Lodi 1796 Scenario

Last month the monthly napoleonic group’s game was a 1796 scenario set in Northern Italy near Lodi. Not exactly the historical battle of crossing the Lodi bridge but based upon a river crossing theme. Gave WR a good reason to pull out his 1790’s Austrians and some French republican units to take to the tabletop.

Scenario: The Austrians, having been pursued and pressured by the rapid French republican advance across northern Italy, have paused behind the Adda river. Leaving their rearguard and some support infantry along the river edge, the bulk of the Austrian Army of Italy have encamped besides the road from Lodi to Milan. As sunrise lit the morning sky, French battalions, lead by General Massena, were seen advancing towards the river bridge position though Lodi accompanied by French artillery. Calling his weary army to arms, FZM Baron Beaulieu watched as his rear guard engage the initial French efforts near the bridge.

The river was crossable in two locations, along the northern and southern lengths of the actual tabletop river terrain. During the game French scouting cavalry or infantry units just failed to march sufficient distance from Lodi to find the crossing points. Otherwise the scenario allowed up to four French commands (one cavalry and infantry command per each flank) to have crossed the river off table and advance from the northern or southern tabletop edges.

There is a slide show at the end of this post for quick viewing of the scenario game photographs.

Opening positions of the Austrian commands. View from the northern edge of the table.

Opening positions of the Austrian commands. View from the northern edge of the table.

Opening positions: As pictured above and below, the Austrian Army of Italy was positioned behind the Adda river with their rearguard and supportive commands protecting the bridge crossing. Behind them the bulk of the Austrian commands were position on or besides the Lodi to Milan road with a river flank guard placed north of the actual road.

Note: Each wooden green block represents either an infantry, cavalry or dummy command before being actually deployed on the tabletop. Actual tabletop deployment is based upon the sighting and nearness of enemy units. Before that moment, the players have scouts (ADC’s) and their senior level commanders available to seek information about the force composition of enemy blocks.  The term Commands in our game represent either brigades, divisions or similar sized formations and can greatly vary in size, what they are composed in terms of unit types, and the overall command structure (infantry, cavalry, mixed formations, reserve artillery, HQ command etc).

Another Austrian deployment view from the arriving French republican perspective.

Another Austrian deployment view from the arriving French republican perspective near Lodi.

The French advance guard, with artillery, arrives before the Austrian rearguard lining the river bank. Deploying their artillery, the French start a slow bombardment of the Austrian position and skirmishing chasseurs engage the Austrian grenzers across the river.

Deployment revealed. Arriving French see their opposites the Austrian vanguard deployed across the river.

Deployment revealed. Arriving French see their opposites the Austrian vanguard deployed across the river. Should have been republican artillery crews pulled from the miniature box.

As the river bridge position warms to active combat, the arriving French northern flanking force spots a surprise opportunity…. Austrian infantry command still in “strategic march” mode and cavalryman’s wet dream target.

Note: Strategic march mode is a command wide formation status unprepared for combative action but ready for rapid marching with loose ordered ranks. Takes a full stationary movement phase to change from strategic march mode to “battle” mode, with its slower unit “shoulder to shoulder” formations and tabletop movement. Units in strategic march mode can only use column formations and cannot unlimbered artillery. They cannot form square or linear formations and are morale disordered (good order, morale disorder, or rout) for morale purposes.

As the right flank Austrians march towards the river line to their front, a surprising French cavalry command suddenly appears to their right rear.

As the right flank Austrians march towards the river line to their front, a surprising French cavalry command suddenly appears to their right rear.

A French horse battery adds to the action near the bridge.

The French artillery bombard the Austrians across the river as their skirmishers take their pop shots.

The French artillery bombard the Austrians across the river as their skirmishers take their pop shots.

The Austrian player (Andy) is faced with a terrible choice. He cannot leg it from the French dragoons advancing to charge position as they are too close. He cannot form any squares if he remains in strategic march mode so his only decision is to remain “stationary” for the movement phase and change from strategic march mode to battle mode. Stuck in column formation as the French cavalry prepare to charge.

The Austrian command tries to form from their march formations as the rapidity approaching French cavalry menaces them. Too late, the charge is sounded...

The Austrian command tries to form from their march formations as the rapidity approaching French cavalry menaces them. Too late, the charge is sounded…

General view of the opening action with Bob (French northern flank), Andy (Austrian northern flank) and Daniel Austrian CinC.

Austrian Cin C (Daniel) looks on and Austrian Andy (center) is faced by the Bob's (left) charging dragoons.

Austrian CinC (Daniel) looks on and Austrian Andy (center) is faced by the Bob’s (left) charging dragoons.

With Austrian Andy doggedness and some help from the dice gods…. French dragoons charge home, several Austrian infantry battalions rout away, no squares for them but a few key battalions pass their morale rolls and form square in time to repulse the charging French dragoons. Another Austrian infantry command is sucked into early deployment and routing fugitives rout past their positions.

Some form squares (lucky rolls), other rout away or stand in disorder (morale). Another Austrian command is pulled into the situation at top.

Some form squares (lucky rolls), other rout away or stand in disorder (morale). Another Austrian command is pulled into the situation at top.

French southern flank forces are spotted by Austrian scouts so their commands face and prepare themselves to receive the approaching French light cavalry.

Note: To represent a command being in battle mode their commanding officer miniature is placed upon the wooden block. Example below shows the Austrian commands in battle mode.

Austrian left flank sees approaching French light cavalry in foreground.

Austrian left flank sees approaching French light cavalry in foreground.

At the bridge, French artillery is repositioned closer to the river bank to bombard the retiring Austrian supportive formations. In the distance, the northern flank action rages on with a French infantry command arriving to support the French dragoons.

Punished by French artillery fire, the screening genzers and line battalions positioned near the river back away. French infantry arrive behind the French dragoons at top on Austrian right flank.

Punished by French artillery fire, the screening grenzers and line battalions positioned near the river back away. French infantry arrive behind the French dragoons at top on Austrian right flank.

Mentioned before, the northern French infantry command (in battle mode) arrives to engage the confused Austrian northern flank. Their arrival allows the French dragoons retire and regroup from their successful charge.

French dragoons retire to reform as their infantry arrive. the Austrians try to form a linear battle line.

French dragoons retire to reform as their infantry arrive. the Austrians try to form a linear battle line.

The French main body arrives across the Adda river. Massed French republican infantry await their chance to storm across the bridge and engage the Austrian Kaiserliks. General Bonaparte is seen on far right side of the photo below.

Massed French republican infantry arrive. Time to cross the bridge?

Massed French republican infantry arrive. Time to cross the bridge?

Finally the Austrian northern flank battalions sort themselves out from their near disaster. Linear formations abound with some freicorp skirmisher screens to the front.

Austrian right flank stabilizes... but it takes two full Austrian infantry commands to hold the French.

Austrian right flank stabilizes… but it takes two full Austrian infantry commands to hold the French.

Suddenly a French chasseur a’ cheval column, led by an intrepid brigadier, charges across the river bridge, seizing the disordered grenzer 3lb battery. The French are coming….

Lets go... French chasseurs a' cheval charge across the bridge and overwhelm the Austrian genzer battery.

Lets go… French chasseurs a’ cheval charge across the bridge and overwhelm the Austrian genzer battery.

All quiet on the Austrian southern flank. Deployed to met the cautious French, the Austrian fusiliers, backed by chevauleger support, await orders as the light cavalry screens wheel about before them. Army HQ is set up just behind the town buildings.

Note: Senior commanders like Corp, Army or Nation levels have attached headquarter bases to define the game’s line of communication (LOC) rules. The commander can detach like other officers and join (lead) his troops but only himself can move the personal HQ staff base. Generally the LOC rules go from HQ base directly to nearest road or path, then along that road or path to table edge. Cutting the LOC path causes all units, of that senior command, to suffer 10% morale adjustment. Divisional or lower level commands have no LOC rules unless specifically written for scenario.

Austrian left flank deploys from their wooden block location as French cavalry looks on.

Austrian left flank deploys from their wooden block location as French cavalry looks on.

Following the brave chasseurs a’ cheval, French infantry near the bridge surge across the bridge led by their sapper companies. General Bonaparte cheers forward his loyal Army of Italy as the French artillery continues their bombardment.

French republican infantry follow the Chasseurs a' cheval and surge across the river bridge. French artillery engage the Austrian artillery across the river.

French republican infantry follow the Chasseurs a’ cheval and surge across the river bridge. French artillery engage the Austrian artillery across the river.

Austrian CinC Daniel seems very calm…. what does he know? Another Austrian infantry command deploys alongside the river rearguard command. Austrian do look smart in their linear formations.

'What me worry' says Daniel as the Austrian CinC. I need to write my midday report to Vienna.

‘What me worry’ says Daniel as the Austrian CinC. I need to write my midday report to Vienna.

View of the French crossing the river as another Austrian command deploys besides the river advance guard.

View of the French crossing the river as another Austrian command deploys besides the river advance guard.

French northern flank infantry try to work themselves behind the open hill Austrian flank. Some Austrian fusilier battalions dispute their advance.

The French republican infantry attempt to march around their Austrian opponents at top of picture.

The French republican infantry attempt to march around their Austrian opponents at top of picture.

Table level photo showing the fine Austrian fusiliers marching back and forth before the French republican infantry… they seem to enjoy the show. A keen eye Frenchmen would notice the two green blocks behind the Austrian front line formations…. real or dummy? The intelligence isn’t reaching the French senior commanders.

Note: Just because the blocks are nearby, the average regimental or lower officer is too busy to forward scouting information up the chain of command. He knows they are present before him but not the senior commanders. So unless the blocks are in adjacent tabletop “squares” the sighting report is not given. Only senior level commanders or their ADC’s can report or scout beyond the adjacent tabletop square. The tabletop has a 1 foot square “overlay” marked on the actual game boards to regulate block movement, sighting reports and placement of miniatures. See block movement and scouting rules below.

French view from the northern flank towards the Austrian right and distant central positions. Austrians seem to march about in all directions...

French view from the northern flank towards the Austrian right and distant central positions. Austrians seem to march about in all directions…

Frenchmen surge across the river bridge as the Austrian artillery tries to stem the French masses. Several of the Austrian batteries become involved in counter-battery fire (markers before the batteries) as the French artillery seeks to engage them in counter-battery work.

Note: Whenever an artillery battery receives a hit from artillery fire (cannon destroyed), a special 6D roll is made to determine if the damaged battery will seek to engage their tormentors (counter-battery fire), remain silent or displace to the rear. This is only temporary for the next artillery firing opportunity then the effect marker is removed. Several hits can cause a battery to engage enemy artillery for several artillery firing phases, remain silent or be forced to retire rearwards. 

French surge across the river bridge and start to deploy on far bank as the artillery duel each other.

French surge across the river bridge and start to deploy on far bank as the artillery duel each other. Note the counter-battery markers before the Austrian cannon.

French republican infantry make their late appearance on the southern flank. Little did either side know the future heavy vineyard fighting which left several infantry commands shattered.

Arriving French infantry on the southern or left flank of the Austrian position.

Arriving French infantry on the southern or left flank of the Austrian position.

Sharp forward movement bring the southern French infantry against the outlying Austrian units. Firefights rage as a French column seeks to flank the defending Austrian battalion. Regimental cannon fire canister into the nearby enemy ranks.

Note: Regimental artillery (cannon attached to battalions) is marked with an artillerymen miniature typically placed sideways behind the attached battalion. Regimental artillery has no tabletop cannon miniature (unlike a normal artillery battery) and gives adjusted +20% firepower modifier to the battalion’s firepower percentage.

Agressive French infantry push forward. that vineyard will soon be heaped with Austrian and French casualties.

Aggressive French infantry push forward. that vineyard will soon be heaped with Austrian and French casualties.

The feeble Austrian counterattack prevented the French infantry from outflanking the Austrian northern flank positions but at a cost of three Austrian fusilier battalions. Austrian cavalry charges then are used to keep the French “occupied”.

Austrian right or northern front action. French keeping close but their main effort is on the southern or Austrian left flank.

Austrian right or northern front action. French keeping close but their main effort is on the southern or Austrian left flank.

Bridgehead established, the French republican infantry seek to push forward towards the villages ahead. Skirmishers trade shots in the vineyard besides the Adda river.

Note: The clear plastic gun angles define the (22.5′ each side of center line) arc of firepower. Also used to define the charge arc of cavalry.

Central action at the bridge. Held temporary by Austrian artillery fire, the French artillery engages their opposites.

Central action at the bridge. Held temporary by Austrian artillery fire, the French artillery engages their opposites.

Overall north to south view of the tabletop action. Daniel (Austrian CinC), Rob (French southern flank) and Ty (General Bonaparte at the river bridge) conduct troop movements. Table is 16′ by 6′ in size.

General overall view of the table from the northern viewpoint.

General overall view of the table from the northern viewpoint.

Austrian fusiliers disordered by the French linear line and assaulting column combo. They will soon rout exposing the flank of another fusilier battalion.

Note: Morale disorder is shown by turning one miniature base in opposite direction of the unit’s facing. Routing unit formation are massed, facing away from the enemy, and one or two bases “stacked” to show rout status.

French drums beat the advance as the French infantry attack towards the vineyard.

French drums beat the advance as the French infantry attack towards the vineyard.

Austrian reserves are deployed. Grenadier infantry command ( 8 battalions) supported by a heavy cavalry (2 regiments) command. Nice move CinC Daniel… keeping the best for last.

Austrian central reserve deploys for action. Heavy cavalry and massed grenadiers.

Austrian central reserve deploys for action. Heavy cavalry and massed grenadiers.

Having crossed the Adda river with their converged grenadiers and carabinier battalions, the French at the river bridge turn to advance on the waiting Austrian linear formations. Front formations get the honor to assault the Austrian artillery batteries damaged by the French artillery bombardment.

Converged French elite companies have crossed the river as initial French assaults press home on the Austrian advance guard positions.

Converged French elite companies have crossed the river as initial French assaults press home on the Austrian advance guard positions.

Finished with clearing the Austrian fusiliers before the vineyard, the French columns crash into the Austrian defense lining the vineyard front. Can you spot the regimental artillery miniature marker behind the linear french formation?

Having cleared the Austrian screens, the columns assault the linear Austrians defending the vineyard.

Having cleared the Austrian screens, the columns assault the linear Austrians defending the vineyard.

Another overall view of the proceedings. Scenarios designed by WR tend to not be the line up and go forward format but often have flank actions or uneven forces involvement.

Grand view of the current situations on both Austrian flanks and the central river bridge positions.

Grand view of the current situations on both Austrian flanks and the central river bridge positions.

Northern flank has degraded into a skirmisher action. Neither side wish to involve themselves in massed infantry formation fighting for the moment. Republican infantry do like to skirmish as shown below with the open order formations (and reduced casualties).

Note: The rules have several open order formation types. Semi-skirmisher (sort of loose order firing line), full skirmisher (trained/paired soldiers out skirmishing), extreme skirmisher (highly trained riflemen…ie English 95th), Germanic 3rd rank, and improvised skirmisher formations. Each has a degree of open rank formation distance and tabletop coverage. 

The northern or Austrian right flank hold their ground  against French skirmishing formations.

The northern or Austrian right flank hold their ground against French skirmishing formations.

The southern flank is another matter. Massed and linear formation exchange point-blank musketry amidst the vineyard rows. Seeing the French success, CInC Daniel redeploy the Austrian grenadiers to anchor the Austrian southern flank defense and save the line of communication road exit.

Having broken the initial Austrian defense, the French enter the vineyard. But Daniel calls for his grenadiers and they are marching to counterattack the vineyard French.

Having broken the initial Austrian defense, the French enter the vineyard. But Daniel calls for his grenadiers and they are marching to counterattack the vineyard French.

Austrian CinC Daniel receives word that the Mantua garrison is throwing a big party next week…. so per the scenario notes the Austrian army is now allowed to retire from the battlefield.  With Frenchmen to the front, on both sides and who knows where else, time to retire to another battlefield.

At this time the Austrian army is released to retire from the battlefield (per scenario) so several formations start their retirement marches.

At this time the Austrian army is released to retire from the battlefield (per scenario) so several formations start their retirement marches.

The French side suddenly realize their opponents have a “Mantua party invite” and they weren’t invited. Frenchmen change their outlook on the battlefield and advance on the defended Austrian positions.

Across the front the French sense the Austrians are retiring so they advance. Northern or Austrian right flank situation.

Across the front the French sense the Austrians are retiring so they advance. Northern or Austrian right flank situation.

Austrian linear infantry either retires from the advancing French republican masses or become the rearguard units besides the central villages.

As the Austrian main body of infatry retire the French republican infantry follow... but is that deployed Austrian heavy cavalry ahead?

As the Austrian main body of infantry retire the French republican infantry follow… but is that deployed Austrian heavy cavalry ahead?

Sharp Austrian counterattacks sometimes work or end in bloody ruin. In our club games the withdraw game is one of the hardest tabletop maneuvers to perform.

A local Austrian assault is contained as Austrian infantry battalions retire to their table exit point.

A local Austrian assault is contained as Austrian infantry battalions retire to their table exit point.

French infantry on the southern flank, with heavy losses, have cleared half the vineyard. The remains of the Austrian infantry command originally defending the vineyard is soon displaced by Austrian grenadier battalions.

The Austrian grenadiers have secured the army's retreat and enter the vineyard position.

The Austrian grenadiers have secured the army’s retreat and enter the vineyard position.

Frenchmen… meet Austrian grenadier. After a short and sharp fight, the Austrian grenadiers shatter the remaining French infantry command in the vineyard.

The French don't stop and assault the strengthened Austrian battle line. More casualties in the vineyard.

The French don’t stop and assault the strengthened Austrian battle line. More casualties in the vineyard.

The northern flank is a mixture of individual battalions and cavalry squadrons. Some Austrian battalions are retiring from the battlefield while other show a stern facing frontage.

French norther flank force try to assist their southern assault with a final French dragoon charge.

French northern flank force try to assist their southern assault with a final French dragoon charge.

Hey, WR shows up as the Austrian southern flank commander. Yes, CinC Daniel (aka son), I made the Frenchmen pay dearly for the grape crop. Any guess as to the school which Bob attended?

WR besides his Austrian CinC son Daniel. The French are trying to calculate a result in their favor..

WR besides his Austrian CinC son Daniel. The French are trying to calculate a result in their favor..

Austrian grenadiers chase the shattered French republican infantry from the vineyard position as retiring Austrian fusilier battalions march, along the road, behind them.

Depleted French battalions cannot stem the Austrian grenadiers.

Depleted French battalions cannot stem the Austrian grenadiers.

The shattered French infantry flee the vineyard position. Austrian battalions retire along the road behind the grenadiers and rearguard battalions.

The shattered French infantry flee the vineyard position. Austrian battalions retire along the road behind the grenadiers and rearguard battalions.

Seeing their opportunity, the massed Austrian heavy cavalry redeploy to the hill position then turn about to check any timid French advance. Austrian fusiliers continue their retirement off the battlefield.

Even the Austrian heavy cavalry pull back and reform on the hill before turning about and holding the French pursuit at bay.

Even the Austrian heavy cavalry pull back and reform on the hill before turning about and holding the French pursuit at bay.

The French slow their central advance when faced by the massed Austrian cavalry. Orderly withdraw of the Austrian army continues….

Grenadier holding the vineyard, Austrain heavy cavalry positioned to charge if needed, the last of the Austrian army retires off the table.

Grenadier holding the vineyard, Austrian heavy cavalry positioned to charge if needed, the last of the Austrian army retires off the table.

The last of the Austrian northern flank disengages from the French. A few more pictures from the Austrian News Service (ANS).

The end of actions on the northern or former Austrian right flank... just some skirmishing actions.

The end of actions on the northern or former Austrian right flank… just some skirmishing actions. Note the green command loss 40% marker besides the Austrian brigadier.

Note: Command loss % markers remind the players of the additional negative morale adjustments when testing commands with 20%, 40%, or 60%+ effective losses. Generally, tabletop commands with 40% or greater effective loss have trouble passing morale tests.

French view of the retiring Austrian army.... 'see you soon at Mantua' Bonaparte.

French view of the retiring Austrian army…. ‘see you soon at Mantua’ Bonaparte.

Grand view of the gaming table when scenario was called.

Grand view of the gaming table when scenario was called.

Called a minor Austrian victory per the scenario victory conditions. For a change, the victory determination was done by adding together all the 20%, 40% or 60% command % loss markers as 20, 40 or 60 points respectively. If the Austrian point total exceeded the French total by over 150% ratio then a French victory. If between 101% to 150% ratio, a drawn result. If equal or less than the French points total becomes Austrian victory. The extra % allowance was given for the difficult task of withdrawing before the engaging French army.

WR wishes to thank all who participated in the scenario game and congratulations to Daniel as Austrian CinC. His first game (and win) as a CinC player in our group. Austrian players:  Daniel, WR, Andy. The French team was; Ty (General Bonaparte), Bob and Rob. Each month our group meets in Manhattan Beach CA to play a wide range of napoleonic scenarios. Contact WR directly via email or phone number link for information on our next scheduled club meeting. WR contact information

Game scale is 50 yards to the tabletop inch. Miniatures represents 100 infantry or cavalry, in battalions, cavalry regiments or artillery batteries. Napoleonic Game Primer

Additional game and rules, along with a collection of Youtube videos covering the game mechanics, can be found on this blog at: Napoleonic rules, files and videos link

Rules of play for the wooden block system: Block Movement system link

Scenario rosters:  Lodi Austrian Roster 1796 (xls), Lodi French Rosters 1796 (xls)

Slide show format of game photos presented above.

Cheers from the warren,

WR

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9 thoughts on “Lodi 1796 Scenario

  1. Beautiful table, stirring action… great report! Each side had their triumphs to boast about.

    I like the carried look of the french Republican flags, too. No I am NOT adding early French and Austrians to my collection. Nope, not buying any of those lovely Eureka figures. No way, not me! 🙂

    Tell me about the construction of your vineyards, Michael…

    • Thanks again Peter,
      Getting back into the swing of life. Apart from work I am enjoying the blog posting and gaming life. Next challenge will be a scenario for Dego 1796 at the HMGS-PSW convention Oct 26th. I wrote the scenario back in Jan 2013… just haven’t had the time or event to stage this weird scenario. Should be fun…. or a GM’s nightmare. Write up of course will follow.
      Back to organizing some Danish units… your blog post has “red coated” my eyes.

    • For the vineyard construction…

      Bass wood bases with notched corners (to allow curved rows). Some small wire nails of correct size (height) and fuse wire. Tap in nails on thin bass wood length (4 inches) about every one inch with predrilled holes to avoid splitting basswood. Doesn’t have to be even gaps… a little random distance between nails (posts) looks better. Glue the nail at base to firmly secure to bass wood. When dry, wrap fuse wire at different heights on nails and anchor down at ends. Paint the nails and wire to taste (weather). Then glue small clumps of scenic material of different colors using white PVC glue over several nights. Let dry then cover in watered down PVC to soak the green scenic material. Paint and touch up as required. I think I made 20 feet worth. For the felt ground mat, I dusted with scenic material and colored the placement location of the vineyard rows with darker scenic material approx 2″ apart on the felt. The mat and vineyard row are separate and can be moved about to allow miniature placement.
      Michael
      If you need better pictures please let me know.

    • Thanks Phil.
      Trying to match your excellent blogging and scenario effects in France.
      Read my comment (above) to Peter (this blog post) on the vineyard row construction. A possible project idea for your tabletop terrain.
      Michael

  2. That is a good looking game. Thanks for posting the OB’s. I agree with your scenario design thought, historical battle were rarely two sides lining up and charging. Why shouldn’t our games be just as complex.

    • Uneven scenarios are my joy on the tabletop. Makes the players think how to devise their plans. Our games always have the lack of total information. We use a different GM for each group game so some inventive material or scenario design always produce enjoyable games.
      Michael

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