Without knowing it, Charles VIII of France initiated a new period in warfare, the Age of the Gun. Several historical elements came together and advanced gunpowder-projectile weaponry in a direction that rapidly pushed all other arms aside. Contamine, in his War in the Middle Ages, states that the feudal ideal of raising armies had transformed over the course of the late middle ages into money payments substituting for the feudal commitment of soldiers. At the same time, several regional states were consolidating into large nation states, providing them with increased budgets and military responsibilities. While Spain, France, and England consolidated, Italy remained politically fragmented. For more than a century, Italian intramural warfare had become largely ceremonial, conducting battles incurring less than 20 total casualties. In such an environment, mercenary soldiers, working as capitalist entrepreneurs (they were called "companies"), quickly proliferated. Mercenaries of the middle ages, especially Italians, tended to specialize in missle weapons. From Crecy forward Italian crossbowmen appear regularly on European battlefields. In the early 1490s, the Sforza Duke of Milan, feeling himself threatened within the realm of Italian power politics, managed to bring the King of France, Charles VIII, into the conflicts in Italy. Charles was not part of, nor did he know the ceremonial "rules" that the Italians had devised for their warfare, so battles would become far more sanguinary in the future, and far more decisive and acrimonious. Most importantly, Charles entered Italy with an artillery train, the first in history.
All these elements came together in the summer of 1494. The crusades were over (though the pretense continued in the contemporary diplomatic world.) Large nation states were now vying for power, and capable of marshalling potentially enormous military strength. While national troops had not yet become fashionable (though Machiavelli certainly suggested it), many mercenaries were available, and the nation states had the money to employ them. The costs of gunpowder, supplies, bronze (the cannons of the era were all bronze--it was found more durable and easier to use), and the technicians to employ these things meant that the nation states would soon monopolize war, and moreover, capitalist economic instruments were available to generate the funds needed by the participants and provide economic structure to the system. Warfare within Italy, and Europe in general, was endemic. There were many sovereign states, all seeking advantage over their competitors. Into this mix came firearms. Work in early firearms tended to deliver huge rewards in terms of increased efficiency and decreased expense. Mercenaries were ready to embrace new missle weapons, especially weapons for which there was no defense. No armor could stop a bullet at close or medium range. And O'Connell, in Of Arms and Men, mentions the "infernal" element--the loud concussive blast accompanied by smoke that occurs whenever an early firearm or cannon is discharged. Morale has always been the chancy aspect of armies, and thunderously loud weapons, against which there is no protection, certainly had an effect on opposing armies' morale. Battles had always been chaotic affairs by their very nature, but now they would be covered by a canopy of smoke.
The age of gunpowder warfare began in those years. The old rules were simply disregarded. These were new weapons, and their effect was unknown prior to their use on the battlefield. At Novara, in 1513, cannon fire killed 700 men in 3 minutes. At La Biocca, 3000 out of 8000 Swiss mercenaries were killed in a single charge. Oman states that the battle at Ravenna was the first ever decided by an artillery barrage. Infantry became cannon fodder, as did their leaders. At Pavia in 1525, Francis I had his horse shot out from under him leading charge after charge and was captured by his enemies. At Ravenna, 11 of 12 Spanish colonels, and virtually all the German commanders on the opposing side were killed in battle. At Marignano and La Biocca, the Swiss leadership was wiped out. As firearms changed the battlefield, so cannons alone changed siege warfare. The Neapolitan border castle of Monte San Giovanni, famous for having withstood a siege of 7 years, fell in 8 hours of bombardment to Charles' cannons, and caused the Papal and Florentine factions to give way immediately. In response to these new weapons, men of genius stepped forward and devised solutions. Eventually, the Trace Italienne, a new method of fortification, would be developed, incorporating minimization of targets, extensive use of ditches and supporting fields of fire, and the creation of the glacis, a zone of cleared ground around a fortress free of cover for assaulting troops.
This time of deadly, yet dynamic change saw men like Leonardo da Vinci emerge, clearly a man of great insight and imagination, yet caught up in the military fashion of his day. His missives to potential employers include prominently his abilties to design and manufacture sophisticated weapons of war. Clearly what had gripped a generation of European men was a fashion for soldiery, predictable in a culture largely geared for, and based upon virtually continuous warfare. Toward the end of the High Medieval era, the slackening of the plague and the population boom brought about by environmental warming created demographic growth. Assailed by the Ottoman Empire and its allies, a fashion of martial heroism was created and/or encouraged throughout Europe with its own literature and music. For the next half century, this generation would discover the realities of warfare on the bloody battlefields of Italy. Disillusioned, the response of these men is typified by Cervantes' Don Quixote, and its now-universal icon of the soldier flailing at windmills. The battlefields of Italy saw the martial/heroic ideals mooted by technological change. The effect and lethality of firearms had dispelled all illusions of glory and heroism. Much more importantly, for the first time in history, the weapons themselves had had proufound effect on not simply the nature and outcome of warfare, but had forced an intellectual response to the CHANGE. In my view, this is what, in terms of warfare, marks the boundary line between the modern and pre-modern periods. From this point on, warfare would be a continuing interchange between the human culture of warfare and the nature and lethality of the weapons with which war is fought.
The turns in the scenario are 3 month seasons, 4 per game year; 1494-1544. Historically, Charles marched into Naples in about 4 or 5 turns. I've simulated this by 1.) placing some roads in convenient locations, and 2.) giving the French the Nuclear Fission tech on turn 1. The trick here is that if a civ is the sole holder of this tech, it gains a very, very strong diplomatic "edge." This seems to be hard-wired into the game. With this setup then, the French CAN simulate the rapid march into Naples. Some aggressive diplomacy will create alliances quickly, and these will allow the French player to pass through these territories. The game itself is about the balance of power in Italy during these years, and the selection of players makes that clear. The Hungarians were created more to take up space on the eastern edge of the map, preventing the AIs from wasting effort in that direction, and to provide cities for trade outside Italy. The Berber and Turkish cities also make good trade cities. A few special units appear in the scenario; Gonsalvo de Cordoba, the Turkish Sultan Suleiman the Magnificent, and Francis I. The available-to-build improvements and wonders are generally MUCH less expensive than normal, to facilitate their construction. The exceptions are the production improvements, which are extremely expensive.
The ITALIAN WARS A Civ2 scenario by Exile for ToT 2020-09-16
The ITALIAN WARS A Civ2 scenario by Exile for ToT