The only change from the 1859 battlefield was the removal of the railroad. Rather than fighting the battle over the left two-thirds of the table as in the 1859 battle, the 1800 battle focuses on the rightmost two-thirds of the gaming table. Deployments for the battle are annotated on the map above with key terrain features highlighted.
Montebello 1800 marks the first battle for my long-in-progress 1799 project. The first battle for the project was likely to be a French vs Russian affair with Suvorov leading the Allied cause but with Montebello 1859 on the schedule, why not kill two battles with one table? Suvorov will get his chance to match wits with the French at another time.
The Battle of Montebello was a clash occurring five days in advance of the larger Battle of Marengo near Alessandria. Sandwiched between the Po River to the north and the Apennines to the south, the road bisecting the battle was the major East-West conduit connecting Alessandria in the west and Piacenza in the east. Actually this road runs from Turin in the west all the way to Venice in the east.
What may seem odd at first glance is that the French are attacking west (towards France) while the Austrians are attacking towards the east. Why this situation? A few days before, Genoa fell to Austrian FML Melas after a lengthy siege. Rather than attacking west towards Nice and the Riviera, Melas finds the French Army of Reserve in his rear after Napoleon's daring passage of the Alps. With Lannes in Piacenza and Napoleon in Milan, the Austrians are cut off from the safety of Mantua and a path back to Austria.
That sets the stage for the Battle of Montebello. Lannes is pressing west towards Voghera and Alessandria with instructions to destroy the Austrian field army. The Austrians under Ott are pressing east to destroy what they believed to be a weak French force. Even if the destruction of Lannes is not possible, preventing Lannes from linking up with Napoleon is of utmost importance.
The Order of Battle, Reinforcement Schedule, and Victory Conditions are presented in the graphic below. Each box on the OB denotes one battalion of infantry, one squadron of cavalry, or one battery of guns.
|OB, Reinforcement Schedule, and Victory Conditions|