Battle of Sacile 1809 Revisited AAR

Battle of Sacile 1809 seems to be a reoccurring scenario for the WR. I wrote up the scenario back in January 2012 for a HMGS-PSW convention game, played to a French win per Sacile 1809 AAR posted February 2012. Used the same scenario for a Strategicon convention at LAX February 2013 for an Austrian win. This past month, pending a late decision on the monthly game at Bob’s garage (every third saturday in Manhattan beach CA), WR suggested Sacile 1809. A pre-made package 1809 scenario, somewhat balanced in forces and a fun scenario with ebb and flow of forces. We had miniatures in abundance between the arriving gamers, including newly painted French 1809 era infantry divisions by Paul and Dan, eager for the tabletop stress of battle. So Sacile 1809 it was and this post game AAR written up.

Sacile Preview report posted in January 2012 covers the forces, rosters, terrain, and scenario notes (link): Sacile 1809 Preview.

First a duplicated copy of the scenario terrain map for reader to understand the terrain  then the description of opening 0900 hours starting positions for both sides.

Battle of Sacile tabletop map without command counters.

Battle of Sacile 1809 tabletop map without command counters. Scenario tabletop was 6′ x 8′ with each map square 12 inches.

0900 hours (Scenario start): The drying out northern Italian countryside was peaceful until the sounds of mud laden feet in unison is heard. The French Army of Northern Italy, under Viceroy Eugene de Beauharnais, is on the march during the early morning hours, hoping to catch the Austrian Army of Italy, under Archduke Johann aka WR, in the flank or unprepared for battle. The early stages of scenario battle are set for the massed appearance of several French infantry divisions, along with light cavalry support, upon the Austrian advance guard command near Procia. Awaken by signal musketry, the Austrian advance guard division under GM Frimont deploys quickly for battle. Some fusilier battalions positioned around or in Procia, other grenzer battalions skirmishing against the fast advancing 1st Italian division (GD Severoli). A small Austrian cavalry brigade under GM Splenyi (just off the table) is quickly summoned to apply pressure on the open right flank of nearby supporting French 1st division (GD Seras).

Morning wakes at 0900 hours with Austrian advanced guard and outposts spotting the French divisional command blocks entering the tabletop from right side.

Morning wakes at 0900 hours with Austrian advanced guard and outposts spotting the French divisional command blocks entering the tabletop from right side.

French deployment (l to r): French 2nd division (GD Broussier at Vigonovo, 3rd French division (GD Grenier) at Fontana-Fredda, Italian 1st division approaching Taiponedo and 1st French division (GD Seras) marching before Procia. Starting off the tabletop is 1st Light cavalry (GB Sahac), Army HQ for Eugene, and 5th French division (GD Barbou) all near Fontana-Fredda entrance point. Note the French map counters have the correct divisional number labeling to assist readers with locating these commands on the map.

Austrian deployment: GM Frimont’s advance guard is positioned around Procia (infantry in village, cavalry regiments directly behind) plus one detached grenzer battalion in Taiponedo. Just off the right scenario map by Procia has the cavalry brigade of GM Splenyi entering the tabletop. Arriving on the opening 0900 hours turn is the entire Austrian VIII corps in upper right scenario map corner near Rorai Grande. Austrian VIII corps consists of two infantry commands: “Left wing” command under GML Colloredo and “Right wing” command under GM Gajoli, then followed by the corp’s headquarters and reserve artillery batteries. Austrians always seem to call their commands unusual names and not the typical 1st, 2nd, 5th numeral titles like other nations. A small detachment column under Oberst Volkmann enters on the northern scenario tabletop edge. Volkmann’s command was a sort of flanking vanguard for the entire IX corps which was slow to start their morning march arrival to the battle. Not your typical line them up and go forward to glory miniature battle but maneuvering and strength vs weakness matchups abound.

Note: The use of wooden tabletop blocks for reserve formation maneuvering is covered on this blog post and link: Tabletop Blocks usage

Battle of Sacile 1809 map with command markers placed at starting or off map.

Battle of Sacile 1809 map with command markers placed at starting position or off map. Note the yellow tabletop outline for the scenario battle zone.

Another view of the Austrian initial position as the French 1st and Italian divisions march towards Porica village.

Another view of the Austrian 0900 hours position as the French 1st (GD Seras) at right, and Italian (GD Severoli) on left wooden pre-deployment block divisions march towards Porica. An Austrian skirmishing grenzer battalion will force the deployment the Italian division. Around Procia, GM Frimont’s advance guard awaits.

0920 hours: After two turns of forward movement the right flank Franco-Italian 1st infantry divisions are nearing Procia. Skirmishing between the Italian voltiguers, Italian chasseur a’ cheval and the deployed grenzer battalion liven the action so far. Cavalry brigade GM Splenyi arrives and slowly works their forward progress around the blocking vineyards as open order skirmishers.

0920 hours shows the French and Italian divisional advance. Austrian cavalry brigade Spendxxx arrives on flank on foreground.

0920 hours shows the French and Italian divisional advance. Austrian cavalry brigade Splenyi arrives on flank on foreground as GM Frimont’s advance guard deploys slowing French advance.

West of Procia an Austrian hussar regiment trots forward and charges the advancing Italian infantry. Quickly the Italian chasseurs a’ cheval closed ranks and countercharge the approaching Austrian hussars led in person by GD Severoli. Surprised by the resolute Italians, the Austrian hussars are defeated and retires but left Italian GD Severoli severely wounded on the battlefield. The first of seven commanders to fall wounded or killed during the scenario battle.

Austrian hussars rode forth to charge the Italian chassseurs a' cheval regiment. After some sword play the Austrian hussars were beaten off with the seriously wounding of Sevordi.

Austrian hussars rode forth to charge the Italian chasseurs a’ cheval regiment. After some sword play the Austrian hussars were beaten off with the seriously wounding of GD Sevordi.

0940 hours: French skirmishers occupy one of the buildings of Procia after the protecting Austrian battalion fled from a French chasseur a’ cheval column roadway cavalry charge plus overran the Austrian kavalry battery nearby. Countercharging Austrian hussars rode up and chased away the disordered French cavalry but the French had seized half of Procia village.* Meanwhile, the 1st Italian division continues their steady advance supporting French 1st division under GD Seras. For the Austrians, GM Frimont’s advance guard is fully engaged, GM Splenyi cavalry brigade is constrained in the small valley below Procia, and the slow marching Austrian VIII corps is still deploying behind Procia.

* Note: Early French total control of Procia (two turns) prevents the Austrian IX corps from performing their historical flanking march and instead restricts arrival behind the Austrian VIII corps position. This is an early primary objective for team France. Sacile scenario notes file (.doc): Sacile 1809 Scenario notes

French 1st Division advances down road and through the vineyards while Sevxxx Italians confront GM Frimont's Austrians.

French 1st Division advances down road and through the vineyards while GD Severoli Italians confront GM Frimont’s Austrians. Skirmishing cavalry of Brigade Splenyi in foreground.

1000 hours: The battlefield action expands. Austrian battalion counterattack seeks to eject the French residents of Procia. Alongside the battalion columns, Austrian hussars form ranks and prepare to charge the exposed French battalion column below Procia. General skirmishing action continues in the table center between the Italians and GM Frimont’s grenzers. Column Volkmann’s advance across the open battlefield slowly exposes the marching French divisional masses entering around Fontana-Fredda.

GM Frimont's infantry counterattack into French occupied Procia.

GM Frimont’s infantry counterattack into French occupied Procia. Frimont’s cavalry trots about before the squared Italian battalions.

Austrian Brigade Volkmann arrives to confront the distant French light cavalry brigade of GB Sahac

Austrian Brigade Volkmann arrives to confront the French light cavalry brigade of GB Sahac at right and 3rd French division (GD Grenier) represent by wooden block position. Prince Eugene, Viceroy of Northern Italy HQ behind GD Grenier’s 3rd French division. Italians upper left corner.

The Austrian hussar charge near Procia routed the exposed French battalion but the Austrian infantry attack into Procia failed to dislodge the French “new resident” battalion. Austrian GM Splenyi falls light wounded in his arm for two turn of play.

Closer view of the Austrian battalion counterattack and front line action.

Closer view of the soon failed Austrian battalion counterattack and front line action.

1020 hours: French mass a column against the Austrian held half of Procia while the grand skirmishing action continues outside the village. GM Frimont’s advance guard command is bending from the increasing Franco-Italian pressure while Austrian VIII corps finishes their command deployments behind Procia.*

Note: Takes a complete stationary movement phase to change from morale disordered strategic march mode (formation columns only) into proper battle mode. Battle mode allows all formation types – line, column, square and open order.

1020 hours has the Austrians retaken a portion of Procia.

1020 hours has the Austrians failure to retake a portion of Procia as pressure mounts on GM Frimont’s positions outside.

Austrian reinforcements arrive with the positioning of VIII Corps behind GM Frimont.

Austrian reinforcements arrive with the positioning of VIII corps behind GM Frimont. Here the “Right wing” column is shown advancing to engage the Italians. French 5th division represented by wooden block, near Talponedo, in distance.

Column Volkmann's position seems weak as more French under GD XX appear and slowly approach.

Column Volkmann’s position seems pressured as more French under GD Grenier (3rd division) appear and slowly approach. GB Sahac’s light cavalry brigade position themselves to charge home.

1040 hours: Having lost the last building of Procia to the French column, the Austrians must attempt to retake a portion of Procia before the French control the complete village for two turns. The deployment of VIII Corps is complete, the two Austrian “Left and Right wing” commands advance their lines into battle fronted by the grenzer skirmishers. Another Austrian battalion column crashes into the recently taken Procia position, led by FML Colloredo himself from Left wing command.

Having secured half of Procia, the Austrians try to seize the other half with a battalion assault.

Having failed once before, the Austrians try to seize a portion of Procia with another battalion assault. Both divisions of VIII Corps have deployed into lines and reserve artillery unlimbered to bombard the Italian division.

Column Volkmann presents their “we are outnumbered” look and slowly retires to open the range from the growing French masses. Scenario notes prevent total French advance past a map line on the tabletop unless pre-releasing the entire Austrian IX corps early. Wise French players elect to hold up their massive general advance till the village of Procia is taken causing restrictions on the arriving Austrian IX corps.

Wisely column Volkmann retires from the French left flank masses.

Wisely column Volkmann retires from the French left flank masses of GB Sahac (lt. cavalry) and GD Grenier (3rd division).

1100 hours: French Army of Italy is advancing on a broad front across the open terrain. Their plan is to have total control of Procia before 1200 hours and restrict the arrival of Austrian IX corps behind VIII corp’s position and not out on the flanking northern tabletop edge option. Then, before IX corps can assist, they can flank the expose right flank of Austrian VIII corps and condense the Austrian Army of Italy into the northeast corner of the tabletop battlefield. Seems like a good French plan…. but there is one hidden faux pas.

General view of battle. French left flank prepared to wheel forward against the Austrian VIII Corps. French columns counterattack Procia.

General view of battle. French left flank prepared to wheel forward against the Austrian VIII Corps. French columns counterattack Procia in distance. GD Barbou 5th French division advances as wooden block while Viceroy Eugene HQ looks on. 3rd French division (Grenier) on tabletop.

While the Austrian battalion column batter the Procia building front, French 1st division mass their own counterattack infantry column on their side of the village. Austrian Right wing commander GM Gajoli killed by French cannon fire, directing the lead battalions to hold their position.

French counterattack columns attempt to seize control of Procia once again.

French counterattack columns attempt to seize control of Procia once again if Austrian assault successful.

The Austrian battalion assault fails under French musketry and élan. Possible time for one more attempt to wrestle control back from the French before the flanking movement arrival of Austrian IX corps is upset.

Austrians are kicked out od Procia again. They must attempt to retake a portion of Procia or arrival of IX Corps affected.

Austrians are kicked out of Procia again. They must attempt to retake a portion of Procia or arrival position of IX Corps affected.

1120 hours: Too late, French deploy their skirmishers in front of Procia and, due to the additional delay clearing them, the Austrian assault to retake Procia cannot be attempted in time before the French have triggered the restricted redeployment march on for Austrian IX corps (French hold Procia for two complete game turns). Time for the Austrian brain trust to formulate a new scenario battle plan since the grand flanking option is now denied the Austrian generalship.

Austrians prepare battalion assault columns and push forward their skirmishers. Both sides exchange artillery bombardments.

Austrians prepare another battalion assault column for Procia and push forward their skirmishers. Both sides exchange artillery bombardments.

With French control of Procia, Austrian IX corps will be restricted to the same entrance points as VIII corps, thus the general restriction on the French Army of Northern Italy crossed the map square 4 row line is lifted.  French 3rd division (Grenier) quickly marches forward and Column Volkmann sees massed Frenchmen approaching rapidly. Flanking GB Sahac’s light cavalry rides further to flank the retiring Volkmann column while both 2nd and 5th French infantry divisions advance forward in support.

French left flank with divisions XXX start to wheel and advance towards the weak Austrian VIII Corps flank.

French left flank masses of 3rd French division (Grenier) start to wheel and advance towards the weak Austrian VIII corps flank. 5th French division advances represented by wooden block.

While the units of Austrian VIII corps stop Franco-Italian forward movement, their corp’s commander, FML Albert Gyulai, was seriously wounded and thrown from his horse. With his loss the corp’s morale drops for two complete game turns.* If the French had any reinforcement reserves behind their 1st French or 1st Italian divisions, VIII corps would be in serious trouble due to the temporary loss of morale.

* Note: Loss of a senior commander causes the morale of units under his command to drop one CMR for two complete game turns. After the two turns, a replacement officer is promoted from attached commanders under the former commander’s control.

The battle before Procia. French skirmishers are disrupting the Austrian counterattack and successfully cause the Austrian IX Corps arrival point.

The battle before Procia. French skirmishers are disrupting the Austrian counterattack movements and successfully trigger the redeployment of Austrian IX Corps arrival point.

1140 hours: Since retaking Procia is temporarily beyond Austrian control, they shuffle additional battalions towards their exposed Right wing command against the massing French left-wing advance. While directly his battalions, GM Gajoli is randomly hit and killed causing some disruption in the Austrian chain of command. Aggressive French chasseurs a’ cheval charge forth and cause some discomfort with the loss of an 6lb brigade battery near Procia.

French chasseurs a' cheval charge and overrun an Austrian brigade battery.

French chasseurs a’ cheval charge and overrun an Austrian brigade battery. French view of the VIII “Left wing” and remains of GM Frimont’s advance guard commands.

Column Volkmann’s battalions joins with the Right wing command of VIII corps. Before them the fast marching 3rd French division under GD Grenier approaches with unlimbered 8lb batteries and several massed regimental columns. Dan’s new miniatures looking good in their massed columns. Fresh unseasoned miniature blood for the tabletop grinder.

Marching forward French massed formations of GD XXX command.

Marching forward French massed formations of GD Grenier’s 3rd division command. Column Volkmann in background defending the Austrian VIII Corps open flank (“Right wing” command).

In the center Austrian VIII corps presents a strong front line but thin on reserves. Another French division, 5th Infantry under GD Barbou, deploys and advances to support the battered Italian division (exceeding 20% losses). Paul’s newly painted French miniatures enter the tabletop as GD Barbou’s division.

Italian division at 20% losses but still engaged by the Austrian "Right Flank" command of VIII Corps.

Italian division at 20% losses but still engaged by the Austrian “Right wing” command of VIII Corps. GD Barbou’s 5th division  arrives behind the Italians who will redeploy to their right soon.

Edge on view of the entire tabletop battle. Procia village in the foreground and extends towards the distant French slowly flanking masses. But wait…. the first signs of IX corps arrival are seen in the lower right corner of the photograph. They have a long march to secure the Austrian Army of Italy’s right flank.

General view of the battle at 1140 hours.

General view of the battle at 1140 hours. Austrian IX corps arrives at right corner of photo.

Blazingly wild French chasseur a’ cheval column charges at the hinge of the Austrian front line. After causing morale disorder in several battalions (marked by turning a miniature around in formation), a weak but brave Austrian hussar detachment, with Oberst Volkmann leading, confronts the charging French light cavalry. They lose the sword fight but morale disrupt the column of French chassuer a’ cheval regiment who morale disorder again from the following phase of Austrian artillery bombardment. Two morale disorders = rout so they quickly rout to the rear causing French morale disruption in their wake.

A brave Austrian hussar detachment tries to block the charge of a column of French chasseurs a' cheval.

A brave Austrian hussar detachment tries to block the charge of a column of French chasseurs a’ cheval. They lose the sword fight but morale disorder the charging French chasseurs a’ cheval.

1200 hours: French team players slow their forward progress beyond Procia seeing the arrival of Austrian IX corps commands in the tabletop corner. Their marching left flank divisions continue their sweep towards the Austrian open flank of Austrian VIII corps causing concern with Archduke Johann staff. The well placed reserve artillery batteries of VIII corps rip holes in the stationary 1st Italian division battalions while skirmishers ply their trade between the lines.

100 hours has the French and Austrians battling outside of Procia. Neither side can push the other for now.

1200 hours has the French and Austrians battling outside of Procia. Neither side can push the other for now.

On the Austrian right the French masses continue their advance. The French column of chasseurs was routed by artillery fire.

On the Austrian right the French masses continue their advance. The French column of chasseurs was routed by artillery fire causing a bit of temporary French morale discomfort.

1220 hours: Archduke WR Johann has his new battle plan. Sending the Austrian IX corps’ huge 1st Line infantry command and small 3rd Line cavalry command towards the exposed Austrian right flank, he orders the 2nd Line command (grenadiers and grenzers) to storm Procia assisted by the Left wing command of VIII corps. Will take a few turns to evolve but the French high command players seem to be unsure of their next movements till Austrian IX corps is committed. Just got to love Austrian command nomenclature to confuse. On the front lines the artillery batteries bombard and skirmishers pop off their muskets with the 1st French and 1st Italian divisions suffering from the renewed Austrian cannon fire.

Static lines and artillery bombardment for the Procia area.

Static lines and artillery bombardment for the Procia area. But soon the Austrian IX corps will deploy behind the Austrian VIII corps.

The French left flank masses stately march across the open Italian countryside. GB Sahac’s light cavalry brigade charges to clear the last withdrawing infantry but find a resolute Austrian fusilier battalion in square. French hussars are rebuffed in their efforts to crush the square and left GB Sahac killed on the ground outside the square. Scattered and exposed Austrian 3lb brigade batteries peck the French columns with their lightweight shot. Still, the Austrian exposed flank cannot stop any massive French assaults till the delayed 1st Line command of IX corps arrives.

Slowly the Austrian right is crumbling. French columns push forward against week Austrian skirmishers and retiring batteries.

Slowly the Austrian right is crumbling. French columns push forward against weak Austrian skirmishers and retiring batteries. GB Sahac’s cavalry blocked by an Austrian battalion square.

1240 hours: Austrian grenadier columns arrive to prepare for their advance , with local Austrian fusilier battalion support, into Procia. The French higher command start to talk… can we hold Procia from the Austrian grenadiers? For now yes… but WR as Archduke Johann has a bigger surprise forthcoming. Austrian ADC’s ride forth for the Austrian team players to “talk up” the huge reinforcements arriving behind the Austrian front lines. The French players see the two wooden blocks marching behind the Austrian front lines…. they start to create “wild imaginary commentary.” Austrian psychological operation head games are working for the moment.

Austrian IX Corps arrives. Their 2nd Line command (Grenadiers) march in column towards Procia.

Austrian IX corps starts to arrive. Their 2nd Line command (grenadiers and grenzers) march in massed columns towards Procia.

The fog of war is lifted. The huge Austrian 1st Line command is deployed just behind the forming artillery concentration central to the Austrian front lines. Thirteen large fusilier battalions and attached grenzers. They are deployed looking massive in number and depth, the “white coat” blob” certainly catches the French player’s attention. But the real threat is before the Austrian infantry mass… the massed Austrian reserve artillery batteries of both VIII and IX corps. Six batteries of positional artillery unlimber within normal range to bombard the French center position. French 5th Division and 1st Italian are going to see many cannon ball bouncing through their ranks. Out on the French flanking advance GD Grenier (3rd division) is killed by stray Austrian bullet.

While the Grenadier approach Procia, the 1st Line command arrives and deploys from march mode. Massed Austrians make a grand entrance to the battle. French players are talking...

While the grenadiers approach Procia, the Austrian 1st Line command arrives and deploys from march mode. Massed Austrians make a grand entrance to the battle. French players are talking loudly under the increasing noise of centrally massed Austrian cannon.

1300 hours: The roar of the massed Austrian artillery batteries stops French forward movements. French battalions quickly form into linear formation to limit the damage from the Austrian cannon. The Austrian “grand battery” so to speak has stopped the advancing 5th French division cold. The 1st Italian division, weakened by the losses from combat all morning long, cannot advance either. That just leaves the French 3rd division to continue their wheeling advance with GB Sahac’s light cavalry. But even that advance is held up by the arrival of the Austrian 3rd Line heavy cavalry command who promptly stop the notion of trotting forward with French light cavalry. A hasty French staff player conference is called… what to do? They elect to hold their positions for now and see the Austrian next movement while holding in reserve the 2nd French division (Broussier) behind 3rd division’s position. The unnamed replacement brigadier for Austrian Right wing command is killed by French skirmisher firing.

1300 hours shows the massed Austrian 1st Line (IX Corps) marching up behind their grand battery of corps cannon.

1300 hours shows the massed Austrian 1st Line (IX corps) marching up behind their grand battery of reserve cannon. 3rd Line command, consisting of two heavy dragoon regiments, arrive at lower right. The only French reserve (block) is 2nd division (Broussier).

French resolve questionable as the Austrian grenadier columns approach Procia.

French resolve questionable as the Austrian grenadier columns approach Procia supported by the resurgent Austrian Left wing command of VIII corps.

1320 hours: The Austrians don’t wait. Having pinned in place the French wheeling mass with concentrated Austrian cannon fire, the Austrian Right wing command, Volkmann’s column and heavy cavalry of the 3rd Line (IX corps), Archduke Rabbit (Johann) orders the finishing plan for defeat of the French army of Italy. Austrian grenadiers and grenzers, along with the Austrian Left wing command fusilier battalions, will cause the fall of Procia. The grand body mass of thirteen fusilier battalions and attached grenzer of 1st Line command will advance, not at the transfixed French 3rd (Grenier) and 5th division (Barbou) as spoken about in the Austrian player ranks, but directly at the weak 1st Italian division. Break through there and the French 1st division under GD Seras (in Procia area) will be cut off. The French can only hold in place and be defeated in detail or advance their left-wing infantry divisions into the mouths of the massed austrian cannon batteries.

French left flank resolve dissipates and linear formations deployed while under the Austrian cannon roar.

French left flank resolve dissipates and static linear formations deployed while under the Austrian cannon roar.

French players decide… hold in place on their massed left flank but send orders for their right flank commands. The 1st French and 1st Italian divisions to slowly retire before the austrian resurgence.

Austrian grenadier columns crashing into Procia. Massed white coat columns are seen marching forward against the weaken Italian division's position.

Austrian grenadier columns crashing into Procia. Massed white coat columns are seen marching forward against the weaken Italian division’s position.

1340 hours: Procia falls to the first austrian grenadier rush. The French 1st division (Seras), having taken then held Procia for most of the battle post-haste retires behind the weak defensive front of the 1st Italian division. Austrian round shot is cutting down 5th division (Barbou) Frenchmen in droves as several battalion waver in their positions. The austrian entire left flank advances… the 1st Italian division will be swamped in numbers on next turn.

The French right flank is cracking. Italian division too weak to etem the massed Austrian advance. French 1st division is retiring behind them.

The French right flank is cracking. Italian division too weak to stem the massed Austrian advance. French 1st division is retiring behind them.

French view of the overpowering Austrian advance near Procia.

French view of the overpowering Austrian advance near Procia. While Italians present a weak front, the exposed 1st French division legs it for the rear and retreat.

With French infantry falling to bouncing round shot, the french 5th division (Barbou) retires a bit to open the range but Austrian positional artillery has a long-range reach*. French 3rd division (dead Grenier) holds their open ground and extends into linear formations. All forward French movement is halted while the Austrian cannon roar and “Right wing” command, along with Column Volkmann, form up to hold any tempted French advance.

* Note: All positional artillery in our game has the same range as 12lb artillery. So any positional 6lb, 8lb, 9lb or 16lb battery has the same range gradients as 12lb positional artillery batteries. Heavier (earlier period) cannon carriages, increased ammunition supply train, use of civilian driver in early years, oxen or elephant teams, and nationalistic tactical (stationary) artillery doctrine all label artillery batteries as “positional.” A positional 6lb battery has less firepower % effect compared to a 12lb positional battery but both have the same range gradients to engage their targets. The main disadvantage of positional artillery is the inability to limber, change firing position, and unlimber, all in the same movement phase. Regular non-positional artillery (field and horse artillery) can perform these tasks and quickly face enemy counter movements.

Facing the massed austrian cannon, the French XX division slowly retires to open the range.

Facing the massed Austrian cannon, the French 5th division (Barbou) slowly retires to open the range. On their left 3rd division (Grenier) holds position to check any Austrian foolhardy advance on their right flank.

Massed Austrian white coats advance for the victory!

Massed Austrian white coats advance for the victory as Frenchmen leg it.

1400 hours: The writing is on the French wall. Scenario is called by the French team side as their 1st Italian division is crushed by the advancing Austrian horde. French 1st division (Seras) is legging it to the rear French lines just ahead of the pursuing Austrian grenadier headed columns. The collapse of the French right flank divisions forces the 5th division (Barbou) to retire even more distance under artillery fire and in time, will expose the French 3rd division (dead Grenier) to the combined Austrian artillery firepower and Austrian heavy dragoon drawn sabers. The French 2nd division (Broussier) never saw tabletop action during the entire scenario.

Summary: Interesting Austrian win as the French team retired from the battlefield during the night since they couldn’t hold the battlefield. Scenario victory conditions gives the Austrians a solid “draw” result with leaning towards Austrian “Marching forward” (minor) victory… the historical result.

WR’s thoughts on the scenario play. The initial Austrian battle plan was to hold and contest the Procia position while waiting for the grand flanking march of Austrian IX corps to appear. With Austrian IX corps descending on the French rear commands around Vigonovo, and threatening French line of communications off table, any French battle plan would become defensive in nature and allow the Austrians to push the French off the tabletop using classical open terrain Austrian battle line formations. But the French player team were too successful taking Procia early on in the scenario gameplay thereby causing the arrival of Austrian IX Corps behind the VIII corp’s position. WR then just changed the axis of attack, after a bit of Austrian psychological operation head games on intent. from appearance of just reinforcing the Austrian right flank to assaulting the weak 1st Italian division, supported and screened by the massive artillery reserve battery well positioned centrally. Having all the French reserves uncommitted on their left flank greatly assisted the Austrian revised battle plan.

The French game plan was leading to early success but the lack of a supportive reserve division on their right flank was telling. Their huge 2nd division (Broussier) never saw the tabletop, standing in reserve behind the French left flank. If the Austrian IX corps did arrive on the northern map entrance points then 2nd infantry division would be positioned to block the Austrian advance along with 3rd division (Grenier). WR suggests a better plan would have been quickly transfer 5th division (Barbou) behind the 1st Italian division and then advance French 2nd and 3rd divisions, plus GB Sahac’s light cavalry brigade towards the exposed VIII corps flank. If the Austrian IX corps appeared on the northern entrance points, because Procia wasn’t controlled by French side before 1200 hours, then these two fresh French infantry divisions, plus GB Sahac’s light cavalry, would hold the Austrian IX corps open terrain advance while the fresh 5th Infantry division took Procia and threatened the Austrian LOC behind Procia (at Rorai Grande), supported by the battalions and cavalry of 1st French division and 1st Italian. The Austrian VIII corps would have been hard pressed to stop the advance of these three Franco-Italian divisions without help from Austrian IX corps, hopefully tied in place by the actions of 2nd and 3rd divisions.

WR thanks all who played the Sacile 1809 scenario. Team France was Paul, Andy, Dan while the Austrians fielded Bob, Dave and WR. Till next month the dice are still.

Cheers from the warren.

WR

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2 thoughts on “Battle of Sacile 1809 Revisited AAR

  1. Sacile is one of the closest historical scenarios of the Napoleonic Wars, and with enough troops to look great but not so many as to become a strictly straight ahead slugfest.

    The new French arrivals look great – good to see more troops added to the SoCal arms race!

    • Happy T day Peter.
      Agree that Sacile is “even” battle. Two Austrian white coat wins so far and one French blue coat win. Surely will play again in 2015 to even the scorecard.

      Toying around with the Feb 1813 Battle at Kalisch (Kalisz) between the Franco-Saxon post retreat survivors and the sorely reduced Russians (with reserve battalions). I have painted the French 32nd division penal regiments, some 1813 era DOW and my 1812 era Minifig Saxons looking for a fight. Just need some “Russian reserve battalion for the tabletop. The historical accounts seem to differ a bit so more research needed.

      M

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