Saturday, May 21, 2022

On the Table Today is...

the Battle of San Martino, 1859.  The table is set and the guns are silent, for now.

In a twist of irony, I have been accepted by the Rejects to host a remote game for their group.  At least three of the Rejects are active bloggers and in commentary I suggested that we might have a go at a remote game.  Well, they accepted.  On Monday, I expect six players to fill the roles of brigadiers and CiCs to refight the action at the southern end of Lake Garda.  

I know both teams of three are making battle plans for the day and questions have been drifting in from parts unknown.  Almost unknown.  I believe the Rejects are based in the London Kent area of the UK.  

Battle Briefing

The Battle of San Martino comprised the northern portion of the larger Battle of Solferino on 24 June 1859 fought simultaneously to the south.

The battle began as the Sardinians sent out a number of reconnaissance forces to probe southeast from Lonato and Rivoltella towards Pozzolengo. Rather than fielding an integrated advance guard to act as the recon force, the Sardinians drew off battalions and squadrons from each division and sent them on their way.

One of the largest of these recon contingents was drawn from Mollard's 3rd Division. Not expecting Austrian resistance on the west bank of the Mincio River, Mollard was surprised to run into Austrian forces at Ponticello. What was initially thought to be only Austrian screening elements turned out to be Benedek's VIII Corps centered on Pozzolengo. Benedek, likewise, was surprised to discover the Sardinians bearing down on his corps in force.
The battlefield
Mollard realized his miscalculation and fell back to the heights around San Martino. While Sardinian columns continued streaming towards Mollard's positions at San Martino, Mollard prepared for a defensive action until sufficient force could be gathered to push Benedek back onto the Mincio. Not waiting for the Sardinian storm to gather over San Martino, Benedek counterattacked to prevent the Sardinians from compromising the Austrian line of communication over the Mincio.
Brigade deployment zones
The scenario picks up where my narrative ends. That is, elements of Mollard's recon column hold the San Martino heights while reinforcements continue their march to San Martino. Benedek has several brigades from two divisions poised to attack the heights. The Sardinian objective is to cut the Austrian line of communication across the Mincio by taking Pozzolengo directly. Indirectly, an attack toward Madonna del Scorpeta may turn Benedek’s left and separate Benedek from the bulk of the Austrian army engaged at Solferino. Since Benedek's force anchors the far right of the Austrian army and protects the army's line of communication, the Austrian VIII Corps is tasked with holding the Pozzolengo position until ordered otherwise. Falling back behind the Mincio too early would allow the Sardinians to reinforce the French at Solferino.
Armies deployed
With the table set, armies deployed, and instructions delivered, the table lays in wait of battle.

50 comments:

  1. Looking forward to seeing the outcome

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  2. I will look forward to this game Jonathan. This is one of my favourite 19th Century conflicts that I don’t actually game.

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    1. Why not game this period, Mark? You likely have many of the combatants already.

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    2. True I have French and Sardinians, but no one manes a range of Austrians that I like.

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    1. I will settle for making it through unscathed!

      You will be familiar with the rules. I am using a modified version of the modified "Fields of Honor" that you played in our earlier AWI remote games.

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  4. Nice introduction Jon. Should be an interesting game.
    Chris/Nundanket

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    1. Happy to have your approval! I hope it develops into an interesting game for all.

      I could see refighting this part of the action more than once especially if we see a close result in Game 1. If there is interest in taking a crack at it, let me know.

      Good to see that turning "Anonymous" commenting on is allowing you to contribute. Hooray!

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  5. Looks great John. I must admit to knowing next to nothing about this era/war/battle....I THINK I know that Solferino was the battle that was a catalyst to create the Red Cross and start creating rules for warfare....but I could be mistaken there too!

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    1. Keith, you have the Red Cross origination story correct!

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    2. And the colour magenta was first used to describe the colour of blood staining the red trousers of the French soldiers after the Battle of Magenta if the story I read is to be believed.

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    3. I read the same provenance to the color magenta.

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    4. I believe a chemist had come up with a colour and was going to call it something else, but then the story of the battle came to the press due to the high casualty rates etc, so the name was changed to Magenta. Or at least that's what I heard on a Radio 4 programme some years ago.

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  6. This should be a great report, especially as the Rejects are such a lively bunch. It will be a lot of fun.

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    1. It should be fun but how quickly will I lose control of the situation?

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  7. Really looking forward to the game Jonathan. We've got our plan and we're keeping our fingers crossed!
    We're based in Gravesend in Kent, which is not far from London. But defo not London.

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    1. I look forward to meeting you guys, too. My English geography is not so good so guessing "near" London is about as good as it gets! You are in Kent. Got it!

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  8. Well what a small world we now live in Jonathan! I visited Ray and all the reject bunch twice now while on vacation in England a few years back. They are an absolute blast to play with and very funny! This should be fun to watch.:-)

    Christopher

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    1. The wargaming world is indeed getting smaller especially with the integration of remote gaming into my repertoire. I recall seeing a blog post on your visit to the Rejects. Any plans of returning?

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    2. Not in the near future, but if I get an opportunity later I'd happily game with them again!

      Christopher

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    3. You're welcome anytime Chris, as are you Jonathan of course!

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    4. Thank you very much Ray and if I get another chance I'll take advantage of your kind offer.

      Christopher

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  9. Played part of this battle via Bloody Big Battles. Looking forward to seeing how it turns out in your game. Have followed the Rejects at a distance: I think you're in for a good experience!

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    1. Stay tuned. I am sure there will be at least one battle report following the Monday game.

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  10. Agree with others! That's looking great Jonathan!

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  11. Really looking forward to the game Jonathan. The Austrians have their plan, and something that looks like a plan B. Undoubtedly both will be torn to shreds once the battle commences. We are are in Kent. The Gardan of England... though some parts do look more like a patio!

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    1. Good! I look forward to the battle too. OK, I know you are one of the three Austrian commanders but which one? Identify yourself!

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    2. It's Richard. For some reason Google posted me as anonymous despite being signed in.

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    3. At least you could post anonymously. Many are having issues with simply posting with any account.

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  12. This will be fun and I look forward to following. Can echo what others have said about the Rejects, and thanks to Ray I have a shirt identifying me as an honorary member of their Canadian Chapter!

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    1. I hope the Rejects enjoy the remote experiment. We will know if they ever ask to try it again!

      Honorary Reject? Lucky you!

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  13. Looks like an interesting and well thought out scenario. Good luck with those Rejects. 😀

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    1. I try to offer up an interesting contest every time. Sometimes, it works!

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    2. If nothing else they always entertain we, the masses.

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  14. Nice gaming and scenario, Jonathan. I rather like these "Little Wars" of the 19th C.

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    1. I am partial to these mid-19th Century conflicts too.

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  15. A lovely looking game and nice scenario too Jon. I took part in a multi-player game of Solferino some years ago which was great fun. I was on the right flank (Austrian?) defending a river line from memory, but will need to check this out to be sure.

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    1. Thanks! Do you have a battle account of your Solferino game?

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  16. What a great opportunity for international gaming. I spent some time talking to Ray at Partizan, I shall look forward to the report.

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    1. Great opportunity, for sure. Hope I can present an enjoyable game for the Rejects.

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  17. It will be interesting to see what the Rejects make of this. Sounds like a fairly dynamic scenario.

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    1. I look forward to their feedback and impressions. Hopefully, some of it will be positive. New host, new media, new rules, new format, what could go wrong?

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  18. Sounds like a great sounding set up? Good luck with the Rejects!
    Best Iain

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    1. I figure this ought to produce a good contest.

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  19. Really looking forward to this one Jon!

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    1. Good! This game was too large to complete in a single remote session. Hope to gather commanders for a continuation on Monday.

      Should I hold off on a battle report until the battle concludes or offer up a first-half AAR?

      Mike, if this is of interest and you are up for testing the Zoom Waters, drop me an email.

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