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.

Monday, 18 February 2013

Facile - Italy 1809

As outlined in my last post this game sees the first outing for Chris's brand new Army of Bohemia. To recap this is a joint venture between he and I based on the 1813 order of battle for Peter Gilder's multi corps army for his Leipzig game articles published in WI issues 4 and 5 many years ago. About 2/3 of the infantry have been finished plus some cavalry and guns, we're about halfway.

We had to get them out so decided on our 20/20 format for one night games. Briefly each player picks a plausible force of 20 units split into sensible brigades. No points are used - we want unbalanced challenging games where the games enjoyment is the aim along with the look of the thing. Before the game starts we roll for commander ability and then apply 1d6 minus 3 casualties to all units; this kicks off the action like nothing else (except 1d6 casualties I s'pose!).

The inaugural game for Chris's Austrians. The north Italian foothills near Facile provide the setting for his clash with Eugene in 1809.
We set up the table after our game the previous week and settled on objectives and deployment zones. See below.

Austrian deployment is to the left of the row white stones, the French to the right of the yellow tape measure.
The objectives are control of the two bridges.    
Facile is a small town in the Tyrol. It and nearby Pendoza control stone bridges large enough to convey the march of armies so are held by French Garrisons in the area. Nordmann's Austrian Advance Guard are descending the foothills over trampled vineyards to snatch these two strategic prizes from the French under Eugene who has hastened to the area. Eugene arrives with a local reinforcement and raises the garrisons. They deploy to face rank upon rank of white uniformed Austrians with amazing flags!

Looking south west from the foothills where the Austrians deploy towards Facile and Pendoza in the distance.
The tape measure and white stones indicate the extents of deployment. 
Facile and Pendoza are well known wine producing centres. The fertile shallow south facing slopes produce plump grapes from which the locals produce a dry gentle wine, more fragrant than fruity, best served chilled in the shade and consumed when you know you have nothing urgent or onerous to do that day! It's a great quaffer. I should write advertising strap lines. Once barrelled the wine is sent downstream by boat - the river which deepens south of Facile bridge. Above that point much of the river is fordable once the spring melt water from the mountains has been discharged. Facile has a small quayside and warehouse quarter outside the town walls so the nervy wine merchants are planning to slip away with their precious cargo before the thirsty Austrians arrive. Don't your wargames tables have a fully explained economic and geographical rationale too? Tut tut - make it real.        

Viennese Landwehr advance enthusiastically into Italy, intent on some sun, sand & sacrifice.
Chris's Victrix toys painted by Barry Hill, based by me & Chris with GMB flags. 
Anyway, aside from the local background fluff there is a battle to fight. Nordman wants the bridges for the main army - Eugene must capture both and hold them.

"Gentlemen we have a scenario, to your marks."

The irrepressible Hessen Homburg Hussars trot off to an appointment with victory & a place in the history books.
Chris's new Foundry toys vividly painted by Tony Laughton with GMB flags, based by us. 

This dandy fellow displays all the traits of a Hussar officer much like his regiment - flamboyant over use of primary colours and acres of gold braid plus slightly dodgy black leather driving gloves....
Foundry toy for Chris by Tony Laughton.   
The Austrian order of battle;-

C-in-C Feldmarschall-Leutnant Nordmann

General Major Mayer
IR 4 Hoch und Deutschmeister 48 elite 
IR 49 Kerpen 48 line 
IR 2 Hiller 48 line                               
5th Vienna Landwher 32 2nd class
6th Vienna Landwher 32 2nd class
1st Landwher Chasseur Battalion  32 2nd class  
Battery 4 x 12 Pounders

General Major Riese
IR 44 Bellegarde 48 line
IR 46 Chasteler 48 line 
IR-58 Beaulieu 48 line 
1st Vienna Landwher 32 2nd class   
2nd Vienna Landwher 32 2nd class
3rd Vienna Landwher 32 2nd class 
 Battery 4 x 6 Pounders

General Major von Hammer
Scharlach’s Grenadiers 48 elite, 
Scovaud’s Grenadiers 48 elite, 
Mayblumel’s Grenadiers 48 elite,   
Erzherzog Franz Cuirassiers 32 elite

General Major Wartensleben
EH Johann Dragoons 24 line, 
Hessen-Homburg Hussars 24 line. 

The real power of the Austrian army seems to be in the massive 48 strong infantry battalions like these two German & Hungarian battalions - real juggernauts. Note the oak leaves over the pompom on the shako.
Chris's Victrix models painted by Barry Hill, GNB flags, based by us.   

Hungarian line infantry in their distinctive blue trousers with yellow cording, lovely bright colours with the yellow facings too. This pictures really shows how detailed the GMB flags are - superb prints and frankly a slightly fuzzy picture.
Chris's Victrix models painted by Barry Hill based by us. You know about the flag. 
I really enjoyed setting up the battlefield and adding in the details which you always hope you'll use but never really get around to because of all the other "background noise"!

The gates of Pendoza - a PMC model from ebay with early GW heraldic shields from one of those village boxed sets they  did back in the 80's before they turned. Products for Wargamers road - no idea on the plants - sorry!
The Austrian army is pretty daunting! Losing a melee to a 48 figure battalion is something you don't really come back from let alone a volley form a 48 strong line.

Chris photographs his new Army of Bohemia in action for the first time - bless.
The Grenadiers are big at 48's and very good as elites; we know this, but we have the toys so hey - its my game! Otherwise the proportions of Line to Landwehr, horse to foot and artillery feel about right. It's a strong enough force to attack and hold two bridges with over an evenings play.

The Austrian Advance Guard in position at the start of proceedings.
That's a lot of kit! 

A poor shot of my new Austrian Dragoons. These look very splendid and when a better shot turns up I'll post it along with the Doug Mason originals which inspired me to collect this Regiment.
Elite Miniatures plus Front Rank standard bearer holding GMB flag. Painted by Tony Laughton for me - thanks Tony these are wonderful! Based by Chris after my instruction but introducing the "bunch of flowers" method to my troops for the first time - I like it!   
The Austrian plan was to drive the cavalry brigade around the right, go up the centre with a mass of infantry and go down the left with another brigade split on each side of the the river - this would take the bridge from each end covered by artillery.

The Austrians can be seen en masse up in the hills and marching straight down the pass towards Facile with its all important bridge. The wine merchants have run back into the safety of the walls abandoning their valuable wine on the quayside - spineless goons.

Looking south from behind the the Austrian centre. Line regiments, Landwehr and a reserve of 3 Grenadier battalions with artillery support spill out onto the shallow foothills. Others are out of shot over the river to the east (left!) and more to the west (right).
Those two bridges look so near yet so far away. They also look strangely thinly held from here.
What a sight. Glorious.    

Looking south west from behind the right of the Austrian deployment. Here we see more Line and Landwehr supported by Cuirassier in the foreground.These are also Elite Miniatures painted by Tony Laughton & based by Chris for my collection. To the left Chris's Hessen Homberg Hussars supported by my Dragoons head off over the shallow stream bed to outflank my position.    

Looking north west at the Austrians again. This time we see the forward most Austrian units and battery (Prussians proxying). This battery sat up on the bluff bombarding the Bavarian position before limbering up and closing the range.
Chris rightly claimed that the best way to take a bridge is "at both ends".
The French order of Battle;-

C in C Prince Eugene

Brigade Ochs
3 x 36 Bavarian line

Brigade Tharreaux
3 x 36 Swiss  (1 veteran, 1 line, 1 2nd class)

Brigade Friant
3 x 36 French (1 elite, 1 line, 1 x 2nd class)

Brigade Campans
4 x 36 French (1 elite, 1 line, 2 x 2nd class)

Brigade Pajol
2nd Lancers x 24
5th Hussars x 24
9th Hussars x 24
1 horse battery (veteran) 3 x 6lbs

Corps  assets
2 x 4 gun 8lb foot batteries to be attached - one each to Ochs and Campans
1 x 24 Cuirassiers (elite) General attached

A different angle showing the Austrian extreme left with their foot battery deployed on the bluff along with both Line and Landwehr battalions lining up to take my bridge. The filthy swine!   
The French plan was to deploy in Facile with Ochs' Bavarian brigade who would rush out and grab the nearby bridge covered by the Bavarian battery. This was bound to be bloody and even if Ochs got there first the counter attacks would be intense. Tharreau was ordered to support Ochs with his Swiss brigade making sure the position could be held once captured and to exploit any success.  

This is the right of the French position resting on Facile. Here Och's Bavarian Brigade is holding Facile. His orders are to sally out, assault and hold the bridge which in tantalisingly close. To the left of Facile is the Swiss Brigade under Tharreaux with orders to support Ochs. Eugene and his staff are to the left looking lonely in the open.   
Holding the bridge near Pendoza I stationed Campans with his slightly larger brigade on Hold orders. Here they were deployed fairly deeply and almost self supporting. Behind Campans I put Friant; from here Friant could either support Campans or move to the right and fill the centre or follow up the heavy cavalry if they got the opportunity to charge up the centre. Lastly they could cross at the ford to the   left if needed, possibly to protect the far end of the bridge. Pajol's light cavalry brigade is a powerful formation especially with the veteran horse battery attached. Pajol is to make his way around the far left, cross the ford and cause mayhem on the flank of the massive columes approaching my centre.  
This is the centre and centre left of the French position. Campans holds the bridge with his strong brigade, 4 battalions & a battery.
Behind him is Friant with three more battalions on support orders. You will have noticed the Cuirassiers at rest; these are the 12th under St Germaine, they are in reserve on Hold orders.    
St. Germaine's 12th Cuirassiers begin on hold orders virtually dead centre but set back on the base line in reserve. Eugene is floating around in case he needs to change orders in person...

As well as being a good shot of the walled town of Pendoza this also shows the French extreme left. In the distance Pajols light cavalry brigade is tearing off over the hills with orders to assault the Austrian assembly area on its western flank. This is a powerful formation which was rendered largely useless in the face of the dreaded Hessen Homberg Hussars. 

The mighty Hessen Homburg Hussars meet and defeat the French 9th Hussars in the Pendoza stream. The first round was a draw, both sides failed to reinforce, then the Austrians won big, chased on into the rest of the brigade and defeated all comers! The supporting Austrian dragoons never even had to fight!     

Note the rather smart labels for the generals in some photos. These are engraved with the General's name by Tony and glued to magnetised bevelled bases from Renaissance Ink via Veni Vidi Vici in Preston (possibly fallen out with each now?). Tony produced loads of these for our Borodino games and has tons of blanks for further armies, Prussian, French, Austrian and British if he can be persuaded.

The Austrian centre spreads out to attack the two bridges and make room to deploy the artillery.
Cuirassiers and Grenadiers move to support.

The Austrian centre with Ochs lead battalions spilling out of Facile to attack the bridge. Grenadiers move to support the centre.   
The first turns saw both sides march out to meet each other. The French got the best of the early initiative so were able to work Pajol around the Austrian right face them across the ford on the far side. Ochs marched out of Facile in attack columes to assault the bridge. Batteries traded fire.

The desperate struggle for the Facile bridge commences as Bavarian columes sally out to meet the Austrian threat.
Splendid flags all round gents! Let battle commence.  
Ochs got his charges in first but was halted and faltered by defensive musketry, in subsequent turns the Austrian counter attacks were also halted. Then disaster struck! Ochs took one right in the chest for the Emperor and toppled from his horse stone dead. His brigade held but were in pretty poor shape. News reached Eugene who dispatched an ADC to take command. All the while Austrians were approaching the other end of the bridge and dropping round shot on their heads from the bluffs overlooking the bridge.  

View from behind the French centre; Tharreaux has strung out his Swiss between Ochs and Campans to strengthen the line and St. Germaine has moved forward in accordance with his new orders. Friant remains in reserve supporting Campans.
Tharreau moved up to support the shaken Bavarian brigade as the big Austrian battalions began coming down off the plateau. Eugene got an order through to St Germaine who mounted up and moved his heavies off to support the centre.

The 9th Hussars have retreated to reform leaving the Austrian in the stream. Better send the Lancers in to be sure.
Pajol ordered the 9th Hussars to charge the silly Hessen Homburg Hussars as they crossed the shallow stream. Ha the Austrian failed to counter charge so take the 9th in the face at the halt. Needless to the watery melee is a pathetic draw after which both my Lancers & Chris's Dragoons declined to reinforce; best sit this one out.

Same scene as above with a little more of the battle line shown. 

Different angle on the same scene with Campans firmly holding the Pendoza bridge in the background. 
The 2nd Lancers spurred their horses to charge and bundled down the slope contacting the Hessen Homburg who counter charged. No one seems to have explained combat factors to the Austrians who won the melee and chased the wretched lancers back up the hill.

With no one in command Ochs' brigade bravely holds on in the face of rapidly escalating pressure.
Chris finally deploys his Austrian 12lb battery on the heights .  
The French front line was beginning to look a little thin and supports struggling to get into position or simply ignoring orders to advance into the maelstrom.

A couple of turns later...
 The Austrians have descended the escarpment and run down Campans battery with two battaions. A third battalion was shot to bits by the 36 strong Legere in line as it attempted to shake out into line itself.
On the left note that the 9th Hussars have chased off a unit Landwehr while the horse battery are enfilading the Austrians. 

The Bavarian brigade now has a new leader and are stiffened at the prospect. The lead battalion is charging off but gets stuck and is about to flanked on both sides.  
A couple of units broke and fell back, no one routed but it looked grim up front. As I predicted losing a melee to these vast units is truly awful under General de Brigade, they can take some hurt before breaking too.

The bloody Hessen Homburg Hussars charge the 5th Hussars - predictably they win. They have now beaten all three regiments under Pajol, one of them twice.
What happened to the new unit rule which quite clearly states they lose badly?   

Veteran horse artillery enfilade those massive Austrian columes - too little too late. 
We called it a day there. Chris offered me a draw which was generous. He had basically captured both bridges from me and battered my brigades to a point where counter attack looked pointless.
The French position looks strong but it isn't - much of this is 2nd class stuff and the best stuff is battered. 
This was a great game with some unpredictable situations and some crashing crushing combats. I am glad my scenario turned out well, so much so we left the table up for me & Tony to play on again the next night. Maybe his Russians would be easier to defeat.

Good shot of the closing stages. Great to see proper lines giving the battle the structure you see in those maps of the age. 
A great first outing for the Austrians. Certainly a worthwhile addition to our collection and one we can use in all kinds of Napoleonic games.

Same scene - roughly. The Bavarians are broken now; Facile lines open and the bridge is in Austrian hands.
Even Campans elite legere are retreating, woe is me, alack!
Chris played a blinder and was a true gent throughout as usual - thanks.

The vie from Facile at the end.

Hmm....I don't seem to have taken many casualties at all.


  1. Lovely table, troops, and an excel;lent report!

  2. So an evenings game in Bath consists of what appears to be a 6ft x 12ft table and about 700 figures a side - Mental!

    I love it.


    1. That just about sums it up Scrivs - mental!

      You don't do too badly yourself though old chap.

      have fun,


  3. Huge batallions and 24x Cavalry units look great!

  4. Fantastic battle report! Love the history and background, and the battlefield and quality of figures is truly outstanding...

    1. Hi Brian, you're too kind - thanks a lot. Hope your games are shaping up too. Building up the kit is half the battle in this period! Glad you liked it, best wishes,

  5. Great looking game and excellent looking troops. Thanks for posting..

  6. Brilliant JJ,
    A really inspiring post. My buddy is just about to start painting Austrian hussars so ill send him along to check out your dandy!

    1. Cool! We played again tonight - Austrians v French in the next part of the narrative Tyrolean campaign. I'll post soon. We also did French v Brits and French v Russians. All should appear soon enough.
      Be good,

  7. Just a night out pushing toys about. I love my new Austrians, some performed poorly but the H&H Hussars were immense very near 50% casualties at the end though...

  8. Glad you all enjoyed it and thanks for the generous feedback. We had a lot of fun preparing this, setting it up and then playing it. Writing these reports up and editing piccies is more like hard work and very time consuming but you guys make it worthwhile - thanks.
    Very best wishes,

  9. Now that is what I call a Napoleonic's game... superb....

    1. I hoped you'd say that! That's exactly what we're aiming for. Glad it met with your approval.
      Best wishes, jj

  10. Great report and fantastic looking battle!

  11. Fantastic! Your table is impressive, the gates of Pendoza wonderful and Austrian figures fabulous...great work, and a very nice blog too...I'll soon come back !