During research for a 100 Years War project, I stumbled upon a small campaign game for the period in Extra Impetus 1, a supplement to the Impetus rules by Dadi & Piombo. In it, Lorenzo Sartori lays out a Chevauchée (grand raid) campaign, where an English army invades mainland France to pillage and plunder. As the map is spread over two pages with a crease in the middle I reproduced it in Wonderdraft:
The English field one raiding army and arrive at any of the ports. The French randomly roll for the start positions of their two weaker armies (blue numbers). Their goal is to combine the armies and bring the English to battle. The campaign ends if the English re-embark and move off with their plunder or a battle has been fought. For the tactical rules I decided to give Flower of Chivalry a try. An old rule set with easy but very interesting mechanics. The player can only influence the aggressiveness of the leaders and their troops, subsequent dice rolls can shift the behavior to more or less aggressive and cost valuable stamina points for offensive actions taken. When reading through it, it seemed a certainly more believable take on medieval command and control than lets say PIP rolls in DBA or L’Art De La Guerre.
Here are the moves with the English in red and the French in blue. Fires indicate pillaged villages:
The French armies under Counts Bonnaire and Faure started at blue 4 and blue 5 as they received news of an English army landing. They were quite far away from the landing site, but this gave them the opportunity to combine forces uninterrupted. The English, under Sir Mercer, used the time to raid villages at red 2 and red 3 before the French could do anything. With the prospect of facing a combined French army, Mercer retired across the river again and began to raid villages at red 4, 5 and 6, before deciding to move back to the ships. The French did a flank march, however, and surprised the English on their way back at red 6. Although tired from long marching, the French would have the upper hand in numbers.
Both armies arrayed in standard fashion for the time. The English with a strong but small core of knights and men-at-arms, supported by deadly longbow archers at the flanks.
The French put their crossbowmen first, to cushion the blow from enemy archery. The second and third lines were composed of the heavy hitters: Nobles, knights and men-at-arms.
The first phase was surprising to say the least. Longbow archers shuffled awkwardly for position and did little. Their crossbow armed counterparts were extremely successful in demolishing the English center before it could close. Combat rolls in Flower of Chivalry are done by 1d10 with the number rolled being the number of hits scored up to a certain limit. Rolling just one die per combat/shot, low hit point counts and punishing morale rolls makes combat very volatile and quick. Combined with the difficulty to control one’s army directly, generalship is quite difficult and limited. Again, probably quite close to the truth, in general terms at least.
With the longbow archers finally in position, the French mounted battle lines are suffering steady losses. Crossbow archers also took a toll from the remaining English unit of knights.
More and more Frenchmen fall under the hail of arrows, as the English center holds on for life. In the end the English manage to win with one morale point left before collapse.
A very tight battle that could have gone either way. Still, the English hold the field at the end of the day and can retire in good order with their plunder to fill the Crown’s coffers.
The campaign is quite lightweight and has not much consequence to it, because it ends after one battle. It plays quickly, though, and could be used as a pre-battle game. Grafting any tabletop rule set to it shouldn’t be difficult, either.
Flower of Chivalry proved to be quite interesting but not entirely to my taste. When reading the rules, everything made sense, playing it out a bit less so. Leaders and their troops swing from charge orders to entirely defensive ones, not only because of dice rolls but to build up depleted stamina in the middle of the field. The underlying concepts aimed to be represented are sound, the rule mechanics are… personal preference, lets say. I can’t say its a bad game. Wrangling control is certainly a challenging, and at times frustrating experience. All in all a rewarding to see new rules in action, though.
4 thoughts on “The Chevauchée Campaign”
Interesting campaign and battle. I had forgotten about this raid in the Extra supplement, and I do not recall ever playing the rules in Flower of Chivalry. I think I will dig both out for a read.
Terrific mapwork, by the way.
Thank you Jon. Making those maps is a lot of fun for me.
Very much looked like a replay of an Agincourt campaign. Nicely done.
Thank you Tom. The campaign certainly has similarities on the strategic and battle level.