Sunday, December 4, 2011

MARENGO 1800, REDUX!

Using the C&GII system we re-fought the "Battle of Marengo" on Dec 3rd! 





The scenario: This game will play out the first 3 hours (12 turns) of the battle for the silk farm in Marengo, Italy, June 14, 1800. It pits Gen. de corps Victor's 1 1/2 divisions against FML Haddik'sfour brigade attack. As usual, we will use Nigel Marsh's "Carnage and Glory" computer-assisted simulation system with 28mm period French and Austrian figurines. I have played this scenario about four times and it is a very even split in outcomes between the French and Austrian players.



Napoleon begins the campaign with his famous crossing of the Alps!

Napoleon's Address to the Army at the Beginning of the Italian Campaign, March, 1796
"Soldiers, you are naked and ill-fed! Government owes you much and can give you nothing. The patience and courage you have shown in the midst of these rocks are admirable; but they gain you no renown; no glory results to you from your endurance. It is my design to lead you into the most fertile plains of the world. Rich provinces and great cities will be in your power; there you will find honor, glory, and wealth. Soldiers of Italy! will you be wanting in courage or perseverance?"
This scenario reflects the critical morning phase of the battle that set the tempo for the rest of the day. Exiting from the fortress city of Alessandra and crossing two pontoon bridges over the BormidaRiver, the Austrians arrived on the battlefield piecemeal, by brigade. However, the French were not fully deployed, not thinking the Austrians would give battle. The result was a meeting engagement along the Fontanone agricultural irrigation ditch. The difficulty in crossing the ditch resulted in a series of murderous musketry exchanges leading to the most bloody one day battle of all the battles in the War of the Second Coalition. In our historical recreation, the initial French advance guard deployment and Austrian advance guard arrival recreated the combats around the two stone farms of la Piedrabuonaand la Stortiglione-both held by 480-man French battalions, with the ground between them covered by the more powerful 44em Demi-brigade. Commanded by GB Dampierre, these units sought to delay Austrian attempts to force a crossing of the Fontanoneuntil the 9-battalion division of Chambarlhaccould move in place. This they managed to do until Turn 6 when both battalions holding the farms were routed from cover and one destroyed by over-runingAustrian cavalry. The Austrians made good use of both their light artillery and Grenzer/Jaeger units to force the French back without incurring too many casualties. By Turn 6, Dampierre'sBrigade of five battalions had two routed (yellow pompoms) and two retreating (red pompoms). Austrian attempts to force the bridge and ford crossing sites over the Fontanoneditch were repelled by the heavier French cavalry (another historical outcome). It took the Austrians until Turn 8 to get the majority of the four-battalion BellegardeBrigade, their battalion guns and two Horse batteries into position to begin an assault over the Fontanoneat the Marengo silk farm. By Turn 8, the more powerful Austrian brigade of Saint Julienand the bulk of the Austrian cavalry were prepared to attack across the Fontanonenear the ford. The game ended by player request beginning on Turn 9. A minor Austrian victory was calculated based on the greater French losses from the beating taken by GB Dampierre's brigade. However, should the game have continued to the full 12 turns, the strong French defense of the Fontanone would inflict numerous Austrian casualties in the divided Austrian force, particularly on the weaker Austrian brigade designated by the Austrian players to capture the silk farm -the principal Austrian objective.

Overall layout!

The initial setup! Note the three strong points (BUA's). I'll be in charge of defending the rear Right one. The Silk factory!

This BUA #2 (la Stortiglione) will become the French Left flank

The French will also have an outpost here at (la Piedrabuona) on the Right Flank!

The Silk factory along with a linear obstacle Fontanone Irrigation Ditch & (The Bridge) I'll be in charge of defending!

A view from the opposite end.

The view from my position!

A close up of my position please Mr. DeMille! The Austrians Main Objective within 12 turns.

A view of the deep canal ( disruptive terrain / 250 paces to cross) and un-chargeable across and of my bridge!

The FRENCH Left Flank deploys! With some 6lb Artillery & reinforcements for the BUA. The French garrison and support troops at la Stortiglione farm

A beautiful NEW series of prints done by Patrice Courcelle!
http://www.patricecourcelle.com/index.php

And a line of open order troops deployed to skirmish the Austrians in the wood line connecting to our second BUA.

French infantry in open order (skirmish).

And another shot from the front! To try and hopefully tie down the Austrians.

The originals may be purchased here; 

http://stores.befr.ebay.be/Patrice-Courcelle-Historic-art

We appear to be ready with what little reserves we have!

My Legere arrive on turn 1 and I hastily deploy them. Along with strategically placing my guns for maximum effective fire.


The Austrians arrive and rapidly deploy towards our 2nd BUA.

They actually came on more aggressive than during play testing! Hopefully we'll be able to delay them long enough?



The guns from the first BUA will try and provide some support!

Turn two and more French reserves arrive!

The view from my artillery's placement! A little to close with the camera perhaps?

And a view of our deploying troops! We have had the initiative so far thus we always were moving first.

It appears the Austrians will go for BUA 2 first?

They do and move quickly to out flank us.

While additional cavalry arrive!

Stay tuned......