Malta 1565
Last Stand of the Knights of St. John
Malta 1565
Last Stand of the Knights of St. John
The Wargame
We have always loved siege wargames, probably from watching those old hollywood films. Where The relief column always always had a scottish regiment. Just as the garrison was on its last legs, Someone would say, can ye no hear the pipes. Then you would hear the pipes getting louder and Louder until the column arrived. There are no bagpipes on malta but there is a relief force, which Can arrive anytime you want in a game.

We do not intend to campaign the whole siege of malta. Instead we pick snapshots Of the action, for one off games. A good example would be a section of wall defended by the Knights of germany and italy to see how they compare, or the double attack on the birgu and Senglea walls. This game we have called the fall of st elmo and is meant to represent a day at The fort, which held out for a month against constant attack.

We have a 6ft by 6ft table, so 18 inches in from one end. We put a wall right across the table and everything in that area is fort st elmo. The rules are from battle for wargamers by Charles grant. Although meant for ww11. We use them for every period. Basically everyone moves And everyone fires, with a morale test after 50% casulties and modifiers for in the open, soft cover Or hard cover. We have also included a modifier for wearing armour.

All our figures are on 15mm x 15mm bases as we like a ragged look, even on formed Units, even stragglers. Also they are easier to place on battlements.

The defenders are from all corners of the renaissance world. Swiss, italian and Spanish arquebusiers, swiss crossbowmen and halberdiers and spanish sword and buckler men As knights. Even a lone female fantasy figure, found her way on to the battlements somehow. No morale tests for the defenders, its hold on or die. The defenders are 100 strong.

The ottoman turkish forces are 300 strong, from our hinchliffe and irregular Miniatures collection. All well tried in action. The defenders had to hold the wall all day, untill The grand master could send more men and supplies across the bay at night. The turkish plan Was to send in three 100 men human wave attacks, until they had stormed the fort.

As dawn broke that morning, the defenders manned their posts and waited for the Attack, which wasnt long in coming. With a mighty clash of cymbals and banging of drums the First turkish wave, consisting of 100 azab irregulars surged forward, into a hail of cannon and Arquebus fire from the defenders. Bravely they managed to put ladders against the wall, before Their morale broke and they had to retreat.

The second wave were made of sterner stuff, 50 iayalar fanatics and 50 azabs Charged into the fire and even made it to the top of the ladders. Fighting hand to hand until their Morale broke.

By now the turkish artillery had blown a breach in the wall. So the third wave made Their way forward. These were 100 invincible janissaries, the elite of the ottoman empire. The Defenders positioned their men in the breach both sides knew this assault was going to be Decisive. With a cheer the janissaries charged into the breach, to be met by the knights and fired On from every angle. Move after move, the battle raged in the breach, with both sides throwing Men into the fray. Until the janissaries failed their morale test, after losing over 50 men. They Took a step back and took their final morale test, which failed. Slowly they retreated, still facing the Defenders, until they reached their own lines.

With a cheer, the defenders hugged each other before collapsing from exhaustion. They had done it. They had held the fort for another day. Night would bring more men and supplies And a chance to fortify the breach.

This was the most exciting game we have ever played. The knights had held on with With just 25 men left. As for the lone female warrior, she died in the attack by the second wave. Gone but not forgotten but this is wargaming and she may be reincarnated, to take place alongside the Knights again sometime.
Malta 1565