Saturday, May 23, 2015

Battle of Raab 1230-1300 Grouchy's Ride

Archduke Johan's HQ 1230
A dispatch rider from Mescery arrives with the following message:
From Mescery, cavalry left wing 1145am
Your Excellency, my command has repulsed another French attempt to cross the Pancza in strength.  Casualties mounting and my cavalry are fatiguing. A large enemy cavalry formation seen approaching the Upper Bridge.
Turning to FML Frimont, the Archduke seems pleased with the performance of Mescery's predominantly insurrection troops but urges Frimont to retake the church in order to relieve pressure against Kis-Meyger.

From the Archduke's vantage point up on the Szabadhegy Heights, the picture of the unfolding battle is more clear.  Opposite the Archduke's HQ in the valley to the west, Eugene has no such view and must rely more heavily on the a stream of dispatches.  With the sound of battle escalating on his far right, Eugene surmises that Grouchy has reached the Pancza and is beginning his attack.

When the battle was last joined (see 1200-1230), the French cavalry were positioned to push across the Pancza Brook with Grouchy's dragoons.  In the center, both the church and the lower Kis-Megyer complex had fallen into French hands.
Battle Overview 1230
In the center, much of Seras and Durutte's divisions rally and are poised to press the Austrians again.

On the right, Colbert rallies the 9th Hussars and 7th Chasseurs while reorganizing his command on the west bank of the Pancza.  While Colbert awaits orders, Grouchy wastes little time in bringing his cavalry across the Pancza.  The 30th Dragoons make their way across the brook above the bridge while the Italian Dragoons pick out an approach below the bridge.  Following the Italian Dragoons, Seras' 9th Chasseurs cross to the east bank as well.

Grouchy's attempt at forming a bridgehead is not unchallenged by Mescery.  Laying in wait, the Austrian cavalry counterattack every French attempt to cross.  Mescery's hope is to catch the French before they have had time to form up after negotiating the difficult stream passage.
Austrian attacks along the Pancza
First, the 2/5 Ott Hussars strike the 2/30 Dragoons.  Both cavalry formations are supported; the Austrians by Insurrectio cavalry; the French by two more squadrons of the 30th.  In the clash, the 30th Dragoons become shaken but the Austrians break off their attack and fall back in disorder.
Cavalry clashes around the Upper Bridge
As the Italians cross, the 2/Italian Dragoons draw fire from Hadik's battery.  Those two squadrons of heavy cavalry are shaken by the incoming artillery fire.  To make any headway in the bridgehead, Hadik's battery must be silenced.  In the attack against the 1/Italian Dragoons, 1/2 Hussars rush into two squadrons of the Italians.
Hussars strike!
The already disordered Italians become shaken in the impact but do not break.  With the Italians shaken and sensing the need for personal intervention, Grouchy crosses the brook in an effort to rally the wavering dragoons.  At great personal risk, Grouchy rallies the dragoons forcing the Austrian cavalry to break off the attack and return back from whence they came. 
Grouchy rallies the Italian dragoons
Having restored the morale of his Italians, Grouchy presses the heavy cavalry forward and into Hadik's guns.
Grouchy vs Hadik's guns
Overrunning and capturing the guns, the Italians breakthrough and destroy the remnants of 1/Wesprimer Insurrectio cavalry. 
1/Wesprimer Insurrectio destroyed
Continuing to lose cohesion as they charge forward, the Italians reach 1/2 Joseph Hussars who only moments before they were locked in combat against. 
Grouchy vs Austrian hussars
This time, the hussars stand firm and repel the tiring French.  Exhausted, Grouchy and the dragoons break off their attack and fall back but do not reach the relative safety of the Pancza.
Repulsed!
In the third engagement, the 2/Wesprimer Insurrectio cavalry strike Seras' 9th Chasseurs as the chasseurs attempt to form up to the left of the Italians.  In the following lengthy clash of swords, the Hungarians are driven off leaving half of their comrades in French hands.

Despite the setbacks against Grouchy below the Upper Bridge, Andrasy's mostly green Insurrection cavalry do not panic but maintain their positions on the field.  With Grouchy exhausted and isolated, will Mescery be able to mount a counterattack?

Next we turn to the fighting in the center.

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

National Gallery of Art

Last week I was in the other Washington (Washington D.C., that is) for Georgetown's Commencement.  Besides commencement and scheduled White House and Capitol Hill tours, I had time to revisit a few of the fantastic National Museums.  Always a favorite for me is a stop at the National Gallery of Art.  A few pieces always draw my attention and the Dutch Master's collection is not to be missed.

Below are a few of my favorites:
David's Napoleon
Young Napoleon
Driving Snow
Shaw Memorial
Lorenzo de Medici
Andreis Stilte as a Standard Bearer
Verspronck
Haarlem Civic Guard
Hals
Rembrandt Self Portrait
Battle Scene
Amsterdam Harbor Scene
   

Sunday, May 17, 2015

Battle of Raab 1200-1230

Grouchy's heavy cavalry reaches the Upper Bridge
The battle last left off (Raab 1130-1200) with the Archduke's forces pushing Eugene's army back to the west bank of the Pancza Brook all along the battle front.  Having attempted attacks on the right with the cavalry and the center with infantry, Eugene is probing the Austrian defenses like a prize-fighter feeling out his opponent.  Although weakened, the Austrian defense, thus far, has been resolute.

1200
After two full hours of combat, the battle lines remain primarily drawn up where they began.  Johan has released a portion of his Reserve to counter French attacks against the church.  Eugene still has Severoli in reserve and reinforcements should be arriving onto the battlefield in the next hour. 

Seeing Grouchy's heavy cavalry brigade begin its redeployment towards the Upper Bridge brings great relief to both Montbrun and Colbert.
Troop dispositions noon
Colbert, having panicked and withdrawing to the west bank of the brook, attempts to sort out his command on the relatively safe side of the Pancza.  Any offensive action from Colbert must wait until new orders have been sent from Eugene.  Until then, Colbert will defend the west bank of the brook.  Still reeling from his hurried retrograde, only the 2/20 CaC rallies back into good order.
Cavalry positions near Upper Bridge
In the center, Seras and Durutte have good success in rallying their commands and push them back into the fight.  Not finding a suitable place to cross the Pancza for his cavalry, Seras, detaches his cavalry and sends them towards the Upper Bridge in search of a place to cross.  Seras goes in a second time against the church while Durutte sends in two assaults against the Kis-Megyer Farm.
French assault Kis-Megyer
Lending support to Seras' attack against the church, Seras' divisional guns target the 9th Jagers.  Already at half strength and over-extended, the jagers are destroyed during the bombardment.  On the French left, Severoli's guns cause casualties to the Salzberg landwehr positioned along the Pancza.

Content to only observe, cavalry at the Upper Bridge keep a watchful eye on each other.
Cavalry stand off on the Austrian left
Back in the center, the French assault is launched.  Having been repulsed in the first assault against the church, 1/53 Line with 2/53 Line in support scampers up the hill to attack the Insurrectio troops.  To improve his chance to carry the position, Seras leads the attack over the church walls. 
Seras attacks the church
Not able to withstand a second assault, the militia rout out from the church and run to the east.  About half of the militia either lay down their arms in the church yard or are trapped in the church, itself.  Seras carries the position. 
Seras takes the church
To Seras' left, the 1/102 Line supported by the 2/102 Line hit the already disordered Vienna Landwehr defending the walls in the lower Kis-Megyer farm.
102 Line attacks Vienna Landwehr
Although the landwehr are still offered some protection by the lower Kis-Megyer walls, the French carry the position while the landwehr fall back to the Szabadhegy Heights, shaken.  A number of landwehr surrender when boxed in within the farm walls.
Landwehr fall back from Kis-Megyer
Finally, in the assault against the nearly impregnable Kis-Megyer Farm, Durutte leads the 22nd Legere and the 23 Line up the slopes.
French legere storm Kis-Megyer...
In a protracted firefight, Marziani and IR 1/62 prevail and repulse the French.  The legere tumble back down the hill in disorder.
and are repulsed.
Having turned back the French from Kis-Megyer, IR 1/62 returns to good order as does the Salzburg Landwehr.  On the Austrian left, Mescery's cavalry wing rallies the 2/Heves Insurrectio, 2/Bacser Insurrectio while the Odenberg and 1/Pesther Insurrectio improve to disorder.  Still not a solid formation but morale is improving albeit slowly.
Mescery's cavalry wing defending the Upper Bridge
Another view:
Mescery's cavalry wing defending the Upper Bridge
Seeing the Vienna landwehr thrown out of the lower Kis-Megyer Farm from his vantage point on the Szabadhegy Heights, Frimont orders Gajoli to counterattack the lower farm.  Gajoli, finding it difficult to get his command organized for the attack, delays.  The 3rd Grenz from Gajoli's command is the only one of three formations to step off and advance down the heights into the valley east of the farm while the Austrian 12lb batteries target the 102 catching their breath in the lower Kis-Megyer complex.

Kienmeyer does not hesitate to respond.  The grenadiers launch an attack against Seras at the church while IR 19 advances to fill the gap left by the destruction of the jagers between the farm and church.
Austrian grenadiers counterattack the church
In close hand-to-hand fighting at the church, the grenadiers are repulsed and withdraw in disorder.  On the northern slopes of the farm, IR 2/27 with IR 61 in support charge down from the high ground in attempt to disrupt Durutte's attack.  In a lengthy firefight, the Austrians prevail in pushing the already disordered French 1/62 Line back across the brook.  The repulse demoralizes the 62nd as it streams back across the Pancza.
Grenadiers repulsed!
Seras holds the church
View of heights looking from behind Severoli's command
At the bottom of the noon time hour, French cavalry on the right wing are once again positioned to push a bridgehead across the Pancza with Grouchy's fresh command.  Battered from previous engagements, will Mescery's command be able to push the French once more back into the brook?
1230 Dispositions
In the center, Eugene is making inroads against the Austrian defenses.  Both the church and the lower Kis-Megyer farm have fallen to the French.  At present, both positions look tenuous and Andrasy's cavalry is preventing Seras from breaking out from the bridgehead.  Seras' best regiment, the 1st Legere, is tied down by the Austrian cavalry.  With the Austrian Reserve guns deployed on the heights and able to target the Kis-Megyer farm complex, holding onto their gains may prove difficult.  Also note that the 102 Line's position could be threatened by isolation.
1230 Dispositions in the center
Despite the heavy fighting, no commands succumb to panic. 

How would any armchair generals respond?

Saturday, May 16, 2015

Sardinian Bersaglieri for 1859 Project

Despite a few distractions, I made a conscious attempt to focus on the 15mm Risorgimento project following the 28mm Napoleonic blitz in the first quarter.

To continue that focus, up next is a twelve figure battalion of Sardinian Bersaglieri from Lancashire Games.  Great figures with nice detailing.  I quite like them!  For my rules, a light infantry battalion can operate in two, independent BMUs unlike the line infantry battalions which are based on a single stand and operate as one BMU.

 For 15's, these are big guys.  Compared to the Mirliton Bersaglieri, the Lancashire figures dwarf them.  If rating the figures on the Barrett Scale, I would say the Mirliton are 16M and the Lancashire are 17H.  The Lancashire Bersagilieri are large and chunky.  Still, on the gaming table, these differences will disappear and a welcome addition to the skirmishing capabilities of the Sardinian Army.

Thursday, May 14, 2015

Austrian 12th Uhlan Regiment in 1859

Continuing with the Lancashire Games theme, a twelve figure regiment of Austrian uhlans muster out from the painting desk.  These lads will be fielded as the 12th Uhlan Regiment that saw action in the 1859 campaign.

The Lancashire uhlans are nicely sculpted but the horses seem a little on the short and squatty side to my eye.  Perhaps the compactness of the horse is due to the galloping position?  The lances are molded to the figure and are very pliable and brittle.  One lance broke off at the hand during painting.  Epoxy put the broken end pack into place for now.  How will the lances hold up during the rigor of campaigning?  We will see but I expect to see broken lances after a vigorous cavalry clash.


  

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Lancashire French Heavy Cavalry

Off the painting desk are twelve French heavy cavalry for the 1799 project.  The French heavies during this time period had no cuirass and wore bicorne rather than the later helmet.
Thus far in the project, painting activity has been concentrated on the infantry arm of the combatants. The only cavalry to make it over the painting desk have been six Russian cossacks.  
The figures are from Lancashire Games and are the first cavalry from Lancashire to hit my painting desk.  All figures are in the same pose with no command.
Nicely sculpted figures that produce good results when completed.

How do they compare with some of the other 15/18mm Napoleonic cavalry?  Using Eureka's Russian cossacks and Old Glory French dragoons in comparison, the differences are obvious in a close-up view.

The Eureka horse and riders are quite a bit larger than the Lancashire but the Old Glory and Lancashire horses match quite well.  The Lancashire riders are smaller than Old Glory's but on the gaming table these differences will disappear.  Even the size differences between the Eureka and Lancashire will likely be unnoticeable in the heat of battle.
Eureka, Lancashire, Old Glory
Eureka, Lancashire, Old Glory
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