Friday, 27 February 2009

Battle at Alexandro

Just a week after the last action at Campo Formagio, French and Austrian forces again clashed at about divisional level near Alexandro. This time there was no clear cut victor and both forces found themselves occupying their original positions at nightfall. The Austrian Jaegers seeing action for the first time advanced into a wood only to be set upon by twice their number of French voltigeurs and lost any advantage that might have been gained with their longer ranged weapons.

Over on the Austrian right the single Austrian battalion supported by the Frundsberg Radstadt Light Dragoons was attacked by two newly arrived Polish battalions supported by some French chasseurs a cheval. The Austrians resisted valiantly , but their Frundsberg supports were routed. However the Frundsberg Stocwold Horse that had been held in reserve drove off the hussars. At this point calamity struck and French dragoons that had penetrated the centre swept round and combining with a renewed Polish assault resulted in the annihilation of the Austrian battalion that had fought so valiantly and the capture of its colours and many of it's men.

Meanwhile in the woods between left and centre the Frundsberg II/4 and an Austrian grenadier Battalion entered the woods to clear out the French voltigeurs.

The left was generally quiet until some French hussars advanced and the Austrian hussars and dragoons attacked and drove them off. However the French dragoons that had been in reserve covering this flank and the centre had now switched into the centre and in combination with their infantry launched a combined arms attack.

The centre had started quiet except for the concentration of french artillery fire, supported by more French voltigeurs occupying the marsh to their front on the Austrian battalion in the centre of the line which was forced to withdraw and reform. At this point French cavalry and infantry launched an attack that succeeded in shattering the line and driving through. As already mentioned one unit of dragoons circled around to take the Austrian right flank in the rear. while a french infantry battalion took the opportunity to attack another Austrian infantry regiment that had formed square.

All seemed lost, however the victorious cavalry returned from the left flank the dragoons surprised the french infantry column before it could fully exploit its success. The hussars with their greater pace moved further and assaulted the rear of the French dragoons while the Stocwold Horse engaged them to their front. The combined assault succeeded it forcing the trapped dragoons to lay down their arms.

meanwhile over on the weakened left flank fresh French infantry launched an assault assisted by the voltigeurs from the marsh and the returning hussars, somehow the Austrian/Frundsberg line managed to hold. But in the centre there were continued attacks and the second French dragoon unit inspired by the leadership of General De Bonnaire crashed upon the reforming Austrian line, while the Poles and Chasseurs a cheval broke the Frundsberg II/4 and the artillery supporting them. The Austrians facing De Bonnair were made of sterner stuff and drove off the dragoons and the body of the general could be clearly seen amongst the bodies.

On the left the spirit seemed to have departed the French infantry and most withdrew to reform so the Austrian battalion took the opportunity to attack the remaining formed french battalion and drove it off as well. In combination with this thrust the Austrian Leichtenstein hussars drove off their French equivalents and the Frundsberger II/3 advanced on the voltigeurs in the marsh causing them to withdraw. This just left the chasseurs a cheval in the centre who were dealt with by the three fold attack by the Stocwold Horse and two Austrian battalions who then fled to the safety of their own lines.

With darkness approaching and both armies quite depleted by the fighting combat ceased with both armies holding their original positions.

The was a real pell-mell battle with lots of situations to test the French Revolution rules.

After the last game I had decided to re-instate 2nd cavalry charges, but with a 50/50 rule that they either pursued or could charge again. This worked well, but I need to document how to deal with some of the possible cases where a unit gets in the direct way of the rout/pursuit.

Similarly the option for evading needs to be incorporated from my SYW rules.

The actions of De Bonnaire in inspiring the dragoons was astounding, his +1 was just what was need to enable the dragoons to ride through a storm of fire from the defending battalion, although he was wounded at this stage. very lucky dice rolls saw the Austrian infantry drive off the dragonns in melee and to compound it De Bonnaire was killed.

So over the next week or so I'll formalise the rules and post up a first draft for those who might be interested.

Sunday, 22 February 2009

Battle of Campo Fomagio

Following on from the success at Cochina, the Austrian forces followd up and the next battle was a division sized action at Campo Formagio.  Both armies were well matched about a division in strength.  II/1 and II/2 infantry regiments, the jaeger battalion and two squadrons each of the light dragoons and Sommerland horse. 

The line infantry saw little action, however the light dragoons and horse squadrons acquitted themselves magnificently as they first repulsed the French attacks and they led the counter attack that secured victory.  The jaegers were split between the two flanks and on the left they participated in a spoiling attack in conjunction with the Austrian Hussars, which although initially successful was driven off by larger French forces.  

However the effect of this intervention was to weaken the French main effort directed at the Austrian right where all their cavalry had been massed.  The Artillery and the Frundsberg LD managed to reach a dominating hill before this wave of horsemen arrived and drove them back in fine style.  The French then threw everything on this flank into the fray and for a moment a breakthrough looked possible as an Austrian infantry battalion routed.  This specific thrust by the French dragoons was ably stopped by the second Austrian battalion supported by the Frundsberg Jaegers.  Meanwhile on Austrian extreme right the French commander launched his light infantry in a spoiling attack, but the Austrian grenadiers and the Frundsberg horse sent them routing back towards the safety of some woods.  Further operations caused the remaining French forces to conduct a fighting a fighting withdrawal

As mentioned in dispatches the Frundsberg Light Dragoons captured General de Brigade Bonadventure as he led the French Hussars into combat,  subsequently General de Brigade Malvent was killed while leading the light infantry against the Austrian grenadiers.  50% command looses seem to be becoming the norm for the French command (perhaps it is the threat of the mobile guillotine that accompanies the French army HQ)

Note that as play test second cavalry charges were not used to judge the reduction of effect.  If they had been retained then the French defeat would have been quicker and not so certain.  However it did leave some anomalies and for the next game I will test a 50/50 rule of "pursuit" or second charge.  The reason for not making these changes in the AWI rules is the much lower number of cavalry normally involved.

I had hoped to post a map of the deployment, but I'm running a bit behind at present.

Wednesday, 18 February 2009

More Frundsberg Reinforcements

Following their success at Cochina, the Imperial forces were surprised my the arrival of additional reinforcements transferred from the Danube front. Perhaps the rumours that the Corsican Ogre was now commanding the French was true.
The greater surprise was the transfer of the three remaining second battalions of the Frundsberg regiments serving on the Danube front plus a Jaeger battalion This means that the Frundsberg forces are almost equally split between the two fronts.
Here is a picture of the Frundsberg Infantry remustering after arrival in Italy.
To their left slightly in view are the Austrian Grenadiers who accompanied them (link)

Friday, 6 February 2009

Frundsbergers strike the first blow in Italy

Yesterday the Frundsberg cavalry are artillery lead the Austrian forces to victory in the battle of Cochina. The light cavalry moving swiftly followed by the heavy cavalry swept around the village of Cochina and routed the French hussars opposing them. This put the whole French advance out of gear. The Cavalry concentrated on the French main body, which allowed the French Light Infantry to occupy part of Cochina. Further successes followed for the cavalry, including the rout of more French Light cavalry an artillery battery and an infantry battalion. However exhaustion and French weight of numbers eventually forced the Frundsbergers to rapidly fall fall behind Cochina.

The effect of this action was the massive delay caused to the French main body and thereby enabling overwhelming numbers of Austrian infantry to capture Cochina and establish an unassailable hold on the village.

The Frundsberg Artillery played it's part by occupying a commanding hill and providing long range artillery support to the forces attacking Cochina and breaking up French attacks.