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"Siege of Malta - 1565 - 28mm figures for Maltese Militia" Topic

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Mjr Stalwart08 Feb 2014 11:58 a.m. PST

I'm planning a siege scenario centered on the defense of fort St. Elmo. I've nailed down the figures I'm planning to use for the most part (mainly Old Glory with some Redoubt figures for "crossbowless" corsairs).

Where I'm stuck is what to use for the Maltese militia. Beyond another post on TMP where a member talks about seeing "crudely made" armor he assumes were for the militia on a trip to the military museum on Malta, I can't find any other significant descriptions. There's plenty of literature talking about how well they fought (Pickles, Bradford) but nothing on what they looked like. Also, I assume they fought with arquebus, swords, short pikes, etc. like most of the other defenders.

Does anyone have any suggestions on miniatures to use or where to find a description of these men? In addition, I was considering arming some with crossbows (just for some variety from a game mechanic point of view), would this be appropriate?

Travellera08 Feb 2014 12:38 p.m. PST

I visited Malta last summer and bought an interesting book on the frescoes made by Matteo Perez d'Aleccio in 1582. It seems these are the only(?) images of the fighting forces. Most of the images depicts Turks and Knights but there are some showing civilans and what seems to be infantry or Militia. I think this one is the best one:


I am also planning to game St Elmo and I plan to use Foundry and TAG unarmoured Swashbucklers and other poorly armoured figures from the Redoubt range. Maube also some reivers from varipus manufacturers also can be used

Check alsothis thread


Knight of St John08 Feb 2014 1:33 p.m. PST

If you hold on a little longer Warlord Games will be releasing the Arsenal Miniatures range for the Graet Siege. These are far better than the Old Glory figs.

Mjr Stalwart08 Feb 2014 2:46 p.m. PST

Travellera, thank you very much. After my readings I had started to envision the Maltese as armored (if poorly as compared to the Knights). I'm looking at them as they would have been defending St Elmo. With the skill of the Turkish marksmen I doubt the anyone would have gone to defend the fort without some sort of armor (breast plate, helmet). I saw on anther thread where one guy used modified Perry plastic "European Mercenaries" for the Knights' forces so I wonder if that might be an option.

I have a question for you. How are you planning to determine troop levels in the fort?

Knight of St John, thank you too for the info. I was wondering what had happened to Arsenal. I had chosen Old Glory because they had most all the troop categories I wanted but also for financial reasons. TAG's miniatures are REALLY nice, but here in the U.S. They're about four times the cost of Old Glory (I have OG's "army" discount). I may have to reconsider though.

Travellera08 Feb 2014 4:35 p.m. PST


Troop levels, you mean number of troops or the troop quality?

Mjr Stalwart08 Feb 2014 5:02 p.m. PST

Number of troops.

I can't find any consistent information (though I doubt accurate records we kept at such a time). I estimate that at most 600??? Knights and men at arms were in the fort at any one time.

The scenario I'm planning is going to go through the whole 4 weeks of the siege (on St Elmo). Within certain percentages I'm thinking about letting the Knights player(s) choose up a number of defenders (100-150 initially). The total number available for any Ottoman assault will be affected by different variables such as breeches, previous losses, sniping, length of siege, sections of fort captured (ravelin, cavalier, scarp), etc.

It's sounds a little complicated but I intend to stream line it some (I hope!)

Travellera09 Feb 2014 5:35 a.m. PST

Reading "The Great Siege" by Bradford (which among other sources is based on the contemporary account of Balbi from 1568), I took notes of his description of the Christian forces:

Initial Garrison some 100 men?

Forces sent to the Fort May 24 (Bradford p68)
Colonel Mas with 200 Italian enlisted infantry
64 knights

Reinforcements May 25 (Bradford p72)
200 Italian enlisted infantry
60 labour corps (freed galley slaves)

Contineous reinforcements (Bradford p104)
"up to 200 men per night"

Reinforcements June 6 (Bradford p104)
"a number of Knights"
100 men

Reinforcements June 7 (Bradford p107)
15 Knights
50 men from the Mdina garrison

Reinforcements June 10 (Bradford p113)
15 Knights
"less than 100 men"

Reinforcements June 7 (Bradford p107)
30 Knights
300 infantry and Maltese from Birgu

Total losses of around 1500 men including 120 Knights and sergeants while the Turks lost some 8000 men.

Considering that the reinforcements were exchanged for wounded sent back, I think that an assumption of 500-600 men at most can be correct. If not trying to recreate history, an interesting game can be made by throwing a Dice for the number of reinforcements to be received for every day of combat.

How do you intend to recreate the fort itself?

I gave up on gaming the whole siege and plan rather to do it as a a kind of skirmish game portraying only a section of the defences, maybe one redoubt. The mechanics of the game would be the same regarding reinforcements but the game board size and number of figures would be considerably less.

Mjr Stalwart09 Feb 2014 10:47 a.m. PST

Ditto on not doing the whole siege. It's just too much. I'm not planning on an exact recreation. I want the players to have some leeway to make their own decisions, but some things will be more random (e.g. the arrival of Dragut and his possible death/survival). Actual history will be the average but there'll be possibilities for divergence. Overall victory conditions will be based on how the players perform vs history (when the siege ends, losses sustained, army morale).

Now that Dr Stephen Spiteri was nice enough to post his video of St Elmo on YouTube, I have something to go by now. (Just in case you haven't seen it).

I'm planning to do the whole of St Elmo and the surrounding siege works. It's not going to be "to scale" but I would like it to be authentic. Above all, though, it has to be playable.

I'm thinking the fort will occupy about 30 inches (75 cm) square. I need to do some more precise sketches though before I start building. There has to be enough room for enough Knights to defend the breeches and enough Turks to assault them. Between trumps, fire hoops, hand grenades, missile and melee weapons, the Turks are going to be loosing A LOT of troops – which is how it was and should be.

I'm planning to build the fort from foam board. With all the angles I think it will give me more control than styrofoam. I'm also planning to make the fort "deformable" (to use video game parlance). As the bombardment proceeds sections of the fort can be removed to show damage (just the two southern bastions and the parapets). Though I might have multiple ravelins to show damage. And Renedra make plastic gabions of which I think I'll need a lot.

It's ambitious, but if I can just get the plans drawn out it shouldn't be too hard. Any advice/comments would be appreciated.

Travellera09 Feb 2014 10:59 a.m. PST


The Spiteri video was very nice, thanks. I had similar plans to do the whole fort but I realised it impossible. I am afraid you will struggle with a 75 cm square…thats why I am planning to do just a section. I find these models to be quite useful:


Please post when you have come further with your project!

Puster Sponsoring Member of TMP09 Feb 2014 11:45 a.m. PST

>I gave up on gaming the whole siege

That statement made me wonder wether there are any rules out there that try to emulate siege warfare of that age?

Apart from that, Malta would make a good overall game.

Mjr Stalwart09 Feb 2014 2:59 p.m. PST

Travellera, I think you're right about the 75cm square idea. I got to thinking about it after I wrote that. Thanks for the link to Magister Millitum. I had looked at their 10mm stuff before but not their 28mm line. It may be a little while but I'll post some pics as soon as I have something.

Puster, I'm not using any commercial products. The rules I'm working are primarily in two parts: one part covering the day to day siege craft (saps, bombardment, breeches, etc) and another part specifically for assaulting the breeches. The latter part is going to be fairly simple and bloody. The former will take a little more work so that everything runs smoothly.

cplcampisi09 Feb 2014 7:43 p.m. PST

Guilmartin's Gunpowder and Galleys has a chapter on the Siege of Malta, although I don't remember if he gives the number of defenders at St. Elmo. Guilmartin mentions a contemporary Spanish report about the siege that is more useful than Balbi's account but it's never been published. :-(

Mjr Stalwart15 Feb 2014 6:14 p.m. PST

I've started planning the fort (based on stills from Dr Spiteri's video). In order to speed movement (and game play) I'd like to use an "area" movement system.

Does anyone have any ideas on how to divide the fort in areas (rows of brick work, stones, etc)? I don't want anything garish (e.g. colored lines), but something subtle though intuitive.

I could use a traditional movement system (cm/in.) but I was thinking something more along the lines of the old (I hope I'm not dating myself) Warhammer Siege supplement (the original hard back book) – but with out the need of a map.

BTW. I'm sorry if this thread has broadened some. The comments I've gotten so far have been really helpful.

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