Saturday, November 21, 2015

The Battle at Palestro: May 30th 1859

On November 14th, my group and I got together to fight the Battle of Palestro.  This battle took place on May 30th in 1859 and was part of the 2nd War of Italian Independence.  The Sardinians were charged with keeping the Austrians busy while the French made a flanking march to attach the Austrians on their right.  That battle would end up being the Battle of Magenta. 
Not being able to find any reliable maps for the battles and working from some brief descriptions of the battle field, I reconstructed the battle as best I could.  Mainly the battle field was open field with irrigation trenches and some small rivers running through it.  There were only a few slight rises above the battle field itself and very few trees. 
The rules used this time was Piquet's Field of Battle.  A set of rules we have used quite a bit in the past.  We like them and have added our own modifications to them.
A first for me, I was able to put the rosters for both sides up on this blog.  I also upped the size of the forces so each infantry or cavalry unit was a Brigade so each player was commanding a Division.  Every two divisions was a corp.  In order to show the larger number of men assembled, I upped the unity integrity to 5 instead of 4.  Seemed to work well, so units didn't start having issues until the UI dropped to 3.  You can see the rosters below. 

The setup the Italians are on the right.  They had the orders to attack and to cover the flanking maneuver that the French were doing behind them. This didn't actually happen for the game but was what the French did historically.

The Italians pushed forward.  The center saw the most action all night.  Both wings rolled 1s consecutively causing both sides to stall.  I've never witnessed it before but both sides rolled 1s for movement (meaning they couldn't move) 4 times in a row. 

The Austrian forces moving across when of the streams.

The Italian right waiting for their move orders.

The Austrian left waiting for its move orders.

Austrian cannons causing casualties to the Italians.

The Italian center continued to advance.

The Austrian left. I ended up taken this flank over after one player had to leave. I broke the streak of failed movement and my cavalry took off across the field.

A routed Italian cavalry unit.

The Italians wait for my attack.

The Austrian right flank finally starts to move.

The Austrian center starts to take a beating from accurate Italian gun fire.
The Austrians started bleeding chips and so were the Italians.

My cavalry charged and lost big time. My infantry continues to advance.

The center units come together and both get very bloody. Both sides were down to 3 or 4 morale points a piece.

One of my Infantry units makes it and attacks the Italians.

That unit died to the man.

Italians continue to advance in the center

The Austrians and the Italians were both out of morale chips and the Austrians pulled the Army Morale card first and rolled poorly.  The Austrians lost.  Piquet's Field of Battle again gave an incredible game where it was settled on the last die roll.