The scenario was in Northern Italy after the news of the events of Eckmuhl and Ratisbon and Duke Charles retreat on Vienna had reached John. As a result he decided to withdraw to the east and hope for an eventual combination with the army of Germany. The River at Cazabellisima was a real east-west artery and the high command worried that if Eugene were to capture the town he would quickly bring up his reinforcements by river. Orders were given to delay this and John decided to hold the town for another 24 hours giving his baggage, heavy artillery and bridging trains time to retire further east. As such he decided on a forward defence. Eugene's intelligence was woefully innefficient and he believed that the Austrians werte running before him and that he outnumbered them by a large margin. He therefore planned on a hammer blow to eliminate their rearguard.
In game terms Eugene despite the fact his divisions had 1 or 2 integral command points each, decided to abandon control of the clock to the Austrians and ensure the movement of at least one or two large divisions each hour. He felt the risk of the bulk of his troops failing to activate could be lived with. The Austrians decided the reverse. They would spend their command points on controlling the clock which turned out to be a winning strategy. Eugene's slow painful steam-roller took shape but he failed to watch the clock . The Austrians had a great deal of luck and via a six each impulse the clock moved on 30 minutes each impulse. Their luck held in the ensuing hours and before the French realised it the sun was on high and it was 12 am. Their line still was not formed. When Eugene realised his mistake, panic set in and he began to throw his divisions forward in a piecemeal fashion and without further manoeuvre. For the corps italien this proved a disaster they funnelled into a cauldron of fire and suffered very badly. Eugene was forced to reinforce failure and a further corps entered the same area. The remaining French corps slowly began to force the centre and left flank but it was now 2pm. The photos end here because the furious and fast nature of the combat that ensued made the game too exciting to record heheheh. The end was inevitable The French did not reach the river before night fall both sides took losses and the Austrians began to retire and head East at first light.
All involved agreed that the game had been fast and furious, had a real Napoleonic feel to it and truly captured the feel of fighting with armies rather than divisions and brigades. The command decisions were subtle and challenging and one and all had a great time including myself as umpire. The rules could take some small tweaks but in general we were nearly where we wanted to be. As we packed away the game which took just over 5 hours from start to finish whispers were heard of building forces for the 1814 campaigns in France.. Who knows?
Apart from his decision to abandon initiative and the clock Eugene whose view of the battlefield was obscured by the intervening ridges failed to advance his light cavalry to scout out the enemy and advanced the whole Italian corps down his right flank. Had he done so he might have discovered the Austrians were waiting for him in powerful defensive positions.
The Austrians were in a strong position among the wheat fields west of Cazabellisima . To the right of the division lay a grand battery of 36 guns of 6lb positional guns and 3lb guns. It was into this killing ground that Eugene would funnel the Italians.
As the cavalry division screening the Italians crested the ridge west of the river they discovered the Austrian VIII corps infantry waiting among the corn fields.
the French continued their build up blissfully unaware of the rapid passage of time.
As the sun rose towards it's mid-day position the French commander began to see the light and in a small panic he threw the Italians forward and brought up divisions from the other corps into the centre. However the clock remained firmly in Austrian hands.
The penny dropped however and Eugene ordered several divisions to advance. He still however had reserves waiting to his rear and his failure to control the clock meant they struggled to activate. The piecemeal nature of the attack however warned of blood on the grass and it wasn't wrong.
What followed was a bloodbath with casualties on both sides. but the positions changed little by last light at 6 pm and the Austrians had won. The truth is that unless Eugene took control of the clock at first light and destroyed VIII corps before IX corps could deploy he had little chance of victory! I didn't of course tell him that till after the game.. heheheh Incidentally the Spanish text was written by the French commander and I had to smile as he slowly saw his error and admitted the reason for his loss. Reading the text was almost as much fun as umpiring the game .