Monday, May 15, 2017

Battle of Montebello 1800 - the Setup

Montebello battlefield 
Having finished the long running series of battles covering the conflict at Montebello in 1859, attention now turns toward the earlier 1800 battle of Montebello.  Since the gaming table was set up with the intention of fighting both battles over the same layout, it seemed a waste of effort to remove the game board before completing the second of the planned, dual battles.

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
The plan is to go through this scenario initially on the next Friday Night at the Fights episode.  Note that the French have better quality troops and leadership but no artillery.  Lannes will also be outnumbered a little less than 3:2.  Will history repeat itself?  We will see.

22 comments:

  1. Replies
    1. Thank you, Michal. Hope play holds up to the look.

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  2. Interesting scenario. I am looking forward to it.

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    1. Another interesting situation to ponder. Pick a side and develop a plan...

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    2. While it is tempting to do call my staff and do a full MDMP, I think I will settle for some simple mission analysis and just enjoy the ride. Which rules are we using?

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    3. Since the game engine used in Risorgimento is fresh in our minds, I am turning the calendar back 60 years and using the same system. The game engine is getting an overhaul (well, really just a tune-up) to account for differences between the 1800 and 1859 periods.

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    4. I am looking forward to seeing how it works for the period. All of my 6mm Napoleonics are based as single regiments on 55x35mm bases, and I am still experimenting to find the ruleset I like for them.

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    5. For the later and larger Napoleonic battles, I use a heavily modified version of WTJ's Republique.

      While the original version has multi-base BMUs, my version uses single stande BMUS with one base representing about 1,000 - 1,200 men for infantry. With 12 figure "regiments" that equates to about 100:1 man:figure ratio. That level (and the game engine) works well and might be applicable to what you are searching. We can give it a try sometime.

      At the "regimental" level, I have eliminated a separate fire phase and all combat is rolled into a Close Assault with the exception of artillery which is the only ranged fire. I think it works well.

      At the battalion level, which my 1799 project is based, eliminating ranged musketry might seem odd if using Republique. I could extend the engagement distance to allow Close Assault to cover all combat (fire and melee) with about two inches.

      We will see what you think of the modifications to the Risorgimento engine for this first game, first.

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  3. This is a report I shall await with interest Jonathan.

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  4. Nice set up. There is growing interest in this period in our group, so I'll be looking forward to the game report!

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    1. Ed, I hope you enjoy the result of the game. This will likely not be the only attempt at this scenario. Might even try it with different rulesets.

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  5. Sounds very nice, waiting for more!

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  6. Looks like it will be another interesting scenario!

    Christopher

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  7. Looks good Jonathan. I look forward to seeing pictures of the fight.

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  8. We know it's a nice table, looking forward to seeing your lovely 1799 troops on the table!
    Best Iain

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    1. Thanks, Iain!

      This post was also a chance for Jake (Dartfrog) to see the layout, deployments, Victory conditions, and OB before the game on Friday evening.

      I am looking forward to seeing some of the troops out for an exercise too!

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  9. The scenario looks very interesting. We'll see if Lannes can win his title!

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