Thursday, July 12, 2012

Battle at Vaprio, 1799 HISTORICON 2012 PLAYTEST!

I'll start with a spoiler alert as this was an initial play-test game which will be played at HISTORICON 2012. Although the game will not be exactly the same it will have some similarities to the initial play-test!

Suvorov's Battle by  the Adda!
Even before the battle, a Russian force under Petr Bagration outflanked the French position by seizing a bridge over the Adda at Lecco on 26 April (See other post ). This put Sérurier's division in an awkward position. 

On 27 April, General of Cavalry Michael von Melas with the divisions of Fröhlich and Kaim stormed the French positions at Cassano, 

while Ott and Zoph attacked 6 km farther north at Vaprio d'Adda. Suvarov's assault forced Moreau to retreat.

Scenario Details:
Victory Objectives – French: reduce Austrian battle strength to 70% or less and hold the battlefield without encirclement by Turn-10.   
Austrian: reduce French battle strength to 75% or less and capture both Pozzo village and the farm below the east-west road,

Unit Arrival Times – see unit listing for arrival times,  Units must arrive in total by the end of the turn designated for arrival.

National Doctrine Limitations – Austrian battalion guns must be within 300-paces to one of the regimental battalions.   

Only Austrian Jaegers, Grenzers, and Hussars may skirmish.  Austrian infantry must form into line within 300-paces of any French units.  At this period in the wars, Austria followed linear tactical employment.  All French infantry may skirmish.  Only French Legere and Chasseurs a' Cheval units may use open order formation.  French battalions/ squadrons may attack in line or column.

Terrain Description/Limitations – all roads are improved for road march bonuses. The light wooded areas is disruptive terrain for movement and medium cover for combat. The field hedges provide light cover and cost infantry 150-pases and cavalry 300-paces to cross. Artillery cannot cross hedges unless cleared by engineer actions.  The Adda River cannot be crossed by any unit.

While General Napoleon Bonaparte campaigned in Egypt, the Second Coalition launched an invasion of French-occupied Italy.  General of Division (MG) Barthelemy Scherer fought inconclusive actions the Austrians at Pastrengo, Verona, and Legnago on 26 March 1799. 

Feldmarschal-Leutnant (FML) Kray and his Austrians then defeated Schérer at the Battle of Magnano on 4 April. This defeat forced the French army into a long retreat. Attempts by Schérer to hold the lines of the Mincio and Oglio rivers failed when an Austrian force led by FML Josef Vukassovich turned his northern flank. Schérer, completely out of his depth, handed over army command to the more capable MG Moreau. Austria's Russian allies, led by Suvorov, soon began appearing at the front. When Field Marshal Suvorov joined the allied army, he took over the top command from Kray.

The combat actions along the Adda River took place between Lake Como and the Po River.  Moreau deployed the divisions of MGs Paul Grenier, Claude Victor, Jean Serurier, and Pierre de Laboissière to defend the line of the Adda River. The Austrians still made up the bulk of the allied army, except at Lecco, south of Lake Como where, a Russian force under General Bagration outflanked the French position by seizing a bridge over the Adda on 26 April. 

Elsewhere on April 27th, the Austrian division commanders FML Peter Ott and FML Johann Zoph crossed the Adda at Trezzo attacking GD Grenier at Vaprio, while Generalmajor Franz de Lusignan (acting commander for FML Michael Fröhlich), and FML Konrad von Kaim crossed the Adda at Cassano to drive the French division of Victor back toward Milan.  Only the division of GD Serurier remained along the Adda and by the 28th, that division was surrounded and surrendered.
The Battle:
The Terrain - The Lombardy country where Vaprio is sited beside the Adda River, was known, in the past centuries, as "the most beautiful garden in Italy ". From the 1400s on, there were many luxury estates (Villas) with privately owned forests and hedge-lined gardens and vineyards.  Generally flat except along the river, the gardens, vineyards and walled villas provided excellent defensive attributes against cavalry sweeps and massed artillery concentrations.  Further, the main road between Vaprio and Pozzo was slightly depressed and lined with walls that would form a significant French entrenchment.

The Combatants – GD Grenier had elements of only one brigade in place to hold a 22 kilometer sector, with two other brigade ready to react to enemy maneuvers.  The Austrians would concentrate two divisions in this sector, one to make the assault crossing at Trezzo and a second division to exploit the bridgehead.  Unit details and capabilities are listed in the next section.

Battle Summary – Beginning after nightfall on the 26th the Austrian advance guard division of GM Ott supported the construction of a pontoon bridge at Trezzo while the French battalion guarding the site slept.  By 5:00 am on the 27th, the bridge was in place and by 9:00 am most of the division crossed and was closely followed by the Austrian 1st Division.  Warned of the Austrian crossing, GD Grenier rushed the remaining elements of his division into defensive ground between Vaprio and Pozzo by 1000 am.  Seeking to pin the French brigade to their front, the Austrians used their cavalry to seek the French flank and rear.  Heavy fighting ensued between 1030 am to 1230 pm at which point losses and the threat of encirclement caused GD Grenier to break-off combat and retire toward Milan.

Summary The mainly Austrian force was commanded by the Russian Count Suvorov. The French were attempting to hold the line of the river Adda. Bagration had difficulty trying to break out of the bridgehead at Lecco but a second bridgehead was established at Trezzo. Four divisions of Austrians under Melas were able to break through the bridge at Cassano. After initial strong resistance Moreau ordered a general retreat to the line of the river Ticino. Serrurier's demi-division was lost in this retreat see Battle of Verderio.
Location: Villages [bridges] on the river Adda in northern Italy about 13 miles east of Milan.

Casualty figures# engagedtotal casualties%
French Forces
Austro-Russian Forces


Initial setup! French (Left), Austrians (Right).

Closer view of Vaprio.

And from the other end of the table! The Austrian Advance Guard Kolonne Bidegkuty is on the (Left), French Army of Italy is on the (Right).

Pozzo being the Main Objective!

Vaprio with the heavy defensive road network!

Farm & Vineyards!

River Adda on the Austrian Left-flank, French Right-flank!

A better view of the Right of the table!

Turn 1 the Cossacks race to hold Pozzo!

The Jagers advance to hold the woods on the left! The Hussars come up to defend.

A closer view of the Jagers!

The French Light cavalry scouts from Vaprio!

The Jagers move up turn 2!

As Von Mercadins Bde comes on & the Grenzers enter the vineyards!

Some more French cavalry sneaks up in Vaprio!

The rest of the Bde swings right for Pozzo!

As the Cossacks maneuver to covert he entrance from the French!

Overall view turn 2!

French forces move towards the Farm (Secondary Objective) & Pozzo!

Turn 3 the cavalry clashes!

The French view towards Pozzo!
The Light cavalry skirmishes!

As more French cavalry reinforcements arrive outside Pozzo

The Austrian Hussars are thrown back!

A wider view!

The French posture towards Pozzo as Austrian troops enter!

And cavalry come up to assist as the Cossacks maneuver around!

The French blood is up and they hurry the Austrian Hussars away with their scouts!

As the battle for Pozzo shakes out!

The Grenadiers successfully form square and the 888 man Grenzer unit prepares to deal death!

The cavalry clashes around Pozzo first!

As the infantry occupies the buildings!

Vaprio remains quiet!

As French infantry occupy the second farm by Pozzo!

A last view before the French scouts go bye bye!

And away they go as my camera acts up!


The cavalry around Pozzo remains engaged as units pass through each other!

And more Austrian cavalry arrives!

And units prepare for the final assault of the French lines!

The scene near Pozzo remains shaky, lol!

A view of the center as guns swing towards the second farm!

A French cavalry units comes to assist, as the other unit is sandwiched (Attacked in the front & rear) outside Pozzo!!

Based on the outcome the French infantry prepares outside Pozzo!

A view towards Vaprio as assault forces start to come on line!

Austrian reinforcement troops move to the left of Pozzo!

As the Austrian cavalry is successful and the French are swept from the field!

French reinforcements move towards the Center!

As the Grenzers move up and the Austrians prepare their assault!

The view towards Pozzo!

The French player leaves in disgust, (just kidding)!

The Austrian Left-flank is ready!

A better view from the Adda towards Pozzo!

The assault goes in!

As Austrian howitzers alight the second farm and French troops are eventually forced to evacuate!

Troops outside Pozzo prepare to charge!

The Jagers & Grenzers prepare to attack Vaprio!



Calm before the storm!

French defenses!

Do some damage!

But the Austrian attack forces the Center successfully!

As the last round nears!

Action outside Pozzo and the Austrians win!