Tuesday, February 1, 2011

The Battle of Antonio's Farm: 1859

The struggle of Italy vs. Austria reared its ugly head every few years and Italy failed in its attempts to shake the Austrian yoke from her neck.  The last attempt was 1848 and the haphazard attempt by Italy to unite fell into ruin.  This year, 1859, would be different thought King Emanuele II of Savoy.  With great effort all of the pieces that made up Italy formed together to fight for independence.   With a little outside help from Napoleon the III, the defeat of the Austrians seemed close at hand.
The Battle of Antonio's Farm on a late summer day in 1859 scarcely finds space in the history books but it proved a pivotal battle in bolstering Italy's confidence against her dreaded enemy.    
The night before, Italian scouts informed the king that the Austrians were only a few miles away and marching towards them.  In an act of defiance, King Emanuele grabbed the Savoy Flag and planted it firmly into the courtyard of Antonio's home.  His army looked on with grim determination and pride as they attempted to rest before the next mornings battle.  The king paced throughout the night forming his battle plan and arranging his troops in what he hoped would send the Austrians back to their homeland.

As the sun rose that fateful morning, the king sent his generals out with their final orders.  They drew up their ranks and waited for the Austrians to arrive.
The waiting did not last long as the first Austrians crossed over the bridges and began to advance towards the Italians.
The Italians fired first attempting to rattle the Austrians forming ranks.
The artillery failed to shake the Austrian resolve.  The generals leading the Italians forgot their battle plan and instead of defending in place began to march out to meet the Austrians.
Communication between the King and his generals broke down even more as his troops flowed out and took the hill front of them.
The more the Savoy King looked out across the battlefield the more he watched the Austrians pour into the battle.
The Austrians pushed on all sides of the battlefield but the plucky Italians held their ground despite taking losses.
The Italian cavalry met the Austrian cavalry on open ground and failed to win the day.  That honor fell on the Bersaglieri as their accurate fire routed the Austrian cavalry.  Their valiant stand held the left side of the battle while the Austrian morale fell to the breaking point.
 The right side of the battle also held.  The Austrians failed to break the lines of Italians waiting for them.  Only one battalion of Italians fell back due to losses.
The middle of the Italian battle front did not fair well against the weight of the Austrian attack as their lines faltered under the pressure.

Despite this success the morale of the Austrians finally got the better of them and the battle turned into a minor Italian victory and a important morale booster to the very young republic.

This battle used 10mm pendragon figures and Piquet's Field of Battle.