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!|
|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...
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.
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!
|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.
The broader battle
These last few shots capture the sense of the game & provide a few close-ups.
|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.
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.