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, 13 April 2013

The Battle at Borrento di Carpaccia 1809

This last four weeks we have been been playing a large 15mm game of Rich's devising. Basically it's Dave Brown's Salamanca game for General de Brigade, our fave rule set; there's one more weeks play in it we think. No one has taken any piccies, not sure why and there may not be a report either!!! However I can present you with this mostly pictorial account of the last of our 20/20 games set in the Tyrol in 1809. This narrative campaign has seen the Austrian general Nordmann lead his Advance Guard out of the foot hills to harass Eugene at Facile and then get knocked back by superior forces at Spinchetti. The various French Guard units present at Spinchetti have been withdrawn to the main theatre in Austria where the Danube situation is developing. Nordmann is also recalled so is seeking to get back to Austria with his force intact. Prince Eugene is ordered to prevent this or at least delay Nordmann's passage back to Austria, to affect this he sets up a blocking force in the foot hills near the towns of Borrento and Carpaccia.

Keen followers of my recent battle reports will be pleased to hear that I have outlined how the local economy functions within the wider framework of the region. Before you can read more of that here are some pictures of the battlefield; for once I took some shots pre-deployment for you.            

Looking east. That's Borrento on the hill top with Carpaccia in the distance. The battlefield also featured a farm and another village, these weren't fought over and history does not record their names. 

Looking roughy west. Nameless farm in the foreground, Carpaccia and Borrento on the hill top. The Austrians are approaching from the south (left) while Prince Eugene's army will attempt to block it from the north (right).

Looking south west - Carpaccia dead centre.

Looking south from the French centre left towards Carpaccia, the nameless dump in the foreground was left unmolested by the combatants

Looking south east over "nameless dump" towards Carpaccia.

That's Borrento on the right. Eugene's deployment areas are staggered along this back ridge line & to the left off screen 

Similar scene to above, Eugene can deploy at least one brigade just below the ridge at the far right extreme of the table and the rest pretty much left centre and up to about 24 inches on - not enough to occupy the villages.

Looking almost due south - try imagine the Italian sun baked landscape stretching away in the distance.
That's our scenery store room you're peeking at!     

A good shot taking in most of the table, this one is 16 x 6 feet.

Eugene deploys two Brigades to take and hold Borrento - one French & one Italian plus a foot battery.

Eugene deploys the Bavarian brigade with a foot battery at the end of the ridge line, then his light cavalry brigade and finally a brigade of Swiss.

Nordmann's main deployment zone is just off centre as above, here he puts all of his infantry in two brigades plus the reserve comprising Grenadiers and Cuirassiers. The light cavalry brigade deploy on the far far right corner.   

I wanted the armies to be converging on the area from opposing lines of march. This gave some added room to move about in and some yawning spaces opened up.

The Austrian light cavalry brigade enter the battlefield. Hessen Homburg Hussars deploy into line while the dragoons stick to the road. The Swiss brigade is miles away so they have options to maneuver - Nah! May as well just attack. 

One of Nordmann's brigades opposite the Bavarians deployed near "nameless dump".
Note a sneaky Landwehr battalion has nipped into Carpaccia.
48 strong lines look very powerful. 

We talked about yawning gaps earlier - most wargamers have a pathological hatred of yawning gaps and are compelled to fill them with troops - even when there is no advantage to do so whatsoever. 

Tony as Eugene displays just such behaviors here - seeing a yawning gap & feeling the black rage of hatred rise within him he immediately rushes his light cavalry brigade in to it. The Austrian Landwehr on the left formed square thereby blocking any attempts at encirclement while the battalion in Carpaccia took pot shots at the circling light horsemen with impunity. This mess took all evening to sort out for the cavalry who lost quite a lot of good men & better horses!     

Another wargamer's trait is well depicted here - this one involves stuffing all available troops into buildings and looking for rules which allow you to deploy canon and cavalry there as well. The counter trait exists also - this one dictates that a player should storm any enemy held village even if there is no reason to do so - it's just what we wargamers do.
Austrian cavalry line up against the Swiss brigade.
Looks like a few barrels of vintage Facile wine over there.  

The Bavarian brigade looks badly out numbered.  

The Swiss face off against the Austrian lights whilst the French lights fulfill their yawning gap destiny...

The Austrian cavalry charged soon afterwards with catastrophic consequences; having withered some devastating closing fire they lost the combats so badly that the entire brigade was routed - I wish I had just sent them into a yawning gap now! Doh!  

French lights milling about in the yawning gap. Smug safe bastards!

This Austrian brigade seemed happy to shoot up the Bavarians from a safe distance, in truth they couldn't sort out an assault order until it was way too late.

So what happens in this area business wise? I can hear you clamouring for answers.

The answer is this - toys. Yes that's right, both Borrento and Carpaccia are centres for the manufacture of toys. However a vicious rivalry exists between them and has done for centuries. The exact origins of this feud are lost in the mists of time but seem to revolve around an incident with a dog. It seems that someone from Borrento had a lurid affair with the favourite hunting hound of someone from Carpaccia. When the cuckold became aware he shot the dog and then went mad with grief. Other sources claim it was a women not a dog - but this his hotly contested by Carpaccians who are very possessive of their dogs and have no propensity for shooting their adulterous womenfolk. Whatever the truth the two towns are irreconcilable - young men from both take pot shots at each while hunting and especially at each other dogs who they are also happy to attempt to lure away, kidnap or trap. Revenge can be a terribly corrupting motivation...

The toy industry is also affected by this feud. Carpaccians whittle wooden toys and puppets which when brightly painted are very attractive and command a premium from rich parents, collectors and gullible tourists. It said that if you genuinely love your wooden puppet dog (or boy) and that you believe in fairies and you make a wish - said puppet will come to life. This is clearly fanciful nonsense but is a played upon by unscrupulous toy sellers who aggressively market puppets to childless couples and dog lovers!

Up the hill in Borrento they also make toys. The hills are rich in tin and lead which they mine and smelt into an alloy. This is in turn cast as model dogs and children (one crazy chap even casts miniature soldiers of all nations throughout history, there's no future in that though - dolt). The castings are painted with bright primary colours and once again sold to collectors and tourists. Despite all the efforts of the Borrento marketing board the Borrentians cannot establish any rumour that their toys might come alive thus commanding greater prices. Instead they spread malicious & divisive rumours suggesting that metal toys are better than wooden ones. Imagine anyone these days suggesting that either plastic or metal were better than the other? We've come so far - well done.                    

Some real action - here the other Austrian infantry brigade is assaulting Borrento whilst the Cuirassiers lead the Grenadiers of the reserve brigade up to attack the Bavarian position. 

Similar scene showing the Franco Italian defensive lines around Borrento. 

A French line shoots down a massed column charge by Austrian Landwehr, there's a theme forming here...

The Cuirassiers welly into the Bavarians - one battalion of which has formed square - they bounce!
Luckily I left space for them to fall back into - genius.

The Austrian infantry attack on Borrento bounced too and was then counter attacked by French foot. Retreating Austrian battalions then disrupted their own Grenadiers and things got very messy! To make matters worse the Cuirassiers bounced again at which point I called off the attack. Nordmann would have to find another way home.
His Tyrolean adventure holiday was over. 

Another view of the Austrian centre - just standing around really! Maybe if they could have taken a more aggressive view things could have gone differently. Clearly they couldn't understand the orders from the proxying Russian General.
Those are also proxy guns - we now have two more Austrian batteries which I am basing up - piccies soon.  

Bit of panorama shot looking north west to the scenes around embattled Borrento. This is the end game although it doesn't look that way. 

This game concluded our narrative campaign in the Tyrol. The Austrians are an excellent addition to our Napoleonic collection.

Tony and Rich have stopped adding to the Napoleonic collection for a bit other than some beautiful French Guard cavalry which Rich is basing. He and Tony are busy with some pike & shotte projects involving Poles and Cossacks as well - should be great. Chris and I however are still building the Army of Bohemia between us, more infantry to do, lots more cavalry and an artillery park of 6 batteries to come plus some Generals and staff. I recently picked up some Portuguese cheap so may get those painted before my Polish Division. The Bavarians are almost there - just the cavalry, general staff and skirmishers. My Prussians are getting some more cavalry to beef up the three light regiments from 16's to 24's. I am also basing a battery of Prussian 12lb guns giving them some long range hitting power.

Next games are possibly a series of Bolt Action battles with lots of scenery - we all have an army painted up now so time to play with them. I have a few half written battle reports for you which I may finish over the coming weeks.

Have fun out there, best wishes, JJ