Welcome to Marauder Moments - a chronicle of the Mortimer Street Marauders; the games we play, the rules we use, the figures we play with and the scenery they fight over. Hope you enjoy these pages and maybe call back to catch up with our escapades.

Saturday, 19 October 2019

Prestento Perrini 1809 part 2 - The Battle gets underway.

The battle gets under way...

This update sets out the first seven moves from the armies breaking camp at 6am until about 10am.
The early moves in these games have always been rather sedate as the distance between the armies is beyond artillery range, we generally content ourselves with maneuver, each side jockeying for position and probing with light troops to seek out a weak spot. This gentlemanly approach eases one into the engagement as things begin to hot-up and the ebb & flow of battle takes over.   

Nice shot across the centre showing the Austrian Advance Guard with significant support in depth.
French & Wurtemberg columns prepare to assault them.   
The French order of Battle.

For those who like to know how may lives I had available to squander my order of battle is listed below. This runs from right to left on the tabletop once my flank marchers had arrived. Please note that my generals are a mixed bag of names so please forgive the unhistorical rank a few have been landed with & erroneous geographical location they find themselves in - this is a fictitious battle.

Lecchi - 2 x 24 Hussars, 1 x 24 Chassuers a cheval.
Pajol -  2 x 24 Hussars, 1 x 24 Chassuers a cheval, horse battery. 
Villata - 2 x 24 Polish lancers.
Tharreau - 4 x 36 Polish line, 8 skirmishers, foot battery.
Friant - 4 x 36 Polish line, 8 skirmishers.
Montbrun - 2 x 32 Cuirassiers, horse battery.
De Bruyere - 5 x 36 French line, 10 skirmishers, foot battery.
Campans - 32 Dutch "red" lancers of the Guard, 32 Chasseurs a cheval of the Guard.
Davout - 4 x 40 Old Guard foot.
Broussier - 2 x 12lb Old Guard foot batteries.
Gerrard - 5 x 36 French line, 10 skirmishers, foot battery.
Dupont - 32 Polish Guard lancers, 32 Grenadiers a cheval.
St Germain - 2 x 32 Cuirassiers, horse battery.
Delzons - 5 x 36 French line, 10 skirmishers, foot battery.
Eugene - 5 x 36 French line, 10 skirmishers, foot battery.
Ochs - 5 x 36 Wurtemberg line, 10 skirmishers, foot battery.
Morand - 3 x 32 Dragoons, 1 horse battery.

Totals: 37 Battalions, 19 cavalry regiments, 12 batteries, skirmishers & generals.
This equates to just over 2,000 models representing an army of over 40,000 men - quite a large engagement. 

These figures tell me that we don't have enough infantry yet. Never fear another 9 battalions are underway and our next expansion sometime next year should see another ten making 56 which finally eclipses our 28mm collection.        

The initial Austrian "Rush".

In uncharacteristic fashion the Austrians launch two very aggressive moves at 6am while the French are still brewing coffee & eating snails for breakfast! Here the Avant Garde brigades hurtle forward to secure Perrini. This shook my world up a bit!

Looking over the Austrian Avant Garde towards the waiting French lines. The infantry light brigade dashes for Perrini, it's  comprised of Jaegers & Grenzers. The attached cavalry brigade is quite pokey comprising 2 x 24 Hussars & 1 x 32 Kuirass, these secure the hill to prevent a flanking move on the village by the sneaky French!  

The Avant Garde are very well supported by this large Austrian infantry brigade. The Avant Garde possibly isn't strong enough hold Perrini under sustained attack so this lot looks quite capable of doing the job for them.  
Here we see the action a turn later... unexpectedly the Austrian cavalry weren't simply holding the hill...Oh no, they had far more ambitious ideas. They descended the hill and made for my two batteries, one of which went low on ammo in the first turn - some imbecile packed baguettes instead of round shot! However some concerted/lucky canister fire caused enough brave men to tumble from their chargers driving the Austrian heavies back through the hussars. This caused considerable disorder in their ranks & I could breath easy again. Happily a caisson with fresh ammo arrived too.         

Here the scene shifts south to environs of Prestento. Once again the Austrian cavalry are in aggressive mood...

Here we see a menacingly large Austrian cavalry brigade deployed opposite the Polish Division's three brigades. Much like the Avant Garde they made a rush at my lines intent on riding around Prestento to seal it off while supporting infantry occupied the town itself. This brigade comprises 2 x 32 Uhlans & 1 x 32 Hussars. To their rear is another smaller light cavalry brigade with 2 x 24 Chevau legere. Excellent news for my Poles!!! 

Here we see the Austrian cavalry tearing across the countryside with more behind them and a large infantry brigade trying to keep up too. This blatant aggression drew out a brigade from my reserves, here Montbrun snakes his Cuirassiers over the hill to see them off. 
These initial Austrian attacks were to have far reaching consequences for both sides so it's worth chatting about them for a moment. The picture above shows Prestento surrounded by fields & unoccupied. To the left of the picture we can see part of De Bruyere's brigade approaching the village with his artillery deployed up on the hillside. The Polish Division, (on the right) was to sweep around the hillside to seal of the southern outskirts of Prestento from counter attack, they have two small infantry brigades & an attached brigade of 2 x 24 Polish lancers. I didn't fancy facing five Austrian cavalry regiments with only two so my plan was looking pretty desperate by now. BUT - The Austrians had for some reason NOT deployed any infantry to directly assault Prestento, see above the wide open space behind the village stretching right back to the reserves miles away, so Prestento could still be mine.

The Austrians weren't to know that my flank marchers, two brigades of French light cavalry, were about to arrive to the south (right hand side in the above) but they would be too far away to influence this rather immediate problem which might become a potential crisis!   

My only sensible response was to release Montbrun's heavy cavalry brigade from reserve & rush it up squeezing through where they could. Not ideal so early in the game but hey, what's a Marshall to do?
We'll return to this situation again as it absorbed both sides around Prestento until around late morning possibly midday.   

A little later the Austrian light infantry battalions occupy Perrini & demonstrate in front of the town astride the road. The Austrian cavalry has suffered further disorder as round shot keeps falling amongst them, interestingly the Hessen Homburg hussars launched a charge to clear away the French skirmish screen which it did, but not without significant casualties forcing them to retreat. Two French & one Wurtemburg brigade position themselves to assault the position of the Avant Garde in & around Perrini. Note the impressive spectacle of two large Austrian infantry brigades ready to support the Avant Garde in and around Perrini.  

This shot zooms in a little on the above pic. Eagle eyed regulars will note that French line battalions have received some tarting up since the last battle. We three Marauders spent a famously relaxing weekend by the seaside and took some time to paint in the company pompoms and highlight the plumes on all 20 French battalions, that's 720 blobs of paint!
Flags to follow... that'll be a ball ache!     

The French response 

While the Austrians seem to be on the front foot my French were far from idle. Below we see efforts to draw the Arch Dukes eye off the prize as my own cunning plan develops. To be honest much of my early to mid morning was spent dealing with the Austrian "rush" but I had a few "nudges" to make myself!   

On my extreme left flank in the northernmost sector my brigade of dragoons inched forward to draw the attention of the loitering Austrian light horse and to pin the Austrian infantry in place preventing a lateral move to the south, I didn't want them interfering with my attacks on Perrini. The dragoons have a horse battery so a local advantage is possible.
The foot battery deployed on the hill belongs to the Wurtemburg brigade off screen to the right.          

Here we Perrini in Austrian hands. The supporting brigades are somewhat lagging behind so these French columns line up to assault Perrini while the massed batteries cause carnage on the Austrian light battalions deployed in front of the village.  

Outside Prestento De Bruyere's infantry approach the village as their skirmishers seek out positions to loop hole the walls.
The Austrian uhlans take horrendous losses and fail to close with the lead battalion & are driven off.   

This shows turn four at about 8-00am. Pajol & Lecchi arrive with their respective light cavalry brigades in the south and eye up the fat target of Austrian battalions to their front. This picture demonstrates nicely the sheer space available to us by using 10mm toys on a 18' x 6' table.   

The forward motion of the Polish division is held up by ever more aggressive action by the Austrian cavalry. Here Stipsics hussars charge after Arch Duke Karl's uhlans have been driven off - their attacks are relentless.
This picture shows more details of the work Tony in particular put in over our weekend by the sea. The Polish foot arrived from the painters without pompoms or the characteristic White piping around their square topped head gear - the famous, if unpronounceable, Czapska! Tony applied the piping, I dotted pompoms, Chris stoically based more models; a very therapeutic afternoons work.   

This shot pans out from the above shot. The Polish division's advance is stalled & Montbrun has made little headway over the hill with his heavy cavalry. For now the Austrian hussars & uhlans sit back & count the empty saddles - there are many but their sacrifice has bought valuable time for Archduke John. Perrini has been occupied by the French who soon garrison it. The rest of De Bruyere's brigade tries to form ordre mixed as fresh Austrian infantry double pace up to recapture the position. It looks as if the twin towns will see some intense fighting this day.     

The broader battle

These last few shots capture the sense of the game & provide a few close-ups. 

This is Salvatore Dentino's hilltop farm. The Dentino family have farmed here since the land was gifted to them in the time of the Borgias. Today two newer European dynasties fight across the Dentino ancestral lands, the family pray that their home is spared the ravages of war. In the background French dragoons move up the secure the northern flank.  

Two regiments of Austrian chevau legere from Baron Homburg's brigade. They face the French dragoons oblivious to the prayers of the Dentino family. 

Forces gather before the storm around Perrini - this has yet to really "kick off".

A fine shot looking down on Perrini showing the strength both sides have committed to capturing it. Seven brigades are about to close in a struggle to the death.  

The situation in the north is rather quiet north. Both sides are creeping forward. The Dentino family shutter the windows & bar the doors against the coming storm...  

The French CinC calls upon the Old Guard to support the centre. To their left the two reserve batteries think about moving off too but seem reluctant. Their 12lb'ers will be needed up front I suspect.  

The French centre faces a far stronger Austrian brigade so could do with the Guard to stiffen their purpose!
In the background we see Perrini in the eye of the storm.

Arch Duke John has double paced an infantry brigade and a reserve brigade of grenadiers to recapture Prestento.
De Bruyere tries to deploy to face them but time might be against him as the line & columes struggle to sort themselves out.     

The southern flank at the end of turn six, it's about 9-00am. The Poles and Montbrun are at a standstill - still.
The weary & battered Austrian light cavalry are now supported by infantry but they are in turn severely threatened by the sudden eruption of fresh French light cavalry with horse battery arriving on their flank. Top left we can see the smaller Austrian cavalry brigade of more chevau legere move south to stem the tide.   

The picture shows the scene at about 9-30am. Montbrun has nearly deployed and the Schwarzenburg Uhlans are dispersed.
Villata's Polish lancer brigade has cowered all morning, presumably too sensible to tackle the larger Austrian regiments.
Top left we see De Bruyere's boys caught off guard by another Austrian "rush" this time on Prestento. The massed white ranks crash into the ill deployed French lines scattering the lead battalion, the Austrians now out numbering the remainder...       

There we leave it. The sequel is underway so keep an eye out for it soon. I have tried to bring some life to this batrep trying to avoid a dry series of pictures of tiny men. Hopefully the more detailed commentary allows those who actually read this drivel to more closely follow the action. The Austrian order of battle will pop up for those interested at some point too. As usual please comment and click follow if you haven't.

Best wishes,