This piece has been published in Wargames Illustrated Bite-Size Digital publication number 1, so apologies if you get that sense that you may have read this already!
One of Charles the Bold, Duke of Burgundy’s famous defeats
was at the battle of Morat (Murten) on 22 June 1476. The duke had spent his
enormous wealth on building a ‘modern’ army. He’d hired professional soldiers
from across Europe, including Italians, Germans and English, and created a
military structure based on Companies, with written instructions on arms,
training, tactics and discipline. Yet he was comprehensively beaten by a
confederation of Swiss cities and cantons at Morat for one single reason – most
of his troops were waiting to be paid!
The Burgundians had been besieging the walled town of Morat
and Charles expected a Bernese led Swiss force to attack for several days. For largely
unexplained reasons, on the 22 June he decided that no attack was likely and so
decreed that his Companies’ Captains should make arrangements to pay their
troops. Unfortunately this was the moment when the Swiss suddenly attacked from
nearby woods, in significant numbers, and overwhelmed those left on the
There is a plan afoot for The Bodkins
(a loose affiliation comprising Dave Andrews, Matt
Bickley, David Imrie & myself) to put on a demo game of Morat in the near
future. I love adding small vignettes for games, especially to populate those
areas of the table where the main gaming is not happening. They add interest
and help create a flavour for the period or specific battle. For Morat the
table layout needs to include the Burgundian siege lines and encampment and so adding
a group waiting to be paid, seems an ideal piece.
The soldiers waiting in line were selected for their passive
poses and most are Perry Miniatures metals from their Labourers
and Italian Carroccio
packs. Most figures have had some form of minor conversion, as I wanted to
depict them not waiting in full battlefield kit. So the addition of sunhats, covered
longbows and a crossbow seemed appropriate and these items were selected from
different Perry plastic sets. A couple are conversing and another holds his
coin bag tightly, whilst gazing at something which seems to be occurring in the
distance, near the woods. At the end of the line is a crossbowman swigging from
a pottery cup – a Foundry figure sculpted by Dave Andrews.
Moving to the Company’s clerk and his table set up for the
payments. The seated clerk is made of three parts – his body is a cut-down
Foundry medieval figure holding some parchment, his replacement head is from
Perrys WotR Mounted Knights box and I extended his body that sits under the
table with Knedatite putty. The soldier receiving his wages is another Foundry
Swiss figure – spot on for this vignette. Another Perry metal clerk and guard
from the Ducal Household look on and ensure all payments are made according to
instructions. The furniture is 1/48 dolls house mdf Tudor pieces by https://www.petitepropertiesltd.com
, who make lots of useful bits and pieces.
On the table are coins I made, from fine slices of a plastic axe handle
from another Perry plastic boxset.
So a little narrative group that will one day be something to
spot within the Burgundian camp at the battle of Morat.
I'm also still progressing a number of figure conversions for a pike unit and will show pics as soon as I can.
Stay safe everyone.