The Battle of Torino, 1480 AD

From the private archives of the Duke of Milan

Your Grace,

Your loyal servant, Carboni Lagobambino, begs leave to inform you that your valiant forces have won a glorious victory over the forces of your worthless rival, the Duke of Savoy.

For the loss of just over a hundred casualties, of which many are now recovering from their wounds, we have not only defeated the Savoyard forces under the command of the rapacious Disco Volante, forcing the survivors to flee in confusion to Aosta, but stormed Torino, and secured the surrounding the province for your Grace.

Knowing your desire to collect ready funds from this campaign, I have allowed our men their customary pillage of the city. As much of this as possible I have gathered for your Grace's agents, to the tune of100 ducats in moveable booty. Discipline in the army is high, and I have been able to restrain the men from razing the countryside outside the city. Should your Grace see fit however, I could order them to do so at a moment's notice, which would fill your coffers still more. I await you further instructions in this matter, as in everything.

Enemy corpses were counted both on the battlefield and westwards along the road to leading to Torino to the number of 2750.

Praise be to God! Amen.


This was the first battle fought in the campaign. The Duke of Milan (played by Brent Regan) had ordered his general, Carboni Lagobambino (played by Corbon Loughnan) to invade Torino, the rich city held by the Duke of Savoy (played by Jonathan Parks). Savoy's ample spy network revealed that Disco Volante, the Savoyard general (played by Dave Evans) would have the advantage in infantry should they come to blows, but would be seriously difficient in horse - both in quality and quantity.

All choices were fraught with danger for Savoy, since his only port, Nice, was being threatened by the perfidious Genoese, and he couldn't fight both enemies at once.

Savoy offered to negotiate, but when Milan asked for a bribe of 180 ducats to withdraw (having not enough money to pay his men, it was either a hefty pay-off, or plunder Torino to get the money needed), Savoy could not raise the funds, and was forced to confront the invaders on the field.

Summoning as many Torinese militiamen as could be found in the all-too inadeqate time, Volante camped astride the road the leading to Torino from the east, and immediately started digging entrenchments.

That very same afternoon, Lagobambino's scouts encountered the Savoyard pickets, and hurried back with the news. Determined to strike quickly, he marched on through the evening, pressing his men forwards. By dusk he had reached the Savoyard positions, but couldn't be sure of their numbers nor exact dispositions in the gloom. By the racket going on in the Savoyard camp, it became apparent that Volante was ordering his pioneers to keep working on into the night. Obviously his arrival was not unexpected.

If his enemy was digging trenches into the night, that would keep his enemy's men tired, Lagobambino reasoned. Still, every day of digging would make it harder for him to attack them - best attack as soon as possible... He gave out the order for his forces to billet themselves in battle formation, and get an early night's kip, intending to attack as soon as his supply train (and with it, powder for the guns) arrived, while he sent messangers back to the supply train to hasten it up with all speed.

It turned out to be a moonless night, but not too chilly for spring. At three hours past midnight, Lagobambino was informed his baggage train was finally approaching, and he gave word to wake the troops and have breakfast. An hour later, everyone was ready, the 5 great guns were readied and slowly wheeled forward, and his forces moved slowly forward towards the fires of the Savoyard camp.

Deployment Map

His main mounted strength was deployed on his left wing, beyond some low-lying fields still boggy after the recent spring rains. To his front, by the road leading westwards to Torino, were some scrubby overgrown fields which his few infantry in the centre made for, escorting the artillery pieces in the gloom.

His own companies he held in reserve, except for his picked handgunners, whom he ordered to scout out the overgrown fields slightly to his right. To the extreme right were many small fields recently ploughed and bound by hedgerows.

His handgunners soon reported meeting enemy pickets - a few militia crossbowmen who retired under the cover of darkness into the forest to their rear. Sounds of construction work could still be heard in the distance even at this time of night. Having wheeled his artillery positions forward enough that he judged them to be in range of the enemy entrenchments, Lagobambino ordered a halt until the light impoved.

Nearly two hours passed before the light became clear enough for him to see the enemy dispositions clearly. The main body of Savoyard horse was advanacing towards the enclosed fields to his right, and he started to swing his reserve companie around to meet him, while at the same time ordering his supply train forward, fearing his companies could not contain the Savoyard thrust.

His own left wing advanced boldly, seeing the horse opposite them was barely a third their own strength. Meanwhile his handgunners advanced into the wood to their front, the sound of axes chopping into trees getting more distinct as they approached. Immediately they encountered light crossbowmen lurking in the undergrowth, and after a stiff fight, caused them all to flee for their lives.

In the centre, the Milanese guns had opened up with telling effect, forcing the massed crossbowmen lining the parapets to fall back and cower uselessly in the trenches. As dawn ran into daylight, the handgunners in the wood were amazed to find Savoyard pioneers and labourers still chopping timber there. After a few shots and sword-strokes, they fled, and were massacred as they ran.

Deprived of targets, the artillery pieces retrained their sights on some mounted crossbowmen just moving around the wood into the centre-stage. Panic overtook the surprised horsemen as the first few shots landed amongst them, and in their jaste to flee, their horses were mostly killed in the mad scramble to avoid their own breastworks to their rear.

Cursing at his army's misfortunes so far, Volante ordered more crossbowmen forwards to retake the wood that was now becoming the pivotal point of the battle. Thinking that they had cleared the wood of all opposition, Lagobambino's men were totally surprised when fresh enemy burst in open them, and fled hastily to the rear.

Seeing his own lancers being vastly outnumbered by those of the Milanese, Volante ordered some of his foot to leave their entrenchments and reinforce his own position. Far out of sight to the north, his own left wing was slowly forcing the gap between the overgrown and cultivated fields, while Lagobambino drip-fed squadrons of his own lancers into the slowly expanding conflict.

In the centre, the artillery pieces continued to pound the Savoyard lines, and soon the survivors of the left company of pikemen were streaming to the rear. The Milanese left, led by the Duke's 'nephew' lined up for the decisive charge, and Volante's overlapped pikemen failed to hold the onslaught of the Milanese Ducal guards. Suddenly, Savoyards were fleeing in every direction. It was not yet half-past-nine in the morning, and Volante's forces were scattered. Most of the Savoyard horse escaped the field intact, although Volante's own squadrons took heavy losses. The Savoyard foot, however, suffered grieviously in the rout, barely a third of them escaping with their lives.

After hewing down the fleeing militiamen, Lagobambino's forces soon reached the walls of Torino. The garrison put up no resistance, and the city fell in short order to be plundered by the victors.


This page last modified: October 31, 1998

Return to the campaign introduction.