from front in hand to hand or shooting with arrows/crossbows. Can march forward, turn 180, or wheel (without marching). Drilled pike can reform and turn as desired. Required rank bonus (of PIKES) at least +1 and at least 16 pikemen. Cannot lap around in combat, but can expand frontage to fit.

Attachments:

Are part of physical pike unit - they occupy either the front rank or the rear rank. Fighting/shooting is always against parent unit. Defender can apply hits as he wishes, with the pikes taking more hits than either attachment. (Wounds are determined once applied to the unit or attachments.) A front attachment will not stop pikes from attacking with two ranks. Attachments cannot have standards or leaders. They don't have leadership tests independent from their parent unit.

Front Attachments:

Front rank attachments with missile weapons can fire (in the shooting phase) at enemy engaged to the front in hand to hand at no risk of hitting friends. Such fire will not cause panic checks. Front rank attachments can run between the pikes and attack opponents in hand to hand. This is combined with the front two ranks of pike attacks.

Rear Attachments:

Back rank & can be used to lap around enemy. Not more than 1/4 number of pikes. If lapping around a pike unit the defender's phalanx bonuses do not apply to the lapping models.

Detachments:

Physically detached and independent from parent unit. Cannot exceed more than half the models in the parent unit. If within 8" of parent, can use parent's leadership and standard bonuses. Detachments cannot have standards or leaders. Missile detachments can fire into hand to hand combat with no risk if parent unit is engaged & within 8".

Tercio:

Originally a Spanish formation. Large squares of pikes, surrounded by hand gunners. Originally there must be at LEAST 25 pikes, with enough handguns to surround formation. Cannot march move. The unit has no flanks or rear. Guns on outside can fire as gun attachments above.

Caracole:

Pistoleers in front rank fire all their pistols, then retire to rear & reload while back ranks move forward to fire. Required at least two nearly equal ranks & 3" room on at least one side to perform this maneuver. Allows front rank of pistoleers to fire twice as long as the unit does not move.

Pistolry: (Can't recall the correct name)

Later in the Reniassance, a new tactic was developed for pistoleers. They can fire their pistols as they charge into combat. If they charge, they can use two pistols for the first round of hand to hand. (S4, -2 to armor save) Historically this move was pioneered by Gustavus Adolphus, who was much later than the Italian wars, but its just too much fun to leave at home.

Batteries:

Artillery units within 4" of one another can form units called batteries. They act as a single unit and can share crew. If engaged in hand to hand, all will fight.

Arquebus:

The handguns of this era were superior to the very early hand gun models of the late middle ages. I've deviated from the fantasy combat handguns, and I am allowing the arquebus to move or shoot, but can shoot each round. (To be totally honest, its more move or reload, but that's to squiggly of a concept for me. More anal people can deploy "empty" markers after shooting and reclaim them in any movement phase they don't move.) Range is 24", S4, and -2 to the armor save.

Pistol:

Range 6", S4, and -2 to the armor save. Characters can use pistols in hand to hand, in addition to a normal hand weapon.

 

Allowances

Generic

Characters 0-25%
National Inf. 25%+
Mercenary Inf. 0-75%
Artillery 0-20%
Cavalry 0-30%

 

National infantry is infantry from the same nation as the general, such as Swiss general will have at least 25% swiss troops. (Historically, of course, they probably had more.) Troops that are not specifically labeled with a nationality, such as the ordinary pike below, can used as any nationality.

 

Planned "nationalities" are Swiss, Landsknetch, English, Scottish, Burgundian, French (all), Spanish, and Italian.

 

Characters:

0-1 General               140 points

M WS BS S T W I A Ld
4 5 5 4 3 3 6 2 9

EQ: May be equiped with equipment from below.

SP: Army general.

0-1 Army Standard                   75 points

M WS BS S T W I A Ld
4 4 4 4 3 2 5 2 8

EQ: May be equiped with equipment from below.

SP: Army standard bearer.

0-3 Heros              80 points each

M WS BS S T W I A Ld
4 5 5 4 4 2 5 3 8

(If Mr. J can have his seven samurai, I can have my three musketeers)

EQ: May be equiped with equipment from below.

SP: Stubborn.

Minor Lords, Mercenary Captians              60 points each

M WS BS S T W I A Ld
4 4 4 4 3 2 5 2 8

EQ: May be equiped with equipment from below.

SP: Must lead their retinue, they cannot lead and operate as individual models.

0-1 Master Artillerist              50 points

M WS BS S T W I A Ld
4 3 3 3 3 1 4 1 50

EQ: Must be equiped the same as the battery he accompanies.

SP: Must lead an artillery crew or battery, and cannot leave to operate independantly. (Although the entire crew can move to different machines as normal.) Any crew or battery with a master artillerist can reroll a single to hit, scatter, or range die once per turn. Any misfires are resolved at a -1 on the misfire result table.

 

Character equipment list:

May be mounted (M=8) for free. May upgrade to a warhorse (+1 attack) for +4 points. Only independant characters and characters that lead mounted units may be mounted.

Note that characters cannot have mixed armors.

Hand Weapons:

Additional hand weapon +2
Double handed weapon +3
Halbard +3
Pike +3
Thrusting Spear +2
Lance +3

Missile Weapons:

Long Bow +3
Crossbow +4
Arquebus +4
Pistol +2

Armor:

Buckler +1
Shield +2
Light Armour +3
Heavy Armour +4
Barding for steed +4
  • Swiss characters are stubborn and hate landsknecths for +5 points each.
  • Landsknecth characters are stubborn and hate swiss for +5 points each.
  • Spanish characters are drilled for +2 points each.
  • French characters are quite rude and offensive, and speak with weirdo accents. This is free (But ov course, mon ami!).
  • Italian characters make excellent spaghetti and WILL NOT reveal anything to local constables. This is at a price, to be named later.

 

Infantry:

Swiss Halberdiers              12 points each

Profile M WS BS S T W I A Ld
Halberdiers 4 4 3 3 3 1 4 1 7

EQ: Armed with halberds. May wear light armor (+3 points), mixed armors (+3 points), or heavy armor (+4 points).

SP: Stubborn, hate landsknecths.

Swiss Pikemen              12 points each

Profile M WS BS S T W I A Ld
Pikemen 4 4 3 3 3 1 4 1 7

EQ: Armed with pikes. May wear light armor (+3 points), mixed armors (+3 points), or heavy armor (+4 points).

SP: Stubborn, hate landsknecths, may have a rear attachment.

Landsknecths              9 points each

Profile M WS BS S T W I A Ld
Landsknecths 4 3 3 3 3 1 3 1 7

EQ: Armed with pikes. May wear light armor (+2 points), mixed armors (+2 points), or heavy armor (+3 points).

SP: Stubborn, mercenary, hate swiss. May have arquebusers as front attachment, can have rear attachment.

0-1 Dopplesoldners (Landsknecths)              12 points each

Profile M WS BS S T W I A Ld
Dopplesoldners 4 4 3 3 3 1 4 1 7

EQ: Two handed sword. May wear light armor (+3 points), mixed armors (+3 points), or heavy armor (+4 points).

SP: Stubborn, mercenary, hate swiss. +1 morale if rear attachment for landsknecth unit & Dopplesoldners are not engaged in combat. If fielded as an independant unit, these gentlemen would usually accept the most difficult of assignments. As a result,t they are immune to panic.

0-1 Suicide Squads              8 points each

Profile M WS BS S T W I A Ld
Suicide Squad 4 3 3 3 4 1 4 1 8

EQ: Hand weapons. May wear light armor (+3 points), mixed armors (+3 points), or heavy armor (+4 points).

SP: Immume to panic, do no cause panic in others, skirmishers
In Landsknectch armies they were refered to as the "forlorn hope". Regardless, these squads were composed of volunteers or freed prisoners, and they rarely were generally used in vain attempts to puch holes in enemy pike formations.

Spanish Pikemen              11 points each

Profile M WS BS S T W I A Ld
Pikemen 4 3 3 3 3 1 3 1 5

EQ: Armed with pikes and light armor. May upgrade their armor to heavy armor (+1 point).

SP: Drilled. May May have up to two detachments, have up to two attaachments, or be fielded as a tercio.

Pikemen           7 points each

Profile M WS BS S T W I A Ld
Pikemen 4 3 3 3 3 1 3 1 5

EQ: Armed with pikes. May wear light armor (+2 points), mixed armors (+2 points), or heavy armor (+3 points).

SP: May have up to two detachments. May be used as national troops for any army except Swiss, Landsknecht, and Spain.

Halberdiers              7 points each

Profile M WS BS S T W I A Ld
Halberdiers 4 3 3 3 3 1 3 1 5

EQ: Armed with halberds. May wear light armor (+2 points), mixed armors (+2 points), or heavy armor (+3 points).

SP: Spanish halberd units are +2 points each, are drilled, may not have mixed armor, and may have front & rear attachments. Landsknecth halberd units (+2 points) are stubborn and hate the swiss. May be used as any national army.

Papal Levies              3 points each

Profile M WS BS S T W I A Ld
Peasants 4 2 2 3 3 1 2 1 5

EQ: Mixed weapons (treat as hand weapons and javelins.) May trade hand weapons for crossbows (+2 points) or arquebus (+3 points).

SP: Warband. Units armed with hand weapons are light infantry. Units with crossbows or arquebusses are skirmishers. Papal levies fear opponents they don't outnumber by at least 2:1.

Swordsmen              7 points each

Profile M WS BS S T W I A Ld
Swordsmen 4 4 3 3 3 1 4 1 7

EQ: Hand weapons. May be armed with a buckler (+1 points) or a two handed weapon (+2 points), and may wear light armor (+2 points), mixed armors (+2 points), or heavy armor (+3 points).

SP: Light infantry (but I'd recommend using the smaller base size.) Spanish swordsmen are drilled (+2 points). Landsknecth swordsmen are stubborn (+3 points) & hate the swiss.

Scottish Highlanders              6 points each

Profile M WS BS S T W I A Ld
Highlanders 5 3 3 3 3 1 3 1 5

EQ: Pikes or bows. May wear light armor (+2 points) or mixed armor (+2 points).

SP: Warband. Considered light infantry if armed with bows.

English & Welsh Archers              7 points each

Profile M WS BS S T W I A Ld
Longbowman 4 3 3 3 3 1 3 1 7

EQ: Longbow. May wear light armor (+2 points), mixed armors (+2 points), or heavy armor (+3 points).

SP: May plant stakes (once) instead of moving. May be mounted (+8 points, M=8, +1 save) but use the mounted archer profile if engaged in combat while mounted. They can dismount & then use the normal profile.

Arquebusers              8 points each

Profile M WS BS S T W I A Ld
Arquebuser 4 3 3 3 3 1 3 1 7

EQ: Arquebus. May wear light armor (+2 points), mixed armors (+2 points), or heavy armor (+3 points).

SP: Spanish arquebusers are drilled (+2 points). Landsknecth arquebusers are stubborn (+3 points) and hate the swiss. Swiss arquebusers are stubborn (+3 points) and hate the landsknecths. May be fielded as skirmsishers.

Crossbowmen              8 points each

Profile M WS BS S T W I A Ld
Crossbowmen 4 3 3 3 3 1 3 1 7

EQ: Crossbow. May wear light armor (+2 points), mixed armors (+2 points), or heavy armor (+3 points).

SP: Light infantry.

 

Cavalry:

Mounted Archers              18 points

Profile M WS BS S T W I A Ld
Archers 8 2 3 3 3 1 3 1 5
Crossbows 8 2 3 3 3 1 3 1 5
Arquebusers 8 2 3 3 3 1 3 1 5

EQ: Longbow, crossbow, or arquebus. May wear light armor (+2 points), mixed armors (+2 points), or heavy armor (+3 points).

SP: Light cavalry. Mounted crossbows are skirmishers. An arquebus is more difficult to use from horeback, so treat all shots as if they were long range.

Light Cavalry              15 points each

Profile M WS BS S T W I A Ld
Light Cavalry 8 3 3 3 3 1 3 1 7

EQ: Hand weapons. May have thrusting spears (+1 point) or lances (+2 points). May have bucklers (+1 point) and/or light armor (+2 points). Additionally they may purchase bows (+2 points).

SP: Light cavalry.

Reiters (Pistoleers)              19 points each

Profile M WS BS S T W I A Ld
Pistoleer 8 3 3 3 3 1 3 1 7

EQ: Pistols. May wear light armor (+2 points) or heavy armor (+3 points).

SP: Pistolry, may perform caracole.

Heavy Cavalry              22 points each

Profile M WS BS S T W I A Ld
Cavalry 8 3 3 3 3 1 3 1 7

EQ: Hand weapons. May have light lance (thrusting spear, +1 point) or lance (+2 points). May use buckler (+1 point) or shield (+1 point). May wear light armor (+2 points), or heavy armor (+4 points). May ride a warhorse (+3 points, +1A), and a warhorse may wear barding (+4 points).

Gendarmes (Nobility, fully armored, etc.)              30 points each

Profile M WS BS S T W I A Ld
Gendarme 8 4 3 4 3 1 4 2 8

EQ: Lance & heavy armor. May have bucklers (+1 point) or shields (+2 points). May have barding (+4 points).

 

Aritllery:

Name: M S T W Damage Range Crew Cost
Culverin (heavy cannon) - 10 7 3 d6 60" 5-7 100
Light Cannon 4 6 7 2 d3 48" 3-5 60
Horse Drawn Gun 8 5 6 2 1 50 3-5 60
Mortar 4 7 7 3 d3 12"-48" 4-8 70
Organ Gun 4 5/4 7 3 Special 24"/12" 3-5 75
Profile M WS BS S T W I A Ld
Crew 4 3 3 3 3 1 3 1 7

EQ: Crew can wear light armor, at a cost of +2 points per model. Horses can wear barding at a cost of +4 points per horse drawn gun.

Movement: Artillery (except the horse drawn gun) cannot move and fire. The artillery pieces cannot march move. All are allowed a free turn to face the direction they wish to shoot.

Shooting: (Note - most shooting operates the same as their fantasy counterparts.) Estimate range and draw a straight line from the cannon's barrel the estimated range in inches. The cannonball will travel d6*2 inches past that and hit the ground. A roll of 6 indicates a misfire - roll on the catapult misfire table. The balls will bounce an additional d6*2 inches past that in a straight line. (A roll of a six on the second die indicates the ball is stuck in the ground.) Everything in the straight line between where the ball hits the ground & how far it rolls is considered hit. Armor saves are not allowed.

Culverin: The heavy cannon inflicts 1.5 times the normal number of hits, so for every two models struck a third will count as being hit. It cannot be moved, although it can turn to shoot.

Horse drawn gun: The horse drawn gun can move and shoot in the same round.

Mortar: The minimum range of a mortar is 12". It shoots like a catapult - see the basic rulebook for details.

Organ Gun: These were really mini-cannons, usually used as anit-personal guns. Aim the organ gun at the intended target, and determine the number of barrels to shoot. (You cannot shoot more barrels than you have on your model!) Each barrel shot does d6 S5 hits on a target at close range, and d3 S4 hits on the target a long range. Each barrel fired has a 1/6 chance of misfiring. Roll on the catapult misfire chart, and deduct a -1 for each barrel shot to be shot past the first. Up to three barrels can be reloaded a turn. The organ gun does not negage armor saves, although strength modifiers apply as normal.