Friday, May 24, 2013

Battle of San Martino 1859 BatRep 1100 - 1200

The replay continues at 1100 with the Austrians holding the heights and the Sardinians clinging to Contracania.  The Austrian jaegers have a foothold in San Martino and control the Ortaglia farm.  

1100 The 5th Sardinian Division under Cucchiari activates.  The Casale brigade led by 11th IR advances on IR17 near the northern boundary to the vineyard west of San Martino.  Cucchiari oversees the preparatory artillery bombardment before 11th closes.  Targeted by the artillery, IR17/1 takes heavy casualties and falls back through the vineyard.  Disrupted from being ousted from San Martino, the 8th Bers falls back behind the safety of the guns to rally.  The 12th IR advances on San Martino with thoughts of pushing the Austrian jaegers out of the village. 
Situation at 1100
Berger's division activates and Waverliet remains on the ridge on the Austrian right while Kuhn continues approach to the battlefield.  Kuhn's brigade reaches Ponticello.
Kuhn reaches Ponticello
Mollard activates with still no sign of Pinerolo.  Below Contracania, the 8th IR is sent in to drive back the jaegers.  Taking fire from 10/1 Bers and 8/1 IR, the 9/1 Jaegers take casualties but absorb the fire.  As two battalions of the 8th IR close on the jaegers, casualties and the prospect of an assault by formed troops disrupts the light infantry and they evade.
Action at Contracania
On the heights, Cuneo artillery fires into Lippert's guns causing casualties and disrupting the battery.  With Lippert's battery disrupted, two battalions of the 7th IR attack.  7/4 closes up to the treeline near Ortaglia farm to protect the left as the assault goes in against the guns.  Lippert's guns stand firm and fire into the approaching Sardinians.  The guns, having been disrupted by the preparatory counter battery fire, are unable to stop the advance.  As the Sardinians continue closing, the guns limber and fall back about 800 yards.
7th attacks the guns
In Lang's division, Phillipovic joins IR17/1 to help rally it while Lang orders a counterattack against the now over-extended 7th IR near Ortaglia.  Lippert, leading 59/2 and 59/3 into battle, strikes 7/2 and 7/3 while Lang joins 59/Gren and 59/3 to attack 7/4 along the treeline.

IR59/2 takes casualties from fire as it closes.  In the close combat, both combatants suffer losses but the Austrians break off the assault and retire about 800 yards.  In the assault against 7/4, 59/Gren and 59/1 take casualties while 7/4 suffers heavy losses and routs.  Routing back down the hill disrupts both 7/1 and Cuneo 8lb battery while carrying away 12/3 in its flight.  
Austrians counterattack
In the clash, Lang's horse goes down but the commander calmly extricates himself from his horse and continues.  The grenadiers cheer their hardy leader. 
Lang leads from the front
On the Austrian left, Reichlin's IR19/4 with IR27/4 in support presses down the hill to attack 8/2 and 8/3.  In the clash, all four participating battalions suffer losses but the Sardinians yield first, retiring 800 yards.
Reichlin pressures Sardinian right
9/4 IR advances to cover Contracania while 18/4 IR attempts to rally with Benedek's encouragement.

1130 Mollard, still keeping an eye towards Rivoltella, awaits the arrival of Pinerolo.  With much of Mollard's command either disrupted or over-extended (or both), Mollard decides now is the time to rally his division and establish a new line.  To accomplish that task, 10/1 Bers swaps places with 8/4 IR in Contracania so that 8/4 can support 8/1.  Cuneo battery recovers from disruption as do 8/2, 8/1 and 7/1.  Over-extended after driving off of the guns, 7/2 and 7/3 retrograde back to support the Sardinian guns south of Roccolo farm.  Mollard joins 7/4 in an attempt to halt the rout.  With his leadership, battalion 7/4 rallies. The Cuneo 8 lb battery fires into IR59/3 causing casualties and disrupting the battalion.
Mollard reforms line
Reichlin sends the jaegers back against Contracania while his 4th battalions continue pressuring the Italian right flank.  IR19/4 and IR27/4 advance on 8/4 and 8/1.  With no effective fire from the defenders on the approach, the Austrians charge into close range.
Reichlin envelops Contracania
In the close combat, both Austrian battalions take losses while Sardinian losses are light.  Becoming fatigued from their prior clash with elements of the 8th IR and seeing the Sardinians stand their ground, first IR19/4 breaks and routs about a mile to the rear while IR27/4 falls back nearly one half a mile to cover the rout.  All surrounding Austrian fail to panic at the sight of the repulsed assault.   
Reichlin's attack repulsed
Reichlin's guns fire into Contracania inflicting casualties and disrupting 10/1 Bers. Lippert joins IR59/3 to rally it while IR59/2 advances to cover the right flank of IR59/3.  Lippert's horse artillery moves back into a defensive line to the left of IR59/Gren in the treeline.  North of Ortaglia, IR59/3 recovers from disruption but fails to rally.
Lippert rallies his brigade
Having had IR17/1 fall back disrupted through its ranks, Philipovic's IR17/gren fall back into the cover of the vineyard out of sight of the Sardinian guns. 
IR17/1 seeking cover in the vineyard
The battle continues to heat up around San Martino as KJ, embedded in the village, inflicts casualties on and disrupts 12/2 IR.  11/2 IR suffers losses from short range fire from IR17/2.
Having witnessed Reichlin's setback on the left and Contracania remaining as a tough Sardinian salient, Benedek considers redeploying Phillipovic from the right to the center.  This plan would require Berger's division to take up the right while protecting the Austrian LOC.  Under contact with the enemy, disengagement of Phillipovic and replacing with Waverliet would represent a risky undertaking.  Berger's second brigade (Kuhn) would soon be in place to support Phillipovic.

Arriving at Ponticello, Kuhn deploys on the right of the Pozzolengo Road anticipating a passage of lines with Phillipovic.  Waverliet remains in place on the ridge until hearing word from Benedek.

For the Sardinians, Acqui brigade from Cucchiari's division finally arrives onto the battlefield from the north.  Cucchiari, himself, rides over to 12/2 IR to rally the battalion.  With the Austrian infantry falling back into the cover of the vineyard, both of Cucchiari's Sardinian batteries focus on San Martino.  The fire from both batteries convinces the 5/2 KJ to flee San Martino leaving many dead and wounded behind.
Cucchiari's guns drive Austrians from San Martino
In this hour, repeated Austrian attacks to outflank Contracania have left Reichlin's brigade in disarray.  Although holding onto the stronghold of Contracania, the Sardinian right has been weakened in the continuing clashes.  Mollard is still left wondering when his second brigade will appear on the battlefield.

Benedek, with two fresh Austrian brigades on the right, may consider a strong push against Cucchiari before reinforcements arrive.  Once committed though, it may be difficult to later defend the Austrian LOC if threatened. 

Cucchiari's two batteries astride the Pozzolengo Road are beginning to dominate San Martino and the vineyard.  Austrian advances along this avenue of approach likely will be met with fierce bombardments.


  1. Very nice, wonderful figures, love the Sardinians troops!

  2. Thank you, Phil. Glad you like them! Although it is taking me a long time to play out the scenario, I guess I am in no hurry.

  3. Great post up, Jonathan! I'm not familiar with this conflict but the importance of artillery is familiar from Napoleonics through ACW. When playing those eras, I hated going up against troops back by batteries.

    1. There are a few online resources if you want a book recommendation to familiarize yourself with the conflict. Artillery is, indeed, the great killer. Fortunately for both combatants, there wasn't too much of it.