Tuesday, 29 March 2016

Solferino - Medole 1859 using Bloody Big Battles

I have wanted to do the battle of Solferino for sometime but never had suitable rules or enough figures. With the Bloody Big Battles (BBB) rules  and the scenario book Blood Big European Battles I finally had the opportunity to play it - well most of it.

Solferino was the biggest and final battle of the 1859 Second Italian War of Independence fought by the Second French Empire and the Kingdom of Sardinia against the Austrian Empire. See Wiki for more details
The BBB scenario covers the whole battle on an 8x4 foot table. The Sardinian army against Austrian VIII Corps around San Martino in the north,  Austrian 1st Army against French 4th Corps at Medole in the south and French 1st, 2nd & 3rd Corps plus the Imperial Guard against  Austrian 2nd Army in the centre at Solferino.

As I don't have any Sardinians (yet) I decided to fight the centre and southern part of the battle, the French vs Austrians bit. The scenario map has the River Redone as impassible for most of it's length which splits the battlefield quite nicely into almost 6x4 feet. Hence the title Solferino-Medole.

Solferino is that rare example of a real life encounter battle so most troops start off the table.

Shaun and Steve took the French forces whilst Andy, Mike and Dave took the Austrians. I umpired.
Looking south at the start of the game. Austrian troops are deployed in Castello and in front of Guidizzolo whilst French troops form up before Barche di Castigilione
The battlefield looking north. The objectives are Guidizzolo, Castello and Cavriana
Austrian IX Korps advance past Guidizzolo
Austrian V Korps deployed in Castello
French 1st Corps before Barche di Castiglione
The French advance toward Castello and the Austrians advance to meet them
French 1st & 2nd Corps assault Barche and le Grole 
The first of many useless cavalry charges.
The Austrian 1st Army forms a defensive line on Quagliara and Rebecco
French 4th Corps advances to Medole
Fighting continues in front of Castello 
French 4th Corps faces a solid Austrian line
The Imperial Guard Grenadier division supports 1st Corps
Austrian 2nd Army receives reinforcements
Grenadiers of the Imperial Guard in action
French 3rd & 4th Corps prepare to assault Austrian 1st Army
Halfway through the game from the Austrian side - looking good
Halfway through the game from the French side - looking like a polo mint
The French take Castello but get bogged down  trying to pass it
French 4th Corps assaults Austrian 1st Army and fails
Final Position - French hold Castello
Final Position - Austrians hold Cavriana
Final Position - Austrians hold Guidizzolo

At the end of the French turn 8 they conceded the game. Two of the objectives, Guidizzolo and Cavriana, were still in Austrian hands and the French hold on Castello was starting to look dodgy with Austrian 2nd Army about to go on the offensive. In Austrian terms it was a glorious victory. 

Before the game I would have put money on the French, all Veterans, stomping over the Austrians, all passive and mainly  Raw and Fragile. However the Austrians managed to get their armies into a solid defensive formation with an excellent gun line and hold off most if not quite all French assaults.

The Imperial Guard did not live up to their image - getting bounced by one of the better Austrian units and then failing to become un-disordered. Again barely any casualties on either side although it was starting to tell on the Austrian units that were raw, passive and fragile as they become spent after losing 1 base.

An excellent scenario that can be played again and again (and will be because I want to play next time). I need to paint more Austrians and get the Sardinians together so we can do the whole battle. 

Game Info

The rules can be purchased from Caliver Books
There is a Yahoo group for the rules here where the author answers queries
The 10mm Figures are all Pendraken
The 6mm Buildings are mainly by TimeCast

Friday, 25 March 2016

Monterino 1859 using Bloody Big Battles

Monterino is a fictitious battle set during the 1859 Second Italian War of Independence fought by the Second French Empire and the Kingdom of Sardinia against the Austrian Empire.

This game was fought using the Bloody Big Battles ruleset (BBB) and Pendraken's excellent range of 10mm figures.
Monterino is a mash-up inspired by the two real battles of Montebello and Solferino. The southern half of  the table represents the Campo di Medole and the gentle sloped ridge that divided it from the northern part of the battle of Solferino whilst the remainder represents the cultivated area of Montebello. The cultivated area blocks line of sight from 9" and gives +1 cover. The river can only be crossed at the 3 bridges
The battlefield looking north with the Austrian columns advancing from the east. The objectives for both sides were the 2 towns and 4 villages - 4 of them running along the table centre line.
Mike played the French with
2 Generals
4 Infantry Brigades - 6 S Veteran Muzzle Loading  Rifle (ML)
2 Infantry Brigades - 6 S,A Veteran ML
2 Cavalry Brigades - 2 Veteran
6 Rifled Artillery
I "led" the Austrians with
2 Generals
7 Infantry Brigades - 6 S,P Trained ML
1 Infantry Brigade - 6 S,P,F Raw ML
2 Cavalry Brigades - 2 P
8 Smoothbore Artillery

S = Skirmisher base, A = Aggressive, P = Passive, F = Fragile,

We each started with 2 brigades on the table with the remaining forces allocated to the 3 entry roads with 1 unit arriving per road per turn on  a roll of Evens

The French moved first and, with 4 objectives running along the centre line, seized 2 of them straight away with road moves
In the centre the French boldly occupy the one of the two villages connected by the bridge whilst the Austrians barely manage to get into an attack formation.
More French troops arrive to occupy the villages and form a solid battle line. The Austrian general wonders where the rest of his force is.
And more French troops march towards the centre
To the south the Austrians prepare to occupy the town unaware of the French cavalry brigade about to attack them in the flank. The assault modifiers before the die roll come out in favour of the Austrians; Austrians: +3 Outnumber 3:1, +1 In-Depth, -1 Disordered = +3, French +2 Flank Attack = +2. when the dice are rolled the Austrians win and bounce the cavalry.
A view from the French Corps of observation balloon looking north with the Austrians finally arriving to form their own battle line.
It appears that Monsieur Godard's balloon has become unteethered and floats gently across the centre of the battle.
The the French line formed they begin to advance towards the Austrian centre which is currently disordered and low on ammo
The Austrian left flank with cavalry covering the infantry and a smoothbore battery holding the town
Through judicious use of thermals M. Godard has steered his balloon to the west. Notice the litter left by the messy French forces
The Austrians prepare to assault in the centre but both Brigades fail their movement rolls
Instead the French brigade changes formation and assaults the Austrian  Brigade that is low on ammo and disordered. Fortunately the French bounce off.
Just across the river another French assault goes in but the Austrians push them back.
 The French try their luck against the southern town held by a single battery of guns.
 However the Austrian defensive fire halts even the Zouaves and the French fall back. Smoothbore artillery is deadly at close range.
Finally, to the north both French and Austrian troops arrive to contest the northern town - victory hinges on this.
The Austrian troops assault the northern town but as with the French assaults it is indecisive and the Austrians are pushed back.

And that is the end of turn 8 and the game. The French hold 4 of the objectives and the Austrians 2 so the French are the winners.

As with our refight of Montebello there were hardly any casualties - 5 French and 4 Austrian - as opposed to the usual 20-30 bases in our RJW games. However at close range the Austrian smoothbore artillery is very effective

The scenario, hastily thought up on the day, was interesting but the objectives could all do with being 6" from the Austrian table edge in order to give them a chance. The Passive and Fragile traits really mess with any plan the Austrians may have. All you can do is trust in the Emperor and hope you roll well.

A big thumbs up for BBB. I'm looking forward to the BBB Bash in April.

Game Info

The rules can be purchased from Caliver Books
There is a Yahoo group for the rules here where the author answers queries
The 10mm Figures are all Pendraken
The 6mm Buildings are mainly by TimeCast

Saturday, 19 March 2016

Montebello 1859 using Bloody Big Battles

Montebello was one of the earlier and smaller battles of the 1859 Second Italian War of Independence fought by the Second French Empire and the Kingdom of Sardinia against the Austrian Empire.

This game was fought using the Bloody Big Battles ruleset (BBB). The scenario can be found on the BBB Yahoo Group.
The table is 4x4 foot and the forces are quite small - 18 bases of French vs 24 Austrian bases with another 23 Austrian bases as reinforcements.  This isn't as one-sided as it sounds as the Austrians have no commanders, are Passive and all their reinforcements are Raw. The reinforcements arrive if the French do not assault in a turn
The villages of Montebello & Genestrello and the farms at Foliarina & Cascina Nuova are objectives
The Austrians deploy at the River Coppa crossings
The Austrians are immediately faced by the Sardinian Cavalry, form into line and blow the cavalry away. The French 84th line roll a double 1 and fail to move. Therefore with no assaults the Austrians get part of Bils Brigade as reinforcements.
The rest of French 1st Brigade arrives and the whole lot trundles down the road. Again with no French assaults the Austrians receive the divisonal artillery.
Finally the French get to assault the head of the Austrian column. The Austrians due to inept die rolling are starting to clog up on the river Coppa crossings. however a brigade has managed to form up behind the railway embankment.
For several turns both the French and Austrians roll bad dice. The Austrians manage to take Foliarina against a French counter-attack but Montello, Genestrello  and Cascina Nuova stay in French hands

Therefore Montebello is declared a French/Sardinian victory.

This is a bit of a different game to Russo-Japanese war ones we have fought using BBB. With Line of sight limited to 9" there were barely any shooting casualties except for the Sardinian  cavalry and most assaults ended in the +1-3 band.

It was frustrating playing the Passive Austrians without commanders as the road block at the river bridges show. The dice rolling was very bad with the French getting 3 double 1s in a row and one of the initial Austrian units rolling No Move for the entire game after turn 1.

We will be doing a lot more 1859. My French army is complete - in fact way too complete as I have 18 artillery units!. The Austrians need a few more bases painted so we can do Mageneta. I've also got Prussians, painted but unbased, so 1870 is somewhere in the offing.

My dilemma regarding rebasing from 40x30mm to 1" squares has been resolved - I will leave them as they are.

Game Info

The rules can be purchased from Caliver Books
There is a Yahoo group for the rules here where the author answers queries
The 10mm Figures are all Pendraken
The 6mm Buildings are mainly by TimeCast