Historically, neither party expected contact with the other. Since the whereabouts of the Sardinian Army is still unknown, Benedek must protect his right flank and line of communication from possible threat. Given that, Watervliet's brigade remains protecting the right and line of communications back through Pozzolengo and towards the Mincio.
To reduce confusion, Austrian infantry regiments are denoted with a 'IR' prefix with battalion distinction as a suffix (i.e. IR59/1 is Austrian infantry regiment 59, 1st battalion). Sardinian infantry regiments and battalions have no prefix (i.e. 8/1 is Sardinian infantry regiment 8, 1st battalion). On to the opening phase of the replay.
0800 Mollard falls back on San Martino with the 10th Bersaglieri (10 Bers) shifting to cover the walled farm, Contracania. The 8th Bersaglieri (8 Bers) splits with one half of the battalion moving to take up positions around Ortaglia while the other half fans out into the vineyard opposite the Pozzolengo road.
Lang activates Philipovic who advances his brigade up to the crossroads near Ponticello. Benedek joins Philipovic to oversee the deployment of the brigade. Reichlin with two of his four 4th battalions takes San Donmino. Reichlin's other two 4th battalions are back in Pozzolengo awaiting orders.
Lang orders Lippert to contest the heights and Lippert swings his brigade into action stopping just within medium rifled musket range for the Austrian weapons but outside the range of the Sardinians' smoothbore muskets. Lippert's thought is to soften up the defenders with musketry before attacking while allowing the jagers to fully cover the left. 9th Jagers swing onto the left, opposite Contracania. Philipovic advances astride the road bearing down on Ortaglia and the Sardinians now deployed across the road. Reichlin advances his two battalions to the southwest corner of San Martino heights with his front covered by Lippert's 9th Jager.
|Austrians advance on San Martino|
|Attack of IR17|
|10 Bersaglieri seek cover in Contracania|
|Sardinians withdraw from heights|
Going in alongside on the right of IR59/3 is IR59/1 with the grenadiers in support. The target of the Austrian assault, 7/1 fires two volleys into the whitecoats. IR59/1 takes more casualties but continues on. In the ensuing close combat both combatants suffer casualties.
At Ortaglia, the 5th Kaiser Jager (5KJ) battalion attempts to push 8/1 Bers from the farm. Hitting the farm from the both east and south, 5/1 KJ attacks first from the east. Both take casualties and morale holds but the 8/1 Bers opts to withdraw from the farm as Austrians will almost certainly isolate the farm in little time. 8/1 Bers falls back to the relative safety of San Martino.
Mollard rushes to join 8/1 in the vineyard to rally the weakened battalion. With Mollard's inspiration, 8/1 rallies. 7/1, now the only Sardinian infantry on the heights apart from the 10 Bers sheltered in Contracania, withdraws back down the slope to the Roccolo farm. Cuneo Brigade reaches the battlefield sending the 7th Regiment up the lower slopes to the east of Contracania. The guns and 8th Regiment deploy around Roccolo farm.
|Dispositions @1000 overview|
|Dispositions @1000 close|
For the Austrians, improving the situation of IR59 is crucial to holding the high ground. Either Reichlin, Philipovic or both need to apply pressure to the Sardinian flanks to relieve pressure on their center. Will Benedek release Watervliet from his overwatch role? Can Cuneo BDE counterattack before the Austrians recover?
How would you react if you were Mollard or Benedek?